Another lively, expressive, herbal red from the Mazel cellars. The fruit is all spicy black fruit, with a perfume full of wild fennel and clove. A wine that speaks of this wind-swept Ardèche valley. Find out more.
A wonderful vintage for this vital, energetic Syrah, that seems to change its incarnation with each passing year. Made with the usual Mazel technique of whole-bunch carbonic maceration to give the wine a dialled-back tannic structure and plenty of vivid fruit to the fore. This wine is left to slowly ferment in tank only, no barrel-ageing, so a certain freshness prevails. There are tart black berries and salty black olive; the acidity carrying a mouthwatering lick of balsamic. The 2018, whilst still displaying the typical Mazel rusticity, definitely has a certain charm and elegance; the tannins slighly softer and the wine itself more open.
Gérald Oustric is one of a certain generation of winemakers whom experienced a shared epiphany after meeting with Marcel Lapierre during the 80s. At the time he was working the family vineyards in Valvignères, a village in the south of the Ardèche, alongside his father. Each vintage all of the fruit was sold to the local co-operative. It was after this fateful meeting with Lapierre that Gerald 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 certified organic and, in the wake of the infamous ‘gang of four’ that had inspired him, began 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 farm 19 hectares, with a portion leased out to any number of the other emergent winemakers in the region. Gérald is well-regarded for being the guiding force in helping many of these younger producers get set up by selling them grapes, loaning out vineyards, lending them equipment or letting them make their wine in his cellars. There is a healthy, collaborative spirit in the air around these parts but, ever-humble, Gérald's work is often seen after the likes of Anders Frederik Steen, Sylvain Bock, Daniel Sage and Andrea Calek, all of whom he has lent a helping hand to along the way.
The wines themselves are vital, wild-edged and nourishing, and clearly speak of the mistral-swept valley from which they hail. Mazel are notorious for embracing the annual variations that can occur when making wine without heavy manipulations or additions, and as such his staple of regular cuvées can express themselves completely differently from year to year. Each vintage is a new part of a bigger story.