The Dard & Ribo wines float my boat….we’ll look at a few more of them in due course, but seeing as this is the wine that I have been consuming the most vigorously, it seems like the most obvious place to start.
René-Jean Dard and François Ribo began their domaine in 1984 and now work around 7.5 ha, mainly in Crozes-Hermitage with a little St-Joseph & a tiny quantity of Hermitage….they have now become a bit of a cult producer and grace the tables and wine bars of many a hipster hangout.
Crozes-Hermitage….It sits on the eastern bank of the Rhone River….Tain is pretty much it’s central point and it spreads to the North, South & East of the town…..11 communes in all….it kind of gets a bad rap because of its proximity to Hermitage itself, but there are some fantastic producers whipping out some awesome wines that sing of the earth…Dard & Ribo are one of those producers.
They souce the majority of their fruit from the North of the appellation…..above Tain itself….slope planted and more granitic…we are talking the “old” Crozes-Hermitage before the appellation was extended in 1952. The main sources are on the slopes around Larnage & Crozes-Hermitage itself…..but the fruit for this wines hails from the plains to the East of Tain and indeed to the East of the A7 autoroute….an area called Mercurol.
Mercurol is basically a plain….there is another one in Crozes-Hermitage called Chassis but that is to the South of Tain. La Grace is the name of the vineyard and it is half an hectare in size with a mix of sand/clay and alluvial stones.
The wine sees half old oak & half stainless steel and is usually bottled in the first week of March…..hence its name….”It’s Spring!”.
It’s a juicy, glug it down type of wine which is just delicious drinking and has a great sense of freshness and vibrancy…..supposedly no SO2 but I ran a sulphur on this in the lab and it appears they probably bottle with about 20 parts for shipping overseas.
Slightly turbid bright purple….lovely vibrant aromas of juicy plum, raspberry and cherry fruits…it really jumps out of the glass with a great attack of vivid, ripe fruit. There’s hints of violets, spice and herbs with a waft of pepper.
Fresh as can be in the mouth with uncomplicated, supple dark & black fruits, spice, herbs, earth and a floral flourish. Great acid freshness and vitality….not an overly long finish but just delicious drinking.
Closure: Nomacork…I think