Grape(s): 40% Carignan, 30% Grenache Noir, 30% Mourvedre
Localization: Languedoc Rousillon, France
Tasting Notes: "Enfant Sauvage" (wild child) comes from a blend of five vineyards. Mourvèdre and Grenache are vinified together while the Carignan that ripens later is vinified separately. There's a hint of umami and star anise on the nose, while the palate is a fresh medley of ripe cherry, red currant, and Damson plums.
The Domain: Why Les Enfants Sauvages? Simply put, as a tribute to Jim Morrison and The Doors. The duo behind the wines drew inspiration from The Doors’ song “Wild Child”—about finding salvation in the wild state of nature—and they took the French translation for their name.
Nikolaus and Carolin Bantlin are originally from Germany but fell in love with the south, rock climbing and biking. They discovered a large sheep pasture in Fitou, France with a small number of vines around that inspired them to start making wines.
Nikolaus has been studying anthroposophy for a long time and had worked on biodynamic farms after studying at one of Rudolf Steiner’s schools in Germany. The conversion to organic in 2001 was very smooth and they released their first vintage in 2003 with access to Olivier Pithon’s cellar.
2004 marked a new phase for Les Enfants Sauvages; their craft winery was ready for full production and 9 hectares of vines had come to maturity. The vineyards at Les Enfants Sauvages are hidden by the surrounding garigue and with no neighbors in sight. The only threat is the overgrowth of vegetation, as well as wild pigs that are kept out of the vineyards by kilometers of stone walls that the Bantlin’s built.
With the vibrant growth around the vineyard, beneficial insects and birds naturally maintain the pest populations. Freshness and finesse are the key terms at Les Enfants Sauvages. The wines are never over-extracted as there is no pumping and only gentle handling of fruit and wines. This means the wines are full of energy and very approachable.
The freshness is due in part to their proximity to the Mediterranean five kilometers away. Goblet pruning protects the clusters and ensures that the berries achieve an even ripeness and never get cooked by the sun and lose their natural acidity – all key factors because Les Enfants Sauvages never adds to their wines except a small number of sulfites.