28th Aug 2014
214, The Wine Advocate
A rock-star 1999 that's drinking at point (like most wines in the vintage today), it should continue to evolve nicely going forward. Shockingly good, the 1998 Chateauneuf du Pape le Secret du Sabon tastes like a hypothetical blend of the 2007 and the 2001. Powerful, massive, concentrated and beautifully ripe, it offers notions of kirsch, currants, peppered meats, Asian spice and licorice in its seamless, yet voluptuous and hedonistic personality. It's a crazy good bottle of wine that could be considered over-the-top by some, but who cares when it's this good? If I had bottles, I'd line them up for drinking as you don't want to miss this beauty while it's drinking at point. A brilliantly run estate, Domaine Roger Sabon covers close to 44 acres that are spread throughout the appellation, and the wines have been made by Didier Negron since 2001. This retrospective focused on their top cuvee, the Secret du Sabon, which is a field blend of roughly (the exact blend is a "secret") 90% Grenache with the balance other permitted varieties (from 100-year-old vines), that-s aged all in 600-liter barrels. While the first released vintage was 1998, they also bottled a small amount in 1990, 1995 (the only one I've tasted? superb) and 1996.