ARLEBOSC, Northern Rhone
There are very few winegrowers on the planet that can properly balance the wonderful burden of supreme terroir with the risk of innovation. Souhaut is one such creator whose idiosyncratic cellar work has served to imbue unforgettable distinctiveness in his wines without obscuring his magnificently articulate terroir. Souhaut’s wines could only ever come from the Northern Rhone but there is no other wine quite like a Souhaut. They are generously perfumed, sumptuous beauties that purr into your ear, filling your head with streaming sensations of lavender, pine sap, bare rock and licorice. They are textured unlike any other wine with a downy softness that swaddles the drinker in warmth and makes the space just as safe for casual consumption as intrepid flavor spelunking.
Taking its name from a colloquial attribution of Gamay within the village of Arlebosc, the wine is the assemblage of 6 parcels of Gamay, old selections of both the white juiced, more ubiquitous Gamay and the red-fleshed, Ardechoise variety that gives the wine a more earthen, heady character.
From the granitic slopes of the nearby Doux river, the basic Syrah bottling is the beating heart of the Souhaut operation. Vinified with that same method, the 30 year old vines are from less extreme plots than the single vineyard bottlings and while the wine may not be as attuned to subtlety as its more regal siblings, it is supremely enchanting all the same!
The slope leading up to Montserre is very windy and marked by extremely salty limestone punctuated with small Kimmeridgian stones. The parcel wraps the hill and the vines here produce tiny, concentrated berries.
The family has only recently recovered access to this insanely steep parcel as a 25 year lease came to a close in 2013. The helicoidal nature of the vineyard results in an array of ripeness, with freshness coming more from the northern tip and power from the South East where the vineyard terminates in a circus. The resulting wine is wonderfully nuanced with an accordion-like depth that begs for decanting and contemplation.
This is a unique terroir just behind Herve and Beatrice’s home in the village of Tourney. The steep, terraced vineyard is home to centenarian vines that have somehow toughed out a hundred years in dry schistic soil. 2/3rds of the vineyard is 100+ years old and the remaining portion is about 30 years old. The wine is incredibly rare as Souhaut makes a mere 1,500 bottles in a good year.
DOMAINE ROMANEAUX-DEZTEZET 'BLANC'
Although famed mostly for the reds, the Souhaut white wines are astounding. Though the white vines are much younger than the reds, the concentration and character of this wine is really spectacular. Of the family’s 10 plots across 4 separate communes, the Viognier/ Roussanne for the white grow in the parcel closest to the winery itself in granitic soils. The white is pressed directly and aged on lees in barrel for 8 months without any battonage.
LES MARÉCOS BLANC
The Marecos wines come from young vineyards established by Souhaut's neighbor Michel Savel. The white is a 50/50 blend of Marsanne and Roussanne that ferments super slow and ages in 228 L barrique.
LES MARÉCOS ROUGE
The Marecos wines come from young vineyards established by Souhaut's neighbor Michel Savel. The red is essentially a young vine riff on his 'Syrah' but with the inclusion of 25% Merlot.