Châteauneuf du Pape
The traditional blending is 60% Grenache with famous parcels located on the highest parts of “Grand Pierre” terroir (very close to the Rayas vines), 10% Syrah near Bois de Boursan, and 10% Mourvèdre near the Rhône. The remaining 20% is comprised of the 10 other grapes that are part of the appellation and which bring the unique complexity only found in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Many of the vines are 80 years old or older.
Yields are a parsimonious 1.4-1.8 tons/acre and the wine is very concentrated. Harvest is always strict and manual: grapes are cut with care and sorted. Winemaking is thoroughly traditional: all varieties are co-fermented (whole clusters) with indigenous yeasts in small concrete tanks, and the maceration period is lengthy. Some racking is done to keep the freshness. The wine is then aged in oak barrels (from Burgundy) for at least 18 months, clarified by many decantations. This method gives finesse, power, and complex aromas, plus all the natural tannins. This is ultra-traditional, concentrated, flavorful Chateauneuf. Unfortunately, total annual production never exceeds a scant 1,000 cases and is often closer to just 400.
Notes on the 2018 vintage, Audrey Vidal:
“One must go back several decades to find such a rainy spring. This year witnessed outbreaks of mildew among the most important in the few years. That is to say that the spring was not a relaxing walk in the park: we had to exercise caution and anticipation so as not to let the mildew win over and cause significant loss to the harvest, as might have been the case in many CDP’s estates. Fortunately, the high summer temperatures and the mild September nights contributed to the excellent quality grapes. Early maturation and thick skins characterized the red and white varietals, particularly Grenache. These were vinified in a continued effort to respect aromatic and polyphenolic potential during extraction. The tannins are silky and round. The finish is long, velvety and alcoholic degrees are, as usual, moderate.
I should add that having a small estate, we had the chance to be very reactive and efficient regarding the fight against mildew. Our vintage 2018 did suffer any loss this year and it is characterized by the very good harvest of all our grape varietals which gave the wine a floral nose and delicate palate. It has been selected several times in the famous wine review RVF for its strong personality and refinement. This vintage was very close to vintage 2015 in its spirit and delicacy.”
With the 2018 vintage, intensity and finesse meet to produce a complex wine emblematic of its terroir. 2018 is more concentrated and vibrant than 2017, due to the late-arriving mistral winds. The nose of the 2018 vintage is bright with a touch of spice. Fresh, fruity structure and fine tannins are balanced with lush volume on the palate to create a wine of omnipresent elegance.
About the Producer
This 3.5 hectare Lilliputian family-owned property is situated in the very heart of Châteauneuf du Pape. The estate traces its origins back to 1405, and the coat of arms on the label is that of the Bertet family. In 1625, Jean Gaspard Bertet de la Cluse was commander of the colony of Illinois, in what was greater French Louisiana. Today, Banneret belongs to a Bertet descendant, Jean-Claude Vidal. He made his career as an architect but in 1989, when the former owner was ready to retire, the question of whether the domaine would be sold to someone outside the family came up. Jean-Claude and his wife decided they would take over. Jean-Claude learned winemaking at the feet of Jacques Reynaud and Henri Bonneau, who made the early cuvées. He learned the traditional methods of his ancestors, and taught them to his daughter Audrey, who now oversees the domaine.
Located on the characteristic galet-covered soil, the vineyards are divided in 8 parcels, around the famous castle ruins. They are inter-planted with all 13 varieties: Grenache noir, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Muscardin, Vaccarèse, Terret Noir, Cinsault, Picpoul noir, and Counoise for the reds, Grenache blanc, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Roussane and Picardan for the whites.
Farming / vinification practices: organic. The grapes are harvested together as long as the vintage allows it, and co-fermented. The age of the vines and their exceptional quality allow for no destemming. The wine is always unfined and unfiltered.
Domaine du Banneret
Vinous: Châteauneuf-du-Pape blanc moving out of the shadows - June 2017