Wine is about balance. Balance between acids and alcohol, balance between what you do in the vineyards and the winemaking techniques you choose to follow.This is the lesson you take away after a conversation with Stephane Vedeau, the brilliant and talented La Ferme Du Mont third generation winemaker.
Vedeau was here in Toronto at the Hotel Novotel Toronto Centre this past Tuesday to present his wines coming from the 50 hectares of old vines incorporating several AOC’s and also reveal his mission, which is to create wines that are truly respectful of the balance between varietal, territory and climate. Jancis Robinson named him the Best New Rhone Wine Maker, Robert Parker gave 94 points to his 2011 Chateauneuf – du – Pape Cote Capelan while his Cotes du Rhone Villages “Le Ponnant” 2012 got 91 points.
During his recent wine tasting in Toronto, Vedeau defined himself as a neoclassic winemaker, meaning that the use of techniques are always moderated by a respect of the grapes and soil, to produce wines of excellence. It is this attention to balance that ensures wines which are truly an expression of the Cotes du Rhone, with a brilliant acidity able to balance the aggressiveness of the tannins in the fruit to create harmony in the glass. Winemaking techniques and agronomy are fused together to create Vedeau’s wine philosophy that is very evident in each of its wines starting from La Truffiere 2014 (Grenache white 50%, Viognier 40% and Clairette 10%) to continue with his Rose 2014 made only with Grenache to finish with his reds Premiere Cote 2012 (Grenache 60%, Syrah 30%, Mourvèdre 10%), Le Ponnant 2012 (Grenache 60%, Syrah 40%), Gigondas Cotes Jugunda 2013 (Grenache 80% and Syrah 20%) and his Chateauneuf Du Pape 2011 (Grenache 80%, Syrah 10%, Mourvèdre 10%). “It all starts by what you do in the vineyards and what happened before, what is the vineyard in term of soil and grape. Whatever your technique is afterwards at the end is just 20 per cent. The remaining 80 per cent is agronomy”.
So every wine for Vedeau is a product of soil and climate where his knowledge in the winery is used only to let the wine express its full potential. “My approach to wine is not old world or new world oriented, I like to define myself as neoclassic: that means you have the knowledge without controlling the wine too much, letting express its nature, without using artificial yeast, minimizing the use of sulphites, limiting their use after the malolactic fermentation and controlling the volatile acidity. My approach is to avoid the final product to be too rustic”. Curiosity is the key for Vedeau to make a wine special and to find inspiration. “There are so many producers in many parts of the world that can give you an inspiration. The secret is to get information from everything your palate judges inspiring and then you work on your own, listening to your terroir and trying to make your wine special”.