Domaine de la Janasse was officially founded in 1973, making it young within the European archetype. Prior to this date the grapes were sold in bulk to negociants, yet since Aime Sabon, the Estate’s forefather, bought the land it has established itself as one of the finest estates throughout Chateauneuf du Pape, rivalling and often exceeding, Beaucastel, Clos de Papes, Rayas and Vieux Telegraphe. In fact, in 2007 and 2010 Robert Parker awarded the Janasse Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes 100 points; the Estate has truly joined the elite wines of the world: ‘Domaine de la Janasse is one of the great winemaking estates of not only France, but of the world.’, Robert Parker.
Christophe and Isabelle Sabon have now taken over the running of the Estate from their father Aime, who imparts the anecdote that Christophe slept under the vines in the sun as a boy. Many of the vines are between 80 and 100 years old, these make up the lion’s share of their prestige Vieilles Vignes. When Aime originally purchased the Estate he increased the size of the vineyards to 15 hectares, one hectare of which is used to make their white Chateauneuf du Pape.
Janasse embraces the modern style of Chateauneuf du Pape and the current generation are coxswaining the vineyard towards organic practices. Beginning in 1993 they began to de-stem some of their fruit and today 80% of the fruit is fermented without stems. They have invested in the winery using short conical shaped oak barrels to ferment the parcels of Syrah and Mourvedre, while the Grenache is fermented in concrete vats. The individual parcels are then aged in a combination of new French oak and Foudres, large French barrels, imparting a wonderful delicacy of oak and integration of flavours. The house style embodies crisp, lush and vibrant red fruit combined with delightful perfumed aromas. In terms of style it best resembles Rayas, indeed many of Janasse’s vines are similarly planted on sandy soils around the town of Courthezon, yet some argue there are richer, darker fruits in Janasse, extraordinary given its price point.
Janasse make three extraordinary wines, their stellar Chateauneuf du Pape; Chaupin and Vieilles Vignes. The Chateauneuf du Pape has a tiny production of 1,250 cases per year, made from a blend of 75% Grenache, 15% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre, from old vines that are 40 years of age. Chaupin is 100% Grenache from vines planted back to 1912 and only 1,000 cases are made per year. The Vieilles Vignes is made from 85% Grenache, 10% Syrah and 3% Mourvedre, produced from vines 60-80 years of age with an average production of 850 cases per year. We will be releasing the newest vintages of Chaupin and Vieilles Vignes later this month.
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