About This Wine...
“Terres d’Argile, a Côtes du Rhône Villages heady with the scent of raspberries, cherries, blackberries and kirsch liqueur, is especially delicious. Smooth as silk with an underpinning of fine tannins… The Janasse style is always generous.” Mary Dowey, the Gloss Magazine, 15th December 2017
Domaine de la Janasse, situated to the north-east of Châteauneuf du Pape in the satellite town of Courthézon, is run by the Sabon family. This large estate comprises Châteauneuf du Pape, Côtes du Rhone Villages, Côtes du Rhône and IGP vineyards, many of them located in and around the commune of Courthézon. At the northern corner of the commune where it merges with that of Orange, we find a richer, heavier clay soil with a large predominance of quartz stones. The land here helps provide grapes that are both ripe and rich in flavour, giving a sense of solidity and warmth. At the south eastern end of the commune, where it neighbours Bédarrides the soils become sandier, resulting in wines that have a lighter, more Pinot-like quality. Both areas benefit from their more northerly and easterly exposure, producing fruit that whilst rich and concentrated, is balanced by naturally high acidity. The estate’s flagship wines of Châteauneuf du Pape use very high percentages of Grenache with a minimum of 80% in the basic Châteauneuf, 85% in the Vieilles Vignes and Chaupin being 100% Grenache from a parcel planted in 1920.
Christophe Sabon who is today in charge of the domaine with his sister Isabelle, adopts a modern approach to winemaking, not so much with the vinification, which for the most part is still done using traditional cement tanks, but more with the maturation where he likes to use a proportion of small, newer barrels as well as the traditional old oak casks. These are today some of the finest wines in the appellation, allying power to finesse. The Côtes du Rhône is an excellent example of the richer style produced in this part of the Vaucluse whilst the Côtes du Rhône Villages ‘Terre d’Argile’ is one of the smartest buys in the regions. It comes from a vineyard that is separated from Châteauneuf du Pape by the N7 road – as Christophe Sabon says “Châteauneuf du Pape has to end somewhere” – and is made from equal parts of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre and is a dead ringer for a Châteauneuf.