Parker: Charvin’s Wines Come Closest to...Rayas
The connection between Domaine Charvin and Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s exalted Château Rayas is clear: Most of Charvin’s grapes grow on cool and sandy north-facing slopes, recalling the soil and exposition of Rayas’s tree-sheltered vineyards. In Issue #185 of The Wine Advocate, Robert Parker — the most influential critic the Rhône Valley has ever known — put collectors on alert when he famously wrote that winemaker Laurent Charvin “to me has always come close to what was produced at Château Rayas under the late Jacques Reynaud.” With the release of this 2014 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Charvin hasn’t just “come close” to Rayas — he’s created an instant classic that is a must-buy fro CdP collectors.
Furthermore, the Charvin family has been growing grapes in the southern Rhône since 1851. Ever since Laurent assumed responsibility in 1990, he has adhered religiously to the conventions of Châteauneuf — fermenting whole clusters from vines averaging 60 years of age and employing short macerations to keep extraction in check.
Rayas’s standard-bearing wines mature in ancient casks as opposed to Charvin’s concrete tanks, but the results are similar: A striking clarity and freshness of fruit that inspired Robert Parker’s declarations.