Only 1 bottle per customer
DARD et RIBO, Mercurol Organic, Natural
‘René Jean Dard and François Ribo have acquired a cult following amongst those who frequent the natural wine bars of France and they are also revered in Japan, the second home of great low sulphur wines.
Their 7.5 vineyard holding is split around seven villages on a variety of terroirs comprising different soil types. The winery is located near Mercurol (a short distance east of Tain l’Hermitage). They use two types of pruning, goblet and tie-up, depending of the slope and other terrain conditions and practise organic viticulture.
The two reds share a common purity of fruit. The Crozes, from red clay soils with gravel and alluvial stones, is almost salty with notes of violets, olives, dill, blackberry and leather, whilst the Saint-Joseph, from vines on decomposed granitic soils, is round and smoky.
“What we like is natural wine because it’s alive, wine that does not necessarily have to be kept – just drunk and drunk again”. These wines remind me of Kafka’s advice to start with what is right rather than what is acceptable.’
Doug Wregg, Les Caves de Pyrene
” All this buzz about natural wines seems quite funny to us since we have been making wines like this for nearly three decades. We simply continued the environmental-friendly way my father had adopted – avoiding chemical stuff on the vines and adding only a tiny amount of sulphur upon bottling. And instead of tailoring our wines for current palates, we just want to make wines we like ourselves, wines that would be pleasant to drink without years of cellaring so typical for many wines of our region”. René-Jean Dard
‘In spite of the cult status of this small winery which produces some of the most outstanding wines of the northern Rhone, its owners keep a low profile, and the appearance of the facility is obviously of little concern to them.
Dard et Ribo goes for René-Jean Dard and François Ribo, the two men behind this winery which was started some 30 years ago. It was one of the first to follow a low-intervention, additives-less vinification. The natural-wine movement, as we call it today, was nascent, most of the wine amateurs including the knowledgeable ignoring then the extent of additives’ use in their wines. The estate made its way without publicity to the top Rhone wines.
They’re both natives of the region (Tain L’Hermitage) and they met through the Lycée Viticole de Beaune (the wine school in Beaune, Burgundy). Jean-René Dard had already a long experience in winemaking (for a youth) as he had helped his father, whom he lost when he was 15. His father made wine for the family consumption and a little bit for sale.
The teaching in Beaune was focused on conventional, additive-loaded winemaking, and the only time they had a course about organic management, that was to mock it and warn about the risks. Actually, that’s in the school that René-Jean Dard learned about SO2, his father having never used any in his winemaking. SO2 was an additive among many others that he was taught to use extensively in Beaune. When back from the school, he and François Ribo began to work together on Dard’s small vineyard surface and they soon brought back the traditional vinification methods learned from his father’s time, adding improvements along the way. This was in 1980, and the Dard et Ribo winery was launched in 1984. They acquired or rented more surface along the years, reaching about 7,5 hectares today, of which 0,5 hectare is rented.
Speaking of the vinification, René-Jean says that generally they use whole clusters, foot-stomping some of them, maybe 10%, to get a bit of juice in the bottom where the fermentation will start naturally (no lab yeasts here of course). Every day, twice generally, they push a bit the on cap in the wooden vats to break a few grapes so that the process goes on slowly. They don’t make carbonic fermentation or carbonic maceration, neither cold macerations.
For the SO2, there is’ no recipe, the addition, when there is one, takes place at the harvest. It’s otherwise common, depending on the vintage, that no red cuvée gets any SO2 at all.
In the vineyard, they don’t use chemical products except copper and sulphur. They don’t use insecticides, even organic ones. Thanks to the conditions on these latitudes, there’s no pressure on the insects and pests front. He says that when you don’t put nitrogen in the vineyard and keep your yields under 40 hectoliters/hectare, everything goes smoothly.
René-Jean Dard says that they’re not looking to make great wines, their focus is to make wines that let themselves drink well, there’s a Japanese word for that, he adds : Nomiyasui, which could be translated as drinkability, the ability to be drunk with ease and pleasure. Wine is not made for tasting, he says, it’s made to be swallowed and fully enjoyed.’
-Bertrand Celce, WineTerroirs
Crozes-Hermitage ‘Les Pins’ is 100% Syrah. A single vineyard cuvée, from a steep hillside parcel (across from Pitrou) facing southwest, planted with 30-40 year-old vines on granite. Traditional vinification of whole bunches, with a small portion crushed to start the fermentation. Maceration for 15 days, without any additives, some punching of the cap, maturation in demi-muids and barrels. Bottled without filtration or sulphur between August and October, depending on the vintage. A cuvée of extreme rarity: 500 bottles produced and some magnums!