Via Caritatis

Southern Rhône, southern rhone France

Located in the foothills of Mount Ventoux in the Southern Rhône, Via Caritatis, meaning “way of charity” in Latin, is a unique collaboration. United by a wish to revive their region’s winemaking history and to support local winemakers, the monks of the Abbey of Sainte-Madeleine du Barroux and the local co-operative, Beaumont de Ventoux, joined forces in 2010 to create a range of wines from their combined 30 hectares. The quality of the grapes and the impressive community partnership attracted the attention of one of the Rhône’s most accomplished consultant oenologists, Philippe Cambie, who has since become closely involved.

The Abbey of Sainte-Madeleine du Barroux is one of four monastic communities who have chosen winemaking as their main manual labour. The 10 hectares of vineyards surrounding the Abbey include the first papal vineyard in France, created in 1309 – even before Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Situated at an altitude of 320 – 380 metres and tempered by the Mistral wind, the vines benefit from warm days and cool nights and are cultivated organically. The location means that work in the vineyards is very labour intensive, as everything must be done by hand. Under the guidance of Philippe, the monks have chosen plots which express the freshness of this microclimate and the diversity of the soils.

The ‘Vox Domini’ Blanc is a blend of Clairette, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc, fermented in concrete at a low temperature and aged on fine lees for six months, which adds a lovely rich texture to the finished wine. The ‘Vox Domini’ Rosé is a blend of Grenache and Syrah. It has a refreshing lift of acidity with aromas of wild strawberry and white blossom. Deep garnet in colour, the ‘Vox Caritatis’ Rouge is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan. It undergoes a 25 day maceration before fermentation and is then aged in concrete for nine months. The finished wine is expressive with ripe raspberry and blackberry fruit, balanced by supple tannins and layers of spice and liquorice on the finish.

The ‘Lux In Domino’ Rouge, a blend of Grenache and Syrah from the best plots, showcases the true potential of the Ventoux. The Grenache comes from old vines and contributes intense fruit and power to the blend. The Syrah, sourced from the Abbey’s Clos des Sœurs vineyard and the terraced vineyards of the co-operative, has a wonderful depth of black fruit and pronounced fragrance. 80% of the wine is aged in concrete vats for 18 months, the other 20% is aged for 24 months in 500 litre new oak barrels which results in a generous palate, with rich fruit underpinned by fine-grained tannins.


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