Jean-Yves Peron I Vicini Barbera 2019

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Conflans, Haute-Savoie, France
Fermented with native yeasts, unfiltered & unfined, no additional sulphites
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I Vicini is Jean-Yves' négociant label, specifically when he uses grapes that make the passage over the alps from Italy. It sounds unlikely, but a glance at the map reveals that the vines in Piemonte from which this Barbera was harvested are only 150km or so south of his cellars in the Haute-Savoie - much closer than one might think. A truly intesting proposal - a wine that is at once both Italian at heart and French in execution. Not quite as intense as previous vintages, this is distinctly Barbera through JYP’s lens. Long maceration and ageing in barrels gives this a sanguine edge to balance the deep fruit.

Seeing the steep valleys of the Haute-Savoie, the alps looming in the background, and feeling the alpine freshness in the air it is hard not to marvel that some intrepid winemakers are sticking it out on these slopes.

Jean-Yves, a Savoyard, is one of these. He studied oenology in Bordeaux and spent a few years working with winemakers around France and beyond. In 2004 he returned to the Savoie and started to collect small parcels planted with old vines of local varieties on the mica studded schist between 350m and 550m altitude. He now has around 1.5 hectares of tiny parcels which he vinifies separately – the Jacquere, Altesse, Rousanne and Mondeuse vividly expressing the details of the soil and the coolness of the alpine climate. Jean-Yves chooses to ferment in whole bunches for his white and red grapes but for varying amounts of times. The results are extraordinary.

In 2011 Jean-Yves obtained his negociant license and began working with other domaines in the Savoie, notably Raphaël Marin and Adrien Dacquin (both certified organic). Then, in 2017 he built a new cave just above his and Raphaël’s vines, which has allowed him to increase production and begin working with two organic winemakers across the Alps in Italy: Paolo Angelino in Casale Montferrato and Giorgio Barbero in Asti.