It has been 25 years that Rene Jean Dard and Francois Ribo work together . They are wine producers that have gathered over the years a cult following among wine passionates , in France and as far as Japan . They now work on a 7,5 hectares vineyard split on 7 villages. The chai is located near Mercurol (a short distance east of Tain l'Hermitage), close to the Autoroute A7 which connects Provence to septentrional France . They themselves live a few kilometers away. They work on 7 or 8 different terroirs with different soils.
They use two types of pruning, goblet and tie-up, depending of the slope and other terrain conditions.
Septentrional Cotes Du Rhone is the wine region where the vines need the most foliage , which in result needs the goblet pruning.
One of the stories our guest likes to tell is also how this relationship began, when very long time ago , he saw a japanese young man travelling accross France on a bicycle, lost in the backroads near his house. He invited him to stay a while as he was having festivities with friends the following days. He says he is not sure to have treated him well during this first contact, they joked a lot etc, but his was the beginning of a long friendship: This young man later made his carrer in the restaurant world in Japan and rediscovered as such Dard & Ribo's wines...
__The first we taste is a Crozes Hermitage 2003. 100% Roussane, which as grape variety rarefied in the area in recent years. Long in the mouth. Complexity. Marqued by the year with higher alcohol.
__Second, St Joseph 2003. Roussane. Nose : Fruity. Nice in the mouth. full bodied.
__Third : Hermitage 2003. More than 16 ° ! Rich and powerfull.
__Among others , we taste the Crozes Hermitage 2002 . Syrah . Did'nt make a lot of alcohol . Interesting wine for a calamitous year where rain disrupted all the region .
__We also taste the Crozes Hermitage 2001 , which is the typical Dard et Ribo wine ( 2002 and 2003 being too much marked by the vintage , rain for the first , heat for the latter ) . Complex , supple . Ripe olives , leather . Black olive "tapenade" says Rene Jean Dard.
He points to the fact that the wine is alive and has cycles . They work on making good wines . As they don't use sulfite , they are not focused on making long laying down wines , even if their wines can indeed be kept a very long time the cellar, especially the whites.
They give tremendous attention to the tannic structure of their reds .