Meet the Producer
Domaine Rudel can be found near Marseillan, in the Bassan de Than, in Southern France. The total production of Pinot Noir, from the estate, is around 1,000 cases a year. The vines, whilst still relatively young (18 years), give a luscious, textural, intense wine which is both classic and yet modern.
Only two kilometres from the coast, and planted on low-lying gravelly soils, Domaine Rudel benefits from cooling ocean breezes which allows Pinot Noir to thrive even this far south.
In the hands of cousins Nicolas and Eric Alcon, Domaine Rudel is a fourth-generation estate. After the Second World War, Nicolas’ great-grandfather, Joseph Alcon, began with 8 hectares of vines, named Domaine La Galinière. In the 1960s he was joined by Nicolas’ grandfather, Anselme, who together with his two sons Francis and Marcel, increased the holdings, reformed and replanted the vineyards over the following 20 years, selling their grapes to a local cooperative. In 1987 the family had enough money to buy the nearby Domaine Les Charmettes and took the brave step of vinifying their fruit, partly because of the economic malaise in French viticulture at the time. In 1997, the Nicolas and Eric joined the family enterprise after their studies and travels abroad.
In total, the family have 90 hectares of vines; all IGP level. With only 2 hectares of Pinot Noir, it is a small part of their production which is dominated by reds (mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Grenache) and some whites (mostly Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay).
The Pinot Noir we buy comes from a parcel in the original family-owned vineyards, 4km away from the domaine they acquired in Les Charmettes. Rudel is the second name of Domaine les Charmettes, a parcel within the original family land-holdings, and the source of our Pinot Noir. Yields average 75hl/ha, but can be as low as 50hl/ha, as was the case in 2016 due to drought. At only 25m altitude, the land is barely above sea level and quite flat. Soils are clay and gravel with the lowest-lying soils composes of silt and sand. In truth, a very gently undulating plain towards the inner sea-lake of the Bassin de Thau; so gentle, it’s hard to differentiate the two terroirs with the naked eye!
About the Winemaker
A native of Burgundy or more specifically the outskirts of Chablis it’s safe to say Guillaume was born into wine and totally natural that he chose to become a wine-maker in his teens..basic studies first and a degree in Oenology and all in Burgundy..it may explain why he’s our resident Pinot specialist with a fetish for Chardonnay!! His first job was more cellar rat than winemaker but he was exposed to what life could be like with a vintage in Beaujolais and after that short experience it became a serious pursuit, with winemaking experience in Chablis (William Fèvre), Côte de Beaune (Château de Santenay), Beaujolais area (Saint Amour, Moulin à vent…), Languedoc Roussillon (ile de Porquerolles).
After 8 years spent as a cellars master in the south of Burgundy, he became a wine consultant specializing in wines from the Maconnais along with the Crus of Beaujolais.
Bored of 'working alone' and in need of a new challenge, he joined, in 2015, the Boutinot family and as he says ‘I’ve not had time to get bored since..!’ 'The diversity of working in new countries, with different vintages, across the globe, working with the sales teams in different markets and learning about consumers and the new approaches required from both a marketing and wine-making perspective is just a fantastic challenge’.
A passion for walking, running and mountain biking are easily combined with his love of wine - ‘being in the field, on the spot, we learn so much more about the people we work with, the vines that grow and the country itself and we combine all of that with our wine feelings along with winemaking skills so that, at the end, we improve and produce great wines together!'