Château de Nalys
Châteauneuf-du-Pape Grand Vin 2020
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 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 8% Mourvedre, 2% Counoise amd Muscardin. All 13 permitted Châteauneuf 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 Châteauneuf. 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.
2020 is another excellent vintage for the Rhône Valley. Another dry spring was followed by a moderate summer featuring, this time without the extreme heat spikes of 2019. Harvest occurred early – particularly for whites and Rosés – but the weather was even and temperate throughout. The grapes were ripe and concentrated with superb natural acidity – superb raw materials for exceptional wines. The wines are rich, balanced, and expressive.
Deep, dark and dense red with an intense nose of red and black berries, spice. The palate is a beautiful composition, silky tannins, power and elegance. Overall, the wine is expressive, noble and complete.
Counoise, Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah
Vineyards are farmed organically, awaiting certification.
Suggested Retail Price
James Suckling - April 28, 2023 “A beautifully balanced Châteauneuf with an impressive freshness for this ripe vintage. The floral aromas accentuate the impression of lightness and the silky mouthfeel, which the super-fine tannins create, completes the picture. Very long finish. A cuvee of 65% grenache, 25% syrah, and 10% mourvedre." -J.S 4/23
Wine Advocate - October 5, 2023 "A blend of 65% Grenache, 25% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre, the 2020 Châteauneuf du Pape Grand Vin was matured in a mix of new barrels(15%), older barrels (20%), large wooden vats (35%) and concrete tanks (30%), yet the wood influence is scarcely notable on the nose, which yields up a charming mix of ripe cherry and raspberry fruit. This is harmonious, full-bodied and silky, with fine-grained tannins that make the wine come across as deceptively easy to drink young, while still suggesting at least a decade of cellaring potential." -J.C. 9/23
Vinous - October 26, 2023 "A blend of 65% Grenache, 25% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre, the pale ruby-colored 2020 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Grand Vin spent 18 months in a combination of new and old oak barriques, concrete and tronconique tanks. The result is a modern take on Châteauneuf-du-Pape, mingling distinctively oaky characteristics such as cloves, cedar and vanilla with ripe red fruits, licorice and tobacco. Full-bodied, concentrated and built around a smooth tannic structure, it is balanced by refreshing acidity, ending with good persistence on the savory finish" -N.G. 10/23
Wine Spectator - November 27, 2023 "A polished, stylish version, with oak spice and toasty cedar encasing fruitcake, warm fig and red currant. Incredibly concentrated, this glides through with suave tannins and a silky feel on the long finish that's dusted with mocha. Very well-made, this is built for a long life in the cellar." - K.B. 11/23
Other Wines by this Producer
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.
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.
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.