It would be nothing new if I told you a French winemaker was making great Chardonnay, Syrah or Pinot Noir, but to find a Frenchman who makes a great Zinfandel, well that will certainly get your attention and curiosity peaking. I think of Zinfandel as an all American varietal, but in Paso Robles I was introduced to a French winemaker who is making great Zinfandel. Bastien Leduc makes wines for Seven Oxen Estate Wines. His wines are a perfect example of Paso Robles meets France.
A Chat with Bastien Ludec
Bastien Leduc grew up in Southern France making wine on his father’s organic vineyard. Here he developed a lifelong love for winemaking. After working in France and Australia, Bastien found his home in Paso Robles at Seven Oxen Estate Wines. Bastien admires the collaboration and open door policy of his community. Having worked in Bordeaux he experienced winemakers with tall walls and gates everywhere. Not in Paso Robles, here he has encountered a warm and open community of winemakers who have been instrumental in his startup and success.
Many know Zinfandel as a big, fruity, jammy wine. Bastien wants to make a Zinfandel that is more French in style, a Zin that is subtle, elegant and balanced. He says, “Zinfandel does not need to be jammy and can be lower in alcohol.” This wine is most telling of Bastien’s French influence. It exudes his personality and French winemaking techniques. It is a wine that personifies his style and personality,
Bastien loves pouring for American, he feels American wine drinkers love to explore and learn. If you teach them about various grape varietals, they are excited by it and want to learn more and drink more. “Knowledge and exploration is key for American wine drinkers”, one of the many reason he loves Paso Robles.
Seven Oxen Estate Wines
Seven Oxen is an ancient Mediterranean term for the seven stars of the Big Dipper, circling the North Star through the year like a team of oxen rounding a threshing floor. They makes estate grown and sustainably farmed wines on the rolling hilltops of Paso Robles. Their focus is on small production wines with Grenache, Mourvèdre, Tannat and Zinfandel.
Bastien Leduc is killing it with the Seven Oxen Zinfandel. There are 10 acres planted to Zinfandel at Seven Oxen. Zinfandel is a tough grape to grow in the heat, but at Seven Oxen it is planted on the hilltop, where the cooling effects of the Templeton Gap provide the perfect climate for this wine.
There is an aromatic nose of red cherries, strawberries and baking spice. On the palate there is black cherries and dark fruit. The wine is light bodied with firm tannins and bright acidity. An exceptional Zinfandel.
At Seven Oxen they keep yields low in order to obtain the highest quality fruit. Only 127 cases produced of this wine.