Les Vignerons d’Estézargues is a small, innovative co-operative in the little town of Estézargues with an excellent reputation for the quality of its wines. The oenologist at the co-op, Denis Deschamps, is a champion of ‘natural’ winemaking which means using natural yeasts present in the bunches and the winery, adding as little to the wine as possible during its making, including sulphites at bottling, and eschewing fining and filtration in many of the wines. It is a bold approach for a co-operative but the results are there for all to see.
Situated some 20km to the west of Avignon the co-operative is fed by some 400 hectares of scattered vineyards with a small base of just 10 members. They label under the Côtes-du-Rhône AC and Côtes-du-Rhône Villages Signargues appellation, the latter only having been approved for red wines in 2004.
The co-op was originally founded in 1965 but it wasn’t until the 1990s that they adopted an approach that demanded quality in the vineyard and they began bottling individual cuvées from particular sites and vinifying grower’s grapes separately, thus highlighting particular terroirs of interest under the guidance of winemaker Jean-François Nicq. It was a methodology continued by his successor Edouard Laffitte. The next step was taken with the arrival of Denis Deschamps.