La Pierre De Sisyphe Rouge, Domaine Bories Jefferies

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La Pierre De Sisyphe Rouge, 2013, Domaine Bories Jefferies

Mineral and fruit forward red with hints of age-driven development 

Region: Languedoc, France

Grape(s): Carignan & Grenache         

Genre: Organic (in mentality, not stamp)

Low Sulphur: Zero

Tasting Notes: Blackcurrant, blackberry, mushroom, olive, mineral

Joe Jeffries, a Warwickshire lad, went to help his dad do up an old house in the South of France. Then he met a woman, fell in love, and never went home. Joe worked as a cycle tour guide for several years before meeting some local winemakers in Languedoc and he fell in love again: this time with the wines from the area. Remi Poujol, one of the biggest names in natural wine in the region, was amongst Joe’s biggest influences, and with Joe’s father-in-law having a small parcel of (mainly) Grenache Blanc, Joe decided to try his hand at making natural wine. Sitting on an old lava flow from a long extinct volcano, these is terroir driven wines coming from rich, basalt soils. Joe harvests earlier than his neighbours to retain freshness and lower alcohol levels, always ferments in fibreglass tanks and never adds or removes anything from the wines. His wines are more complex and structured than a lot of the pure juice coming from the natural winemakers in the area, and therefore they benefit from a couple of years or more in the bottle, and completely dispel the cliché that ‘natural wine doesn’t age well’.

A blend of 65% Carignan & 35% Grenache, coming from basalt, volcanic soils, the grapes are destemmed without crushing and co-ferments in fibreglass. The grapes gently macerate for a month before ageing on the fine lees for eight months. What must have been a punchy wine with aggressive tannins has now mellowed wonderfully with, by now, seven years since bottling. Mineral and fruit driven, with tertiary notes coming from the bottle ageing, the wine is complex without being overbearing and gives incredible balance between fresh fruit and earthy, mushroom, umami notes. Light up your candles and settle in for some, as the Danes would call it, hygge, with this warm blanket of a red wine.