Domaine du Père Caboche extends over 17 hectares including prime plots on 'La Crau' plateau. Ably run by Emilie Boisson with some advice from her fastidious father Jean-Pierre, it is well known for producing wines that drink well on their youthful fruit giving immediate gratification. They produce an exemplary white wine made from a blend of 40% Clairette, 30% Bourboulenc and equal parts Grenache Blanc and Roussanne (vintage dependent). The grapes are hand-harvested and vinified in temperature-controlled vats and malolactic fermentation is arrested by chilling. The finished wine is remarkably fresh and fragrant with a wealth of yellow plum flavours, a fresh acidity and terrific length. Emilie's red Châteauneuf' is made from a base of around 70-80% Grenache Noir, 15% Syrah and 5% Mourvèdre plus a smattering of rarer varieties grown on soils of sand, limestone, clay and alluvial stones. After careful blending, the wine is matured in vat and barrel over winter before filtration and bottling. With intense garrigue berry aromas and a richly-fruited palate with peppery undertones and supple tannins, it makes a fine foil to grilled red meats or slowly-braised root vegetables. Emilie and Jean-Pierre also make a prized 'old vine' bottling called 'Elizabeth Chambellan'. It comprises a core of Grenache Noir from vines planted almost a century ago with around 10% Syrah and the rest Mourvèdre. With a dense purple robe, briary forest floor scents and a concentrated palate of autumnal fruit with fine-grained tannins, it merits decanting and can cellar well for at least a decade.
Le Vieux Donjon was founded in 1966 when Marcel Michel elected to bottle his own wine for the first time. It was subsequently developed and extended by his son and daughter-in-law Lucien and Marie-José and is currently under the sage supervision of his grandchildren Clare Fabre and François Michel. With 17 hectares of vines (16ha being red and 1ha white), the emphasis here is on unhurried winemaking with minimal intervention. The white is made from equal parts of Clairette and Roussanne and has alluring wild flower aromas and a sensuous stone-fruit palate offset by some nervy mineral notes. It drinks well from release and can be cellared for 5 years or longer. The red is usually blended from 75% Grenache Noir, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre and 5% Cinsault that are vinified in cement vats and then matured in traditional oak foudres before the final blending and bottling. Renowned as a traditional, long-lived wine of great complexity, it has a briary bouquet of hedgerow fruit and rounded palate of plums and damsons supported by mid-weight tannins and spicy undertones. It takes 3 to 5 years to develop and will cellar well for 20 years in better vintages.
Domaine Saint Gayan (of Gigondas fame) have always owned a small plot in Châteauneuf' and recently had to uproot diseased vines and replant. This is their first vintage of blanc and like their stable of cuvées, it offers an excellent rapport prix-qualité. Made from predominantly Clairette and Grenache Blanc seasoned with a panoply of varieties (vintage dependent), it has enticing wildflower and orchard fruit aromas followed by a palate of ripe stone-fruit and poached pears with a silky texture and poised, lengthy finish. Whilst approachable in its youth, it will improve over 3 to 5 years after vintage and deserves decanting.