Chateau Raspail is a small estate located in the Southern Rhone Valley of France. They are known for producing a small quantity of Gigondas, an appellation that was granted status in 1971, elevating it above Cotes du Rhone Villages. The winemaking tradition of this estate is very long, and involving some very colourful figures along the way. Chateau Raspail has quite a complicated and newsworthy history. Politics, philosophy and chemistry were among the occupations and accomplishments of the first of the Raspail family to invest in Gigondas. Their fame was such that a Boulevard and a Metro station were named after one of them in Paris. Tragically, the original investment in the estate (mostly funded by the buying and re-selling of a Roman statue in the mid-1800’s) was largely lost as Phyloxera wiped out production near the end of the 19th century. New owners were able to replant and revive the vineyards with louse resistant rootstocks. Fast forward to 1979 when the estate was purchased by the Meffre family. The rise to prominence of the Meffre family began in 1936 when Gabriel Meffre founded a négociant firm. Over the next 50 years he acquired huge swathes of vineyard land, and Chateau Raspail happened to be part of this acquisitive spree. Upon his death in 1987, the Meffre lands were divided among Gabriel’s several children. The 40 hectares and Italianate villa of Château Raspail in Gigondas came to Christophe Meffre as part of his inheritance. While Christophe is still involved today, his son Francois Meffre now runs the estate. The Meffre family has always had a reputation for producing wonderful Gigondas, and Chateau Raspail remains part of this story.
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