A forward-looking traditionalist
Laurent Charvin’s vineyards are located in the unfashionable northwestern corner of Châteauneuf-du-Pape – the soil is sandy rather than rocky, the slopes face northeast, and the winds chill the vines even in summer. Consequently, most of his neighbours (and indeed his family until 1990) sell their harvest in bulk to the big negociants. But Laurent has been able to harness these seemingly less favourable conditions to great advantage, crafting perfectly-balanced wines of both astonishing power and incredible finesse. He works far more in the vineyard (certified organic, hand-harvested) than in the well-kept cellar – no destemming, no oak, no alcohol or acidity adjustments, no filtration and no prestige cuvées. All his wines display pure Grenache fruit sweetness, fine-grained tannins (from a gentle maceration and elevage) and fresh finishes with plenty of juicy acidity.