Chapelle St Théodoric is something of a “What if?” wine. What if you took some land adjoining Chateau Rayas, planted with 100% old vine low-yielding Grenache and then employed full bunch fermentation in old cement tanks followed by a long elevage in large, old barrels? What would the result be? These two utterly compelling wines are the answer; light in colour but hauntingly beautiful in character.
The cognoscenti will tell you it’s a question of terroir, “no one has soils like Rayas” they say…well almost no one
Having walked the St Théodoric vineyards it’s clear that both Guigasse and Grand Pin are two remarkable terroirs, the latter actually abuts the vineyards of Rayas on the Pignan plateau. The soil (if you can even call it that) is pure sand, strewn with the odd galets. The vines are farmed organically with a practical nod to biodynamics. Surprisingly, as the wines are so fresh, the harvest is very late (like Rayas), the sand and perhaps the northerly sector in which the vines are situated means full ripeness is achieved much later than in much of the region. Maturity is key because only whole bunches are fermented (stems and all) to encourage freshness and complexity. Indeed there is a wonderfully ethereal quality to the St Théo wines which one so rarely encounters this far south.