Patricia & Remi Bonneton - La Tangente Potion 2020 MAGNUM

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

Magnum bottling! A markedly different wine to the 2019 vintage that preceded it, Potion is, as always, 100% Carignan made using grapes bought in from friends farming organically in Luberon; the most south-easterly point of the Rhône, approaching Provence. The vines enjoy a more Mediterranean climate than their own in the northern Ardèche, and are planted over a mix of limestone and clay. This time around Patricia & Remi elected to pick the grapes a couple of weeks earlier than the year before, preserving some extra acidity in the grapes and keeping the finished alcohol down. Likewise in the cellar the method was more restrained; for little over a week the foot-crushed juice of the whole bunches was gently steeped with the stalks and skins before being pressed off to old foudre for 10 months then bottled with no additions. Herbaceous fruit and savoury spice from the Carignan is perfectly balanced with some underripe, Pomegranate-like crunch lending a tonic quality and a transluscent ruby shimmer. Our favourite vintage of this wine yet! Perfect in this large format.

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.