A Special Visit to Chateauneuf du PapeDomaine de la Solitude is bathed in the Rhone Valley sunshine.
Domaine de la Solitude is a very special vineyard nestled in the heart of Chateauneuf du Pape.
An opportunity too big to miss!
We love visiting wineries – it is always exciting to see where some of our favourite wines are created. Having decided to take a holiday in France this year we were presented with the wonderful opportunity of visiting Domaine de la Solitude in Chateauneuf du Pape. An opportunity we couldn’t pass up.
Bathed in sunshine and the shelter of the Rhone Valley the vineyard stretches for 35 hectares. Thirty hectares are devoted to red wine and the remaining five to white wine production. Our host Florent Lancon greeted us with his two short haired Bernese dogs and took us on a guided tour of the vineyards, the production area, wine cellar and of course the very important tasting room.
Domaine de la Solitudes’ history extends back to the Barbernini family who founded the estate in 1604. Through marriages and inheritance the modern era began in the 1970s when the Lancon family began managing the estate. Florent runs the winery today.
Walking amongst the vines
Walking through the vineyards, which grow in a terroir of sand, loam, clay and rocky soil, we discussed the types of grapes grown in the region – Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Cinsault which thrive under the local conditions. Some of the Grenache vines are more than 100 years old.
We were able to see the vines for the Chateauneuf du Pape which, are grown in very pebbled soil. Florent pointed out that this was essential to develop the extra ripeness of the grapes as the pebbled soil can retain the heat during the day and allow for restitution at night which enables the grapes to flourish – typical of Chateauneuf du Pape.
The growing season is usually six months and the grapes are normally harvested in August. Temperatures of 35 to 37 degrees are quite normal during the summer months but the extreme heat this year of 41 degrees will most certainly impact this seasons yields.
A Wine Education
Returning from the vineyards Florent explained the different stages of wine making from picking the grapes, which are partially destemmed to crushing, fermentation, ageing and bottling. Since 1985 fermentation has taken place in a combination of concrete vats and stainless steel tanks as well as French oak barrels that are in different stages of the aging process.
We toured the vast array of oak barrels in their cellars impressed by the size and the process. Florent explained that ageing the wine improves the taste and texture allowing the wine to develop. His philosophy is simple “To be a vigeneron in Chateauneuf du Pape is to celebrate our relationship with the land and share moments of grace. Our wine is a labour of love.” This we certainly experienced during our visit.
The Tasting Room
Our last stop was the tasting room, a beautiful room in the winery filled with old books on the history of the area. Our host provided us with exceptional wines to try. We sampled the Cornelia Constanza – made exclusively from a unique century old vineyard of Grenache and Cuvee Tradition mainly made from Grenache with a touch of Syrah. As a family we have various levels of knowledge but we all thoroughly enjoyed the insights from Florent. What we did agree on is that the wine travels very well having sampled it back home the taste was exactly the same as in the winey. He provided us with great details on the distinguished flavours, aromas and general characteristics of the wine.
Special thanks for Florent and the entire Domaine de la Solitude team
Domaine de la Solitude is a truly beautiful vineyard; we certainly enjoyed our visit in the gorgeous sunshine, the idyllic countryside, the ambience and of course the hospitality from Florent whose passion for the winery, the land and the tradition was captivating. We’ve created an exceptional life-long memory.
Domaine de la Solitude Wines
We stock several wines from the winery bringing the flavours of Chateauneuf du Pape to our customers. You can buy in-store or on our website.
For any wine enquiries, wine concierge service or wine tasting events: