New Arrivals from the Ardeche

4/8/18 -

Ardeche wines

In recent years, there's been a good amount of interest growing in France for wines from the Ardèche, and though people aren't flocking to Chambers Street and asking for the regions' wines by name, we thought it was about time to do a small piece for our readers.

The Ardèche is a region located just west of the Rhone Valley, and is named after the Ardèche River, which is a tributary of the Rhone. There are scenic valleys carved throughout the region, and a variety of soil types, from granite-based soils in the western part (ideal for Gamay) to limestone and sandstone further east and south. Varieties like Grenache, Syrah and Viognier are to be expected, but there are plantings of Chardonnay, Merlot, Gamay, Pinot Noir, and several other varieties not typically associated with the Rhone Valley. As the varieties are sometimes unexpected, the winemaking styles are as well. Ardèche winemakers are not pressured by stylistic demands from international markets, so the spirit of experimentation and originality is strong. There are a good percentage of winemakers who farm organically and biodynamically, and pursue a natural approach to vinification. Today we'll highlight a few of these winemakers, and we'll likely return to the topic throughout the year as more wines trickle in.

We also wanted to take a moment to introduce the project of our friend Daisy Merrick, who is leading a tour to the Ardeche this summer. Her project, called SOMA VINES, is centered on experiencing natural wine in a more personal way. Each year, a wine region is chosen and time is divided between visiting winemakers and experiencing the natural and cultural wonders of the area. Meals are sourced from local, organic ingredients, and a healthy lifestyle is cultivated through morning yoga, hikes, bike rides, and sightseeing walks. The planned winemakers this year are: Christophe and Helene Comte (Les Vigneaux), Sylvain Bock, Andrea Calek, Anders Frederik Steen, Gérald and Jocelyne Oustric (Domaine Mazel), Thomas and Jean Daniel Ozil (Domaine Ozil), and Gilles and Antonin Azzoni (Le Raisin et L'Ange). More info is available at

Eben Lillie

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