Les Champs Libres is a joint venture of Hervé Souhaut and Dard & Ribo, natural winemakers in the northern rhone valley. These fellows love their puns. A literal translation of "les champs libres" is something like "free fields," indicating the respect the winemakers have for the vines and their commitment to organic viticulture. But there are other ways to interpret "les champs libres" too (see In Detail: Les Champs Libres Crozes Hermitage "Foufoune" 2010). The name of the wine, "Lard, des Choix" is one of the best French puns in the field (sorry). The syntax is odd, but a literal translation might be "bacon of choice." But, "Lard, des Choix" is a wine made in the Ardeche, by "L'Ardéchois," the residents of that region. I hope they have a good sense of humor.
The Les Champs Libres "Lard, des Choix" Blanc (Vin de Pays de L'Ardeche) 2010 $20 [Very Good] is a fun wine to drink, very interesting, full of surprises, even without the entertaining label and puns. It is an odd wine too, and some wine drinkers may feel it is just too funky. A sense of adventure is mandatory! Medium lemon in color, the Lard des Choix is very spritz-y. Aromas of candied lemon are first to strike, and one cannot help but think that the little porkers on the label are actually lemon drop candies. With a bit of air, the lemon persists, but there are also substantial scents of apple, quince, pear, apricot, and almond. Medium to full-bodied, softly silky, and moderately effervescent, the flavors resemble a mixture of strong mineral water (with lemon) with candied stone fruit and apple. There is a good jot of bitterness in the mix. The finish is a bit mineral and spritz-y, and shows stone fruit, mineral, lemon and some bitterness. It ends with a pleasant salty mineral tang. Tasted September 2012.