The Provisions team has just returned from a prolific trip around France! A visit of no less than a dozen producers was the perfect opportunity to debrief on the new projects and developments of our winemakers. Waves of extreme heat throughout the growing season meant the 2022 harvest began early throughout the Languedoc and Roussillon. Despite this, many of our producers reported generous quantities of healthy fruit and few complications in the cellar.
Domaine Mouressipe, Gard
We began our trip with Alain Allier of Domaine Mouressipe. Though many tank samples had not finished alcoholic fermentation yet, the wines were showing a wonderful purity of fruit, striking aromatics and a delicate structure, as is always the case with Alain’s wines.
Quentin le Cléac'h, Gard
A short drive took us to Quentin Le Cléac'h, who owns one of only a few micro-distilleries in the Gard. Quentin is quite the innovator, and tasting through his eccentric lineup is always an experience. We were particularly taken by the new apricot eau-de-vie and a dangerously drinkable ‘Kumquat-cello’ he has in the works.
Mas des Agrunelles, Terrasses du Larzac
Moving west, we spent a wonderful evening with Frédéric Porro and Stéphanie Ponsot, the charismatic husband-and-wife team behind Mas des Agrunelles in the Terrasses du Larzac. An incredible horizontal tasting of the latest Agrunelles release segued into a comparative tasting of La Marèle vintages, a great accompaniment to the daube of wild boar Stefanie had prepared for us.
Domaine Les Serrals, Faugères
In Faugères, we visited Chloé Barthet and Fred Almazor of Domaine Les Serrals, both in excellent spirits after wrapping up harvest just a couple of days before. We were certainly put to good use, delegated to punchdowns and transferring their Mourvèdre to press, and were rewarded with a fantastic lunch looking out over their bush vines. As well as tasting the full lineup, this was also an opportunity to taste their one-off cuvée Par Dela les Nunages for the first time, a peppery, light-extraction Grenache that will be landing in London soon.
Domaine Bernatas, Limoux
A visit with our Limoux producers Domaine Bernatas included a hike up their staggeringly steep La Petite Cordillère vineyard and a full tasting of their whites, beautifully pure and precise and an excellent continuation from the preceding vintage.
Domaine Jean-Philippe Padié, Calce
The team then headed for Calce in the Roussillon, stopping for some absolutely staggering views of the Pyrenean foothills before visiting the vines and cellars of Jean-Philippe Padié. The Roussillon is typically one of the first regions to harvest in France, so tank samples were mostly dry, already showing fantastic ripeness, complexity and depth. Jean-Philippe had even managed to bottle a juicy (and all-too-drinkable) Syrah nouveau from the 2022 vintage, which we hope to see more of!
Rémi Jalliet, Corbières
In Corbières, we had a very informative visit with Rémi Jalliet and enjoyed many interesting discussions surrounding viticulture and his terroirs. Remi is truly a one-man band, handling all vineyard maintenance and winemaking himself, quite the feat considering the rugged and mountainous terrain. We tasted through the 2021 vintage of all three of cuvées, Clos Espinous, his single parcel Carignan Camp del Soulat, and Sept Founts, a waxy and aromatic white derived from Grenache Blanc, Gris and direct press Grenache Noir. We’re pleased to say Remi has another triumphant vintage under his belt.
Clotaire Michal, Beaujolais
A few days of our trip were spent in Beaujolais and Burgundy, where yields this year have been on the modest side but with healthy and concentrated fruit. A visit with Clotaire Michal allowed us a sneak peek at the 2020 vintage which had just been bottled, beautifully ripe and expressive but light on its feet.
Domaine Sextant, Bourgogne
An in-depth tasting with Julien Altaber of Sextant confirmed there are some very promising few vintages in the pipeline, and also some interesting new cuvées to add to the collection, including a riveting Aligoté sous voile which will soon be available, albeit in very limited supply.
Domaine Didon, Bourgogne
At Domaine Didon, winemaker David has made the decision to start working with concrete eggs for élevage with absolutely stunning results. He is also starting a small négoce project using fruit from his native Alsace which will be released shortly.
Domaine Yves Duport, Bugey
We completed our visit Yves Duport in Bugey. If we hadn’t already had our share of vineyard hikes, trekking up the Montagnieu vineyard certainly put us to the test! This truly is one of the most breathtaking vineyards we have come across, alarmingly steep and with incredible views over the French alps. A major standout was the 2021 Pinot Noir which was sampled from barrel, with its lush, dense palate of red fruit, polished tannins and fantastically long finish.
For those dedicated to the study of wine, trips such as these are always incredibly rewarding and even a life-affirming experience. Above all though, the biggest takeaway is the creative energy of the winemakers in our portfolio and their dedication to their craft in good years and bad. It’s thanks to their resourcefulness and innovation that we always have something new and exciting to bring to the table, and for that, we are very grateful. Cheers!
Nick Kemball, Wine Sales at Provisions