Château de Nalys
Saintes Pierres de Nalys Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2017
Translated as “holy stones”, a play on the soils and history of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the second red wine to Château 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.
In comparison to the Grand Vin, this wine relies both on varieties and plots that bring freshness, and a vinfication entirely in stainless steel and foudres that emphasizes that freshness.
The composition is 33% from the Nalys vineyard, 34% from La Crau, and 33% 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 69% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 5% Cinsault, 4% Muscardin, 1% Counoise, and 1% Mourvedre. 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 and 18 months of aging in stainless steel and foudres (10%).
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.
Deep, dark and profound red color. An elegant nose that opens with notes of red fruits. Ample and supple tannins while keeping a lovely frame. A rich wine, balanced between richness and freshness.
Pair with an assortment of charcuterie, red meat grilled or cooked in a sauce like a spring lamb stew, a platter of aged cheeses.
Cinsault, Counoise, Grenache, Mourvedre, Muscardin, Syrah
Vineyards are farmed organically, awaiting certification.
Suggested Retail Price
Wine Advocate - July 7, 2020
"Marked by hints of allspice and clove, the 2017 Chateauneuf du Pape Saintes Pierres delivers classic leather and cherry flavors. It's medium to full-bodied, yet silky and streamlined, well-balanced for its stated 15% alcohol. Drink it over the next 5–8 years."
Wine Enthusiast - January 26, 2021
"This Grenache-dominant blend offers black cherry and cassis flavors edged by hints of leather and fire-roasted chestnuts. Fine-grained, integrated tannins make it approachable now, but this should drink beautifully through 2030."
Jeb Dunnuck - July 7, 2020
"Coming from tiny yields (the estate was down 40% in 2017), the 2017 Châteauneuf Du Pape Saintes Pierres De Nalys offers a ripe, medium to full-bodied, balanced style as well as lots of classic dark berry fruits, licorice, garrigue, and peppery goodness. Balanced, with a great core of fruit, it’s a softer, more forward, charming wine than the grand vin and is ideal for drinking over the coming decade."
Added January 26, 2021 -
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.
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.