This is one of the top vintages for this estate ever joining the ranks of the '98 and '90 and 2010s. The Centenaire comes from a special parcel that was planted over 100 years ago. In 1989 Lucien and André Brunel created the Cuvee Centenaire to memorialize this precious plot of land in Farguerol. The Grenache (85%) and Mourvedre (15%) here are 125 years old on average, very low yielding, and producing a concentrated wine that only gives up 15 hectoliters a hectare. Keeping this in the cellar for a few years will pay off as this youthful wine needs a few years to come into its own. Another one for the books as one of the greatest of all time.
Wine Advocate (Joe Czerwinski) 98-100 points! "When one comes across a wine like this in a blind tasting, it's human nature to second-guess the initial reaction. Yet every time I went back to the wine that turned out to be the Brunels' 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Centenaire, I came away astounded by its complexity and balance. Yes, it's full-bodied, but it's also light on its feet, a lithe vinous gymnast, wiry and strong yet graceful and loaded with nuance. The soaring aromas and flavors range from raspberries and cherries through to roses, black tea, thyme and lavender in this incredible wine. I suspect it will rival the legendary 1990 and 1998 versions."
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points! "The 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Centenaire comes exclusively from the northern part of the Farguerol lieu-dit and is just about 100% Grenache that was partially destemmed and brought up in concrete (70%) and demi-muids (30%). It's a thrilling wine that's behind the otherworldly 1990 and 1998 but is in the same league as the 2007 and 2010. With a massive bouquet of kirsch liqueur, crushed flowers, violets, and honeysuckle, it has full body, no hard edges, beautiful purity of fruit, ripe, polished tannin, and a great finish. Andre Brunel has always been one of the benchmark vignerons of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and for decades now has produced an incredibly Provençal, elegant, and age-worthy style of wine. His 2016s are very much in that style and show terrific aromatics as well as balanced, seamless profiles on the palate."