Grape(s): 80% Grenache, 20% Mourvèdre
Localization: Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone Valley, France
Tasting Notes: The Châteauneuf Du Pape, which is based largely on Grenache, is a seamless, elegant, finesse-driven example of the variety that always brings plenty of ripeness. Black cherries, pepper, loamy soil, and dried flowers all define the bouquet, and it's medium-bodied and charming, with the more elegant, almost mid-weight style of the vintage.
The Domain: The Royer family has been growing grapes in the southern part of Chateauneuf du Pape since the 1800s. But when Jean-Marie’s father died at age 38 (Jean-Marie was only 2 years old), his mother, with no one to manage the estate, decided to lease the vineyards to have a steady income. In 1982, at age 18, Jean-Marie decided to study enology. He says there wasn’t any one thing that inspired him to study viticulture and winemaking. “When you are 18, you are more interested in chicks or rugby, but I had to work. Around here, summer work is in the vineyards.”
In 1986 he begins to take back the land the family had rented out, and to buy parcels. Today, Royer owns vineyards in the prestigious areas of Bois de la Ville, Les Grandes Serres, and La Crau located next to Rayas. He is friends with Philippe Cambie, renowned oenologist in Chateauneuf du Pape and has worked with him since 2000. It was then that he began to keep parcels and varieties separate during fermentation.
Today, Jean Marie owns 30 acres of vines, mostly in the southern portion of Chateauneuf-du-Pape along with some Côtes du Rhône and Vin de Table. While he picks late to get good maturity to keep balance and freshness in the wines, he keeps the tanks cold to start and slowly lets them warm up. The fermentation is long and slow. Royer comments “Elegance and finesse, rather than opulence, is what I want.”