Jérôme François makes wine in the Alsatian village of Ostheim. He doesn’t come from a winemaking background- in fact, he was a carpenter, then a sommelier, prior to committing to his life as a vigneron. His initial plot was just .5ha in Ribeauvillé, inherited from his grandfather. Thanks to his dedication, courage, and tenacity as a young winemaker, he impressed others and was able to obtain more plots in the region. In total, he has 5.5ha in total in Ammerschwihr, Zellenberg, Kaysersberg and Ribeauville, all farmed organically with biodynamic treatments, his biodynamic education coming from time spent at Domaine Bott-Geyl in Beblenheim.
The name, La Grange de L’Oncle Charles, or Uncle Charles’s Barn, comes from Jérôme’s inventive repurposing of said barn- he converted it into a cellar and production area. The work is meticulous in the vineyard and cellar- picking is only from 6a-12p to preserve freshness of the fruit, and then two strict sortings to remove unhealthy grapes are performed before entering a pneumatic press.
They hold an “unconditional love for nature and animals”, seeking out synergy between animal and plant. Animals are integral to Jérôme’s work he was unhappy with the damage done to his soil when he first used a tractor early on, so his two horses, Sirus and Fastoche, do the plowing. Using a tractor, the soil becomes heavily compacted, making it difficult for vines to take root deeply. In between the vines, his flock of sheep graze and provide natural fertilizer, and the farm dogs roam freely and happily.
Jérôme’s desire is to express the complexity of his terroir, rather than individual grape varietals, so he favors complantations of grapes- all grapes from one place vinified together. His Alsace Blanc, a blend of- deep breath- Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, Auxerrois, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Muscat, Sylvaner, and Chasselas, is a pastoral, wild flower of a wine- we strongly recommend giving it at least 3 hours to open up before serving. It’s got a compelling blend of meadowflower, bitter lemon, and dry grapefruit soda- a cool sipper aside roast veg focaccia, and herby/evoo-heavy pasta.