winemaker Sylvain Bock
Region: Rhône Valley (Ardèche)
City: Alba la Romaine
Grape varieties Grape varieties: syrah, chardonnay, gamay, black grenache, white grenache, merlot
Surface Winery: 6,5 ha
Certification: organic wine (AB)
the Winery sylvain bock
Organic wines in the Ardèche
Sylvain Bock is located in the south of theArdèche on plots that have been worked organically for several decades. Sylvain worked for other winemakers for a long time after his Viti-Oeno training in Mâcon in 2001. He did his internship in Pouilly-Fuissé with Claire and Fabio Montrasi, two young architects who, like him, were not predestined for this profession. He exchanged and learned a lot from these "neo-winegrowers" who work in the "right way": green work in the vineyard, manual harvesting, conversion to organic farming, vinification and maturing in barrels, minimal use of sulphites and oenological inputs.
In 2003, he went to J.M. Stéphan in Côte Rôtie to work in the vineyard and cellar at Le Mazel, where he continued to learn about natural wine. Driven for a long time by the desire to make his own wine, he settled in 2010 in the south of the Ardèche on 4 hectares of leased vines. From the outset, he was lucky enough to start with organically managed plots. Preserved from weed killers and modern chemistry for several decades, the soil is healthy. Sylvain Bock's farming practices are obviously aimed at respecting the structure and microbial life of the soil.
Natural wines with a lot of minerality
The vines are located between Alba la Romaine and Valvignères on shallow limestone-limestone and marl-limestone soils. Thus, the roots are quickly in contact with the mother rock, which confers a lot of minerality to the wines. Finally, the days are very sunny, the nights are often cool with the Mistral as the dominant wind. In short, this almost ideal climate allows us to produce fresh and balanced wines, both red and white.
At the end of 2013, Sylvain took over 2.5 hectares of additional vines (Grenache and Gamay) located between the villages of Alba la Romaine and Sceautres. We then leave the valley with its predominantly limestone soils and head north towards the volcanic plateau of Coiron (basalts). These new plots benefit from the influence of two very different and complementary soil types... On the slopes, with a south-south-western exposure at an altitude of 280 m, this cooler and later terroir allows the production of fine, floral, fresh and delicate wines... Finally, this "magical" place is secluded and privileged: the vines are surrounded by woods and wasteland. A very promising and unique terroir where gamays and magnificent grenaches cohabit harmoniously.
Yields are low (20 to 50 hl/ha),Grape varieties varies: syrahs are around 30 years old; merlot and white grenache are in their forties, chardonnays and gamays are 25 years old. Finally, the age of the black grenaches varies between 30 and 50 years depending on the plot.
Meticulous work and natural winemaking
As far as vinification is concerned, the main idea is to extend the organic approach from the vineyard to the cellar. The aim is to produce a natural wine (without the use of oenological or chemical inputs) from hand-picked grapes. Meticulous work in the vineyard allows us to obtain healthy, concentrated grapes and optimal maturity. The indigenous yeasts carry out the fermentation. The wines are unfined, unfiltered and without added sulphites. It is best to keep them in good conditions. As a general rule, they are best six months after bottling (the batch number on the back label mentions the initials of Grape variety and the bottling date) and at their peak 2-3 years after bottling. Finally, they are often at their best after decanting.