Run by brothers Vincent and Pascal Maurel; Clos Saint-Jean holds 41-hectares of vineyards located primarily in the region of Le Crau. This plateau is perhaps the most iconic of the many terroirs of Châteauneuf-duPape – iron-rich red clays topped with galets. While about 60% of their vineyards are located here, specifically in the lieu-dits of Côteau de Saint-Jean and Cabane de Saint-Jean, another 40% are located in alluvial clay and sandy soils adjacent to the plateau. They also own a small parcel of Mourvedre in the lieu-dit of Bois-Dauphin near Château Rayas planted on sandy, limestone-rich soils.
The farming at Clos Saint-Jean is fully sustainable due to the warm and dry climate, which obviates the need for chemical inputs. Vincent and Pascal employ organic methods for pest control, mainly pheromones, to prevent pests from taking up residence in their vines, a process called amusingly enough in French, confusion sexuelle. The vines are also worked manually, and harvest is conducted in several passes entirely by hand.?
Once harvested, the grapes are transported to the cellar in small bins. The white varieties are pressed directly with Grenache Blanc and Clairette being fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks, while the Roussanne is fermented and aged in barrel. The reds are almost entirely destemmed, with about 10% whole clusters retained. Fermentation follows in concrete vats. Macerations are long, averaging 35 days on the skins. The Grenache sees a gentle maceration with delestage, while the Syrah and Mouvrèdre receive pigeage. All of the Grenache is aged in concrete except Sanctus Sanctorum, a single plot of old-vine Grenache, that in exceptional vintages, is aged in demi-muid and bottled only in magnum. Syrah and Mourvedre are aged in barriques and demi-muids. Aging for all the reds is about 12 months. In addition to the Sanctus Sanctorum, two additional small cuvées are made: La Combe des Fous and Deus ex Machina – each sourced primarily from Le Crau, the power, and finesse of which is apparent in both wines. The Deus ex Machina is deepened with the inclusion of the old vine Mourvedre that the Maurels farm on the sandy soils of Bois–Dauphin.