In ten years or so, the Thibon family will celebrate its 350th anniversary in Libian, belonging to the village of Saint-Marcel d'Ardèche. The generation in charge, mainly composed of women, thanks the previous one for having transmitted vine soils free of any chemical residue, since our father used to work his soils naturally. We tend to think that it's one of the basics of quality wine-growing and we have been even further since a new member has entered the family: Nestor. It's a Comtoise breed horse whose job is to work our soils.
We grow 20 hectares of vines -we have Mediterranean grape-varieties- 18 hectares of which are planted in red -Grenache, Syrah, Mourvédre- and 3 in white grapes- Clairette, Roussane and Viognier in equal parts. A major part of our vines is located on terraces of 1 meter-deep Rhône alluvium, made up of red pebbles similar to those of Châteauneuf du Pape. The other part of our vines lies on clay and limestone soils, in open landscapes where the Mistral wind dries up our vines during their growing cycle.
We work our vines as naturally as possible. We used to be in organic production but we have turned to biodynamics since 2005. We pay a lot of attention to the plant (mass selection ((i.e: a traditional technique opposed to clone selection and in which only the healthiest vines are selected. Then, the woods of a group of vines but of ONE grape-variety are grafted onto American root-stocks )), root-stock selection) as well as to our soils' health so that our stocks grow in a balanced ecosystem in which the plant will be able to defend itself. All our summer tasks are carried out manually: thinning out, disbudding, leaf-pulling and green harvesting if nature tends to be over generous. Obviously enough, all our grapes are picked by hand.
Although there are no official specifications concerning organic production, we try to interfere as little as possible during wine-making. The red grapes are crushed, blended in vats before fermentation – which starts without adding yeasts. Vatting time and punchings of the caps depend on the grape-varieties, the plots, the year. Then free-run wine and press-wine are blended. The aging is short and takes place in vats for the cuvée “Pétanque”, but it takes place in vats and barrels for our other wines. A slight quantity of sulfites is added during bottling, but there is no filtration. Our white wines are made according to the same principles.