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In the heart of the southern Rhône Valley appellation vineyards, Emmanuel Reynaud offers up his Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée wines, among them Châteauneuf du Pape. The Reynaud family members have been wine-growers from one generation to the next since 1880.

Albert Reynaud, Emmanuel Reynaud's great grandfather, purchased Rayas in 1880.  In 1920, his son Louis Reynaud took the initiative and bottled Rayas wine with an eye to local and national distribution. In 1978, Jacques, Louis' youngest son, took over the management of Rayas and Fonsalette (purchased in 1945) from his father. He vinified a good number of vintages and had a keen interest in the balance of the soil and its impact on the quality of the wine. Jacques Reynaud passed away quite suddenly in 1997 with operating and management

turned over to Emmanuel, his nephew, who was already running the Domaine des Tours (purchased in 1935-38), where he created the cellar and developed marketing as from 1989. Today, Emmanuel Reynaud manages three domains with the help of his employees.


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Château Rayas is a small ten-hectare vineyard, in the heart of the woods, planted in very poor, sandy soil producing wines with great finesse.

Chateau Rayas Chateauneuf du Pape

100% Grenache, at least 98%.
Fermentation in cement tanks and maturing in old foudres for about one year.

Pignan Chateauneuf du Pape
100% Grenache, at least 98%. 
This cuvée is a kind of second wine to Chateau Rayas Chateauneuf du Pape.

Chateau Rayas Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc
50% Grenache Blanc and 50% Clairette.
Normally the malolactic fermentation is blocked for the whites wines in Rhone.

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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.

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Inside information

..No one would suspect that inside the drab, unpainted building that houses Château Rayas (sitting unmarked at the end of a deteriorating dirt road in the appellation of Châteauneuf du Pape) are some of the world’s most distinctive wines. The credit goes to Jacques Reynaud and his late father, Louis, who passed away in 1978. Jacques Reynaud (he reminds me of a cross between Dr. Seuss’s Grinch and Yoda from the Star Wars trilogy) is the brilliant, unassuming genius behind these wines, which are made from low yields from some of the oldest vines in the southern Rhône Valley. Reynaud is assisted by his sister, Françoise, who is cut from the same eccentric mold as her brother.
Château Rayas is the antithesis of modern-day winemaking. No stainless steel, no temperature controls, no new oak, and no oenologists are to be found in the Rayas cellar, which contains a hodgepodge of barrels, demi-muids, and foudres. The stories I could tell about Jacques Reynaud could fill a book, but behind his decidedly antifame, anti-twentieth century facade is an extremely well-read gentleman with exceptional knowledge and a love of many things, including fine food, as I discovered over several meals with him at the nearby La Beaugravière.
Getting precise information on what goes on at Château Rayas is not an easy task. Despite having visited and tasted with Reynaud more than a dozen times during the last decade, I still have not figured out what magic takes place in these cellars. Given the extraordinary quality that emerges in the finest years, I can live without the answers. We have gotten to know each other reasonably well, and I will convey a few stones to give readers a glimpse of Reynaud’s impish character. Early in my tasting experience with him, I became irritated after tasting through four different barrels without Reynaud’s saying one word about what was in each barrel. Finally, I asked what we were tasting. His response was, “You’re the expert. You tell me.” Another example of his sense of humor emerged over dinner at La Beaugravière while we were sharing a magnificent bottle of Chave Hermitage. I asked him whom he admired the most. His deadly serious response was, “You.”

Robert Parker

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5 different wines with 38 vintages


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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Scott Becker, Pro (United States)  tasted  8 wines  from  Château Rayas . In a tasting of  8 wines 

Château Rayas CNP 2010 / One could become addicted to Rayas wines. The rich aromatic herbal reds and the intense complex whites. The red wines are unique. Contrary to the common belief that good Châteauneuf-du-Pape should be made from a blend of grape varieties, at Rayas only the Grenache is used and only old vines from north facing slopes. The result is a wine that will age for 20 years or more. A longer than normal period in cask only adds to the complexity and depth of the wines. These wines are full of personality. The Château Rayas red has a huge exotic bouquet with hints of black-cherry fruit and staggering concentration. On the palate the wine is almost Port like in texture with great intensity and gorgeous voluptuous flavours. 

6m 2d ago

 Mark Beaven , Pro (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Rayas . In a tasting of  118 wines 

BF Post-Bday Marathon Tasting with White Truffle Twist + Elvis - 118 wines!

