($52) Ruby red. Explosively aromatic nose of dark cherry, red licorice, plum confiture and smoked meat. Lush and dense, with very ripe berry flavors, along with notes of licorice candy, balsamico, beef jerky and espresso. The flavors build and expand through the finish. (Wines of France, Mountainside, NJ)
Author: Josh Raynolds
Issue: January/February 2006
Wine Spectator | Rating: 95
A superb core of blackberry, boysenberry and black currant fruit stands amidst cocoa, mineral, licorice and tar flavors. Densely structured but perfectly ripe, with a long finish that cascades with both fruit and terroir. Awesome for its power and balance. 1,800 cases made.
Author: James Molesworth
Wine Advocate | Rating: 95
An absolutely classic and brilliant example of the vintage and of Cuvee du Vatican is the 2003 Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve Sixtine. This wine was fabulous prior to bottling and continues to exhibit a terrific character post-bottling. About 2,000 cases were produced from yields that averaged 17 to 25 hectoliters per hectare. Tipping the scales at 15.7% alcohol, it possesses an inky/purple color as well as a big, sweet nose of smoky plums and black currants intermixed with licorice, garrigue, underbrush, and scorched earth. Full-bodied, powerful, concentrated, meaty notes come across like steak au poivre. Dense, chewy, opulent, but structured, this massive wine has beautiful definition and length as well as impressive freshness and delineation. Give it 3-4 years of bottle age and drink it over the following two decades.