La Réméjeanne: Benchmark Côtes du Rhône

Organic Vibrancy and Value from an “Absolutely Benchmark Côtes du Rhône Domaine...” [John Livingstone-Learmonth]
La Réméjeanne: Benchmark Côtes du Rhône
Already one of his region’s most progressive young growers, Olivier Klein continues to chip away at every stereotype levelled at the Côtes du Rhône appellation. Andrew Jefford once described a Réméjeanne red as tasting like “strawberries metamorphosed into wine”. While generalising, we like to think Jefford’s comment speaks of the disarming purity that pervades all this grower’s wines.
 
Grown amid the oak-forested foothills of the Cévennes, the Klein family’s wines are sculpted by rocky limestone soils and the cooling effects of altitude. Meanwhile, Olivier’s graceful touch in the cellar borrows as much from the zeitgeist of the north as it does from the south. His elegantly formed low-sulphur reds are superbly fresh, highly refined wines brimming with supple fruit, vivid freshness and lip-smacking, high-country character.
 
Réméjeanne is equally unusual in the Côtes du Rhône arena for the quality and energetic style of its white wines. Attracted by Sabran’s limestone soils, Olivier Klein’s grandfather, François, planted the domaine’s first Bourboulenc vines on the property’s cooler, east-facing slopes in the 1970s. Incremental plantings of Clairette, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc have followed, resulting in the deliciously incisive, citrus- and white-plum-charged Les Chèvrefeuilles Blanc.
 
His father’s pulsating Les Arbousiers Rouge bottling, a blend of the estate’s oldest vines, marries anise-scented fruit with layered fruit-tannin textures and mineral bite. The newest label in the portfolio is a fabulous traditional-method wine based on the same varieties used in Les Chèvrefeuilles. There are not many things Olivier Klein does not do very, very well—as this surprising and delicious sparkling Rhône attests.

The Wines

Domaine la Réméjeanne Vin de France La Bulle 2021
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Domaine la Réméjeanne Vin de France La Bulle 2021

Certified organic. There are not many things Olivier Klein does not do very, very well, as this surprising and delicious sparkling Rhône attests. In just its second release, Réméjeanne’s new sparkling wine is a blend of Clairette (50%), Roussanne (25%), and Grenache Blanc (25%), drawn from the domaine’s cooler, east-facing sites. The fruit for the base wines is pressed as whole bunches and ferments with natural yeasts before resting on its fine lees in concrete for six months before bottling. Following the “prise de mousse”, the wine spends a year on its cork before disgorgement. The dosage this year is 3.2 g/L. 

Disgorged in April 2023, it’s a supremely lithe and vinous sparkling wine redolent of white flowers and stone fruits, with a creamy yet impeccably fresh palate dotted with hazelnut skin and chamomile complexity. Frankly, it blew us away with its stylish and assured personality and rippling length of flavour. Not cheap, but it’s worth every cent.

Domaine la Réméjeanne Vin de France La Bulle 2021
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Domaine la Réméjeanne Côtes du Rhône Les Chèvrefeuilles Blanc 2022
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Domaine la Réméjeanne Côtes du Rhône Les Chèvrefeuilles Blanc 2022

Certified organic. Chèvrefeuilles (pronounced ‘shev-ruh-foy’) is French for honeysuckle, the perfume of which you cannot escape during springtime in the southern Rhône. Olivier is a sucker for the character and freshness of old-vine Clairette, which now accounts for half the blend in his delightful citrus- and white-plum-scented Les Chèvrefeuilles Blanc, with the remainder made up of 25% Roussanne and 25% Grenache Blanc. The fruit grows on the domaine's cooler, east-facing sites, where the prevalence of limestone helps to preserve freshness. Where the Arbousiers white below is drawn from the estate's oldest plantings, this wine comes from vines planted in 2010 and 2011. 

The fruit is pressed as whole bunches and ferments on heavy solids with natural yeasts before resting on its fine lees in concrete for eight months before bottling. The result is a succulently mouth-filling white Rhône, with pulpy textures, citrus pith and chamomile aromas and flavours balanced by some lip-smacking salty minerality (from the Clairette) and a vibrant, juicy close that deliciously manages to be both mineral and floral. Terrific value. 


Domaine la Réméjeanne Côtes du Rhône Les Chèvrefeuilles Blanc 2022
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Domaine la Réméjeanne Côtes du Rhône Les Arbousiers Blanc 2022
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Domaine la Réméjeanne Côtes du Rhône Les Arbousiers Blanc 2022

Certified organic. Les Arbousiers is not Réméjeanne’s most expensive white—that gong goes to the powerful, Roussanne-dominant Les Églantiers—yet we prefer this wine. It’s a blend of the estate’s oldest white plantings, including a parcel of Bourboulenc planted in the early 1970s by Olivier Klein’s grandfather, François. This year’s blend comprises Clairette (30%), Roussanne (30%), Bourboulenc (20%), Viognier (10%) and Marsanne (10%), with the Bourboulenc injecting a level of freshness that belies its apparently minor role.

