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    19° C Clear sky
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    12:20 PM
  • Wine average?

    97 Tb
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    15
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    3
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    123

History

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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Vineyards

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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Winemaking

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 58 vintages

Highlights

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Wine Moments

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

 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  12 wines  from  Château Rayas . In a tasting of  12 wines 

Historic Rayas vertical 1962-2009 / Emmanuel Reynaud is the genius behind Chateau Rayas, the Chateauneuf du Pape that is more than just Chateauneuf du Pape. When I visited him a year plus ago at his vineyards, I learned about the unique microclimate and soil that makes Rayas so special and the greatest expression of Grenache in the world. It is truly one of the world’s greatest and most unique wines.

19d 11min ago

 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  14 wines  from  Château Rayas . In a tasting of  14 wines 

Emmanuel Reynaud is the genius behind Chateau Rayas, the Chateauneuf du Pape that is more than just Chateauneuf du Pape. When I visited him a year plus ago at his vineyards, I learned about the unique microclimate and soil that makes Rayas so special and the greatest expression of Grenache in the world. It is truly one of the world’s greatest and most unique wines.

Emmanuel is also a reclusive man and not very responsive. He is incredibly intelligent and engaging when you are with him, but difficult to engage in the first place. We invited him for this special vertical we had acquired, and we wanted to do it in Paris for our first event there. We were doing it at Taillevent, and he now knew the Paradox and I after some quality time together, and our introduction came from none other than Martine Saunier. Of course, he would accept our invitation. How could he not? These verticals don’t grow on trees, and it was just a quick trip on the TGV to Paris for such a rare retrospective. Well, as winter turned into Spring, we still had no confirmation of his attendance after some regular enquiries, so we had to break out the big gun: Martine. Martine gave Emmanuel a lecture he could not refuse! It was her 50th Anniversary working with the Chateau after all, and he was told he had to be there. And he was there. I told you when Martine speaks, people listen! Now the stage was officially and properly set for this historical vertical with both Martine and Emmanuel at the legendary Taillevent in Paris. There were 26 vintages on the menu. Game on!

1m 12d ago

 Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Wine Writer (South Korea)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Rayas . In a tasting of  28 wines 

Vega Sicilia Unico 1942 / Lovely silky texture on this 72-year-old wine under its original cork. Dried autumn leaves accented with sweet oak and vanilla. Incredibly fresh and lively; impressive. Drink 2014-2023 97 points

3m 11d ago

 Ken Gargett, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Rayas . In a tasting of  8 wines 

Chateau Rayas 1989 – Legendary wine and this showed exactly why. For me, the wine of the day. Over the years, I have marginally preferred the 1990, but it has always been so close and today, this was utterly seductive and enticing. Truly stunning wine. Complex, fragrant, elegant and yet powerful. So supple and textured. Black cherries, cloves, earth notes all combined. Such length. I found this absolutely glorious (as did almost everyone), though our friend with his preference for young Burgundy was not convinced, declaring that in Burgundian terms, this was an okay Premier Cru at best. Wine, being such a subjective topic, means that every opinion should be given equal respect – even when it is completely wrong, as it is here. 100.

6m 29d ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Rayas . In a tasting of  22 wines 

Château Latour 1911 / 94 points / A hot summer and drought that continued until late in the fall produced many superb, though quite harsh wines in Bordeaux. Latour has been regarded as an exceptionally soft and calm wine at least compared to the other first growth wines. None the less at least the wine I now got to taste had kept its backbone and structure well, but was still a gentle and sophisticated wine.


Decanted 30 minutes. This is my second Latour from this rare vintage, and it had improved a lot over the first one. As a Latour it was still surprisingly light and delicate, if tasted blind I would have thought the wine´s origin to be Pomerol. As the previous bottle already started to lose some of its fine qualities after 30 minutes from decanting, this one just started to breed. It has a good balance and full, opulent and vivid taste. Lovely smooth fruit on top of a tannic grip. This time it was now complex and thriving enough to provide real interest  and quality. As has been said many times before: there are no good wines, only good bottles. 

1y 4m ago

 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  3 wines  from  Château Rayas . In a tasting of  28 wines 

The 1945 Mouton Rothschild had that mint and eucalyptus sweetness that is such a trademark for this wine in this era.  It was kinky, flamboyant and exotic.  There was some ‘spicy pepper’ per the Comte, and I got the Shishito.  I also got the pork luau with a touch of pineapple.  I told you it was exotic!  Toffee and animal led us all into a round of ‘jungle boogie,’ followed quickly by an ‘electric shock.’  This was the wakeup call that the Comte would desperately need tomorrow lol (99+).

1y 7m ago

 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. 

3y 16d 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!

3y 5m 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.”

3y 8m 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.”

3y 10m 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."”

3y 11m ago

 Martine Balzani (Mäkijärvi), Wine Blogger (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 !”

4y 7d ago

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