LE CLOS DES GRILLONS (Rhone Valley, France)
Born atop the soils of the region, Nicolas Reynaud, was the perfect candidate for professor to young geology students. This role he filled for many years as his day job but the love of wine gave him an adequate endurance for his second. For many years, he worked nights and weekends (luckily school is out during harvests!) for Domaine de Vieille Julienne. Not satisfied with 2 employers, he rented vines in 2005 to begin what he terms, his 'Clos de Grillons'. His encompassing knowledge of almost every rock and soil, as well as where the forgotten older vines reside, Nicolas was able to piece together a magnificent string of parcels throughout the area. Now, tossing the bosses aside, he and his wife are working round the clock to reveal the stories of the stony earth. He does so firstly by organic measures when working the vineyards. No chemicals are used and soil maintenance is done by hand. In the cellar, a natural course is followed as well, with wild yeast ferments and low SO2 usage. There is patient research continually. Nicolas, uses a clever assemblage of tanks and barrels, from single vineyard and mixed designation, to form the lesson he is learning. A teacher turned student, he is keeping up with the study to see what works best. The 'Clos' is a good study to preside over. Many of his students have returned to Nicolas, to witness his theory and application. We can assume there are plenty of apples on the desk. The class is soon to increase with a new child expected to the Renaud family. It seems the tasks for Nicolas never quite end. Justifiably though, he can call himself boss and been proud of what he has worked for.
Côtes du Rhone Blanc 2010

70% Grenache Blanc 30% Clairette from 30yrold vines (small addition of Bouboulenc from 60yr old vines). Handpicked and fermented separately with wild yeasts (3yr old barrique for Grenache/ steel tank for the Clairette) Malo-lactic completed in tank for both, under temperature control. Rested for several months together in tank. Bottled with low SO2.