Spectrum Fine Wine Auctions

The November 2018 Distinguished Cellar Auction

Auction # 526 | View Auction Schedule and Details
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Auction Ends: 11/8/2018 6:00:00 PM PDT

Lot #706. Raymond Trollat Saint-Joseph 1978

Description: Consists of 3 Bottles, 0.75L
Region: France, Rhône, St. Joseph.
Score: . JLL.
"One of the enduring legends of the rural Rhône, Raymond Trollat has remained a countryman down to his roots. With his woolly blue bobble hat, unchanged these many winters and substituted in summer with a white canvas campers' version, he has toiled on his sloping vineyard, exposed high above Saint-Jean-de-Muzols, since 1959. Born in 1931, he chose to get married in 2000, to Ginette, who says 'he took only 20 years reflecting on whether to marry me.' They married in a joint ceremony with another couple aged 67 and 65, and the day rolled on with meals in Crozes-Hermitage and Tain. He has never known another life or really another place. It is his kingdom. People come to him, part pilgrimage for some. In his tiny, dark cellar he relaxes against one of his faded brown barrels, legs crossed, pruning knife shearing off cuts of saucisson to hand out to his visitors and friends. At moments of emphasis, the bobble hat is pushed higher up his forehead, his head tilts to the right, his southern tones broaden, and his eyes dart to convey his comment. 'I call it Raymond's bistrot,' says his friend Alain Graillot. Walking with him in the vines, he gives glimpses of the now often lost mannerisms of a true countryman: the way he handles the vegetation, his instinct for assessing the state of his plants, his deep-grained knowledge of the land and what to expect from it, the way his cantering dog is spoken to. Having visited him over the course of 30 years, I can imagine just how much this vineyard contains of Raymond's musings, observations, hopes, and sweat - bucketloads of the last. 'I like to walk around and work here,' he says . . . . There is a tinge of sadness here, since Raymond is slowly retiring, now that he is past 70. And he will continue to live in the house here. And he will look out of the window and see someone else working his vineyard. Until his father, Ernest, died in August 1996, he worked four hectares. His sister's share was rented out, then sold to the Gonon family in 2003. A further 1.5 hectares were let out to his neighbours the Desestret family, and he remains with his final hectare on the Aubert site. It's mainly Syrah, with some Marsanne, but while walking through the vines, Raymond points to a Chasselas 'post-1918' and maybe the odd Pinot as well. Proving the truism that good wine often comes from difficult places, the vineyard is largely schist, a very acid terrain, and can get very dry. At 230 metres it stands very exposed, mostly to the south wind that prevails during summer with its humid breezes. Across the Rhône lie the similarly high granite outcrops of Crozes-Hermitage, linked thousands of years ago to this Massif Central extension. The family started winemaking in 1664 at Iserand, about eight miles north, the resident vigneron serving its Château. After stays at Lemps and Sécheras, Raymond's great-grandfather started here. One doesn't like to think that the end of the line is coming here. Raymond's cutting back means he has stopped format exportations, and there are now about 5,000 bottles a year - 'just to drink with my friends!' . . . . The red is made from whole bunches, fermented in a mix of concrete and open wood vats, with a foot pigeage over 12 to 15 days. 'The stalk is fundamental,' says Raymond. 'There aren't many of us now who still believe in it - Auguste Clape, René Balthazar;' his voice trails away. The wine is aged in a mix of 550- and 225-litre old oak and chestnut barrels for 12 to 15 months before bottling. Some wine stays in vat for two years - since 2001 Raymond has tried resin-based containers as well. There is neither fining nor filtration. He is critical of poor oak handling in the past around here. 'There always used to be too much old wood; I remember being given a cask from another grower and it took me three weeks to soak it and revitalise it with water. It ended up as the log cabin for a neighbour's dog!'" John Livingstone-Learmonth, The Wines of the Northern Rhône, © 2005
Provenance: The Étalon Cellar
Notes: 1 x 2cm, 1 x 2.5cm, 1 x 3cm, lightly stained and scuffed labels.
Lot Location: Orange County
Estimate: $4,000

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