2018 Le Raisin et l'Ange ‘La Fable Rouge’
Region: Ardèche < Rhone Valley < France
Grapes: Syrah, Merlot, Gamay
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: limestone, organic farming, no added sulfites, unfined and unfiltered, no temperature control, 17 days whole cluster semi-carbonic maceration; elevage in stainless tank; bottled unfined/unfiltered with no added So2; zero-zero; 13% ABV
Winemaker: Antonin & Gilles Azzoni
MOUNTAIN MAGIC: In the south of Ardèche, France’s Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region known for forests and trails, the commune of Saint-Maurice-d’Ibie sits on the left bank of the River Ibie in a little limestone river valley. Here the Azzoni’s family terraced vineyards back up into dense woods and hills.
Gilles Azzoni started his 7-hectare domaine in 1983, and transformed to organic farming in 1997. Since 2000, he’s been into natural vinification, adding nothing and skipping even temperature control, and is now part of the AVN (Association des Vins Naturels), the French Natural Winemakers group. Gilles’s son, Antonin, now works with his father making Le Raisin et l’Ange’s wines that are all the rage in Paris’ natural wine bars. La Fable Rouge is their beautiful, high-toned red blend that trades the fleshiness of typical Rhone Syrah blends for tart plum, black olive and pine needles. It’s delicious and comforting, like a winter forest picnic on a cozy wool blanket.