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The spirit of Jacques Reynaud, the godfather of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, is always present. When the legendary founder of Château Rayas died suddenly in 1997, his wife asked their nephew, Emmanuel Reynaud, to take the reins at both Château Rayas and Château Fonsalette. Already making wines at his father’s Château des Tours, Emmanuel agreed.
He is somewhat reclusive, and can be found working his vineyards at most any time of day, every day. Emmanuel does not revel in the fame and notoriety that come with making such sought-after and acclaimed wines, but he continues to carry the mantle of his famous forebears, producing hauntingly aromatic wines at his three estates: Château Rayas, Château des Tours and Château de Fonsalette.
Château Rayas was purchased by Emmanuel’s grandfather, Albert Reynaud, in 1880; it was made famous by Jacques and his father, Louis, a pioneer in the appellation. Even today, visiting Rayas is like taking a trip back in time; the estate did not even have electricity until the late 1980s. Emmanuel continues in the traditional style, while moving forward as the heralded winemaker of one of the world’s most sought-after wines. Here, in addition to creating the wines of Château Rayas, Emmanuel also produces Pignan, expressing a different approach to this unique terrior.
Ch. Rayas Les Tours Grenache Blanc IGP 2016
This varietal Grenache Blanc is rich and palate-coating, marked by unctuous flavors of ripe peach, nectarine, pear skin, and almonds. This Rhône-based property is overseen by Emmanuel Reynaud, who also manages Château Rayas and Château Fonsalette. Pair this bottle with root vegetables, seafood, and cheese boards for a delicious palate-quencher.
Ch. Rayas La Pialade Côtes du Rhône Rouge 2019
While 13 varietals are permitted in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Emmanuel uses only one for Rayas’ red wines: Grenache. For the whites, he uses Grenache Blanc and Clairette. Grapes come from the three vineyards, are vinified and aged separately in old barrels, then are blended to achieve Emmanuel’s vision for the vintage, always adhering to Château Rayas’ signature style. With a Pinot Noir–like flavor profile — kirsch, cherry, peat moss — coupled with a peppery Mediterranean flair that is distinctively “Southern France,” there is simply nothing like a bottle of Château Rayas.
Ch. Rayas Chateau de Fonsalette Cotes du Rhone Rouge 2011
Very spicy, with notes of pepper, cinnamon, fresh herbs and black fruit. Full bodied, dense with a healthy dose of tannin to resolve. On the palate, black fruit and cherries. A rustic style of wine that while I recognize it's well made, it's not my style of wine.
Ch. Rayas Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge 2010
An awesome Grenache from CDP by Rayas. Ripe black currant, black cherry are in full bloom in aromas layered with dry lavender, cigar box, leather, kalligue and black truffle, leaving very elegant and natural impressions. Smooth and solid on the palate.
Ch. Rayas Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge 2011
Deep red with a bright rim. A kaleidoscopic bouquet evokes red and dark berry preserves, blood orange and lavender, with deeper cherry pit and licorice qualities adding power. Sweet, expansive and pure, offering intense raspberry, bitter cherry and floral pastille flavors supported by a firm spine of acidity. Shows excellent clarity and power on the finish, which is given shape by fine-grained, sweet tannins. I underestimated this wine from barrel last year. Jancis Robinson.
Luis Marin

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