Clos Saint-Jean - Deus-Ex Machina - Châteauneuf-du-Pape - Rhone

Clos Saint-Jean - Deus-Ex Machina - Châteauneuf-du-Pape - Rhone

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Grenache and Mourvèdre make up this divinely-named cuvée; the name symbolises the domain's change of direction in terms of viticulture and vinification. Yields are limited to 20 hl/ha, and harvesting is performed by hand. The grapes are destemmed and vinified in thermoregulated concrete vats. Extractions are performed gently, with some devatting and long macerations. The vatting period is long (35 days). During the one-year élevage, the Grenache grapes are matured in concrete vats, and the Mourvèdre in new barrique barrels. The domain produces a concentrated, racy wine with intense aromas of black berries, scrubland and spices. The tannins are firm, and become refined with time.

Country:
France
Region:
Rhone
Appellation:
chateauneuf du pape
Producer:
Clos Saint-Jean

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Wine has been produced in the Rhône Valley for over 500 years, with some of its vineyards being amongst the oldest in France. Syrah rules over the south with a mix of Mediterranean grapes, while in the north,...
Wine has been produced in the Rhône Valley for over 500 years, with some of its vineyards being amongst the oldest in France. Syrah rules over the south with a mix of Mediterranean grapes, while in the north, the two stars are Hermitage – grown on an imposing granite hillside above the town of Tain and best put away in the back of the cellar for a decade – and Côte-Rôtie, a star appellation made famous by Guigal's single-vineyard wines, yet also home to dozens of fine producers as yet less well known. The sheer hillsides overlooking the river have to be terraced to make production possible.

St Joseph and Cornas also provide wines of weight and worth, but the best source for good value is Crozes-Hermitage, a satellite appellation which has come alive in the last few years with the arrival of young blood.

The river valley widens out south of Valence into Côtes du Rhône country on the windy alluvial plains and the lower slopes of the hills. It is a most imposing sight during the cold, clear, blue skies of Mistral conditions. The best of the wine villages of the Côtes du Rhône have been promoted to their own appellations - Vinsobres, Vacqueyras - close in quality to the better known Gigondas.

The king of the southern Rhône is Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Here the galets roulés, rounded rocks from the ancient river bed, provide the context for gloriously rich red wines that are redolent of the heat and herbs of the south, and enhanced by the complexity which comes from blending several grape varieties. Thirteen are permitted in all, but Grenache usually dominates, along with Syrah and Mourvèdre in support. A fine vintage needs eight to 10 years cellaring for best results.

If your taste runs to fuller, richer, relatively exotic white wines, then perhaps a white Hermitage or Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the Rhône Valley would suit better, or else a marvellously perfumed, heady Condrieu - headquarters of the Viognier grape.
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