Les Deux Cols
For the past 10 years Simon Tyrrell and Charles Derain have been working with one of the most progressive and respected Co-ops in France, Cave d’Estezargues based in the Southern Rhone near Avignon. The Co-operative’ began a small revolution in the ‘Co-op’ world in 1995. The ten growers began a program of vinifying their wines from the best sites, separately. This evolved further when they became one of the first, if not the first, to follow largely ‘natural’ processes in their wine making. They opted to use natural yeasts and followed organic practices. Wherever and whenever possible they shunned filtering and fining of the wine.
Late in 2016 I joined up with Simon and Charles in a new project. We purchased a small 6h/a site near St Nazaire within the Appellation d’Origine Protégée (AOP), Cotes du Rhone. The three of us share an interest in wines that are not manipulated and are ‘of the land’.
After several years we were lucky to locate this small plot on an elevated site, 220 metres. It is surrounded on four sides by forest renowned for wild boar and wild mushrooms. The vines range in age with the oldest being 70yrs. The soils are a rare mix of limestone, loess, sand and clay. The combination of these factors will help us achieve our goal of making wines with finesse and lower alcohol levels. When we acquired the vineyard, it was in poor condition and we have embarked on a careful regeneration of the vineyard, without chemical treatments. We hope to have completed the important aspects, replanting, fertilizing, cutting back invasive tree roots and moving large amounts of soil by the start of the 2018 growing season.
In this our first year we are already following organic principles. Our vines are largely Grenache and Syrah with some Carignan and very old white vines of Bourboulenc and Clairette.
Our first vintage is in barrel and is showing great promise.