Château de Nalys
Chateauneuf-du-Pape Grand Vin Blanc 2018
Guigal’s mastery of growing and producing white wine varieties in the Rhône Valley is exemplified in this wine of immense breadth and power, elegance and expression. Intensely aromatic nose of white flowers, citrus and a touch of vanilla, on the palate the presence is undeniably penetrating, with a deep minerality joining the notes above. Guigal is today the single most important producer by value and volume of white wine in the Rhône, with 25% of their production dedicated to whites. Nalys is 18% planted to whites, very high for the area, and in fact at one point it is believed the estate produced the majority of the entire appellation’s white wine production.
The composition is 36% from the Nalys vineyard, 27% from La Crau, and 37% from Bois Senechal, from vines averaging 45 years of age, with the vintage resulting in even lower than the typically low yields of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 25 hl/ha specifically. The grape varietal composition is 43% Roussanne, 33% Grenache Blanc, 15% Clairette, 6% Bourboulenc, and 3% Piquepoul. All 13 permitted Châteaneuf grapes are planted on all 3 vineyard plots at Nalys.
Surrounding the estate, the “Nalys” vineyard has very fine soils that create supple wines that are extremely silky and retain freshness. These are some of the oldest soils in Châteauneuf, underlying many of the other soil compositions in the appellation, made up of red sandstone, a sandy clay soil, and covered limestone with some soft sandstone at the vineyard edges. This plot is directly adjoining – over the hill – from Rayas, the great example of finesse in Châteaneuf. Official lieu-dit in land registries is “Grande Pierre”.
Vineyard: La Crau
“La Crau” is arguably the single greatest vineyard in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and Nalys has 38 acres located as a single center-north block. It is famous specifically for structured, complex and intensely expressive wines. Naly’s holdings are the highest elevation of the Crau plateau and bordering forest they own, providing slightly cooler temperatures and ideal drainage – the sweet spot. The soils are made up of the famous galets: large round pebbles derived from the Rhône river. Direct neighbors are Henri Bonneau, La Janasse (used for their Vieilles Vignes), and other leading properties.
Vineyard: Bois Senechal
Adjoining La Crau, Nalys is the sole owner of the top of the plateau. Like La Crau, containing galets, though slightly smaller stones, and sandier soil composition; the wines are slightly less structured, more evenly composed. The site of their best Mourvedre plot, Bois Senechal also has fairly unique terraced vines in rows sloping back to the winery. Neighbors are further below the plateau, Mont Olivet, Domaine de la Solitude. Official lieu-dit is “Bois Seneseau”.
Manual harvest and sort, with pressing and clarification of the must before vinfication and 8 months subsequent aging of 70% in wood (barrels and demi-muids) and 30% in stainless steel.
Following the drought-affected 2017 vintage, 2018 continued the same pattern, with only modest spring rainfall before a relatively hot and humid summer. Disease pressure affected the size of the crop and caused uneven ripening in some areas. Because of these issues, the 2018 harvest at Château Nalys progressed over 5 full weeks in September and October in order to insure proper physiological maturity throughout the entire crop. As was the case in 2017, the crop was very small, and production was only about 50% of normal for the reds, and only 25% of normal for the white wines. Fortunately, the quality of the fruit was extraordinary, resulting in wines with great structure and concentration, supported by fresh acidities. A difficult vintage but an exceptional result in Châteauneuf du Pape
Pale youthful gold, clear and brilliant color. On the nose intense notes of white flowers and citrus with a lovely vanilla note. The palate has breadth, elegance and length. A noble wine, elegant and very expressive.
Pair with lobster, fish with a beurre blanc sauce, aged goat cheese.
Bourboulenc, Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Piquepoul, Roussanne
Vineyards are farmed organically, awaiting certification.
Suggested Retail Price
Jeb Dunnuck (94-96) -
"The 2018 Châteauneuf Du Pape Blanc looks to be the finest white to date and unquestionably ranks with the finest whites in the vintage. Beautiful notes of crushed rocks, honeysuckle, quince, and spice all flow to a medium to full-bodied, balanced, powerful white that’s flawlessly balanced. It’s one of the rich yet elegant whites that can drink nicely on its own or shine on the dinner table."
Wine Advocate -
"Mainly Roussanne and about half barrel fermented, the 2018 Chateauneuf du Pape Grand Vin Blanc is a plump, silky-textured effort. Toast accents honeyed tangerine, melon and fig notes in this full-bodied, opulent wine. Without much track record for this cuvée, my guess at the drinking window is based on the variety, winemaking and sheer concentration levels."
Wine Enthusiast -
"This smoky, spicy blend of Roussanne, Clairette and Grenache Blanc introduces itself with heady aromas of Bourbon barrels and charred toast. Vinified in oak (18% new barriques), it's marked with penetrating quince and pear flavors. It feels a bit flamboyant in youth, but should gain nuance from 2023–2030."
Other Wines by this Producer
The realization of the Guigal family's dream of Chateauneuf-du-Pape: 3 extraordinary vineyards coming together in an intensely expressive, utterly complete wine. It defines the estate style with a precision of fruit, spice and mineral structures and, notably, a beautifully composed structure that builds and unfolds.
Translated as "holy stones", a play on the soils and history of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, the second red wine to Chateau de Nalys is an altogether different animal. Differing varietal and plot selections, fermentation, and aging result in a wine that is rich and ample, yet offers immense direct and approachable pleasure; a wine of red fruits, supple structure and brightness.
The second white wine to the Chateau de Nalys Grand Vin Blanc has a character all its own, with a strongly different varietal and plot composition, and like its red Saintes Pierres counterpart, a fermentation, and aging geared towards emphasizing freshness. The hallmark seamlessness of Guigal's white wines is especially evident in this wine, which is unlike any Chateauneuf white we have experienced in its grace and lift.