Chateau Rayas Chateauneuf du Pape Rhone Wine, Complete Guide

Rayas Sign1 Chateau Rayas Chateauneuf du Pape Rhone Wine, Complete Guide
Learn everything about Chateau Rayas, Chateauneuf du Pape, Rhone wine with wine tasting notes, wine and food pairings, best vintages, a history of the property, information on the vineyards and winemaking. If you want to read about other important wineries and wine makers from the Rhone valley: Links to all Rhone Valley Wine Producer Profiles

Chateau Rayas History, Overview

If there is one single wine in the appellation that signifies the true level of greatness possible in Chateauneuf du Pape, perhaps it’s Rayas. Like the First Growths of Bordeaux, Rayas could be the wine that stands above all the others in the Southern Rhone Valley. The bouquet is haunting. The purity of fruit can be otherworldly and the textures are extraordinarily sensuous.

Chateau Rayas has been around longer than their oldest vines. The Reynaud family, (who still manage Rayas today) began working at the property in 1880, due to an unforeseen occurrence. Albert Reynaud, who lived and worked in Avignon, which is close to Chateauneuf du Pape went deaf at the age of 45. That caused him to seek a new career. He decided to become a winemaker in the Rhone valley and he purchased Rayas.

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After Albert Reynaud passed away, Louis Reynaud inherited Rayas. Under the direction of Louis Reynaud, Rayas became one of the first estates in Chateauneuf du Pape to bottle and sell their own wine. Louis Reynaud began adding the words “Premier Grand Cru” on the labels for Rayas.

That wording helped Rayas gain attention for their wine. Even though it was in violation of the newly created appellation laws, it was a clever gambit that paid off and others soon discovered the magic of Rayas.

The Reynaud family continued to add to their holdings, increasing the size of their vineyards. They also purchased other vineyards. In 1935 they bought Chateau des Tours, which is located in Sarrians, in southeastern France, not far from Orange. Ten years later, they added Chateau Fonsalette, situated in Lagarde Pareol, to their vineyard holdings.

In the 1930’s, Rayas built new cellars and wine making facilities in the area of Pignan. This needed to be done because their previous cellars were no longer within the new boundaries of what became the official Chateauneuf du Pape AOC.

Jacques Reynaud managed the family estates from 1978 until he passed away in 1997. The quality of Rayas slipped after Jacques Reynaud died. His nephew, Emmanuel Reynaud, who had been in charge of Chateau de Tours in Vacqueyras, took over the property.

For his initial vintages, the wines were not at the level of quality capable of being produced at Rayas. Some of that was due a learning curve and to the fact that at the time, much of the wine at Rayas was being produced from young vines.

Close to 50% of the vineyards needed replanting, which took place in the 1980’s. Starting with the 2005 vintage, things turned around for Chateau Rayas and once again, Rayas is now producing majestic Chateauneuf du Pape wine. Without question, much of that credit goes to Emmanuel Reynaud.

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It is expected that the sons of Emmanuel Reynaud, Louis Damien Reynaud and Benoit Reynaud will eventually take over managing Chateau Rayas in the future. Chateau Rayas is one the legendary properties from Chateauneuf du Pape. There are many knowledgeable wine lovers that feel Rayas is in fact the top wine in all of Chateauneuf du Pape.

The wines are definitely collectible. In fact, some of the older vintages produced by Jacques Reynaud sell for close to $2,000 a bottle today! There is no secret to the quality of the wine. Rayas, like all the world’s best wines is produced from great terroir.

Chateau Rayas Vineyards, Wines, Winemaking

Chateau Rayas owns 23 hectares of land, with 12 hectares of vines in Chateauneuf du Pape. Most of that is planted to Grenache. They have 10 hectares in Chateauneuf du Pape that are devoted to the production of red wine and 2 hectares are reserved for making white Chateauneuf du Pape. The vineyard is made up of 15 different parcels in all. Not surprisingly, Rayas has a unique terroir.

