Owner & winemaker: Jean-Marc Autran
Vineyards: 30ha, all estate-owned
Vineyard management: Certified organic
Soils: Sand and clay-silt
Grapes grown: Grenache Noir, Syrah, Mourvedre, Counoise, Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Roussanne, Marsanne
Annual production: 180,000 bottles
- Jean-Marc Autran is the fourth generation of his family to make wine, and his daughter Maude will be the fifth generation and the first woman to run the estate.
- The wines are still made in the cellar built by Jean-Marc’s great-grandfather in 1947.
- “The Rhône Valley is a marvelous place, not just for winemaking but for tourism as well–people from all over the world come to visit the countryside and taste our wines. This cultural diversity enriches our winemaking.” – the Autran family
Domaine Piaugier is nestled within the famous Dentelles de Montmirail mountain chain, in the Vaucluse department in the southern Rhône Valley. Jean-Marc Autran is the fourth generation of his family to make wine in this region. The wine cellar still in use today was built by Jean-Marc’s great-grandfather, Alphonse Vautour, in 1947. He originally had a cellar at the top of a hill among the vineyards, but he got tired of transporting all of his wine downhill on mule-back! The current cellar is more conveniently located along the main road, and Jean-Marc expanded it to meet their modern needs in 1995. Since taking charge in 1985, Jean-Marc and his wife Sophie have increased plantings, building on the family tradition, and their daughter Maude has recently joined them. She’ll be the fifth generation and the first woman to run the family estate.
Plantings are majority Grenache, along with complementary grapes such as Syrah, Mourvèdre, Counoise, and Carignan. They’re particularly proud of their work with white grapes as well, which represent 20% of their production (despite being only 5-10% of production at most wineries in the region). The vineyards are split into many small parcels with varying soil types, including clay with limestone and sand, clay with chalk, and sand and gravel soils. Average vine age is between 20 and 40 years old. Climate change has brought challenges, particularly the extreme heat and drought vines have suffered from in recent years. Looking to the future, the family is considering new farming methods as well as new or ancient grape varieties that might allow them to perpetuate their viticultural traditions in a “new normal.”
“Rigor, respect, and patience” is the mantra at Piaugier, both in the vineyard and in the cellar. They aim to make wines that reflect their terroir as well as their personality. The Côtes du Rhône red wine is fermented and aged in concrete tanks which date back to the construction of the cellar in 1947. The Gigondas spends time in 600L demi-muids, 30hL foudres, and large wooden vats. Only the entry-level red, which is bottled earliest, is filtered.