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Château de Vaudieu
Vaudieu speards its 70 ha on the best terroirs of the appellation, and what strikes : everything is grouped in one piece. Its size has no equivalent, except the huge finesse of its soils, where sands take over and provide very precise and elegant wines. For several centuries, Vaudieu has been one of the most prestigious estates in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which, under the leadership of Sylvette and Laurent Bréchet, tends to rediscover the quality of this terroir in its wines from plot selection.
The Château Vaudieu, located in the heart of the Châteauneuf du pape Appellation, was built in 1767 by Admiral Gérin, a lieutenant in the Marseille admiralty. It is one of the three genuire castles of the XVIIIth century in Châteauneuf du Pape.
For over 250 years, the “Val de Dieu” (Valley of God), an area suitable for cultivation from which the name “Vaudieu” was to come, has sheltered a vineyard within its landscape of hillsides and terraces that enjoy the best exposure possible. In the mid 19th century, just before the phylloxera crisis, the estate was one of the four great Chateauneuf du Pape vineyards, able to produce over 200 hl of quality wine.
It was under the leadership of Gabriel and Juliette Meffre that the vineyard reached its current size of 70 ha within a 450 m radius of a bicentennial Lebanese Cedar, a special guest at the 18th century Chateau.
In 1987, their daughter Sylvette Bréchet took care of the destiny of this magnificient property. In 1990 she was joined by her son Laurent. With their involvement, the winery was modernised in order to separately handle the grapes from the 32 vineyard plots that were re-demarcated in order to achieve the best potential from each “terroir”. Recently, the fifth generation, Laurent Bréchet’s daughter, Elise Bréchet, joined the adventure.
The elegance of the Vaudieu “Terroirs”, enhanced and magnified in this way, has ensured that the reputation of the estate’s wines has become well established over the years. Laurent Bréchet, supported by a team who is totally focused on quality, continues this painstaking work respecting the terroir and this very special environment, giving birth to the prestigious “Amiral G”, “Val de Dieu”, and “Clos du Belvédère” wines.
The vast vineyard extend over a real mosaic of terroirs, with more than 7 distinct geological components. Here side by side, one can find, among others, sandy type terrains, terraces of large pebbles, marls, hillsides of limestone soils, extending between 85 to 125 meters altitude, whose grapes are vinified and matured separately until blending.
The extremely fine tannis structure in the estate’s red wines comes from the significant proportion of sandy textured “terroir”. As for the estate’s whites, it is the minerality of a limestone with flint bedrock that shapes the wines. Acidity is an important feature of the whites.
Grape varieties :
Sun that shines for 2800 hours per year, a Mistral wind that blows over 100 days and only 600 mm of rain each year. The old black grape vines grow on gentle slopes, with a water regime suitable for very old vine stocks.
The estate relies on the appellation’s 13 grape varieties, but il’s the Grenache that clearly dominates the blend. The variety really brings out the best of the terroir, procuring a certain sensation of sweeteness when reaching maturity. On this particular terroir, its balance is obsolutely remarkable.
For the red wine, others varieties will complement it: Syrah, Cinsault, Counoise, Terret Noir, Vaccarèse and Muscardin play an integarl part in the estate’s wines, bringing attractive aromatic highlights.
For the white wine, the Grenache will be combined with Roussanne, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Picpoul and even the Picardan, one of the appellation’s oldest, rarest, planted in Vaudieu.
The vineyards populated by old vines, literally dig deep down into the subsoil, drawing in all its aromatic complexity as it goes. The yields are vere low: aroubd 25Hl/Ha on average. Only the finest clusters of grapes make it through the winery doors.
Vinification and aging :
In the estate’s vast vinification cellar the grapes from each plot can be vinified separately. The extractions are long and gentle, in order to obtain textures that are of great finesse and never at the expense of concentration. In order to push the plot approach to its climax, the estate has been equipped in 2013 with 82 Hl concrete vats called “Tulips”, seen at Cheval Blanc.
The red wines are aged for 18 months, part in barrel, in a very old underground cellar. Certain grape varieties that are vinified pure, such as the Syrah and the Mourvèdre, are perfectly suited to wood aging. In contrast, the purity of the Grenache is preserved in large vats of 600L.
The wines are bottled at the estate in a single operation to help ensure consistency. Than aging, that will often last for several years, starts in the aging cellar at the heart of the winery.
As for the whites, the grapes are hand picked, early in the morning, in small boxes of 15 kg. Directly pressed, the musts are selected before fermentation. The whites are matured for 9 months, of which a small proportion in barrel.