Category Archives: Rhône

René Rostaing, Côte-Rôtie

Xavier Gérard has headed his own domaine since taking over the family vines in 2013. Since that time he’s cultivated a reputation as a force to be reckoned with in the northern Rhône. His vineyards are made up of 7 hectares of vines, split more or less evenly between Condrieu and Côte-Rôtie. Some of the vines are more than 100 years of age, with most being in the 35-50 year range. Gérard’s viticulture is organic and his winemaking is traditional, with most fermentations taking place in larger neutral oak and elevage in a combination of neutral and new oak.

Core Wines…

Limited. Please inquire for availability.

Xavier Gérard, Condrieu/Côte-Rôtie

Xavier Gérard has headed his own domaine since taking over the family vines in 2013. Since that time he’s cultivated a reputation as a force to be reckoned with in the northern Rhône. His vineyards are made up of 7 hectares of vines, split more or less evenly between Condrieu and Côte-Rôtie. Some of the vines are more than 100 years of age, with most being in the 35-50 year range. Gérard’s viticulture is organic and his winemaking is traditional, with most fermentations taking place in larger neutral oak and elevage in a combination of neutral and new oak.

Core Wines…

Limited. Please inquire for availability.

Domaine Viret, Saint-Maurice-sur-Eygues

Located just northeast of Orange, Philippe Viret’s domaine is truly one of a kind. The winery itself is made of limestone blocks from a nearby Roman-era quarry that were reassembled in the same configuration in which they were cut from the ground. Built in multiple tiers into the top of a hill, the structure maintains the same ambient temperature as the interior of the hill itself.

In Viret’s surrounding vineyards, both the planting and cultivation of the vines is performed according to the tenets of Cosmoculture, a system that Viret himself developed. Cosmoculture is similar to Biodynamics, with the addition of taking into account what Viret describes as the earth’s energy fields. The rows of vines are aligned with these currents, in some cases forming whorls and spirals, conventional straight lines in others.

Regardless of what one may think of his techniques and beliefs, the results in Viret’s bottles are undeniable: these are uniquely wonderful wines, with gorgeous texture, complexity, and clarity of terroir.

Core Wines…

Domaine Viret “Energie” VdF

Domaine Viret “Renaissance” VdF

Domaine du Petit Bonhomme, Luberon

After for more than twenty years of working at a cooperative cellar, as well as earning the title of cellar-master for the venerable Domaine Comte Abbatucci in Corsica, Fabien Chanavas returned to his native Luberon to start his own domaine in 2018. Situated in the commune of La Motte-d’Aigues, Fabien farms just 1.5 hectares of vines, working with Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Grenache Noir, Syrah, as well as the rare Sérine. Currently in conversion, Fabien mission has been to farm and vinify without any additional chemical inputs. His passion for agroecology and biodynamic practices has lead him to use only the smallest portions of copper in the vines, and no pesticides or herbicides are used at all. The soil is exclusively plowed by Fabien’s two horses. All grapes at Domaine du Petit Bonhomme are harvested by hand; only indigenous yeasts are used to carry out fermentations in the cellar; all wines are bottled unfined, unfiltered, and without any additional sulphur. 1000 bottles produced.

Core Wines…

Petit Bonhomme “Acrobate” Blanc

Petit Bonhomme “Pipelettes” Rosé

Le Passage, Sérignan

Le Passage Côtes-du-Rhône AOC hails from Sérignan-du-Comtat in the southern Rhône Valley. The vineyard is surrounded by cooling forests, making for great acidity and a fresh style of Côtes-du-Rhône. The forests also provide protection from the strong Mistral winds. “Le Passage” refers to the passage between vineyard and universe, which has nourished the vines for more than 55 years.

