2019 Côtes du Rhône Villages, Terre d'Argile, Domaine de la Janasse
About this WINE
Domaine de la Janasse
Brother-and-sister team Christophe and Isabelle Sabon continue to work wonders at Janasse – a domaine founded by their father, Aimé Sabon, in 1973. They now farm around 90 hectares, 18 of which are in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. These are dotted across numerous plots in the northeast of the appellation, in the commune of Courthézon, where the soils are more sandy and therefore much cooler. They also have a few parcels on the famous, clay soil plateau of La Crau. The grapes are largely de-stemmed; concrete tanks are used for the Grenache and old oak for the Syrah and Mourvèdre. In other words, everything is fairly traditional. While they have been farming largely in accordance with organic principles for years, they are now undergoing full conversion to organic and expect to gain certification in 2024.
The domaine sadly suffered terribly from frost in 2021, reducing their output by 45% (and up to 80% for their Vin de Pays wines) – it is the siblings’ smallest vintage yet. They are however pleased with the quality, and they highlight its concentration and freshness.
Côtes du Rhône
The Côtes du Rhône is a large wine appellation in France’s Rhône Valley. Producers here are permitted to make red, white and rosé wine, though red wines account for the majority of the production overall.
While technically the Côtes du Rhône covers both the Northern and Southern Rhône winegrowing areas, most of the production comes from the south. For red wines, Grenache is the most popular grape variety. It is often blended with Syrah and Mourvèdre – the three combined form the so-called GSM blend.
Grenache (Noir) is widely grown and comes in a variety of styles. Believed to originate in Spain, it was, in the late 20th century, the most widely planted black grape variety in the world. Today it hovers around seventh in the pecking order. It tends to produce very fruity, rich wines that can range quite widely in their level of tannin.
In many regions – most famously the Southern Rhône, where it complements Syrah and Mourvèdre, among other grapes – it adds backbone and colour to blends, but some of the most notable Châteauneuf du Pape producers (such as Château Rayas) make 100 percent Grenache wines. The grape is a component in many wines of the Languedoc (where you’ll also find its lighter-coloured forms, Grenache Gris and Blanc) and is responsible for much southern French rosé – taking the lead in most Provence styles.
Found all over Spain as Garnacha Tinta (spelt Garnaxa in Catalonia), the grape variety is increasingly detailed on wine labels there. Along with Tempranillo, it forms the majority of the blend for Rioja’s reds and has been adopted widely in Navarra, where it produces lighter styles of red and rosado (rosé). It can also be found operating under a pseudonym, Cannonau, in Sardinia.
Beyond Europe, Grenache is widely planted in California and Australia, largely thanks to its ability to operate in high temperatures and without much water. Particularly in the Barossa Valley, there are some extraordinary dry-farmed bush vines, some of which are centuries old and produce wines of startling intensity.
Add to wishlist
This blend contains equal measures of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignan. It comes from vines just north of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation, grown on clay soils (as its name suggests). On the nose, this is rich and fruity, with fresh black cherries and riper plums and kirsch. The palate is refined and elegant, and there is a slight herbaceous kick to the finish. Very drinkable, and once again, it far exceeds its status as a humble Côtes du Rhône. Drink now to 2026.
wine at a glance
Delivery and quality guarantee