Andrew Guard

2016 Vin de France Rouge 'Esprit Libre', Clos des Grillons

The Esprit Libre this year channels the VENSKAB bottling that many of you know - it's a hyper drinkable rose/red that is made from Grenache Noir and Picpoul in carbonic maceration - crazy fruit, crazy freshness and extreme drinkability !

Nicolas Renaud is a talented winemaker introduced to me by Eric Pfifferling of Domaine L'Anglore. Recommendations don't get any better than that!

Nicolas used to be a history teacher at the local university until his passion for wine saw him rent a very old parcel of vines near Rochfort du Gard, to the West of Tavel and in AOC Côtes du Rhône. Nicolas formally quit the teaching sector in 2005. At that time he went to work for 2 years at the Vieille Julienne in Châteauneuf du Pâpe, both in the vineyards and in the cellar, to better the knowledge that he had already accumulated by meeting winemakers and vignerons throughout his region.

All the while, he took his first vineyards 'en fermage' in 2006, in Rochefort and also near Uzes. Typically, he would prune 8 or 9 hours at la Vielle Julienne and then do it again on his own vines in the evening!

His style is unsurprisingly like that of his friend Eric Pfifferling with perhaps more bass. All the wines are perfumed, lively, elegant and extremely vibrant, in short - bursting with personality, vitality and life.