France, Rhone: Vieux Donjon Retrospective
The next generation at Vieux Donjon – Claire & François Michel
Another bastillion of traditional Châteauneuf du Pape, Vieux Donjon is owned by Lucien and Marie José Michel, with the winemaking now firmly in the hands of their talented daughter, Claire Michel. They produce a single red and white Châteauneuf du Pape, with the red always a rough blend of 75% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre and the balance a mix of other permitted varieties. They started partial destemming in 1993, pulling out the green stems and keeping the more lignified stems. Aging occurs all in concrete tanks and older foudre. This was a fabulous tasting with both Claire and her brother François, and as I hope the notes show, the wines have classic Châteauneuf du Pape character and broad drink windows.
by Claire & François Michel
The estate owns 15 hectares (37 acres) of vineyard in the southern Rhône, all of it farmed organically. These are almost exclusively planted to red varieties, including Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah and Cinsaut. Just one hectare of the vineyard is planted to the white varieties Roussanne, Grenache Blanc and Clairette for Le Vieux Donjon Blanc.