Château du Mourre du Tendre
- Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Rhône, France
For several generations the Paumel family has farmed grapes in the Rhône Valley. The current patriarch, Jacques Paumel took control of the estate in 1962 from his father, and in 1988 he and his wife Josephine decided to start estate bottling their own wines using the name of the hill on which their ancient provençale farmhouse and many of their vines are situated. Technically semi-retired, Jacques and Josephine have turned over the running of the estate to their daughter Florence and her son Paul Verité.
The Estate is 25 hectares in size with 3 ha in Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the lieu-dits of La Crau, La Guigasse and Saintes Vierges. All are sandy terroirs. The Grenache found in these sites was planted in 1929 or in 1942 while the Mourvedre is a relatively recent addition, having been planted by Jacques in 1967. They have a 1.5 hectare plot of Grenache and Mourvedre, planted on clay limestone soil and located just outside the appellation of Châteauneuf du Pape in the lieu-dit of Clos de Grenadiers. The Grenache dates to 1925 and they are the oldest vines that the family owns. In 1969 Jacques planted Mourvedre and Grenache to supplement these old vines so it now totals 7 hectares. From this site the family makes their Côtes-du-Rhône Villages. In Plan de Dieu they have a newly acquired plot of 70-90 year old Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault and Syrah grown on gravelly red clay soils. Finally there are 10 hectares of Grenache, Cinsault and Carignan, also on clay limestone soils and quite near the cellars of Mourre du Tendre. These vines are the source of their Côtes-du-Rhône.
Farming at Mourre du Tendre is minimalist and traditional. Everything is done by hand and the family has never used pesticides in their vineyards. The harvest is conducted in several passes and the grapes are carefully sorted when they reach the cellar. The Paumel family makes powerful and traditional wines and the fruit is not destemmed, fermentations occur spontaneously after a short semi-carbonic maceration, and the elevage is quite long – averaging about three years in a combination of concrete tanks and foudre. The resulting wines are charming, bold and structured with much more in common with Barolo and Barbaresco than most anything else you will find in the region. Needless to say they age beautifully and gracefully, even the Côtes-du-Rhône.
This profile and tasting notes were edited from the European Cellars website, along with the pictures used. For more information please visit: European Cellars.