Christian Ducroux &

Christian Ducroux 'Prologue' VdF 2023

Regular price$21.00

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Press 4 Red • May 2024 Direct Press Selection

Christian’s 4 hectares in Thulon, in the hills above Regnié, have been organically farmed since the 1980s and are Demeter certified Biodynamic. (The estate was originally 7-plus hectares, but Christian reduced it to 4, in order to more properly manage it himself). He has trees between every five rows of vines, with hedges on the sides and a wild proliferation of vegetation between the vines which is controlled by horse-drawn "griffages" ("scratching" or very shallow plowing). The vineyard is almost entirely self-sufficient, with horse and bull-power and natural fertilizers made on the farm. Rot and mildew are controlled by natural sprays, as Christian seeks to reduce or eliminate the use of the permitted organic sulfur and copper solutions. Even in mid-winter, a walk through his vines shows the benefits of a living soil, moist and teeming with life, unaffected by the erosion and sickness of the vineyards around him.

And the wines are sensational.

Light in body and low in alcohol (ranging from 10.5 to 12%), the wines are aromatically complex and alive, showing berry, plum and black fruit aromas with citrus, licorice, and herbal notes. While there is some relation to the wines of Lapierre and friends in Morgon, Ducroux' wines are consistently brighter and lighter with more changeable aromas, with more acidity and citrus character. Working entirely without sulfur-dioxide, except in problematic vintages, Christian does a small early picking, choosing high acid grapes, which starts the fermentation. A few days later, the mature harvest is added to the vat. This helps to minimize the growth of the acid intolerant Brettanomyces and other schizo-yeasts. There is a roughly one week carbonic maceration followed by a soft pressing. Christian's ethic of farming and winemaking is reflected in his prices, as the health of his family, his animals and his soil, and of course the quality of his wines, are more important to him than financial gain.  Thus the low cost of his wines bears no relation to their quality or the amount of work required for their production. Christian is a modern "paysan" whose work may seem unrealistic, and yet he points the way towards a more sane agriculture which can be adapted to a larger scale.  David Lillie


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