2017 Renardat-Fâche Bugey-Cerdon
We are the first to import this style of wine into New Zealand - so some introduction is necessary - Cerdon du Bugey or Bugey-Cerdon is a slightly sweet sparkling red wine. It is made by a handful of producers in the appellation of Bugey where local doctrine dictates the winemaking, therefore what separates the producers can only be their farming and the quality of their fruit.
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.
Since 1974, Alain Renardat-Fâche has been growing Gamay and Ploussard biodynamically (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: There is just a tiny amount of the 2017 vintage available for purchase – two separate frost and hail events struck their vineyard this year devastating nearly 95% of their fruit.