The sales pitch for such producers tends to always follow the lines of "used to work for a regional legend and decided to start making their own wines from a hectare or two, farming organically/biodynamically, low intervention, minimal use of sulfur etc". A lot of the wines end up being sold as Vin de France which I think is fine but as forumite Otto mentioned, there is sometimes a weird sameness to the wines in this category no matter where the wines come from and what grapes are being used. While the whites were both pretty nice (even if ideally I like my Chenin less oaky), the red did not really take me to the Northern Rhône neither for its flavors nor its structure. It's the sort of wine that would be right at home in any of the natural wine bistros of Paris where it would surely be praised for how drinkable and "transparent" it is. Nothing wrong with that I suppose, it's just not my cup of tea.
- 2018 Hameau Touche Boeuf (Simon Gastrein) Vin de France Cuvée L'Enclume - France, Vin de France (26.9.2020)
A 80-20 blend of Syrah and Gamay from vineyards planted in the 1970s located in Chavanay in the Northern Rhône. Young and reductive on the nose with tons of primary blackberry and dark cherry fruit. Super juicy and mouthfilling, easy-going almost to a fault. Strongly reminiscent of a barrel sample, this comes off as under-elevaged and very primary and also could really use a bit of tannin. Drinkable surely but normally this style of a ”bistro wine” costs less than ten Euros in France.
- 2018 Dard et Ribo Crozes-Hermitage Blanc Les Karrières - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Crozes-Hermitage (26.9.2020)
Timid yet interesting and exciting on the nose with notes of almond paste, smoke, apricot and lemon glycerine. Mouth-coatingly rich with some oily fatness. The very ripe, lively fruit here is mixes tangy and dried notes in a very attractive fashion, although relatively speaking this is not massively expressive wine on the palate. Not high in acidity yet not flabby at all, finishes clean and bright with some spice. Quite a substantial Marsanne dominant wine, Hermitage-esque if you will, that shines the most when it comes to the mouthfeel.
- 2018 Thomas Batardière Montbenault - France, Vin de France (26.9.2020)
A bit atypical and quite distinctive Chenin I think. On the nose there is yellow hard candy, elderflower, honeydew, herbs and oak-derived buttery notes. Rich, large-scale and dense on the palate with great acidity. Very much on the savory side with a lovely salty twang. Not showing a lot of fruit but quite balanced, despite the not insignificant amount of oak. Has good upside.