Cotes du Rhone 'Terre de Mistral', Vignerons d'Estezargues
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Cotes du Rhone Terre de Mistral from Vignerons d'Estezargues is a hearty, full bodied, fruity, Natural Grenache blend. The Terre de Mistral is Cotes du Rhone with great character and plump fresh fruit, named after the cold wind that is funneled through the Rhone Valley from the North. Trademark blackberry and pepper, but also fresh with lighter nutmeg and liquorice tones. It is made with no intervention, wild yeast and no fining or filtration. This is pure gutsy Rhone, a bit 'Sauvage' round the edges, imagine a large terra cotta jug of the stuff with some stew of wild boar in a blustery winter night when the mistral is blowing and you get the picture. Very moreish and very good value.
Les Vignerons d'Estezargues is a super little Co-Op located near Avignon. Like other Co-Operative wineries, they receive grapes from members and use them to make bulk wines, usually Grenche, Syrah and Mourvedre. Here they work a little differently though, as since 1995 the members' grapes are vinified separately, highlighting the individual terroir of each of the 10 estates. They have also been making natural wines, and not just gimmicky, box-ticking natural wines - proper natural wines. Only indigenous grapes are used here, no filtration, no fining and an absolute minimum of sulphites. Whilst not certified, the growers restrict chemical use on the vineyards. Working in this way allows them to produce wines of incredible character but at probably the best price you're likely to find for a wine like this.