Domaine Courbis

This is the best known of the several unrelated Courbis families. This one has been associated with wine since the 16th century and is based in the historic village of Chateaubourg in the Ardèche where Laurent Courbis is mayor and where his father Maurice had been mayor before him.

It was Maurice who created the estate as a wine producer in his own right. His sons, Laurent and Dominique have since taken it to new levels and indeed expanded it, adding vineyards in Saint-Péray and Crozes-Hermitage. Chateaubourg is part of the historic zone of Saint-Joseph and the Courbis brothers are among the largest landowners here.

The geology around Chateaubourg is complex. Granite dominates and indeed the eponymous castle stands on a granite outcrop that overlooks the Rhône, and much of the steep escarpment is also granite with shallow sandy soils, perfect for growing the syrah grape. The top vineyard however, called Royes, is quite different as here there is limestone, good for reds but very good for whites too. To the south of Chateaubourg, vines give way to forest for a mile or two before the village of Cornas where suddenly the escarpment fans out to create an amphitheatre-shaped bowl behind the village, the perfect setting for one of the Rhône’s greatest wines.

The Courbis brothers are important growers in Cornas and own plots on some of the most prestigious slopes including les Eygats. They have a deserved reputation for making wines of great fragrance, concentration and finesse and are among the very best producers in Cornas and Saint-Joseph.

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