In the 14th century, during their stay in Avignon, the popes built a papal castle in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Impressed by the area’s exceptional terroir surrounding the castle, Pope Jean XXII planted the first vines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape in 1320. Interestingly, the wine that gave Châteauneuf-du-Pape its original reputation was the white and not the red. The white wine was a favorite of Pope Innocent VI.
Today the castle is now a historic monument in Avignon, and the papacy is based in Rome’s Vatican City. But still today, the pope’s coat of arms remains on the bottles of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and the wines are still produced in a similar manner as when the popes first pressed their juice.
Established in the northern part of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, in the commune of Orange, the Jaume family has been dedicated to the art of wine growing since 1826. Founded by Mathieu Jaume, the Domaine is now run by the 5th and 6th generations of Jaumes: Alain Jaume & his children Christophe, Sébastien, and Hélène.
Historically, Domaine Grand Veneur was known for its white wines, until 1995 when the winery refocused their efforts on the reds. The estate now measures 225 acres and covers four appellations:
- Côtes-du-Rhône 'Les Champauvins' & Côtes-du-Rhône (Rouge, Blanc & Rosé)
The Jaume family produces wines from these appellations under the Grand Veneur, Chateau Mazane and Clos des Sixte labels. They also produce wines from the AOC's of Rasteau, Gigondas, Cairanne and Ventoux under their Alain Jaume label.
13 grape types are planted, six of which truly stand out: Black Grenache, Syrah & Mourvedre for the reds, and Clairette, Roussanne and Viognier for the whites.
Both Grand Veneur and Clos de Sixte vineyards are grown in accordance with certified organic agricultural practices. The soils are maintained exclusively by light plowing and fertilized with vegetal compost. The vines are only sprayed when there are justified risks to the health of the vines, and only organic-permitted treatments are used. Yields are low, or kept under control by green-harvesting. This method, carried out by hand in summer, provides optimum sun exposure for the best clusters and enables the winery to be selective on both quantity and quality of the grapes. Harvesting is by hand, from pruning the leaves to aerate the clusters to picking and sorting grapes and selecting only the best to press.