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Chateau Unang

James and Joanna King are both Scottish by descent. They bought the dilapidated, but magical 18th century Chateau Unang in 2001, and a great deal of renovating and replanting followed. This unique domaine is surrounded by oak forests, above the Nesque river bed overlooking the Vaucluse plateau. Sheltered from the Mistral by Mont Ventoux, this is a stunning corner of the Vaucluse, located just outside the pretty village of Malemort du Comtat on the road to Methamis.
James is the winemaker and Joanna helps with marketing, both in France and abroad.
All the wines from Chateau Unang are A.O.C. Cotes du Ventoux. They have 15ha of vines planted at an altitude of between 220-350 metres above sea level. But what really makes the wines special is the soil, which has its own geological category – the unique Les Sables d’Unang. This is a particular type of sandy soil that lies overtop limestone, and apart from Unang’s hillside, the only other location that this rare sand is found is in certain pockets of the Gigondas AOC.
At Chateau Unang they aim to produce the best wine possible from this unique terroir. What James likes in wine is elegance and depth, and his site enables him to make such wines par excellence.
All the grapes are hand-harvested, and the vineyards are certified organic, the whites since 2012 and the reds and rosés since 2013. Yields are kept low, on average around 35 hectolitres per hectare, to give more concentrated, expressive wines.
Unang’s vineyards facing east and south and are completely surrounded by forest. Its cooler here than in many other parts of the Ventoux appellation, and certainly cooler than the Rhône Valley floor to the west.
The white grapes of Roussanne, Clairette and Grenache Blanc are all grown in the valley at the bottom of the hill, where they benefit from the cooler early morning air, staying shaded longer in the heat of summer giving the wines a delicious fresh minerality and a lively acidity for which they have become well-known.
The Grenache sits at the very top of the hill, and forms the basis for their top cuvée La Croix – named in honour of a cross that is assumed to have stood on top of Unang’s hill since the 9th century.
The Syrah, which has to be protected from hungry wild boar in the last few weeks before picking, forms the basis for their La Source.
Chateau Unang is deservedly becoming one of the most renowned producers in the exciting Southern Rhone region of Ventoux, which is finally starting to receive some of the respect it now merits.
The wines are made with care, attention and respect for the environment and with a gentle hand. These are thrilling, great value wines you will keep coming back to, and this once neglected estate has turned into an absolute gem!