Many winegrowers in the Valvignères region and the rest of the Ardèche owe a debt of gratitude to Jocelyne and Gérald Oustric, of Le Mazel estate. Indeed, since their installation in the 1980s, these brother and sister have never ceased to help young winegrowers to start up, while continuing to lead the destiny of Le Mazel with masterly hands...
|Cultivated grapes||Syrah, Carignan, Chardonnay, Viognier...|
|Certification||Organic agriculture (AB)|
|Our favorites||Larmande, Mias|
In 1983, Gérald Oustric and his sister Jocelyne took over the family estate of some 22 hectares, in Valvignères, a small village in the south of the Ardèche, between the Rhône and Alba-la-Romaine. A place already well known to the Romans for the quality of its terroirs, which gave its name to the village, the "valley of vines".
Founded by their grandfather in 1919 and developed by their father, Paul, the estate is cultivated in a rather "conventional" way. It was a meeting with Marcel Lapierre, the famous Beaujolais winemaker, and his sidekick Jacques Néauport, a great vinificateur, that changed everything for Gérald and Jocelyne. From then on, it was obvious to both of them that they had to move towards a culture that was as natural as possible and defend vinification without additives, allowing the local terroir to express itself as best as possible.
It was a hard work of conversion, for more than 10 years, before finally being able, in 1997, to leave the cooperative cellar and found their own domain, Le Mazel, which will be certified Organic Agriculture in 2002. The clay-limestone soils, or decidedly limestone, are planted with a wide range of local grape varieties, Chardonnay, Grenache Blanc or Viognier for the whites, Syrah, Carignan, Cabernet Merlot, or Grenache and the rarer and more local Portan for the reds. Most of the vines, from 20 to over 50 years old, are rather old for the region, a worthy legacy of Paul Oustric's hard work.
The grapes are harvested by hand, in small crates, and are processed in the cellar without the addition of any products nor additives. No yeast, no enzymes, no vitamins, and especially no sulphites! A penchant for carbonic maceration for 6 to 12 months and long maturation of the wines before bottling. The juices are only moved by gravity and never pumped... All this to respect the work done in the vineyard all year round, no chemical weedkillers, no insecticides or fungicides, no chemical fertilisers and a cult for small yields, the secret of harvesting a healthy, ripe and balanced crop.
Nine cuvées are produced by Le Mazel, mostly single-varietal, all Vin de France. All of them are real little gems, or as the name of one of our favourite cuvées suggests, "vin de soif".
Andrea Calek, Sylvain Bock, Anders F. Steen, Jérôme Jouret and many others... all these names, young winemakers from the region, have one thing in common. Le Mazel.
Indeed, since their installation, Jocelyne and Gérald have never ceased to help young and new winegrowers to get started, by renting them vines, selling or giving them grapes, lending them equipment or space in their cellar in Valvignères. Reducing one's own capacity to help others, a true idea of regional solidarity...