La Ferme des Sept Lunes
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Country of Origin: France
Location: Saint-Joseph, Northern Rhône
People: Jean Delobre, Owner & Winemaker
Viticulture: Practicing Biodynamic
Founded in 1984, third generation Jean Delobre is the current proprietor and vigneron of his family farm La Ferme des Sept Lunes (The Farm of Seven Moons). Sept Lunes is located in the hilltop village of Bogy, between Vienne and Valence, and is one of the highest estates in Saint-Joseph (about 1,150 feet above the valley floor), which exposes it to cool winds. Polyculture is practiced to create a harmonious environment for the plants to thrive naturally. The biodiversity is truly majestic; wildflowers, grasses, and fruit trees grow in and around the vines. Meadows and grains fill several hectares on the property. The land is biodynamically farmed; conversion took place back in 1997.
Jean owns 30 hectares of which only about 7-10 hectares are planted to the grapes Syrah (50%), Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier, and Gamay. The vines range in age and composition. The soil is primarily granite. The wines are designated Saint-Joseph AOC (Syrah for red and Roussanne/Marsanne for white) as well as Vin de France. Each wine is site specific; parcels are vinified separately in an effort to capture the individual characteristics of each terroir.
Patience is key in the cellar. Jean Delobre allows the wines to evolve at their own pace. After the grapes are harvested by hand with careful sorting, they ferment spontaneously with wild yeast. Various fermentation and aging vessels are used. There is no new oak. Transparency of flavors and terroir is Jean’s goal. Malolactic fermentation occurs naturally. No additives are used with one exception; a low amount of sulfites are added at bottling only when it’s absolutely unavoidable.
The result? La Ferme des Sept Lunes wines have incredible energy, freshness, and depth of flavor that have earned the farm a cult following. The high elevation helps provide acidity and freshness to the wines. The natural winemaking creates texture and tension. There is a classic simplicity to the flavors; these are not funky natural wines. They are pure and alive with depth and delicious juiciness.
As of 2017, Jean has partnered with Jacques Maurice. Jacques was working at a local cooperative until his belief in natural farming and winemaking forced him to seek independence. The collaboration between Jean and Jacques seemed instinctive. Today, they combine years of experience, old vines, and a desire to understand and honor Mother Nature’s gifts. Jacques primarily helps Jean farming the pears, apricots, and grapes.