Domaine de la Mordorée's Christophe Delorme Dies at 52

Vibrant vigneron's Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Lirac and Tavel wines put his underdog domaine among the Rhône Valley's elite
Domaine de la Mordorée's Christophe Delorme Dies at 52
Christophe Delorme elevated his once-tiny Tavel-based estate into the top tier of the Southern Rhône. (Roberto Frankenberg)
Jun 15, 2015

Christophe Delorme, whose Domaine de la Mordorée is one of the most dynamic estates in France's Southern Rhône Valley, died June 9 of an apparent heart attack. He was 52.

With dirty blond hair and a chiseled face that often yielded salt-and-pepper stubble, Delorme was a wiry, handsome man. His intense, steely gaze was emblematic of the work he put into his domaine, whose vineyards were based primarily in the lesser-known appellations of Lirac and Tavel, with some parcels in Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Delorme founded Domaine de la Mordorée in 1986 at age 24, along with his father, Francis, after selling the family's manufacturing business; his brother Fabrice joined the domaine in 1999. Their initial holdings totaled just 12 acres of vines in Tavel inherited by Christophe's mother in the 1970s, to which Delorme immediately set to adding; today the domaine totals more than 135 acres of vines producing over 21,000 cases annually.

Delorme insisted on hand harvesting in Tavel, an appellation where mechanized harvesting is the norm (Mordorée remains one of only two estates there harvesting grapes by hand). He was also an ardent believer in organic farming and drastically reduced yields, which often put him at odds with his father. As a testament to Delorme's quality, his Lirac and Tavel wines sold out every year, despite coming from appellations that often languish in the shadow of neighboring Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and his top Châteauneuf bottlings, La Reine des Bois and La Plume du Peintre, have each earned multiple classic ratings.

Delorme is survived by his father, brother, wife and daughter.

Obituaries France Rhône Valley Southern Rhône Châteauneuf-du-Pape News

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