Rejoice! The Vaunted 2015 and 2016 Sabons Are Here!

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Didier Négron and Hélène at the gates of Domaine Roger Sabon


Most of you know the Domaine Roger Sabon story (for those who don’t, it follows at the end of this screed) so I have decided to get straight to their truly superb wines from the terrific 2015 and 2016 Southern Rhône vintages. I have had the pleasure of trying all of these wines (an arduous task, but some poor wretch has to do it) and can vouch for each and every one of them. They are fabulous. Where available, I have used the tasting notes of Jeb Dunnuck from the ‘Wine Advocate’. Mr. Dunnuck and his opinions are highly respected by the Southern Rhône vignerons. I attest that his assessments and tasting notes fairly represent these Sabon wines. 

The Domaine Roger Sabon Wines on Offer

We are delighted to offer you two Sabon red Châteauneuf du Pape from the 2015 vintage - ‘Les Olivets’ and Réserve’ in 750 ml bottles (six to the case) as well as magnums of the Réserve (three to the case). And, from the 2016 vintage we have Rhône By Roger Sabon,  Lirac By Roger Sabon and the white Châteauneuf du Pape ‘Renaissance’ (all in 750 ml bottles, six to the case) for your drinking pleasure. 2015 in the southern Rhône was a simply fantastic vintage. I think the 2016 might prove to be even better.


2016 Rhône By Roger Sabon – 14.5% Alc./Vol.               $19.30/$115.80 for 6  LCBO Product No. 466234

The 2016 Rhône By Roger Sabon is a truly superb Côtes du Rhône. It is made from 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah and 10% Cinsault. The grapes were destemmed and hand sorted. It is a brick red colour with pure aromas of raspberries, ripe cherries, smoked meat, Provençal spices and minerals. It is well-balanced with silky tannins and lots of red and black fruit flavours – it is very elegant! Medium to full-bodied, it will go perfectly with grilled meats, barbeques and charcuterie. It is ready to drink now and will hold beautifully for another four to five years. If you are in the Toronto area you can try this fine wine at Le Sélect Bistro.


2016 Lirac By Roger Sabon – 14.5% Alc./Vol.                          $28.80/$172.80 for 6 LCBO Item No. 466242

Robert Parker noted that Domaine Roger Sabon is one of only five “Excellent” Lirac producers. He goes on to say, “A sleepy village next to Tavel, Lirac appears to be emerging from the shadows of oblivion. More and more of the top estates are producing better and better wines.”

“Somehow Roger Sabon has captured joy in a bottle. His 2016 Lirac By Roger Sabon boasts subtle spice and vanilla shadings upfront, then elevates the mood with easy-to-drink ripe cherry fruit that’s concentrated yet never seems heavy on the palate. This medium to full-bodied wine is lush and fun to drink, ending with softly dusty tannins that lend a welcome savory edge to the long finish. It should drink well for close to a decade.” (91/100) Jeb Dunnuck, ‘The Wine Advocate’ October, 2017


2016 Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc ‘Renaissance’ – 14.0% Alc./Vol.    $53.60/$321.6 for 6       LCBO Product No. 466259

Made from 50% Roussanne and completed with Clairette, Bourboulenc and Grenache Blanc, this beauty offers up aromas of honeysuckle, pears, peaches and fresh flowers that seem to leap from the glass. It is a full-bodied stunner, crisp, clean, subtle and elegant that sees no oak. This wine is meant to be drunk young – over the next year or two. If you like white Châteauneuf du Pape, you’ll love the 2016 ‘Renaissance’ from Domaine Roger Sabon. It simply doesn’t get much better than this.


2015 Châteauneuf du Pape ‘Les Olivets’ – 14.5% Alc./Vol.               $48.75/$292.50 for 6            LCBO Product No. 466267

Les Olivets’ comes from an 8.5 hectare plot of vines averaging 45 to 65 years of age. It is made from 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah and 10% Cinsault and is aged in oak foudres for six to eight months.

