2020 Les Equilibristes ‘Hirsute' Bergerac Rouge
Region: Périgord <France
Grapes: 65% Cabernet Franc, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: biodynamic farming; soils are clay and gravel, 2/3 whole cluster fermentation in stainless steel tanks then aged in old oak barrels; bottled unfined/unfiltered with minimal So2; 13.5% ABV
Winemaker: François de Monval and Florent Girou
Les Equilibristes (the “Tightrope Walkers”) are François de Monval and Florent Girou. François is a wine merchant and restaurant owner in Paris, and Floret is a wine-maker from the Perigord region. Together, the two are constantly thinking about preserving the old-ways of winemaking, while questioning old practices that no longer make sense. Les Equilibristes have a simple set of rules they follow in winemaking: use indigenous grape varieties, organic winemaking practices, indigenous yeasts, and minimal sulphur. They make wines from purchased grapes, always organic, from different regions of France, the goal of each wine to convey the unique terrior and local varietals of its place. We had the pleasure of meeting François at Raw LA the last time we could all gather, and were charmed by his unique and whimsical wines.
'Hirsute' means shaggy, which definitely describes the dude on the label and maybe also the rustic but easygoing structure of this wine. This juicy but chewy red blend is from Périgord, a lesser known appellation in southwest France better known abroad for Foie Gras than wine. The style of this wine is reminiscent of the classic Bordeaux blends just north of the area, but drinks more like a classic Loire Cabernet Franc but less crunchy, mean and green. Here you get generous red fruit, earth and peppery spice on a soft pillow of plush tannins and barely-there acid. It makes a fantastic food wine, for pairing from winter stews and roasts to grilled fare to baguette and pâté if you're going all out Frenchie. Ooo la la.