Les Vignerons Parisiens 2017 Viognier Roussane Marsanne 'Lutece'
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Lutece (named after the original name of Paris during the middle ages) is a blend of Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne, aged only in tank. The grapes are sourced from the village of Sabran in the region of Gard in the Rhone valley and vinified in Paris. Strong notes of honeysuckle, a rich broad palate but held together very well.
Les Vignerons Parisiens is the first and only urban winery in Paris. Located in the 3rd Arrondissement, the enterprise was founded by Matthieu Bosser with two partners: oenologist Emmanuel Gagnepain and biodynamic viticulture consultant Frédéric Duseigneur. Their combined list of clients includes Domaine La Barroche and Domaine des Nalys in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Domaine Parent and Chateau de Chassage-Montrachet in Burgundy and Domaine Bunan in Bandol.
Their biodynamic and certified organic grapes are sourced from four different growers (to which Emmanuel and Frédéric already consult), located in the communes of Visan and Sabran in the southern Rhône. Although the project only started in 2015, the partners have built up and intimate knowledge of all the vineyards they work with over the past 15 years.
Whilst the traceability of the grapes is known to the exact parcel, the wines are not allowed to carry any mention of appellation, for two reasons. Firstly, since they are vinified outside the region (some 500km north of the vineyards, to be exact) and, secondly, because all but one of the cuvees produced are single varietal wines for which no regional appellation exists. The wines are therefore all commercialised as Vin de France.
The grapes are harvested by their own team of pickers, usually between 6am and noon. The whole clusters carefully placed directly into small lug-boxes which are then loaded onto pallets and transported by refrigerated trucks where, after at least 18 hours of cooling, they are crushed the following morning at the rear of their small (organically certified) cellar on the Rue de Turbigo. If the sourcing of the grapes was relatively straightforward, the greatest challenge was the 18 months it took negotiating with the Paris authorities to gain the necessary customs documents to be allowed to make wine within the capital.
The 2017 vintage, their third, production rests at 37,000 bottles, divided over five different cuvees. Their market to date has been relatively local, distributing to a wide range of clients within Paris; everything from modest ‘bistronomie’ restaurants to three Michelin Starred chefs, such as Jean-Francois Piège and Alain Ducasse. Around 15% of the production is sold from the shop-front, mostly to locals who have quickly adopted them as their house wines.