Martin Texier is the son of Eric Texier: a sort of a legend in the natural wine movement. In a past life Eric was a French nuclear engineer, but he got fed up with the bureaucracy and lack of respect for the environment so he walked away to look for a vocation more closely and naturally tied to the earth. Texier started experimenting with wine making and eventually leased and then began buying vineyards in the Rhone. The rest is history.
Martin Texier makes the l'indigene label as an experiment. Where his father will use some sulfur at bottling to stabilize the wine Martin Texier is trying to be as extremely natural as possible. He uses no sulfur and is attempting to find out just how naturally made wine can be.
Aroma: there's a lot of fruit here, but it's dark ripe focused fruit. The Yelen kind of smells like Christmas to me with all it's cranberry, currant, and black berry aromas. I can smell all those fruits both as fresh berries and also as reduced preserves and cooked into serious holiday dishes. So yes, this wine smells like feasting to me. That alone is enough to make me fall in love and hold onto a bunch for myself but in addition to the fruit this wine has killer aromas of wild aromatic herbs as well. I can smell Amaretto, cassis, rosemary, and thyme. The Yelen is a very potent and nuanced smelling wine.
Palate: Ripe and cooked down fruit flavors dominate the opening of the palate. There's black pepper and on the midpalate some of that black pepper roasted meat thing Syrah is famous for. The tannins are here but not too aggressive. The Yelen lingers for a long time on the palate and after you swallow. There is an almost extract or elixir kind of quality to the wine; this is a quite serious contemplative deliberate red wine. Together, serious ,and fascinating: the Yelen seems regal. There's excellently balanced acidity to it on the back of the opening as well. Geez, this is really really fantastic wine. I wouldn't guess this was zero sulfur, just great northern Rhone Syrah from maybe St Joseph.
Sadly. I could get very little of the Yelen. It is available at Maine and Loire and the Blue Hill Wine Shop for just under $20; however other shops could order it before it runs out. The Yelen is also available by the bottle at Vinland.