Anders Frederik Steen & Anne Bruun Blauert, Once I had a choice of being better
The grapes were harvested with their friends at Domaine du Mazel in Valvignères - picked and pressed together, slowly over a period of four days in an old pressoir before being transferred to barriques for two years. Gold in the glass, it is gently perfumed with stone fruits and flowers, whilst the palate displays the kind of purity and harmony one would expect from long élevage. A wine full of southern charm, so suited to autumn.
Grapes: Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc
Place: Valvignères, Ardèche, France
Anders Frederik Steen makes wine from “grapes and only grapes”. He’s been doing this since 2013 when he first started buying fruit from winemakers he admired and making wine alongside legendary Jura winemaker, Jean-Marc Brignot.
Anders and his family have now settled in the beautiful village of Valvignères in the Ardèche, a beautiful spot amongst a wide, open valley. The many varieties grown here thrive on a perfect mix of clay and limestone and the vineyards are full of life, having been tended organically for decades.
As well as his own vineyards, Anders also picks grapes with the Ousrics in Valvignères and further afield with the Bannwarth family in Obermorschwihr, Alsace.
In his previous life Anders was both a chef and sommelier, working at the best restaurants in his native Denmark. First as a sommelier at Noma, later opening Manfreds and Relae. This experience informs his winemaking in that he does not seek to follow rules and doesn’t feel the need to do the same thing every year. Instead, as he harvests he tastes the grapes and begins to imagine the kind of wine he might be able to make.
This refreshingly logical, creative approach yields wines that are truly one of a kind.