Bastien answers some questions. Alongside his father he runs Tardieu-Laurent, a micro négociant-éleveur, based in Lourmarin, Provence, producing wines from the Northern and Southern Rhône.
Q) Tell us about your role as oenologist and the different wines that you make?
I’m in charge of working with the producers and the selections of the grapes/juices/wines. It means that I follow them during the season. Before the harvest we are checking each vineyard/parcel and the quality of the berries. And then we decide with the producers, the timing for picking and for when the winemaking process will start. Everything is based on trust, diplomacy and exchange. We discuss a lot during the harvest to find the best way to ferment the grapes. It’s not a recipe. We adapt the process every year.
Q) Can you tell us a bit about how your family ended up in the wine business?
My father fell in love with wine when he was 20, just after the death of his father. He became a driver for members of the French government, but his passion soon took over and he moved into the wine business, where I then followed and today Tardieu-Laurent remains very much a family business.
Q) You and your father Michel have built longstanding relationships with a network of producers across the North and South of the Rhône. Can you tell us more about this and why this has been so important?
I’m very blessed because my father started the négoce at the beginning of the 90s when the Rhône Valley was not very trendy. And during this period, the producers were seduced by his project because he was a pioneer, the first to create this kind of business in a similar style and approach as that of a Burgundy micro négoce. And it opened a lot of doors for him, to famous producers. We built year after year; very strong; reliable and friendly relationships with the producers. We have been working with 75% of those for 15 years. And around ten producers from the beginning of the story.
Q) Terroir plays an important role for these wines, and you practice minimal intervention, can you talk more about this?
There are no great wines without great Terroirs and old vines…. But the hand of the man is also important to look after to this rough diamond. So, we age our wines with minimal intervention. Low sulphites, no racking during the ageing. But you need to have good conditions for ageing (low and steady temperature and high and steady humidity). And we age the wines in a reductive way as in Burgundy, on fine lees. The lees protect the wines against the oxidation.
Q) What are your plans for Tardieu-Laurent over the next 5 years?
We want to be more and more precise and we have the project to release wines from one single vineyard or from a “climat” as they say in Burgundy.
Q) When you are not making wine what might we find you doing?
Cooking of course. It’s more than a hobby, it’s a passion!