The 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape Le Secret du Sabon is jaw-dropping good, and tops out on my scale. Crazily perfumed and complex, with layers of kirsch, crushed flowers, incense, beef blood and garrigue, it hits the palate with massive depth and richness, thrilling purity of fruit and a seamless texture that needs to be tasted to be believed. I'd happily drink bottles today, but given its mid-palate depth and no shortage of tannin that emerges on the finish, it will have no issues evolving through 2027.
Score: 100 Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate (214), August 2014
More closed and restrained than normal is the 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape Le Secret des Sabon. The Sabon family has always been "secretive" about the blend used for this cuvee, but they do acknowledge that about 90% Grenache is combined with a field blend from vines over 100 years of age. Yields are microscopic, averaging 8-12 hectoliters per hectare, and the wine is aged one year in used 600-liter demi-muids. In the years it has been made (the first commercial vintage was 1998, although a small amount was made for the family in 1990, 1995, and 1996), this cuvee often borders on pure perfection (i.e., 1998 and 2001). The 2007 is too backward at this stage to go that far out on a limb, but it possesses a dense plum/purple color to the rim as well as an extraordinary perfume of cedarwood, tobacco leaf, creosote, licorice, black fruits, smoke, and a smell and taste of highly-charred meat with the essence of blood. This extraordinarily full-bodied, but forebodingly backward wine is more inaccessible than the 1998 or 2001 were at a similar stage of development, but it is an enormous, massively-endowed Chateauneuf du Pape that represents the concentrated blood of an old vineyard. The finish is virtually endless, lasting well past a minute. It will benefit from 3-4 years of bottle age, and should drink well for 25-35 years thereafter.
Score: 97+ Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (185), October 2009
Reminiscent of a hypothetical blend, stylistically speaking, of a 1990 and 1998, the opaque plum/purple 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape Le Secret des Sabon is off the charts. There are only 2,000 bottles of this limited cuvee, from a parcel of 100+ year old vines in the famed La Crau sector. Enormously powerful notes of grilled herbs, roasted meats, creme de cassis, blackberries, charcoal, and truffles emerge from this massive, super-concentrated 2007. A tour de force in winemaking, this is old vine intensity at its greatest and purest. Give it 5-6 years of bottle age, and drink it over the following three decades.Proprietor Jean-Jacques Sabon and the other younger family members are taking these wines to even greater quality heights than previously attained. The new vintages possess updated, more polished labels, but more importantly, the wines continue to go from what were very strong efforts in the past, to even deeper concentration, complexity, and depth. All four cuvees are now routinely outstanding, with the top two offerings, the Cuvee Prestige and the limited production Le Secret des Sabon, compelling Chateauneufs. As with many estates, the 2007s exhibit the vintage's succulent, juicy, incredibly pure fruit and tremendous freshness and vivacity, all packed into substantial, full-bodied wines with surprisingly high alcohols given their vibrancy. One might expect such greatness in 2007 in Chateauneuf du Pape, but the Sabons have also hit the heights in the excellent 2006 vintage.
Score: 96/100 Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (179), October 2008
Very silky, with a beautiful beam of kirsch running through notesof pepper, incense, black tea and melted licorice. The long, supplefinish has good latent grip, while maintaining its perfumy elegance.Drink now through 2020.
Score: 93 James Molesworth (Wine Spectator), Wine Spectator, September 2009
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