Meet the Producer
Owner and winemaker Francois Merle is the second generation; his father, Paul, first leased Chateau de Beaulieu in 1954 and bought the estate in 1962. Francois took over in 1977. The Merles’ innovative approach to viticulture has seen rare varieties such as Caladoc and Egiodola planted alongside more typical varieties. Today, Pontbriand’s vines are in their prime and repaying this pioneering spirit which dared to try something different from the standard GSM combination with maybe some old Carignan and Cinsault.
Of 20ha at Domaine Pontbriand, only 8ha are in production, split pretty evenly over four varietals – Merlot, Syrah, Caladoc and Egiodola. Caladoc is related to Malbec and makes full bodied, deeply colored wines whilst Egiodola is similarly dark-skinned and named after egiazko odola meaning ‘true blood’. The vineyards are very low-lying, only 183 feet above sea level near the town of Orange and Aygues river, a tributary of the Rhone, within sight of Mont Ventoux.