As the crow flies, these vineyards are close to Gigondas, but the soils are different. Here vineyards are composed of terraces, some formed by alluvial material left behind by the Ouvèze River and some by ancient glaciers. These fields came under the family’s care in 2001 through the wife of my brother Gilles, as she inherited them from her father.

To me, our Vacqueyras fields have a rustic character, earthy and honest. This is a character that that one needs to respect — but under the condition that one must tame its raw power, the richness of its primary material, to reveal in the finished wine Vacqueyras’ inherent elegance.

The slopes of Vacqueyras are much gentler than they are in Gigondas, and vineyards are larger and more directly exposed to the sun. Soils here are mostly sand and clay, but there are some plateaux with “galets roulés,” the round quartz stones characteristic of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

The wines from the ‘La Ponche’ lieu-dit are ripe and dense, given that soils here are rich in clay. In contrast, there is more finesse from lieu-dit ‘Bel Air,’ where Grenache takes on the more Mediterranean character of crushed strawberry. Syrah grown here shows a floral side, and is more precise.