Domaine de la Janasse
Aimé Sabon's father used to sell his wine to the local cooperative but when Aimé returned from military service in 1967, he took over the family's 15 hectares of vines. He built his own cellar in 1973, naming it Domaine de la Janasse after the family farm in Courthézon in the Vaucluse department of France – this is Châteauneuf-du-Pape country! Aimé acquired new vineyards and now has more than 90 hectares under vine in 60 different plots. Aimé's eldest son Christophe completed two technical diplomas, one in viticulture and oenology in Beaune, and another in marketing in Mâcon, and retuned home to take over the reins of the domaine in 1991. In 2001 Aimé's daughter Isabelle graduated as an oenologist from the university of Toulouse and joined the business, and now brother and sister make wines in the appellations of white and red Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and white, rosé and red Côtes du Rhône, as well as IGP Vin de Pays de la Principauté d'Orange - white, rosé and red wines. They practice lutte raisonnée or “the reasoned struggle” and only use chemicals when absolutely necessary. Although they grow all of the grape varieties allowed in Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines, La Janasse have conducted thorough research on the mosaic of terroirs their vineyard plots cover and, as a result, Syrah and white grape varieties are planted on sandy limestone soils, Mourvedre on clay-limestone soils covered with galet roulés, and Grenache in the cooler northern soils. Some Grenache vines are over 100 years old. They were planted in 1912 and give great intensity to the wines. This geographical diversity affords a variety of blending options. The grapes are hand-picked and sorted twice. Ageing takes place in a combination of foudre, demi-muids and barrels, and lasts for between 12 and 18 months depending on the cuvée. The wines undergo gentle fining but are bottled unfiltered. La Janasse are one of the finest estates in the Southern Rhône, making bright and intense wines that reflect the complexities and nuances of their terroirs.