The Château de la Selve in the Ardèche was originally a stronghold on the borders of the French Empire and then of the Kingdom of France. It was then the hunting lodge of an illustrious family from Vivarais, the Dukes of Joyeuse, before becoming over the centuries a farm. Now run by a team headed by Florence and Benoît Chazallon, the estate produces wines set in a wonderfully picturesque location.
The team’s objective retains a keen focus on the condition of the vines and soil, promoting the natural defences of the vines through biodynamic winemaking techniques. Florence and Benoît’s wines are cut with a delicious minerality and a finesse that is truly an expression of themselves. In the cellar, they adopt a low-intervention approach, naturally aiding the wine along its journey to create lively wines that reflect the unique Ardèche terroir.
WHAT IS BIODYNAMIC WINE?
Biodynamic wines are made using a series of farming procedures developed from the work of Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner in the 1920s. There’s a focus on the entire vineyard as an ecosystem, with the vines co-existing with other plants, animals and the soil.
There’s a commitment to the cycles of the moon, strict fertilization preparations (including burying manure in a cow’s horn over the winter!) and many other recommended farming practices. Although biodynamic wines are made in an organic way, they have different certification methods (from bodies like Demeter and Biodyvin) and slightly different rules concerning sulfites.
One thing that separates biodynamic wine producers from many other winemakers is the intense ways they care for the land. All biodynamic farming principles used are concerned with caring for the vineyard ecosystem as a whole. So if you find a biodynamic wine, you can be pretty sure the producers have been thinking long and hard about how to create green, sustainable wines.
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