Valréas is one of the northernmost villages in the southern Rhône in an area also known as the Enclave des Papes, as it used to be Papal territory. Up above the village the slopes are covered with woodland, which includes truffle oaks, olive groves, lavender and, importantly, vines.
Amid some of these vines lies Domaine du Seminaire, owned by Hervé and Mathilde Pouizin. The fourth generation of his family to farm these slopes, Hervé has converted the land to organic cultivation, keen to sustain the beautiful environment and give his vines the best, healthiest soils in which to thrive.
In most other respects he and Mathilde have preserved the old ways here on the breezy slopes close to the foothills of the Alps and they could also be called traditionalists when it comes to winemaking. No oak is used and the wines are fermented in large concrete tanks, the same that were installed by his forebears in 1938. Syrah performs beautifully on this terroir, providing colour and a real bloom, and grenache ripens with a vivacious freshness that the Pouizins want to capture in their wines. To that end they not only eschew oak but also bottle early and with minimal use of sulphur dioxide.