29.10.20

Paradise Rescued!

 

“Paradise Rescued started out as a simple goal to sustain a small piece of our beautiful village and the rural heritage of our community and in doing so produce fine wine.  It started with a dream… dreams really do come true.”    

David Stannard, owner

So how does an Englishman with a Chemical Engineering degree from Birmingham University end up producing organic wines from “one of the smallest and most expensive vineyards in Bordeaux”, following a relocation to Australia and an ensuing 30-year career in the petrochemical industry? 

Quite simply, David and his family fell in love with, and purchased, a small holiday home in the rural village of Cardan in 1992, little realising the significant chain of events this would set in motion.  In the years that followed, changes in land rezoning, and an ensuing avalanche of property redevelopment in the village posed a threat to the land in front of the family’s property and to the ongoing heritage of the village.  Working closely with neighbours and the local community, the family set about purchasing the surrounding vineyard area - small plot by small plot - in order to sustain it as an organically managed, high quality vineyard. 

Ask David about the terroir of his vineyards, and he will tell you that in a region that generally has outstanding soils, climate and geography for grape-growing, it’s people that create the difference.  He credits mother and daughter team Pascale and Albane Bervas for turning a “cabbage patch in Cardan” into a 0.45 ha vineyard of healthy, happy, high quality Cabernet Franc vines.  Albane, who has degree qualifications in Viticulture & Winemaking, works as both organic vineyard advisor and winemaker; and her mother looks after the vineyards full-time, as well as managing the winery.

Vineyard operations commenced in January 2010, which was the first vintage for the Paradise Rescued winery.  “As the humidity started to rise in the spring and the largest producers brought out their heavy chemical weaponry to attack the first onset of disease, we commenced our organic model of timely pre-rainfall micro treatments - not something seen before in a village where mega tractors and super sprayers covered anything and everything.”  The first 100% Cabernet Franc wines from B1ockOne were released in 2013.  This was followed by the BlockTwo Merlot Cabernet Franc blend in 2019.

Paradise Rescued, B1ockOne Cabernet Franc 2016              RRP £18.00 per bottle 6x75, Winebuyers
ABV 13%
Paradise Rescued is one of only 10 Bordeaux wineries to produce a 100% Cabernet Franc wine.  The 0.45 ha Hourcat Sud B1ockOne vineyard is on the outskirts of the village of Cardan and its 12th Century church and sits in front of the Paradise Rescued property.  David explains that it was the foundation sustainability vineyard investment to protect the community and its rural heritage from “runaway development”.   The 25-year old Cabernet Franc wines on their clay-based soils are south-west facing and were certified organic in 2016, although they have been in organic viticulture since the first day of active vineyard management in 2010.

The yield is usually 40-50hl/ha depending on the vintage, and fruit is hand-picked and sorted in the vineyards before being destemmed and loaded into small stainless steel vats of 530 or 1,000 litres, following a second triage.  A cold soak maceration then takes place until fermentation begins, with temperatures typically peaking at 25˚C.  Dependant on the vintage, one or two pigages are carried out on day 1 / 2, followed by twice daily open, then closed, pumpovers.  In the final stages, as the fermentation slows, small bucket quantities are tipped over to continue the colour extraction and keep the cap moist.  Juice run-off and pressing is normally carried out a few days after fermentation finishes to prevent unnecessary oxidation and excessive tannin production plus help maintain the characteristic fruit-forward approach.  The young wine then completes its malolactic fermentation in vat before being run off into 225 litre barrels, typically second and third year use, where it will remain for just under a year before being bottled.

The Paradise Rescued B1ockOne Cabernet Franc, with its flavours and aromas of red and black berries, plums and savoury spice, has a perky acidity and soft tannins.  David and his family enjoy this with roast chicken and thyme, or a hard goat’s cheese.

Paradise Rescued, BlockTwo Merlot Cabernet Franc 2016           RRP £18.00 per bottle 6x75, Winebuyers
ABV 13.5%

The 0.35ha Hourcat Centre BlockTwo Merlot vineyards are on a south-facing clay-based slope to the west of the Paradise Rescued property.  The block was purchased in 2011 after the Merlot and Semillon vineyard had been neglected and then abandoned.  Pascale lovingly nurtured life back into the old Merlot vines that had been planted in 1957, and as the Semillon couldn’t be saved, the vines were dug up and the area replanted with the now six year old Merlot “babies”.  David anticipates that this vineyard will become a powerhouse for Paradise Rescued.

Winemaking follows the same process as for the B1ockOne Cabernet Franc.

Medium-bodied with red and black cherries, bittersweet chocolate and red pepper on the nose.  The dusty tannins are nicely balanced by a juicy acidity, and the wine’s cherry, herbal spice and savoury flavours mean it matches well to grilled meats as well as rich stews.