Sunday, December 21, 2008
2006 Domaine Chante Cigale Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc
Domaine Chante Cigale is located in the famous Chateauneuf du Pape sub-region of the Rhone Valley. The soils of this area are a mixture of sandy clay (40%) and limestone (60%) covered with what are known in France as "galets"; round, smooth stones (almost river stones). The stones are typically quartzite and remnants of Alpine glaciers that have been smoothed over millennia by the Rhône River.
A typifying characteristic of the terroir in the Chateauneuf du Pape sub-region, "galets" fulfill a two-fold purpose in this regions. Firstly, the stones absorb heat during the day and at night slowly release this warmth which aids the ripening of the grapes. Secondly, the stones can also serve as a protective layer to help retain moisture in the soil during the dry summer months.
The domaine encompasses a total of 40 hectares of which 5 hectares are white varieties with an average age of 30 years. These 5 hectares equate to around 20,000 bottles of white wine per year. Fermentation takes place in two separate batches using the natural, or wild, yeasts. The majority (95%) was fermented at 16°C in stainless steel tanks for a period of 3-4 weeks. The remaining 5% was fermented in new barrels at 20°C for a period of 8-10 weeks. No malolactic fermentation took place in order to keep the wine fresh.
Cepage of this wine is Bourboulenc (25%), Grenache Blanc (25%), Roussanne (25%) with the remaining 25% made up of varieties native to the region such as Picpoul and Clairette. This is what I thought of it:
Straw yellow in colour with tinges of green coming through. Very fragrant and fresh on the nose with hints of apple and pear. On the palate its quite rich with plenty ripe, almost juicy fruit - pear, apple along with hints of citrus. A soft roundness probably stemming from the partial oak treatment complements the high acidity beautifully. Finishes strongly with a burst of citrus long with some mineral qualities. Really classy, well balanced wine that I really enjoyed. For me this is something that I will definitely drink again in the future.