Domaine Font de Courtedune – for now, at least – is something of an insider’s secret. With vineyards right next door to Ch. Rayas, and sharing the same sandy soils, this tiny Châteauneuf-du-Pape estate produces outstanding wines that are a fraction of the price of those of its famous neighbour.
The vineyards have long been owned by the Charrier family, but the fruit was sold to the local co-operative until 1997, when René Charrier established the domaine. Today his children Caroline and Frédéric are in charge.
Everything here is joyously traditional. The old vines (some of which are over 100 years old) are all farmed sustainably, with as little intervention as possible; a philosophy that follows through into the winery. Everything is whole-bunch, fermented and aged in concrete vats, with no oak to be found in the winery at all. They work almost exclusively with Grenache, with just a splash of Mourvèdre, Counoise, Cinsault and Terret Noir to add extra spice and body to the wines.
Given the similar profile, it’s unsurprising that the methods here are very much in line with the Reynaud approach – and the Font de Courtedune wines are in particular reminiscent of those of Ch. des Tours. With typical garrigue and liquorice notes, there’s a distinctive bright fruit – almost blood orange – character that shines through in these light-coloured and elegant expressions of Grenache at its finest. Just as with the other top Grenache-dominant wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, it’s essential to give them time to breathe – and they’re best enjoyed with at least a few years in bottle.
The quality at this address is already high but the wines only seem to be getting better.