Le Merle is Bosquet des Papes old vine selection from vines 80-90 years old. This is classic Châteauneuf-du-Pape bottling, that sees 100% whole cluster and fermented in traditional concrete vats. The 5th generation owner, Nicolas Borion stated that the 2017 is a great vintage, better than the '16s with lower yields but more structure. Wines from Bosquet are still a great value and with the quality rising up almost every year it’s a domaine to buy before the prices inevitably catch up.
Wine Advocate (Joe Czerwinski) 97-99 points! "I was blown away by the prodigious fruit in the 2017 Chateauneuf du Pape Chante le Merle Vieilles Vignes. Quantities are only maybe half of the 2016, so you can imagine how concentrated and rich this baby is. Waves of raspberry and cherry fruit are seductive on the nose, then crash over the palate with a tsunami of concentration and power. If time in the cellar can coax some additional elegance out of the wine, it could be a candidate for perfection."
Jeb Dunnuck 94-96 points! "More traditional notes of sandalwood, garrigue, pepper, and assorted red and black fruits emerge from the 2017 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Chante Le Merle Vieilles Vignes. It’s the normal blend of mostly Grenache with small amounts of Syrah and Mourvèdre, fermented with no destemming and aged mostly in foudre. With full body, a layered, balanced texture, and moderate tannins, it’s going to be relatively approachable on release yet have two decades of overall longevity.<!--more-->The gregarious Nicolas Boiron continues to produce an incredible lineup of wines that span the gamut from staunchly traditional in style, with plenty of stems and mostly concrete tanks aging, to close to 100% Grenache cuvées that are destemmed and aged in small amounts of new oak. Regardless, the wines today are impeccably made and show classic Southern Rhône characters. It’s worth noting that while the wines have always been solid, the quality soared around the 2010 vintage and today this estate unquestionably produces some of the top wines in the appellation."