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The Story

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. 

The most iconic of all the Chateauneuf estates. The highly individual Jacques Reynaud was responsible for making this wine, only using the Grenache grape from very old, low yielding vines. However, this works as the property is on cooler sand and clay soils, whereas the typical Chateauneuf terrain consists of large flat stones which would excessively heat up the Grenache. Undoubtedly this is the most complex, rich, ripe and exotic of all the Chateauneufs, gloriously atypical and a rule unto itself.


Serena Sutcliffe, MW

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Wine Information

Châteauneuf du Pape – Château Rayas

The name Châteauneuf-du-Pape bears an ecclesiastic heritage, the straight translation being “The new castle of the Pope”. From the year 1305 to 1375, which marked the periods of ascendancy of seven Popes, the holy throne was relocated from Rome to the tiny village of Avignon. The background to this relocation was nothing less than a holy power struggle, between the king of France and the Pope. For a change the king was more powerful, and he had the Pope and his entourage moved to an almost forgotten French village. So there is a little mockery in the name, though nobody seems to remember it anymore. Today when we are enjoying the wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape we are in fact enjoying the fruit of the fields primarily cleared for the Pope.
This unique family estate’s vineyard of 8 ha was planted in 1922 by Louis Reynaud.
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. Although the family is known for being introvert towards the public, they surely express their fascinating personality through their wines. Their Châteauneuf-du-Pape differs from most of the AOC wines as being a mono-varietal wine from Grenache Noir. The wine that holds 15% potential alcohol most of the years is produced with amazingly low yields of 15-18 hl/ha from vineyards facing north. In this hot and dry year only 2000 cases of Château Rayas were produced.
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.

Château Rayas
84230 Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Tel. +33 4 9083 7309
Fax +33 4 9083 5117


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Latest Pro-tasting notes

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Written Notes

The two Rayases that followed were both great, but I couldn’t pay as much attention any more.  The 1989 Rayas had a Smuckers jam quality to it, and that is all that I wrote, other than (95).  I could see the ’45 Ra in my glass of1990 Rayas.  Such great potential, I can’t wait to try it again in 45 years, and maybe another dozen times before then (98).

  • 98p
A lighter, bricking red, a lively perfume, sweet, sensual, silky, feminine, with a richness that is textured with Burgundian velvet (but with more muted acidity). Dried berries, plums, baked fruits, game and some tobacco notes swirl in the mix, and then kirsch emerges, and everything then harmonizes, and deluges the palate almost, with a heady and remarkable finale. Soft, sensuous, powerful, this legendary wine is at its apogee, and yet its breeding, grace and luscious elegance are uncompromised. The tannins shimmer exquisitely as the wine almost flaunts its expressive gifts. While the greater muscularity of the accompanying Bonneau can distract from the flamboyant feminine wiles of this wine, to me its seductive, textured, spice-laced allure was impossible to resist. 98 Points
  • 98p
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Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Rhône


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