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Domaine des Espiers

To Wines

Livingstone-Learmonth: “Switched-on owner... great fruit in Côtes du Rhône”

Rhone Report: “The 2010 Domaine des Espiers Gigondas shows great aromatics, a medium+ bodied, elegant mouth feel, racy acidity, and a chewy, lengthy finish. Impressive for both its complexity and its purity of fruit, this should drink well for 8-10 years. (90-93 pts.)

Listed at Ducasse Jules Verne and others, Gagnaire, and Robuchon.
Southern Rhône, France
Owner / Winemaker:
Philippe Cartoux
Size, Total Production:
11 ha, 50,000 bottles
Dry, Mediterranean with Mistral wind
Limestone and clay, much stony topsoil
Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Clairette, Roussanne, Viognier
Organic Status:
This very small estate’s wines are characterised by their distinctive combination of aromatic richness, freshness and supple structure, which makes them so pleasurable to drink when young, while keeping a strong sense of place - and they do age very nicely, too.

Owner Philippe Cartoux, a tall, handsome, energetic man married to the beautiful owner of Vacqueyras estate Montvac, founded the estate in 1989 in his early 20s. Though born in Gigondas, his family didn’t own vines, but making great wine was all he wanted to do, so little by little he bought and rented parcels of the best-sited vines he could find. 20 years on, Espiers is one of the leading estates, making some of the most stylish wines in the Rhône.

Cartoux works the vineyards organically and considers that any extra effort and expense - if indeed any - of this approach is rewarded by tasting the freshness and purity of fruit. And he’s unusual in that he plants new vines at a far greater density than normal for the southern Rhône (5,400 vines per hectare as opposed to the normal 3,500) to obtain the permitted yield with fewer bunches per vine, which gives more aromatic richness. And his wines are consequently perfumed and floral, cool, and smooth.
In the cellar, Cartoux blends old and new methods. He destems partly and only when he feels it is required, he favours a pre-fermentation cold maceration for perfume, uses natural yeasts, no additives and very low levels of SO2. And he likes to use a good proportion of super-ripe Syrah for aroma and acidity. His wines are fantastic value, and also tend to change people’s view of this region, when that image, somewhat outdated, was of heavy, spicy, dusty wines.

Wines from Espiers

Espiers Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2014

Clairette 60%, Roussanne 40%
One of our favourite winemakers of Gigondas and Côtes du Rhône, Philippe Cartoux, makes just 2,000 litres of a delicious white by using two complementary grapes: the Clairette gives freshness and finesse and the Roussanne gives fruit and fat. The wine is fermented and aged in old barriques with the malo allowed to add complexity and depth as well as softness. As with Espiers reds, this white offers aromatic richness with a refreshing drinkability at the same time.
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Retail Price: ¥3,456
Availability: Sold Out

Espiers Côtes du Rhône 2014

Grenache 70%, Syrah 15%, Mourvèdre 15%
Outstanding fruit purity, freshness and elegance. Organic. Made traditionally, very gently. Great value. A personal favourite! Listed at Ducasse, Robuchon & Gagnaire in France.
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Retail Price: ¥2,700
Availability: Sold Out

Espiers Gigondas 2013

Grenache 65%, Syrah 35%
A difficult year produced some deliciously drinkable and juicy wines. This, our usual favourite Gigondas, made from organic, hillside vines, has just 13.64% alcohol (and a modest 43 mg/L SO2 Tot) but still offers fantastically rich and complex classic Gigondas fruit. As usual the tannins are velvet, the acidity gentle but very present. Made simply using wild yeasts in concrete with 30% seeing some oak. Very limited production.
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Retail Price: ¥5,292
Availability: Sold Out