Rayas has a terroir of red, sandy soils, with small amounts of limestone and clay with a north east exposure. There are very few rocks and stones found at Rayas. The extremely fine, sandy soils feel like beach sand in your hand.

The sandy terroir is also naturally cool, because of the large amount of clay in the soils which also helps retain moisture, giving the terroir a lot of humidity, that aids in keeping temperature cool for the appellation. Very few stones are found littering the landscape of Rayas.

Those poor soils are a big part of what goes into the singular character found in their wines. Another important factor that bears looking at is the large pine and oak trees found in their vineyards. Those trees clearly alter the micro climate of Chateau Rayas.

All of those factors provide Rayas with a unique micro-climate, making it the coolest terroir in Chateauneuf du Pape. Part of the reason for the cooler terroir is due to the vines being planted on a northern exposure, helping to add slightly cooler temperatures to the terroir.

As we mentioned earlier another important factor in the micro climate is due to the influence from the surrounding trees and forest land, which automatically cools the soil. These reasons combine to insure that Rayas has naturally low yields and they are always one of the last properties to harvest in the appellation.

Their unique, cooler micro-climate allows them to pick their grapes at the peak levels of ripeness, while also obtaining relatively low alcohol levels, freshness, purity of fruit and and an elegant, silky style.

Situated in the northeastern part Chateauneuf du Pape, with no easy to view signs, trust me on this one, Rayas can be quite difficult to find.

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The best vintages of Chateau Rayas are: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2001, 2000, 1998, 1995, 1994, 1990, 1989, 1985, 1983, 1981 and 1978. I have never seen truly older vintages of Rayas. But I would guess they could be stunning and extremely expensive. If you ever find a bottle and would like to invite me to share it with you, don’t be shy!

To produce the wine of Chateau Rayas, it is important to note that Rayas remains a traditional Chateauneuf du Pape estate. Rayas is made from 100% Grenache. Rayas is a long time proponent of low yields that on average range from 12 to 20 hectoliters per hectare. At Rayas, they retain a good portion of their stems. The grapes are whole bunch pressed and vinified in concrete tanks.

The wine is then aged in a combination of demi muids and foudres of various capacities for an average of 16 months before bottling. There are no new French oak barrels at Rayas. The barrels are almost as old as their vines. The newest barrels are close to 30 years of age, give or take a few years one way or the other.

The age of the barrels dovetails perfectly with the unadorned, bare cellars, with its rough, stone stones and primitive, rock and earth floors. The production of Chateau Rayas is limited to an average of 1,100 cases per vintage.

Rayas Emmanuel Reynaud Chateuneuf du Pape Chateau Rayas Chateauneuf du Pape Rhone Wine, Complete Guide

Pignan is the second wine of Rayas. However, because much of Pignan comes from their more northern vines, it can also be looked at as a unique brand. In some years, like 1990, Pignan is an amazing wine that while not at the level of Rayas, it’s still outstanding.

In total, close to 20% of harvest goes into producing Pignan. The majority of time, Pignan is produced from almost 100% old vine Grenache and also includes grapes from their young vines in the final blend. Pignan is aged for 16 months in demi-muids and foudres. Only 650 cases are produced of Pignan each year.

Rayas produces two red Chateauneuf du Pape wines and one white Chateauneuf du Pape. The white wine is made from an even blend of 50% Grenache Blanc and 50% Clairette. The wine is aged in tank, only 425 cases of Rayas Blanc are produced each year.

Serving and Decanting Chateau Rayas with Wine, Food Pairing Tips

Rayas is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. Young vintages can be popped and poured, or decanted for an hour so. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment. Chateau Rayas is best served with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted, braised, stewed dishes, sausage and cassoulet. Chateau Rayas is also good with Asian dishes, hearty fish courses like tuna, mushrooms pasta, eggplant and tomatoes.

