Harvest at Domaine Pierre André (Lieu-dit "Guigasse" near Rayas)

Great Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Great Values from Domaine Pierre André and Domaine Charvin - Added Attraction: Domaine Marcel Richaud!

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Lovers of Rhône Valley wines seem to be focusing these days on the finest traditionally made wines of the Northern Rhône from producers such as Domaine Pierre Gonon, Bernard Faurie, Thierry Allemand and a few others, with prices rising exponentially it seems over the past ten years. In Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Château Rayas is of course in the same category, but we feel there are other estates in CDP, working in the traditional styles we prefer, that are making elegant, balanced wines, equal but different of course, to their cousins in the north. Among the very best are Domaine Pierre André and Domaine Charvin, both of which made supple, superb wines in 2018 that will provide great pleasure while waiting for the longkeeping 2016s and the tannic and sturdy 2015s and 2017s.

150 year-old Pierre André vines in "Etang"

For many years we have been writing about the beautiful wines of Jacqueline André at Domaine Pierre André, now joined at the estate by her son Vincent. Yes, these are big wines, but always possessing remarkable freshness, elegance and finesse and an indescribable soulful quality that sets them apart, for me, from other wines of the region. The secrets here are simple: very old vines, averaging 80 years-old with some 140+; great terroir in the lieu-dits of Les Gardioles, Les Bédines, L`Etang, Les Saumades, Chapouin, Pignan and Guigasse, a combination mostly of sandy clay and galets stones; organic farming since 1980, Biodynamic since 1992; whole cluster fermentations with wild yeasts and aging in concrete or old foudre. As at Rayas and Charvin, there is no super-cuvée, no special bottlings, just one great Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge that is a joy to drink, both as a young wine and after 20 - 30 years of aging.

The Pierre André Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc is an extraordinary wine as well - the blend is now approximately 50-60% Bourboulenc and 40-50% old-vine Clairette (planted in the 1920s) grown on sandy soils in the lieu-dits of "Saint-Georges," "Etang" and "les Bédines," giving a wine that accentuates the beautiful minerality brought by the terroir and the superb farming. The 2019 is a superb white CDP, quite dense and sapid but framed in beautiful mineral flavors and firm acidity, at once both subtle and powerful and built to age. We're very happy to also offer today the unique and delicious Pierre André Vin de France "Clin d'Oeil" (Wink of an Eye)! Mostly from old-vine Grenache grown just outside the AOC, the blend also includes "les rouges" - grapes from very old Grenache vines in Châteauneuf-du-Pape that don't fully ripen, retaining a lighter color, high acidity and brighter red fruit flavors, bringing elegance, minerality and vibrant fruit to this seriously delicious Vin de France!

Vincent, Jacqueline and Pierre André

It's a difficult time at the estate, as Pierre André passed away during the 2020 harvest. It was his vision to convert the estate to organic and Biodynamic farming before others in the region, and to maintain the traditional methods of vinification and aging as others began de-stemming, over-extracting and aging in new oak. Jacqueline has more than capably continued the work of her father - she is enormously respected by the other top growers in Châteauneuf and now her son Vincent has joined her, ensuring a bright future at this very special, remarkable domaine.

Domaine Charvin: "It is one of the unsung top addresses, the quality super consistent, the authenticity of the wines beyond reproach." (DrinkRhone) We've always found the Châteauneuf-du-Pape from Laurent Charvin to be one of the most unforced and expressive wines of the AOC, a product of organic farming, whole-cluster fermentations with wild yeasts and aging in concrete. Laurent Charvin makes only one cuvée of CDP Rouge from his 9 hectares, with a mix of sand, clay-limestone and galet stone soils. Depending on the crop variation each vintage, the blend is roughly 85% Grenache, 5% Mourvedre, 5% Vaccarèse and 5% Syrah, averaging about 50 years old. The 2018 Chavin is an absolutely delicious Châteauneuf-du-Pape that can be enjoyed immensely now, though best to hold about 5-7 years then drink until 2035 - 2040.

Laurent Charvin with old vines in "Le Poutet"

Charvin's Côtes-du-Rhône "Le Poutet," made in the same style, is a star in it's own right, a junior CDP that offers great value and delightful drinking year after year. The wine is made from average 50 year-old vines (some are 90 years-old!) of 80% Grenache with Mourvedre, Syrah and Carignan in vineyards that abut Chateauneuf-du-Pape - Maucoil in the northwest and Campovin and Boislauzon in the northeast The 2018 "Le Poutet," tasted with Laurent Charvin in January, 2020, was incredibly delicious and quite remarkable with gorgeous floral aromas of strawberry and blackberry and vibrant, supple black fruits on the palate with round juicy tannins - delicous already but with enough brightness and structure to provide beautiful drinking over the next ten years!

