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An exceptional wine by Xavier Vignonn revealing the expression of the terroirs, the grape varieties and the importance of time

Writing a tasting note for La Réserve X XII XV is not easy. It is made from four terroirs in Châteauneuf du Pape that have been carefully selected for their incredible potential. Thus, this vintage is comprised of grapes that come from century-old Grenache, Vaccarèse, Counoise, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Terret Noir and Muscardin vines from La Crau, Les Galets roulés, les Urgoniens and Les Sables. The different grape varieties for this Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine are planted on the same plot.Grenache, Vaccarèse, Counoise, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Terret Noir and Muscardin.

The vintages

La Réserve X XII XV comprises a blend of three different vintages: 2010, 2012 and 2015. The 2010 vintage makes up for 42% of the final mix, bringing acidity and expressing the characteristics of the terroir.

The 2012 vintage makes up 22% of the final blend, exuding varietal expression, fruitiness, and excellent mineral intensity.

The 2015 vintage makes up for 36% of the final blend and provides a beautiful expression of the grape varieties, adding to the complexity of this wine. It gives a salty taste to the finish.

The grapes were sorted and destemmed directly on the vine during the manual harvest. The grapes are rarely handled during the vinification process, even during fermentation, to preserve the aromas' softness and the tannins' nobility.

The 2010 wines were aged in the following containers before being blended in a stainless steel tank to complete and finalise their ageing period: 20% in French oak barrels for 44 months, 20% in concrete tanks for 36 months, 30% in large barrels for 46 months and 30% in demi-muid barrels for 44 months. The 2012 vintage was aged in the following containers for 36 months: 25% in concrete tanks, 25% in demi-muid barrels, 20% in new oak barrels and 20% in first-fill oak barrels. The 2015 vintage was aged entirely in amphora for eight months to preserve the expression of both the grape and the terroir while giving a lovely suppleness to the tannins.

Updated: Aug 10

This tasting note was recorded briefly in a walkover tasting with Xavier Vignon in a sun-drenched tasting wine room in Wanchai in April 2023. Surprisingly, 1972 still got the cool and fresh fruit- ample tannins tamed still with bite. Rare. On Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2000 is an enjoyable, harmonious piece of bending- natural fruit, balanced, textured, fine tannins, structured, intense, balanced, and good length. 2001 is superior to 2000 and different- showing the class what a stunning vintage could be-there is a greater concentration of flavour, ripeness and uniqueness of character.

All wines score, impressively, 96DD points.

This is a consolidation of the tasting and papers

written from 2006 to 2013. These write-ups had been with the orginal site Wine and Beyond, Yahoo, until the service stopped by Yahoo in September 2013.


For years I have been working with wines, either buying it, selling it to wine companies, lecturing and writing about it, and, not unimportantly, enjoying it with friends. If any of the articles on this site are worth reading it is due to my teachers, my mentors, my peers and friends, my students, and in particularly my editors who ignite in me a desire to communicate in wines.


Clinging to the trellis of wine, I started to get more and more involved with estates and winemakers, by supporting them with consultancy in communication and marketing. The more I spend my time outside Hong Kong, the more I sense a desire to be part of the international wine family.


Writing about wine represents a moment of reflection, curiosity, atitudes and a desire to analyse often hidden structures and history, in an effort to make the wealth of wine accessible to a targetted, and hopefully larger audience.


I am not sure if I can wine proivde more accessible to all through this blog. But I am sure to write in wine means being involved in wine and  to remain as impartial and objective as possible.


Kevin Tang.

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