Chateau Des Tours is owned by Rayas family. Rayas is one of the few properties in Châteauneuf du Pape that takes its name from the climat they own, named a 13 hectare vineyard that they own in its entirety. The Reynaud family arrived here in 1880, when the region was in the middle of the phylloxera epidemic that threatened to wipe out viticulture in Europe. The Château and surrounding land were purchased by Albert Reynaud, who had lost his hearing at the young age of 45. He saw out his days here, 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 winegrower, 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. Apparently, in the early 1980s the quality of Rayas dipped a little. But by the late 1980s, things were back on track and 1988, 1989 and 1990 were legendary vintages here.
Jacques was a controversial character, who sometimes behaved eccentrically (he had a habit, apparently, of lying in a ditch to avoid journalists who he didn’t want to see). He died in 1997 while buying shoes in Courthézon. The property passed to his nephew Emmanuel, who had been running Château des Tours since 1989.
Chateau Des Tours pictures