10m 29d ago

 Aldo Sohm / Best Sommelier in the World 2008, Pro (Austria)  tasted  2 wines  from  Château Rayas . In a tasting of  6 wines 

“Here are some of the best wines I have tasted lately.”

1y 2m ago

 Mark Beaven , Pro (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Rayas . In a tasting of  37 wines 

“Birthday with Friends - Day 2 with wines like Palmer 1961, Latour 1961, Krug 1962, Roederer 1929, Cristal 1962, Petrus 1961 etc.”

1y 4m ago

 Georg Linde, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Rayas . In a tasting of  25 wines 

“Hermitage La Chapelle 1978 / "Youthful colour. Deep bouquet of cedar, cassis, hrbs. On the palate a nice melange of eukalyptus, candied fruits, silky tannins. This bottle was extremely young and almost forbidding until it opened up."”

1y 4m ago

 Martine Balzani (Mäkijärvi), Wine Lover (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Rayas . In a tasting of  10 wines 

“Amazing Tastings in Burgundy! Wonderful Domaines and so brillant Wine Makers! Perfect experience !”

1y 5m ago

 Herman Duran / Sommelier, Pro (Indonesia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Rayas . In a tasting of  17 wines 

“The winner of our 1966 Vintage tasting: Henschke Hill of Grace 1966 / Moderately intense, tawny bright colour. The nose is open with elegantly developed richness showing ripe dark fruits – plums, black currants and brambles, floral tones – violets, tobacco, mocha and hints of vanilla. The palate is rich and voluptuous. The texture is silky with lovely acidity, mellow tannins and ripe black fruits. Exquisite harmony and suppleness charmed by lingering long finish. Wonderful wine with powerful character, marvellous depth and great intensity suggesting it will keep still easily 10 more years.
98 points”

1y 7m ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Rayas . In a tasting of  24 wines 

“The Vine Club's 27th January tasting with fine and rare wines from all over the world from Lafite 1881 to Harlan 2011 - Best one was Guigal La Mouline 1971 - 99 points / Decanted 1h30 minutes. Nose is very expressive with leather, tobacco and a hint of vanilla flavours. Full and balanced on the palate, faultless fruit, with a fine grip of acids on the back end. Very rigorous, lush and vibrant with smoky black fruits. This wine has enough spirit and fruit to live for a long time. Rare and demanding experience. Perhaps the best 1971's there is!

1y 7m ago

 Ken Gargett, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Rayas . In a tasting of  9 wines 

“A couple of very old friends share a birthday lunch every year and always have some wonderful wines for the occasion. This year, they really gave it a nudge. Half a dozen of us met to celebrate the day and we saw some top notch stuff. They also share a cellar, which is immaculate, and these wines had all been squirelled away since their release. If anything, the day showed just how important the very best cellaring conditions are, as many of these drank as well or better than we'd seen them before. Occasionally my scores may suggest that I do get a bit excited but for this event, I was one of the more moderate in my marks. Naturally, we did not all agree over each wine but, as a generalisation, there was largely a consensus on the wines.
There was a Delegrange-Bachelet Montrachet that I could not get into the system but will hopefully be able to add soon.

2y 5m ago

 Georg Linde, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Rayas . In a tasting of  17 wines 

“"Chave Ermitage Cuvée Cathelin 2003 : This is easily one of the best wines I had in the last 43 years, if not the best. This was just so pure and balanced - totally defying the 15% of alcohol that it would admit to on the label. Great cassis, truffle, earth, spice. So thick and chewy, almost unctuous. Great great juice. And since it was on that restaurant's wine list for a quarter of the current market price I absolutely had to drink it …" 100 points ”

2y 6m ago

 Omar Khan, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Rayas . In a tasting of  4 wines 

This was possibly, the greatest, by a hair, of these great wines on this evening. The nose transfixes you immediately, ripe black and red cherries, kirsch, garrigue and spices. The wine is palate dominating almost, with a riot of herbs, pepper, liqueur notes, and tannins that have been completely socialized while contributing great structure to this monument to wine-making. Meat and game, earth and dark fruit and figs, truffles and spices and porcini, all maintaining perfect balance like planets in orbit, this comes across majestically as a complete wine. As the long and complete finish continues to lap away at your palate, the sheer hedonism and class almost belies comparisons with virtually any other wine…a staggering, seminal experience. 100 Points

2y 6m ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Rayas . In a tasting of  14 wines 

“Long evening with some really good white wines and almost perfect Château Margaux 1945.”

3y 8m ago

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