Le Mazel Cuvée Raoul 2016

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Valvignères, Ardèche, France
Fermented with native yeasts, unfiltered & unfined, no additional sulphites
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Raoul is glossy, wild Carignan. Following a carbonic maceration to begin, the wine then sees a long, slow fermentation at cellar temperature in steel. The wine is then transferred to a champagne bottle with a crown cap as it still contains a little residual sugar, lending a confected, liquorice allsort kind of character to the herbaceous fruit, and a light spritziness on opening. This is one of those gluggable wines that leans toward instant gratification over deeper contemplation. One to lightly chill and polish off in one sitting - pretty easy to manage in our experience... If you have enjoyed this vintage in the past, it's worth noting that this is a slightly different bottling - 6 months longer in tank has dropped a lot of the tannic sediment leaving a much paler-hued Raoul, and one that is conveniently suited to some summer rays!


Gérald Oustric is one of a distinct group of winemakers that experienced a shared epiphany after meeting Marcel Lapierre during the 80s. At the time he was working the family vineyards in Valvignères, a village in the southern half of the Ardèche, alongside his father. All the resulting fruit was sold to the local co-operative. It was after this fateful meeting with Lapierre that Gérald realised there was another way to tend the vines and turn the resulting grapes into wine, and by the late 90s he had pulled out of the co-op, converted the domaine to organic and started to realise his vision of making wine with no additions at all. He joined forces with his sister Jocelyne, and Le Mazel was born. Over 20 years later they now own 19 hectares, with some of the fruit sold on other producers, and a good percentage leased out to friends and emergent winemakers such as Anders Frederik Steen and Sylvain Bock, whom Gerald and Jocelyne have enjoyed a collaborative working relationship with since they started to make wine in the area. Le Mazel wines are a literal translation of the mistral-swept valley in which the vines sit over clay and limestone soils. They also embrace the vintage variations that can occur when making wine in this way rather than fighting against them; the resulting wines are vital, nourishing and a new surprise each year.