Southern Rhone estate, Domaine de la Janasse, was originally founded in 1967 by Aimé Sabon. It wasn’t until 6 years later in 1973 that the Domaine began to bottle their own wines from their vineyards in Chateauneuf du Pape and the surrounding area. The Domaine takes its name from the northerly lieu-dit of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, La Janasse. Since 1991, the winemaking has been overseen by Aimé’s son Christophe who was subsequently joined by his sister Isabelle in 2001. The Domaine has established a reputation as one of Chateauneuf-du-Pape’s finest producers, using a blend of traditional and modern viticulture and wine making techniques to produce wines that combine the best of both approaches.
Janasse has grown over the years from an initial holding of 15 hectares to a total of 55 hectares including 15ha in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, with the remainder made up of holdings in the Cotes du Rhone Villages and Cotes du Rhone appellations as well as IGP Principaute d’Orange and Vin de France.
Their expansive land holdings are spread out over sixty different parcels, each with it’s own distinct soil type and microclimate. This broad range of sites has allowed the Domaine to research the best possible combinations of grape variety, site and wine blend. The whites and Syrah are generally planted on the north-east oriented, sandy-limestone soils which helps to preserve freshness. The later-ripening Mourvedre on the other hand is planted to the warmer clay-limestone, pebbly sites. This diversity of sites helps each variety to achieve it’s optimum potential and also contributes complexity to the final blends of each cuvée. Janasse also produce a number of single-site wines that express the unique character of their particular parcel.
Three Chateauneuf’s are regularly produced. The standard, Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Tradition is generally around 75-80% Grenache with the remainder made up primarily of Syrah, Mourvedre and a small amount of Cinsault. It is aged in large oak foudres.
The Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Chaupin is 100% Grenache from a single parcel of vines planted in 1912. It comes from a slightly cooler site that allows for an extended ripening period while retaining freshness and acidity. Chaupin is typically a very powerful wine but with a real sense of elegance.
Cuvée Vieilles Vignes comes from a selection of the estate’s oldest vines. Four parcels located in different soils are assembled to create a harmonious wine: a southern pebbly soil brings fat and power, a Chaupin-like parcel adds freshness and acidity, a red clay pebbly soil, very late picked because of its location to the north of the appellation, brings structure and body, and finally a sandy-limestone soil adds smoothness.
Alongside the Chateauneuf-du-Papes, Janasse also produce a range of other wines including a terrific-value Cotes du Rhone rouge and dry Rose, and an excellent Principaute d’Orange Viognier.