It's always great to be able to offer wine that has that bit of extra time to get to the right place before it hits the shelves - here is some wine from back in 2014 that Joe was able to hang on for a bit, and how on point it is tasting as a result. 100% whole bunch Carignan, a smoky, svelte and fresh explosion of spiced-fruit and leather. Give it an hour once the cork has come out for it really open up. A little gem.
The story goes: Joe Jefferies a thoughtful, bookish looking fellow from Warwickshire was in the South of France helping his his Dad do up a house. There he met a girl, fell in love and never returned. They are now married and live together in the village of Caux about half an hour south of Beziers in the Languedoc. Having worked as a cycle tour guide for a number of years, Joe met some local winemakers and fell for the wines of the area. People like Remi Poujol, Bernard Bellahsen of Domaine Fontedicto, Julien Peyras, Antony Tortul were all making honest and delicious wines without input. Joe's father in law had a parcel of Grenache Blanc mainly and he decided to follow suit, setting up is winery in a small space in the middle of the village.
The vineyards he has taken on lie on the remnants of old lava flow from a long extinct volcano in the area. It's these soils, rich in basalt, that Joe prizes, bringing freshness and minerality to the wines, in a climate where in the past few vintages some grapes have been lost to being grilled by the sun. Predictably he picks the fruit quite a bit earlier than any of his conventional neighbours. In the cellar everything is fermented in fibreglass, with zero additions, fining or filtering. Joe and his cohorts are on the militant end of the natural wine world, for them I guess, true natural wine. Because of this zero compromise approach the wines sometimes need time to fully blossom, depending on the vintage, certainly they are always rewarding with bottle age.
Joe's wines are perhaps like the man himself, somewhat out of step with what has perhaps become synomynous with the what people think of when they say natural wine. The reds while not being overly tannic, always have a little structure and feel properly southern. The whites are rich with savoury herbal fruit and a denseness to the texture and mouthfeel. To us they are some of the most fascinating and rewarding wines we have drunk, every vintage throwing up distinctive wines of character and yes, terroir.