From Grapes and Grapes Alone

Today’s Story: Anders Frederik Steen

Anders Frederik Steen, a chef and sommelier by trade from Denmark, started making wines in 2013 and is based in the village of Valvignères in the Ardèche of Southern France. Centered in a belief that wine should be made with grapes and grapes alone, Anders produces “one-off” wines each vintage that will vary in blend, style, and name simply because he makes wines in an incredibly natural style without following any “recipe.” What’s more, he never thinks ahead to what his wines will or should be like until actually tasting the fruit at harvest. Anders sources grapes from his friends Jocelyne & Gérald Oustric, who own a farm and organically-farmed vineyards planted in clay and limestone soils. Reds are either destemmed by hand or pressed directly, while the whites are pressed directly in an old wooden press. Fermentation occurs at times by single variety and at others with co-fermentation of several varieties, though the constant that remains is fermentation is spontaneous with only native yeasts in open-top containers under the sky. Anders is as hands-off as possible throughout the entire winemaking and aging processes, and all wines are bottled unfined, unfiltered, and with zero additions.

To explore Anders’ range of wines and their unique names, check out his website here.

Today’s Wine: 2015 Ce n’est pas mon chien

100% Grenache; 12% ABV

The 2015 Ce n’est pas mon chien (It’s not my dog) is pale ruby in color. This seemed fairly ready to go out of the bottle, so I elected to let this open up in the glass without decanting. The aromas are of medium (+) intensity, with the nose showcasing notes of cherry, strawberry, black raspberry, red rose, smoked game, scorched earth, mushroom, wet gravel, and charred green herbs. Meanwhile the flavors are of medium intensity and the palate displays notes of tart red cherry, stewed strawberry, red plum, mild tobacco, forest floor, dried green herbs, and earthy mushroom. There’s an incredibly mineral-driven backbone throughout the wine (both on the nose and palate) as well. This dry red is light- to medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium tannins, medium alcohol, and a long finish.

Price: $35. This is a very solid value, but it’s not for the faint of heart. If you like mineral and terroir-driven wines (particularly ones that show a variety in a way you’re not used to) this is for you. If you like fruity, easy-drinking modern wines…look elsewhere.

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