Château de Nalys
Saintes Pierres de Nalys Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2018
Translated as “holy stones”, a play on the soils and history of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the second red wine to Château de Nalys is an altogether different animal. Differing varietal and plot selections, fermentation, and aging result in a wine that is rich and ample, yet offers immense direct and approachable pleasure; a wine of red fruits, supple structure and brightness.
In comparison to the Grand Vin, this wine relies both on varieties and plots that bring freshness, and a vinfication entirely in stainless steel and foudres that emphasizes that freshness.
The composition is 33% from the Nalys vineyard, 34% from La Crau, and 33% from Bois Senechal, from vines averaging 45 years of age, with the typically low yields of Châteauneuf-du-Pape of 35 hl/ha. The varietal composition is 69% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 5% Cinsault, 4% Muscardin, 1% Counoise, and 1% Mourvedre. All 13 permitted Châteaneuf grapes are planted on all 3 vineyard plots at Nalys.
Surrounding the estate, the “Nalys” vineyard has very fine soils that create supple wines that are extremely silky and retain freshness. These are some of the oldest soils in Châteauneuf, underlying many of the other soil compositions in the appellation, made up of red sandstone, a sandy clay soil, and covered limestone with some soft sandstone at the vineyard edges. This plot is directly adjoining – over the hill – from Rayas, the great example of finesse in Châteaneuf. Official lieu-dit in land registries is “Grande Pierre”.
Vineyard: La Crau
“La Crau” is arguably the single greatest vineyard in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and Nalys has 38 acres located as a single center-north block. It is famous specifically for structured, complex and intensely expressive wines. Naly’s holdings are the highest elevation of the Crau plateau and bordering forest they own, providing slightly cooler temperatures and ideal drainage – the sweet spot. The soils are made up of the famous galets: large round pebbles derived from the Rhône river. Direct neighbors are Henri Bonneau, La Janasse (used for their Vieilles Vignes), and other leading properties.
Vineyard: Bois Senechal
Adjoining La Crau, Nalys is the sole owner of the top of the plateau. Like La Crau, containing galets, though slightly smaller stones, and sandier soil composition; the wines are slightly less structured, more evenly composed. The site of their best Mourvedre plot, Bois Senechal also has fairly unique terraced vines in rows sloping back to the winery. Neighbors are further below the plateau, Mont Olivet, Domaine de la Solitude. Official lieu-dit is “Bois Seneseau”.
Manual harvesting and sorting was followed by vinification and 18 months of aging in stainless steel and foudres (10%).
Following the drought-affected 2017 vintage, 2018 continued the same pattern, with only modest spring rainfall before a relatively hot and humid summer. Disease pressure affected the size of the crop and caused uneven ripening in some areas. Because of these issues, the 2018 harvest at Château Nalys progressed over 5 full weeks in September and October in order to insure proper physiological maturity throughout the entire crop. As was the case in 2017, the crop was very small, and production was only about 50% of normal for the reds, and only 25% of normal for the white wines. Fortunately, the quality of the fruit was extraordinary, resulting in wines with great structure and concentration, supported by fresh acidities. A difficult vintage but an exceptional result in Châteauneuf du Pape.
Deep, dark and profound red. An elegant nose, open with notes of red fruits. The palate is ample and supple, with tannins keeping a lovely frame. Overall, a rich wine, balanced between richness and freshness.
Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvedre, Muscardin, Syrah, Vacarese
Vineyards are farmed organically, awaiting certification.
Suggested Retail Price
Wine Enthusiast - August 11, 2021
"Matured primarily in stainless steel, this fresh-fruited red is packed with summer-sweet blackberry and plum goodness edged by salty, smoky minerality. A Grenache-dominant blend sourced from each of de Nalys' three plots, it's an immediate and hedonistic yet soulful wine." - A.I
Wine Advocate - June 21, 2022
"Yields at Nalys were down by 60%, but the 2018 Chateauneuf du Pape Saintes Pierres is a solid effort, offering up slightly herbal and strawberry notes on the nose. Medium to full-bodied, it's on the crisp side but fruit-forward and relatively supple." J.C
Wine Spectator - June 21, 2022
"A silky yet rich and persistent offering, with leading red tea notes, mulled cherry and raspberry fruit at the core and a long, subtle mineral edge curling around the perfumed finish. Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Muscardin, Counoise and Mourvèdre." J.M
James Suckling - September 2, 2022
"Aromas of blackberry, gravel, fresh mint and plum. Medium-bodied with lovely juicy fruit. Silky tannins. A bit smoky but with fresh black fruit and berries. Earthy, but the fruit is very transparent and clear. 69% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 5% Cinsault, 4% Muscardin, 1% Counoise, 1% Mourvedre." J.S 8/22
More on Saintes Pierres de Nalys Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2018
October 20, 2021 - Wine Spectator's Senior Editor James Molesworth highlighted some of the most exciting new Châteauneuf-du-Pape releases, including Château de Nalys Châteauneuf-du-Pape Grand Vin Blanc 2019 (93pts) and Saintes Pierres de Nalys Rouge…
Added August 11, 2021 -
Other Wines by this Producer
The second white wine to the Chateau de Nalys Grand Vin Blanc has a character all its own, with a strongly different varietal and plot composition, and like its red Saintes Pierres counterpart, a fermentation, and aging geared towards emphasizing freshness. The hallmark seamlessness of Guigal’s white wines is especially evident in this wine, which is unlike any Chateauneuf white we have experienced in its grace and lift.
Guigal’s mastery of growing and producing white wine varieties in the Rhone Valley is exemplified in this wine of immense breadth and power, elegance and expression. Intensely aromatic nose of white flowers, citrus and a touch of vanilla, on the palate the presence is undeniably penetrating, with a deep minerality joining the notes above.
The realization of the Guigal family’s dream of Chateauneuf-du-Pape: 3 extraordinary vineyards coming together in an intensely expressive, utterly complete wine. It defines the estate style with a precision of fruit, spice and mineral structures and, notably, a beautifully composed structure that builds and unfolds.