Domaine La Manarine Cotes du Rhone 2016
From Neal Rosenthal:
Domaine la Manarine was created by Gilles Gasq in April 2001. The winery and majority of his vineyards are located within the commune of Travaillan, on a splendid plateau northeast of Orange in the southern Rhone. Gilles is a talented vigneron who has honed his skills working as an assistant to Paul Jeune, the proprietor of Domaine Monpertuis in Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
Expanding his holdings each year, Domaine La Manarine now encompasses 33 hectares of vineyards situated largely on what is known as the “Le Plan de Dieu”. For generations, this specific terroir has been recognized as unique. Recent research has identified the particular character of the underlying soil: a deep layer consisting of more than 60% hard limestone “galets” (large smooth pebbles). The climate is typically Mediterranean: relatively hot and dry with an average rainfall of between 600 and 800 mm per year. The rains usually come in the form of thunderstorms in late August which provide the vines with the water necessary to finish the maturation process (which tends to shut down under stressful drought conditions). Grenache Noir is the main grape variety of the region. It performs particularly well on this type of soil and gives wines more elegance and aroma than is otherwise common. Gilles also has one hectare of Syrah vines which are used to supplement the Grenache in the “Les Terres Saintes” enabling it to bear the appellation: Cotes du Rhone Villages – Le Plan de Dieu.
The vineyards are principally devoted to Grenache but include several parcels planted to white grape varieties Clairette, Bourboulenc, and Grenache Blanc (recently planted) which are used to make his Cotes du Rhone Blanc. In 2014, Gasq purchased a 3 hectares parcel of Carignan adjacent to one of his Cotes du Rhone parcels to make a special cuvee devoted to this underestimated varietal. Finally, in 2015, Gasq has returned to his roots at Domaine Monpertuis by purchasing two adjacent parcels of Grenache in Chateauneuf-du-Pape totaling 1.5 hectrare.
Domaine La Manarine practices organic viticulture. Work in the cellar is minimal with little intervention. Fermentations are left to start with indigenous yeasts, with no fining and only a light filtration is utilized if needed. Considering the personal attention and great care invested in his wines, his five bottlings offer some of the best value in our entire portfolio.
Cotes du Rhone Rouge: The standard bearer of the domaine is the Côtes du Rhône Rouge produced from the younger (but not young) vines (average 35 years old) of the estate. This wine is 100% Grenache and produces a classically spicy, full-bodied wine that speaks clearly of the “garrigue” of the region. The grapes are destemmed before the fermentation and the cuvaison is on the order of three weeks duration. The wine is bottled without filtration after twenty to twenty-four months of “elevage”. The Manarine Cotes du Rhone is our essential wine in this category. We now purchase 15,000 bottles per annum. Organic.