Philippe Badea Grenache Fleur de Carotte 2016
100% Grenache. Husband and wife Agnes and Philippe Badea worked at Domaine Jean David for nearly twenty years, a reference producer of classic, traditionally made organic wines. In 2010 they put together their savings and purchased a small 4 Ha plot of old vine Grenache Noir in the small village of Tulette, in the heart of the Côtes du Rhône (thus all the wines are labeled Vin de France since appellation laws dictate that Côtes du Rhône, within which boundary these wines are produced, must be a blend and their vineyard only has Grenache). For the vineyard, 2.5ha were planted in 1945 and 1.5 hectares in 1982. The soils are rich in clay-limestone with some silex. Throughout the process, they have been supported by their friends and family. But when they set out on this venture, Agnès and Philippe’s loved ones said they were ‘zinzin’ (slang for cracked, bonkers, nuts). It is a title they proudly took up, naming one of their wines ‘Foulée des Zinzins’ – ‘The Stride of the Crackpots’. As whimsical as their wine names and labels may be, the Badeas take their efforts in the vineyard and winery very seriously. They love and respect their land and farm their vines organically, following the lunar calendar and using herbal preparations like ortie piquante (stinging nettle). Cover crops are encouraged and the grass is only lightly mown rather than plowed in order to allow the crops to continue to give cover to the natural life in the vineyard. The grapes are hand-harvested and the wine is elaborated in the small old stone house in the middle of the vineyard. Spontaneous whole cluster fermentation takes place with only the native yeast and the wines are not fined or filtered. The results are full-bodied and rich wines that are an honest expression of the place where they are made and the dedicated people who made them. For Fleur de Carotte, the name for this wine reflects Philippe’s love of literature that references agricultural life. The phrase comes from a novel by the great French writer Jean Giono “Que Ma Joie Demeure”. A peasant farmer is plowing one night and marvels at the star formation Orion which he compares to the flower of a carrot. Harvested later than the rest, this comes from the only vines planted east-west and all planted in 1945. Everything done naturally with a bit of sulfur at bottling, this is a gorgeously broad, rich, and complex wine with great finesse, showing more garrigue and mineral than the others in the range, the rich tannic structure offset by a cool freshness, a vertical wine that feels like it thrusts out of the soil. It’s savory and a little sweet, full of iron and cassis fruit, bone dry but plump. A killer example of the splendors of the Southern Rhône. Only 1,800 bottles made, try one of our favorite new producers making killing Southern Rhone wines!