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The South of France with Goatboy Selections

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The South of France with Goatboy Selections

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In the Vineyard with Julien Peyras

Byron Bates of Goatboy Selections is back from the field with a few notes from his trip. Thanks Byron!

The south of France is magic in August.  It's easy to see why hordes of semi-hard working Parisians flock here every summer.  The sun, sea, food and wine.  We had a list of vignerons we have been wanting to visit and we also needed to pay our respects to our current friends.  We hit the Fete du Vin et Valvigneres where we tasted with Sylvain Bock and Gerald Oustric of Le Mazel then partied at the gorgeous domaine of Andrea Calek.  Valvigneres is stunning.  It's easy to see why so many top-tier natural wine producers (Oustric, Azzoni, Bock, Calek) hail from this slice of heaven and if you've never been, go!!  This valley is as important as Morgon, Pouille, or Coteaux du Loir for vin nature enthusiasts.  And Bock and Oustric are leading the way.  Real, kick ass expression and winemaking from the soul.

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Sylvain Bock

While tasting with Bock and Mazel in Ardeche we were joined by Guy Breton as we tasted through the new vintages.  Terrific stuff here.  The "Patience" by Bock remains a stunning mystery and the 2013's are stellar.  Oustric's (Mazel) wines were a treat and master class in natural wine making, as usual.  It was great to see how revered Oustric is by his colleagues including Gilles Azzoni and Andrea Calek.  He's a terrific guy and an influence on everyone in the region.

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In the Vineyard with Papa Oustric & Gerald Oustric

Later we traveled into the Languedoc to visit the hot kid of the moment, Julien Peyras.  Julien Peyras is a rising star, and everyone we asked had nothing but kind words to say.  His soft, clean style has taken sans soufre winemaking to the next level and it represents what we seek, drink and love: natural wine for adults.  His cinsault ("Gourmandise") is found in all of the bar a vin nature spots of the south.    We're in love with cinsault. It's a pretty, quaffable, expressive mouthful of terroir.  We ran into bottles of "Gourmandise" as far south as Barcelona. One resto in Beziers paired his "Lo Tarral" with raw filets of horse.  Who could resist?

The current thinking by some is that the south is full of BIG wines that are insipid, bacterial and clunky.  What we found were soft and elegant wines that elicited yelps of joy and under the table high fives.  We look forward to sharing with you our finds and new acquisitions. It's a remarkably diverse and massive region that can never be pigeon holed as one style or stereotype.  The wines of Peyras prove that natural wines can and should be accessible and pleasurable to all.

For more on Domaine du Mazel, read here.

For more on Sylvain Bock, read here.

For more on Julien Peyras, read here.

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