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Domaine de Marcoux

Sisters Sophie and Catherine Armenier are the current custodians of a family history of more than 700 years (since 1344 in fact) of owning vineyards and making wine in Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

Today, with 30 hectares of vines, including 17 in Chateauneuf itself, Marcoux is run entirely organically (since 1991) with an emphasis or ambition for elegance, notwithstanding the natural high alcohol inherent to the region.  They wish to allow the fruit to fully express the site upon which it's grown, minimising the influence of the winemaker.  Marcoux's vineyards are about 80% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre, 5% Cinsault and 5% Syrah, with the regular cuvee generally reflecting this mix.  The deluxe cuvee, 'Vieilles Vignes', which is only produced in exceptional vintages, comes from a small parcel of 100 to 110 year-old Grenache vines (say 98%), with a tiny amount of Cinsault and some white varieties co-planted.

Do not think that whilst the Marcoux wines are in the elegance and finesse end of the Chateauneuf spectrum that they do not possess ample power and richness.  It's just that they do not seek to overwhelm with super-ripe fruit, excessive alcohol and over-the-top oak treatment.

At vintage the grapes are 100% de-stemmed and partially crushed before being vinified separately by variety.  Fermentations take place in concrete tanks for around three weeks, and there is an emphasis on avoiding over-extraction.  Once malolactic fermentations are complete, the wines continue their elevage in a mix of concrete tank, stainless steel tanks, old foudres and a small quantity of barriques.  Marcoux began estate-bottling in 1978, and the wine is blended prior to bottling lightly fined and unfiltered.

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