At Domaine La Combe du Jardinier, you’ll find grenache, cinsault , syrah and carignan grapes. The carignan is 60 years old and the cinsault and syrah vines are both 30 years old – an age by which they’ve established strong roots, which can reach deep into the terroir. The vineyards nestle in countryside, surrounded by forests and the scrubby wilderness of the garrigue. This stunning backdrop helps gives the Domaine La Combe du Jardinier wines their character and distinctive rich, fruity taste.
Caring for the vines
At the heart of a good wine is the vine. The quality of the vine depends on the soil it grows in, the way it is nurtured and the land that sustains it. To ensure his vines produce the very best fruit possible, Christophe Jammes cares for his vineyards as he does his garden. That means no chemicals and plenty of manure – thanks to local horses and sheep, plus the family’s chickens and compost bin.
As the vines grow, Christophe prunes them by hand, thinking not just of this year’s harvest, but of the plants’ future development. He thinks of quality not quantity – both for the sake of the wine and that of the earth. With Christophe’s methods, the soil is enriched and not exhausted, so it can support the vines in years to come.
When the grape harvest arrives, Christophe is still the attentive gardener, choosing only to pick on a good dry day, when the fruit is at its ripest. The picking is done using traditional secateurs, with only the richest grapes selected. At three and a half hectares, the vineyards are comparatively small – but this means Christophe is able to cultivate them himself, according to his principles, without relying on machinery or industrial methods.
The history of the vines
Christophe inherited the vineyards from his parents. His family have lived on this land since at least 1789, when the official records were burnt in the Revolution. As a child, Christophe wandered through the rows of vines, gathering wild leeks and asparagus, just as his grandparents did. Now he sees his own children doing the same and hopes they will grow up to respect the cycle of life that has brought the vines to him.