Sébastien Vincenti, Domaine de Fondrèche : « We know how to make a rosé wine with 12 percent alcohol in Southern Rhone Valley »
From vines planted in the Southern Rhone Valley, your rosé wine called “Instant Rosé” is 12 percent alcohol. How can you achieve such a performance in your region?
Sébastien Vincenti: "It is the fruit of 10 years of hard work. Ten years of research, of experimentation on the ground, on the choice of grape varieties, on the winemaking approach… to make this Instant Rose as I wanted it to be. We had to think differently at several stages: how to get maturity earlier to keep freshness? What kind of grape variety should be planted? What should be the ideal soil? First, the Terroir. We replanted the vines on soils with sand and silt. We keep our vines very low, very close to the ground with a large foliar exposition and 2 meters high in order to have more shadow. Thus, the grapes are protected from the sun, they ripen slowly, they keep acidity and they can be picked with a potential 12% in alcohol. These vines are ideal for making rosé wine; a red wine would not reach maturity under these conditions. In a sense, this rosé wine becomes unique. Then we selected the right grape varieties. Three varieties were planted on these soils: a majority of Cinsault, some Syrah and Grenache. Our Cinsault, as our Syrah, are from “selections massales”, that is to say old selections, not cloned, with smaller grapes which favour an homogeneous maturity. OK, you must pick at a potentially 12% in alcohol but you can’t improvise, it must be ripe. Finally, the conduct of the vineyards is on organic farming with, in addition, a full respect of the lunar calendar. Without this approach, we simply could not achieve this. If you want to get ripe fruits and also keep the acidity and the freshness potential, you must do a lot of work on the soils. With no grass, interractions between the soil and the vines are too limited. To make a rosé wine, we can’t use overripe grapes! As for the wine-making process, we keep it very simple to stick to the terroir. Of course, our rosé is made like a white wine, ageing on lees for 6 months without racking. For the bottling, in order to keep the genuine taste of the wine, we prefer during the “flower” days and on a waning moon down. I wanted a pale rosé, a fresh and delicate wine that is the expression of its terroir. A simple rosé, but to make it simple is often the most complicated. I think that after 10 years of work, we may have achieved our goal."
What do you expect from Vinisud 2012 ?
Sébastien Vincenti: "We have not been attending Vinisud for 10 years, so indeed it is a real event for us. We had many requests from our customers and partners. So this year, we said YES! In fact, it comes at the right time because we will have just bottled the 2011 vintage for white and rosé wines. The marketing of the 2010 wines will also begin at this time. The visitors will therefore enjoy the opportunity to taste the wines “en première”! Finally, Vinisud is also a nice moment to meet lots of friends as we do this wine fair with 12 other wine producers who are members of GVin **."
What are your impressions about this 2010 vintage?
Sébastien Vincenti:"The 2010 vintage really gave me the opportunity to obtain the wines I wanted to make for a long time. This is more than 10 years of hard work that finally deliver fresh, fine and balanced wines. It is 10 years indeed since we began to restructure the vineyards, to replant, to work our soils with organic farming methods. And today vines are grateful for what we have done and show it in their own way with this great quality. 2010 was a perfect vintage to move towards balanced wines because the grapes were naturally mature at an earlier stage than in previous years, with 1% less alcohol compared to what we get usually. Thus, the characteristics of the vintage helped us to gain more finesse and to obtain the exact result we wanted. Actually the nice thing in our job is when you have a strong belief in a style of wine and that customers, as well as journalists, validate your choices. It gives you even more willingness to continue in this direction, motivation becomes even greater. When Robert Parker compares the 2010 Cuvee Persia to a red Hermitage or when he says that the freshness of our white wine reminds him of a Chablis, I am very happy ! The experience of 2010 has validated our methods and helped us to work in the same direction for the 2011 vintage. So Yes, for me, 2010 is a standard in terms of vintage, a reference for the wines we want to make."
* Vinisud 2012 : In Montpellier, on February 20 to 22, Domaine de Fondrèche will be on the GVin stand (Hall 10, aisle A, booth 8)
** GVin: group of winemakers in the south of France, providing the opportunity for professionals to place variegated orders. http://www.gvin.eu/en
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