Domaine des Sénéchaux
is one of the oldest domaines in Châteauneuf-du-Pape
with a history dating back to the 14th century . The identity of the eponymous old men is something of a mystery; they look a little like Rodin's Burghers of Calais but are, in all likelihood, unrelated.
The Estate covers 25 hectares in two excellent areas
: 12 hectares near Château la Nerthe
and 15 hectares in the Montalivet-Bois des Sénéchaux district, near Château Rayas
. The good works to rejeuvenate the estate were initiated by entrepreneur Pascal Roux
, but the serious qualitative impulse has, since 2006, been provided by Jean Michel Cazes and his son Jean Charles
. The Cazes are, of course, even more famous for their ownership of the superlative Pauillac
property Lynch Bages
The vineyards have been restored to their former glory and the winemaking facilities have been fully modernised.
The imperative, advocated by the father and adhered to by the son, has been , very importantly, to make a classic Châteauneuf-Du-Pape
and not to try and make a great Bordeaux wine in the heart of the Rhône Valley
The red is a blend of 90% Grenache
, 5% Syrah
, 3% Mourvèdre
and 2% other varietals. Fermentation is in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats and the wines are then matured in French oak barrels for 12- 15 months, some of which are new. The wines are bottled unfiltered.
The white wine only makes up 5% of production
; the grapes being Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Bourboulenc
, the last of which is fermented in barrique with stirring of the yeast. The white is beautifully perfumed and full of Southern charm.
Delicacy and finesse are the bywords
here with the wines being accessible in youth although they tend to show at their best with 7-10 years of bottle ageing. Each year they get better