Vignerons d’Estézargues, Southern Rhône
While many of France’s co-ops struggle to sell mass produced wine, the cave co-operative in Estézargues has for many years shone out as a co-op with an artisanal approach to winemaking, making some of the best value wines in the Rhône Valley. Things began to change in 1989 when Jean-Francois Nicq arrived to take over as winemaker. Rather than blend everything together, J-Francois decided to bottle the members’ production separately, highlighting the individual terroir of the 10 member estates. By the end of the 1990s, everything was being made in a hands-off, natural way – conscientious farming, no yeasts, no enzymes, no new oak and no SO2 before bottling.
The results were fantastic and following Nicq’s departure to set up his own domaine (‘Les Foulards Rouge’), his assistant Edouard Laffitte took over. When Edouard left to set up his own domaine (Bout du Monde) he was replaced by Denis Deschamps who has since overseen the continual improvement at this most innovative of co-ops
A blend of 50% Grenache with Carignan and Syrah, this junior Rhône style wine is very juicy with a soft, slightly cloudy, purple colour, and gentle flavours of blackberry, liquorice, pepper and nutmeg. Very much a natural wine with no filtering or fining.