Alain Jaume: Rhone pioneer

Unique terroir, food-friendly and forward-thinking producers. Is there anything you can’t find in the Rhone? We spoke to Christophe Jaume, son of Alain Jaume to find out.

What’s it like working with your family? Do you have a good working relationship?

First of all you have to have the same commitments to work. That’s it. If not, you’re not going to work together for a long time. Sebastien and I have been working together for 12 years for our father. Then my sister arrived last year, and she wants to move the same way. Let’s say it’s not easy everyday because of course you have to decide together. When my father started, he worked with my grandfather but he was like 90% of winemakers fifty years ago. Most wine was sold in tanks. My father wanted to move to their own cellar, so he started himself because my grandfather didn’t want to invest like this.

He started with a few plots, some terroir in Cotes du Rhone and Chateauneuf du Pape. It was the right time to start this business because at Vinexpo, the biggest festival in Bordeaux, French wine really began to grow its export market. That’s where we made our name, from working internationally in Germany and the UK. From 1978 to 2002 the estate grew from 10 to 40 hectares. Then we grew to Lirac from 15 to 32 hectares. Because we are a big family operation we felt we needed some more projects so last year we moved into Vacqueryas too.

You have some organic vineyards, how difficult was it to get your land up to scratch?

It wasn’t! When it became more fashionable 5 or 6 years ago we were just showing everyone the fact we had almost organic growing without certification. When I say we had nothing to do, I mean all we needed was the certificate. In terms of work it didn’t change anything. So we have been certified since 2012.

Which is your favourite wine you produce if you could pick?

It’s difficult because we have such a good range. Starting from Cotes du Rhone to Chateauneuf which received 100 parker points in 2010. If you are just talking about wine, it has to be the Chateauneuf! It’s one of the top cuvees of the appellation. But you can’t really compare that to a 12 euro Cotes du Rhone.

Which food goes best with the Lirac?

We have this reputation in the Rhone of pairing our reds with red meats. We have this spicy typicity of pepper and fruit character that goes really well with red meats. But we know we’ll always pair well with game meat as well. Take a Lirac 2012 for instance, which matches really well with cote de boeuf.

Do you have any specific challenges in the vineyards?

Well, the stones are unique to the area. They are quite impressive, it’s not easy to walk that’s for sure. What would be more difficult would are slopes, like they have further north. But terroir is terroir, we can’t complain much because we just work with what we have.

What’s your favourite thing about the region?

We can definitely show the area is unique. If you just take a picture and focus on the earth of Bordeaux and Burgundy you don’t know where you are. If you look at the terroir of Chateauneuf, you know exactly where you are. It’s truly something unique so that’s good we’re able to work with this soil. With all these rocks, when they named the areas in the past they knew all you could plant was vines. So the terroir is always something the French talk about because that’s what makes a difference on taste, that’s where everything comes from. Of course the human influence is huge because without good growers you don’t get anything. We know we have the terroir, we just do our best to express the wines.

If you’d like to know more about Alain Jaume wines, speak to your account manager.


24th February 2015

Company No. 2550982 | 109a Regents Park Road London NW1 8UR | Call: 0845 263 6924 | AWRS Number: XVAW00000101595

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