The Beautiful Natural Wines of Christian Ducroux: 2017 "Exspectatia" and 2017 "Esquisse" Rosé!

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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 and changeable when young and often brilliant after three to five years or more of aging.  In a recent tasting of 2009 vintage Beaujolais, the Ducroux Regnié (now "Exspectatia") was the clear favorite showing delicacy, complexity and lovely pure fruit, even in this ripe vintage, reflecting Christian's committment to creating healthy, balanced wines, with no additives, from his living soils. Over lunch, we enjoyed a preview of Christian's new white from Riesling and Pinot Gris that was absolutely delicious...maybe next year? Read on for more information. (Please, three bottle maximum purchase of the "Esquisse" and the "Exspectatia" magnums.)

Vines in the winter

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 mostly 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. Christian aims for mature grapes, but that have low sugar levels, in the style of Chauvet, with normally 10.5 to 12% alcohol as finished wines. 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.

Pascaline Lepeltier, MS with Christian, Esquisse/Prologue vineyard

(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.")

Corner of the vineyard in Thulon

Ducroux, Christian 2017 Vin de France Exspectatia

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. Tasted on arrival in NY, the 2017 Exspectatia (the wine formerly known as Regnié) shows a bright red/black color, with aromas of ripe black raspberry, cherry, spice, rose, licorice and citrus. The palate shows bright raspberry and blackberry fruit, earth, mineral and leafy flavors with a tight, long earthy finish. This fascinating natural wine is quite delicious now,  but best to wait a few months - and cellaring of five to ten years should be very interesting. Bravo to Christian for his beautiful farming and for this complex, expressive natural wine! This is a living, changeable and profound wine of terroir - certainly one of the finest natural wines of France.(Decanting advised, no added sulfur - consume on the day opened.)

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  • red
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  • $17.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • No Sulfur