We love a maverick.
There’s something inherently compelling about someone who plays by their own rules and succeeds, despite the disapproval of others. I really admire people with the independence to do something new, particularly if it’s unpopular at first. Judging by the careers of artists like Sinead O’Connor, James Joyce, and Bruce Willis I’m not alone here.
Well, Vincent Ricard is like the John McClane of Loire wines.
In the ultra-conservative world of French traditions and appellations, Vincent Ricard’s creativity and innovation have brought him into conflict with the status quo. Eary in his career as a winemaker, Ricard ran into trouble with the local wine authorities for producing a red wine with too much structure and concentration. The intensity of the wine was out of line with local traditions, so the authorities refused to grant Vincent the appellation controlée.
Convinced by the character of this wine, Vincent persevered and sold his entire production despite the lack of appellation controlee.
Vicent’s commitment to his iconoclastic wines has earned him global recognition as a winemaker. Two great examples of his talent are Domaine Ricard ‘Le Petiot’ Sauvignon Blanc and Domaine Ricard ‘Le Vilain P’tit Rouge.
Domaine Ricard ‘Le Vilain’ P’tit Rouge
As well as a healthy disregard for the status quo, Vincent has a wicked sense of humour. He labelled his red Le Vilain P’tit Rouge, “the little red villain”, in reference to the trouble it caused the wine authorities in the Loire. And while it’s a villain by name Domaine Ricard’s red is anything but villainous to taste.
Le Vilain P’tit Rouge is a blend of 10% Cabernet Franc and 90% Côt (more commonly known as Malbec). The grapes undergo malolactic fermentation in oak and then spend a further 15 months ageing in a mix of new and old oak.
The result is satisfying and intense. Powerful flavours of cherry and blackcurrant, with hints of hazelnut, give way to a pepper and spice finish. Le Vilain P’tit Rouge clearly benefitted from its time barrel with its simple, round mouth and balanced oak flavours. Enjoy with umami flavours like roasted red meat or grilled mushrooms.
Domaine Ricard ‘Le Petiot’ Sauvignon Blanc
Le Petiot is 100% Sauvignon Blanc from vines that are on average 30 years old. The wine is slowly fermented at a low temperature for three weeks and spends some time on fine lees. Then 80% of the volume is aged in tanks while the remaining 20% is aged in old oak.
This wine has a strong aroma of white flowers, grapefruit and gooseberry. The palate is round while fresh and pleasantly acidic. There is plenty of rich flavour of citrus and flinty minerality, perfect to drink with shellfish, goats cheese, asparagus fresh broad beans.
In a world that doesn’t need any more bland, mass-produced wine, we should celebrate mavericks like Vincent Ricard. Stop by our shops in Mullingar or Arnotts from Monday, August 31st and have a try of are Domaine Ricard ‘Le Petiot’ Sauvignon Blanc or Domaine Ricard ‘Le Vilain P’tit Rouge’.