- Tasting Notes & Technical Details
Jean-Louis Descours fell in love with Château La Verrerie in 1981, when he was looking for a project to occupy him after retirement. As a result, Jean-Louis purchased the 20 hectare estate and, with the help of his son Gérard, brought it back to life. They constructed a new winery and acquired more vineyards with the sole ambition to make great wine. Their first vintage was released in 1985. Today, Christopher, the grandson of Jean-Louis and owner of Charles Heidsieck, Piper-Heidsieck and Biondi-Santi, runs the estate.
Château La Verrerie is located in the Luberon appellation. The domaine has 48 hectares of vineyard, 70% of which is dedicated to red wine production with the remainder split between rosé and white wine. For the reds, 50% of the plantings are Grenache, 40% Syrah and 10% Cinsault and Carignan. Seven hectares are dedicated to Roussanne, Clairette, Grenache Blanc and Bourboulenc. The vineyards are farmed organically and the wines have been certified organic since the 2013 vintage.
The Luberon Rouge is first sorted by bunch before being fully destemmed, then sorted again by berry before undergoing fermentation in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. The wines are then aged in large, old oak casks (25 and 50 hectolitres). It is a Syrah-dominant blend of 74% Syrah, 22% Grenache and 4%Carignan, with a wonderfully concentrated palate that shows notes of black cherry fruits and a touch of liquorice. The Luberon Rosé is made using the saignée method from 70% Grenache Noir and 30% Cinsault. It is aged on its lees for a period of three to six months, adding texture and freshness to the finished wine. It is identical to the Provençal style, pale in colour, clean and perfumed, with crisp acidity and a scented finish.
The Hautes Collines Blanc is a blend of Bourboulenc, Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Roussanne and Viognier. Each variety is fermented separately, with a part in casks, and aged on the lees for four months to reveal aromatic complexity and structure on the palate. The Hautes Collines Rouge is a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan, undergoing a cold maceration for five days before fermentation. With flavours of blood orange and sweet liquorice, this is a typical southern Grenache with a beautiful balance and silky texture. The Viognier is characterised by layers of fresh stone fruits and delicate floral bouquet with a well-structured palate and a saline finish.
The estate has 56 hectares of vineyard and of the red varieties planted, half of the plantings are Grenache, 30% Syrah and the remaining 20% made up of Cinsault, Carignan and Mourvedre. Certified organic since the 2013 vintage, winemaker Valentine has also introduced biodynamic practices across various parcels. The diverse soils are predominantly clay and limestone, which lend both power and freshness to the finished wine. The name 'Hautes Collines' means 'high hills' and reflects the surrounding landscape of the estate.
The 2017 vintage started with a mild winter followed by lower than average spring temperatures and some heavy rain during the flowering season, which led to a reduction in yield. By mid-June, the weather improved with a long and hot summer and a severe drought, particularly in August, which reduced yields further. The harvest took place under healthy conditions and cooler temperatures. A lower yield meant the grapes had high levels of concentration. 2017 was Valentine's first vintage at the estate.
Grapes were harvested at night to preserve the freshness and vibrancy of the grapes. They were then carefully sorted at the winery first by entire bunch and then by berry after full de-stemming. The grapes were crushed before starting the temperature-controlled fermentation in stainless steel tanks for 20 to 25 days. Each varietal was kept separate and aged in a combination of concrete tanks and used oak casks.
The wine is a bright and clear garnet, with elegant blood orange and herbal aromas. The palate is round with velvety tannins and notes of vibrant black fruit and liquorice, balanced by bright acidity.