Jacqueline and Pierre Andre in their cave. Courthézon, France

Purity and poise: the biodynamic Châteauneuf-du-Pape of Domaine Pierre André

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Jacqueline André presides over the non-interventionist legacy of her father Pierre in the village of Courthézon, where the Andrés have worked biodynamically “depuis toujours” to translate their quartzite/clay/limestone terroir and 15 hectares of old vines (some up to 160 years old) into the most harmonious and affordable Châteauneuf-du-Papes on the market.

Jacqueline’s wines are exalted by their elegant translations of vintage, putting to rest the notion that wines have to suffer from “bad” vintages or wait to triumph in “good” ones. On a recent visit to the domaine, we tasted reds from 2004 to 2010 as well as the captivating 2011 blanc. Dilute and dainty vintages sprang defiantly from the glass; hotter, riper years were expressed through self-assured potency and dark, soil-y depth without sacrificing a shade of balance or precision. To work traditionally and express terroir is laudable enough to stand apart in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. André’s wines transcend this category by magnifying the virtues of their respective vintages without ever obscuring the expression of terroir. If pressed to identify a common thread it would be this: within each bottle lies everything necessary to understand and appreciate its vintage.

The only filter at the domaine: asperge sauvage to catch the pips and skins.

The domaine was Demeter certified in 1992 and received organic certification in 1980 (the first in the region). The vineyards have never been subjected to chemical désherbage, to which Jacqueline attributes the vines’ ability to root deeper and achieve enhanced sustenance. You will not find a destemmer in her cave. Fermentations are always whole cluster and the wines are never filtered. How is she able to maintain acidity and balance in extremely ripe years? “L’équilibre dans les raisins.” Internal balance of the grape is something that biodynamic growers speak of often. The objectives of resilience and harmony among all elements of the environment are evidenced in the equilibrium of vines, bunches, and individual grapes. André’s wines possess an inner strength and beauty exactly proportional to that of her vines. -AR

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Pierre Andre 2011 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc

This is young Rhône white at its most arresting and balanced. Much like Jacqueline Andre's reds, the 2011 blanc possesses a serene strength that grounds the alcohol and attitude of these varieties with finesse. Aromas of Granny Smith apple and dill fronds, with dried apple, green almond, Asian pear, cool raw fennel and a sprinkle of sweet cinnamon on the palate. 40% Clairette, 30% Bourboulenc, 20% Roussanne, 10% Grenache blanc. Delicious now, this will develop nicely over the next ten years. -AR

 

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $52.99

Pierre André 2009 Châteauneuf-du-Pape

2009 Pierre Andre is a triumph of breadth over brawn. Aromas of cedar, cinnamon, cassis and clove on a light caramel cloud. Stately tannins, roundly dispersed, envelope a palate of sweet purple plums, warm blood orange, extra ripe raspberries, and brambly boysenberry with a shake of fresh black pepper.  A sultry puff of cigar smoke follows on the finish. An open bottle of this wine drank beautifully over 9 days with no sign of fatigue... A valedictorian quarterback! 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 8% Mourvedre, 2% Muscardin/ Counoise/ Picpoul/ Vaccarese. Domaine Pierre Andre has been farmed organically since 1980, Biodynamic since 1992. -AR

 

  • Out of Stock
  • red
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  • $64.99

  • Biodynamic