The Offerus project started with the 1995 vintage. As the appellation of St. Joseph has expanded in size over the past few years, Jean-Louis' goal was to search out small domains from the heart of the appellation, with values reflecting those which he requires for making his own wine. He wanted to recreate a St. Joseph which is truly expressive of the Eastern granitic slopes of the Ardéche region, rather than a homogenized version not expressive of its roots. Jean-Louis found ten domaines with which to work. In order to ensure the quality of the wines, he is in contact with the domaines throughout the growing season, during the harvest, and through the vinification. Because of this investment of time, Jean-Louis has gotten them to work organically, to produce lower yields, and to learn the importance of making a wine expressive of the terroir specific to their soil.
The vineyards used for Offerus are located in two distinct St. Joseph areas. The communities of Mauves, Tournon, and St. Jean de Muzols yield over 80% of the blend. These southern vineyard sites express tightly wound tannins, spice, and power. They add structure and depth to complete the harmony of Offerus. The remainder of the vineyards are located further north in communities around Serrières. This soil produces wines which are more elegant, with incredible purity, definition, and focus.
VINIFICATION AND ELEVAGE
The grapes are vinified either at their respective domaines or in the cellar of JL Chave Sélection in Mauves. The élevage of the wine takes place solely at JL Chave Sélection. Each cuvée from the ten domaines is aged separately in oak barrels or in cement tanks with minimal amounts of sulphur for a period of 12 to 18 months. An elevage specially adapted to the needs of each cuvée allows the qualities and characteristics of each terroir to be strengthened. Once all the elements are well defined, the blending process can begin. The goal is to produce a complementary blend without sacrificing the diversity of each cuvée.
The Mon Coeur started with the 1998 vintage through the partnership of Jean-Louis Chave and Eddie Gelsman. An enduring passion for Rhône wine and a love of the Rhône Valley inspired the creation of Mon Cur. The idea behind this wine is simple: as the appellation of Côtes du Rhône is enormous in size (40,633 ha spanning throughout 171 wine producing villages), their goal was to search out small domaines with values reflecting those which Jean-Louis requires for making his own wine. Jean-Louis found four domaines which work organically, who produce low yields, and who are interested in making a wine expressive of the terroir specific to their soil. In order to ensure the quality of the wines, Jean-Louis is in contact with the domaines throughout the growing season, during the harvest and through the vinification.
Visan: Located in the region of the Drome Provençal, the south-facing vineyard is situated in the'garrigue', the brambly bush area prevalent in the south of France in which thyme, heather, juniper, lavender, rosemary, scotch broom, scrub oak, and blackberries grow wild. Visan has a perfect alluvial soil for Syrah which gives power and elegance to the blend.
Buisson: This north-facing hillside vineyard looks across the river Aygues (pronounced 'Egg') at the Visan vineyard. Its location is ideal for Grenache, since the soil is composed mostly of sand and clay at its depths, and large 'galets' (large rounded riverbed stones) on the surface. These stones retain the day's heat well into the evening, giving the grapes an added opportunity to ripen. However, the north-facing exposition on the hillside shelters the Grenache from over-ripening, thus preventing a heavy, high-alcohol wine lacking texture and class. This vineyard produces a wine expressive of its fruit, texture, and stony terroir.
Vinsobres: Situated on the plateau of Vinsobre to the southeast of the village of Valréas, this vineyard lies in the middle of an area know as the "Enclave des Papes". The vines (100% Syrah) are planted at nearly 900 feet in altitude on a clay soil which is extremely rich in limestone. Due to its high altitude and septentrional location, the vineyard yields a wine with incredible purity, definition, and focus.
Estézargues: The southernmost vineyard with which we work, Estézagues brings power to our blend with its old vines Grenache planted on heavy clay soil. The wines produced here are voluptuous, rich, and high in glycerol. They add structure and depth to complete the harmony of Mon Coeur.
