Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, etc.
Bois de la Ville, Les Grandes Serres, and La Crau
The Royer family has been growing grapes in the southern part of Chateauneuf du Pape since the 1800s. But when Jean-Marie’s father died at age 38 (Jean-Marie was only 2 years old), his mother, with no one to manage the estate, decided to lease the vineyards in order t have a steady income. In 1982, at age 18, Jean-Marie decided to study oenology. He says there wasn’t any one thing that inspired him to study viticulture and winemaking. “When you are 18, you are more interested in chicks or rugby, but I had to work. Around here, summer work is in the vineyards.”
In 1986 he begin to take back the land the family had rented out, and to buy parcels. Today Royer has about 12 hectares of vines in the prestigious areas of Bois de la Ville, Les Grandes Serres, and La Crau located next to Rayas. He is friends with Philippe Cambie, renowned oenologist in Châteauneuf du Pape and has worked with him since 2000. It was then that he began to keep parcels and varieties separate during fermentation.
Today, Jean Marie has 12 hectares of vines, mostly in the southern portion of Châteauneuf-du-Pape along with some Côtes du Rhône and Vin de Table. While he picks late to get good maturity to keep balance and freshness in the wines, he keeps the tanks cold to start and slowly lets them warm up. The fermentation is long and slow. Royer comments “Elegance and finesse, rather than opulence, is what I want.”
Josh Raynolds agrees. He describes Royers wines as “always among the most elegant examples of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, regardless of vintage…These are Châteauneufs for Burgundy lovers and, in fact, I have fooled more than a few avid Burgophiles with cooler vintage Royers like the ‘04s, 06s and ‘08s over the last few years into thinking that they were drinking Pinot Noir, such is the vibrant red fruit character and florality of those bottlings.”
In another review of Royer’s wines, Josh wrote, “Wine lovers who decry what they perceive to be a movement toward “modern” rich and weighty wines in the region are enthusiastically advised to check out these wines, which also offer superb bang for the buck. There’s more than a passing resemblance to Burgundy here, and really good Burgundy at that.”