Core Wines…

Le Passage Côtes-du-Rhône

Guillaume Gilles, Cornas

Guillaume Gilles is convinced that Cornas is at its best when one follows the most traditional of paths. Like Michel, he eschews the destemmer (in virtually all cases), works his vineyards by hand, ages his wine in old demi-muids and bottles without fining or filtering. His Cornas is as it should be and is exactly as we like it: brawny, sometimes austere, profound, sauvage. He cultivates his vineyards with an organic philosophy and his wines are made using the natural yeasts from his grapes. He produces three wines, two of which are in excruciatingly limited supply.

Core Wines…

Extremely limited. Please inquire.

Domaine du Pique-Basse, Roaix

Domaine Pique-Basse is located in the Côtes-du-Rhône Villages Roaix, the smallest of the Villages appellations at a mere 113 hectares, sharing a border, terroir, and topography with Rasteau. Olivier Tropet’s family has worked this land since the turn of the 20th Century, cultivating both vineyards and orchards on the district’s piquebas, slightly raised benches composed of clay and alluvial sand and silt terroir. In 1998, Olivier took over the domaine from his grandparents at just 25 years of age and has since converted the entire property to organic viticulture, certified in 2009. The vineyards at Pique-Basse are south-southeast facing, so they receive plenty of morning sun but are mainly spared from the hottest part of the day, yielding wines that retain acid, verve, and freshness.

Core Wines…

Domaine Pique-Basse Vaucluse Blanc “Atypique”

Domaine Pique-Basse Côtes-du-Rhône “La Brusquembille”

Dard et Ribo, Tain-l’Hermitage

Beginning their partnership back in the natural wine dark ages, René-Jean Dard and François Ribo are pioneers in the natural wine world, crafting elegant wines with minimal intervention since 1983. With vines spread across numerous small patches in Hermitage, Saint-Joseph, and Crozes-Hermitage, the duo vinifies each parcel separately, attempting to express the unique terroir of each with their hands-off, natural approach. Lively and youthful, rather than burly and tannic, the wines of Dard et Ribo will nonetheless age very gracefully.

Core Wines…

Extremely limited. Please inquire for availability.

Combe au Mas, Ventoux

Thomas Ayoun and Marie-Sophie Jullien might be the most experienced young winemaking couple in the Rhône. Marie-Sophie grew up at La Ferme Saint-Martin in Beaumes de Venise, working in the cellar and in the vineyards at this pioneering organic/regenerative agriculture estate. Thomas has been the cellar master at Château de la Font de Loup in Châteauneuf, Domaine des Garances in Beaumes de Venise, and later at La Ferme Saint-Martin. Their Domaine de la Combe au Mas is located in Thomas’ home town of Mormoiron, a village at the foot of Mont Ventoux, about 45 minutes east of Avignon.

Comprised of 4 hectares from the Ayoun family and another four that are either rented or come from formerly abandoned vineyards, the domaine is completely organic and biodynamic. The district around Mormoiron is in a sort of meteorological “chute”, where cool air is funneled off Mont Ventoux, at once extending the growing season and providing a decided freshness to all the wines. The fruit is all hand-harvested and ferments on native yeast; elevage takes place entirely in 100+ year-old amphorae that the couple sourced from southern Spain.

Core Wines…

Combe au Mas “Bouquier” Côte de Ventoux Blanc

Combe au Mas “Rigaou” Côte de Ventoux Rouge

Combe au Mas “Peirardié” Côte de Ventoux Rouge

Bernard Levet, Ampuis

Founded by Nicole Levet’s grandfather, Marius Chambeyron, in 1936, this small domaine has been producing formidable Côte-Rôtie ever since, seriously structured Syrah from just 3.5 hectares of vines one the Côte Blonde and Côte Brune. Intense and often sauvage, the wines are traditionalist vins de garde.

The vineyards are set on steep terraces, with thin topsoils and schist terroir. Average vine age is 50+ years. Farming here is lutte raisonnée: most vintages are managed fully organically, but the domaine does reserve the right to use fungicides in extremis.

Core Wines…

Very limited. Please inquire about availability.