This is arguably the top estate in our Portfolio. Domaine de la Mordorée (woodcock), located in the town of Tavel, in the Southern Rhône Valley, is the most consistent producer of top quality wine in the Kysela portfolio.
In 1986, the brothers Christophe and Fabrice Delorme, along with their father Francis, decided to dedicate themselves to their passion for wine. They bought an estate in Tavel with the goal of producing the best wines in each appellation while preserving the environment. Within a decade, they had achieved that goal, and continued getting better and better each year. Domaine de la Mordoree produces some of the best wines, and they have selected and maintained some of the finest terroirs. Their Châteauneuf-du-Papes, Lirac Reds & Whites, and Tavel Rosés are amidst the most highly rated of the region.
Unfortunately, in 2015, the remarkably talented Christophe passed away at the age of 52.
Among Christophe's fans was Robert Parker Jr. of The Wine Advocate, who pinned Mordorée as "one of the world’s greatest wine estates". In a 2007 issue of the Wine Advocate, Parker said:
"With 135 acres spread throughout some of the most impressive appellations of the southern Rhône, Christophe Delorme and his brother...have done nothing but produce one exquisite wine after another. Of course, the top cuvees of Châteauneuf-du-Pape are rare and expensive, but this is a place to find terrific Cotes du Rhones and Liracs as well. Delorme is equally adept at dry whites as well as reds, and turns out some stunning roses both under the Cotes du Rhône and Tavel appellations..."
Another long-time supporter & admirer of Christophe & his work is our own Fran Kysela. When he learned of Christophe's passing, Fran offered this tribute:
"I worked with this man for 21 years. I met Christophe in the winter of 1994, when the “dog meat” vintage of 1992 was being sold. I tasted the wines and was stunned on how good they for that year/vintage; a vintage that rated 2 out of 10. Immediately we connected, and the connection lived on for years.
Christophe was an unabashed supporter of KPF, and he helped us add other top quality producers to our portfolio (Château de Ségriès and Jerome Bressy, Gourt de Mautens to name a few). Even though he was one of the one or two top winemakers in the Rhône Valley, he constantly promoted other estates in the Rhone. For 21 years he routinely promoted KPF to any and all wine producers in France, and he acted as our champion and credit reference. He will be sorely missed, and he was truly loved by all. As they say...they don’t make many men like him..."
Christophe’s legacy and his talent live on through his daughter Ambre, as well as a talented team at Domaine de la Mordoree that includes winemaker Remy Chauvet, who worked as Christophe’s cellar manager. Last year, Jeb Dunnuck praised the estate for the quality of their first vintage without Christophe, saying the Domaine was “obviously still in incredibly capable hands.”
The vineyard consists of 55 hectares (135 acres), on 38 different parcels, which provide with a rich, wide range of soils and climates. The soil is a mix of clay, chalk and sand with pebble stones.
The soils are the result of millions of years of plate tectonics, climate changes, the growth and melting of glaciers, submersion by seas, lakes or huge rivers. All those events contributed to the formation of successive layers, the vineyards striking their roots only in the last top meters.
TAVEL - Domaine de la Mordoree's vineyards are located on the Vallongue plateau, in the villages of Palai, Roquanaute and Romagnac. They are planted with 60% Black Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, Syrah and Cinsault, 5% Bourboulenc and White Clairette.
CHATEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE - vineyards are located in the villages of La Crau, la Nerthe, Cabrières, Le Bois de la Ville.
They are planted with 70% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, 5% Cinsault, 5% Counoise, 5% Syrah, 5% Vaccarese.
LIRAC - vineyards are located mainly in the plateaus of Lirac and Tavel, Les Baumes, as well as an area called Les Châtaigniers, meaning the chestnut trees, which are quite unusual in those areas.
COTES-DU-RHONE - soils are made up mainly of pebbles, clay, stones, broken-stone deposits.
CONDRIEU - vineyards lie on the eastern slopes of the Massif Central. A single variety wine - Viognier. The appellation is named after the commune of Condrieu, meaning a corner (coin) of land where two streams meet (rieu, akin to the Spanish rio).
The improvements at the Domaine have been incredible: new pneumatic presses, new stainless steel vats, new destemmer, new vinification and aging plant, and aging in oak barrels for the top wines. All the grapes are raised by culture raisonnée which is very close to organic viticulture (intervention in the vineyard only when necessary). The yield is reduced in the vineyard by ébourgeonnage (de budding in spring) and vendanges vertes in summer (green harvesting). Oak aging for the top wines in special barrels like "jupille" for 10 months. No expense is spared at this Domaine to achieve quality.
The vines are trained according to two methods:
- Goblet training is used for old untrellised vineyards, with the canopy remaining free. This traditional pruning method remains of value, and has the following advantages: better resistance to wind and drought, and lesser sensitivity to trunk diseases, which can kill the vines.
- Cordon de Royat training is used for recent, trellised vineyards. This newer training method has a number of advantages: it allows training vines higher, leaving a larger leaf surface exposed to the sun, which makes for grapes that are more colored and richer in tannins and in sugar. Exposure to sunlight also gives healthier grapes and allows a greater development of aromas.
"Since the untimely death of Christophe Delorme last year, the winemaking at Domaine de la Mordorée has fallen to Rémy Chauvet, who was the cellar manager under Christophe for a number of years. Based on these 2015 barrel samples, the estate is obviously still in incredibly capable hands. - Jeb Dunnuck"
- Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate (Issue 227, October 28th 2016)
"I've yet to see these guys put a foot wrong, and regardless of the vintage, they're able to make superb wines. In addition to their terrific Châteauneuf du Papes, they continue to raise the quality of their Lirac and Côtes du Rhône releases. Also, while these all have the ability to drink nicely on release, they age beautifully. - Jeb Dunnuck"
- Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate (Issue 215, October 2014)