Domaine Banneret (Chateauneuf-du-Pape) ORGANIC

One night in La Mere Germaine, having despatched a Henri Bonneau Chateauneuf the night before, our friendly host Andre asked, “have you ever tasted Banneret?” No we hadn’t. It was soon remedied and the 1998 kept us entertained for the next hour with its unreconstructed, unapologetic, wild, sweaty traditional style. We were warned that Jean-Claude Vidal can be a bit gruff, so we were nervous when we knocked on his garage door the following day. “I use every one of the 13 varieties in my wine and that poster you are looking at is wrong.” So what are the grapes in the 13-grape Symphony? The poster states: Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Muscardin, Cournoise, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Picpoul Blanc, Roussanne, Terret Noir, Picardan, Vaccarese. Jean-Claude says Picpoul Blanc has never been cultivated here, but you can still find old vine Picpoul Noir.
Is this one of the only truly authentic Chateauneufs still being made? These are fascinating, wild wines. Refreshingly expensive. Slick they’re not. Gruff, muscular, powerful, like something that’s crawled out of the undergrowth. We love them.