Sylvain Bock lives in Alba-la-Romaine, which is just under a ten minute drive from Valvignères, considered by many to be the heart of natural winemaking in Ardèche. Though winemaking wasn’t in his life growing up, Sylvain's grandfather actually made wine in Alsace. Working his first vintage in 1998, Sylvain spent ten years working for other vigneron before starting out on his own. He began his project in Ardeche in 2010 after working with, and leasing vines from Gerald Oustric, this portion from the Le Mazel estate is situated between the two towns mentioned above, and in 2013 he purchased more vines just to the north in Sceautres.
Sylvain now has 7 hectares in total which are organic, and are split over these two sites. He works with an exciting range of chardonnay, merlot, grenache noir & grenache blanc, gamay, carignan, sauvignon blanc, and syrah, grown on a mix of volcanic limestone and basalt.
Biodiversity is key for Sylvain, and he take the health of his vines and the quality of grapes that they produce quite seriously. He recently moved to a new, larger cellar site which enables him to have more room to work, and to allow for more storage - more space = more time for elevage, he believes in only releasing his wines when they are ready, when time and the seasons have done their work and they are well rested and ready to drink.
When harvest time comes around, Sylvain harvests early, he and the vendangeurs are in the vines at around 7am and they usually finish around midday each day to try to beat the stress of the heat on their bodies - and on the grapes. In the cellar he employs a range of methods depending on what he envisions for each cuvée, and what he feels that the grapes have to offer. He regularly works with carbonic maceration to lift and engage freshness in the red cuvées and the whites see delicate pressing and soft extraction. Sylvain works both in the vineyard and in the cellar without the addition of any chemicals for synthetic fertilisers and the wines are made without any added sulphites. They then can go on to be aged in a mix of fibre glass tanks, stainless steel or old barrels depending on what is available/desired.
Truly vibrant and exciting wines from land with an excellent legacy and a man with an unhurried vision for excellence.