The remarkable Ch. de Vaudieu is somewhere you won’t find unless you know where it is, or if you get lost on your way to Rayas. Just as you’re questioning the satnav, a chateau – one that would look more at home in Bordeaux than the southern Rhone – pops up. Situated in the hidden and tranquil Val de Dieu – from which the estate takes its name – Ch. Vaudieu is quite possibly the most important estate in Chateauneuf that you have never heard of.
The vines are situated in one complete block – this is a rarity in Chateauneuf, where most estates own a hotchpotch of parcels around the appellation. Most of the vineyards are on sandy soil, ideal for an elegant Grenache, with a distinct plot of clay soils on the border with Rayas and a touch of limestone.
Laurent Brechet is the man in charge, and he is a man with both a passion for the property and its wines and, notably, the cash to make the most of it. Indeed, there is no shortage of investment going on here, with equipment that is rarely seen outside Bordeaux on show (Laurent is particularly proud of his cement “tulip” vats – slightly larger versions of which can be seen at Cheval Blanc).
The attention starts first in the vineyard, which is biodynamically farmed, though there is no doubt that Laurent is a man who believes in the power of the winemaker as well as the viticulturist. The technology adds a great deal here and the end results are exceptional.
The wines, quite simply, make you smile. The gloss of precision winemaking is evident, though there is no shortage whatsoever of class or character in the wines. Even the unashamedly modern “Amiral G”, has a core of typicity running through it, and there is an air of the Rayas about them (Rayas is the neighbouring property and Jacques Reynaud was Laurent’s mentor and the estate's Syrah came from massal selection from Reynaud).
These are brilliant and exciting wines.
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1995 Chateauneuf du Pape Chateau de Vaudieu Rhone
1995 Chateauneuf du Pape Rhone
2003 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Val de Dieu Chateau de Vaudieu Rhone
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