1874. The first buildings are constructed. Six generations succeed each other at Domaine Santa Duc, each adding their own contribution to its development on this terroir of Gigondas that has been renowned since gallo-roman times for its characterful red wines. Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah and Cinsault; the Gras family are committed to bringing out the best in these noble grapes
1985. Yves Gras takes over from his father Edmond and offers a new international dimension to the wines endowed with generously ripe fruit, a touch of wild herbs and immense length. Very soon Robert Parker was writing: “Santa Duc combines the muscle, richness and fire of a classic Gigondas with a degree of elegance and purity that many wines of this appellation lack.” In 2005, the book “The World’s Greatest Wine Estates”, published by Simon & Schuster, showcases the long history and unique character of the estate’s wines. “Les Hautes Garrigues”, from one of the best vineyards in the region on the great plateau of Gigondas, attains iconic status. It is a wine that reveals an immediately recognizable expression of the terroir of Gigondas and a distinct minerality drawn from the argillaceous and incredibly stony soils. But Yves Gras’ vision, as keen as that of the Grand Duc owl that is found in the region, and after which the Domaine is named, takes him ever further afield. Continuing his search for cool terroirs capable of producing great wines, he acquires several magnificent parcels at Châteauneuf-du-Pape, at la Crau.
1994. Yves Gras begins a new project. He renovates and embellishes a forgotten Clos, magnificently situated overlooking the church and the hospice of the village of Gigondas: the “Clos DerrièreVieille”. For Benjamin, who has taken the helm, one thing is certain: the soils and the orientation may be different between this monopole Clos and « Les Hautes Garrigues”, but the philosophy remains unquestionably the same. Massal selections, biodynamics, whole cluster vinification, fermentation with wild yeats, minimum intervention, non-filtered wines….
2019. The story continues. An expertise unique in Gigondas, extended also to the single parcel selections of Châteauneuf-du-Pape – La Crau Ouest, Les Saintes Vierges, Le Pied de Baud, Habemus Papam, allow Benjamin to reveal the qualities that are essential in a great wine: balance, elegance, purity and depth. Only natural for a family of winemakers born at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail hills, whose splendor and natural beauty are a daily source of creative inspiration.
Working as close as possible to nature and expressing all the singularity of each terroir via a parcel selection approach. He therefore maintained organic agriculture, converting the entire estate to biodynamic methods in the Autumn of 2016, and re-thinking the range of wines to put the emphasis on local terroirs.