Ducroux vineyard, every sixth row given over to fruit tress and bushes

The Beautiful Natural Wines of Christian Ducroux!


Christian Ducroux needs no introduction to CSW customers - since importing his 2009s we have been writing incessantly about Christian's dedication to the health of his vineyard soils through the most thoughtful and uncompromising organic/Biodynamic viticulture that we have ever encountered. His "Exspectatia" is now recognized as one of the very finest wines of Beaujolais, particularly by those who have experienced the wine after five to eight years of cellaring. Arriving in early September are the 2019 "Exspectatia" (in 750ml and 1.5L), 2019 "Esquisse" Rosé, 2019 "Cuvée Thibault" and the 2018 "Patience."

Christian's notes on the 2019 vintage:  "For the second year in a row, no problems of climat, thus a good harvest with beautiful maturity, with a bit less alcohol than 2018. The drought continues, requiring a different approach to the vineyard work. This year we planted 250 bushes of different types between the trees in the vineyard." (About ten years ago, every sixth row of vines was replaced by a row of different varieties of fruit trees.)

Christian with Eben, January 2020

Tasted with Christian in January 2020, the 2019s showed beautifully - complex, pure and elegant, and with great balance even in this warm, dry vintage. A blend from numerous barrels approximating the finished "Exspectatia" ( formerly AOC Régnié) was outstanding, a gorgeous blend of red and black fruits that will be delicious as a young wine and should age 10+ years. The "Esquisse"  Rosé seemed a bit lighter than the 2018, with vibrant red fruits, fresh and silky - a rosé that should gain in complexity over the next 3 - 5 years. 2019 is the second vintage for Christian's "Cuvée Thibault" from five year-old Riesling and Pinot Gris vines - it shows subtle aromas of pear and hay, lovely white fruits with almond, apricot, citrus and brown spice with good length, just delicious and pure, with a nice mineral finish. (Christian has planted Jacquère which will give this wine an interesting new dimension in a few years.) Three bottle limit, please. The 2018 "Patience" (including the "Paradis," the first of the press wine) is extraordinary. Bottled in November 2019, the wine is deep, elegant and silky and, as the name implies, should be aged - perhaps 5 - 6 years before drinking. Six bottle limit, please.

Christian Ducroux

Christian's vineyard work is certainly among the finest in France. His 4 hectares in Thulon, in the hills above Régnié, have been organically farmed since the 1980s and are Demeter certified Biodynamic, with a wild proliferation of vegetation between the vines which is minimally controlled by horse-drawn plowing.  Christian has been practising this type of regenerative agriculture for 35 years, and he's very happy that more vineyards are now using these methods! The vineyard is almost entirely self-sufficient, with horse and bull-power and natural fertilizers made on the farm. Rot and mildew are controlled by natural sprays, as Christian seeks to reduce or eliminate the use of the permitted organic sulfur and copper solutions. Even in mid-winter, a walk through his vines shows the benefits of a living soil, moist and teeming with life, unaffected by the erosion and sickness of the vineyards around him. Christian is a modern "paysan" whose work may seem unrealistic, and yet he points the way towards a more sane agriculture which can be adapted to a larger scale. Research shows that no-till farming/regenerative agriculture and grass-feeding livestock can lead to an enormous decrease in atmospheric CO2, and that these techniques can be successfully adapted lo large scale commercial farming.

Is it more important that the wines are vibrant, totally natural and incredibly delicious? Early September arrival.