It sometimes seems with small-production natural wines that producers are often fighting each other for the title of smallest winery. True–many of the best and most sought-after natural wines are produced in miniscule quantities. Our exploration this month, a new(ish) domaine in France’s Languedoc region, is actually quite huge in terms of size. Domaine Puech Redon comprises over 300 hectares in the South of France. Most of that is devoted to grain growing or natural forests, with about 50 hectares under vine. Their wines, relative newcomers to the natural wine game, are hard and fast proof that small does not always equal better. Farming here is meticulous, winemaking is stringently natural, and the results speak for themselves.
Winemaker Cyril Cuche inherited his family’s large farm about a decade ago, and immediately made the call to transition from full-scale conventional farming to strictly organic, from grains to grapes. He hooked up with natural winemaking legend Éric Texier of the Rhône for guidance. Estates in organic transition often make changes like this gradually, but Cyril opted to jump into everything cold turkey.
Cyril’s Apparente Blanc is the most important wine made at the estate. It represents a blend of mostly Grenache Blanc rounded out with Viognier, making it in many ways a classic expression of Southern French white. Both varieties involved are known for producing perfumed wines with ripe, often tropical-leaning fruit. At Puech Redon, the wines are all fermented exclusively with native yeasts, aged in tank, and bottled without sulphur. Orange wine may get all the play in natural wine circles, but wonderful whites like this one deserve some of that attention. Try this beauty with Jasper Hill’s bark- wrapped Harbison for a real treat.