“Bout d’Zan” (for the street urchin protagonist of Louis Feuillade’s short silent films of the early twentieth century) was Jean-Pierre Thibon’s childhood nickname.
One third of this co-fermented blend of Grenache and Syrah was matured for nine months in large, well-used foudres; the remainder in concrete vats. In the glass, the wine has an intensely saturated red violet color, almost blue-black at the center, and glowing bright crimson at the edge. The nose opens with aromas of sun-warmed black cherries, Damson plums, dried strawberries, and hibiscus tea, sometimes alternating with suggestions of lavender, rosemary, coriander, and licorice bark as the wine evolves in the glass. On the palate, the wine is lively and fresh, with a sweet core of black and red summer fruit that echoes the nose, lifted by the intricate interplay of piercing black cherry acidity, cocoa-like tannins, and palpable briny minerality. Drink now–2026.
About this wine producer: Jean-Pierre Thibon’s family has operated the Mas de Libian in Saint-Marcel d’Ardèche since 1670. He and his cardiologist wife, Jacqueline, have three daughters: Hélène, Catherine, and Cécile. In 1995, Hélène, Catherine, and Hélène’s husband Alain Macagno assumed responsibility for viticulture and winemaking, and began to estate-bottle the wine, rather than sell it in bulk to négociants. Long before it was fashionable, the Mas de Libian was an organic farm, and in 2005 Hélène introduced the demanding practice of biodynamics. Catherine does much of the vineyard work herself, with the help of “Nestor,” a charming Comptois draft horse who is encouraged by his canine stable mates “Sophia” and “Éclair.”