Domaine du Pegau – Discover a Châteauneuf-du-Pape Classic
Often the most difficult aspect of visiting the vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape is knowing where to start. For where else in the world’s great wine regions can you find a concentration of grand names in an area as small in size? The village, nestled in between Avignon and Orange (and less than an hour from Aix-en-Provence), lives and breathes wine. The main street is dotted with subterranean cellars offering a tantalizing array of vintages to taste and the roads leading to and from the centre are seemingly paved in vines.
One of our most popular destinations, at Wine in Provence we have been leading tours to this fabled name in wine for more than six years now. Our little black book details the best addresses in town and the insider knowledge which guarantees the most authentic, and enjoyable, of visits.
Today we thought it time to let you into one of our best-kept secrets, Domaine du Pegau. A highlight of any Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine tour, this family-run vineyard has managed to establish itself as one of the premier names in the region whilst staying true to their traditions and roots.
The domain may have been established in 1987; however winemaking has been an integral part of the Féraud family for generations. In fact, the oldest winemaking evidence on the property dates from 1733! Today the vineyard is headed by Laurence Féraud and produces four cuvées, considered to showcase the best of traditional Châteauneuf style – full bodied, intense red wines which can cellar for up to half a decade. The estate also produces one Châteauneuf-du-Pape white wine.
Critics, like Robert Parker’s the Wine Advocate and the Wine Spectator, adore them.
We also adore Laurence, one of the most dynamic and respected wine makers in the region. When she’s not globetrotting around the world promoting her wines, she’ll come and say hi during our visit, as we learn all about the art of fine Châteauneuf-du-Pape; from the incredible 13 grape varieties permitted in the appellation, to the old vines which offer concentrated fruit of a consistently high quality.
Of their four cuvées, Cuvée Laurence and Cuvée da Capo are produced in only exceptional vintages. In fact, since the first vintage of da Capo in 1998, there have only been four more: 2000, 2003, 2007 and 2010. Each has scored some of the highest Parker points possible and 2010 received full marks, 100.
Those folk over at the Wine Advocate called the vintage “sheer perfection in a glass”. We couldn’t agree more.
Yet, as you can appreciate, with such scores come prices to match. If you can find a bottle in the US you’re looking to part with a minimum of $400. When there’s less than 700 cases made each vintage, that’s hardly a surprise.
Savvy Wine in Provence clients jump at the rare opportunity to purchase these wines direct during their visit. Like most vineyards, the cellar at Domaine de Pegau offers attractive prices on their top cuvées, made even all the more appealing when you consider that the wine’s provenance is guaranteed. There’s also no middleman to compensate or bottle shock to counter!
In the haze of rules and regulations surrounding the importing of wine into the USA, it’s also easy to forget that you’re allowed to return home with 1l of wine for personal consumption, duty free. If you’re prepared to pay a relatively small amount of duty, this allowance increases.
Wines like Domaine du Pegau’s Cuvée da Capo deserve to be cellared for a special occasion, such as an anniversary or celebratory dinner. What’s better than pulling a cork on an extraordinary bottle of wine that evokes memories of a wonderful holiday in southern France, touring some of Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s premier wine estates?