Clos Saint-Jean is a 41-hectare estate in Châteauneuf-du-Pape run by brothers Vincent and Pascal Maurel. Considered by many critics and […]Keep Reading
Clos Saint-Jean is a 41-hectare estate in Châteauneuf-du-Pape run by brothers Vincent and Pascal Maurel. Considered by many critics and wine-writers as the preeminent estate espousing the modern style of winemaking in Châteauneuf, this cellar is one of the oldest in the region, having been founded in 1900 by the great-great-grandfather of Vincent and Pascal, Edmund Tacussel. A short time after its founding and well before the AOP of Chateauneuf-du-Pape was created in 1923, Edmund began bottling estate wines in 1910.
The various vineyards of Clos Saint-Jean are located primarily in Le Crau. This plateau is perhaps the most iconic of the many terroirs of Châteauneuf-du-Pape – iron-rich red clays topped with galets. While about 60% of their vineyards are located here, specifically in the lieu-dits of Côteau de Saint-Jean and Cabane de Saint-Jean, another 40% are found in alluvial clay and sandy soils adjacent to the plateau. They also own a small parcel of Mourvèdre in the lieu-dit of Bois-Dauphin near Château Rayas planted on sandy, limestone-rich soils.
The farming at Clos Saint-Jean is fully sustainable due to the warm and dry climate, which prevents the need for chemical inputs. Instead, Vincent and Pascal employ organic methods for pest control, mainly pheromones, to prevent pests from taking up residence in their vines, a process called, amusingly enough in French, confusion sexuelle. The vines are tended manually, and harvest is conducted in several passes entirely by hand.
Once harvested, the grapes arrive at the cellar in small bins. The white varieties are pressed directly, with Grenache Blanc and Clairette being fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks, while the Roussanne is fermented and aged in barrel. The reds are almost entirely destemmed, with about 10% whole clusters retained. Fermentation follows in concrete vats. Macerations are long, averaging 35 days on the skins. The Grenache sees a gentle maceration with delestage, while the Syrah and Mouvrèdre receive pigeage. All the Grenache is aged in concrete except Sanctus Sanctorum, a single plot of old-vine Grenache that in exceptional vintages, is aged in demi-muid and bottled only in magnum. Syrah and Mourvèdre are aged in barriques and demi-muids. Aging for all the reds is about 12 months. The Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes is bottled especially for European Cellars and is selected by the brothers with input from the late Philippe Cambie and Eric Solomon. In addition to the Sanctus Sanctorum, two additional small cuvées are made: La Combe des Fous and Deus ex Machina – each sourced primarily from Le Crau, the power, and finesse of which is apparent in both wines. The Deus ex Machina is deepened in flavor with the inclusion of the old vine Mourvèdre that the Maurels farm on the sandy soils of Bois–Dauphin.Close