What I tend to think of as the top cuvee, although it is not that certain when you taste these wines next to each other, is the Chateauneuf du Pape Collection Charles Giraud. The 2009, which is showing better from bottle than it did last year, is a wonderfully complex wine made from 60% Grenache and 40% Mourvedre. (The Grenache comes from 80-year-old vines aged in concrete, and the Mourvedre from 60-year-old vines aged in 600-litre demi-muids). This wine was utterly perfect in 2007, and I think the 2009 is another fabulous wine. Complex notes of licorice, incense, lavender, new saddle leather, blackberry and kirsch along with some tree bark and roasted meats are all present in this complex, fragrant wine, which is full-bodied, dense, rich and capable of improving for another 5-10 years and lasting two decades.
Displaying a denser ruby/purple hue, the 2009 Chateauneuf du Pape Collection Charles Giraud comes from the sector of Chateauneuf du Pape known as Cristia (whose soils contain a lot of sand as well as the famous small boulders and rocks known as the Galets Roules). Composed of 60% Grenache (from 80-year-old vines) and 40% Mourvedre (from 60-year-old vines), this wine is aged in 3-year-old 600-liter demi-muids. In 2007, this was one of the most monumental wines I have ever tasted, and the 2009, while not comparable, is a gorgeous offering that is unquestionably one of the stars of the vintage. It boasts a dark ruby/purple hue as well as impressive aromas of roasted meats, beef blood, forest floor, black currants and kirsch. The complex aromatics are followed by a dense, rich, full-bodied wine that will benefit from 1-2 years of cellaring, and last for 10-15 years.