Producer Article

Domaine Charvin

Last edited on 12/31/2013 by Jeff Leve
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The Domaine Charvin was founded by Guillaume Charvin in 1851. 16 years later, in 1867, the entire planting area was destroyed by vine fretters. But William Charvin and other members of the family didn’t let this get them down, and replanted the soil. At this time, the family name also changed from Charavin to Charvin – due to an administrative error. The winery is situated in the northwestern part of the region next to Château Maucoil.

The family began its work with four hectares of land in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The first bottling at the winery – intended only for private consumption – took place in 1951. During the following years, most of the wine was sold to dealers. In 1990, with Laurent Charvin, the sixth generation took over the family business. During his first year, he produced some 8,000 bottles of wine. The remainder was still sold to local dealers. Since 1990, the amount of wine produced has increased each year. At the moment, the winery has 8.2 hectares of land in three different lieux-dits: Maucoil, l’Arnesque, and Cabrières, all in the northwestern part of the region. The soil there consists mainly of limestone and loam, and is more or less covered with stones. The average age of the grapevines is 45 years. Laurent Charvin loves to philosophize about nature, adjusting himself to whatever happens outside: to the weather, the soil, and the grapevines. He explains:

“I’m not sure whether the quality of the wines increases with passion; the potentials of the soil and of the grapevines are more important. You have to comprehend what you have. Besides, you should never try to copy your neighbors, because each parcel has unique material with its own DNA.”

Only a single red Châteauneuf-du-Pape is produced; it consists of 85% Grenache, 5% Syrah, 5% Mourvèdre, and 5% Vaccarèse. The wine is made in a very traditional manner. No stems are removed; after sorting, the grapes are lightly pounded and then poured into fermentation tanks made of concrete. The wine is recirculated daily during alcoholic fermentation and maceration, which last around three weeks. Laurent is no friend of excessive extraction of the wine, but rather aims at more balance, freshness, and structure in the wine. Experimentally, and always striving to maintain optimum freshness, Laurent uses concrete tanks exclusively during the ripening process lasting eighteen months. All of the wine is bottled without interruption and without filtering, in order to avoid even the slightest differences from one bottle to the next. Annual production amounts to around 30,000 bottles.

"It would be no problem for me to make two cuvées: a powerful one and a light one. But I am convinced that only a mixture of the two will make a wine the way a wine should be, and the way I like it!"
- Laurent Charvin