Axel Prüfer
Jalava, 2019

Grower: Axel Prüfer
Region: Languedoc, France
Grape Varieties: Cinsault
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.

100% cinsault picked from a vineyard thrice harvested, with Capitulation being the first harvest and Jalava being the last. A 20-day semi-carbonic maceration gives the Jalava just a touch of crunchy structure while retaining Axel’s hallmark lightness of touch. Plentiful details dot the palate of this wine which is lovely now, but sure to be something quite remarkable in the near future.

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