Suck a Rock, Sylvain Bock

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Suck a Rock, 2019, Sylvain Bock

A merlot that is unlike any you’ll have tried before – that might even have Miles Faymond questioning his famous line

Region: Ardèche

Grape(s): Merlot

Genre: Organic and biodynamic

Low Sulphur: Zero

Tasting Notes: Black and red plum, damson, minerality, saline

Not coming from winemaking parents, Sylvain spent some time working with other winemaking for around a decade, including some years working at the infamous Le Mazel, before he set up his own domaine in Alba-la-Romaine in the Ardèche in 2010. Once he was making wine, he found out his grandfather had been making wine in Alsace many decades earlier and this winemaker touch was clearly in his blood. He has 4ha over two vineyard sites, he has seven different varieties planted on both limestone and basalt terroir, with the basalt being a relatively high altitude. He was lucky enough to take over already biodynamically certified vineyards, and he is not using an added sulphur.

100% Merlot coming from a single plot of 65 year old vines planted on limestone. The grapes undergo carbonic maceration before ageing for one year in old oak. It screams minerality, hence the name, and is a fresh, delicate and slightly salty Merlot that is really unlike any Merlot we have tried. Paul Giamatti’s character in Sideways, Miles Faymond, is renowned for his line: “if anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving. I am not drinking any f***ing Merlot.” – he might rethink that when he tries this one!