Grapes: 96% Gamay + 4% Poulsard
Region: Bugey, France
Soils: Clay + Limestone
Vinification: The fruit is harvested by hand, gently pressed and naturally fermented at very cold temperatures in steel tanks. At around 6% alcohol, the wine is bottled and slowly continues its fermentation in the cold cellar. Each bottle is then emptied by vacuum into a pressurized tank; the wine in tank is filtered to remove most of the remaining yeasts and rebottled with a touch of sulfur.
Aging: The bottles are stored standing up, ferment a touch longer, to around 7.5-8% alcohol, and are then disgorged, usually in December of the vintage.
The process seems complex for a “simple” wine but is the only way to discourage refermentation and exploding bottles with méthode ancestrale wine with residual sugar; back in the olden days, gargantuan quantities of sulfur were the only way to try to suppress further fermentation, often not successfully, and the wine rarely got sent further than 20 km. away from the village.
Fining or Filtering: Filtered
Sulfur: Minimal added
Notes from the Importer: The 2020 vintage will mark a distinct shift and evolution in the work at Renardât-Fache. Over the years, Elie had become increasingly frustrated with the inability to assure his Cerdon be consumed in its optional drinking window (within the year of release). Hobbled sales due to the COVID pandemic were the final straw: with the abundant 2020 crop, he decided he'd create a new cuvée that could maintain fruit and freshness throughout the year.
The solution was to make a 100% Gamay, non-vintage Cerdon, blending years to preserve freshness. For those who have been drinking the wines for a long time, Elie says it reminds him of what the estate was producing 20 years ago: fruity, "glou glou" Cerdon to knock back with abandon. The goal is to adapt year by year but have this cuvée represent 60 to 70% of the estate's global production. The first release will be a blend of 2019 and 2020.
There has also been an intentional push to make wines with less residual sugar. The 2020's are on average 10 to 15 grams less than the 2019's, and Elie feels the additional Poulsard for the vintage bottling makes you sense sugars even less. The final, exciting development is a future release of 100% still Gamay and Poulsard cuvées!