FRANCE > RHÔNE > NORTHERN RHÔNE
Syrah, Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne
AOP Côte-rôtie, Vin de France
France > Rhône > Northern Rhône
Buying & Growing grapes
Thibaud Capellaro is part of the new wave of wine producers rising in Northern Rhône. Although he grew up in the area, he is a first-generation winemaker. His first wines have already garnered praise from wine professionals, as he displayed originality in his craftsmanship, venturing in style outside of the regional standards of Côte-Rôtie and Condrieu.
Thibaud studied business, but after completion, he decided for a different career path and to follow his passion for winemaking. After several stunts and apprenticeship experiences, working at wineries both in France and in Australia, Thibaud established his own operation in Condrieu. His humble beginning started in a rented basement, then he moved to a new winery in Condrieu, which he shared with another young winemaker.Very recently, he finally moved to a bigger place in Chavanay where he has more room to experiment and grow.
Thibaud’s operation consists of his own vineyards and a négoce line called Slope, for which he sources grapes from small, organic growers in the region. He sometimes blends the two for certain cuvées, as well. He also contributes to another project, with friends, called Juicy Squad, where the idea is to vinify grapes sourced outside of the region, sometimes even from a different country.
For the Slope line, he sources grapes from organic vineyards in Ardèche, Saint Joseph and Coteaux du Lyonnais. For the estate wines, Thibaud mostly works vines within the Côte Rôtie appellation. He was able to buy two plots from François Bouillot-Salomon, as well as other unplanted plots from an elderly owner. Anybody who knows the cost of land in Ampuis or even Condrieu would be scared, but not Thibaud. He recently expanded the estate vineyards to Saint Joseph, as well as the left bank of the Rhône River.
These plots have historically not been considered ideal, especially because they are not fully facing south. However, with the effects of climate change and the ever-increasing temperatures in the region, the vineyard exposure works just fine for Thibaud. He has been farming them for several years now, planting and re-building terraces. One could say this is heroic farming, as the terraces in Ampuis are some of the steepest in the world. In addition, cultivating them organically makes it even more of a challenge.
Thibaud’s winemaking is original and experimental. He is not afraid to break the norms set by the appellation system in the area. He is a devotee of the minimal intervention approach in the cellar, relying only on native yeast for spontaneous fermentation, relying only on the aromas and flavors that come from the grapes, the terroir, and a particular vintage. He uses a variety of vessels, from used oak barrels, stainless steel, fiberglass, and even terracotta and ceramic.
He is very transparent on the amount of SO2 he uses. Some wines get a small dose only right before bottling, while others see no additives at all. Thibaud’s wines reflect his personality: honest, buoyant, and singular. They are sound and humble, slowly revealing depth and complexity rather than being direct and in your face.
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