Domaine des Vigneaux

 
 

A love story in the vines…  Hélène Zarmati and Christophe Comte were teenage sweethearts when Christophe was confronted with a major decision abut his future: would he prepare to take over the family vineyard and become a winemaker, or would he follow other passions?  Spurred on by Hélène’s contagious smile, he took the plunge and more than two decade later the two of them produce a range of natural wines that are at once straight forward and elegant, crushable and delectable.


During the days of Christophe’s grandfather, the farm, located in beautiful Valvignères, raised animals and a variety of crops.  There were a few vines, but all the grapes went off to the local co-op.  When Christophe’s dad took over, he gradually increased the proportion of vines, such that when Christophe himself came on board in the mid 1990s, the two of them decided to focus exclusively on wine.  Almost all of their production was still going to local négociants, and Christophe decided the time had come to valorise their distinctive terroir in their very own wines. 


Christophe and Hélène soon shifted to organic agriculture, wanting their vineyard to embody the values of sustainability and healthiness with which they were raising their two children.  In 2008, concerned that new rules on organic agriculture were too permissive, they shifted to biodynamic viticulture and started vinifying without sulphites or any other additives.  Close your eyes, take a sip, and imagine yourself in the warm, fragrant air of the strikingly beautiful Ardèche hills. 

   

The Story

The Vintages

Dès l’aube - white, 2015


These Massal selection Viognier vines are among the domaine’s oldest, planted by Christophe’s dad over thirty years ago.  The name Dès l’aube refers to the early morning hours, when these capricious grapes are picked to avoid transporting them in the intense heat of Ardèche picking season.  They are then lovingly aged in wooden barrels that allow for a little bit of oxygen contact, producing a rich and textured wine that will match beautifully with your grilled wild Pacific salmon or your summer evening on the patio.


Syrah - 2015


A classic, straight-up Rhone Valley Syrah, beautiful in its simplicity, exciting in its vivacity.  This is Domaine des Vigneaux’s go-to wine.  Deep purple in colour, its nose evokes provencal herbs and candied fruit while in the mouth its medium body and tart finish cry out for cured meats or grilled sausage.  An instant hit at the barbecue!


Du bout des doigts - red, 2016


Pinot Noir is a very rare varietal indeed in the hot and arid Rhone Valley.  In love with Pinots from other regions, Christophe was convinced it would thrive in the rich soils and cool nights of Valvignères.  Contradicting the naysayers, he and Hélène forged ahead, and we’re glad they did!  The vines yield small and fragile clusters that require careful handling (du bout des doigts/from the tips of the fingers) and are among the first grapes they harvest at the end of each summer.  An easy-drinking and nicely structured wine, try it with rosemary-rubbed lamb chops or farm fresh goat cheese on olive oil drenched crostini.