'La Papesse' or 'the high priestess' comes from a stunning parcel that produces deep, concentrated wines packed full of complexity. Any fans of Chateauneuf-du-Pape (all of us) will be at home with this wine. It's first release was in 2008 and like all the top Gramenon wines will blossom with age.
In the small town of Montbrison-sur-Lez in the northern reaches of the Southern Rhone, surrounded by vines and olive groves, lies Domaine Gramenon. The serene beauty and idyllic surrounds were exactly what Philippe Laurent and Michele Aubery-Laurent were looking for to raise their young family.
Philippe was a talented vigneron, and together with Michele, they set about transforming these historic vineyards to organic and biodynamic viticulture, rebuilding the old farmhouse and converting it into a cellar. Their first release under the Domaine Gramenon label was in 1990.
Things were going well, with Philippe gaining international acclaim for his complex and concentrated wines, made naturally from their 100-year-old vines. But in 1999, tragedy struck. Philippe was killed in a hunting accident, leaving Michele alone to deal with their three children, vineyards and winery.
Crushed but undaunted, Michele stepped up, boldly taking up the reins and carrying on where Philippe left off. Despite not having her husband's experience or reputation, Michele was no stranger to Philippe's way of working. She followed his blueprint both in the vineyards and the winery, but also began to add her own voice to the wines. In doing so, she has managed to catapult Domaine Gramenon into cult-like status.
Today Michele is aided by her son Maxime Laurent (an incredibly talented winemaker in his own right), and the wines have never been better. All of their vineyards are still managed biodynamically, with certification in 2010. In the winery, too, Michele applies a careful, natural winemaking philosophy, allowing the fruit and the terroir its purest expression. Only the smallest amounts of sulphur are added at bottling.
Don't be fooled by the lack of appellation status for Gramenon. These are some of the most complex, layered and beautiful expressions of Grenache and Syrah coming from the Southern Rhone.
|Product Type||Wine Red Grenache & Friends|
|Sub Region||Cotes du Rhone|