A new importer showcases the bold, rule-breaking winemakers of France.
“Wabi-sabi,” said Byron, “the beauty of imperfection. You need that touch of imperfection to relate to the wine.” And while wines from a number of other producers will be released this coming January, Goatboy will remain small. “We will let the book take its lead from our vignerons. It’s like a good band in the recording studio. I want them to guide what they want to release.”
Goatboy Selections is a small, natural wine import company based in New York, started by veteran sommeliers
and early natural wine supporters William Fitch and Byron Bates. After years of buying for such places as Vinegar Hill House, Il Buco, Bette Restaurant and the SoHo Grand Hotel, to name a few, the two joined to form a portfolio that focused on the wines they have enjoyed drinking over the years.
Among the winemakers featured in their portfolio:
While earning his Baccalauréat Viticulture-Oenologie in 2009, Brendan Tracey apprenticed with Thierry Puzelat, a pioneer of natural, organic winemaking in France; and followed with three months at the “Cave Coopérative des Vignerons de Mont-Prés-Chambord”. Inspired by Thierry Puzelat and Philippe Tessier, Brendan employs natural yeasts, and a semi-carbonic maceration on his red wines. Making wines from organically farmed fruit, Brandan sees himself as a humble assistant to nature. “Each year,” he writes, “each variety, terroir and climatic situation imposes decisions on the way grapes are grown, harvested and fermented.”
Guillaume Reynouard purchased this property in 1995. There are 13 hectares of vines planted on the best clay-limestone soils in the Saumur region. The vines are organically grown, yielding 42hl/ha, and have been eco-certified since 1998. They use no synthetic chemicals, to respect and protect the ecosystems in each of their plots, which includes naturally grown grass between the rows of vines.
Famille Reynouard produces some of the most honest wines in Saumur from their estate grown Cabernet Franc, Pineau d’Aunis and Chenin Blanc. Their selections include Bagatelle Saumur Rouge 2014 (an entry level cuvee), Tete d’Ange, Saumur Blanc 2014, a beautiful Pineau d’Aunis, K sa Tete 2014 and a delicate Saumur Méthode traditionnelle Brut called Tete en l’Air.
Domaine Sainte Croix is owned and run by the English husband and wife team of Jon and Elizabeth Bowen, who have extensive experience of working both in classic French stone ‘caves’ and giant, steel wineries in many parts of the world. From first sight of the unique geology and ‘climat’ here, professional intuition made it clear that it is an area of immense potential.
Hidden in the rugged limestone hills of the High Corbières, Domaine Sainte Croix is situated in the village of Fraissé des Corbières in the very South of France, on the border between the Languedoc and the Roussillon, 20 minutes inland from the Mediterranean. Its 13 hectares (32 acres) are made up of many different terroirs, from small blocks of steel-blue limestone to sandy, gravelly clay shot through with quartz crystals, to sheets of purple-green schist. The domaine benefits from a strong mesoclimate where cooler maritime weather meets the heat and dryness of the interior. Since 2008, all of the vineyards have been officially registered as being under conversion to organic viticulture, as controlled by Ecocert.
Xavier Bénier is a part of the young force of Vigneron that are responsible for the pulse and the return of vintage specific wine from village and cru Beaujolais. He operates 6.5 hectares of vines without chemicals or correction to the soils. These wines are herbal and earth driven expressions of Gamay. The fruit of the varietal is present, but Bénier’s interest lies in the integrated tannins and savory flavors that speak to terroir. Welcoming vintage variation, Bénier coaxes complexity from his fruit, yielding a tour de force in each cuvée.
All Goatboy selections are handmade, small production wines with limited import quantities. Speak to your representative about current availability.