Rayas Merlot "Reserve" Domaine des Tours, Vin de Pays du Vaucluse 2009
Château des Tours, Emmanuel Reynaud, Sarrians
The modest sixteenth century Château which gives this estate its name lies hidden in a maze of small country lanes between Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Vacqueyras. It is the heart of what is a relatively large Domaine, with part of the 58 ha being given over to cereals and fruit trees. The best land however is reserved exclusively for vines, giving 40 ha of Vins de Pays (on the rich, black, sandy soils) and Côtes du Rhône and Vacqueyras (on the poorer stony, gravely soils). It was the grandfather of the current owner, Emmanuel Reynaud, who bought the estate back in 1938. At the time the vineyards where rather dilapidated and the task was left to his father to replant many of the vines. Emmanuel has continued this process of regeneration, matching the right varieties to the right soils, putting in trellising on the flatter land and keeping the bush vines for the steeper slopes, all the time using a minimum of chemicals, eschewing completely insecticides and weedkillers, preferring to work the soils mechanically to keep the Bad grass at bay. One cannot, however, classify the estate as organic, as Emmanuel has a deep-seated aversion to any form of categorization. So what is his philosophy? This is not the easiest of things to sum up, as it is difficult to tell when Emmanuel is being serious, but what one can say that he is a traditionalist, in many senses of the word. He states his guiding principles as the “respect de la creation” (which might also explain the half-a-dozen children) and the work in the vineyards which allows each vintage to be a true reflection of that year. Since the death of his uncle, Emmanuel has taken up the reins at Rayas. From the Great Châteauneuf to Vin Pays, all wines her are exceptional.
Grapes: 100% Merlot