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An Alsatian once said – that’s a native of Alsace, not the dog – ‘Each man has two countries, his own and France’ and much as I love the wines of Italy, France was my first love.

When I go in search of some, much needed, purity and truth – sadly lacking in today’s world – it’s that first sentient experience that I’m trying to replicate, harking back to callow youth, when wine, and indeed life, was nothing but pure pleasure, until forced to grow up, conscious of the need to judge, select, codify, dissect and provide either a score or a medal.

This is a wine that takes me back in time, to those very first vintages worked around Bergerac and the middle Garonne, when flavours and sensations were the absolute antithesis of the over-sweetened, aggressively alcoholic, monsters of today.

It’s not rocket science, just that there’s a lot less profit for the investment made and time spent. The key is the encouragement of the maximum expression of the potential of the grapes in the vineyard. Caring for the soil – so that it isn’t a cadaver – nourishing with biodynamic treatments to encourage microbial activity. Manual, rather than machine, harvesting and selection of only the ripest grapes, only releasing a wine if it meets with the highest of standards, and changing the blend according to the physiological ripeness of the grapes.

I love the wines of Luc de Conti, and Le Vigne d’Albert is a lovely addition with a nod to tradition. Guillaume de Conti’s homage to his grand-pere, Albert. It’s made from a cepage historic to the region, harvested together, from a small parcel of vines planted, by Albert, some 60 years ago. These include Mérille (aka Périgourd); Arbouriou, Fer, Côt (Malbec) and others – all massale selected (look it up wine nerds) – fermented with hometown yeasts, left for six months on lees and zero sulphur.

The young man who grew up to be me would have recognized it, I’m sure Albert would too. I’ll leave it for you to decide.

A la votre!

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