We are grateful to our friends Béatrice and Hervé Souhaut for introducing us to the dynamic and impassioned Jean-François Malsert of Domaine de l’Iserand. As owner of the once popular wine bar Carafes en Folie in Tournon-sur-Rhone, Jean-François aka “Jeff” was a devoted supporter and drinker of naturally-farmed and -produced wines from the Rhône Valley and beyond. He sought vibrancy and drinkability in the wines he served, and he aims for these characteristics in his own natural wines at Domaine d l’Iserand, which he founded in the small village of Sécheras in 2011. Jean-François’ joyful approach to wine permeates every aspect of his work in the vineyards and cellar.
Following stints working in Australia, New Zealand and France, Jean-François took over a small plot of Syrah planted by his grandfather in the appellation of Saint Joseph. Today his small farm extends to 1.5 hectares, which he cares for with steadfast dedication. His organic regimen calls for treatments with herbal teas of horsetail and nettle, and he aims for the minimum (judicious) use of copper and sulfur. In the cellar the wines ferment with indigenous yeast in a combination of demi-muids and amphoras, there is no fining nor filtration, and little or no sulfur is used in vinification (just at the bottling). His Saint Joseph “Les Sabots de Coppi” is grown on granite and mica schist in the sectors of Sécheras and Ozon. It is spicy, refreshing and goes down easy! In 2018, he introduced a new Saint Joseph from the granitic soils of Ozon called Lou Taïssou, which is full of energy. The rest of the range includes a little VDP Syrah and Gamay from the hillsides above St Joseph, that are delicious and very “glou glou!”
Jean-Francois seeks a true expression of grape and terroir, which he believes can only be achieved through respect for Mother Nature and the natural life of the wine. In his own words, "We fight to grow good grapes, it would be a pity to pollute them in the cellar.”