This family´s last owner was certainly the most famous in the form of Philippe Dufays; a Medical Doctor, he came to the region during the Second World War and married the heir to Nalys. The Domaine, then in a terrible state, received all his tender loving care and Philippe Dufays soon gave up practising medicine to take charge of it full-time in 1955.
An enthusiastic bon vivant, the "Doctor" as his close circle called him, devoted all his know-how, scientific logic and heritage to this Domaine; he knew how to surround himself with competent and trustworthy associates, totally committed to their work and capable of running experiments with him on vineyard techniques and winemaking processes; if these were hotly contested at the start, after a few successful vintages they became the reference-point in the Appellation.
Thus Doctor Dufays developed Nalys with panache for around twenty years, which practically doubled in size and was sold in numerous countries abroad, especially the United States. After his only son died in an accident and during a period of severe viticulture crisis, Doctor Dufays decided in 1975 to part company with Nalys.
So Nalys was sold partly to young winegrowers and partly nowadays to the Mutual Agriculture Insurance company, Groupama.
Today Domaine de Nalys is a fifty hectare estate (128 acres) grouped together into three plots: "Nalys" or the parcel circling the estate, "Le Bois Sénéchal" and "La Crau"; they´re found on two of the Appellation´s major terroirs with on the one hand, for La Crau and Le Bois Sénéchal: soils made up of rounded pebbles with weathered sandstone subsoils dating from the pliocene era as well as well-drained sandy terraces, and on the other hand, for "Nalys": soils lying on an older geological vein dating from the middle miocene era composed of rust-coloured, Comtat molasse sandstone with sandy texture.
All of the Appellation´s thirteen permitted grape varieties are represented in the vineyard. They allow us, linked to the terrain they´re grown on, to bring greater complexity and balance to the wine. In this respect, Domaine de Nalys is also tracking an experimental vineyard planted with the 13 varieties, working alongside the relevant authorities.
La Crau, Grenache, June 2007
Out of the red grapes, Grenache dominates with 60% of plantings while Syrah makes up, and has done now for around 30 years, almost 25% of plantings. Next come the 6 other varieties: Counoise, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Muscardin, Vaccarèse and Black Terret.
Whites varieties account for 20% under vine on the estate, and we work with all six of the Appellation´s white grapes: White Grenache, Clairette and Bourboulenc in addition to, in smaller proportions, Roussanne, Picardan and Picpoul. View all Domaine de Nalys Wines
About Chateauneuf-du-PapeView a map of Chateauneuf-du-Pape wineries (shah-too-NUHF due Pahp)
Photo of galets covering the soil at Chateau de Beaucastel
Notable FactsThere are 13 allowed varieties in Chateauneuf du Pape (14 if you count Grenache Blanc separately from Grenache Noir). Grenache is the primary variety, followed by Syrah and Mourvedre as well as Cinsault. About 97% of the wines here are red, although many chateaux are producing whites ranging from quaffable to decadent and ageworthy. Reds from the best estates emit wonderful flavors of gamey spice, blackberries and currant, as well as the herbs and spices that are known to grow in the region.
Note on the soil: The grapes grow on soils covered in rounded, smooth stones called galets (gah-lay). The stones naturally cover most of the soils throughout Chateauneuf du Pape and are two fold in their duties. First, they are able to reflect and absorb the heat, to quicken the ripening of the grapes. They also help to hold in moisture so that the soils are not dried out by the hot Southern French sun.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.