This historic estate rose out of the phylloxera crisis in the late 19th century. While most of the Mayard family left for America after their vineyards were destroyed by phylloxera, Gratien Mayard decided to stay and replant the family vineyard, vine by vine. The son of Gratien, Alphonse Mayard, founded ‘Clos du Calvaire’ which was one of the first wineries in Châteauneuf-du-Pape to produce, bottle, and sell wine under its own name in the early 20th century. This is now the name of one of the family’s most popular wines in honor of this heritage. Currently, the winery is in the fifth-generation and the production is truly a family effort. Winemaker Françoise Mayard, together with her sister Béatrice, currently oversee and manage the details from grape to bottle. The estate wines express fully the terroir through meticulous work in both the vineyard and in the winery. Committed to environmentally-friendly agriculture, there are no chemicals used in the vineyards and the wines are allowed to naturally ferment with the native yeast to maintain the integrity and history of this famous region. The grapes are carefully hand-selected in the vineyards during harvest and again on the sorting table.
The Châteauneuf-du-Pape region is one of the most important regions in all of France receiving its appellation status in 1936. But it was as early as 1309 when Pope Clement V first moved here that the area started to become known for its wine. Clement was a lover of wine, and Chateauneuf-du-Pape translates as the Pope’s new castle. The region is covered by the famous stones called galets, which retain the heat of the sun. The vineyards are dominated by the grapes Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah. Typically a blend, these wines are rich and powerful and are highly regarded throughout the world.
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Estate Owned By:
Françoise, Béatrice and Didier Mayard
Farming and Land:
43 hectares (106 acres) with two major plots, one in Grand Coulet in the south, and the other on the famous Crau Plateau in the east. The farming is traditional and ecologically minded, shunning the uses of fertilizers. The vines are very old, with the majority between 40-100 years old. Over 30 different parcels with very diverse soils, from sandy plots to clay, with the famous galets (stones) and limestone.