- Cairanne, Rhône, France
L'Ameillaud is a family-owned winery situated in Cairanne, in the province of Vaucluse. The property dates back to the end of the 18th century but was purchased in 1983 by an expat Englishman, Nick Thompson, with his wife, Sabine. Today the domaine covers a total surface area of 140 acres (55 hectares), of which 90 acres lie in the AOC zone, producing Côtes-du-Rhône Villages Cairanne and generic Côtes-du-Rhône. The remaining 50 acres are reserved for Vin de Pays production.
Over the years, the vineyard has been progressively replanted and today, 8 varieties in all have been selected, essentially for the production of red wines and adapted to the varying soil-types on the estate. The blending of these different varieties, both during and after vinification, plays an essential role maintaining both regularity and the high quality of the wines produced on the property. The winery, offering a total capacity for fermentation and storage of over 7000 hectoliters, is fitted with modern winemaking equipment and treats some 400 tons of grapes per harvest. Grapes are, for the most part, de-stemmed before a traditional fermentation process lasting between seven days and three weeks, depending on the varieties picked and the qualities produced. After malolactic fermentation, the wines are fined and filtered during the winter and aged in traditional cement vats and stainless-steel tanks before bottling. If one was to describe quite simply the style of wines produced at the Ameillaud, there are probably three key words: maturity, generosity and balance.