September 2, 2015

Chateau Mourgues du Gres

SINE SOLE NIHIL - Nothing Without Sun

By In Articles, Rhone Travels
While preparing the soil for a new planting of Grenache just a few weeks before our visit a tumble of Roman stones was uncovered as Chateau Mourgues du Gres. Under a blazing sun we stood next to those rows of Grenache and wondered at how the land would have looked when the Romans trampled the very same fields. Thoughts are the ruins are a tower or possibly a shine; what I really needed was a Time Team-esque computer generated graphic to really visualise the structure dominating the land.

Chateau Mourgues du Gres, a winery that produces a range of fabulous, value-packed, wines is totally geared up to people wandering around its vineyards. From the winery, Anne Collard, led us around the estate – passing the new plantings, into woodland on pass a gently bubbling stream and out to peach and apricot orchards. We passed a wild bank where the tall grasses with totally smothered by small snails (edible, although they looked far to tiny to bother with to me but they are another link to the Roman past) and then up a bank to a prime look out spot with views across vineyards and orchards. This is Rhone country with swathes of garrigue dotted amongst the trees, orchards and vines.

A winding road meandering alongside the slopes of the “Costières” leads you to the CHATEAU MOURGUES DU GRES, in the midst of orchards and garrigue. This former estate belonged to the Convent of the Ursulines before the French Revolution. In Provence, “Nuns” is “Mourgues” and “Grès” is “Pebbles”. In the courtyard is a sundial with the motto “SINE SOLE NIHIL” (Nothing Without Sun) meaning that the sun ripens the grape to optimal maturity to produce balanced wines.

As a tractor trundled through the neighbouring vineyard we sampled a couple of the estates white wines. Terre d’Argence, a blend of Viognier, Roussanne, Marsanne, Grenache and Petit Manseng was a welcome drink under that sun, being both dry and refreshing (€11 a bottle at the cellar shop). Also opened was a bottle of Capitelles des Mourgues (€16) and, using a handy galet, several fresh almonds. I was off though, pocking around the herbs and stones of the garrigue trying, not that successfully as it transpires, to capture an arty photo or two, (Went a little over board with the polariser filter!).

A picnic up here would be sublime; and easily arranged with Anne and wine-making husband François. There really is something special about eating lunch amongst the vines from where the wine in your glass originates. (Sadly we didn’t have the opportunity as we were rushed off to the Pont Du Gard)

A brief dalliance with the Mourgues du Gres red wines before departure – the glorious Capitelles des Mourgues (€14.50) stood out. A superbly complex red mixing Syrah, Grenache and Carignan – I didn’t catch the vintage but plenty of ageing potential and a mass of blackberries, cassis and something uniquely garrigue and flowery.

The “Capitelles des Mourgues” takes its name from a small stone shelter on the vineyard that was used to store tools and shelter vineyard workers during inclement weather. All our wines under the name of “Les Capitelles” indicate a different approach to our winemaking: fermentation and ageing in oak barrels for several months.

Photo Gallery: Visiting Chateau Mourgues du Gres

In the courtyard of the domain, you will find our “Garden of Aromas” that evokes the flavours of our wines :
Citrus fruit and thyme citron for ” Galets Dorés “,
Pomegranate for ” Galets Rosés “,
Sage, liquorice and violette for ” Galets Rouges “,
Pepper mint and olive for ” Terre d’Argence “…

Bicycle hire can be arranged, picnics and so on can also be organised. Chateau Mourgues du Gres is within easy reach of the excellent Domaine des Clos Hotel although the estate does have its own gites available for hire.

François & Anne COLLARD
1055 chemin des Mourgues du Grès

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Top :: Comments

  1. Meeta September 17, 2015

    How spectacular. I love your wine reports and hope to visit some of these one day! Wineries seem to be open to people walking around in their vineyards – here in Thuringia in the Saale-Unstrut region on one of my wine tours the winery prepares picnics for the guests and leaves them to wander their vineyards.

    • Andrew Barrow September 18, 2015

      interestingly I’ve never been to a German vineyard


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