Château de Rhodes is in the village of Boissel, close to Gaillac in South West France. The vineyards of the south-west are some of France’s most ancient and they are home to its most varied collection of indigenous grape varieties; not to mention a host of talented, sometimes extreme, organic winemakers enthralled by the possibilities that these unusual varieties present. Contrary to the expectations conjured up by these facts, proprietor Eric Lépine is anything but a hippy winemaker. He is an urbane ex-financier who used to play rugby for France!In 2002, he bought this 20 hectare estate on some of the best vineyard land in Gaillac, covering three distinct terroirs: the terraces of the left bank of the River Tarn, the Cordais plateau, and the slopes of the right bank of the river where lies the château itself. His commitment to organics is a choice for the benefit of his family, as he believes it to be the most sustainable way to look after his land and it helps him to produce wines that are truly authentic. Eric also heads up The BIOboys, a group of like-minded, organic wine producers based in the south-west. The estate has been Ecocert certified organic since the 2011 vintage, and so no chemical treatments or fertilisers are used, yields are kept well below those permitted, and he vinifies his wines traditionally in concrete cuves using only natural yeasts. The reds receive 2 years’ ageing in cuve and the minimal addition of sulphur dioxide.
Chateau de Rhodes Gaillac Rouge Organic 2018
Soft but wild bramble fruit with a touch of herbiness on the nose and a grippy but approachable palate. Just on the right side of funky, nicely balanced and very digestible.
Local variety Duras plus Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Franc fermented slowly in concrete tanks with only the grape yeasts. No oak treatment and closure is Select Green recyclable Nomacorc.