Grower: Nicolas Renaud
Region: Rochefort-du-Gard, Rhone, France
Grape Varieties: Mourvèdre, Cinsault
Nicolas Renaud is a geologist born and raised in the Rhône. For many years, he taught the geology at university, tending vines on the side. In 2005, he began renting his own vines, and in the meantime has cultivated a mosaic of parcels – in and around Rochefort du Gard – with unique bedrocks, soils and long forgotten vines. His wines are the perfect physical analog to the breadth of knowledge he brings to the vineyard. Working organically, Nicolas shows what the magnificent terroir of the Rhône has to offer.
It's impossible not to be charmed by Mr. Renaud. There's a comical element at his core that endears you to him and to his project. Nicolas's great gift and great weakness is that he simply cannot help himself. Every year, every visit, there's a story about a new little parcel that charmed him and demanded its own fermentation. He's fascinated. He is madly in love with his work and his terroir. He's a winemaker of such experience and prowess, and yet I think his name falls to the wayside because of the scope and breadth of his endeavor. One year he introduces a wine from pure limestone, then a wine from some purchased Picpoul, then a small but interesting plot of old vine Syrah, all with new names and labels that make the domaine a bit of a puzzle, if a happy one. There's always more to explore, and always new ways to be excited.