VINIFICATION AND ELEVAGE
After being vinified at their respective domaines, the elevage continues in the cellar of JL Chave Sélection in Mauves. Each cuvée from the four domaines is aged separately in oak barrels or in cement tanks with minimal amounts of SO2 for a period of 12 to 18 months. An elevage specially adapted to the needs of each cuvée allows the qualities and characteristics of each terroir to be strengthened. Once all the elements are well defined, the blending process can begin. The goal is to produce a complementary blend without sacrificing the diversity of each cuvée.
Domaine JL Chave
Domaine Jean-Louis Chave is a family owned winery. It has been passed from father to son since 1481. The Domaine is currently under the direction of Jean-Louis Chave and his father, Gérard. Their monumental red Hermitage is made from 100% Syrah; their rich, age-worthy white is made from 85% Marsanne, 15% Roussane. Their vines, both red and white, range in age between 15 and 90 years and their average yield is 35 hl/ha. Their viticulture is organic and all work is done by hand or by horse. They hand harvest terraced hillside vineyards.
A portion of the red Hermitage is vinified in open-topped wooden casks and punched down manually twice a day. The other portion is vinified in stainless steel tanks also with manual punch down twice daily. The white Hermitage is pressed, put into tanks temporarily to settle, then passed into 225 liter barrels or 20hl stainless steel tanks for its fermentation and élevage.
The final blend of each wine is a combination of seven different terroirs, including Le Meal, Les Bessards, L'Hermite and Beaume. In order to retain the character of each soil, the seven parcels are vinified separately. At the end of 18 months of élevage, the wine is blended to unite the qualities of each parcel, and in order to express the essence of Hermitage. After the final blend is completed, the wines are bottled without filtration.
Region: Northern Rhone
Winery Location: Mauves
Winemaker: Jean Louis Chave Domaine
Production: 4000 cases
Winery Classification: Domaine; 100% biodynamic
Varietals: Marsanne, Rousanne, Syrah
Winemaking:A portion of the red Hermitage is vinified in open-topped wooden casks and punched down manually twice a day. The other portion is vinified in stainless steel tanks, and is also manually punched down twice daily. After 18 months ageing, there is a final blending of seven different parcels/terroirs.
The white Hermitage is pressed, put into tanks temporarily to settle, then passed into barrels and stainless steel tanks for its fermentation and élevage.
Ageing: up to 10% new depending on vintage
When Franck took over from his Father, René Balthazar, in 2002, he had one and a half hectares of Cornas planted exclusively with Syrah. In 2004 he gained half a hectare from his just retired uncle, Joël Verset. The grapes come from two parcels of vines, 46 and 95-years-old, beautifully located on the granitic and sunny slopes of Les Chaillots. Franck still plows the vineyard with a horse, and adheres to traditional methods throughout. In the tiny cellar the grapes are pressed without being destemmed, and fermentation takes place in cement vats. The wine then goes into old 600 liter 'demi-muids' for 18 months, before being bottled without fining or filtration, and a minimal addition of sulfites. The wines are classic in style built to age, but since there is no new oak they are very attractive and enjoyable young.
Region: Cornas, Northern Rhone, France
Winery Location: Cornas
Winemaker: Franck Balthazar
Production: 750 cases
Winery Classification: Domaine
Winemaking: The grapes are pressed without destemming, fermentation takes place in cement vats, bottling without fining or filtration, minimal use of sulfites.
Ageing: 18 months in oak demi-muids
There are few places in the world like this domaine in La Celle. Located between Nice and Aix-en-Provence, this 1,000-hectare estate is owned by Monsieur Gassier. Since he has no heirs, his vineyard manager runs the estate, Monsieur Lobier.
Complete with rolling hills, mountains, vineyards, llamas and horses, one feels more like they are at Neverland than at a vineyard. This would be a large property by any standards, but it is particularly impressive for that part of France, where large estates are extremely rare. The rose comes from a part of the estate that is under vine.
A blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine is made by the traditional saignée method. It is destemmed, then cold soaked and macerated until it achieves its desired color and aromas. The land is farmed organically, and the soils are limestone and located 500 meters above sea level.
Winery Location: La Celle
Winemaker: Patrick Lobier Domaine
Production: 8,000 cases
Winery Classification: Domaine, Organic
Varietals: Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaking: Made in the traditional saignée method. Destemmed, cold soaked and macerated until it achieves its desired color and aromas.
