In June 1970 Nicole and Bernard Chave buy a small property, consisting of 4 hectares in the village of Mercurol, in the Drame; 1 hectare is planted with Crozes Hermitage vines and the rest is orchards: cherries, apricots, pears and apples. From 1972 and over a number of years they add to the property, and plant new plots either with vines or fruit trees. By 1994 they own almost 16 hectares, including 1 hectare of Hermitage, 6,5 hectares of Crozes Hermitage and 8,5 hectares of orchards. From 1970 to 1973 they sell their grapes through a negociant, and in 1973 they produce their first tank of wine. In 1974 they join the Tain 'Hermitage cooperative winery until 1978, but in 1979 they decide to create their own winery. In 1983 they build an underground cellar. At this stage the production is sold to negociants and to private buyers, both in bottle and in bulk. In 1996, after finishing his studies and military obligations, their son, Yann, officially integrates the family business, and works alongside his parents on the vineyards and in winemaking. He restructures the vineyard, putting quality first. Yann is given the opportunity to rent 5 more hectares of vines, and plants new vineyard plots. The property continues to grow, and by Vintage_2007 there are some 20 hectares of vines, all the orchards having been replaced. In 2003 Yann creates a new winery. Today, the vast majority of the production is sold in bottle. Depending on the year, export represents about 60% of sales (Europe, America, Asia, Australasia), the rest being sold in France: retailers, restaurants (amongst which are Bocuse, Ducasse, Troisgros, Marcon, Pic, Chabran, T'tedoie, Les Cedres, etc) _ none is sold in supermarkets.
The traditional cuvee is produced from vines grown on the village terroirs: Mercurol, & La Roche de Glun. There are several plots planted at different times, but the average age of vines is 20 years. The varietal is exclusively Syrah. Leaves are trimmed around the fruit for optimal exposure to sunlight, and grapes are harvested by hand. As with our white wines, we do not use industrial yeasts.
Grapes are de-stemmed, and we allow the vinification temperature to warm up gradually from 20C to 30C, which we maintain, to achieve optimal extraction. Vatting lasts 3 weeks on average, pumping over twice a day, and we always try to wet the whole surface of the cap. Ageing is in tank to preserve the fruit character, without the addition of oak.
Intense colour, of purple and deep ruby, and the nose is fresh and suave. On the palate, there is balance with concentrated but fine tannins, and good length.