Le Champ d’Orphee
Stéphane Lucas lives on his tiny estate (.77 hectares total) within the Gaillac AOC of Southwest France. He works with the local grape, Braucol (also known as Fer Servadou), and is deeply committed to farming organically, though not certified, as well as employing biodynamic treatments. He has even begun experimenting with natural products such as essential oils and algae. All herbicides and pesticides are avoided, with all vineyard and soil work being done by hand or with a small tractor. Legumes and grains are planted between the rows each fall after harvest to aid soil health and protect against erosion. Everything is harvested by hand with extensive sorting in the vineyards as to only harvest healthy, ripe grapes.
In the cellar, the same care is put into every wine that he makes (there are only 2 estate wines, and he vinifies a few wines each year for a neighbor), and the process is incredibly straightforward. As of now, Stéphane refuses the Gaillac AOC, deeming their regulations as being too loose in regards to yields and organic farming. He and a few other top vignerons in the region are pushing for the laws to change, but until then he bottles everything as IGP des Côtes du Tarn.
Papillon d’Orphée: 100% Braucol from a parcel planted in soils rich with clay, limestone, and gravel which is then pressed after 12 days of maceration, fermented with native yeasts, and aged for 10 months in stainless steel tanks with just 11ppm of sulfur added at bottling. Fresh and lifted with balanced fruit.
Champ d’Orphée: Also 100% Braucol that is aged in stainless steel, but from a parcel with poorer soils, laden with broken-down limestone, and with longer maceration time before pressing. This yields a more structured and serious wine that maintains a softer side that is a hallmark of the wines from this region. Zero sulfur added. This is simply a beautiful, classic wine.