Michel Tardieu is a micro négociant-éleveur, based in Lourmarin, Provence, producing wines from the Northern and Southern Rhone.
He and his oenologist son Bastien buy wines in their raw, fermented state. Top quality ingredients are essential and critical to Michel’s and Bastien’s work is the building of long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with a network of producers, who own specific, top quality parcels, almost always of low-yielding old vines. They know by heart both the vineyards and the specific parcels within, which are of interest to them. The resulting wines generally undergo malolactic fermentation overseen by Michel and Bastien as are both the maturation and the blending.
Given that accurate translation of terroir and vintage is fundamental to the Tardieu-Laurent mind-set, intervention is minimal. None of the wines are fined and only a few have a very light filtration. An important ingredient, in the beginnng, was the barrels. Oak has however been scaled back over a number of vintages and for four years Michel and Bastien have favoured large oak foudres, preferring slow, measured exposure to oxygen rather than oak character per-se. The naturally-restricted volumes result in increased complexity and intensity – world-class wines which thoroughly deserve their international acclaim