“The 2015 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Olivets is made from 80% Grenache and 10% each of Syrah and Cinsault (vines averaging 45 to 65 years of age), aged in foudre, concrete tanks and tronconique tanks, its deep ruby/purple color is followed by a medium to full-bodied, textured red that has lots of red black fruits, roasted garrigue and hints of meatiness, sweet tannin and outstanding length. This is a great vintage for this cuvée that should drink well through 2025.” (90 – 92/100) Jeb Dunnuck, ‘The Wine Advocate’ October, 2017

Please note that the description of this wine on LCBO.com is incorrect at time of writing; however, the price is correct and you will be getting the 2015 Les Olivets.


2015 Châteauneuf du Pape ‘Réserve’ – 14.5% Alc./Vol. 
750 ml $57.95/$347.70 for 6
LCBO Product No.: 750 ml - 466283
Magnums $127.90/$383.70 for 3
LCBO Product No.: Magnums - 466291

750 ml :

Magnum :
Made from 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre (with vines averaging sixty-five to eighty years of age), the 2015 Châteauneuf du Pape Réserve comes from two terroirs: la Crau and la Grenade. It’s aged 60% in foudre and the rest in larger oak tanks. Elegant, medium to full-bodied, with ripe tannic structure, it has lots of scorched earth, darker berry fruits, smoked herbs and licorice aromas and flavors. It’s not a massive wine, but it shines for its purity and length.” (93 – 95/100) Jeb Dunnuck, ‘The Wine Advocate’ October, 2016

I would give this marvellous Châteauneuf a couple of years before broaching and expect it to evolve wonderfully for the next fifteen years or so.


Domaine Roger Sabon

We have just been tasting!
Domaine Roger Sabon came into being in 1952 when the family vineyards were split into three distinct entities (the other two being Domaine Chante-Cigale and Clos Mont Olivet). Robert M. Parker, Jr., who awarded their 1988 vintage a perfect 100 rating, the first Châteauneuf du Pape so honoured, had this to say about Domaine Roger Sabon. “This estate has been at the top of its game for many years and any partisan of Rhône Valley wines (especially the southern Rhône) who has not yet tried a wine from Domaine Roger Sabon should make every effort to do so. They produce four separate Châteauneuf du Pape cuvées at this 42-acre estate run by the large Sabon family, in this case, Jean-Jacques (deceased), Julien, Gilbert and Denis (Note: the helm has been turned over to the succeeding and equally capable generation - Didier Négron, Delphine and Julien Sabon).

They own 15 parcels spread throughout the appellation, most of them concentrated in the western and eastern sectors north of the village.

This estate has been making exceptionally high-quality wines for years, but recent vintages seem to have risen to a new level of quality. Moreover, Sabon’s wines have not yet been discovered by the masses, so prices are surprisingly reasonable. Readers should be also be aware that Roger Sabon produces a very delicious Côtes du Rhône and Lirac from vineyards holding those appellations.”                                                     

Delphine, Didier and Hélène at the Domaine

The domaine occupies about seventeen hectares of prime vineyards in some of the best sites of Châteauneuf - Les Cabrières, La Crau, Courthezon and Nalys, and all with "galets roulés" the sizeable white stones that soak up the sun and release the warmth to the vines at night. The vines are a minimum age of 50 years, with some 90-years and older. They are mainly Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Mourvèdre, but Muscardin, Terret, Vaccarèse and Counoise are also grown. All of the grapes have been totally destemmed since the 1997 vintage. Fermentation takes place in small cement vats and small stainless steel cuves, with pumping over and a cuvaison that lasts for 20 days at temperatures between 30° and 34°. The wine is matured in foudres and used barriques, and receives neither fining nor filtration.



Ordering Your Favourite Arthur's Cellar Libations Via LCBO.com
https://glassofchampagne.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/cropped-r443590_21451772.jpgTo order your favourite Arthur's Cellar libations currently available for immediate delivery at the LCBO, just click the very subtle ‘Order Now’ tags included at the end of the product descriptions. Or, you can go to LCBO.com and insert the respective product number in the ‘Search’ box at the upper right.

