2013 Domaine De Ferrand Chateauneuf Du Pape
95% Grenache, 5% Syrah/Mourvèdre/Cinsault. Planted between 1910 and 1930
Philippe is making one of the finest examples of essentially old vine Grenache wines in the world today, and despite all the plaudits (Jancis Robinson, in a 130+ wine tasting, rating his CNDP behind only Rayas and Clos des Papes!), sticks to an incredibly reasonable pricing policy.
Although only a few will ever get to enjoy these wines as the domaine is very small (only 5 ½ ha in Châteauneuf du Pâpe and 10 in Côtes du Rhône, which over half is on vines approaching 100 years old) they are well worth the hunt.
All the vines are situated in the lieu-dit Chemin Saint Jean, the same Northern holy grail as Charvin, Beaucastel, Marcoux and La Vieille Julienne.
Current custodian Philippe Bravay uses organic growing techniques and limits yields severely (his Côtes du Rhône yields less than 2 tonnes to the acre, and the Châteauneuf du Pâpe much less) vinification is traditional: open top fermenters, basket presses, and cement cuves.
Following some excellent press in the past few years, these wines have started to be hoarded by trophy collectors but remain excellent value.
The brilliant Châteauneuf du Pâpe is always one of the great wines in any vintage but his super Côtes du Rhônes deserve attention too - some parcels planted between 1933 and 1946, and consist of 80% Grenache, 15% Syrah and 5% Cinsault. It is quite unbelievable just how good these are, and great value.
France’s appellation laws, whilst quite brilliant, can be frustrating for some, including Philippe Bravay - a little country road acts as a separation point that prevents these vines from being able to produce Châteauneuf du Pâpe. They are fantastic Côtes du Rhônes!
Winemaking: Natural indigenous yeasts only. Maceration 'à froid' for 2 days to avoid explosive start to the fermentation. Mostly ferments at 27/28° with 30° max. Remontage morning and afternoon for 6 days of 25% of the volume of the cuve, 20 day cuvaison follows. Press wine assembled at the start. Racked once after alcoholic fermentation and again after malolactic fermentation – then not touched. Prefers to keep max amount of C02 possible during elevage. Bottled in May after 20 months with no filtration but light fining. Cuvaison and elevage is all in tank (either cement or stainless steel)