Rhône 2018 - Le Great Petit Domaine

Domaine Martin – Travaillan

Winemaker: Éric Martin

Vineyard: 72ha

Annual production: 350,000-400,000 bottles

Key points:

  • Fourth generation family domain nestled between Gigondas and Châteauneuf du Pape

  • High quality wines from relatively old vines

  • Outstanding Vin de Pays and Crus

Top wines: Le Petit Martin (red & white) 2017, Rasteau 2016 and 100% Syrah 2016



Éric and David Martin, 5th generation of the Domain Martin family estate, had a tough year this year. The plan de Dieu area where most of his 72ha are planted, was badly affected by mildew during the very rainy May. Éric estimates to have lost about 50% of his harvest in less than a month. What is left is promising but volumes will inevitably be low, about 150,000 fewer bottles than last year. But the two brothers have more than one trick up their sleeves. They have managed in the last 18 years to grow the centennial family domain and build on their reputation of high-quality wines from the Vin de Pays to the Crus (Rasteau, Cairanne). Éric and David still sold wine to Guigal back in 2011, before the demand got so high that they couldn't supply the prestigious Guigal, a good friend of Éric and David's father.


Le Petit Martin Rouge is Éric's entry level wine range. The wines are simple but packed with fruit and easy to drink. The red is made from 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah with a short fermentation and ready to drink very easily. It is packed with fruits (strawberry compote) and is an outstanding entry level Rhône at 6€ for cellar customers. 17/20

Le Petit Martin Blanc is 100% Viognier and displays all the typical elements of a good Viognier: peach, apricots and white flowers (chamomile) flavours on a rich slightly honeyed texture. As great value as the red around the same price. 16.5/20

When trying the domain's Crus, the Rasteau 2016 stood out from the rest. It is a blend of 60% Grenache, 25% Syrah and 15% Mourvèdre. The blend spends 8 months in old oak casks and lends the wine a mellow velvety texture, ripe dark berry flavours and a long finish of fruits & spices. The wine boasts two Gold medals and an impressive 92 points from Robert Parker. And it looks like the Yankees took the last of the stock. Touché! 17.5/20


Most of Martin’s crus spend some time in large oak VATs

The 100% Syrah 2016 is simply divine. The Syrah comes from very old vines (up to 70 years old) with very low yields (15-20hl/ha), enjoys a long fermentation and is then aged for 12 months in 2nd passage barrique. The result is stunning. It is intense, well-balanced, complex and long. The dark fruits (blackberries, black cherries) are ripe and rich; the texture chocolate-like, the finish, supported by big but elegant tannins let more of the wooden aromas (cloves) and black pepper come through. Truly fantastic and massively underrated, it is a stunner under €20 that will need a good couple of hours open before drinking. 18.5/20

#2018 #Rhône #harvestreport

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