October | Looking Forward: Le Sang Des Cailloux
Le Sang Des Cailloux
by Anthony Lynch
We have reached a pivotal time in the wine world, and nowhere more so than in the southern Rhône, where the extremes of a rapidly evolving climate have made it abundantly clear that those unwilling to think critically about the future will be left in the not-so-proverbial dust. Extended drought, severe heat waves, violent storms, and unprecedented episodes of frost and hail present challenges with real-life consequences to those who live off the land. With their very livelihood at stake, vignerons such as the Férigoules of Domaine le Sang des Cailloux are the first to recognize the need to react and adapt.
You might wonder why we’ve chosen to feature one of the most resolutely old-school producers in our book—and one we have imported for thirty years—in a segment intended to highlight the future stars of our portfolio. Serge Férigoule’s pragmatism always put him a step ahead of the pack, and now with his son Frédéri heading the domaine in a decidedly critical moment for the future of fine wine in the Rhône, the Férigoules’ progressive outlook is more pertinent than ever. They are quiet leaders in their region, fully prepared to meet the challenges of tomorrow—and their wines are perhaps better than ever.
Well-versed in the challenge of crafting balanced wines on the arid, rocky Plateau des Garrigues, Frédéri farms biodynamically and is now replanting the grapes best adapted to the increasingly hot, dry summers, including Cinsault, Counoise, Clairette Rose, Piquepoul, and Carignan Blanc. From the vines to the cellar, he is constantly questioning, never afraid to make strong choices for the sake of sustainability—choices that will ultimately ensure crucial freshness and nuance in his wines.
We are offering a precious few bottles of voluptuous, stony Vacqueyras blanc, raised in a unique mix of acacia and oak foudres and sandstone amphorae. As for the reds, the cuvée Doucinello has an exquisite texture as silky and sensual as a Gang of Four Morgon, but saturates the palate with Provençal herbs, lavender, and brambles. Then there is Lopy, in all its old-vine splendor, which will only improve as it softens with age. With one eye turned toward the future, this iconic domaine is still making Rhône wines as impressive and as delicious as thirty years ago.