Winemaking That’s Down to Earth

Thibaut Chamfort comes by his profession honestly. The fourth generation at the helm of Domaine de Verquière, located in Sablet in the Rhône Valley and owned by his family since 1928, you could say winemaking is in his blood.

Thibaut took the helm at the winery in 2011, after honing his skills and knowledge in France, California and South Africa and only then returning home to build on his father’s, grandfather’s and great-grandfather’s hard work and innovation. Since then, he has channelled his passion and commitment into the family business starting with the conversion of the estate’s vineyards to organic farming, certified in 2014. His focus on the land includes working the soils at depth to bring out the true character of the terroir, which in turn reduces compaction and encourages the proliferation of microorganisms that enhance the soil and consequently the wines that are born from these vineyards. Thibaut also focuses on having very low yields in the vineyards, well below the regulatory yields of each appellation, which ensures an extremely high quality of fruit.

Over the years the family has purchased vineyards in the appellations of Sablet, Plan de Dieu, Rasteau and Vacqueyras, each with unique terroir. Thibaut is unwavering in his commitment to respect the differences of each distinct area and to bring out the character of each in his wines. From stony, clay-chalk slopes in Rasteau to the carpet of red pebbles in Plan de Dieu, to the soft yellow sands of Sablet and finally the fine mix of clay, sand and limestone in Vacqueyras, Thibaut explores the potential of each parcel through careful work in the cellar, where he uses concrete vats and large format oak to allow for a true expression of terroir to shine through his winemaking.

We are thrilled to welcome Domaine de Verquière to The Vine and to showcase two wines that speak to both history and place as well as to the passion and talent of such an exciting young winemaker.

Domaine de Verquière 2020 Plan de Dieu, Rhône Valley
Retail: $24.95 / btl

Domaine de Verquière 2019 Rasteau, Rhône Valley
Retail: $29.95 / btl

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The Wines

Domaine de Verquière 2020 Plan de Dieu, Rhône Valley
Plan de Dieu is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah grown on clay-limestone soils topped with large, rounded pebbles. The harvest was sorted and completely de-stemmed as soon as it arrived in the cellar and the varietals were vinified separately at a low temperature to slowly extract the flavours of the grapes. The wine is a deep, dark purple colour in the glass. The nose offers aromas of red currants, strawberries and raspberries with a warming spice undertone. On the palate it is very well balanced with red berry fruits alongside an herbal component of thyme and rosemary. Full and luxurious velvety tannins lead to a long, smooth finish.

Domaine de Verquière 2019 Rasteau, Rhône Valley
A blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah. Grapes were hand-picked and sorted, fully de-stemmed and pre-fermented at a cold temperature for 24 hours before completing fermentation at 26-28°C. Varietals were vinified separately and the wine was aged in oak barrels for four months. Deep garnet in the glass with aromas of blackcurrant, cherry, truffle and subtle spice. The palate is fresh and expressive with notes of ripe red berries, liquorice and pepper and generous and full-bodied, with smooth tannins supported by a slightly mineral structure, good intensity and a long finish.

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About Domaine de Verquière

Domaine de Verquière is a family story stretching back four generations and almost 100 years with each generation applying their knowledge to take the winery to the next level. Located in Sablet, just north of Gigondas, it all started with current vigneron Thibaut’s great-grandfather, Edmond. He purchased the current buildings in 1928 and breathed new life into them. At that time, he sold his wines in large barrels to the region’s best wine merchants, a very common practice for his generation. His son gave new impetus to the estate, and he was the first winegrower in Sablet to sell his own wine in bottles in 1964. He also helped create the Côtes du Rhône Villages Sablet appellation in 1974. Bernard, Thibaut’s father, and 3rd generation continued the progress of his father and grandfather by putting emphasis on export sales. And finally, Thibaut arrived on the scene taking over from his father in 2011 and applied his knowledge which was gained from within France as well as stints in California and South Africa. He has poured all his passion and commitment into converting the vineyards to organic viticulture which was finally certified in 2014.

The winery itself, is a 45-ha estate with vineyards in the appellations of Sablet, Plan de Dieu, Rasteau and Vacqueyras. Each terroir is quite different. Sablet (sable = sand) is built on a sandy mound from which it takes its name. The profile of Plan de Dieu (God’s plain) is a bed of red clay packed to a depth of 10m. Rasteau, located a little further north-east and at an altitude of 200m has a landscape of undulating hills and varied stony and clay-chalk soils. And Vacqueyras, located just south of Gigondas, has steep terraced vineyards with distinct soils producing red, rosé, and white wines.

Thibaut has at his disposal a spacious cellar and traditional vat room (complete with concrete tanks and some old big oak barrels, demi-muids are traditional for the area) that allows him to work closely with each parcel and varietal. Traditional Rhône varieties are grown; Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Mourvèdre for the reds and Clairette, Bourboulenc and Roussane for the whites. Six wines are produced for export and the winery is starting to attract the attention of the international press such as Josh Raynolds at Vinous, Joe Czerwinski at Robert Parker and James Suckling. We were delighted when samples showed up at our offices to try and we jumped at the opportunity to expand our portfolio from the southern Rhône and add additional appellations from this intriguing region.


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Domaine de Verquière is represented in Ontario by The Vine Agency.

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