Ageing: 100% Stainless steel
The Chateau La Coste was built in Provence by Andrea Palladio in 1682, and the estate is planted to 150 acres of vines. It was bought by a wealthy Irishman named Paddy years ago, who believes that great rose should be shown the same respect as any other great wine, and sought to make great rose. The grapes are grown in soil that is clay and limestone, providing both body and acidity to the wine. The blend is predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon, which gives the wine its structure, or 'bones'. Syrah gives elegance and complexity. Grenache provides phenolics and body. The result is this sophisticated yet enjoyable rose. It's rich and refreshing at the same time!
Region: Coteaux L'Aix-En-Provence, Provence, France
Winery Location: Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade
Winemaker: Jean Jacques Catherin
Production: 5000 cases
Winery Classification: Domaine
Varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Grenache
Winemaking: Maceration for eight hours at 10-12 degrees Celsius to bleed the color from the red skins into the juice (saignée). The wine is lightly pressed and fermented for three weeks at 14 degrees Celcius.
Ageing: In stainless steel on its fine lees and bottles for freshness
Isabelle and Alain Caujolle-Gazet bought this domaine in 1997. The ground in Montpeyroux is almost entirely solid rock limestone, which is not a friend to Syrah and Grenache. It makes growing any sort of yield impossible, which is bad for them but good for us! The 'soil' makes the wines dense, jammy, and stony all at the same time.
Region: Monteyroux, Languedoc
Winery Location: Saint Jean de Fos
Winemaker: Isabelle and Alain Caujolle-Gazet
Production: 2400 cases
Winery Classification: Domaine, Biodynamic
Varietals: Syrah, Grenache, Carignan
Winemaking: With the Hemera the Grenache is in stainless for 30 months. Half the Syrah is in stainless vats and the other half in oak for 30 months. At the end the wine is blended together. For the Terra Solis the Grenache is in stainless for 24 months while the Carignan ferments in oak for a year and then is transferred to stainless for the second year.
Ageing: Stainless steel
Drunk Rooster - Bourgeois Family Selections
This custom project from the Bourgeois family is aptly named after the French national emblem, Le Coq. This domaine, situated in the Languedoc region, uses sustainable farming practices and cultivates 20 year old Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Grenache vines.
Aged in stainless steel tanks and rests on its lees for 3 months 2007 Grenache
beautiful domaine of Chateau Capion, owned by the Buhrer family, is situated
in the Gassac Valley in the Languedoc region. 45 hectars of northwest facing
vineyards vineyards are organically farmed with no irrigation use.
2007 Cuvee 1C Blanc 40% Chardonnay, 40% Roussanne, 15% Viognier, and 5% Sauvignon Blanc from 20 to 25 year old vines. Aged 8 months in new and 1 year old French oak barrels
2006 Cuvee 1C Rouge 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Syrah, 20% Cabernet Franc and 15% Merlot from 25 year old vines.
Aged 14 months in French oak barrels.
Fine is the baby project from Rafael Trouiller, rising star of the Ventoux
with his garage wine Domaine de Cascavel, a small biodynamic estate making
handcrafted, tiny production Ventoux wines. The young vines grow on the terraced
hillside vineyards on the foothills of the Mont Ventoux.
2007 In Fine Blanc 80% Clairette and 20% Bourboulenc.
Aged 8 months in stainless steel.
2007 In Fine Rouge 90% Grenache and 10% syrah.
Aged 8 months in concrete tanks.
Bellegarde, nestled in the heart of Monein's steep hills, is owned by the
4th generation of the Labasse family. The vineyard covers 37 acres planted
with the two main varietals of the Jurancon AOC: Petite Manseng (60%) and
Gros Manseng (40%).
2006 Jurancon Sec 'Pierre Blanche'
20% Gros Manseng and 80% Petite Manseng
de la Tete Rouge - Bourgeois Family Selections This biodynamic estate, owned
by winemaker Guillaume Reynouard, has 32 acres of vineyards boasting the best
clayish limestone of the Saumur terroirs.
2005 Saumur Blanc 'Chapitre 9'
100% Chenin Blanc