Domaine Marcel Richaud, Cairanne - Marcel Richaud has been making "natural wine" for over 40 years, since taking over from his father in the 1970s - organic farming, low yields, hand-harvesting for perfect fruit and fermentations with wild yeasts with little or no sulfur. He is a real pioneer and one of the most talented winemakers of Cairanne and Cotes-du-Rhone. Still very much involved, Marcel has passed on the estate to the 6th generation (!), Thomas, Claire and Edith Richaud, who have just released a vibrant 2020 "Primeur!"  Here is Claire Richaud on the 2020 vintage:

"It was an excellent year to vinify without sulfites or intervention: the perfect state of the grapes was complemented by a great balance between acidity and alcohol. The potentials are a bit high but still in the range we are used to, so we were able to make balanced wine. We will add a very small amount of S02 this year and permit ourselves to bottle an important amount without it - in 2020, the wines will be great for aging and cellaring."

Harvest at Domaine Richaud

 

Pierre Andre 2017 Châteauneuf-du-Pape

(Special pricing $49.99)  Tasted in Montpellier Jan. 2020: dark black/red color, very aromatic with red currant, strawberry, spice, earth; palate is round, dense, good acidity, deep black cherry, red currant, plum, earth, minerals; very  long but softer than the 2016, great finish. Delicious now or cellar 15 to 20 years. DL   "Full, dark red. The bouquet is promising, well varied already, with a beef stock, loganberry, deep black fruit presence. There is a shimmer of dusty heat from it. The palate is rich and rolling right from the start, engages very well with a flourishing length and spiced notes in the sparky, full finish. Lots of life blood here, a nourishing wine with genuine typicity, good vigour and cut. Not much more praise can be added. This lights my fuse, sure thing." DrinkRhone Oct 2018

  • red
  • 4 in stock
  • $67.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Pierre Andre 2018 Châteauneuf-du-Pape

We consider Domaine Pierre André to be one of the greatest estates in Châteuneuf-du-Pape. Organic since 1980 (one of the first in the AOC) and Biodynamic since 1992. The red is 90% Grenache with Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Vaccarèse, Counoise, Muscadin and Picpoul. Some parcels are over 140 years old, with the average vine age around 70  years. The 2018 shows a deep black/garnet color and aromas of ripe morello cherry, blackberry and blueberry liqueur with hints of violet, orange zest, garrigue and stone. The palate is dense but bright and balanced, supple and sapid with cherry, red currant, black plum and licorice with velvety tannins and a beautiful palate-coating finish of bright red fruits, earth and chalky acids. This is a gorgeous wine, perhaps without the power and and structure of 2016 but with deep, vibrant fruit that will give great pleasure over the next 20 years. Please decant or open a few hours in advance if drinking now. David Lillie

  • red
  • 7 in stock
  • $57.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Pierre Andre 2018 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Magnum

We consider Domaine Pierre André to be one of the greatest estates in Châteuneuf-du-Pape. Organic since 1980 (one of the first in the AOC) and Biodynamic since 1992. The red is 90% Grenache with Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Vaccarèse, Counoise, Muscadin and Picpoul. Some parcels are over 140 years old, with the average vine age around 70  years. The 2018 shows a deep black/garnet color and aromas of ripe morello cherry, blackberry and blueberry liqueur with hints of violet, orange zest, garrigue and stone. The palate is dense but bright and balanced, supple and sapid with cherry, red currant, black plum and licorice with velvety tannins and a beautiful palate-coating finish of bright red fruits, earth and chalky acids. This is a gorgeous wine, perhaps without the power and and structure of 2016 but with deep, vibrant fruit that will give great pleasure over the next 20 years.  David Lillie

  • red
  • 1 in stock
  • $119.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Pierre Andre 2019 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc

The 2019 Pierre André Blanc is an extraordinary Châteauneuf-du-Pape from an extraordinary estate - organic since 1980 (one of the first in the AOC) and Biodynamic since 1992.  The blend is now approximately 50-60% Bourboulenc and 40-50% old-vine Clairette (planted in the 1920s) grown on sandy soils in the lieu-dits of "Saint-Georges," "Etang" and "les Bédines," giving a wine that accentuates the beautiful minerality brought by the terroir and the superb farming. The wine shows a pale gold/bronze color. The aromas are muted upon opening but expand over a few hours with ripe pear, roast almond, anise, lemon verbena and stone; the palate is  very dense and sapid but framed in firm stony acidity, with dried pear and apricot, citrus, anise, earth and stone flavors with an intense, long finish of white fruit liqueur and minerals. On day two, the vibrant mineral flavors are even more present with elegant white fruits and terrific length. Serve with full-flavored fish dishes, bouillabaisse, white meats, goat cheeses. Decant if drinking now, this will be an elegant and complex mature wine, best perhaps 2026 - 2040+. Highly reccommended!  David Lillie

  • white
  • 16 in stock
  • $61.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic

