About this WINE
Rémi and Geraldine of Domaine Dieu-le-Fit are at the top of their game. Demeter accredited from 2016, we are delighted to be working with them for our Own Selection Côtes du Rhône. Rémi inherited most of his vineyards from the property known as Fourmente, where he built his own winery in the centre of the village. They are worthy torchbearers for this increasingly popular village, located in the northern half of the patchwork of named villages, not that far from Vinsobres. Their wines are given branded names because as they are essentially assembled from different plots: red clay and pudding stones are at the lower altitudes, then “saffre” (sandstone) is just above the village itself, then more varied garrigue-strewn soils on the plateau that heads in the direction of Rasteau.
Working organically is part of Rémi’s family philosophy; his grandparents started growing fruit and vegetables organically in the 1960s. Rémi even goes as far as to say, “If I can drink a product, I am happy to put it on my vines. If it would be poisonous to me, it doesn’t go anywhere near them.” Clearly, there is honesty and integrity in everything the couple does.
Both of Rémi’s wines below are from the 2021 vintage. This cool vintage is exceptionally well-suited to Rémi’s juicy, fresh and fruit-forward style – the fact he has just two wooden barrels in the entire winery speaks volumes. It a vintage with an almost luminescent quality to the colour, given the lower juice-to-skin ratio of the restrained growing season. We think both wines are utterly delicious.
Côtes du Rhône
Classified in 1937, Côtes du Rhône is an enormous appellation encompassing red, white and rosé wines covering an area of 40,300 ha and producing a crop that is 3 times larger than Beaujolais and almost as much as Bordeaux. Although this wine can come from across the Rhône region, more than 90% comes from the south. With the honourable exception of those produced by famous northern names like Jaboulet and Guigal, the finest examples are made in the south.
Red wine dominates, made with a minimum of 40% Grenache (except in the north where Syrah is allowed to be top dog) normally partnered by Syrah and/or Mourvèdre; another 18 varieties are also permitted. Typically light and fruity, the best examples can be rich, spicy and full-bodied. Almost all are best drunk young.
Quality varies from the very ordinary to the exceptional. Much is produced by cooperatives but the best come from the increasing number of individual estates and Châteauneuf-du-Pape producers like Beaucastel who produce premium entry wines here. White and rosé Côtes du Rhônes account for only 2% and 4% respectively, although both can be very good.
Southern Rhône Blend
The vast majority of wines from the Southern Rhône are blends. There are 5 main black varieties, although others are used and the most famous wine of the region, Châteauneuf du Pape, can be made from as many as 13 different varieties. Grenache is the most important grape in the southern Rhône - it contributes alcohol, warmth and gentle juicy fruit and is an ideal base wine in the blend. Plantings of Syrah in the southern Rhône have risen dramatically in the last decade and it is an increasingly important component in blends. It rarely attains the heights that it does in the North but adds colour, backbone, tannins and soft ripe fruit to the blend.
The much-maligned Carignan has been on the retreat recently but is still included in many blends - the best old vines can add colour, body and spicy fruits. Cinsault is also backtracking but, if yields are restricted, can produce moderately well-coloured wines adding pleasant-light fruit to red and rosé blends. Finally, Mourvèdre, a grape from Bandol on the Mediterranean coast, has recently become an increasingly significant component of Southern Rhône blends - it often struggles to ripen fully but can add acidity, ripe spicy berry fruits and hints of tobacco to blends.