Clos du Mont-Olivet
Variety is the Spice of Life at Clos du Mont-Olivet
After ancient armies and medieval times the valley industrialised a little, but it did not affect the beauty of the vines in the countryside.
Alongside the River Rhone is a scenic route that has a stretch of vineyards and fruit orchards on display between the city of Vienne and Valence.
Clos du Mont Olivet is located in Chateauneuf du Pape a commune in the Vaucluse department in the Provence – Alps – Cote d’ Azur region in Southern France, the largest and most important wine appellation of the southern Rhone.
The earliest connection to the land belonged to the Popes from as early as 1157 where they planted vines in order to accommodate the wine religious practices.
In 1308 Clement V also planted vines and became the first official winemaker in the area followed by Jean XX11 who demanded that a castle be built and he named it Vin du Pape.
It has been owned by the Sabon family who can trace back their roots in the Rhone valley all the way to the 1500’s but it was only in 1932 when Seraphin Sabon married Marie the daughter of a landowner of Chateauneauf – du – Pape that Clos du Mont Olivet was born.
The couple created the estate with a dream and the dream was to turn their estate into a world class winery.
At the time their harvests were sold in bulk to negociants but after World War Two they began to bottle and sell their own wine from their estate.
Their son Joseph took over the estate and today his siblings and grandchildren are the ones taking care of business which has kept going for so many years. Joseph’s name can be seen on the label of their wines and their estate is a traditionally run farm.
The farmers used horses until the 1970’s and in 1972 they purchased their first tractor.
In 1997 they began experimenting with destemming and today more than 60% of their fruits are destemmed.
Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc – Domaine du Clos-Montolivet€31.90 Buy now
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The estate extends to 20.5 hectares in Chateauneuf – du – Pape, 11.5 hectares in Cotes du Rhone in the parish of Bollene and 1.5 hectares of Vin de Table and is planted with mostly red varietals, leaving 2 hectares reserved for the production of their white wines.
Most of the Grenache plantings are from vines that are 90 to 100 years old and these vines are the “heart and soul” of their cuvee du Papet.
The chateau produces 4 labels on their estate with each one having a various amount of bottles; Chateauneuf du Pape is their largest production produced with 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 6% Mourvedre and a combination of a few other varietals.
The vineyards are split into sections and the soils consist of quartz, sand, marine clay and mollasic sandstone.
Planted in the vineyards are the dominant Grenache grape along with other varietals such as Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Counoise, Vaccarese, Muscardin, Picpoul Noir and Terret Noir.
Major parts of the vineyard are sloped and they use an interesting method of sexual confusion to rid their vines of pests, avoiding pesticides and herbicides.
Their harvesting is done with sensitivity and depending on the weather.
Grapes are handpicked followed by fermentation process which is done in either stainless steel or cement vats with ageing done in old barrels.
Red wines have gentle methods of extraction including pumping over, separating the liquid from the solid and then recombining them.
Taste tests are done to consider how long the vatting should be and once this is complete the juices are matured separately and stored in concrete vats until ageing which is determined on the vintage.
80% of the wine is then aged in stainless steel tanks and 20% is aged in French oak barrels.
Chateauneuf du Pape has an annual production of 4200 cases and 250 cases of wine that has been aged in oak are sold exclusively to the American market.
Their best wine was produced in 1989 in honour of the families’ grandfather, “Clos du Mont Olivet cuvee du Papet” and is produced with the old vines that are over 100 years old.
This wine is aged in demi – muids for 18 months and has a 1000 case per vintage production but is not produced every year.
Chateauneuf du Pape label has four other wines produced, including cuvee du Papet, Clos du Mont Olivet Rouge, Olivet Blanc and Le Petit Mont.
Cotes du Rhone has Varenes, Vieilles Vignes, Le Rose de Farel and Cotes du Rhone.
Vins de Table consists of Boheme and Sabonite.
Now for the Tasting Notes
Chateauneuf du Pape has aromas of jam, flowers and garrigue with a supple texture
Cuvee du Pape a silky, sensuous, deep dark wine with an essence of old Grenache and rich flavours of herbs, spices, liquorice and jam
Le Petit Mont was only produced from 2005 and is the newest edition of the estates’ collection of wines. It is an elegant and fruity wine with a production of 20000 to 30000 bottles.
Visit Clos du Mont-Olivet
They do have an open cellar where you can purchase some of their wines and surely take a walk through to see how it is all done.
The region is an incredibly interesting place to visit and the best time to go would be just after harvesting.
Clos du Mont-Olivet
3 Chemin du Bois de la Ville
84230 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rhône, France
Editor-in-Chief and Wine Writer
Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