Yesterday I received the greatest email from a winery that I've seen in years:

Ce WE, j’ai commencé à travailler les vignes avec un cheval pour le désherbage sous le rang, c’est génial ! Je vous envoie bientôt des photos !

"This weekend I started working our vines with a horse for the weeding underneath the rows. It's great! I'll send photos soon."

The note came from Emmanuelle Schoch at Mas Seren. We've talked about her wines right here on this page a few times over the past year. Her little winery has become an important cog in our direct import portfolio. There's a little bit of something on every container we import. I think we've bought about 400 cases from her in just 2 years.

There's only place to buy Emmanuelle's wines outside of France. Right here. And in two weeks a brand new showstopper arrives.

But the note about the horse really got my juices flowing. I hear a lot of winemakers talk grandly about "doing things more naturally in the vines" then watch them hop onto a tractor that belches exhaust into the sky. I listen attentively as they talk about hot terms like "permaculture", "organics" and "sustainable farming." Then they tell me they work 50 hectares. And use a machine harvester. And their neighbors use round-up.

And their cover is blown.

But Emmanuelle's vineyards are cloistered, set among oak woodlands into 20-something tiny plots. There's a creek that separates the road from her vines and sometimes in past years the tractor wouldn't even make it through. Not anymore. Now, the work will be done by hand, and horse.

Mas Seren consists of just 6 hectares perched at an altitude of 300 meters near the sleepy town of Monoblet, close to Anduze. A wild site in Cévennes country, it is protected by scrublands and oak forests. The plots, spread over rocky slopes, are made up of red sandstone, shale, grey marl, or even limestone fragments. What a puzzle! Grapes benefit markedly from the contrast in the day and night temperatures during the summer. Thus, the cool nights of Cévennes allow the grapes to ripen slowly while protecting freshness and acidity, which provides its wines with aromatic intensity, finesse and fullness.

Can't you just imagine a horse trodding slowly and methodically throughout THAT landscape?

The best wine (price/value) at Mas Seren is called Lilith. For astronomers out there you'll know the name as describing the moon's farthest point from the earth. It's an appropriate name here as I think what Emmanuelle is doing is farther from almost any of our other wineries.

Mas Seren Lilith Rouge IGP Cévennes 2015, $24

On Pre-arrival, just $16

Lilith is an ample and irresistible wine, blended from Grenache and Cinsault with a splash of Syrah. There are no barrels in the winery. None. (again, now THAT is natural) I liken the wine to an unadulterated, naked, Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Nothing but pure, ripe, succulent, fruit is on display. A dark, purple color and plenty to chew on. Drink now or over the next 5 years. Happily.

No horsing around.

The wine will be here in only 2 weeks. (I've been holding on to this one for awhile) If you're inclined it comes in 6-packs. To order please reply directly to this email with your request "Three", "Sixer", "Twelve"-- or click the link or photo above to read more and order online.

You're in the saddle!


Road Cru Wine Imports
339 NW Broadway Ave.
Portland, OR 97209
T: (503) 226-9463

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