Profile: Domaine de Cristia
Domaine de Cristia is located in Courthézon,
east of the town of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, just a few steps away from Domaine de la
Janasse. Etienne Grangeon established the estate in 1942 with just 2 hectares
of Grenache vineyards. His son, Alain, joined the domaine in 1963 and expanded
the family’s holdings. Baptiste and Dominique, the third generation, arrived in
1999 and began vinifying parcels separately, creating new cuvées. Since
then, Dominique and Baptiste have been increasingly conscientious in working
their vineyards with natural methods. In 2008, the Grangeons obtained an organic
certification from ECOCERT.
Today, Domaine de Cristia owns 20 hectares in
Châteauneuf-du-Pape, all located in the eastern part of the appellation. The
vast majority of these vineyards are within the Cristia lieu-dit, which
has a northeastern exposure and is mainly composed of sand and clay. The domaine
also owns a parcel within the La Roquette lieu-dit, where the terrain is
mostly pebbles. The exposure and soil of Cristia gives wines a natural sense of
finesse and freshness. Wines from the La Roquette, on the other hand, display
ripeness and richness.
After harvest the grapes are sorted and then
fully destemmed. Fermentation is carried out in concrete tanks for three weeks,
and temperatures are intentionally kept low temperatures in order to preserve aromatics.
Aging takes place in vats and barrels, with a percentage of new oak.
Stylistically, the wines of Domaine de
Cristia are very elegant and tend to display a beautiful sense of freshness. This
is largely attributable to the soil composition and exposure of the dominant
parcel in the Cristia lieu-dit, and because of the moderate extraction
during fermentation. The regular Châteauneuf-du-Pape is an ode to an almost
feminine style, while the other cuvées are made in a more modern style, with
some new oak influence.
In 2009, Domaine
de Cristia partnered with importer Peter Weygandt to create the Chapelle
Saint-Théodoric project. From three hectares of vines owned by Peter Weygandt
in the Guiguasse and Pignan lieux-dits (both located in the eastern part
of the appellation), Chapelle Saint-Théodoric produces two very traditional Châteauneufs: Les Grands Pins and La
Guigasse. The Saint-Théodoric wines present stark contrast to the wines the Grangeons make
at Domaine de Cristia. Dominique Grangeon, who is very excited by this new
project, told me the process has been quite educational, and that she is
learning a lot from working in both styles.
Domaine de Cristia
The Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a blend of
70% Grenache, 15% Syrah and 15% Mourvèdre coming from 50 year-old vines planted
on soils made of sandy marl and clay. The Grenache is aged in concrete tanks
for 16 months, and the Syrah and Mourvèdre are aged in 2-3 year old barrels. Alcohols
come in between 14% and 15%.
The Châteauneuf-du-Pape Renaissance is
a cuvée made of 60% 100 year-old Grenache vines
and 40% Mourvèdre. The vines are planted in a soil composed of clay and sand
with an eastern exposure. The Grenache is aged in 2-3 year old barrels and the
Mourvèdre is aged in new oak vats for twelve months before being assembled, after
which the blended wine is aged for an addition six months in vat. The wine
reaches about 15% alcohol.
The Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes is
a cuvée made solely from 85 year-old Grenache coming from the same type
of soil as the Renaissance - clay and sand. The wine is aged in 2-3 year-old barrels
for 15 months, and then in concrete tanks for an additional month.
The 2012 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is
a clean and balanced wine, with an expressive bouquet that features floral tones
and some mara des bois. This elegant
offering is intense but fully controlled, with gorgeous texture and a note of
incense on the finish.
The 2011 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is
an outstanding wine. It offers both terrific vintage expression and great overall
balance. The palate is round and slightly glycerine in feel, with ample notes
of cherry, blackcurrant and blackberry. A beautifully balanced wine with a
slightly tannic backbone.
The 2010 Châteauneuf-du-Pape
a much more concentrated, rich and intense wine than its 2011 and 2012 siblings,
but manages to remain elegant. The bouquet is rich in strawberry, licorice,
star anise and blackcurrant. This beauty elegantly concludes with a precise and
clean finale. A gorgeous effort with tremendous potential.
The 2012 Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Vieilles Vignes is an outstanding effort. Made out of old-vine Grenache aged
in 2-3 year old barrels, this cuvée is very modernist. The oak is present
but very well integrated. The aromatics are laced with notes of incense,
toasted exotic wood, and garrigue, grandly surrounding delicious notes of
blackberry and Provençal herbs. A closing hint of iodine adds complexity.
The 2010 Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Renaissance is a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Mourvèdre, the latter aged in
new oak for twelve months. Darker and definitely more introspective than its
counterparts, the 2010 Renaissance offers intense notes of blueberry, dark
berries, and smoked herbs. Regretfully, its ample mouth is marred by reductive
notes that are not fully integrated. The 2010 offers solid potential but is held
back by a slightly oxidative note.
The 2009 Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Renaissance is quite marked by the heat of the vintage. Its nose and mouth
are quite warm, offering ripe - but not candied - notes of dark fruits, while
the finish is quite tannic.
The Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Guigasse is
100% Grenache coming from the Grand-Pin lieu-dit, which is composed of
sand and clay. The wine is fermented using whole clusters and is aged in demi-muids.
The Châteauneuf-du-Pape Le Grand Pin is
also Grenache, but coming from the Pignan lieu-dit, which is
characterized by sandy soils. This wine is also fermented using whole clusters
and is aged in demi-muids.
The 2011 Châteauneuf-du-Pape La
Guigasse is 100% Grenache from the La Guigasse lieu-dit. The
Grenache is fermented using whole clusters and aged in demi-muids.
Light, fine, and elegant, this traditional Châteauneuf shows notes of pine wood, mara des bois and some incense. It is well-balanced in the mouth, yet
today it lacks a bit of precision and cleanliness.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape Chapelle Le Grand Pin is made only of Grenache from the Pignan
lieu-dit, very close to the vineyards of Château Rayas. Slightly more extracted and concentrated, this
austere wine shows riper aromatics and
offer additional notes of Provençal herbs. Definitely too young or in the need
of extended decanting, the 2011 concludes with beautiful notes of incense and
— César Rivière