Producer Profile: It says it on their label: Frangins - Vignerons. Brothers – Winegrowers. Jean-Daniel and Thomas Ozil are brothers who work together in the sort of south-central region of France known as the Ardèche, a rocky terrain southwest of Grenoble famous for its mountain forests and picturesque semi-continental woodlands that rise and fall with the steep and sudden shifts in elevation. Beyond the standout feature of the winemaking endeavor being one of ‘frangins / vignerons,’ what sets the Ozil operation apart is the fact that they tend to a whopping 16 hectares of vines on a fifth generation polycultural farm; there is landed sustainability here, a phrase that in most cases would sound like an oxymoron, but the Ozil family has been at this for a while. They are not far from – in their words, ‘steps’ – natural landmarks of the Ardèche such as the Gorges de l’Ardèche and the Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc-Cave. Their zero-zero wines have gotten better and better as the years have gone by – not a typical arc for loads of winemakers who will tell you their first vintage was their best – and are now working at a very high clip of producing profoundly lighthearted, fun, and crisp vins de soif reminiscent of some of the forested co-ferments of Axel Prüfer of Les Temps des Cerises and in the same tradition as a beacon of natural wine, Alain Castex of Les Vins du Cabanon.
Vinification: 100% Grenache Blanc. Grapes are hand-harvested before a direct-press in an old vertical press. The wine sees a very short élevage before being bottled unfined, unfiltered with no additional SO2.
Tasting: On the nose, lemon-lime creamsicle, green apple and a slightly nutty reduction. The palate is grassy and lemony with popping acidity. Textural and round, with a touch of tannin on the finish, this is an elegant white that would be a perfect companion to a simple roasted fish with a dash of butter and a squeeze of lemon. Serve cold.