If the Ardèche, and in particular the South Ardèche, has become a breeding ground for young winegrowers attracted by "natural" wines, it owes this in large part to Gérald Oustric and his Le Mazel estate. Pioneer of “sulphur-free” wine from the 80s and 90s, he works with a clear and distinct objective: frankness, authenticity and drinkability.
By taking over the family estate in Valvignères, in the heart of southern Ardèche on the right bank of the Rhône, Gérald Oustric found himself at the head of a conventional domain of around thirty hectares, supplying the powerful local cooperative. But the discovery during the 1980s and 1990s of Marcel Lapierre's sulphur-free Morgons and then of the wines soon to be called “natural” led him to practice viticulture without chemical products (with organic certification in 2002) and natural winemaking without inputs: thus were born wines produced by Le Mazel, named after the GAEC he created in 1998 with his sister Jocelyne. An approach that attracts young winegrowers (such as Andréa Calek and Sylvain Bock) with whom he chose to share certain vines – the estate now only has about twenty hectares –, equipment and experience, giving new life to this wine region. Always with the same objective of an authenticity that is that of the terroir.