The legend of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
The wines of Château Rayas
"Despite having visited and tasted with Reynaud over a dozen times during the last decade, I still have not figured out what magic takes place in these cellars. Given the extraordinary quality that emerges in the finest years, I can live without the answer!"
The domain was established relatively recently (the vineyards were planted in the early 1920s) by Louis Reynaud who quickly distinguished himself from the typical practices of Châteauneuf du Pape. In this traditionally sun-baked region, one section of the vineyard faces north and the vines here benefit from the refreshing qualities of the pine trees that grow around the property. Louis Reynaud also focused primarily on just one grape variety, Grenache, even though 13 are permitted within the appellation. His son Jacques, who was seen as unconventional, if not eccentric, took over the business and achieved a new pick of quality with the wines through traditional techniques. Today, Château Rayas is managed by his nephew Emanuel Reynaud who consolidates Rayas as one of the Iconic estates from France.
Château Rayas is one of the great names of French wine. Many connoisseurs believe it to be the best in the appellation. It owes its uniqueness to the sandy soils facing due north of the vineyard and to the use of whole harvests to produce this fine wine aged in old casks. The result is breathtaking: a wine with an all-Burgundy elegance that quickly makes you forget the traditional Chateauneuf de Pape.
While the red Rayas is produced with 100% Grenache the white Rayas is produced with Grenache Blanc and Clairette.
The second wine, still a Chateneuf de Pape, is called "Pignan", which can also be considered one of the best examples of the appellation.
Only small quantities are produced, 10,000 to 20,000 bottles of first wine and depending on the vintage up to 12,000 bottles of second wine.
Under the appellation Côtes du Rhône the brands "Fonsalette" in red (Grenache, Cinsaut and Syrah, as well as a pure Syrah) and white (Grenache Blanc, Marsanne and Clairette), as well as "La Pialade" are produced which are presenting a common profile, same vinification, with Rayas but accessible younger.