Château de Nalys
Châteauneuf-du-Pape Grand Vin 2017
The realization of the Guigal family’s dream of Châteauneuf-du-Pape: three extraordinary vineyards coming together in an intensely expressive, utterly complete wine. The Grand Vin defines the estate style with a precision of fruit, spice and minerality and notably, a beautifully composed structure that unfolds and builds (and builds).
As with all the Nalys wines, the Grand Vin is produced from all three vineyards, but notably 50% of the blend comes from La Crau, which lends the intense structure. The wine is primarily intense old vine Grenache, with a large portion of Syrah, and then additions of several other varieties, including most of the estate’s Mourvedre.
The composition is 27% from the Nalys vineyard, 50% from La Crau, and 23% from Bois Senechal, from vines averaging 45 years of age, with the typically low yields of Châteauneuf-du-Pape of 35 hl/ha. The grape varietal composition is 59% Grenache, 32% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre, 3% Counoise, and 1% Vacarese. 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 harvesting and sorting was followed by vinification in conical wooden vats, with fermentation lasting around 4 weeks. The wine was then aged for 18 months, of which 30% was in wood (barrels and foudres) and 70% in concrete.
Deep, dark and dense red color. An intense nose of red and black berries and spice. A beautiful composition, with silky tannins, power and elegance. Expressive, noble and complete. Pair with red meats either grilled or cooked in sauces, game birds, or aged cheeses.
2017 is the first Nalys vintage vinified by Guigal from start to finish. Unfortunately, the crop was very small as Spring in the South was very wet, interrupting the flowering and causing the significant crop loss overall (40-50%). However, Summer was stable and dry, leading into perfect autumn which allowed even ripening and excellent phenolic development. Harvest took place in late September under clear skies. The Nalys reds are classic Chateauneuf du Pape– with ripe tannins, adequate but fresh acidities, and exceptional concentration. Production was about 50% of normal for the estate.
Counoise, Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah, Vacarese
Vineyards are farmed organically, awaiting certification.
Suggested Retail Price
Jeb Dunnuck -
"A more serious, concentrated wine, the 2017 Châteauneuf Du Pape boasts a vivid ruby/purple color as well as rocking notes of dark fruits, ground pepper, violets, tobacco, and loads of stony, earthy minerality. With full body, building ripe tannins, terrific mid-palate depth, and a great finish, give bottles 2-4 years and enjoy over the following 15."
Wine Advocate (93-95) -
"To be bottled in November, I sampled the 2017 Chateauneuf du Pape Grand Vin on two occasions (once blind), with consistent notes. Black cherry and raspberry fruit dominate, although subtle notions of garrigue and peppery spice add interest. It's full-bodied, round and mouthfilling, lush, supple, silky and long. A blend of 51% Grenache, 36% Syrah, 12% Mourvèdre and 1% Counoise, almost half is maturing in concrete tanks, with another big chunk in foudres. Less than a third is in barrels or demi-muids."
Wine Enthusiast - Cellar Selection "Piquant hits of shaved peppercorn and clove lend warmth to rich, glossy black plum and mulberry in this penetrating red. A blend of Grenache and Syrah accented by smaller proportions of three other regional red grapes, it's full in body but thrilling and fresh, lifted by a crush of minerality and lingering traces of leather, earth and sage."
Added January 26, 2021 -
Other Wines by this Producer
Guigal's mastery of growing and producing white wine varieties in the Rhone 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.
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.