When Grenache is done well, it can offer one of the most profound sensory experiences on earth. Case in point: Château Rayas and its Châteauneuf-du-Pape—the Rayas flagship Grenache, a product of old vines, sandy soils, and traditional winemaking. Under the direction and ownership of Emmanuel Reynaud, Rayas now holds back vintages until they come into their own, a point the 2005 achieved last year. It is a necessary addition for a world-class wine cellar.
Although this Châteauneuf-du-Pape is 100 percent Grenache, the Reynaud family also produces incredible Rhône blends, including Pignan Châteauneuf-du-Pape, La Pialade Côtes du Rhône, and wines from Château de Fonsalette and Château des Tours. All employ the same organic viticulture and precise traditional winemaking and are well worth seeking out.
- The wine is one of the most sought-after in the world; production is limited to 1,000 to 1,500 cases per year.
- The Rayas old vines are protected by a small forest that maintains a cooler temperature than that of neighboring vineyards.
- The wine is made with whole clusters and natural yeast, and aged in enormous old oak foudres.
Château Rayas, chateaurayas.fr ($600)