The grapes are pressed as whole bunches and ferment with natural yeasts—the Roussanne in 1800-litre foudre and the remaining grapes in concrete vats (although Olivier has been experimenting with amphora from this vintage onwards). The wines rest on their fine lees for six months before blending and bottling. Given the age of the vines and varietal makeup, there is more depth and silken texture here, yet it boasts tension courtesy of the bright, sustained acidity. Dripping with floral, garrigue and light honeycomb depths, expect a gracefully orchard-fruited palate sculpted by the pulse of fruit-saturated acidity and a long and textured finish. It is a wine that underscores the great value you still find in France if you know where to look. 

Domaine la Réméjeanne Côtes du Rhône Les Arbousiers Blanc 2022
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Domaine la Réméjeanne Côtes du Rhône Un Air de Réméjeanne 2022
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Domaine la Réméjeanne Côtes du Rhône Un Air de Réméjeanne 2022

Certified organic. 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah. All the fruit for Olivier Klein’s killer-value entry-level Côtes du Rhône grows on the estate’s highland, sandy limestone vineyards set around the hamlet of Sabran. With this wine, Olivier aims for a vin de soif—juicy, floating fruit and sweetly floral perfumes. To this end, following a five-day cold soak, the wines spend only a brief time on skins, and Olivier also incorporates a more significant number of whole bunches in his ferments for more lift and buoyant, bunchy structure.

Aged in concrete and bottled within a year of harvest, it’s a vibrant and perfumed Grenache-led Côtes du Rhône oozing pristine red-berry fruit, a jubey palate and a crisply refreshing close. Andrew Jeffords’s “strawberries metamorphosed into wine” description of the 2012 works here, too. As we have said before, any other questions can be answered at the end of your corkscrew. Indeed, you'll be impressed by how quickly the bottle empties once you pull the cork, which is why we also ship this wine in magnum. 

Domaine la Réméjeanne Côtes du Rhône Un Air de Réméjeanne 2022
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Domaine la Réméjeanne Côtes du Rhône Les Chèvrefeuilles Rouge 2021
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Domaine la Réméjeanne Côtes du Rhône Les Chèvrefeuilles Rouge 2021

Certified organic. This blend comes from hillside vines facing south and east with an average altitude of 250 metres, grown on loess/limestone soils. A combination of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Carignan, as well as some Marselan (from some old vines of a rarely seen hybrid that Olivier Klein likes for the acidity it brings to the blend), this is perhaps the spiciest Réméjeanne wine we ship. The grapes are sorted and mostly destemmed before a natural ferment in concrete tanks. The Carignan grapes, however, undergo carbonic maceration. There is little or no sulphur used during vinification, and the wine then spends a year in concrete before bottling.
Named after the honeysuckle tree, it’s a supple and airy southern Rhône with notes of mulberry, anise and spice box, sinewy tannins—typical of the limestone-rich soils of Sabran—and a long, vibrantly perfumed finish. A twist of smoky, inky fruit on the bright, succulent close only adds to the appeal. It offers terrific class and bang for the money.

Domaine la Réméjeanne Côtes du Rhône Les Chèvrefeuilles Rouge 2021
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Domaine la Réméjeanne Côtes du Rhône Les Arbousiers Rouge 2021
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Domaine la Réméjeanne Côtes du Rhône Les Arbousiers Rouge 2021

Certified organic. A blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah from a single plot of old vines called Arbousiers—the name referencing a native fruit tree that abounds in central France. The poise and finesse of this finely balanced wine are far removed from the weighty tannins and high extraction levels that characterise many old-vine Rhône blends. At 320 metres, Réméjeanne can get perfectly ripe Grenache and Syrah while retaining the energy and refreshing acidity we seldom see in the southern Rhône.  

Naturally fermented and raised (without sulphur) in both concrete tank and large oak casks, this lively and sweetly perfumed bottling is emblematic of the quality Olivier Klein is achieving in both vineyard and cellar. From a significantly fresher vintage than those on either side, the ’21 is saturated with buoyant, lacy floral and red fruits. It exudes gluggable croquant charm, as Olivier puts it, courtesy of the combination of lithe tannins and great acidity. It’s another exciting and effortlessly poised Côtes du Rhône from this domaine. 

Domaine la Réméjeanne Côtes du Rhône Les Arbousiers Rouge 2021
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“No one ever paid much attention to the wines of the out-of-the-way village of Sabran – until a careful, thoughtful winemaker like Rémy Klein came along.” Andrew Jefford, The New France

“Absolutely benchmark Côtes du Rhône domaine in the Gard département (right bank)” John Livingstone-Learmonth, drinkrhone.com

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