Patricia & Rémi Bonneton - La Tangente Contre Courant 2018

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Étables, Ardèche, France
Sylvaner, Riesling & Pinot Blanc
Fermented with native yeasts, unfiltered & unfined, no additional sulphites
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<<Imported directly and exclusively by Wayward Wines>>

A succulent, off-dry pet-nat made using Sylvaner, Riesling and Pinot Blanc bought in from friends in the Alsace. The name, against the current, refers to the fact that most négociant-bought grapes like this are travelling from the south to the north, rather than the other way around! The initial 2018 wine didn't ferment completely dry, so creating a sparkling wine on the hoof seemed the logical solution: some unfermented grape must from the 2019 harvest was added to the barrels to kick off fermentation again and the wine was then bottled, leaving a light petillance and generous amounts of vinous fruit, salt and spices. Only 2000 bottles were made and we received just a handful of cases.

Rémi Bonneton started working the vineyards of the Northern Rhône in the early 2000s, not tending vines or harvesting grapes, but working with his two horses, Suspens and Palynka, offering his unique services to plough the soils at some of the most coveted domaines in this part of France. After making a little of his own wine along the way, cut to 2013 and Rémi and Patricia, his wife, found their very first vineyard parcel of Syrah on the steep slopes of the Doux Valley right at the very northern tip of the Ardèche, which despite the sheer terracing is still worked à la Bonneton: by horse and plough. It’s physical, demanding work and no light undertaking - perfect for Rémi who in his previous life was a professional rower. Their domaine totals just under 2 hectares and includes another parcel close to Tournon Sur Rhône planted with Roussanne and Marsanne on a hill straddling the border to the Northern Rhône that sits opposite the iconic vineyards of Cornas and Saint-Joseph. The vines see no chemical treatments and this approach is followed into the cellar where the wines ferment spontaneously and have nothing added. The wine using grapes from these vineyards is bottled as L’Alezan. As they start to work towards their ambitious visions for the future (a big conversion build for their own cellars at their farmhouse in Étables, an experimental planting of Albariño, acquiring more parcels) they buy grapes from other growers further afield to up their production - these wines are bottled as La Tangente.