Domaine Renardat-Fâche

My introduction to this wine was at Sydney institution Mary’s. It was Rootstock 2016, we went there with a few friends for a quick lunch and ended up drinking them out of stock! This is sweet berry wine for those in the know… I suspect most of it gets drunk by the trade… even Philippe Bornard has magnums of it in his own cellar!

Mérignat is a small village in Bugey which is about an hour’s detour on the drive from Beaujolais to Jura. The winery is located at the top of a hill with the vineyards quickly dropping off to each side of the road. Although the altitude is modest (2-300m AMSL) the terrain is mountainous and dramatic. The soils are similar to the Jura too; incredibly mineralic Jurassic limestone with some white and grey marle.

First things first it’s important to know just what Cerdon du Bugey is - we are the first to import this wine into New Zealand after all, so here goes - Cerdon du Bugey or Bugey Cerdon is a slightly sweet sparkling red wine. It is made by a handful of producers in the appelation of Bugey where local doctrine dictates the winemaking, therefore what seperates the producers can only be their farming and the quality of their fruit.

Since 1974, Alain Renardat-Fâche has been growing Gamay and Ploussard organically (Ecocert-certified) and making it in this traditional “Méthode Ancestrale” demi-sec style. The grapes are picked together by hand (90% Gamay, 10% Ploussard), whole-bunch pressed and fermented in cold stainless steel open-top vats until the wine reaches about 6 degrees alcohol. It is racked clean and direct into bottle where it continues fermentation, reaching about 7.5-8 degrees of alcohol so retaining a fair amount of its original sugar. The wine is bottled under cork and cage but is much more vinous (grapey/primary fruit) than Champagne and truly unlike anything else! It is beautiful, delicate, refreshing and so pleasant to drink!

NB: Magnums are only available to customers who have purchased at least one case of 750mL bottles. Further, there will be no 2017 vintage available for purchase – two separate frost and hail events struck their vineyard this year devastating nearly 95% of their fruit, what remains will only be sold domestically within France.

Annual production: 2 ha

Mérignat, Bugey, France

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