For the past 10 years Simon Tyrrell and Charles Derain have been working with one of the most progressive and respected Co-ops in France, Cave d’Estezargues based in the Southern Rhone near Avignon. The Co-operative began a small revolution in the ‘Co-op’ world in 1995. The ten growers began a program of vinifying their wines from the best sites, separately. This evolved further when they became one of the first to follow largely ‘natural’ processes in their wine making. They opted to use natural yeasts and followed organic practices. Wherever and whenever possible they shunned filtering and fining of the wine. In 2017 Gerard McGuire joined up with Simon and Charles and they began a program of expansion and acquisition. New sites were purchased and they moved the wine making to a new cellar at the eastern end of the Cèze Valley. The three share an interest in wines that are not manipulated and are ‘of the land’.
The vines are all farmed organically. They mainly consist of Grenache and Syrah with some Carignan and very old white vines of Bourboulenc and Clairette. There are about 8.5 hectares of vineyards in different parcels around the villages of Saint Gervais and Saint Nazaire. In this area, there are varied and complex soil structures. Each site is unique and contributes to the character of the wines produced. The oldest vines date from 1947 and they have just planted some new parcels of Syrah. Vine stock was sourced through Lilian Berillon who is France’s only biodynamic vine nursery. These new vines will produce their first wine in 2022.