Chateauneuf du Pape is a place with much history and surprisingly diverse terroir. The Maucoil sector dates to Roman times, and an ancient road cuts through the property of the Chateau de Maucoil. After the phylloxera devastation that began in the 1860s, vineyards were replanted across France. Sandy, well drained soils help vines resisting the root louse and other maladies, and the oldest vines in and around Chateauneuf du Pape were planted in such soils.
Chateau Maucoil produces both red and white Chateauneuf du Pape, and the wines are well made examples of the genre that we buy from time to time. But our greatest interest has been a small plot of very old Grenache, now more than 120 years old. The plot lies on the border of the Chateauneuf du Pape appellation, but on the outside. As such its label bears the more modest appellation Côtes du Rhône; but in this instance the domaine’s loss is our gain. “Cuvée 1895” is priced according to its appellation, but in density and complexity it might easily be mistaken for Chateauneuf du Pape.