Ansouis, Vaucluse, Southern France
Meet Alexandre! Originally from Albi, France (technically the “southwest” - about an hour northeast of Toulouse).
While flirting with a serious medical career researching immune system defense mechanisms to fight biomedical viruses (!), he fell in love with natural wine in the form of one of Pierre Overnoy’s Poulsards. He ditched work to visit vignerons around France, and he finally befriended Loïc Roure of Domaine du Possible and Edouard Laffitte of Domaine du Bout du Monde, who share an old coop cave in the Rousillon that they named "Jajakistan.”. Alex hung his hat here for two years (they even let him make a little wine), before crossing the Languedoc northeast to Provence.
He fell in love with the Luberon (who wouldn’t!), the pocket of quintessential southern France about an hour north of Marseille where the Southern Rhone meets Provence in the sun-crusted Luberon Mountains, replete with rugged limestone cliffs, fields of lavender, garrigue, vines, and of course his girlfriend, Sandrine, an independent journalist, bookseller, and writer already living here.
He started humbly in 2016 in the hamlet of Ansouis, first buying organic grapes, then working out a métayage (sharecropping) agreement to farm organic old vines, and finally buying a few hectares of vineyards and planting a little more.
Today, he organically farms about 7 hectares of low-density parcels planted to Ugni Blanc, Clairette, Serine Syrah, Grenache, Chardonnay, Grenache along with new plantings of Cinsault, Bourboulenc, and Macabeu all scattered across the foothills in Puyvert, Lourmarin, Cucuron, and Vaugines. The common denominator is the Luberon Mountains’ limestone bedrock and their elevation.
He starts his red ferments carbonically and direct presses his whites in an old, horizontal Vaslin press. Native yeast ferments and short (3-6 months) élevage across all his cuvees in a mix of stainless and different-sized neutral oak. 0-0, except he’s pragmatic and reserves the right to add a small amount of sulfites at bottling if needed (but all of the wines we’ve imported are 0-0).
He names his wines after the wine itself and the vineyard and whatever he wants, focusing more on the phonetic sound and meaning rather than any literal definition. “Roquentin, Grabuge, Rasemotte, Chattemite, Roupillon” further expressed on the labels by the drawings of the very talented artist, Céline Castaing.
The wines themselves are poised and tense - elevated limestone terroir warming up gradually under the southern French sun; snapshots of the pastel blue-green dawn here in early summer as the horizon turns orange….