Pierre Andre 2019 Vin de France Clin D'Oeil

(Was $23.99) We've been anxiously awaiting the Pierre André "Clin D'Oeil," the much admired "second wine" of this wonderful Chateauneuf-du-Pape estate. It's at the same time serious and fun, it's the Wink of a Eye, it's a superb wine of terroir that's also easy drinking and the perfect accompaniment to a casual meal. Dark red/garnet color with a bright rim, bright  aromas of ripe black cherry, red currant, black plum, spice and earth.  The palate is beautifully structured with firm, very earthy, chalky acidity underlying elegant, subtle, cherry, ripe strawberry and red currant fruit. It's a dense and sapid Rhone red that's light on it's feet and a great food wine, especially for any grilled foods this summer. (From a parcel in Vin de France east of Courthezon  of 75 year-old Grenache and Cinsault; a parcel of CDR Grenache just outside Chateauneuf, and from light-colored very old vine Grenache, "les rouges," within Chateauneuf) Highly recommended!  David Lillie

  • red
  • 15 in stock
  • $17.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Richaud 2019 Côtes du Rhone Terre de Galets

(Marcel Richaud has been making "natural wine" for over 40 years, since taking over from his father in the 1970s. Organic farming, low yields, hand-harvesting for perfect fruit and fermentations with wild yeasts with little or no sulfur.) From Carignan, Syrah, Grenache, Counoise and Mourvedre on gravel, sandy galet stone covered soils, semi destemmed, 8-10 day vinification - the Carignan in semi carbonic maceration,  traditional fermentation for the rest, aged in concrete vats 6-12 months, unfined, unfiltered. The Terre de Galets shows lovely aromas of ripe red currant, black cherry and black raspberry with spice and violets. Very supple, dense palate with black plum, ripe cherry liqueur, citrus and black pepper with smooth tannins and firm acidity. Very long with ripe fruits, bitter chocolate and citrusy acids lingering in the finish. Lovely wine - serve cool with grilled meats, chicken, fulll-flavored cheeses

  • red
  • 25 in stock
  • $24.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Richaud 2017 Cairanne Cuvée Sans Soufre

 The Richaud 2017 Cairanne is a gorgeous wine made from Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Mourvedre,  and this cuvée is made and bottled entirely without SO2. The color is inky black/red with lush aromas of black cherry, blackberry, prune and floral notes with  earth, licorice and dark chocolate. The palate shows lush, bright fruit - a beautiful and intense melange of black and red berries, round and deep, lifted by cool acidity and mineral flavors with fabulous length and purity of fruit.  Bravo to Marcel Richaud! Serve this lovely wine a bit cool with just about anything! Cellaring for ten years would be interesting as well... David Lillie

  • red
  • 22 in stock
  • $27.99

  • Organic
  • No Sulfur
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Charvin 2018 Châteauneuf-du-Pape

The 2018 Charvin is a lovely Chateauneuf  with a bright ruby robe. The effusive nose offer a pretty melange of red berry and plum fruit. In the mouth the wine is pretty and vibrant on the attack boasting a lovely array of perfectly ripe red fruit flavors that fans out across the palate with a savory, earthy core lurking beneath lending lift and character on the long lingering finish. Despite the warmth of the 2018 vintage, there's no sense of heat or torrefaction. On  day two the structure comes to the fore displaying fine acididty and ripe tannins with an even more mineral profile emerging. This is an absolutely delicious Châteauneuf-du-Pape that can be enjoyed immensely now, though best to hold about 5-7 years then drink until 2035 - 2040. Lovely with lamb  shanks and flageolets with tapenade, though I'd love to pair this with a ripe, earthy, creamy cheese. John McIlwain

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $59.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Charvin 2018 Côtes-du-Rhone Le Poutet Arrives

(Our last delivery sold-out immediately - it's back!) The Laurent Charvin "Le Poutet"  is made from average 50 year-old vines (some are 90 years-old!) of 80% Grenache with Mourvedre, Syrah and Carignan in vineyards that abut Chateauneuf-du-Pape - Maucoil in the northwest and Campovin and Boislauzon in the northeast. The soils are sandy clay/limestone with galets stones. The grapes undergo a 15 to 20-day whole bunch fermentation with daily pumping-overs, the wine then spends 18 months in concrete vat and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. The resulting wine is equal to many Châteauneuf-du-Pape, offering complex aromas of garrigue and spicy red fruits with the structure to evolve and drink well over ten to fifteen years. The 2018, tasted with Laurent Charvin in January, 2020, was  quite remarkable with gorgeous floral aromas of strawberry and blackberry and vibrant, supple black fruits on the palate with round juicy tannins - delicious already but with enough brightness and structure to provide beautiful drinking over the next ten years. This is truly "gouleyant" and should be purchased by the case - at $22.99 per bottle it's a great value!  David Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $22.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Richaud 2020 Côtes du Rhone Primeur

Why does Beaujolais get to have all the fun with Nouveau? The folks at Domaine Richaud are getting in on the action, with this Cotes du Rhone "Primeur," their first offering from the 2020 vintage. If anything, it may be more of a hit than a Beaujolais for some, as the freshness and zip team up with Rhone flavors of darker and more earthy fruit, as opposed to the distinct Raspberry notes of carbonic-maceration Gamay. A perfect wine for the moment. Lighthearted but with enough warmth to get us through to Spring.  -EL

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $18.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur