Vincent, Jacqueline and Pierre André

A tribute to Pierre André by John Livingstone-Learmonth of drinkrhone:

Share

"In a year when the domaine has made a wonderful CHÂTEAUNEUF BLANC, it was sad to hear of the passing in September, 2020 of PIERRE ANDRÉ, at the ripe old age of 90 or so. His daughter JACQUELINE took up his mantle with calm and steady purpose, and the domaine at COURTHÉZON has continued to make classic, traditional virtues CHÂTEAUNEUF in the RED which is based around 80% old GRENACHE, and the WHITE, which is rare in being almost half 1975-76 BOURBOULENC, with an equal share of CLAIRETTE dating back to the 1920s and 1930s.

It was one July early evening many years ago, in the 1980s, that PIERRE, a diminutive man with the heart of a lion, took me to see one of his plots where the vines towered over him. Here is what I wrote about that visit in THE WINES OF THE RHÔNE, FABER & FABER, 1992: “One of the most interesting single vineyards that demonstrates the benefit of careful and natural handling is PIERRE ANDRÉ’s hectare or so at LA CÔTE RONDE, east of the village towards COURTHÉZON. This is just one of his thirty-one plots, and the vines there are 100 years old. Their health and vigour in midsummer is a revelation.

PIERRE ANDRÉ, now in his sixties, is tigerish in his view that nature should be allowed to take its course, without the intrusion of chemicals. Hard work there is a-plenty, but one look at his flourishing GRENACHE NOIR vines of such colossal age is enough to convert even the most caustic of doubters. M.ANDRÉ hops around the vineyard, delighting in pointing out the stout members of his little troupe – some of them 8 feet high [well over two metres], with their vegetation sprouting lushly from seven branches. He then shows just how random planting was at the turn of the century by indicating a sole, fat, healthy CINSAULT, and two rows away a single CLAIRETTE of the same age and vigour.

To stand with PIERRE ANDRÉ looking over the old vines that he and two generations before him have treated so carefully, when at eight in the evening of a July day the sun is still reluctant to shed its fire, the crickets continue busy with their work, the jasmine plants banked on odd ledges above the vineyard still exhale their scents and there is a swooping view across to a mist-shrouded MONT VENTOUX, one completely, humbly understands his passionate defence of terroir.”

I should add that even more praiseworthy was the fact that PIERRE ANDRÉ was out of step with his own generation. At that time there were stirrings among the young, notably with the beanpole PHILIPPE ARMENIER of DOMAINE DE MARCOUX, dabbling with organic practices and potions that led him to biodynamie. But someone in their sixties – no chance. That was the generation targeted in the 1970s by the likes of RHÔNE POULENC who would send out their MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE approved advertising folders for their magic products that allowed you, the overworked vigneron, to take a holiday in August. A chemical fest followed, and it wasn’t easy to stand firm against them.

I say farewell to this pioneer, an unsung hero of CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE."

 

The Wines of Jacqueline André at Domaine Pierre André are my very favorite Châteauneuf-du-Papes! Every year her wines express the beautiful terroir and the ancient vines through 30 years of organic and Biodynamic farming and perfect no-nonsense vinifications. No over-extraction, no new oak, no de-stemmer, no manipulation and no chasing point scores, just honest, soulful wines that are the essence of each vintage. Her work and wines remind me of Domaine Baudry in Chinon and Domain Gonon in Saint-Joseph.

150 year-old vines in "Etang"
Pierre Andre vines in "Guigasse"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We've just received a small shipment from the estate including the 2017 and 2018 CDP rouge and the rare and distinctive CDP Blanc (2017 & 2019) which will be in the store next week. And we're offering the 2016 Rouge as a Pre-Arrival, due in NY in late November - a unique opportunity to obtain one of the top wines of this great vintage - at a reasonable price!

The Pierre Andre 2017 Rouge is "one of the best of the vintage' according to drinkrhone but will need 3 to 5 years in the cellar or a long decant to awaken the fabulous material in this rather dense and concentrated wine. Drink over the next 25 years.

The 2018 Rouge can be enjoyed immensely while wating for the 2017 to mature. It's a supple, velvety and super-delicious wine that is forward enough for current drinking and over the next 20+ years.

2016 is a classic vintage for Châteauneuf-du-Pape and the Pierre André is a fabulous example, a perfectly structured blend of terroir and fruit that will be very special in 20 years. Wait 5+ years then enjoy this great wine until 2050. (5 star review in drinkrhone, along with Beaucastel, Clos des Papes, Vieux Donjon...) A great case purchase for any lover of Châteauneuf!

