The bustling and dynamic Christian Bonfils and his equally energetic wife Cathy run the 50-hectare Domaine Boissan from the centre of Sablet. Both were born into wine: Cathy’s family make wine in Pommard in Burgundy, and Christian has inherited from both sides of his family. Twelve hectares of his Sablet holdings came directly from his maternal grandfather in 1982; he has since bought another 5.5 ha. In 1985 he took over his father vines, which were mainly in Gigondas. His vines in Sablet account for a third of his production, with four plots in the eastern heights of the village, four to the west of the river, and eleven in the middle section around the village.
As they are convinced that much of Sablet is ideal for white wine production, they have gradually increased plantings of the iconic Rhone marsanne, roussanne and viognier varieties. Christian is working his white vines organically and is seeking certification. When he has “really got it fathomed out” he will work his red vines organically too.
They make a single white. The three grape varieties, in roughly equal shares, are fermented separately for about a month in barrels which have been used between once and five times before. They seek amplitude without the excesses of oak. The wine remains in its barrels with lees stirring every eight to ten days until the following spring, and is assembled just before bottling. They are thinking about doing a special white cuvé soon.
Their two reds also stay in the vinification stage for a month, but since the actual fermentation is normally finished after two weeks, the juice is kept warm, to aid maceration, for a good ten days before decanting. Their Sablet Tradition, of 75% grenache, 20% syrah and a spot of mouvedre, is completely de-stemmed before vinification, after which it is aged in cement vats. About a half of the grapes that go into the Cuvée Clemence stay in whole bunches for vinification; the exact amount depends on the maturity of the stems. The syrah that ends up in Clémance is aged in oak that has been used from two to five times; the Grenache, which is oxidative anyway, is aged in cement vats.
Domaine Boissan’s wines are traditionally made and have a growing reputation for their finesse and elegance.
They also have a gite with a swimming pool
The Domaine is near the centre of the village, next to the Stade (sportsground).
Post script. Christian is one of the vignerons who also gets into big red trucks and zooms off to save damsels in distress. Yes, he's a fireman. And doesn't he look good. Click on the photo to see more…
Route du Stade / Rue de Saint André 3
Téléphone : +33 (0)4 90 46 93 30
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org