This year marks Christian's retirement as a professional wine maker, and we were honored to join him as he reflects on a long and successful career. With ideal harvest conditions in the vineyard and the beautiful backdrop of the Château and its 500 year-old cellars, Château La Nerthe is not exactly off the grid. For us, however, the time spent in this ideal spot was a very special moment to be “Lost.”
We hadn’t planned for the La Nerthe episode to be this personal. In true “Lost in Provence” style, we walked into the project with a pretty open roadmap. Exceptional wine has been made at Château La Nerthe for over nine centuries, and over the last decade their wine has gained worldwide recognition. The domaine is in a magical location west of Mont Ventoux in the Rhone River Valley. The beautiful Château, cellars, and vineyards are situated in the heart of the winemaking Appellation Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This region is known for its soil--soil that has historically produced some of the best wines in the world. What we didn’t know at the time is that our wandering into La Nerthe would perfectly correspond with Christian’s upcoming retirement.
The situation presented a unique opportunity to be able to document and capture a landmark moment in an individual’s life and career. A winemaker is at the same time a craftsman and artist. His brushes and paints are the soil, the wind, the rain, the sun and, of course, the vines. His canvases are the grapes and the barrels; and his works of art are the wines (the vintages) he produces. A winemaker is also historian of sorts. He is able to capture a moment in time--a confluence of climatic conditions and human agriculture--endow it with his own personal touch, and preserve it in a bottle. This "time capsule" can then be opened in 20, 30, or 50 years, and POP, there it is: the color, the smell, the taste--a sensual memory of the time.
The stars aligned in 2015, and we were lucky enough to be there to capture the vendange of what may turn out to be the best vintage that Christian Voeux has ever produced. It is a great bookend to a wonderful career, and a profound moment in the history of a storied Château.
As always, it is a pleasure to be “Lost” in Provence.