94 POINTS: VINOUS - Deep shimmering magenta. Ripe red and blue fruit, floral and garrigue scents, along with building licorice and baking spice notes. Smooth and fleshy on the palate, offering alluringly sweet black raspberry, cherry cola and floral pastille flavors that are sharpened by a jolt of spicy white pepper. Shows superb energy and blue-fruit-driven thrust on the clinging finish, which hangs on with strong, youthfully tannic persistence.
93 POINTS: JEB DUNNUCK - The base cuvée from the young, passionate (and incredibly talented) Julien Barrot, the 2018 Châteauneuf Du Pape Cuvée Julien Barrot checks as a blend of 60% Grenache, 19% Mourvèdre, and the balance a mix of other permitted varieties. Partially destemmed and brought up in a mix of foudres, demi-muids, and a small portion in stainless steel, it has a great nose of red and black raspberries, framboise, spring flowers, and peppery garrigue. Medium to full-bodied on the palate, it displays a notable sense of elegance and purity, light yet present tannins, and a great finish, all making for a terrific base cuvée that I would be happy to drink any time over the coming 10-12 years or so.
92 POINTS: WINE ADVOCATE - Concentrated and dense, the 2018 Chateauneuf du Pape Julien Barrot delivers scents of black cherries, black olives, mocha and hints of dried spices. It's evolved quite a bit since I tasted it at the estate last year, becoming richer and more tannic than many other examples of the vintage. It shows surprising heft on the full-bodied palate and a long, velvety, chocolate-tinged finish.
The 'Signature' bottling of Châteauneuf-du-Pape is predominantly composed of Grenache, blended with Mourvèdre, Syrah, and small quantities of Cinsault, Vaccarese and others. All vines are grown upon representative soils of Châteauneuf-du-Pape (yellow and red sand, red clay, large pebbles) with a high proportion of sand, and the average age of the vines is more than 70 years old. The vineyards see rigorous bud pruning, green harvesting, and leaf thinning. The harvest is entirely by hand, with sorting in the vineyard and again in the cellar. The wine stays on the skins for over 4 weeks seeing only gentle extractions. It is then aged in tulip-shaped concrete tanks, old oak casks and 600 barrels for 20 months. The wine is not filtered before bottling. This signature blend offers a singular wine personality, a delicate alchemy of spices and well-ripened black fruits, a delight for the senses.