Yikes, a wine I disliked. It was unbalanced and awkward with a hollowness. Emmanuel’s early wines especially the 2002 is something I would pass over.
But the history is interesting: Rayas and the Reynaud family are synonymous with each other. The family arrived in the Rhone in the 1880’s, when the region was in the middle of the phylloxera epidemic. The Château and surrounding land were purchased by Albert Reynaud and he lived out his days there, running the property in the polyculture that was normal at the time, with crops of grapes, apricots and olives.
His son Louis was intent on becoming a wine grower, and went to study at Angers. On his return he reclaimed some of the land from forests and planted more vines. By 1920, he was ready to launch the first commercial wines from Rayas. The result was 13 hectares of vines separated into 15 parcels. The soils were chalk/lime in some plots, and more sandy in others.
Louis did well enough that he was able to purchase two more properties: Château des Tours in Vacqueyras (in 1935) and Château Fonsalette (in 1945).
Louis had two sons: Bernard and Jacques. Bernard was given responsibility for des Tours, while Jacques took over Rayas, with 1978 his first vintage.
Jacques was a controversial character, who sometimes behaved eccentrically and he would stay lying in a ditch to avoid journalists who he didn’t want to see. He died in 1997 and passed his estate to his nephew Emmanuel, who had been running Château des Tours since 1989.