Producer Profile: Variously described as a punk, a throwback, a friend, a winegrower, a farmer, John Almansa works in the small village of Congénies within the Gard department, a town that carries the rare distinction of being home, of all things, to the only (and thereby oldest) purpose-built Quaker Meeting House in all of France. If nothing else, the historical spirit of collectivism, pacifism, and generosity in this small particular place runs through John Almansa the man & the wines: as his importer Steven Graf puts it, “He makes wines for literally everyone (in terms of price and style), and always will. We love him as much as you do.” Congénies is located in an area of the Gard department known as the Vaunage, defined geographically by a broad, particularly fertile clayey & karst plain extending between several different southerly waterways of the Gard, with low foothills running west in the direction of the Cévennes range. Cereal fields, principally wheat, go with clusters of olive groves and wild vineyards, traditional garrigue & scrub which drape the ground, and trees that vary from Aleppo Pines to thick shrub of kermes oak & holm oak evergreens. Apiaries are also general to the Vaunage. It’s no surprise then that John Almansa keeps an abundantly polycultural farm here of a few hectares, not far from the facilities he shares with his former mentor Phillippe Pibarot to vinify the wines crafted in this southern land of rare fecundity. Wines with real easygoing generosity and verve; wines with life.
Vinification: 100% Cinsault from 35 year old vines grown on clay-limestone soils. Grapes are hand harvested and fermented whole cluster with wild yeasts in fiberglass for 6-9 months. Bottled unfined, unfiltered, with no sulphur.
Tasting: A delicate summer red with cool minerality and a thirst quenching silky texture. Reminds us of mint-specked watermelon and cold, blonde rainier cherries. Serve chilled.