In a nutshell: A juicy and ripe, naturally made Rhône Valley red made by an exemplary cooperative.
The lowdown: Les Vigneron's d'Estezargues, just across the river from Avignon, are a depenable cooperative with only a few members all of whose vines are either sustainably, or organically grown. This, their Cuvée des Galets, is a blend of mainly Grenache with some Syrah and Carignan, the proportions of which vary by vintage. It's made very much as a natural wine without fining or filtering and is full of bright red cherry and strawberry aromas which are complemented by hints of black pepper. On the palate it's equally vibrant with meaty, savoury notes adding an extra layer of complexity.
When to drink: Wonderfully tasty and well balanced, partner it with simply grilled meats or pasta dishes.
A small, innovative co-operative in the small town of the same name just to the west of Avignon.There is only a small group of producer affiliates and the total vineyard area is around 400 hectares.
Their oenologist, Denis Deschamps, is a champion of natural winemaking which means using natural yeasts present in the bunches and the winery, adding as little to the wine as possible during its making, including sulphites at bottling, and avoiding fining and filtration in many of the wines. Though originally founded in 1965 it wasnt until the 1990s that they adopted the approach that demanded quality in the vineyard and which has subsequently served to enhance their reputation.