The white wine of Rayas is best served with a myriad of different seafood dishes, shellfish, crab, lobster, sushi, sashimi, chicken, pork and veal, as well as Asian cuisine.

Rayas also makes three different Fonsalette wines; Chateau Rayas Fonsalette Cotes du Rhone Cuvee Syrah, Chateau Rayas Fonsalette Cotes du Rhone and Chateau Rayas Fonsalette Cotes du Rhone Blanc. The wines of Fonsalette are made in the cellars of Rayas. In total, Emmanuel Reynaud owns 10 hectares of vines in the Cotes du Rhone appellation.

Emmanuel Reynaud also produces: Chateau Rayas la Pialade. Rayas la Pialade is produced from a variety of grape sources including declassified fruit and young vines from Fonsalette, Pignan and Rayas, hence the name.

In addition, they also make a red and white Vin de Pays from Vaucluse, Domaine des Tours Rouge, and Domaine des Tours Blanc. Their wine, Chateau des Tours comes from vines planted in the Vacqueyras appellation. Savvy wine buyers looking for style and value should definitely place these wines on their buying list.

Château Rayas Wine Tasting Notes

29 Vintages 161845 Views Sort by Vintage-Rating

2015Château Rayas Reserve  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)97 pts

I'm not sure if it's the incredible purity of the fruit, the elegant stylings, or the silky tannins that make you want to take sip, after sip of this elixir. But this is just great! The pure kirsch and cherry sensations are to die for. The finish must last over 40 seconds. The wine is made from 100% Grenache. If you can find it, and afford it, this is a beauty.

97 points - Tasted
2014Château Rayas Reserve  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)94 pts

With supple textures, ripe, sweet red fruits, thyme, pepper and fresh herbs, the wine is medium bodied, refined and silky, with a beautiful, bright, purity of fruit, and a supple textured finish. This should drink well on release.

94 points - Tasted
2013Château Rayas Reserve  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)92 pts

Light style of Rayas, medium bodied, with a bright, crispy, fresh, pure red cherry center, with silky tannins and a spicy, kirsch finish. This is a very, silky, seductive, forward style of Rayas that should hold you until the 2015 comes around.

92 points - Tasted
2010Château Rayas Blanc Réserve  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)93 pts

Tropical in nature, with flowers, white peach, honey and melon notes. Rich, slightly oily and sweet, there is good freshness in the finish. The wine was made from blending 50% Grenache Blanc with 50% Clairette.

93 points - Tasted
2009Château Rayas Blanc Réserve  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)92 pts

This is a wine I almost never taste. But when offered a glass, I jumped at the chance. With a nose of flowers, honeydew melon, white peach, candied grapefruit and orange blossom, the wine is sweet, and fresh at the same time. There is good concentration of flavor and a luscious, fresh, almost fat, sweet fruit filled finish. The wine was made from a blend of 50% Grenache Blanc and 50% Clairette.

92 points - Tasted
2007Château Rayas Reserve  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)98 pts

Lush, silky, fresh, sensuous, perfectly ripe, richly textured, sweet red fruits from start to finish in the nose, on the palate and in the long, lingering, finish. The perfect blend of concentration, intensity, elegance, complexity uniqueness of character. If you have the money..... This is sublime!

98 points - Tasted

Rich, deep, concentrated and lush, the wine is packed with the perfect blend of ripe and over ripe cherries, kirsch, black raspberry jam, pepper and earth. This is silky, intense and exotic. As good as this is now, it's only going to get better with time. Rayas has one of the best track records in Chateauneuf du Pape for improving with age.

97 points - Tasted
2006Château Rayas Reserve  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)95 pts

Elegance, freshness and layers of sweet, silky textured cherries, black raspberries and wild strawberries are all over the place. The wine offers more elegance, freshness and restraint than power. This should be a bit better with a few more years of age.

