2019 Domaine Santa Duc, Châteauneuf-du-Pape "La Crau Ouest"
2019 Domaine Santa Duc, Châteauneuf-du-Pape "La Crau Ouest"

2019 Domaine Santa Duc, Châteauneuf-du-Pape "La Crau Ouest"

Southern Rhône, France 2019 (750mL)
Regular price$109.00

2019 Domaine Santa Duc, Châteauneuf-du-Pape "La Crau Ouest"

If this morning's discovery from the Central Coast’s foremost Grenache whisperer got you daydreaming about the sun, spice, and savor of Southern France, then we have a bonus that will make your dreams come true: A single-vineyard, old-vine masterpiece from a Rhône Valley superstar, Domaine Santa Duc. If you are looking for the apogée of what Grenache can achieve almost all roads lead to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and Benjamin Gras is among the most exciting young winemakers in this ancient region. His top vineyard “La Crau Ouest” checks off every important box: sandy soils, east facing exposition (sunny, but not without the late afternoon heat), 90-plus-year-old vines, biodynamic farming, and gentle but meticulous winemaking. It’s a love song that chronicles the serendipitous pairing of Grenache with its perfect terroir, and it will have you swooning. We got a screaming deal on the last few bottles and can offer the lowest price in the nation, but you have to act fast!

Santa Duc’s home is Gigondas, where it has emerged as the standard-bearer of top quality. Its gatekeeper extraordinaire, Yves Gras, took over the estate in 1985, setting out to achieve the nearly impossible—that intangible balance of richness and freshness. It’s a song on repeat: We hear the word “balance” all the time, but in a region where sun is easy, alcohol creeps up fast, and secondary aromas soar high, balance is easier to talk about than execute. Domaine Santa Duc formerly had a reputation for flash and outsized proportion, but there have been small changes along the way which have turned down the volume and turned-up the clarity. A few of Yves’ touches include: no more small barrels (replaced with larger casks and terracotta amphorae); less extraction; and less whole bunch fermentation. These adjustments have produced results across the whole range of Santa Duc wines, from Gigondas to Côtes-du-Rhône to Vacqueyras, but their Châteauneuf-du-Pape from “La Crau Ouest” is a true standout.

In 2017 Yves’ son Benjamin took over at the helm of his family winery and he has continued the work that he and his father were doing to move the wines in the direction of elegance, balance, and terroir transparency. He was instrumental in achieving biodynamic certification, and is generally committed to letting his vineyards speak for themselves. That’s not a focus based on trends and current fashion, it’s an acknowledgement that Santa Duc has incredible parcels.

“La Crau Ouest” is exhibit A: a single parcel of 90 year old vines planted in sandy soil on the eastern side of Châteauneuf, on a slope that faces due east. 50 or 100 years ago even the Rhône Valley saw vintages that were cool enough to make ripening Grenache a close call, and as such the warmest vineyards with those giant river stones (galets) that soaked up the sun were most prized. Today the opposite is true. A vineyard like “La Crau Ouest” is now the prime spot for producing balanced, complex wine. And Benjamin Yves is keenly aware of his good fortune in having such a well situated piece of land. 

At six years of age this world class, top of the charts Châteauneuf is really starting to show its full range of goods. Serve at cellar temp in a nice Burgundy bowl (the preferred stem for gracefully styled Grenache), after a vigorous decant of 30 minutes or so. The forestry, brambly red fruits are first to leap up from the glass, but they’re quickly followed by a range of savory herbs and spices: rosemary, thyme, red and black peppercorn, burnt sage, cedar, rose petal, and hints of dried mushroom are all in abundance. The vibrant garnet hue and silky, fruit forward palate are signs that this wine has many years ahead of it, but it is sooo tasty now it will be tough to hold on to them for long. We have less than 5 cases at the special, lowest in the country pricing, so grab as much as you can while you can and hopefully a few bottles will get lost in the cellar!

2019 Domaine Santa Duc, Châteauneuf-du-Pape "La Crau Ouest"

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