What: Vin de France
Where: Southern Rhône
When: Since 2019
Heliocentric Wines is our own wine project. We buy and blend and bottle wines from our vigneron friends to make wines we love to drink, and which are a bit different. Our goal is to make everyday drinking wines that express the beauty of the terroir with the lightest of touches. We seek maximum drinkability and digestibility with natural freshness, real structure and some complexity.
We started the project in 2019 but our roots go back at least 15 years. As a wine importer in Tokyo James made exclusive blends with some of his producers, starting in the Roussillon in 2004. In 2009, he met one of his current collaborators, based in the Ventoux, who also supplies vineyard and winemaking services to more than a dozen producers in the region, which gives us access to a broad palette of wines from which to make what we want.
Our goal is to be a little contrarian and surprise people with the elegance and freshness of wines that come from a region often associated with rich and heavy wines. Our wines come from vineyards that are farmed fully or mainly organically and made simply without additives except for a small dose of sulfites to protect the wine. And this way of working reflects the way we live, to eat organic and local, to use home products from local organic stores, to balance our hedonism for wine with plentiful movement and fresh air – and try to minimise transport while there isn’t a totally clean solution!
Thus the name, Heliocentric. It’s the belief that the Sun, and not the Earth, is at the centre of the Universe, or Solar System. Once conceived by Ancient Greek Astronomers, it was controversial, even heretical, in the Middle Ages.
The name of our first wine is Same River Twice. In Stoic philosophy, Seneca quotes Heraclitus saying “We go down twice into the same river, and yet into a different river. For the stream keeps the same name but the water has already flowed past.”
As applicable to wine as to other experiences in life, we come back to the wines we love, and find something more, something different to appreciate. From first glass to last and over the course of a day or two or three.
And so with books, art, music, films, even places we know, they remain the same, yet change with each reading, viewing, listening, or visit.