Home > Tasting Notes and Wine Reviews > No Time Like the Present

No Time Like the Present

Based on the advice of Fabrice Brunel, David Bloch enjoys his last bottle of 2003 Les Cailloux, Cuvee Centenaire, Chateauneuf du Pape.

Last week I was invited to importer Bobby Kacher’s home to eat and drink with a few producers. I had a lengthy conversation with Fabrice Brunel who has been gradually taking up the reigns at Domaine Les Cailloux. I have been drinking the Domaine’s Chateauneuf-du-Pape – Les Cailloux – for almost twenty years. This is a very reliable, go-to producer whose wines never disappoint – gushing with all of the Provence typicity that makes wines from this part of France so special.

The Brunels also bottle a limited production wine known as Centenaire. The Grenache, about 80-85% of the cuvee, is from vines over 100 years of age. The wine is produced only in the so-called “great years.” I have had the pleasure of drinking the 1998 , 2000 and 2001. I also bought a few bottles of the 2003 – a year that produced some controversial wines in the south of France owing to the torrid heat. I consumed all but one over the last few years and mentioned to Fabrice, while drinking a remarkably dense, youthful and complex 2007 Centenaire, that I had a bottle left of the 2003. He suggested I drink up.


I opened the wine about four hours before drinking – not decanted. The color was striking – almost a deep garnet. The wine was incredibly pure and clean. Really, really clean. As with most of the great wines from this vintage, I’ve never found signs of raisinated, stewed or pruney fruit. This is a big wine. The nose was complex – spices, pepper and kirsch. This Centenaire seems to have more of everything from the other vintages I have consumed. Waves of fruits – particularly black currants and raspberries. Then some cherries. The fruit was sweet. Fruit that keeps coming at you. The wine is very rich. Very powerful. Very long on the finish. My wife, who adores CdP, thought this wine was way over the top and clearly did not like it. It is a stylistic choice though – delicacy and gracefulness is not what Centenaire is about. The bottle I had before this one during the winter of 2012 seemed more powerful. The wine is certainly not a long term keeper. I suspect the wine has peaked – the tannins were almost nowhere to be found. Having said that, with proper storage there is no imminent danger of the wine cracking up.

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