Patricia & Rémi Bonneton - La Tangente Metisse 2021

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Étables, Ardèche, France
Syrah & Muscat
Organic (uncertified)
Fermented with native yeasts, unfiltered & unfined, no additional sulphites
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Imported directly and exclusively by Wayward.

The second vintage of this experimental cuvée is an absolute triumph, in our opinion one of the finest Patricia & Remi have bottled as La Tangente. In a slight twist to last year, we still have Syrah (from the Gard, Southern Rhône), direct-pressed to give just the palest pink juice, but this time we have whole bunches of Muscat of Alexandria (from further south, in the deepest Languedoc) suspended in the juice for just over a week to gently macerate and infuse. The wine is then raised for 6 months in a mixture of big, old foudre barrel and clay amphora. As such, it's an almost uncategorisable wine with a seriously enticing pastel pink/pale terracotta hue; not quite a rosé, not quite an orange wine, rather somewhere in-between the two.

Worked in this way the Syrah gives some fresh, crisp red fruits to frame the heady, floral character of the Muscat, which is extracted perfectly to leave its destinctive aromatics and dense, oily texture all perfectly in balance. The kind of musky, perfumed wine that makes so much sense on warm, humid evenings. Peaches, strawberries and exotic flowers of the botanical garden.

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. As they start to work towards their ambitious visions for the future (a big conversion build for their own cellars at their farmhouse in Etables, an experimental planting of Albariño, acquiring more parcels) they buy grapes from other growers further afield to up their production.