When I first became acquainted with Saint Prefert in 2003, the notion of terroir was just an abstraction, the soil from which the vines drew their resources. I was yet to understand the structure of this soil and the importance of a sense of place.
With each succeeding year, however, the old Cinsault from the F601 block increasingly astonished me by the delicacy of their mouthfeel, the incredible freshness of their juice and the sweet aromas of garden flavours and ethereal old roses. I asked myself whether the venerable age of this Cinsault, planted in 1928, was the only explanation for the iconic expressiveness of the F601 block?
Ever since 2003, each vintage, be it one of drought and heatwave, or an exceptional and classic one, has borne witness to the unbelievable capacity of both resistance and adaptation of these 1928 Saint Préfert vines. Moreover, the specificity of their soil is expressed with an exemplary evidence.
F601 is an arid block towards the south of the estate. And its structure, from its depths to the surface, is atypical of the terroir of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Five meters down, a fine sand made of degraded quartz lends finesse to the natural tannins of our fruit. Humidity is found at around three meters, lodged in a fine layer of blue clay, a source of freshness and itself fed by the mica gravel and rolled pebbles already visible at ground level. I needed 16 years of observation and apprenticeship to find the audacity to throw away the rule book and to forge a personal relationship with this terror, guided by instinct and sensuality.
WIth the 2018 vintage, I am launching "F601" for the first time, the pure and absolute expression of the fusion between this block of land and the venerable Cinsault vines planted on it in 1928.
At this defining moment in my life, I am happy to share with you my sense of wonder in this iconic Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Welcome to "F601".