2018 Domaine Santa Duc Chateauneuf du Pape Les Saintes Vierges (750ml) Pre-Arrival15 2 0 0
"It's no exaggeration to say that well-traveled Benjamin Gras is crafting some of the most elegant and soulful wines in the Southern Rhône." - Joe Czerwinski (Wine Advocate)
"The young yet obviously talented Benjamin Gras continues to make an elegant, beautifully balanced style of wine from this benchmark estate in Gigondas, which now also produces a handful of terrific Châteauneuf du Pape. He’s made the most of the 2018 vintage, and these are impressive wines." -Jeb Dunnuck
Domaine Santa Duc's history stretches back to 1874. Through five generations, the Domaine's caretakers demonstrated a respect for the land, with Santa Duc ascending to prominence as a pioneer of organic viticulture in the region under the care of its indomitable vigneron, Yves Gras. The wines cultivated by Gras typify classic Gigondas—elegant, focused, polished. In his 32 years, Gras branched out to nearby Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Rasteau, creating wines of exceptional balance and quality. He seamlessly integrated fruit born from the distinct soil types into harmonious cuvées representing the Southern Rhône Valley's unique terroir. In the 2017 vintage, Gras' son, Benjamin, assumed Domaine Santa Duc's helm, making his mark immediately by introducing biodynamic farming techniques and constructing a new winemaking facility on the property. The Estate wines are Ecocert-certified organic and Demeter-certified biodynamic. He works exclusively with indigenous yeast; the wines are partially destemmed respectively of vintage and parcel and aged for 18 months in 36-hectoliter oak Stockinger foudres and 8-hectoliter terracotta amphorae. Benjamin executes with a thoughtful simplicity that leads to purity of expression in his wines.
"From the lightest, sandiest soils in the Gras Châteauneuf stable, the 2018 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Saintes Vierges is a blend of 80% Grenache, 18% Mourvèdre and 2% Counoise. Befitting its origins, it's the most perfumed of the three wines this year, with floral, rose-like notes, a veritable potpourri of spice and herb shadings and a vibrant core of red berries. It's labeled (like the others) at 14% alcohol but feels lighter on the palate, soaring in silky arches of intermingled red berries and delicate tannins, then lingering elegantly on the finish." 97 points - Joe Czerwinski (Wine Advocate, Oct. 2020)
"Perfumes of violet and rose petal linger from nose to finish in this graceful red. Made with 90% Grenache (augmented by 9% Mourvèdre and 1% Counoise), the wine is sourced from sandy soils in the lieu-dit Les Saintes Vierges. Pristine and piercing red-cherry and raspberry flavors tread softly on silk-tipped tannins. Thrilling young, the wine should hold well through 2035." 96 points / Editors' Choice - Anna Lee C. Iijima (Wine Enthusiast, May 2021)