A native of the southern Rhone, Isabel Ferrando was living a comfortable life working elsewhere as a senior manager for a large bank when she decided to make a career change. She sent herself to oenology school for two years and then apprenticed for a year with a prominent Gigondas winemaker. In 2002 she bought, along with her husband, an old Chateauneuf property of over 42 acres with some vines as old as 100yrs. Domaine Saint Préfert had not previously been very well known but Ferrando has since built it into one of the appellation’s top estates.
Ferrando’s reputation for outstanding wines has grown every vintage since her first release in 2003. She works alongside a young, dynamic team and relies on tradition while embracing current best practices. Starting in the 2009 vintage, they began working with whole-cluster fermentation finding that it increased freshness in the wines and lowered alcohol, giving the wines vibrance. Aging happens in a mix of concrete and used barrels for up to 18 months. The wines use natural yeasts and are not filtered. She has always farmed organically and in recent years, like so many of the better producers, has begun to incorporate biodynamic practices.
"Under the guidance of Isabel Ferrando, who burst onto the scene in 2003, Domaine Saint Préfert has leapt into the handful of top estates in Châteauneuf du Pape. While the style has shifted slightly since 2009 - when she started including more stems and I think pulling back a touch on ripeness - her wines still have sensational levels of fruit, beautiful purity and overflowing Provençal charm."
- Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate
The Saint Préfert Chateauneuf du Pape is 85% Grenache and 5% each Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsault. The Favier bottling (named after her grandfather) is made with the oldest vines and the Domaine Ferrando “Colombis” is 100% Granache with an average vine age of 60yrs. All three are already in good drinking form now and are of course promising agers, with 15 – 20 years ahead of them.
Domaine Saint-Prefert Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2018
Retail Price: $49.99
Sale Price: $42.97
Jeb Dunnuck, 93 pts. - "The 2018 Châteauneuf du Pape reveals a ruby/purple hue and is slightly opaque. Based on 85% Grenache and 5% each of Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Cinsault, it offers a gorgeous perfume of black raspberries, herbes de Provence, ground pepper, candied orange, and a touch of spiced meat. Pure class on the palate, with medium to full-bodied richness and ultra-fine tannins, it has terrific balance, a layered, elegant mouthfeel, and a great finish. This is one thrilling base cuvee to enjoy over the coming decade or more." Oct. ‘20
Domaine Saint-Prefert Chateauneuf-du-Pape Reserve Auguste Favier 2018
Retail Price: $69.99
Sale Price: $64.97
Wine Spectator, 96 pts. - "This red puts on a gorgeous display of racy cassis, cherry puree and raspberry coulis flavors laced with garrigue and singed sandalwood accents, while a mouthwatering mineral edge drives underneath. The long finish lets the fruit play out, adding flickers of tobacco and shiso leaf. Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Mourvèdre. Best from 2022 through 2038." Oct.‘20
Jeb Dunnuck, 95 pts. - "Grenache dominated yet blend with 15% Cinsault, the 2018 Châteauneuf Du Pape Reserve Auguste Favier gives up a brilliant and complex bouquet of red and blackberries, Provençal garrigue, lavender, peppered meat, and baking spices. Rich, full-bodied, and with another level of concentration over the classic cuvee, this is another incredibly classy, seamless, flawlessly balanced wine that does everything right. It’s certainly great today yet has building tannins and is going to evolve for 15+ years." Oct.‘20
Domaine Ferrando Chateauneuf-du-Pape Colombis 2018
Retail Price: $104.99
Sale Price: $99.97
Wine Advocate, 97 pts. - "At the risk of not being literal enough, tasting Isabel Ferrando's 2018 Chateauneuf du Pape Colombis is like drinking purple flowers. Deep rose and violet notes are seamlessly joined to purple raspberries in a full-bodied wine that seems almost weightless on the palate. There's terrific inner-mouth perfume, near-ethereal tannins that support the wine's girth via a taut, gossamer structure, and a finish tinged with star anise and black cherries that just won't quit. A tour de force of pure Grenache, it should drink well for a decade, perhaps longer.” Sept.‘20
Jeb Dunnuck, 97 pts. - "Tasted from bottle, the 2018 Châteauneuf du Pape Colombis comes from a single lieu-dit and is 100% Grenache brought up all in demi-muids. I thought it could be the wine of the vintage last year, and it’s certainly not far off, offering a sensational bouquet of Provençal garrigue, ground pepper, spiced meat, and red and black fruits. Reminding me of a slightly toned-down version of the 2007, it’s full-bodied and has a beautifully layered, elegant texture, sweet tannins, and a gorgeous finish. The 2018s do not get much better than this, and this beauty can be drunk any time over the coming 15 years or more." Oct. ‘20
Past Cellar Selections:
Roagna Rosso – A Concert Played by a Thousand Vines
Raul Perez – Wines with a Sense of Place
Domaine du Pelican – Burgundy Meets Jura
Viña Almaviva 2016 – #10 on Wine Spectator top 100
Vajra 2016 - Three Variations on Barolo
Beaucastel 2006 - A Chateauneuf You Don’t Have To Wait For
Montevertine – Chianti for Wine Geeks
La Rioja Alta “890” Gran Reserva Rioja 2004
Giuseppe Mascarello Nebbiolo 2018
Domaine Huët 2019 – Grand Cru from the Loire Valley
Shafer Vineyards – Relentless, One Point Five and Chardonnay
Paul Jaboulet – Majestic Wines from the Northern Rhone
Alion and Pintia – The Other Vega Sicilias
Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey – Magic in Burgundy
Domaine A. et P. de Villaine – Budget DRC?
Three Oderros: for the Picnic Table, the Dinner Table and the Cellar
Castilla Ygay 2010 – at 98 pts a ‘First Growth’ Rioja
Burgundy with age from Jean Chauvenet
Cornas and Côtes-du-Rhone from Franck Balthazar
Quintessa 2016 – 98pt Bordeaux Blend from Napa