HI, FRIENDS. CLOSED FOR A FEW DAYS. EMAIL US WITH WINE QUESTIONS, WE'LL HELP YOU FIND THE BEST NATTY FOR WHEN WE'RE BACK. HI, FRIENDS. CLOSED FOR A FEW DAYS. EMAIL US WITH WINE QUESTIONS, WE'LL HELP YOU FIND THE BEST NATTY FOR WHEN WE'RE BACK.

Learning to love the South (of France, naturally)

Learning to love the South (of France, naturally)
Early into my hospitality career, the wines of Southern France often served as an afterthought or a cheap and easy nuits d’ivresse. It wasn't a lack of respect for them, rather the stark fact that I worked in a restaurant that only carried domestic producers and my outside of work wine drinking focused elsewhere. In Pittsburgh, for years the spot for natural wine was Bar Marco, an Italian-tilted slice of heaven residing in what was once a firehouse. The place has hosted a who’s who of industry luminaries but the person who introduced me to natural wine was Dom Fiore, the ultimate champion of natural wine. The first wine he ever poured me was Tu Vin Plus Aux Soirées, a Cab Franc and Malbec blend by Fabien Jouves with a label that fondly reminds me of Space Invaders. That’s precisely when I started believing that this "region" was far more than wines you buy when you can’t drink what you really want or need to get drunk. But it took me some time to figure out why.

I started at Domestique in October 2018 and pretty much immediately fell in love with the wines of Les Deplaude de Tartaras. I’m not sure if it was the beautiful labels (perhaps TBH), but the story I tell is that I saw their wine Mine de Rien and had to know more about the super obscure grape variety it held within (Mornen Noir). Over the next few weeks, each cuvée of theirs in the shop was on my list of wines to drink and each week I grew more impressed.

Once I started looking into why that was, it took me down a rabbit hole of reading about dry farming, organic-friendly climates, polyculture, and old vines. These are things that France's South has in spades. And they're what makes it such a hotbed for compelling natural wines that are both classic and vin de soifs. The only reason they don't usually get the respect (and, luckily, prices), at least historically, of their natural wine cousins to the North is because they fall below a certain latitude.

Jouves and Deplaude are two of the more important producers to me personally, but they are of many who are pioneering a new age of natural wine in the South. This is an area where it's all possible for anyone who is willing to work for it and make a name for themselves. What we have here at the shop is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much to explore. I just hope you’re curious.

-Eric