If you would prefer, just send me an email telling me what you would like and I’ll be pleased to order it from the LCBO for you. Just let me know if you want it delivered to your door by Canada Post ($12) or sent at no cost to your preferred LCBO store (please tell me which one that is). Then send us a cheque or an electronic funds transfer (I’ll confirm the amount after ordering).


LCBO.com

Here’s how LCBO.com works. We will supply the LCBO with selected wines and you or anyone else in Ontario can order and pay for them on-line via the ‘LCBO.com’ site. The major benefit to you is that the wines will already be here at the LCBO warehouse and will be delivered in a short amount of time. By paying a $12 delivery fee, they will ship it (regardless of quantity as long as the order is for $50 or more) by way Canada Post to any address in Ontario and it will be delivered within four business days. Or, you can avoid the shipping fee by having the wine sent to any LCBO store you designate. The store will call you once it is ready to be picked up. This process will take from one to two weeks (possibly up to four weeks in remote areas). Another benefit is that you will no longer have to provide us with the LCBO Lab Waiver email.

Please get in touch with me if you have any questions, would like additional information or would like my help ordering your wine. The LCBO will assist with any post-ordering issues. Contact them at ‘helloLCBO’.


Salvation Wines


When Brian Jutzi, a very active Arthur’s Cellar Wine Club Member heard that we would be jettisoning several of our wineries, he bravely volunteered to take them on. He and his wife Cindy have launched ‘Salvation Wines’ and already have wines from Domaine de Tara and Domaine de Poulvarel on order and on their way to Ontario. Brian also intends to use the ‘LCBO.com’ ordering and distribution program.

Here are a few words from Brian:

Salvation: The act of saving, preservation or deliverance from harm, ruin or loss."

Brian and Cindy Jutzi
Inspired by Peter Mayle’s book ‘A Year in Provence’, my wife Cindy and I travelled to France where we discovered many small family run wineries. It was during our visit to Domaine de Tara that we spied the Arthur Sellers Wine Club business cards on full display. This was fabulous news as we could enjoy the fine wines of southern France back home. We have been sharing wines of the region with family and friends ever since.

Jim’s email “SADLY WINDING DOWN AFTER ALL THESE YEARS!” was truly sad news... it was one of the most distressing emails I have ever read.

I decided to offer an alternative. Rather than Jim and Hélène throwing in the towel, I asked Jim if he would consider passing the baton instead. He agreed and thus ‘Salvation Wines’ was born. Our mission is to preserve the enjoyment of these wines that so many have come to love.”

If you would like to find out more about Salvation Wines and get on their emailing list, please contact Brian directly at brian@salvationwines.ca.


The 2015 Vintage in Southern France
We spent some time in southern France this past May sampling many young, fresh 2015 wines from the area (it is truly a selfless task we perform on behalf of our wine club Members), some recently bottled and others from tanks and casks. They were generally terrific – both reds and whites. The 2015 growing season had been close to ideal (hot in July and part of August with little rain) and harvesting was a bit earlier than usual under favourable conditions. Last fall, during the vendange, I had predicted that 2015 was going to be a very good year for Grenache and it turned out I was right. But, to my surprise, the Syrah turned proved to be every bit as good if not better. In that these are the two principle grapes for the reds from southern France, the resulting wines are very, very good, not unlike those of 2009 at this stage of their development. My two 2015 favourites were the Domaine Palon Vacqueyras and the Domaine Roger Sabon Châteauneuf du Pape ‘Prestige’.

Important Note
The LCBO is the only entity authorized to sell beverage alcohol in Ontario. Arthur Sellers & Company and Arthur’s Cellar Wine Club do not sell or markup beverage alcohol, but rather, arrange for customers to purchase it from the LCBO. Our prices indicated above and on our website include the LCBO sale price plus a fee to cover the cost of sourcing, handling and marketing the wine. The LCBO’s sale prices are available on request.

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