Châteauneuf-du-Pape 'Les Saintes Vierges' Santa Duc 2016
Santa Duc, Gigondas
“Straightforward and wise, Yves Gras is however one of the key figures of Gigondas. When he took over the Estate in 1985, he focused on producing wine with exemplary depth. Santa Duc vineyard is perfectly tended and meticulously maintained. The barrel (225L) was quickly replaced by the cask (3,600L) and Mourvèdre takes an important place in the blend. A little quantity of bottles is available and goes quickly. Don’t wait.” Antoine Pétrus, Bettane & Desseauve Guide des Vins 2016
Yves Gras, a 4th generation vigneron, is one of the strongest personalities in the Southern Rhône region; he is also very generous and has helped many young wine producers to improve their techniques and to find some markets. Dynamic, passionate and quality-driven, Yves has deservedly forged himself and Santa Duc an enviable reputation. Two soil types dominate the 23 hectares of vineyards (only 10 hectares are in Gigondas) - one being the calcareous marls of Clos Derrière Vieille (the hillside behind the old Hospices of the village); the other being the poor red stony clay soils of Les Hautes Garrigues, Les Carbonnières, Les Rocassières, Santa Duc, Les Pailleroudas, Le Goujard et Plane. The combination of these contrasting soils gives balanced wines, both full-bodied and yet elegant.
Yves’ intense respect for his vines, his fruit and his wines guides his decision-making. He considers the plant a living being in a state of equilibrium with its environment. He works to maintain biodiversity through organic farming – the domaine has been certified organic since 2012. It is integral to the work of the soil, the care and respect of the foliage, debudding, early harvesting, removal of the leaves; the ripe grapes are then picked by hand and gently crushed. Santa Duc then macerates for a long time in order to give the wine its complex aromas and its coating of fine tannins, before being matured gently in oak barrels or foudres.
At Santa Duc, they like to keep it simple. The cold maceration of the fruit, fermentation with indigenous yeasts, maturation on the lees and bottling without filtration epitomise Yves’ approach. Since 2006, he has refined his style by shortening the time of cuvaison and by using different cooling methods, in order to reduce some of the severity that was previously characteristic of his wines. They still have plenty of local character and huge personality, but are certainly a little more approachable in their youth. His latest vintages are truly exceptional and have received great recognition from the press.
Lieu-dit (single vineyard) Les Saintes Vierges, in the East of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Rich, full-bodied and creamy-textured while simultaneously appearing almost weightless, the 2016 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Saintes Vierges looks even better than last year. Cola, spice and stone fruit notes provide plenty of flavor interest, lingering on the long, lush finish.
Grape: 790% Grenache, 9% Mourvèdre, 1% Counoise.