Château Font du Loup, Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Le Puy Rolland”
Château Font du Loup, Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Le Puy Rolland”

Château Font du Loup, Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Le Puy Rolland”

Southern Rhône, France 2020 (750mL)
Regular price$75.00
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Château Font du Loup, Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Le Puy Rolland”

Back in July, we rolled out Font du Loup’s “Puy Rolland,” one of the most respected “sleeper” estates and prestige cuvées of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. A sizeable pitch was attached to it as well, but it seems most of you already knew about this rare treasure because our allocation sold out at a pace we’d never seen for the category. Their new 2020 release has just arrived and, let me tell you, I can’t imagine a youthful CdP being more elegant, sophisticated, and mesmerizing than this.

So, once again, I must issue a formal apology to all Rayas supporters: That $2,000 bottle is far beyond reach, so my money’s all-in on Font du Loup’s $75 “Le Puy Rolland.” It’s not like you’re sacrificing much/anything in the way of raw material and quality either. Just take a look at their similarities: 117-year-old, north-facing vines rooted in primeval sands; 100% organic, low-yielding Grenache; long maturation in old foudres; and, of course, consistently rave reviews. So heed our advice and clear a substantial space in your cellar for this iconic bottling because it overflows with velvety finesse and evolving flavors that promise to transform beautifully over the next decade. Even if you’re still holding onto the previous vintage, please do yourself a favor and buy at least one bottle. The 2020 is lights-out incredible. No more than six per person. 

Purchased by the Melia family in 1942, the beige-colored castle of La Font du Loup translates to “the fountain of the wolf” because it is said the wolves of Mont Ventoux used to stop at the estate’s spring on their journey to the plains of Provence. Today, the estate is run by the founder’s granddaughter, Anne-Charlotte, and her husband, Laurent. They practice organic viticulture including composting with sheep manure and grape pomace, and allowing growth between the vines to boost the soil’s biodiversity. 

In the naturally blessed locale of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, you’ll find a fiercely shining sun, air that’s seemingly infused with herbs and lavender, and a climate that’s quintessentially Mediterranean. The particularly arid landscape is peppered with galets roulés—large, round river rocks that are a product of prehistoric Alpine glaciers. Their function as it relates to wine-growing is to retain moisture, provide drainage, and insulate the vines from the heat of summer. And then there’s the mistral, a strong wind that howls down the valley, seasonally cooling down the land while (1) helping with the retention of acidity and (2) serving as a line of defense against humidity and mold. All of these factors combine to deliver a terroir-driven wine that’s simultaneously packed with luscious fruit. 

There are several lieux-dits within Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but it’s “La Crau” that’s widely considered to be the most renowned. Sitting in the southeastern reaches of the appellation, it’s a large, geo-diverse plateau comprised of limestone, sand, silica, red clays, and the famed galets. However, in Font du Loup’s northerly, and north-facing, parcel of “Le Puy Rolland,” you’ll only find pure, ancient sands which hold a sliver of low-yielding vines that were planted in the 1900s. Anne-Charlotte and her team farm this treasured site organically, hand-harvest excruciatingly low yields (~22hl/ha), and fully de-stem in the cellar. After the Grenache completes vinification in concrete tanks, the resulting wine is transferred into foudres for 18 months of maturation. 

According to Châteauneuf’s Syndicat des Vignerons, “after a very dry summer in 2019, and therefore big, concentrated wines, the 2020 vintage, harvested exceptionally early, signals the return of fresher wines with a great balance.” That’s on full display in Font du Loup’s “Puy Rolland.” This spills into a Bordeaux stem with a deep ruby-purple moving to vibrant flashes of magenta. The nose delivers deep, juicy, supple aromas of raspberry liqueur, ripe black cherry, muddled strawberry, roasted red plum, damp garrigue, candied rose petal, lilac, sweet baking spice, and wet clay. It’s full-bodied and seamless on the palate, filling the mouth with perfectly sanded-down tannins, gorgeous swells of ripe berry fruit, and just the right amount of savoriness. Enjoy now and over the next 5-8 years. Cheers!

Château Font du Loup, Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Le Puy Rolland”




Enjoying the greatest wines of Beaujolais starts, as it usually does, with the lay of the land. In Beaujolais, 10 localities have been given their own AOC (Appellation of Controlled Origin) designation. They are: Saint Amour; Juliénas; Chénas; Moulin-à Vent; Fleurie; Chiroubles; Morgon; Régnié; Côte de Brouilly; and Brouilly.

Southwestern France


Bordeaux surrounds two rivers, the Dordogne and Garonne, which intersect north of the city of Bordeaux to form the Gironde Estuary, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The region is at the 45th parallel (California’s Napa Valley is at the38th), with a mild, Atlantic-influenced climate enabling the maturation of late-ripening varieties.

Central France

Loire Valley

The Loire is France’s longest river (634 miles), originating in the southerly Cévennes Mountains, flowing north towards Paris, then curving westward and emptying into the Atlantic Ocean near Nantes. The Loire and its tributaries cover a huge swath of central France, with most of the wine appellations on an east-west stretch at47 degrees north (the same latitude as Burgundy).

Northeastern France


Alsace, in Northeastern France, is one of the most geologically diverse wine regions in the world, with vineyards running from the foothills of theVosges Mountains down to the Rhine River Valley below.

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