When a Wine's Future is Its Past.

If your idea of great Châteauneuf-du-Pape is Rayas, Henri Bonneau, Dom. Charvin, Vieux Donjon and Dom. du Pegau—and you're sorry there aren't more Old School Châteauneufs like them—we have good news. We're seeing subtle signs of an awakening by winemakers to what has been lost in this noble appellation. 

Since the 1990s, there's been a not-so-subtle change in the character of many Châteauneuf-du-Papes. Wines that once knocked on Burgundy’s door have become big, dark and bold. Alcohol levels have shot up, extractions have increased, and many more new barrels are used. Producers are no longer happy just making one beautiful cuvée classique, since the real money is in luxury cuvées that too often lack soul. 

But when you see young winemakers like Arnaud, Quentin and Joris Chaussy reverting to the ways of their ancestors, there’s cause for hope.  These sons of Mas de Boislauzon’s Daniel Chaussy and Christine Chaussy-Laget are making some of the most classic old-vine Grenache we’ve tasted in a while.

The keys are their respect for traditional winemaking (including no new barrique!) and having been the beneficiaries of prime parcels in the relatively cool, high-elevation lieux dits of Palestor (limestone soil) and Clos Saint Pierre (sand). Having terroirs like these prevents runaway ripeness, insuring their wine’s classic sensibility.   

They only make 600 cases of their little gem—70% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre and 10% Syrah, all from vines more than 50 years old. Don’t miss it.

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Wine barrels in a cellar

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Wine barrels in a cellar

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