We’ve made many a sojourn to France over the years. In 2006 we rented a houseboat on the river Sarthe, a tributary of the Loire, and set sail for Le Mans. Scott acted as skipper, a role he had zero training for except for a 30-minute lesson given in French, a language he had zero fluency in. In 2008 we spend 10 days traveling the Côte de Nuits. And in 2016 we visited northern and southern Rhone, working our way from Côte-Rôtie to St. Joseph. The most unexpected property we visited was Domaine de Gouye. Here there is no tractor in the vineyard and no forklift in the cellar, just a vertical press, circa 1880. To witness the winery in action is to think you’ve traveled back in time.
The French are profoundly land-attached. They are “of the earth” or as they say, terrien. Wine is but one expression of this. A more telling example is French cheese, of which there are some 1,600 distinct types.
Understanding how the French relate to their cheese unlocks a whole other level of insight into French culture. Unlike in America where cheese is pasteurized, pre-sliced and wrapped in plastic, in France cheese is alive. It’s never pasteurized, always natural. It’s carefully aged and, once purchased, left on the kitchen counter, unrefrigerated, to breathe. This is the French soul we imbue Sosie wines with.
Everything is bigger in America. The landscapes are monumental, the homes capacious, the food copious. Even when it comes to wine, the operative words are “big” and “rich.” Big” is practically a style unto itself: ripe fruit, high alcohol, abundant oak, stout body. Many producers – and even more consumers – enjoy this style. Not us.
We prefer restraint over ripeness, precision over power, finesse over flamboyance. These are the hallmarks of great wines. Of French wines. The kind found in the Rhone, the Loire, Burgundy and Bordeaux. We craft our wines in their manner. We aim to be their twin, their sosie.