Domaine de la Mordorée, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Rhône Valley, France) “La Reine des Bois” 2018

($101, Kysela Père et Fils):  Domaine de la Mordorée, founded only in 1986 by the Delorme family, makes a wonderful range of wines from several southern Rhône appellations.  La Reine des Bois is, for all practical purposes, their top Châteauneuf-du-Pape (They do make a special cuvée occasionally, once or twice a decade, labeled Plume du Peintre, which is practically impossible to find and priced for the one-percenters of the world.)  Mostly (~80 percent) Grenache based, La Reine des Bois has extraordinary power and equally extraordinary elegance.  Its 15-percent stated alcohol reflects its power, but you can’t put a number on its suave elegance.  And I wouldn’t be put off by its alcohol because it’s a balanced wine and Grenache, for whatever reason, can produce wines high in alcohol without their showing it.  Despite a gorgeous combination of dark fruits, it’s not a fruity wine.  Herbal elements impart a distinct and beguiling savory component.  It’s explosive on the palate without a trace of heaviness or in-your-face flamboyance.  It’s incredibly seductive to drink now, especially if your tastes run to powerful wines, but I suspect there will be far more complexity with a decade of cellaring because of its balance.  If you have a hundred bucks for a bottle of wine, this is an excellent choice.
96 Michael Apstein Dec 14, 2021