Côtes du Rhône, France
This is Seb’s Tavel rosé, a blend of 40% Grenache and 40% Cinsault from a ninety year old vineyard planted in gobelet over “les lauzes”, a terroir of large, flat limestone pebbles that sits above the limestone bedrock beneath. The balance is made up of Grenache Blanc, Picpoul and Clairette from forty year old vines planted over sand. The grapes spend three days together on skins, before being pressed off to spend the winter on their lees in vat. A deep ruby in colour, this is compact and elegant, with the power and poise to suggest it has a very long life ahead.
Cinsault, Grenache, Picpoul, Clairette
ABOUT THE PRODUCER
In 2016 after seven years working as the head sommelier of the famed bistro Le Chateaubriand in Paris, Seb moved to Vallabrix in the Gard to begin making wine.
When Seb was younger, every Saturday he’d find himself drinking in the cave of a friend’s father until the wee hours. Eventually Seb decided that if he was going to continue drinking wine until five o’clock in the morning, then perhaps he should learn how to make it. He ended up working with René Mosse in the Loire for four years and discovered the world of natural wine.
Seb fell in love with the Gard because within a relatively small area, you find an incredibly diverse number of grapes, climates and soils.
He started tending his own parcels in 2018 and today farms a total of ten hectares of vines, divided in two parts. The first sees Grenache, Syrah and Sauvignon planted on rolling hills outside the village of Vallabrix over old alluvial deposits from the Rhône. The other is planted on the plains outside the village of Bourdic, where the soils are predominantly clay and limestone, with a single parcel planted over a thick vein of blue marl. The grapes from each of the villages are usually vinified separately, to respect the differences in climate and soil.
As well as his own grapes, each year Seb continues to purchase fruit from a wide network of friends further afield as part of his négociant project, allowing him to feed his insatiable curiosity and relentless desire to experiment.
Once the grapes reach the cave, Seb exercises both creativity and restraint, putting his masterful palate to work blending grapes from different parcels, varieties and colours. The wines age in a variety of vessels and are bottled unfiltered, with no additions.
As Seb has settled into his life as a vigneron, there has been an increase in clarity, focus and continuity that comes with getting to know the nuances of his parcels across several vintages, with each release offering a fascinating glimpse into the work of a grower who refuses to sit still.