Established in the northern part of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the Jaume family has been making wine since 1826 when Mathieu Jaume started harvesting grapes. Since 1979, Alain Jaume has run the Domaine, now with the help of his two sons, Sébastien and Christophe, and daughter Helene. Vignobles Alain-Jaume continues to be one of Kysela’s top producers.
Winemaking in this region dates back to the 14th century when the papal see was moved to Avignon. A papal castle, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, was built to house seven successive popes between 1309 and 1377. 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 an historic monument in Avignon, and the papacy is based in Rome’s Vatican City. But the pope’s coat of arms displayed on the bottles of Châteauneuf-du-Pape still remains, and the wines are still more or less produced in the same manner as when the popes first pressed their juice.
The estate is located in the commune of Orange on the northern border of the southern Rhone, and consists of 90 hectares (225 acres) covering different appellations: Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Côtes-du-Rhône 'Les Champauvins' & Côtes-du-Rhône, Lirac and Vacqueyras. Estate labels include Grand Veneur, Clos de Sixte and Château Mazane. A third label is under Negociant Alain Jaume and include the following AOC's: Rasteau, Vacqueyras, Gigondas, Cairanne, Ventoux.
Production figures for the Estate label (Alain Jaume's own vineyards):
- Cotes du Rhone Champauvins: 9,000 cases
- Lirac Rouge Domaine du Clos de Sixte: 5,000 cases
- Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge Grand Veneur: 3,300 cases
- Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc Grand Veneur: 400 cases
- Chateauneuf du Pape Les Origines red: 1,700 cases
- Chateauneuf du Pape La Fontaine white: 300 cases
- Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes: 530 cases
- Vacqueyras Chateau Mazane: 1,300 cases
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.
Once grapes are hand sorted, they are immediately transferred to the cellar to be crushed, de-stemmed and cooled before being placed in vats. Following a careful maturation, the wines undergo only a light clarification to allow unique terroir characteristics of each wine to remain.
Among the 13 grapes grown on the estate properties, six stand out
The trio of Black Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre is blended to produce the range of red wines; each adding depth and character personality to the wine:
Black Grenache constitutes the backbone of the wine, bringing both suppleness and richness
Syrah intensifies the aroma, tannins and deep purple color
Mouvedre adds complexity with ripe black fruit aromas, refined tannins and greater aging potential
Red wines are aged in underground temperature controlled cellars at 59º F for 14 months. Grenache is aged in thick concrete vats to preserve the subtle aromas yet powerful flavors of the fruit. Syrah and Mouvedre are aged in French oak barrels to soften the tannins and enhance the black fruit aromas and spice finish. Stored in good condition, these red wines will benefit from longer aging, While many will show well after three years in bottle, some of the single vineyards and old vine wines may show well for 30-40 years. Natural sediments that may appear when decanting these wines is a sign of their richness and vitality
The white grape varietals are like three muses working in harmony to create classic white Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines
Clairette brings freshness and elegance, together with aromas of dried fruit and delicate floral notes
Roussanne offers headier aromas of honey, quince, and gives the wines their full-bodied character and a spicy richness on the palate
Viognier, known for its aromatic qualities, imparts subtle notes of pear and white peach and adds a delightful freshness to this delicious white wine.
"The Jaume family continues to releases a massive lineup of high quality wines from throughout the Southern Rhône. In 2013 they purchased the Chateau Mazane estate in Vacqueyras, and while a large portion of their Vacqueyras Grande Garrigue came from this estate, they now also release a 100% estate Vacqueyras Chateau Mazane that’s all from the new property. It’s a cellar selection over the Grande Garrigue and sees a slightly different élevage, but I find the quality between the two cuvees similar. The only other new change is the addition of the Le Miocène label to their traditional red and white Châteauneuf du Pape releases. Le Miocène translates to “beginning of an era”, but there is no change to the actual wine. At the end of the day, you can’t go wrong here and the portfolio is packed with both quality and value. - Jeb Dunnuck"
- Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate (Issue 221, October 2015)
"This estate, under the leadership of Sebastien and Christophe Jaume, continues to be one of the reference point producers for relatively modern styled Châteauneuf du Papes. In addition to their top tier efforts, the portfolio is loaded with smoking values at just about every price point. I've listed domaine wines under Domaine Grand Veneur, and the negociant wines under Alain Jaume, which I believe might also include some vineyards owned by the Jaume family as well. Regardless, the quality here is superb across the range. In addition, they've excelled in both 2012 and 2013. - Jeb Dunnuck"
Covering 30 acres in Chateauneuf du Pape (over 100 acres in Cotes du Rhone, Lirac, Vacqueyras and Gigondas), Domaine Grand Veneur is run by the incredibly talented Sebastien and Christophe Jaume. The style here, if looked at as a whole, is more traditional than not, with plenty of tank and stainless steel, yet their Chateauneuf du Papes are distinctly modern and spent plenty of time in small barrels. However, they never lose their Southern Rhone typicity, have gorgeous purity and also possess balanced, age-worthy profiles. These are some of the most exciting wines coming out of the region and they should not be missed! Note: the estate bottlings are released under the Domaine Grand Veneur label, and the negociant wines are released under the Alain Jaume et Fils label. The 2012 whites from the Jaume brothers are incredibly strong.
Wine Advocate (Issue #209, October 2013)
Great bargains continue to emerge from Domaine Grand Veneur as well as from their negociant arm of the business, labeled Alain Jaume
Wine Advocate (Issue #195, June 2011)
"There are few better run estates in the world than that of the Jaume Family’s Domaine Grand Veneur. Located in the northern part of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and run today by brothers Christophe and Sebastien Jaume, the estate produces a quasi-modern style of Châteauneuf-du-Pape (their Les Origins and Vieilles Vignes) as well as a growing number of negociant based wines from throughout the Southern Rhône. The 2017s whites are terrific across the board, and this vintage has produced charming, pure wines that are already drinking beautifully. The 2016 reds are some of the finest I’ve tasted from this estate."
- Jeb Dunnuck (August 2018, LE MILLÉSIME… The 2016s from the Southern Rhône - Part 1)