95 points - Tasted
2006Château Rayas Pignan Reserve  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)89 pts

Black raspberry, jam, kirsch and pepper aromas, medium body and sweet kirsch flavors with a touch of olive and herbal sensations in the elegant, textured finish. This is already drinking well.

89 points - Tasted
2005Château Rayas Reserve  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)97 pts

A beautiful expression of Grenache and Rays, with its silky, smooth, ripe, fresh cherries, black raspberries and spice. Still young, you can enjoy it now for its youthful, vigor, ripe red berries and freshness, or you can age it for a decade for more complexity.

97 points - Tasted

Wow! That says it all. Clearly, this vintage marks the return to greatness for what many people think is the best wine of Chateauneuf du Pape. Pepper, jammy kirsch, fennel, black raspberries, spice and earthy scents explode from the glass. Rich and mouth filling, with an elegant presence, the wine offers intense, silky, pure, lush, fresh, spicy strawberry, dark cherry, pepper and raspberry jam flavors. Like all great vintages of Rayas, this should age and improve for at least 20-25 years.

97 points - Tasted
2004Château Rayas Reserve  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)93 pts

Medium bodied, fresh, silky styled wine that remains focused on the purity of the red fruits, soft, elegant, refined and silky textures and the sweetness of the fruit and spice in the finish. Popped and poured, this will get even better with a few more years in the bottle.

93 points - Tasted
2003Château Rayas Reserve  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)96 pts

Probably close to fully mature, the earthy, sweet, kirsch and barnyard characteristics really stand out here. Silky, soft, medium bodied, elegant and wild, this is probably drinking at peak today.

95 points - Tasted

Avoiding all the trappings of this extreme vintage, the kirsch, black raspberry, spice and garrigue is all over the place. Lush, sensuous, clean and pure, with no sensation of heat of jammy flavors, this is drinking extremely well today.

96 points - Tasted
2001Château Rayas Reserve  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)94 pts

Focused on elegance, instead of power, here you find, soft, refined layers of sweet, fresh, kirsch, black raspberries, flowers and earth. The wine is medium bodied, refined, and ready to drink as it shows both on the palate and in the perfume.

93 points - Tasted

Wow, what a treat! Silky, soft and smooth, with layers of lush cherries, kirsch, pepper, spice, strawberry, black raspberry liqueur and fresh herbs. The fruit has an intensity of flavor and purity that is hard to find in any other wine.

94 points - Tasted
2000Château Rayas Reserve  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)94 pts

Much better than my previous bottle a few years ago, this was splendid. Elegant, refined, medium bodied, sweet, and fresh, there is a purity to the kirsch and softness in the texture that is really showing well. This is about balance and elegance. Fully mature, if you have a bottle, pop a cork.

94 points - Tasted

Lots of bright red, spicy berries and kirsch, along with silky textures, which is a good thing. But the notes of olive, and herbs are quite prominent, which took away from the fruit. I found that distracting. This is drinking at peak.

91 points - Tasted
1999Château Rayas Reserve  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)91 pts

Ripe, jammy cherries and raspberries, spices and herbs make up the perfume. Medium bodied with good balance, I wish the wine had a bit more depth. Still, it was nice and displayed Rayas character. Fully mature, drink this over the next 6-8 years.

90 points - Tasted

Jammy fruit, kirsch, herbs and earth aromas. Medium bodied with good balance. Elegant in style.

91 points - Tasted

1999 Rayas is a very nice wine. extremely accessible, ready to drink, Fragrant, not very powerful but the flavors grew in the glass. This is a nice wine, but it's not like any of the older versions of Rayas that were so spectacular. It is close in style to the 94, with less depth.

90 points - Tasted
1998Château Rayas Reserve  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)95 pts

Ready to go, the wine is medium bodied, elegant, fresh, sweet and pure. There is a peppery, herbal complexity that adds to the black raspberry and kirsch notes that make up the central core of the wine. The wine lacks the levels of density found in the the best vintages of Rayas, but there is still more than ample, sweet, silky, fresh fruits in every sip, making this a treat to taste. This is probably fully mature and will not get much better. It's not a wine for long term aging at this point.

