Clos du Joncuas Domaine La Garancière Seguret Blanc 2016
Winegrowers: Dany and Carole Chastan
Region: Seguret, Cote du Rhone, South Rhône
Grape: 50% Clairette, 25% Roussanne, 25% Viognier
Most dry white wines from the southern Rhône are opulent, flavoured with the kind of fruits that dribble down your chin: golden pears, white peaches, blushing apricots. Many also risk being heavy, corpulent and over-the-top. However, when balanced with freshness, definition and cut, these wines can be stunning.
Case in point is today’s white from Clos du Joncuas. Their Domaine La Grancière Seguret Blanc from the knockout 2016 vintage, which Rhône expert John Livingstone Learmonth has described as ranking among the top three vintages of the last 50 years, is rich and delicious but also offers incredible balance. With aromas of floral dried pear, apricot, hay and thyme, followed by ripe pear, stone, caramel and lemon on the palate, this is a big, ripe yet supple wine with excellent acidity to keep it all in check. This is an authentic, ‘old school’ wine: complex, aromatic, intense, perfectly balanced and delicious. There is no mistaking where this wine comes from as it captures the terroir and beauty of the region in a bottle.
For close to 100 years one of the foremost interpreters of Gigondas, Vacqueyras and Seguret terroirs has been the highly regarded but not well known Chastan family of Clos du Joncuas. Founded in 1920 by Pierre Auguste Chastan the domaine has always been farmed using natural, biodynamic methods and was certified organic in 1980, well ahead of its time. The vines range in age from 45 to 90 years old. Now managed by sisters Dany and Carole Chastan, the estate produces outstanding wines that express a distinctive southern Rhone terroir. This resolutely traditional estate uses methods little changed from a century ago; all vineyard work is done by hand including the harvesting of the grapes, whole clusters are crushed underfoot and are fermented with natural yeasts for upwards of four weeks in tile lined, concrete tanks. The wines are then aged in old wood tanks. Very little sulphur is added and the wines are never fined or filtered.
Today’s wine is the product of the near perfect 2016 vintage with most growers favouring it over the excellent 2015. Hot and dry conditions persisted through June and July but the heat was mitigated by cool nights, and though rainfall was less than normal, enough arrived to prevent undue stress on the vines; that said the reduced rainfall means more concentrated wines. This was followed by a cooler than usual August – which helped to keep the wines fresh – and the harvest in September.
Domaine La Grancière Seguret Blanc 2016 is a beautifully structured, intense and balanced “food” wine that will pair well with a wide variety of full-flavoured fish and shellfish dishes, Asian cuisines, white meats and goat cheeses. We applaud the Chastan family for continuing to craft wines of this calibre with a traditionalist approach. It is delicious, complex and exuberant and will drink beautifully over the next five plus years. Serve this wine at 10˚ in Bordeaux stems.