Domaine Gramenon is a beacon of sorts for the natural wine scene. Since their 1990-founding, this pocket in the northern reaches of the Côtes du Rhone appellation has been the first place I turn to champion the best of what's arisen during this slow-building, but now explosive natural wine movement. The production is quite small, and quantities from importer Kermit Lynch don't last long.

Today, I'm happy to offer the 2017 Gramenon Poignée de Raisins and Sierra du Sud for $28 and $36, respectively. 

Poignée de Raisins is solely comprised of Grenache, while Sierra du Sud is all Syrah. For the southern Rhone valley, this 100% varietal approach for bottling is very unusual. But, you'll find nothing at Gramenon to indicate they follow the path of others. This trailblazing estate has long been the darlings of the natural wine world, and deservingly so.

*While the term "natural wine" in un-defined and contentious in its use, I'm very comfortable with the phrase. For me, a natural wine must come from organically farmed vines, receive zero additives in the cellar, and go through a zero to very low sulphur regimen prior to bottling. And of course, no fining or filtering.

Gramenon's brilliance comes in harnessing the sun-baked southern Rhone and endowing their fleshy wines with a level of briskness and refreshment that's simply unrivaled. Drinkability isn't the sexiest descriptor, but damn, these epitomize that quenching trait like none other in this region. When placed on a crowded dinner table they're often the first wines emptied. Soft tannins, seamless texture, and fruit so fresh as if it were just plucked from those gnarled gobelet vines - Delicious factor: 100.

Michèle Aubèry-Laurent and her husband Philippe founded Gramenon in 1979. Eleven years later the couple bottled their very first wine. Their vision for the estate was a grand one: a place where organic farming and biodynamic principles extended beyond wine, incorporating growing their own produce and raising animals.

If the southern Rhone Valley has pulled you into Châteauneuf du Pape, or even quaffable Côtes du Rhones, you must try Gramenon to see what this most exciting whole cluster producer is turning out! And if you're in a camp that's shied away from two these appellations I suggest you use the modest pricing below to reacquaint yourself with an alternative, natural side to what you've perhaps been accustomed to.