Domaine Jérôme Gradassi Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge 2020
Terroir: Clayish and sandy soils with a few “gallets roules” located north of Chateauneuf, on what is called “cool parcels” for their cooler climate.
Farming: Sustainable farming
The process in the cellar is meticulous: whole bunches are put into underground concrete tanks and slowly fermented without the addition of yeast, acid or sugar, and with very little sulfur. As the cellar is so small and fermentation tanks so old, there are no openings other than the tops of the tanks. Hence after 4 weeks, Gradassi removes the fermented juice and macerated berries by hand with a bucket and a rope – a painstaking process that can take up to a week.
The must is then pressed and transferred into older barrels (4 to 10 years) and aged for 12 months without racking. Purely out of necessity, Gradassi’s extremely simple approach is achieved entirely by hand and the help of gravity, without the use of technology or modern oenological techniques.
The smallest producer in the appellation, Jérôme is already making waves with superb wines that are a gentle reminder of Châteauneuf-du-Pape from a bygone era. The wines are completely dry and savory, with high tones that balance their full bodied structure. They are neither explosive nor extracted, but rather unique in their elegance, depth, and their ability to pair with food. These attributes, coupled with the amazing value of the wines, are all too rare in the appellation today.