Producer Profile: In their own words, La Roche Buissière is located “north-east of Vaison-La-Romaine, a link between Provence and the foothills of the Alps.” This statement of enviable geography even belies to some extent the actual richness of their location. Within the larger AOP Côtes-du-Rhône, La Roche Buissière’s climatic and geologic circumstances share much with the southern Rhône, being only down the road from names like Gigondas, Vacqueyras, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, even Tavel only 40 minutes west across the river. Perhaps with the nearby influence of these kinds of names you would expect larger, brooding, necessary-aging wines with hedonistic ABV levels of 15% or even the outer limits of the atmosphere above that. But maybe we should take them purely at their own words – that their incomparable Domaine is at the ‘link’ between Provence and the Alps. Certainly their wines carry much more of this play between freshness, drive, and purity of fruit rather than the intensity & power of their Southern Rhône neighbors. For the husband-wife team behind La Roche Buissière, Antoine & Laurence Joly, they’ve always wanted to make wines that they themselves love to drink, that can be drunk young, and that won’t necessarily melt your teeth over the course of a bottle. Tending to 18 hectares of vines that have been organically cultivated since the ‘80s (an outlier in all of France but especially here in the shadow of the Southern Rhône), Antoine and Laurence work everything in the vines by hand and achieve such purity of fruit and lightness-on-their-feet within their bottles by utilizing early harvesting and light extraction in the cellar. Despite any of these winemaking practices, however, it is and must be the vineyard-work that speaks most clearly through these bottles: vines cannot lie. True vines yielding honest wines – as brilliant a link between Provence, the Alps, and Rhône as you’ll find.
Vinification: Organic and biodynamic Grenache and Syrah from 25 year old vines grown on limestone, clay and silt soils. Grapes hand-harvested, destemmed and fermented in concrete using wild yeasts for 15 days. Aged for 6-8 months in concrete and bottled unfined, unfiltered a touch of SO2.
Tasting: Medium-bodied, crunchy, full of red fruits and sunny acidity. Some subtle structure and an undercurrent of herbs and bitter botanicals give this wine some depth and saves it from falling into a category of pure glou. Despite the 14.5% ABV, it's well-balanced and surprisingly delicate (and thus, potentially dangerous!!).