About Domaine du Tunnel
Stephane Robert created the Domaine Du tunnel in 1994. It starts with vines covering 2.5 ha on Saint Joseph, 2.5 ha in Saint Peray, Ardeche, and Rhone on the right bank. The cellar is situated in Saint Peray in the town centre. An additional AOC was set up to expand the estate range in 2013.
Stephanie did a complete rehabilitation of the Saint Peray tunnel in 2014 in Barras to create a cellar for winemaking and ageing. The freestone tunnel that is 170 m in length had a steam rail linking Valance and Vernoux en Vivarais at the beginning of the 20th century. The vineyard still covers 12 hectares in chavany, tournon sur Rhone, mauves, glun, corns, and saint Peray communes.
Here, cuvees are vinified using old vines on the terraces or hillsides. The vines are planted on granite soils. Vignier, marsanne and roussanne, and syrah are the grape varieties used by domaine Du tunnel France.
On the vineyard, the harvesting and other work are handled manually. The wines are raised with passion. Barrels are used for saint Josephs and corns. Wooden vats and new barrels can be used, but this depends on the vintages and cuvees. The high forest diversity makes it easy to make precise and adapted breeding.
The estate obtained high environmental value certification from the 2018 vintage. This is a state recognition, and it is official. Over the years, domaine Du tunnel has taken a place in Rhone valley in the production of some of the best vintages. Stephane Robert works closely with his wife, Sandrine, to get the most out of the terroir. Stephane learnt winemaking alongside Bernard Gripa. He also learned more about the specificities of Roussanne, Marsanne, and Syrah. These grape varieties are popular in northern Rhone and define the area.
Work on the first parcels started in 1994. This was two years before his domaine was officially created.
In the vineyards, horses are used where vines are accessible, but in other areas, winches are used. The grapes are vinified with little intervention. The rigorous work put into the whole process, and the use of old vines leads to the most pleasant outcomes.
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