Domaine la Remejeanne

High Country Côtes du Rhônes Brimming with Fruit and Freshness

For a population of fewer than 2,000 people, Sabran sure has a lot of churches—six in total. Fortunately for us, this god-fearing village has another claim to fame; it’s home to one of the southern Rhône’s most progressive growers. La Réméjeanne is situated amid the oak-forested hills and rocky vineyards of Sabran, in the Rhône’s Gard department. Before the godsend of satellite navigation, the Domaine would take some tracking down. Despite that, it has always been one of those places that are “worth a special journey”, as the Michelin Guide would put it.

All the Réméjeanne vines are certified organic and sit at high altitudes between 200 and 280 meters. Here, the cooler climate and limestone-rich soils endow the wines with a freshness and refinement that is not typical of this AOC. Working alongside his pioneering father, Rémy Klein, the young Olivier Klein continues to drive quality at this address skywards. Klein junior seems to have inherited the best traits of both his parents—the strong will of his mother and his father’s famously open-minded approach to winemaking.

This great country—with the Rhône proper in your rear-view mirror and the foothills of the Cevennes ahead—is also home to one of the Southern Rhône’s most outstanding, progressive growers

Winegrowing in these rocky hills is a tough business, yet not only does Klein put in the long hours, but he also does so with a smile on his face. All the grapes are hand-harvested, then undergo long, slow fermentations with indigenous yeasts before aging in concrete or older wood. Extractions and sulphur additions (if used at all) are kept to the bare minimum. Olivier Klein follows the great growers of the north as much as he does his southern counterparts and likes his reds with a bit of crunch. He, therefore, ensures he doesn’t pick too late and prefers an infusion-over-extraction approach to his winemaking.

These are wines that proudly speak of their place—high up in the hills with soils comprised of sand and limestone. This highly distinctive terroir results in a range of fresh, highly refined Côtes du Rhônes brimming with fruit and character. They are far cooler and purer than many of the Côtes du Rhônes produced at lower altitudes and on alluvial soils. This stylistic difference suits us right down to the ground.

The Range

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 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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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 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 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 2021
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Domaine la Réméjeanne Côtes du Rhône Un Air de Réméjeanne 2021

Certified organic. 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah. All the fruit for Olivier Klein's excellent value Un Air Côtes du Rhône was drawn from the estate’s highland, sandy limestone vineyards set around the hamlet of Sabran. Everything was picked by hand and sorted, then mostly destemmed prior to a five-day cold soak. The ferment was natural and was followed by a maturation of between seven and eight months in concrete tanks. The wine is unfined and only saw a light filtration prior to bottling. Full of bright red fruit, this is another beautifully crafted and energetic release. It jumps out of the glass with scents of pure, just-picked raspberries and cherries and an aromatic garrigue bouquet of lavender, sage, thyme and violet. Just as agile on the palate, it’s supple and fragrant, with a gentle caress of tannins adding to its crunchy-fruited drinkability. Every sip is pure pleasure.

Full of bright red fruit, this is another beautifully crafted and energetic release. It jumps out of the glass with scents of pure, just-picked raspberries and cherries and an aromatic garrigue bouquet of lavender, sage, thyme and violet. Just as agile on the palate, it’s supple and fragrant, with a gentle caress of tannins adding to its crunchy-fruited drinkability. Every sip is pure pleasure.

Domaine la Réméjeanne Côtes du Rhône Un Air de Réméjeanne 2021
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“With a remarkable love of a job well done, Rémy Klein has shown over many years the potential of the terroir on the left bank of the Rhône.” Bettane & Desseauve, Le Grand Guide des Vins de France, 2009

“Klein laughingly dismisses the suggestion that he adheres to a winemaking philosophy. It occurs to me that this makes him, perhaps, the best kind of winemaker: committed, yet completely open-minded.” Beverley Blanning MW, Decanter

“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

“Proprietor Rémy Klein is one of the most consistently top-flight winemakers among the Côtes du Rhône producers.” Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate

Country

France

Primary Region

Southern Rhône

People

Winemakers: Olivier & Rémy Klein

Availability

National

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