The world of natural wine has officially hit the mainstream. The ancient practice of allowing grapes to simply do their thing has reached the masses. Natural winemakers eschew additives like coloring, sulfites, or finings — common practices in the commercial wine industry — for a more, well, natural process. Alongside the rise of sustainably grown agriculture and locally made food and beverages, natural wine has flourished. Head to your local bottle shop and there’s a decent chance you can find offerings from some of the country’s best natural wineries. And, at this point, most of the fantastic natural winemakers are household names in the world of food and bev. So, it’s exciting and intriguing to find a producer that has managed to fly under the radar.
Vivanterre has all the makings of a buzzy natural wine brand. Distinct, design-forward branding, a commitment to sustainable farming, and a supergroup of folks in the wine world. This is like catnip for natty wine enthusiasts. But the winery, based in the Auvergne region of France, has remained something of a hidden gem. So, consider yourself privy to hidden knowledge — Vivanterre is quietly making some of the best wine around.
Vivanterre is a collaborative project founded by Rosie and Max Assoulin, a powerhouse couple in the fashion world. They called on Cedric Nicaise, a well-known sommelier and the wine director at Eleven Madison Park, to help launch a wine brand. Rather than simply purchasing grape juice from an established winery and throwing it in a bottle, they tapped winemakers Patrick Bouju and Justine Loiseau, who make their own fantastic natural wine, to helm this brand. So, Vivanterre, which is a French portmanteau of “living earth,” was born.
It’d be easy to write off Vivanterre as a vanity project for the Assoulins, but they are producing some seriously stellar wine. Vivanterre still hasn’t built a massive following but they’ve already earned acclaim from a variety of wine experts. We had the chance to try a couple early releases from Vivanterre and they were perfect for the dog days of summer. The refreshing, fruit-forward Skin Contact SGS bubbled up with a zippy acidity and the tart White MSM pairs stunningly with a summer salad or seafood thanks to fresh citrus and sweet honey flavors.
Best of all? You can order Vivanterre wine straight to your door. Shipping quality wine from France to the US isn’t exactly cheap. But the $20 shipping fee is worth it to enjoy some seriously delicious hidden gems. And, if you happen to live in New York, Vivanterre is actively expanding its distribution network so there’s a good chance you can find a bottle at your local bar. Along with the aforementioned White and Skin Contact, Vivanterre has a pet-nat available to order with all bottles in the mid $30 range.