DNS Alert.
DNS Alert.


Guilhem Dardé and his friend, Stache

2019 Mas de Chimères
'Oeillade' Cinsault


A vibrant summer stunner...
and our single favorite
southern Frenchie of 2021!

Only $21.50! Buy here!

Are you smart? Want a case?
Get 10% Off On 12! Buy here!

 

Let's start here: we taste more southern French reds in a week than you do in a year. (Boast? Plea for help? You decide!) 

The merely serviceable Syrahs? The truly gruesome Grenaches?  We wade on through and weed 'em on out. We call upon our vast mental wine-trove and our powers of discernment both 
— and what remains are but the wildest of over-performers. These select southern reds, the one-percenters, are some of the greatest values that star-stud our store... like this, and this, and even this newest this!

But every once in a while? We arrive at the one percent's one percent. A wine that bypasses our frontal lobe and seizes the lizardbrain directly. Gone is the measured ratiocination that governs our careful evaluative process; our mouths still full, we waggle our arms around and forward, in the wine trade's universal, come-hithery, "We'll take it all" gesture.

Future oeno-anthropologists will locate these rare occasions via the curious abbreviation they'll find in our tasting notes: 'DNS.' A technical wine term, they'll wonder? Nope. It stood for: Do. Not. Spit... the highest praise of a professional taster, acronymically encrypted, and as solid a signifier of reptilian soul-swell as any that exists.


The Dardé famille, wild in the wild

And we shouldn't have been surprised! Guilhem Dardé is one of the famed renegades of the French South. His family has lived on the wild edge of Lake Salagou for generations, cultivating sheep, olive trees and vineyards. When Guilhem joined his father and uncle in the vineyards in 1974, they were still selling their grapes to the village cooperative, like everyone else around them.  

After some years, however, it began to pain Guilhem to watch their meticulously, lovingly, red soil-driven, organically farmed grapes... get tossed in with the indifferently tended fruit of his neighbors! So in the 1990's, to the shock of his elders and to the scandal of his village, he left the cooperative to create his Mas des Chimères. (Heck, he knew precisely how crazy he seemed; he named his estate, "House of Delusions!")

But: chimeras can come to life! Guilhem believed in his family's organic farming and the way it showcased his amazing terroir: the area around Salagou that he's planted to vine is composed of uniquely iron-rich, red clay and volcanic soils that the locals (as well as NWA) call "ruffe— this soil type is only found on this tiny corner of Earth... and in places the landscape looks more like the planet of Tattoine than your mind's-eye image of southern France. 


If it ain't Ruffe, it ain't me

The results of his chimerical visions? Why they're stunning — in exactly that sort of wild, unvarnished, country way that sent a Berkeleyite named Kermit down a rabbit hole so many decades back.

Guilhem calls his 100% Cinsault bottling,'Oeillade Coteaux du Salagou.' "Oeillade" is the micro-regional name for Cinsault here; the word in French means "a flirty glance," and it seems like ancient locals knew what was up when they named the grape thus: because when the South's most finesse-filled red grape meets up with Guilhem's wondrously red, iron-rich soils? Well it makes for a thing you want to flirt with, linger with, and maybe roll around in the red dirt with a bit!


There are wild floral aromatics (think violets, think Mediterranean herbs) on the nose, inviting you in — but it's the palate, alive and freakishly refreshing, that bids you stay a while. Light and lithe, to be sure, but with such nervy, sappy fruit, too — as though cherries were married to a base of tobacco and vibrant, black-red licoricey earth. The finish is long and, well, 'DNS'-ey: you're going to want more, and right away.

This is the kind of wine summer daydreams are set to: whether it's chilled in a bucket on a languorously, lizard-brained picnic afternoon, or paired with all manner of grill-roasted, herb-laced delights, this is the sort of wine that gets people into wine.


Guilhem & his pest management unit, at the edge of town


2019 Mas de Chimères
'Oeillade' Cinsault


Only $21.50! Buy here!

Are you smart? Want a case?
Get 10% Off On 12! Buy here!


(True story: we liked this so much we took everything the importer had... and got almost the entirety of N. CA's allotment! Also true: that's not much! Get it while we've got it!)