Le Clos des Grillons
Nicolas Renaud of Clos de Grillons is exactly the kind of vigneron we are into. Not only is he a good friend and neighbour of the Pfifferlings, the two friends also join forces to make Sune's own gift cuvée 'Venskab'. Formerly a history teacher - with no family ties to wine or ownership of land - Nicolas slowly began renting parcels of land in areas that were overlooked by the cooperatives, who were on the search for more productive vines. Of course these old vines and low yields were exactly what Nicolas was looking for. The domaine is now 18ha and lies just a few miles south-west of Tavel. The vines are trained low to help cope better with the strong winds of the region. As well as the usual Southern Rhone suspects, Nicolas is keeping the near extinct Bourboulenc and Piquepoul Gris alive and well at his domaine. 'Les Grillions Blanc' comes from 5 parcels in Rochefort and Saze and is a mixture of 60% Grenache Blanc, 35% Bourboulenc and 5% Clairette . The Grenache is fermented in casks, the rest in large vats before before being transferred to steel tanks. 10-15 mg/l of SO2 is added during blending. '1901' is another white cuvée which originates from a vineyard of Bourboulenc planted that very year close to Rochefort. Bourboulenc has lost popularity in the region due to its saline expressions, but Nicolas enjoys these characteristics. The wine is fermented in casks and then racked into smaller casks before being bottled. Other cuvées include 'Les Grillons Rouge', a whole-bunch carbonic macerated Grenache and Cinsault blend straight from a stainless steel vat, and 'Les Terres Blanches', an old vines Carignan and Grenache blend which sees the two varieties vinified together in concerete tanks. Nicolas is not one to rest on his laurels, though, and nearly each year he experiments with new blends and cuvées.