Dard & Ribo are one of the top producers of the Northern Rhône, but unless you hang in natural wine circles you probably won’t have heard of them. The hallmark of their wines is incredible purity of fruit, and massive drinkability. René-Jean Dard and François Ribo began working together in the early 1980s, and launched their winery in 1984. They now own 8.5 hectares of vines, with half in Crozes-Hermitage, a little less in Saint Joseph, and a small plot on the hill of Hermitage. Their production is 35% white wine, which is very high for the region.
When they began, they accidentally became known as natural winemakers: they commonly don’t use any sulphites at all, although they are not religious about it, and the launch of their domaine coincided with the emergence of the first natural wine bars in Paris. So initially they’d sell most of their production to these bars, and they became known for making natural wine, even though they were just trying to make wines they wanted to drink. To this day, they keep a low profile, and rarely accept visits. The secret to these wines? Massive attention to detail in the vineyards and the cellar.
I tried these two wines last night in a natural wine bar in Stockholm. It’s Tygge & Sessil, and it has an amazing wine list. Drinking out isn’t cheap in Stockholm, though, when compared with London.
Dard & Ribo Crozes-Hermitage Les Rouges Des Barties 2016 Northern Rhône, France
Blood, iodine and pepper as well as fresh black cherry fruit. Meaty and intense with lovely purity and some floral notes. There are some dry tannins here but the amazing vivid, floral fruit is quite beguiling. So expressive with some lavender notes. It really grows and develops in the glass: a beguiling, enchanting wine. 95/100
Dard & Ribo Saint-Joseph 2016 Northern Rhône, France
Dense, brooding and intense with salty iodine notes and taut, dense black fruit. Nice bloody notes add interest. This is a backward, intense expression of the Northern Rhône, with sweet linear black cherry and blackberry fruit. There’s lively acidity and a grippy finish. A wine of admirable concentration and purity. 94/100
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