Based on 26 reviews on Cellartracker.com
Reviews 93 points Wine Advocate "The 2009 Pignan Chateauneuf du Pape is one of the strongest examples of this wine I have tasted in recent years. This medium to dark ruby-hued offering exhibits glorious, sweet notes of strawberry and black cherry jam intermixed with nori (the seaweed wrapper used in sushi restaurants), licorice, lavender and incense. Deep, full-bodied and supple textured, this 1,000-case cuvee is already irresistible. (RP)" 94 points Vinous "Vivid red. Intensely fragrant nose displays an exotic array of red fruit, incense and floral scents. Sweet raspberry and cherry flavors offer both depth and impressive energy, with silky tannins adding support. Spiciness and florality build on the long, juicy finish, which emphasizes raspberry and candied licorice. This Chateauneuf gains weight with air, but maintains freshness and clarity. (JR)"
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About Chateau Rayas
A renowned name in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Château Rayas breaks away from the norm with its exclusive sandy soil, as opposed to the galets roulés characteristic of the appellation. At the helm is Emmanuel Reynaud, grandson of the estate's founder, who meticulously manages the distinguished single vineyards — Le Couchant, Le Levant, and Le Coeur. Advocating organic practices, he predominantly cultivates Grenache, a homage to his conviction in the grape's potential despite the appellation permitting up to 13 different varietals.
The vineyards, nestled amidst pine trees, enjoy a distinctive microclimate. They are sheltered from the bracing mistral winds, resulting in a slower ripening process. Once harvested, Reynaud employs an extended fermentation process with the grapes still on their stems. The wines are then racked once into enamel cuves, aged in neutral oak casks and foudres, and ultimately bottled two years post-harvest, unfiltered and unfined, thus preserving their aromatic complexity.
Reynaud also operates Château des Tours, a family estate in Sarrians under a Côte du Rhône appellation, along with its secondary label, Domaine des Tours, a Vin de Pays de Vaucluse. These offer more accessible organic Grenache and Syrah bottlings.
Each varietal in Rayas' 13-hectare vineyard, uniquely north-facing and sans the quintessential round pebbles, undergoes separate fermentation in oak casks. Assemblage then occurs in enamel-lined tanks pre-bottling. This methodological winemaking, the estate's unusual terroir, and its secluded location near Courthézon contribute to the unique, savory, and complex signature of all Rayas wines, making them some of the most coveted in the appellation.
Château Rayas owns 23 hectares of land, 12 of which are vineyards. Apart from the exclusive sandy soils, their unique microclimate, brought about by surrounding pine and oak trees, and their northern exposure make Rayas the coolest terroir in Châteauneuf du Pape. This allows for the harvest of optimally ripe grapes while maintaining low alcohol levels, intense purity of fruit, and an elegant, silky style that truly sets Rayas apart.