– Robert M. Parker
Brunel is a promising negociant enterprise that began in 1998 with the partnership between Laurence Féraud and André Brunel of Châteauneuf-du- Pape. Brunel is best known for Les Cailloux and Féraud is known for Pegau. Given their significant contacts in the southern Rhône Valley, their goal is to purchase wine from old, established, primarily Grenache vineyards. What sets this venture apart from other negociants is that it is run with the savoir-faire of truly exceptional winemakers working in perfect partnership.
Laurence Féraud & André Brunel have selected the terroirs in the Côtes-du-Rhône which they find most interesting and found talented winemakers who work year round with their oenologist, Philippe Cambie. Before the harvest, they work in the same manner as on their estates in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, setting the yields and the farming practices, and closely following the ripening and sanitary state of the grapes. The fermentation of each wine is adapted to the qualities of the terroir, and when they feel the moment is right, they bring the wines to their cellars in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. After a period of ageing that marries the expression of terroir with a hard core of ripe fruit, the wines are bottled without fining or filtration. The result is a range of Côtes-du- Rhône wines of stunning quality, truly representative of their appellation and vintage. View all Feraud-Brunel Wines
About Cotes du RhoneView a map of Cotes du Rhone wineries
The appellation of Côtes du Rhône encompasses much of the land of the area, not to mention much of the wine – over two-thirds of the wine produced here is of the Côtes-du-Rhône appellation. Wines here need only be from the Côtes de Rhône geographic area (which is fairly large) and consist of one or more of the 22 varieties permitted. Being such a wide classification, it's a surprise and joy that so many of these wines reach such a high quality. While there are areas in the Northern Rhône that meet the classification of Côtes du Rhône, most all of this appellation is in the Southern Rhône. Wines here are based mostly on Grenache, like other Rhône reds, while the whites focus on Marsanne and Roussanne. Viognier is also allowed although typically used in smaller quantities.
Notable FactsThere is one higher level in the Côtes du Rhône called Côtes du Rhône Villages. These wines are from specific village areas that have a few more standards the wine must reach to receive the village label. Some to take note of are Cairanne, Rasteau, Seguret and Beaumes-de-Venise. The good thing about both Côtes du Rhône and Côtes du Rhône Villages is that big producers of the smaller appellations are taking the opportunity and freedom offered by this broad appellation and creating wines of very high quality, and lower in price.
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.