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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 and Roussanne, 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.
Bottle 6 x 75cl1cs
Bottle 12 x 75cl1cs
The eponymous old men continue to adorn the label, redolent of the Burgers of Calais, patient and civilized. Our patience with Sénéchaux has paid enormous dividends over recent years under the stewardship of the Cazes of Lynch Bages. Winemaker Bernard Tranchecoste bemoans the short harvest, but this can partly be attributed to the vendanges vertes in the vineyard, an additional qualitative statement after coulure severely reduced the Grenache crop earlier in the season.