The fruit for the Arcane V Le Pape is 100% Grenache from 100-year-old (at least) vines. From the 2010 vintage, Xavier selected thirteen barrels based on their mineral salt concentration and fifteen parcels across different terroirs of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
The fruit is all hand-harvested, destemmed and sorted at each vineyard. By contrast to the detailed work in the vineyard, the wine is made with little intervention. Once the fermentation is complete, the wine is racked into special barrels coopered with stainless steel hoops. These barrels are then themselves submerged into concrete tanks filled with Châteauneuf. This anaerobic, hyper-reductive ageing last for 60 months. After this, the wine is still not ready—seeing, as it does, another year in bottle.
With regards to the 2010 Châteauneuf du Pape Arcane Le Pape, I had to have Xavier explain how he made it about three times before I understood. The wine is 100% Grenache, from 15 different parcels, that was put into a barrel, then the entire barrel was put into a concrete tank, which was then filled with wine. This is a take on the underwater aging process that some people experiment with, and the result is that’s there’s no exposure to oxygen whatsoever, and the wine was kept like this for five years, with no racking or topping (since there’s no evaporation, it never needed to be topped). Inky purple in colour, with a sensational, youthful bouquet of crushed flowers, blueberries, blackberries, cured meats and spice, it hits the palate with incredible richness, a thick, unctuous mid-palate and ripe, yet present tannin. It’s a singular, exotic beauty that I wish every reader could taste! I’ve not a clue how it will age, given its crazy elevage, yet I suspect it will benefit from short-term cellaring and keep for two to three decades! Hats off to the team here for having the guts to pull something like this off!
96+ points, jebdunnuck.com, October 2016