95 points - Tasted

The purity of the cherry, strawberry and plum fruits is hard to beat. Add in spice, mint and pepper, the texture of exotic silk and a sweet, kirsch filled finish and you have a bottle of 1998 Rayas. What it lacks in depth, it makes up for in style and character. This is drinking in the sweet spot today.

93 points - Tasted

Pepper, fresh black raspberry, kirsch, earth and spice aromas pop from the glass as soon as the wine is poured. With soft, round textures coupled with fresh, clean, spicy cherry, raspberry and jammy strawberry flavors in the finish, this has improved over the past few years. While the wine lacks the power of the best vintages Rayas can produce, it offers a beautiful, stylistic expression of Rayas.

93 points - Tasted

A wine all Burgundy should aspire to be. However, at the current price which is close to $200 per bottles, it's a wine Chateauneuf lovers should pass on. This is probably close to full maturity. Aromatics of red fruits and cherry tones on the finish. Medium to light bodied in texture. Nice personality. But not enough concentration or complexity. I prefer the 94, 97 & 99 Rayas to the 98. They are all superior vintages of Rayas for a lot less money.

91 points - Tasted
1997Château Rayas Reserve  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)90 pts

Telltale kirsch and pepper note that only Rayas has. Fully developed. Slightly light, but, definitely in the style of Rayas.

90 points - Tasted
1996Château Rayas Reserve  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)89 pts

Past full maturity and starting to drop its fruit, the wine shows too much pepper, herbs and earthy notes at this stage of life, causing you to miss some of the beautiful, kirsch and pure cherry tones that are associated with the wine. The finish shows a slight rustic edge in the end notes. If you're sitting on a few bottles, it's time to drink up, before more of the fruit fades away. One important note on this vintage that needs to be recognized, it was the final vintage that was produced by Jacques Reynaud. This was the first year that Emmanuel Reynaud completed the aging process and bottled the wine. From that point forward, Emmanuel Reynaud took charge of the estate.

89 points - Tasted
1995Château Rayas Reserve  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)98 pts

What's not to love? A blast of perfectly ripe kirsch, cherry liqueur, garrigue, spice and fennel on the nose. Pure silky cherries on the palate and a long, elegant, rich, fruit filled finish that stays with you. This tastes at least 10 years younger than its true age. Absolutely stunning! This might deserve another Pt, this is the best showing yet for this beauty...

98 points - Tasted

Still young, fresh and lively and 20, the wine is intense, concentrated and packed with red, white and black cherries, along with Framboise, garrigue and spice. This quite powerful for a 20 year old Chateauneuf du Pape.

97 points - Tasted

Surprisingly young, the wine is deep, concentrated and fresh, with layers of sweet, ripe and over ripe cherries, kirsch, strawberry liqueur, pepper and herbs. Popped and poured, the wine improved in the glass. A short decant would have helped soften the wine and allow more aromatics to shine. This really showed like it was at least 5-10 years younger. It's too bad Rayas is now so expensive. It's as much, or more of a treat than a First Growth when these bottles are popped today.

97 points - Tasted

Wow! Or should I say WOW! This is everything that is great about Chateauneuf du Pape and Rayas. Kirsch, earth, garrigue, cherry liqueur and pepper, with silky, attention grabbing textures and a long, concentrated, fresh, clean, pure cherry finish. This is entering the sweet spot of its drinking window. OK, it's pricey, but this is Rayas from a great vintage, what did you expect?

97 points - Tasted

An explosion of lavender, cherry griotte, black pepper, licorice, stone, earth, spice, black raspberry and strawberry jam greets your nose. Lush, dense, sensuous and palate coating, this spicy, intense, ripe, peppery, sweet cherry filled Chateauneuf du Pape is a stunning example of what Rayas does at its best.

