This year Julien Seydoux celebrates 10 years at the helm at Château des Estanilles during which time he has successfully converted all 35 hectares of vineyard to organic viticulture as well as making major investments in the infrastructure of the winery. The results are impressive. His wines still retain a strong sense of their unique terroir, rich in friable red schist with terrific elevation and drainage, but have also gained a poise and precision which comes from scrupulous vineyard and cellar management. The consistently high quality of recent vintages has not escaped the attention of the international press whose plaudits have been enthusiastic, yet, for the time being at least, the prices remain remarkably reasonable. Unsurprisingly, they feature heavily in the cave personelle chez Yapp.
The Château des Estanilles 'L'Impertinent' blanc is made from a blend of 45% each of Marsanne and Roussanne and 10% Viognier. It has appealing apricot and honeysuckle aromas and a smoothly-textured palate of stewed stone fruits underscored by a fresh acidity. Its red sibling is blended from 20% Syrah, 20% Grenache Noir, 20% Mourvèdre and 15% each of Carignan and Cinsault. It has a bouquet of wild garrigue herbs and berries and a core of ripe black fruit with peppery undertones and supple tannins. It makes a fine partner to dishes containing garlic and goose fat (especially Toulouse sausages or cassoulet) and will cellar well for 3-5 years. Julien also makes a superb pure Syrah from a vertiginous parcel of vines called 'Clos de Fou' that undergoes a two year élevage in vat and barrel. The finished wine is layered and complex with notes of game, leather, spices and dark fruit combining harmoniously over a framework of fine tannins.