Cesar White 2021 Domaine Roche Audran
A beautifully aromatic white with aromas of honeysuckle and acacia. Full bodied on the palate with a perfect balance between fruit and acidity.
Domaine Roche-Audran was established in 1998, the year in which Vincent Rochette decided to leave the cooperative winery system in order to produce his own wines and explore the specific characteristics of his vines. The estate was initially purchased by his grandfather over half a century ago and today the vineyard has vines aged from 35 years old up to nearly one hundred years old, on three very different types of soils.
One section is located in the VISAN appellation where Vincent has been making the Le Pere Mayeux wine since the year 2000. The second is on the commune of BUISSON from which he has been producing, also since the year 2000, the Cuvee Cesar. The third is on the edge of the prestigious Chateauneuf du Pape appellation, in the commune of Courthezon. These three environments are extremely different and as a result, they not only vinify each parcel separately, but also individually vinify each soil type within each parcel. The objective here is to obtain wines with near perfect balance which must communicate and enhance the complexity of the blend of these difficult but fabulous soils. Through respect for the vineyard and in order to allow full natural expression from my soils, only natural products for fertilisation and plant protection are used. In 2006 Vincent began using bio-dynamic treatment throughout the vineyard. Furthermore, for many years now, they have been running the vineyard, from working the soils, to harvesting, racking and bottling... in harmony with cosmic cycles.
Grenache Blanc, one of the emblematic grape varieties of the southern Rhone Valley, offers this wine a delightful mineral tone. Its freshness originates from the north facing aspect of the soils, positioned amongst Aleppo Pine, White Oak, Viburnum Tinus, Boxwood, Rosemary, Dogwood, Thyme and is greatly helped by the addition into the blend after maturing of two small parcels of Viogner (30% of the blend) which are grown next to the Grenache Blanc. Harvesting is carried out in cases of 10 kilos, the grapes are pressed, placed in casks and undergo alcoholic fermentation for several months (7 - 9 months) at a constant temperature of 15 degrees. This technique enables Vincent to respect the full expression of aromas and the mineral qualities offered by the terroir. Stirring of the fine lees after fermentation contributes to the development of aromatic power in the wine and full aromatic extraction and expression. Only the best vats are selected for making Cesar Blanc.
For the past five years, Vincent Rochette has followed the bio-dynamic calendar for his vineyard work. The soil has been re-invigorated using bio-dynamic powders and the terroir has once again been allowed to express itself. Healthy grapes are the norm here and triage is a thing of the past. Each parcel is picked and vinified separately. Grapes are de-stalked and lightly crushed, followed by a cold pre-fermentation maceration in a mixture of concrete and conical wooden vats. Only indigenous yeasts are used and a two week alcoholic fermentation is accompanied by stamping down of the cap (pigeage), pumping over (remontage) and juice separation (delestage). After a further 60 days, the grapes are then pressed. For the elevage 225 litre French oak barrels are used. Each parcel is aged separately for 12 months and then the blending (assemblage) is carried out from the very best of the Buisson parcels.
The highly motivated and energetic Vincent Rochette is only in his early 30's but has already made a name for himself with his superbly sculpted Visan and Cotes du Rhones. He owns land in both the communes of Visan and Buisson and this diversity of terroirs largely explains the extraordinary complexity in his wines. Very careful selection is carried out in the vineyards and in the winery and there is minimum intervention during the fermentation and ageing processes. Over the past few years, Vincent has been edging towards a truly bio-dynamic vineyard and, although he is a year or so away from achieving this, all the preparatory work that he has put in place can clearly be seen in the sheer purity of his wines. A walk in the vineyard block behind the winery this spring revealed a fantastic eco-system where wildlife, insects, flowers and fauna, that had long disappeared, had returned in abundance. The vines were in fine health as they had not been treated with any man-made sprays for the past five years. This indeed was one of the 'happiest' vineyards that we had ever visited!
chicken, beef, salad, Cheese
Viognier, Grenache blanc
Domaine Roche Audran