Domaine des Miquettes 


Paul Estève and Chrystelle Vareille

Saint Joseph Rouge, Saint Joseph Blanc, Vin de Pays des Coteaux de L’Ardèche

5 hectares

 

Domaine des Miquettes was created by Paul Estève and Chrystelle Vareille in 2003 in the village of Cheminas, a small village located on the high plateau above Tournon and Secheras, two towns located in the southern part of the Saint Joseph appellation. Paul and Chrystelle took over the farm from Paul’s family and turned one of the small farm buildings into a cramped and low-tech wine-making facility.  In total, the domaine consists of five hectares. At the property in Cheminas, they have planted one hectare of Syrah and one of Viognier which are classified as Vin de Pays des Coteaux de L’Ardèche. They also have three hectares in Saint Joseph with 2.6 planted to Syrah and .4h planted to Marsanne. Paul had been working the Saint Joseph vineyard for the previous owner and when the owner decided to retire, Paul made arrangements to take over the three hectares.


The Saint Joseph vineyard is located in the high hills above Secheras at an altitude of around 350 meters. It is planted on a steep hillside with soils of granite mixed with micaschist and its exposure is east/southeast. The vineyards, both in Saint Joseph and the Coteaux de L’Ardèche are certified as organic farms. The vineyard rows are worked throughout the year with either a tractor or horse drawn plough which is used on the more difficult terrains.

All harvesting is done by hand and the fermentations occur with natural yeasts and little or no temperature adjustments. Both white and red wines are matured in large casks, “demi-muids” for a year before bottling.

 

Several years ago, during a visit to Georgia, Paul and Chrystelle were inspired to make wine in the ancient tradition in clay amphorae buried in the earth. They built a chai dedicated to 26 buried clay jars, and use them for the vinification and maturation of the red and orange wines they call Madloba (‘thank you’ in Georgian).

The red is made from Syrah and their orange wine is a blend of Marsanne and Viognier; both spend six months on the skins and a further six months maturing in amphorae.