This year’s blend is 80% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, 7% Syrah and 3% Cinsault. For those new to this wine, Marcoux's Châteauneuf is drawn from 13 parcels of vines, biodynamically farmed and dotted across the appellation. With a concentration on the famous Crau plateau, the parcels encompass a wide range of soil types, from the sandy soils of Charbonnières, to the red clay and galets in L'Arnesque and Les Bosquets, to the limestone and white clay in Les Esqueirons and Beaurenard, and finally the red clay and gravels of Les Galimardes, Les Serres and Les Plagnes in the south. This means Marcoux can produce a wine that truly reflects the Châteauneuf terroir as a whole. It also allows the Domaine to craft balanced wines year in, year out, as each parcel is vinified separately prior to the blending (and any parcels that do not fit the bill are typically declassified to Côtes du Rhône or sold to the négoce).
As is customary, the wines were naturally fermented and raised in concrete vat (up to 90%) and large oak, without any new oak. The aging spanned 18 months and the wine was bottled unfiltered. A model of purity, charm, and freshness, Marcoux’s 2019 is a thrilling Châteauneuf from one of the region’s great artisans. On the one hand it is a wine for the long haul, yet with such striking balance (the notes below really capture the deliciousness and charm already on offer). From the first sip it sings of aromatic precision and caressing red fruit (ripe raspberry, silken berries, violets and wild strawberry). Carved to perfection by succulent tannins and surging vitality, this is a big wine with a heart of gold, yet there is not an ounce of fat: it’s a lithe, focused, and athletic style of Châteauneuf from what was obviously a superb vintage. Match it with any meat dish (a simple barbeque will do, chargrilled steak of course), a charcuterie plate, or anything cooked in red wine—it will be happy days.
One of the French pioneers of biodynamic viticulture—this tiny, artisanal Domaine was the first in Châteauneuf to convert to biodynamics some 30 years ago. Since this time (and especially since 1996 when the Armenier sisters took full control), Domaine de Marcoux has been on a steady path to becoming one of the true greats of the region. Despite this, it remains small, only producing between two to four thousand cases for the world (roughly half the production of DRC and a tenth of Beaucastel to put things in perspective). So, for many, Marcoux remains a hidden treasure.
While prime focus is given to the vineyards, in the cellar Sophie Estevenin’s subtle hand must also take some credit: natural fermentation; gentle extractions; concrete fermentation; and the absence of any new oak all play a vital role in quality and balance. Sophie’s son Vincent Estevenin officially joined the Domaine in 2015 and is intent on increasing his vineyard’s biodiversity, planting many trees on the property and working the soil less to encourage grass and plants to grow between the rows. A seasonal flock of sheep help with the mowing, and young vines of Muscardin, Counoise and Vaccarèse (varieties that mature at a slower degree) are being introduced. “He has brought a breath of fresh air to the domaine” says his mother, while noting that she also feels reinvigorated by her son’s involvement.
In a region renowned for ‘funk’, Marcoux firmly subscribe to the fruit-equals-terroir school of thought. They love wines of purity, clarity, perfume, seduction and balance—a manifesto that can be tasted across the Domaine’s wines. - Importer Note
|Wine Red Grenache & Friends
|Chateauneuf du Pape