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“Yves Gras is producing some of the most compelling examples of Châteauneuf-du-Pape”

Joe Czerwinski @

Domaine Santa Duc

« It has been interesting to observe the evolution of winemaking style at this address over the past 20 years. While the premise has always been top-quality fruit from fine-tuned viticulture and moderate yields, ideas about ripeness, methods of extraction and aging have changed. I expect the modern, multilevel tower that serves mainly to receive guests must have turned a few heads when it was first built, but now it is just emblematic of the forward-thinking employed by proprietor Yves Gras and his well-traveled son, Benjamin.

The winery acquired its first amphorae in 2014, and Yves told me he expects that amphora-fermented and aged lots will account for 10% of each blend for 2017. Rather than pure power, the father and son are looking for more balance and freshness in the wines, and they like that the amphorae are “very neutral.” On the warm plateau, where the winery and many of the estate’s vines are located, Mourvèdre is becoming more important in the finished wines. Ben said, “It’s a good tool against global warming.”

Domaine Santa Duc

Gigondas-based Yves Gras has quietly grown his holdings in Châteauneuf du Pape to six hectares, from which he’s producing four separate cuvées. I’m sure it will hurt some feelings to say an outsider like Gras is producing some of the most compelling examples of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but keep in mind these are generally tiny-production gems and not easy to track down.»

Joe Czerwinski – October 2017

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