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TUESDAY NIGHT FLIGHTS - The rare, soulful wines of Christian DUCROUX

Racines is proud to present a tasting of the rare and unique natural wines of Christian Ducroux on Tuesday, August 21st, beginning at 5pm. Organic and Biodynamic since the mid-1980s, Ducroux is one of the original producers of "natural" wines, Beaujolais made without additives and with low alcohol levels, truly in the style of Jules Chauvet. Please join Pascaline Lepeltier MS at the bar on Tuesday to taste: 2017 Vin de France "Exspectatia," 2017 Vin de France "Esquisse" Rosé, 2015 "Exspectatia," the rare 2013 "Patience" (press wine aged in old barrels) and the 2010 Regnié.  In addition, we'll taste the 2012 Morgon "Tradition" from Christian's Biodynamic friend and neighbor, Roland Pignard.

This will be an extraordinary evening of true natural wines, please call Racines to reserve, 212-227-3400.

Some notes on Christian's wines by the one-and-only David Lillie:

Christian Ducroux produces vibrant "wines of nature" from his five hectares of living soils in Thulon, above Regnié-Durette in the Beaujolais. Christian's attention is primarily on the health of his soils, the most important factor in producing true wines of terroir. To this end, Christian works mostly with horses and a bull to avoid compacting the soil. The timing and types of plowing, kept to a minimum, are carefully planned to maintain the correct levels of water and nutrition. He avoids the "organic" treatment copper-sulfate which can be harmful to the life of the soil relying instead on natural methods such as fenugrec, biodynamic preparations, herbal infusions and silica to combat mildew and oidium. Fruit trees alternate with each 5 rows of vines, planted at 10,000 vines per hectare, hedges surround the parcels and wild grasses grow throughout - Christian's vineyards are a glorious oasis of green, even in winter, surrounded by the herbicided, eroded hillsides of conventional farming. Picking is done in several passes with a careful selection in the vineyards, as maturation varies due to the diversity of vegetation in and around the vines. Christian aims for mature grapes, but that have low sugar levels, in the style of Chauvet, with normally 10.5 to 12% alcohol as finished wines. Vinifications here are with wild yeasts, without sulfur added, with usually a pied-de-cuve taken a week or two early from all his parcels. It's hard to communicate the committment and energy at this estate, showing that viticulture can be healthy, almost totally self-sufficient, and beneficial to its environment while producing vibrant natural wines at the highest levels of artistry.

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From the French label: "Exspectatia: third form of time, that which assures the presence of liberty in the time of creation. Small domaine on pink granite. Cepage Gamay. In order to accompany the vine in its evolution, the mares Hewan and Kaina take an active part: in plowing, favoring the microbial activity and controlling the natural grasses; in the transport of the harvest and in the pulverization of tisanes and preparations of biodynamic agriculture which favor the underlying rhythms of life. Unfiltered wine, without addition of sulfites."

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Light in body and low in alcohol (ranging from 10.5 to 12.5%), Ducroux's wines are aromatically complex and alive, showing berry, plum and black fruit aromas with citrus, licorice, and herbal notes. While there is some relation to the wines of Lapierre and friends in Morgon, Ducroux' wines are consistently brighter and lighter with more changeable aromas, with more acidity and citrus character. And while they don't seem built to age, the 2015 Expectatia  will certainly drink well for  five to eight years, even though made entirely without sulfur-dioxide. Christian's ethic of farming and winemaking is reflected in his prices, as the health of his family, his animals and his soil, and of course the quality of his wines, are more important to him than financial gain.  Thus the low cost of his wines bears no relation to their quality or the amount of work required for their production. Christian is a modern "paysan" whose work may seem unrealistic, and yet he points the way towards a more sane agriculture which can be adapted to a larger scale.