I was also able to taste the 2016 Châteauneuf Du Pape Cuvée Da Capo, which comes mostly from older vines in the La Crau lieu-dit and spends an additional year in a large foudre. The 2016 vintage was truly magical for the region, and this Cuvée Da Capo is unquestionably one of the finest vintages for this cuvée ever made, in the same league as, if not surpassing, the 1998, 2003, 2007, and 2010. Sensational notes of cured meats, crème de cassis, crushed violets, ground pepper, tapenade, truffle, and sweet herbes de Provence all soar from the glass and it hits the palate with a massive, full-bodied style that stays seamless, weightless, and as pure as they come. Traditional, classic Châteauneuf Du Pape doesn’t get better. I hate to be the guy who throws out the “best to date” line very often, but this is truly magical stuff.
As impressive as the Cuvée Réservée is, the 2016 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée da Capo brings an extra level of intensity. Turn that volume up to 11 or even 12. Waves of black cherries, plums and chocolate wash across the full-bodied, velvety palate, lingering nearly forever on the finish. As big and bold as it is, it remains breathtakingly elegant and fine. It should evolve gracefully through at least 2040.
A step up over the 2015, the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Da Capo is another perfect wine in the making and reminds me of the incredible 1998. Inky colored, with a huge, powerful bouquet of garrigue, pepper, kirsch, cured meats, and bouquet garni, this rocking effort hits the palate with full-bodied richness, building tannin, yet a wealth of pure, opulent fruit. This is classic Pégau all the way, and if forced to pick one wine in the vintage to buy, this might be it. Give bottles 4-5 years of bottle age, and it's going to cruise in the cellar for 2+ decades.
This marks the first time Pegau will bottle back-to-back vintages of da Capo. The 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee da Capo was produced from the last block picked that year and fermented outside because the winery was full. It's 70% Grenache and 30% other mixed varieties. It comes across as huge in the mouth, with substantial tannin, fleshy dark fruit, perhaps a hint of warmth and intriguing licorice nuances on the endless finish. Given the positive way these wines evolve during their extended élevage, I wouldn't be surprised to see the final, in-bottle score inch up even higher.