Sylvain Bock - Suck A Rock 2019
Pensive, introspective, yet prone to sudden bursts of enthusiasm, Sylvain Bock the person is much like the wines he makes. His wines project a careful complexity that is belied by their playful labels and Sylvain’s propensity to experiment through co-ferments and delayed releases if certain barrels take detours he does not expect.
Nestled in a rugged corner of the Ardèche in Alba-la-Romaine, Sylvain was one of the last winemakers we visited in the Before Time, and certainly the last we joined for some spontaneous outdoor recreation.
He clearly loves this part of the world he has chosen to call home — which he describes as the North of the South of France — not only for its terroir of limestone and basalt, but also for the community he has found there among other winemakers such as Gerald Oustric of Le Mazel (who served as his ‘lightning rod’ for natural winemaking), Jérôme Jouret, Les Deux Terres and Anders Frederik Steen.
His position at the “northern limit of the South” influences virtually every decision he makes: from extracting the delicate flower aromas at the “northern limit” of Carignan (in his Bascule) to choosing Chardonnay (à la fraîche...) as a variety that has proven resilient in the face of climate change, which is turning much of the winemaking world into “the South.”