Martinelle occupies 11.5 hectares on the eastern slopes of the imposing limestone cliffs of the Dentelles de Montmirail. The landscape is marked by steep hills, and vineyards share space with olive and pine trees.
My wines are indeed “mountain” wines, benefiting from slightly lower temperatures at altitude. The grapes’ growing and ripening process takes place a little later, and can last a little longer, than down in the valley. Also, all my vineyards are essentially southeast-facing terraces, which meet the sun the moment it crests over Mount Ventoux, and yet are protected from the afternoon’s intense heat.
In addition to the opulence and succulence of southern grapes, Martinelle wines benefit from more freshness and balance overall.
The Martinelle vineyard is my “monopole,” a contiguous 8.5-hectare plot, the centerpiece of which are terraces that cascade from 300 meters at the summit to 270 meters in altitude.
Decomposed limestone here mixes with subsoils of clay and gypsum, a combination that is rocky and nutrient-poor; the clay helps the soil retain water, preventing hydric stress even in the warmest and driest of years.
Some 5.5 hectares are planted to Grenache, 1.8 hectares to Syrah and Petite Serine, and the rest to Mourvèdre and Counoise. I also have a half-hectare of Clairette here, for my Ventoux Blanc.
The vineyard Bramadou forms a natural “clos,” surrounded entirely by pine, oak and olive trees, at 330 meters in altitude. It totals 2.85 hectares, with 1.4 hectares planted to Grenache and one-hectare to Syrah.
My vines, from 30 to nearly 50 years old, grow on soils from the Triassic geological period, created between 200 to 230 million years ago. These soils bring together decomposed limestone and gypsum, the soil’s high iron content giving it a ruddy, orange-red hue.
Unique in the Rhône Valley, these soils, which are usually found deep below the surface, break through on the eastern side of the Dentelles de Montmirail, exactly where Bramadou is located.