Domaine de la Charité, Côtes du Rhône & Villages
Christophe Coste must be the most dynamic winemaker in the newly elevated Côtes du Rhône Village of Signargues. Apart from being president of the syndicate there, he makes a range of stunningly good wines. In just ten years, Christophe has expanded the vineyard including a holding in Chateauneuf, the range has developed and includes several excellent boutique wines and everything is now recognised as fully organic. Where next? More...
Domaine de la Charité is in Saze, west of Avignon. It was founded by Christophe's grandfather in 1970 at which time there were just 5 hectares (ha) producing grapes which were sold to the local cooperative. In 1974, Christophe's father left the cooperative and built the cellars. Now, under Christophe's management, the estate has expanded to 45 ha of vines and some more with olive trees. That said, the estate is not growing too quickly: Christophe is keen not to let anything get out of his control.
In 1998, his first
vintage after completing his degree in oenology, Christophe
produced excellent Côtes du Rhône and Villages wines but his follow-up
vintage in 1999 surpassed the high standard he set himself gaining him
de Coeur" in the Guide Hachette. The 2000 was another great
success, earning him another exceptional citation. He has
continued this trend with citations in every edition of the guide
since then. Christophe is determined to respect the land and joined
a grower's organisation whose members agree to follow organic
principles (usually they are too small-scale to go for Ecocert status)
early on. However, from 2009, the estate and its wines began the
formal conversion process to Ecocert.
He has continued this trend with citations in every edition of the guide since then. Christophe is determined to respect the land and joined Terra Vitis, a grower's organisation whose members agree to follow organic principles (usually they are too small-scale to go for Ecocert status) early on. However, from 2009, the estate and its wines began the formal conversion process to Ecocert.
Whilst the Côtes du Rhône is Christophe's main production, the family also has vines in the Villages appellation from which he makes the excellent. oak-aged "Cayenne". However, Christophe is always looking for new challenges and, following a very successful vintage in 2004, he set aside some of the best Syrah which was aged in new oak for two years and bottled with the name "Ombres". This is a tour de force to rival good ripe Northern Rhône wines or the best cool climate Shiraz from Australia.
If this wasn't enough, in 2008, Christophe purchased a single hectare plot of old-vine Grenache in Chateauneuf-du-Pape. An early barrel sample (the wine is raised in second year barrels), showed immense promise. The bottled wine is even better - see here.
Christophe was the first winemaker in the Rhône Valley to use a sorting machine which sorts the grapes according to potential alcohol so that grapes with a potential of more than a chosen alcohol degree (eg.14%) can be fermented in one tank whilst grapes with lower sugars go to a different tank. This way the best part of the harvest goes through a longer maceration period.
Fermentation takes place in steel tanks
which are mounted horizontally and
rotate gently on a central axis to assist in mixing the skins
throughout the fermenting mass.
You must be aged 18 or over to purchase wine.