Although the Tardy family has been growing grapes for generations, they only began to estate-bottle their Crozes-Hermitage in 1979. As the northern Rhone’s largest appellation, still rising to greatness after decades of over-cropping by the local négociants, real estate here means everything. Domaine Entrefaux is among the most reputable producers, located in the village of Chanos-Curson. Father and son Charles and Francois Tardy farm 21 hectares of Syrah on the pebbly limestone terrace of Les Chassis, known for producing the finest Crozes-Hermitage reds, and five hectares of Marsanne, grown in the prestigious vineyards around Mercurol. In 2000, they began implementing organic farming practices, and in 2012 they earned their official certification. The average yields are a modest 35 to 40 hl/ha compared to the 45 hl/ha that are authorized within the appellation. Holistic vine treatments, including infusions, composts and cover crops, are used to cultivate healthy microorganisms in the soil and to serve as natural fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.
The Tardys harvest their entire crop by hand. The grapes are de-stemmed, fermented with their native yeasts in concrete vats and after fermentation, pressed gently. François separates the cuvees early, organizing them by vine age. He cools the must to 15 to 17°C to retain freshness and slowly brings the temperature up to 30°C by the end of the alcoholic fermentation, which can range between eight days to three weeks, depending on the age of the vines. The wines then age for one year, divided among cement and oak vats, barrels and specialized egg-shaped cement tanks. François bottles the wines unfined and sometimes unfiltered as well, depending on the vintage.