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We've just received two beautiful natural wines from Christian Ducroux, products of unparalleled biodynamic farming and meticulous vinifications with zero added sulfur. As always the wines are "sauvage," complex, changeable and delicious reflecting Christian's committment to creating healthy, pure wines from his living soils. Read on for more information. Please, three bottle maximum purchase of the 2014 Patience.
Chambers Street is honored to work with Christian Ducroux, who produces vibrant, delicious "wines of nature" from his five hectares of living soils in Thulon, above Regnié-Durette in the Beaujolais. Christian's attention is primarily on the health of his soils, the most important factor in producing true wines of terroir. To this end, Christian works only with horses and a bull to avoid compacting the soil. The timing and types of plowing, kept to a minimum, are carefully planned to maintain the correct levels of water and nutrition. He avoids the "organic" treatment copper-sulfate which can be harmful to the life of the soil relying instead on natural methods such as fenugrec, biodynamic preparations, herbal infusions and silica to combat mildew and oidium. Fruit trees alternate with each 5 rows of vines, planted at 10,000 vines per hectare, hedges surround the parcels and wild grasses grow throughout - Christian's vineyards are a glorious oasis of green, even in winter, surrounded by the herbicided, eroded hillsides of conventional farming. Picking is done in several passes with a careful selection in the vineyards, as maturation varies due to the diversity of vegetation in and around the vines. Vinifications here are with wild yeasts, without sulfur added, with usually a pied-de-cuve taken a week or two early from all his parcels. It's hard to communicate the committment and energy at this estate, showing that viticulture can be healthy, almost totally self-sufficient, and beneficial to its environment while producing vibrant natural wines at the highest levels of artistry.
(From the French label: "Exspectatia: third form of time, that which assures the presence of liberty in the time of creation. Small domaine on pink granite. Cepage Gamay. In order to accompany the vine in its evolution, the mares Hewan and Kaina take an active part: in plowing, favoring the microbial activity and controlling the natural grasses; in the transport of the harvest and in the pulverization of tisanes and preparations of biodynamic agriculture which favor the underlying rhythms of life. Unfiltered wine, without addition of sulfites.")
(We're getting to the end of Ducroux's complex and supernatural Exspectatia 2015 - be sure to grab some before it disapears. Happily we have 2015 Patience and 2016 Exspectatia on the way.) Christian Ducroux' 5 hectare estate has been certified organic and biodynamic since 1985, and has operated as a nearly self-sufficient farm, producing its own fertilizer and compost, and plowing and harvesting almost entirely without machinery. The vines average over 60 years of age and are replaced by massale selection, giving extremely low yields. The 2015 Exspectatia (the wine formerly known as Regnié) shows a deep opaque red/black color. Slight reduction, then vivid aromas of blackberry liqueur, blood orange, rose, black pepper, brown spices, earth and licorice. On the palate the wine is very complex with blackberry and red currant fruit, earth, spice and citrus with a long intense finish of black fruits and earth that lingers on the palate. Only 12.5% alcohol, even in this very ripe vintage. Bravo to Christian Ducroux for his beautiful farming and for this complex, expressive natural wine! Re-tasted in October 2016, the wine showed beautifully, with remarkable complexity, intense aromas of ripe blackberry, violet, musk, pepper, licorice and earth, that continue with a dense, earthy texture on the palate. This is a living, changeable and profound wine of terroir that expresses the incredible farming and winemaking of Christian Ducroux - certainly one of the finest natural wines of France.(Decanting advised, no added sulfur - consume on the day opened.)
From the last part of the press, one year elevage in 500L barrels, no sulfur added. Lovely aromas of strawberry and blackberry with a bit of roast meat, blood orange and plum. The palate is bright and well-structured with berry fruits, citrus, earth and violet, finishing with firm acidity and mineral flavors. 11% alcohol. Christian advises five to six years of aging for this beautiful wine.