Isabel Ferrando’s reputation for outstanding wines has grown every vintage since her first release in 2003. She purchased Domaine Saint-Préfert from the Serre family, who was one of the first to estate-bottle in the appellation in the 1930’s; at that point, the domaine was 13.2 hectares, all in the Les Serres lieux-dit, south of the village of Châteauneuf. In 2004, she purchased more land and started making the 100% Grenache cuvée Colombis, primarily from the lieux-dit of Colombis, with sandy soil; she bottles this wine as Domaine Isabel Ferrando.
Ferrando has always farmed organically and starting in 2019, the vines are being managed following biodynamic methods. She has very old vines in her holdings: the Grenache vines average more than 70 years old, and she still has some of the original Mourvèdre that was planted in the 1920’s. Throughout each parcel, all thirteen varieties are co-planted, something that Henri Bonneau told her is, “the beginning of the complexity [of her wines.]”
There is not a secret formula here to making great wines. Ferrando has a young team and she is open to new ideas; she relies on tradition without being trapped by it. Starting in the 2009 vintage, Ferrando started working with whole-cluster fermentations (without added yeasts,) finding that it increased freshness in the wines and lowered alcohol, giving the wines vibrance. Aging happens in a mix of concrete and 600L used barrels for up to 18 months. Year after year, the Saint Préfert wines continue to impress us with their finesse, elegance, and true terroir expression.