Mourre du Tendre

Rhone, France

Château du Mourre du Tendre is located in the village of Courthézon, and makes ultra-traditional wines from the appellations of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Côtes-du-Rhône and Côte-du-Rhône Villages. The winery’s name, “Mourre du Tendre”, comes from a Provençale dialect meaning “small hill of love”. Although the proprietors, the Paumel family, have been making wine and growing grapes for generations, the current patriarch, Jacques Paumel, who took over from his father in 1962, only started to estate bottle his wines in the 1980’s. Jacques and his wife Josephine have now been joined by their next generation, Florence and Richard Paumel.

This truly unique domaine produces some of the most traditional and age-worthy renditions of Châteauneuf and Rhône wines from vineyards that abut the Châteauneuf appellation. Their estate contains a high percentage of old vines Grenache, mostly 60-100+ years of age. The vineyards are worked manually, and as naturally as possible in terms of chemical additions. Pesticides have never been used. Yields are kept extremely low.

The grapes are all harvested by hand and sorted both in the vineyard and in the cellar. The bunches are not de-stemmed, and fermentations occur naturally with indigenous yeasts and fairly long macerations. In the style of Henri Bonneau, the wines are then aged for a minimum of 3½ to 4 years in concrete tanks and old foudre, then bottled without filtration.

The style of these wines is deep, gutsy and pure. They have an endearing rusticity, but are not “sipping wines” by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, we like to say if Conterno or Roagna made Châteauneuf it would taste like this! And don’t miss the Côtes-du-Rhône and CDR Villages—they both drink more like a “Baby Châteauneuf” than a wine from their humble origins.

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