Collection: Domaine No Control

So I have sailed the seas and come [to]… a small town fastened to a field in Indiana.” This is the slightly sardonic, humble opener of William Gass’s 1968 short story “In The Heart of the Heart of the Country.” The story operates as a documentation of every little quirk and fact of life in this place that has ostensibly been overlooked (or not looked at) since time immemorial, lost in the middle of things. Though this was about Indiana where gold-crowned cornfields colored the flatland between outcroppings of rural suburbia, the mid-west undeniably shares something with Auvergne, the geographic center of France. It is a region that looks very different from Indiana with its mountains and forests and ever-dormant volcanoes. But here is what is shared: that as it relates to the heart of the heart of the country, people have always missed the point, neglected the value and variety of life in the middle. Certainly this has long held true in the wine world. Until more recently within natural wine.

Having put Auvergne’s viticultural capabilities on the proverbial map in the early aughts, Patrick Boujou and Pierre Beauger’s wines were those that inspired Vincent Marie of Domaine No Control to move to Auvergne, though more specifically to Volvic. Known internationally for its water, the deeper story of this village is its volcanic history. This humble town whose international renown belies its peaceful, quiet streets finds itself smack in the middle of a chain of volcanic hills, a Unesco World Heritage Site known as the Limagne Fault Tectonic Line. With this history, it comes as no surprise that one of the broadest and deepest lava flows of the Puy de Nugère (whose last eruption was ~10,000 years ago) constitutes an enormous portion of the soil. And indeed, this same dark lava rock makes up much of the town’s and nation’s finest architecture, the material distinct for its ashen hue.

All of this would be irrelevant to the wines of No Control if Vincent Marie were not such a committed winemaker whose project was bound up in a no-compromise transparency of terroir, that is, if the name’s any hint: hands-off (see: No Control). Practicing organic viticulture and applying biodynamic treatments in the vineyard, paired with as little intervention in the cellar as possible, his are wildly delightful wines that bespeak the tug between the peaceable daily life of this place with its violent, volcanic past that is bound up in the earth. Truly one of a kind bottlings that emphasize clarity and respect, that bring you directly into the heart of the heart of things, to look at what has so long been overlooked: this lively, loving core.