Chateau Rayas, 84230 Chateauneuf Du Pape.
(Between Vaudieu and Clos du Caillou.)
Tel. (Rayas) +33 490 837 309
Direct sale: Chateau Rayas: No.
Chateau des Tours, Les Sablons 84260 Sarrians.
Tel. (Tours) +33 490 654 175
Direct sale at Des Tours: Monday - Saturday 9.00-17.00.
No tasting or sale of wines from Rayas
Mail: Not used by Emmanuel Reynaud.
The history of the
Reynaud family at Rayas started in 1880 when a notary from the Avignon area
became deaf when he was 45 years of age. He had to change profession and
bought Chateau Rayas.
As Jacques had no heirs to take over his nephew Emmanuel owner of Chateau des Tours became the 4. Reynaud at Chateau Rayas.
Jacques Reynaud succeded in making Chateau Rayas
one of the most famous, most rewarded and most expensive wines of the
appellation. You can't say he did much in marketing. Many wine writers have
visited the place and have left it without many comments from Reynaud.
He was really a loner and some would call him a very excentric person. His cellars
were not known as the most clean ones you could imagine. Probably none of the
barrels have been renewed since Emmanuel became the owner. Most of them
might very well be from the time of Louis Reynaud.
Robert Parker gives in his book "Wines of the Rhône Valley" from 1997 this picture of Jacues Reynaud and Chateau Rayas:
"...No one would suspect that inside the drab, unpainted building that houses Château Rayas (sitting unmarked at the end of a deteriorating dirt road in the appellation of Châteauneuf du Pape) are some of the world’s most distinctive wines. The credit goes to Jacques Reynaud and his late father, Louis, who passed away in 1978. Jacques Reynaud (he reminds me of a cross between Dr. Seuss’s Grinch and Yoda from the Star Wars trilogy) is the brilliant, unassuming genius behind these wines, which are made from low yields from some of the oldest vines in the southern Rhône Valley. Reynaud is assisted by his sister, Françoise, who is cut from the same eccentric mold as her brother.
Château Rayas is the antithesis of modern-day winemaking. No stainless steel, no temperature controls, no new oak, and no oenologists are to be found in the Rayas cellar, which contains a hodgepodge of barrels, demi-muids, and foudres. The stories I could tell about Jacques Reynaud could fill a book, but behind his decidedly antifame, anti-twentieth century facade is an extremely well-read gentleman with exceptional knowledge and a love of many things, including fine food, as I discovered over several meals with him at the nearby La Beaugravière.
Getting precise information on what goes on at Château Rayas is not an easy task. Despite having visited and tasted with Reynaud more than a dozen times during the last decade, I still have not figured out what magic takes place in these cellars. Given the extraordinary quality that emerges in the finest years, I can live without the answers. We have gotten to know each other reasonably well, and I will convey a few stones to give readers a glimpse of Reynaud’s impish character. Early in my tasting experience with him, I became irritated after tasting through four different barrels without Reynaud’s saying one word about what was in each barrel. Finally, I asked what we were tasting. His response was, “You’re the expert. You tell me.” Another example of his sense of humor emerged over dinner at La Beaugravière while we were sharing a magnificent bottle of Chave Hermitage. I asked him whom he admired the most. His deadly serious response was, “You.”