The 2019 CDP Blanc is just a superb wine, well-structured, with fabulous material for aging. Best to wait 5 years then enjoy until 2040! 24 btls for the US. Roughly 50/50 Bourboulenc and Clairette Blanche from 45 to 95 year-old vines.

The 2017 CDP Blanc is a big wine from a warm vintage but carries its gorgeous, complex fruit in a sturdy frame. Serve with full-flavored fish and chicken dishes over the next 15 years. Crazy price!

And don't overlook the very distinctive Vin de France "Clin d'Oeil," from old vines just outside and within the CDP zone.

Wines arrive by 10/26 except the 2016 CDP Rouge which is Pre-Arrival. 2016 Mags are in stock. Normal 10% case/mixed case discount applies.

Spotless cellar with foudres and cement vats
A great tasting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our former colleague Ariana Rolich nicely captured the essence of the domaine after her visit in 2013...

"Jacqueline André presides over the non-interventionist legacy of her father Pierre in the village of Courthézon, where the Andrés have worked biodynamically “depuis toujours” to translate their quartzite/clay/limestone terroir and 15 hectares of old vines (some up to 160 years old) into the most harmonious and affordable Châteauneuf-du-Papes on the market.
Jacqueline’s wines are exalted by their elegant translations of vintage, putting to rest the notion that wines have to suffer from “bad” vintages or wait to triumph in “good” ones. On a recent visit to the domaine, we tasted reds from 2004 to 2010 as well as the captivating 2011 blanc. Dilute and dainty vintages sprang defiantly from the glass; hotter, riper years were expressed through self-assured potency and dark, soil-y depth without sacrificing a shade of balance or precision. To work traditionally and express terroir is laudable enough to stand apart in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. André’s wines transcend this category by magnifying the virtues of their respective vintages without ever obscuring the expression of terroir. If pressed to identify a common thread it would be this: within each bottle lies everything necessary to understand and appreciate its vintage.

Pierre André, who sadly passed away during harvest 2020, was a courageous pioneer in the vineyard who began organic conversion in 1980 for certification in 1983 (the first in the region) and the domaine was Demeter certified Biodynamic in 1992. The vineyards have never been subjected to chemical herbicides, to which Jacqueline attributes the vines’ ability to root deeper and achieve enhanced sustenance. You will not find a destemmer in her cave. Fermentations are always whole cluster and the wines are never filtered. How is she able to maintain acidity and balance in extremely ripe years? “L’équilibre dans les raisins.” Internal balance of the grape is something that Biodynamic growers speak of often. The objectives of resilience and harmony among all elements of the environment are evidenced in the equilibrium of vines, bunches, and individual grapes. André’s wines possess an inner strength and beauty exactly proportional to that of her vines." - AR

Pierre Andre 2017 Châteauneuf-du-Pape

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 and well-structured but a bit 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
  • 10 in stock
  • $49.99

  • 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
  • 12 in stock
  • $49.99

  • 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
  • 3 in stock
  • $99.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Pierre Andre 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge

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 100 years old, with the average vine age around 65 years. The 2016 is a beautiful glass of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, showing fresh, complex aromas of ripe blackberry with cherry, spice, rose, earth, tar, smoke and floral notes.  On the palate, the wine is perfectly structured, similar to the 2010, with deep blackberry and black cherry liqueur with spice, garrigue, earth and saline minerals. A great CDP for aging, this is delicious now in its vibrant youth, but will repay waiting for ten years and then enjoy until 2050! Very highly recommended. David Lillie

  • red
  • 16 in stock
  • $64.99

  • 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
  • 10 in stock
  • $54.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
Sorry, the Following have Already Sold

Pierre Andre 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge 1.5 L

(Note: Pierre André 2016 Magnum Special Price is $108.99) 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 100 years old, with the average vine age around 65 years. The 2016 is a beautiful glass of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, showing fresh, complex aromas of ripe blackberry with cherry, spice, rose, earth, tar, smoke and floral notes.  On the palate, the wine is perfectly structured, similar to the 2010, with deep blackberry and black cherry liqueur with spice, garrigue, earth and saline minerals. A great CDP for aging, this is delicious now in its vibrant youth, but will repay waiting for ten years and then enjoy until 2050! Very highly recommended.  David Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $119.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Pierre Andre 2017 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc

The 2017 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 beautiful aromas of stone fruits, almond, anise, citrus, white flowers and stone. The palate is dense and crystalline with flavors of minerals, licorice, pear and peach skin with fabulous density and length and firm stony acidity. Serve with full-flavored fish dishes, bouillabaisse, white meats, goat cheeses. Beautiful now, this will drink well over the next 15 to 20 years. Bravo to Jaqueline and Vincent André!

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $43.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic

Pierre Andre 2019 Vin de France Clin D'Oeil

 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

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $21.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur