Quintessential has added to its roster of wine imports with one of France’s Chateauneuf du Pape producers — Domaine Andre Brunel.
Domaine Andre Brunel counts more than 200 acres of land under vine in Chateauneuf du Pape, Cotes du Rhone and Vin d’Pays. It is among the oldest wineries in the region, and one of an few still owned and operated by the family that founded it.
This is in line with Quintessential’s family values. “Our company’s focus is to nurture and support multi-generational family-owned and-operated wineries that are building their business for future generations,” says Dennis Kreps, who owns and runs Quintessential with his father Stephen. “Fabrice Brunel, who has been running the winery since his father’s retirement, was raised in the vineyards and is steeped in the traditions of his family’s vineyard management and winemaking skills.”
Winemaking has been the family business for more than three centuries and many generations. In 1954, Brunel’s grandfather, Lucien, created a brand called “Les Cailloux” (French for “the pebbles,” named after the large oval stones that are a geographical characteristic of Chateauneuf vineyards). It was the first wine the Domaine vinified under its own label. Until that time, the wine was made in bulk, to be bottled and sold elsewhere.
“We are excited to work with Quintessential as our exclusive importer in the U.S. market,” Says Brunel “They have an impressive reputation for successfully marketing and building high-end brands. We’re confident Quintessential will help us grow brand recognition and sales in the US. We will provide high quality wines in an extended range, from the Côtes du Rhône to our exclusive Cuvée Centenaire.”
Today, Domaine Andre Brunel makes 12 different labels, with approximately 80,000 cases produced and shipped around the world. Next year, a state-of-the-art winery will join the current one to handle vinification of the 2022 grapes, the company says.
Grenache is the signature red grape of Chateauneuf du Pape and Cotes du Rhone. The majority of Domaine Andre Brunel wines contain a large amount of grenache, usually blended with syrah and mourvédre.
The winery’s benchmark label is Cuvee Centenaire. This wine is nearly 100% grenache, with a small amount of syrah added. It comes from a single vineyard in the Domaine, with vines as old as 130 years.
The “Les Cailloux” label also includes a red and a white wine that are both considered textbook for the region. “Les Cailloux” Chateauneuf du Pape Red has a majority of grenache, with mourvedre, syrah and cinsault. The white is made with grapes from two plots — roussanne, an atypical grape for the region, and grenache blanc.
The Andre Brunel line comes from vineyards in the Cotes du Rhone that Fabrice’s father, Andre Brunel, bought in a wave of expansion in the 1970s and ‘80s. A number of these wines from the Domaine’s vineyards will come into the U.S., including the Andre Brunel Cotes du Rhone, the Cotes du Rhone Villages Sabrine and a white, Les Becassonnes.
The wines of Domaine Andre Brunel that Quintessential will import into the U.S. will have suggested retail prices between $12 and $250.