07 Aug Meet Xavier Vignon
As the technical director and founding enologist at “Avignon Oenologie Conseil,” Xavier Vignon oversees winemaking at more than 300 estates, including most of the best-known domaines in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The star-studded list of his clients includes Raymond Usseglio, Château La Nerthe, Domaine La Mordorée, and Domaine de Beaurenard, among others.
And sometimes, in lieu of payment in cash for his laboratory’s service, he accepts wine, which “Xavier Vins,” the micro-négociant company he established in 2002, assembles into some of the most expressive wines in the southern Rhône Valley.
Xaviers wines have become darlings of Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate and consistently receive high marks – with his top cuvees often garnering perfect scores.
Originally a physical chemist, Xavier is particularly interested in how the spectrum of dissolved mineral salts in the groundwater of each vineyard influences the expression of terroir in the grapes. “Wine is 85% water,” he says, “which as a trained enologist, I examine at the molecular level. And because of what I observe, I’m convinced that what is most important are the vines, the depth of the roots, and the health and balance of the vineyard.
These wines are a treasure trove for the savvy buyer.