“Freakishly” good bottles of Chateau des Tours
Produced by various members of the Reynaud family, the wines of Chateau Rayas in Chateauneuf du Pape achieved legendary status amongst lovers of Rhone wines. Indeed, the 2005 Chateau Rayas which Roland opened for me last year, remains one of the best Rhone wines I have ever drunk. Perhaps more important than the sheer quality is the unique aromas and flavors of Rayas. With this singularity comes a steep price. Fortunately, the Reynaud family produces wine not only at Chateau Rayas but also Chateau des Tours and Chateau de Fonsalette. These later two estates produce wine from Vacqueyras, Cotes du Rhone, and Vaucluse. Over the years I have found they share an undeniable typicity at respectable prices.
The wines of Chateau des Tours and Chateau de Fonsalette are scattered amongst the posts in this blog. When I first started tasting through the series of blind wines at Phil’s house, the Reynaud wines were the last thought on my mind. I would not have guessed I would sit down to an entire flight of them. Indeed, with the first two wines, 2010 Domaine des Tours, VdP Vaucluse and 2010 Chateau des Tours, Reserve, Cotes du Rhone, I thought were Trousseau from the Jura. However, as the wines opened up and I progressed through the tasting, my thoughts turned to des Tours in the Rhone. The one ringer stood out and I fully supported David in that it could only be from Domaine le Sang des Cailloux in Vacqueyras.
This was a unique tasting for we tasted vintages back to 1998, which is when Emmanuel Reynaud took over winemaking at all three estates. The wines were opened but not decanted about two hours prior to tasting. The 2007 Chateau des Tours, Reserve, Vacqueyras was unfortunately a bad bottle. Every other wine changed throughout the evening. My favorite wine was the 2006 Chateau des Tours, Reserve, Vacqueyras. While I noted “incredible” in my notes a previous bottle moved me to write “the most beautiful Vacqueyras I have ever drunk.” This was a huge hit with everyone based on the empty bottle. I also really enjoyed the 2010 Domaine des Tours, VdP Vaucluse which reminded me in part of the 2006. Of a different nature, the structured 1998 Chateau des Tours, Reserve, Vacqueyras possessed great energy and Rhone-like ruggedness.
At the end of the tasting, the leftovers were divided up. By all accounts, the wines continued to improve for the next two days. For this reason you should view my notes and ratings as just a brief glimpse of these wines. I highly recommend you try one of these fascinating wines. I suggest you start with the 2006 Vacqueyras for it is available at $60 which is one-tenth the cost of similarly aged Rayas.
2010 Domaine des Tours, VdP Vaucluse –
The medium opaque was not out of sync with the initial aromas reminiscent of Trousseau. There is a lovely start in the mouth with ripe strawberry flavors that persist through the aftertaste. With a fuzzy texture, the acidity continues to build, giving strong presence to the wine. The wine improves tremendously with air, revealing great beauty without blunt power. Clearly, there is a substantial amount of potential here. **** 2016-2030.
2010 Chateau des Tours, Réserve, Cotes du Rhone
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. With a lighter, garnet color than the first wine, this wine reveals a more mature personality. The fine perfume makes way to flavors of red fruit and ultimately a black fruited finish. There acidity is there throughout. Rather closed down. *** 2017-2027.
2009 Chateau des Tours, Réserve, Vacqueyras
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. This was a bit stinky at first and also revealed both volatile acidity and raspberry aromas. In the mouth the wine was frizzante in a manner reminiscent of some Barral wines. The wine improved with air the first night, showing a core of blue and red fruit and a coarse personality. By the end of the evening this brute of a wine showed plenty of fruit. The second evening the nose was clean with Kirsch and raspberry candy aromas followed by pure, driven fruit flavors. ***(*) Now – 2030.
2007 Chateau des Tours, Réserve, Vacqueyras
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. There was a similar smell to the 2009 vintage. The wine itself was a little cloud with flavors of old wood, Kirsch, some fruit and less aggression. Clearly an off bottle. Not Rated.
2007 Domaine le Sang des Cailloux, Cuvee Floureto, Vacqueyras
Imported by Kermit Lynch. This young wine was clearly from the Southern Rhone, specifically Vacqueyras, and not by too far of a stretch Sang des Cailloux. There were leather accented flavors and upfront flavors of Christmas spices that leant for a comforting wine. The flavors were a bit tight with very fine and ripe tannins, minerals, and some extract. Nice stuff. It reportedly took an extra day to open up. ***(*) 2017-2027.
2006 Chateau des Tours, Réserve, Vacqueyras
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. The lighter, more mature color made way to a lighter and mature nose of delicate, berry fruit. Both the nose and flavors indicated that we had moved back in age. In the mouth were ripe, mouthfilling flavors there were lithe and complex. The sweet, red fruit built more and more in intensity until this full-bore wine clearly reminded me of Rayas. Incredible. **** Now -2030.
1999 Chateau des Tours, Réserve, Vacqueyras
The more aggressive, dense start made way to ripe blue fruit in the middle and a dusty finish. This was a more fruit-driven wine with the structure and acidity present. With air there is ample focused, berry fruit, good grip, and wood notes in the middle. ***(*) Now – 2020.
1998 Chateau des Tours, Réserve, Vacqueyras
The lightest color of the final three. A bit frizzante on the tongue tip but with beautiful concentration similar to a Chateauneuf du Pape. The energy makes the wine seductive but it is wound up with a supportive structure for future development. It apparently took two days for this to open up. **** Now – 2025.