“The talented team of sisters Sophie and Catherine Armenier are gracefully carrying on the heritage of the Armenier family, which has been making Châteauneuf du Pape for only 700 years!... [the Vieilles Vignes] can be one of the greatest wines made in the world (the 1998 and 2000 for example), if not the single most phenomenal wine in Châteauneuf du Pape. The regular cuvee of Marcoux is no wimpy wine either. In top vintages, it is a powerful Châteauneuf du Pape that is given the same élevage and…is bottled without fining or filtration.” Robert Parker, The World's Greatest Wine Estates.
Lucidity and balance aren’t words you often find yourself thinking when drinking from Châteauneuf’s loving cup. This is a highly sought-after biodynamic producer of Chateauneuf du Pape. These are wonderfully pure, refined and textured Chateauneuf that reflect the vintage in which they are produced. The “classique” is a brilliant Chateauneuf; rich and textured yet with the minerality and refinement that we rarely find in this region. For those who love the depth, power and longevity of old vine, low-yielding Chateauneuf, yet crave more elegance, these are wines to squirrel away in the cellar for special occasions in the future. The 'Vieilles Vignes' is simply one of the great wines of France – ultra powerful, layered and complex, it is a wine that will live and develop for decades. While this latter wine is all about the power and hedonism that ancient vines and their tiny yields generate in this part of the world, it is still nonetheless an incredibly complex and somehow balanced wine, despite its impossible concentration and ripeness.
In the winery the Armenier sisters meddle as little with the natural process as possible. With such pure and balanced ingredients, they don’t need to. They firmly subscribe to the fruit-equals-terroir school of thought so if you want a pristine taste of Châteauneuf terroir, then look no further. This is a timeless Estate whose delectable wines capture in Tanzer’s words, “...the essence of Chateauneuf du Pape”.
Marcoux has 17.5 hectares of vineyards dotted around the appellation and is therefore blessed with a cross section of Châteauneuf terroir, from the iconic large round smooth stone soils, to sand, gravel and even limestone. The average vine age is about 50 years, with their crown jewel being 5.5ha of gnarled, century-old Grenache rising up from a white sea of galet roulé, on the Charbonnière plateau near Crau. Their winemaking principles can be described by quoting Sophie Armenier; “We interfere with the vinification as little as possible. We don’t do any pigeage to get color, because we just don’t want to get in the way of the fruit.”