Château de Nalys
Saintes Pierres de Nalys Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc 2019
Translated as “holy stones”, a play on the soils and history of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the second white wine to Château de Nalys 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 Châteauneuf white we have experienced in its grace and lift. The beautifully balanced freshness and fleshiness, prominent floral and citrus notes, a complete wine. 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 34% from the Nalys vineyard, 3% from La Crau, and 63% 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 36% Clairette, 29% Bourboulenc, 25% Grenache Blanc, 7% Roussanne, 3% Picardan. All 13 permitted Chateaneuf 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 and aging in stainless steel and barrels and demi muids (20%).
2019 was another warm and dry vintage in the southern Rhône, marked by insistent drought and repeated heat waves during the season. With little disease pressure or frost, the crop was of normal size, but reduced during the growing season by a lack of water. The grapes were concentrated, rich in sugar, and relatively low in acidity. Harvest at Château de Nalys started in August, and the higher elevation of many of the vineyards (esp Piedlong and Grand Piere) helped retain acidity. The crop was clean and ripe, with great concentration and aromatic expression. Both the Grand Vin and Saintes Pierres show exceptional density and richness, with aromas and flavors of ripe figs, yellow plums and honeysuckle. The Grand Vin offers greater weight and complexity, with firmer acidity. Both wines will be forward and accessible on release and will give the greatest pleasure within their first 10 years.
Bourboulenc, Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Picardan, Roussanne
Vineyards are farmed organically, awaiting certification.
Suggested Retail Price
Wine Enthusiast - July 6, 2021
"Matured for just eight months and geared back in oak influences, this fresh, fruit-focused white is a youthful, mouthwatering expression of Châteauneuf-du-Pape blanc. A full-bodied blend of five classic white grapes, it highlights a crisp backdrop of tart yellow pear and grapefruit flavors juxtaposed by rich swathes of buttercream, hazelnut and cinnamon. Complex yet accessible immediately, the wine should drink well through 2030." - A.I.
Wine Advocate (91+) - June 21, 2022
"Drawn mainly from the lieux-dits of Bois Sénéchal and Nalys, the 2019 Chateauneuf du Pape Saintes Pierres Blanc is a crisp, focused, almost Burgundian-styled white, with a healthy dose of Clairette in the blend. It's medium-bodied, linear and long, with notes of white pepper and lime zest on the nose." - J.C
James Suckling (91+) - September 2, 2022
"Aromas of lilies, green apples and elderberries. Medium-bodied. Rather crisp. Fresh and bright with some nice driving acidity. Oyster shell and lemon peel. Restrained. 36% Clairette, 29% Bourbolenc, 25% Grenache blanc, 7% Roussanne, 3% Picardan.." - J.C
Added July 6, 2021 -
Other Wines by this Producer
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.
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.