At Domaine Henri Bonneau up to 5 different red wines are produced here depending on the vintage and the evolution of the wines. His decision about cuvées is taken several years after the harvest - just before bottling. The blend of the four cuvées and the treatment in the cellars are not differing. With 13 different plots the largest is situated in La Crau with another situated in Grand Pierre beside Rayas, and it's probably from these vineyards the best cuvées are selected.
The vinification and ageing of the wines is in fact very simple. When the fermentation in cement tanks is finished the wine goes into a mixture of foudres, demi-muids and small old barrels from Burgundy. Here it stays until Bonneau finds it ready to be bottled - maybe after 6, 8 or 10 years. The grapes are rarely de-stemmed and the wines are fined with egg whites before bottling. Henri Bonneau's ageing cellars are from the 17th century and are legendary. You can't find a barrel here less than 10 years old and most of them are very ancient. When you walk around these tiny cellars you feel you are visiting a museum. This is classic, old-style Châteauneuf-du-Pape made as it was several hundred years ago.
What is the secret? ‘There are no secrets’, says Bonneau, but yields are very low, about 10-12 hl./ha. Harvesting is typically very late. The maceration is not exaggerated. Maybe the explanation is that simple? When asked if there were any secrets or manipulations in the cellar he simply shrugged and replied ‘No - besides I need time to go fishing’. - Importers Notes