Domaine Richaud might be situated closer to the Languedoc than Burgundy, but stylistically Marcel Richaud sees himself as having more in common with the Côte d'Or. He is dismissive of what he describes as the over-extracted styles of the south. The key, he says, is balance and this begins in the meticulously tended vineyards. His new winery has a range of smaller tanks, giving greater flexibility for blending smaller parcels of wine.
The vineyards cover 30 hectares outside the village of Cairanne, on the road to Rasteau in the Côtes du Rhône. The vines are bush-trained and low yielding and range from 40-70 years old on average, which gives excellent concentration to the wines. Yields are approximately 30 hectolitres per hectare. The soil in these vineyards is rocky and poor, encouraging the roots to grow deep down into the ground, which gives excellent access to water reserves in this dry climate, as well as nutrients to keep the vine nourished. Marcel chooses fruit for this wine carefully, from four small vineyards: Chantal, Combes, Beauchières and La Ridel to ensure very high quality in the wine.
2016 was a classic vintage. Drought conditions produced smaller berries with less juice meaning lower yields, but other than that there was little to be concerned about. The growing season got off to an early start, without excessive humidity. Summer arrived earlier as well, and flowering occurred in nearly ideal conditions. The second half of the season was warm and very dry. While the hot and dry conditions persisted, the cool nights helped mitigate the effects of the heat.
60% of the wine was fermented in tank and the rest in 600 litre used oak barrels held in Domaine Richaud's underground cellar. Winemaking is kept as natural as possible and Marcel never uses new oak. The wine remained in the cellar until bottling without fining or filtration, to keep as much of the fruit character as possible. Marcel adds no sulphur during the winemaking, with a tiny amount at bottling to ensure stability.
The nose is full of fresh red fruit aromas. The palate displays the full fruitiness of the Grenache and the wilder, spicy character of the Mourvèdre. It is a rich, full-bodied wine with well-structured, supple tannins and a long, alluring finish.