Hervé Villemade, Rosé VdF, 2020
Vin de France
Hervé Villemade has been working his family's vines in Cellettes since taking over from his father in 1995. When Hervé first took over, everything was farmed chemically and vinified conventionally. Around 1997, he was introduced to the wines of Marcel Lapierre and Clos du Tue-Boeuf, both immediately striking a chord with him. Coincidentally, at the exact same time that he was discovering these wines, Hervé started developing a very serious allergy to sulfur. The sulfur had to go, and first attempts at sulfur-free vinifications quickly led to the conclusion that to make wine this way, you needed high quality grapes. So in 2000, Hervé decided to convert the estate to organic viticulture.
Herve makes a wide range of different cuvées, each a stunning example of classic, natural wines of the region. He now farms 25ha organically in the Cheverny and Cour-Cheverny AOCs, doing most vineyard work himself. Vines are planted in a mix of clay and sandy soils with silex (flint) stones in many of the parcels and a limestone base. In the cellar, fermentations are done by native yeasts and élevage is done in a range of different vessels: concrete tank, foudre, tronconic vats, neutral barrique, and even amphora.
This delicious wine is bottled as Vin de France (VdF) since it doesn't meet the requirements to display the Cheverny appellation. Doing so is a great way to produce wines according to the feel of the vigneron rather than following sometimes monolithic French appellation laws. The result is a super tasty blend of strawberries and cream, with a hint of sour cherry funk on the palate. Juicy watermelon and forest fruits are behind the bright acidity that runs through Hervé's rosé. This pairs well with creamy Persian feta, or with a rare piece of lamb. Hell, try both together like lamb and feta meatballs? Having fun with it is kinda the point.