ownerDiane de Puymorin
- Vineyard Area: 60 ha
- Soil Type: Gress (alluvial pebbles)
- Varieties Cultivated: Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Chardonnay, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Rolle
- Annual Production: 250,000 bottles
- Country: France
- Winemaker: Diane de Puymorin
Diane de Puymorin left a corporate career in Paris to found a wine estate in southern France. A lifelong overachiever, she studied the terroirs and selected the very best for her new home, renaming the estate after her family crest: or, gold, and gueules, a heraldic term for red. The vineyards of Château d’Or et de Gueules, which are certified organic, are in the area known as Saint Gilles: a combination of drastic diurnal temperature shifts, vigorous winds, and a stony alluvial soil gives impeccably balanced wines, and Diane is campaigning to have this unique terroir recognized with cru status.
Diane’s wines are now firmly seated among the best in the appellation, and the wine world is beginning to sit up and take notice. Each cuvée strikes the perfect balance between openness and intricacy, pleasure and inspiration.
After finishing a degree in Agronomy, the talented and passionate Diane de Puymorin set out to slowly elevate the image of Costières de Nimes, the southernmost appellation in the Rhône Valley. Believing the soils to have the pedigree to make great wines, she bought the Domaine in 1998 and changed the name to Château d’Or et de Gueules, a reference to the Puymorin family crest. She has since become a passionate advocate for terroir distinction within the appellation, and has recently proposed changes to the INAO to gain recognition for the soils around St. Gilles on her labels. With the help of her husband, Mathieu Chatain and their five daughters, she creates charming, spicy reds, as well as vibrant rosés and whites.
Diane farms 50 hectares to the southwest of the old Roman city of Nimes. In between St. Gilles and Générac, not far from the salt marshes of the Camargue and the Mediterranean, the climate here is optimal for creating balanced wines. The vineyards are planted to Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Chardonnay, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Rolle destined for several different cuvées of reds, rosés, and whites. Southern and southeastern sun exposure ensures full ripeness of the grapes, diurnal temperature shifts keep the grapes cool, and the presence of the Mistral protects the natural acidity of the grapes and wards off pestilence and rot. The soils are composed of galets roulés, a similar rounded limestone alluvial gravel that is also found in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, insulating the roots from extreme temperature fluctuations. After years of implementing sustainable farming in the vineyards, Diane has recently become certified in organic farming. She prunes rigorously to limit yields, pulls leaves to create circulation between clusters, and plows to aerate the soils—a necessary part of organic farming.
The Costières de Nîmes consists of some 12,000 hectares under vine, of which only 4,500 are designated as AOC Costières de Nîmes. It is one of the few appellations of this size to have no distinction of terroirs through premiers crus let alone lieux-dits. Diane is currently spearheading an initiative with the INAO to designate an appellation extension of St. Gilles to her vineyards as well as other areas in the southeastern part of the appellation that share her soils. Once known for its excellent Mourvèdre, the designation would require a minimum percentage of the varietal to blends from this area as well as restricted yields. While the change requires two years of study before an INAO ruling, Diane’s passion and stewardship has already brought awareness to the quality terroirs of the appellation and helped elevate its standing in the marketplace.
At Château d’Or et de Gueules, sustainability is a comprehensive ethic that is infused into the vineyards, cellars and even shipping. She is one of the rare producers to be carbon neutral; she powers her winery entirely with solar energy and uses recyclable packaging and water-based inks on bottles and boxes.
In the winery, each grape varietal from each terroir is vinified separately. The Château d’Or et de Gueules wines undergo long, traditional macerations that last up to 28 days, and anywhere from 80 to 100 percent of the Carignan goes through carbonic macerations. The blend and élevage for each cuvee is unique. Each bears a name in old Occitan and is intended for early consumption: “Les Cimels” (or bouquet of flowers) Rouge highlights the floral qualities of low-yielding vines and ages in tank for two years; “Qu’es Aquo” (or ‘what is that?’) is sourced from the domaine’s 80-year-old Carignan vines and ages for six months in three-year barrels; “La Bolida” (or small cuvée) takes its name from a century-old Mourvèdre vines that yield 10 hectoliters per hectare; and “Trassegum” (or love potion) Rouge is aged in barrel and tank for velvety smooth tannins. As for their rosés, the Château d’Or et de Gueules “Cimel” is made from direct press and saignée and is aged in tank while the “Trassegum” is made from direct press and fermented in 500-L demi-muids.
The Domaine should have the organic certification on the label in 2019.