98 points - Tasted

Ripe kirsch, strawberry and cherry flavors paried with intensity, purity and a sexy, sauvage profile. Still young .

96 points - Tasted
1995Château Rayas Pignan Reserve  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)89 pts

This is not going to confuse anyone in a blind tasting against its big brother, still, there is good concentration, the tannins have melted away and you find a bucket of kirsch, garrigue and pepper in every sniff and sip. A but of the rustic side, but perfect for drinking now, and over the next few years.

89 points - Tasted
1994Château Rayas Reserve  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)92 pts

That telltale Rayas aroma of kirsch, cherry cough syrup, black pepper and herbs was showing its stuff! Medium to full bodied with layers ripe, red fruits including raspberries, strawberries and cherries on the palate. Slightly short finish with not quite enough on the mid palate to be great.

92 points - Tasted
1990Château Rayas Reserve  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)100pts

This bottle was incredible. With the texture of flawless silk, the purity in the kirsch and cherry fruit was off the charts! With a finish of close to 60 seconds, it lets you experience the stellar perfume, silky palate and perfectly ripe fresh, red fruits again and again. Some bottles have of the 1990, have seemed slightly past their prime, but not on this night, everything was, well, perfect! This is not a wine for long decants, either pop and pour, or splash decant and enjoy the magic! This is mature Chateauneuf at its best...

100 points - Tasted

Over the years, Rayas has evolved into an almost mythical wine. So each bottle popped is a rare treat and this was no exception. Medium bodied and all about the finesse and elegance in the fruit the sandy soils can provide, the wine serves up ripe, very ripe and extremely ripe cherries, kirsch, liqueur, earth and garrigue notes. Silky, sweet and utterly delicious in the finish, this is a stunning wine and a treat to taste.

98 points - Tasted

Ripe, very ripe, extremely ripe and over ripe cherries of every type put on a non stop, showy display, complicated by earth, herbs and spicy black raspberries. Silky, sexy, smooth and vibrant, this is the best bottle of 1990 Rayas I've tasted in years.

100 points - Tasted

Spicy cherries, earth, kirsch, jammy raspberry and spice scents explode from the glass. The palate enjoys layers of soft, ripe, polished, sweet red fruits. This is the epitome of finesse in Chateauneuf du Pape. Fully mature, and stunning in every way, but it's not as deep as it was a 3-5 years ago. There is no reason to hold this wine any longer.

97 points - Tasted

Very lush with sexy ripe fruit. This reminded me of liquefied, spicy cherries

97 points - Tasted
1990Château Rayas Pignan Reserve  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)95 pts

I'd bet in blind tastings, even the best tasters would think this was Rayas with its silky, lush, ripe, sweet, spicy, pure red fruits and a finish that leaves with layers of fresh, sweet, ripe, raspberries, kirsch and spicy cherries. This is at peak and does not need further aging.

95 points - Tasted
1989Château Rayas Reserve  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)99 pts

Kirsch, pepper, spice, anise, mineral, strawberry and garrigue aromas were easy to find. Rich, concentrated and fresh, this lively, pure, intense, sweet, cherry and kirsch filled vintage of Rayas is fully mature. I have tasted better bottles of 1989 Rayas. This was a good example, but not a great one.

95 points - Tasted

Perfume filled with fresh, ripe, peppery raspberry and black cherry , garrigue and soil with a tiny hint of VA were all over the place and in your face! This concentrated, lush, intense, sauvage Chateauneuf du Pape wine is filled with ripe, dark cherry and black raspberry flavors.

97 points - Tasted

Richness, intensity and purity of fruit. 89 Rayas with its tell tale kirsch dominated nose, pepper, anise and minerality, paired with beautiful textures and sweet red fruit, excited your senses.

