You would not necessarily be wrong for referring to the Aude, Hérault, and Gard departments of southern France’s Languedoc/Roussillon as the land of circular villages, La Pays de Circulades. This isn’t an analogy though it could be; a ‘circulade’ is a medieval shape of a village that was built in concentric circles orbiting some central fortification, often a church or castle. There are about 40 of them throughout these 3 departments; one such circulade located between the Cévennes and the Camargue, a land of woods heavy with oaks, boxwoods, and garrigue, is the village of Souvignargues. Here just outside this small town of circle upon circle, Thierry Forestier works a small plot composed of granite, sand, and clay with the supreme emphasis of his viticulture being on soil health and biodiversity. You’d think such a deliberate and intricate focus on the complexity and health of the soil, the cultivation of a diverse micro-ecology would come from someone born in the vines, a farmer all his life. For Thierry, however, it was only in 2004 that he started from scratch, trading in what was then his career in IT in the coastal city of Montpellier for a life of the vine. This is a stunning project from a devoted viticulturist among whose many natural-wine-influences is Eric Pfifferling of Domaine L’Anglore; light, fresh, garrigue-strewn bottlings of local Gard grapes (Aramon, Ugni Blanc, etc) that end up inhering some of the analogy planted by the shape of their hometown: bedazzling wines that spiral and refresh and refresh and refresh.
Vinification: Aramon, Grenache, Cinsault and Carignan. Grapes are hand-harvested, pressed into concrete tank and fermented using native yeasts. A short maceration on the skins leaves the wine light, fresh and bright. Bottled unfined, unfiltered, with just a touch of SO2.
Tasting: A lighter maceration, Pfifferling-tavel-inspired red that is of the purest of fruit and freshness. Red cherries and a subtle iron-like minerality. Bright, bright, juicy-juice. Crushable holiday-soiree kinda wine.