AXEL PRUFER LES TEMPS DES CERISES LES LENDEMAINS QUI CHANTENT GRENACHE 2017
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HERBAL ELEGANT RAW
LEFT OF CENTRE / PRACTICE ORGANIC / 750ML
Forest wine, an isolated vineyard surrounded by rugged forest. Axel Prufer encourages biodiversity as a way of working with nature to produce the most delicious grapes. His wines are raw and incredibly expressive. 100% Grenache, soft tannins surrounded by mountain herbs and red berries.
From the Producer: Les Lendemains qui Chantent is a beautiful and quite restrained wine (in the sense that it is elegant rather than exuberant) made from 100% Grenache from vines that are at least 35 years old. The vineyard itself is situated at 450 metres above sea level in the forests of the rugged Parc Naturel Regional du Haut-Languedoc which lies inland from the city of Beziers.
It exhibits very soft tannins and lovely herbal and flower aromas. There is a distinct minerality associated with this wine derived from the decaying granite and quartz soils.
It is Axel’s leading cuvée, but he only releases it in years where the crop is exceptional! And this year it is certainly exceptional. This is a stunning wine of great elegance and charm which may benefit by being poured into a carafe just before drinking.
Axel Prüfer was born and raised in East Germany but moved to France as a young man to take up a career in wine making. He produces delicious wines naturally with as little intervention as possible – many of his wines have no added sulphur.
In fact, on a visit to his winery we tried one of his cuvees which had been bottled without sulphur and one that had been bottled with minimal amounts of sulphur and the result was simply amazing. The one without sulphur stood head and shoulders above the other for freshness, vitality and flavour.
He has been described as a ‘darling of the natural wine bar movement’. He is a quiet, thoughtful and engaging young winemaker who is totally committed to producing non-interventionist wines.
We visited him in the mountains behind Beziers and were fascinated by the lengths he goes to in ensuring that his grapes are healthy and his wines are pure. Every sentence he utters is the result of deep thought.
We discussed the problems of grapes grown in monocultures such as in Chablis and Champagne and then crammed into his small truck to bump our way up hillsides through thick forest and then for the final part of the way by foot until we reached his remote vineyard surrounded by forest. There is absolutely no chance of spray-drift here!
Because the forests are the natural habitat of wild boars, Axel collects human hair from the hairdressers in the local village and spreads it around the boundary of his vineyard. He says that the boar pick up the human scent from the hair and avoid the vineyard. The vineyard is a picture of health with spiderwebs everywhere and an amazing biodiversity on display.
All this is for nothing of course if the wine doesn’t taste delicious. Axel only uses natural yeast to ferment his wines and he adds no sulphur at all (we put a ‘Contains Sulphites’ warning on the label because some sulphites can be naturally produced during the wine making process). This gives them a liveliness that is most appealing.
He uses tanks made from stainless steel or fibreglass or large, old barrels that impart no oak flavour. The tanks have ‘floating’ lids so that no air can get at the wine if he does not have enough to fill a tank.