Monday, 24 May 2010

Organic wine from Domaine de Cristia

Domaine de Cristia has gone entirely organic - almost!

There are some new vineyards which are "in conversion" (it takes three years of bureaucracy to gain Ecocert status) including the plot of old-vine Grenache that goes into the incredible Vieilles Vignes Grenache, a vin de pays, that would put many Chateauneufs to shame. This wine was first produced in 2009 from 60-year-old vines so, when I tasted it only four days after the bottling, the grapes had only been off the vine for around six months. Quite incredible.

There are two other notable exceptions to the organic range from Cristia: the Cristia Collection range of negociant wines which are adequate but not in the same league as the estate wines and, more lamentably, the red Chateauneuf itself. The failure of this wine to be classed as organic is purely down to bureaucracy: when Dominique and Baptiste applied to Ecocert, they had to provide all the plot numbers they wished to convert to organic status. They asked their dad to help identify all the relevant plots and, by oversight, the Mourvedre in their Chateauneuf vineyards was omitted. This means that any CDP wine containing Mourvedre cannot - yet - be Ecocert (indeed, official conversion for this started only when they realised this early in 2009) so the 2008 is not organic. 2009, however, will be as all the Mourvedre will go into the "Renaissance" wine. The 2009 Vieilles Vignes (CDP) will also be organic. 2010 and 2011 may revert back to non-organic, of course, depending on whether or not there are multiple cuvees. Confused?

One estate wine that is Ecocert is the VDP Grenache (not the same cuvee as the Vieilles Vignes VDP Grenache - now, come on, you must admit this is confusing: the only way to work it out properly is to buy a mixed case and see which bottles go where in the jigsaw!) which I will be opening this evening. When last tasted, the fruit was surprisingly deep for such a nominally simple wine. The only downside was that, three days after bottling, there was still quite a lot of residual carbon dioxide from the bottling. Fingers crossed that has gone now!


  1. My case has arrived - will report shortly. Seems odd trying a 2009!

    Tim D

  2. Hi Tim

    Bearing in mind that I am writing this a week or so after your post and you called me last night to tell me how impressed you are with these wines, just think what the rest of the vintage is going to be like!