In 2017, Valentin Morel planted a small vineyard with a blend of resistant hybrid grapes (Le Rayon d’Or, Plantet, Seyve-Villard, Souvignier Gris, and Sauvignac).
These non-vinifera vines have long been known to produce lower quality grapes than ‘noble’ vitis vinifera vines. However, Valentin worked with a local researcher to select new, high-quality hybrids that have the undeniable appeal of disease resistance. Valentin points out that vinifera grapes can only grow with constant human intervention, and by working with hybrids, he is able create authentically organic wines because there is no need for spraying in the vineyards.
The decision to plant this vineyard and produce this wine is also a political statement. As Valentin says, these choices are “voluntary acts of resistance” against the entire phytochemical industry (both organic and non-organic), as there are no additives of any kind used in the vineyard or during the vinification process.
This wine and its label pay homage to the French rapper La Canaille. Valentin views his values of free thinking, energetic presence, and militant resistance as a musical parallel to his own vision of radical winemaking, where he strives to remain independent of any outside pressures and can produce wines according to his own spirit.
The full name of the cuvée is “Les mains dans le cambouis mais pas un genou à terre,” lyrics taken from the song Salle des fêtes by La Canaille, which means “My hands in the mud but not a knee on the ground.” For Valentin, this phrase is clearly apt for any free-thinking paysan winemaker who works with their hands.