Swiftly and deservedly becoming one of the most renowned producers in the exciting region of Ventoux, Chateau Unang has been run by Scottish couple James and Joanna King since 2003. A great deal of renovating and replanting since, has turned this once neglected estate into an absolute gem. The domaine is located in a magical part of the Ventoux, sitting above the Nesque river bed and overlooking the Vaucluse plateau, where their 15ha of vines benefit from the sheltered location, altitude of between 200-320 metres above sea level, and the practically unique Sables d’Unang soils – a rare form of sand over limestone that is found nowhere else bar here and certain pockets of Gigondas. The white grapes (Roussanne, Clairette and Grenache Blanc) are all grown in the valley at the bottom of the hill, where they benefit from the cooler early morning air, staying shaded longer in the heat of summer giving the wines a delicious fresh minerality and a lively acidity for which they have become well-known. The red grapes are spread over the rest of the hill between 250 and 320 metres above sea level, divided by thick swathes of oak forest and groves of olives and cherry trees with an aspect south east. The Grenache sits at the very top and forms the basis for their top cuvée La Croix. The Syrah, which has to be protected from hungry wild boar in the last few weeks before picking, forms the basis for la Source. Since 2013 the domaine has been certified organic. The wines are made with care, attention, respect for the environment and with a gentle hand. These are thrilling, great value wines you will keep coming back to.
Mount Ventoux, the mountain that looms over the Southern Rhone and Provence, lends its name to a quite particular district located in-between these two famous wine regions. For many years, producers in the Ventoux/Cotes de Ventoux AOC passed their time in relative obscurity, selling much of their produce to co-operatives, who would blend together local expressions of Syrah, Grenache and Mouvedre to rather uninspiring effect. Now however, it seems that their time has finally come. First listed as a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 1990, attentive producers began planting vines at higher and higher altitudes, flanking the base of the mountain. This had the dual effect of mitigating hot summer temperatures through cooler nights, with the concurrent realisation that global warming might not be altogether ideal for Southern France. The soils here are diverse, but a rich mineral content marks the best examples from the region. In fact, as wine lovers the world over move away from the alcoholic fruit blockbusters that dominated the 1990s and early 2000s, and turn towards naturally low yielding, ‘couture’ wines with brighter, aromatic profiles and stone, garrigue spice and mineral inflections, it looks like the Ventoux region really is ripe for picking. We are thrilled to represent Chene Bleu, arguably the leading ‘Super-Rhone’, who hail from a protected mountainside saddle above the village of Crestet, and Chateau Unang, who are based just outside the pretty village of Malemort du Comtat. Chateau Unang is the newest addition to our portfolio and we are very excited to be working with them.