Domaine des Vigneaux


A love story in the vines…  Hélène Zarmati and Christophe Comte were teenage sweethearts when Christophe was confronted with a major decision abut his future: would he prepare to take over the family vineyard and become a winemaker, or would he follow other passions?  Spurred on by Hélène’s contagious smile, he took the plunge and more than two decade later the two of them produce a range of natural wines that are at once straight forward and elegant, crushable and delectable.

During the days of Christophe’s grandfather, the farm, located in beautiful Valvignères, raised animals and a variety of crops.  There were a few vines, but all the grapes went off to the local co-op.  When Christophe’s dad took over, he gradually increased the proportion of vines, such that when Christophe himself came on board in the mid 1990s, the two of them decided to focus exclusively on wine.  Almost all of their production was still going to local négociants, and Christophe decided the time had come to valorise their distinctive terroir in their very own wines. 

Christophe and Hélène soon shifted to organic agriculture, wanting their vineyard to embody the values of sustainability and healthiness with which they were raising their two children.  In 2008, concerned that new rules on organic agriculture were too permissive, they shifted to biodynamic viticulture and started vinifying without sulphites or any other additives.  Close your eyes, take a sip, and imagine yourself in the warm, fragrant air of the strikingly beautiful Ardèche hills. 


The Story

The Vintages

Dès l’aube - white, 2015

These Massal selection Viognier vines are among the domaine’s oldest, planted by Christophe’s dad over thirty years ago.  The name Dès l’aube refers to the early morning hours, when these capricious grapes are picked to avoid transporting them in the intense heat of Ardèche picking season.  They are then lovingly aged in oak barrels that yield a rich and textured wine with notes of hard candy and liquorice.  A beautiful match for your grilled wild Pacific salmon or, weather permitting, an evening on the patio.

Syrah - 2015

A classic, straight-up Rhone Valley Syrah, beautiful in its simplicity, exciting in its vivacity.  This is Domaine des Vigneaux’s go-to wine.  Deep purple in colour, its nose evokes provencal herbs and candied fruit while in the mouth its medium body and tart finish cry out for cured meats or grilled sausage.  An instant hit at the barbecue!

Du bout des doigts - red, 2016

Pinot Noir is a very rare varietal indeed in the hot and arid Rhone Valley.  In love with Pinots from other regions, Christophe was convinced it would thrive in the rich soils and cool nights of Valvignères.  Contradicting the naysayers, he and Hélène forged ahead, and we’re glad they did!  The vines yield small and fragile clusters that require careful handling (du bout des doigts/from the tips of the fingers) and are among the first grapes they harvest at the end of each summer.  An easy-drinking and nicely structured wine, try it with rosemary-rubbed lamb chops or farm fresh goat cheese on olive oil drenched crostini.    

P’tit Chardonnay - 2016

Beautiful minerality and an elegant balance make this unpretentious Chardonnay feel bigger than its diminutive name.  Its golden hues will draw you in, its creamy texture will seduce you, and its lovely finish on a note of vibrant acidity will make you reach for more.... Perfect for sole fillets in a lemony bechamel, or even a roast fowl at holiday time, or any time!  (Because, really, we should have turkey more than once or twice a year!).

Grain... cheux - red, 2015

Grenache has a reputation for being a bit of a finicky varietal... Here the Comtes pay homage to a grape that, beneath its grumpy facade, yields sensuous, playful, dare we say cheerful juice.  If you’re feeling sulky, its expressive flavours of red fruit and strawberry preserves and its round, smooth texture will transport you to a warm and sunny place, reminding you that yes, all will be well....