Axel Prüfer
La Peur de Rouge, 2019


Grower: Axel Prüfer
Region: Languedoc, France
Grape Varieties: Chardonnay, Clairette
Viticulture: Organic and Biodynamic
Size: 75cl bottle

What we know about Axel Pruffer: he’s originally from East Germany, immigrated to France and began his natural wine career around 3 decades ago. Since, he’s taken an intuition-led approach to his winemaking, never conducting analyses, and instead spends most of his time in his vines during the growing season, watching and listening carefully. From his cellar just north of Beziers in the often dry, low elevation region of Languedoc, Axel produces wines of gentle macerations and often low alcohol. This is perhaps aided by the persistent winds that run through his sites, or the forests surrounding them that provide much-needed freshness during the hotter summer months.

What we don’t know about Axel Pruffer: well, a lot. He’s an enigmatic man, so much so that our diligent importers Beattie & Roberts could not themselves get a visit for months on end, until finally they offered to help out with harvest and a wonderful relationship bloomed from there. It appears he’s a touch reclusive, perhaps a bit disconnected from the fast-paced industry of wine. Instead, Axel seems to have his own symbioses with the land around him, blending into the biodiversity without interrupting it. When boar roam through his vines and eat his fruit, he takes no measure to stop them, rather allows them to carry on with the promise of a more beautiful yield the following vintage. It’s a simple enough detail to know about a winemaker, but points to a wonderful breadth of things that we don’t - and may never - know about Axel as a person.

Semi-carbonic chardonnay from Axel’s own limestone-heavy site and direct-pressed clairette from Tom’s villafranchian soils (pebbles, gravel) combine to create a wine of wonderful, leesy texture, a juicy acidity and a rush of boisterous floral fruit. The limestone bedrock plays a pronounced role here, creating a mineral backbone which keeps the ripe fruit upright.


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