Sylvain Bock Neck Plus Ultra 2019

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Based in the small picturesque town of Alba-la-Romaine in Ardèche, Sylvain has been running his own domaine since 2010. Sylvain’s vineyards are spread over two sites. The plot closest to the cellar is composed mainly of limestone with very little topsoil and is planted with Chardonnay and Grenache Blanc, as well as a few rows of old vine Grenache Noir and Merlot while further north in the valley at higher altitude we find Gamay, Syrah and some more Grenache Noir planted on basalt. Sylvain recently built his new cellar in Alba-la-Romaine, having outgrown the small space in Valvignères he used to occupy. The space is a reflection of the man himself, careful and considerate, rather than simply wishing to make more wine - with more space and more tanks and barrels at his disposal, Sylvain isn’t rushed into bottling wines he doesn’t believe are ready, fermenting most of the grapes on their stems with only the old vine Grenache that is good enough to go into Neck Plus Ultra de-stemmed for a slower traditional maceration. Other work in the cellar is minimal, with no additions of any kind. Sylvain’s patience and knowledge result in wines of purity and freshness, without compromising on depth. As Sylvain says, ‘I don’t want to make nouveau wines, let winter do its job (in terms of settling the wines). I release them when they are ready.”

A favoured tank of Grenache Noir juice was racked into old barrels and matured for 10 months. Stylistically quite different from previous vintages that were de-stemmed, this is rather fruit forward which after a little air shows layers of dark fruit and savoury spice. No sharp edges here, but enough structure and acidity that should see this age very nicely. Each cuvee is made in small quantities.

Grenache Noir (100%)

Ardeche, France