In contrast (and almost as good), the 2009 Chateauneuf du Pape Deus ex Machina is an extroverted, open and insanely perfumed effort that boasts killer blackberry and kirsch-styled fruit to go with layers of spring flowers, exotic spice and graphite. As are all of these efforts, it’s full-bodied, deeply concentrated and textured on the palate, with masses of sweet tannin. It will be better in a couple years and evolve gracefully for two decades, but it’s hard to resist right now. Drink 2014-2034
The emperor of southern Rhône appellations, Châteauneuf du Pape was the first A.O.C. in all of France, created in 1936. Their bottle is unique embossed with the papal coat of arms. Thirteen varieties (14 if Grenache Blanc is counted separately) can be incorporated in the blend. The reds include: Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Cinsault, Terret Noir, Picpoul, Vaccarèse, Counoise, Muscardin, while the whites are Roussanne, Bourboulenc and Clairette. Only a handful of producers use all 13, Grenache often being the highest percentage of the blend. This enables each producer to highlight the varieties that are the ripest and most interesting in any given year. Most Châteauneuf du Pâpes are master examples of wines that can be approachable within the first few years of release yet able to develop superb complexity during many years of cellaring.