99 points - Tasted

The nose explodes from the glass, but the aromas are delicate strawberries, earth, spices, herbs and cherry scents. This is a full bodied, thick, rich, lusty style of Chateauneuf. But not heavy. It's perfectly balanced. For me, the older bottles of Rayas are a unique experience. There is a core of red, almost over ripe cherries and cherry liqueur, along with a deep texture, that coats your palate. Those qualities make Rayas stand out in blind tasting from ever other Chateauneuf. The finish remains in your mouth for a minute!

98 points - Tasted
1989Château Rayas Pignan Reserve  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)92 pts

A major step up from the Fonselatte. Spicy, peppery nose with forest scents, garraguie notes with jammy red and black fruits. Great structure. Full bodied with a long finish. On the palate, a unique combination of jammy, ripe and over ripe, red and black fruit. Pignan is a completely different style of wine than Rayas. It's wild, rustic and savage. This is not delicate. This wine is in your face wine. But I love it!

92 points - Tasted

Pignan can be a mini Rayas. It lacks the sophistication and power of Rayas, but at a quarter the price, it’s a good substitute. Unable to pay attention, my general impression was of a fully mature wine offering notes of pepper and very ripe red fruits in a full bodied and robust style.

89 points - Tasted
1989Château Rayas Château de Fonsalette Reserve  (Côtes du Rhône)85 pts

Very spicy, with notes of pepper, cinnamon, fresh herbs and black fruit. Full bodied, dense with a healthy dose of tannin to resolve. On the palate, black fruit and cherries. A rustic style of wine that while I recognize it's well made, it's not my style of wine

85 points - Tasted
1988Château Rayas Reserve  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)96 pts

Fully mature, with an exotic, kirsch, earth and wild, dark cherry profile, the wine is concentrated, slightly firm, fresh and with air, additional lush qualities emerge. I would not age this much longer. It is not going to fall apart overnight, but it is not going to improve from here either.

96 points - Tasted

Earthy, with a touch of barnyard in the kirsch, pepper, garrigue, strawberry, cherry liqueur, spice and black cherry scented perfume. This is a semi masculine, powerful style of Rayas that can still age, if it has been well stored.

95 points - Tasted
1985Château Rayas Reserve  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)97 pts

The intoxicating, complex perfume of pure kirsch, fresh raspberry, pepper, earth, red plum liqueur, cherry blossoms and the equivalent of shoving your nose in an over-stuffed spice box drawer, makes it close to impossible to stop enjoying the aromas and taste the wine. The textures are pure silk and velvet with that unique exotic, and little bit of kinkiness that is only found in the top vintages of Rayas. Medium bodied, (Rayas is never about power) with a beautiful purity of spicy, ripe and over ripe red fruits, this is drinking at peak maturity. Fortunately, I still have one bottle left. I'll probably pop it when the wine hits 30, as I want to retain as much fruit and freshness as possible.

97 points - Tasted
1983Château Rayas Reserve  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)94 pts

Kirsch, pepper, cherry liqueur and garrigue notes lead to an elegant, soft, silky, sweet, fresh, cherry, wild strawberry and herbal finish. I recall tasting this years ago and while the wine has faded from its peak, it's still a treat to experience. But there is no reason to continue aging it any longer.

94 points - Tasted
1978Château Rayas Reserve  (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)96 pts

Blasting off with a perfume that needed only to be popped and poured to reveal its floral, earthy, garrigue, cherry tobacco, kirsch, strawberry and raspberry essence, the wine was pure silk on the palate. Medium bodied, finesse in style, with sweetness and freshness to the fruit, while clearly fading with age, this is an incredible style of Chateauneuf that cannot be replicated.Having not seen a bottle of this for wines, I never thought I'd taste it again. But Bacchus must like me, as I've tasted it 3 times over the past 12 months. One bottle was over the hill, one bottle was good, but tired. This note is for the most recently tasted bottle, which showed the best. Due to age and storage, each bottle was different, leading me to say, it's a wine to purchase with extreme caution.

96 points - Tasted