Michel Tardieu is one of the most highly acclaimed négociants in the Rhône. He works with 60 to 70 vignerons throughout the northern and southern Rhône. Two-thirds of Michel's production is in the southern Rhône, where his working relationships include 10 growers in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Michel’s talents have been widely recognized for having secured long-term, hand-shake deals with vignerons who carefully guard the location of their 50- to 100-plus-year-old vines. During the course of the year, Michel regularly visits the vignerons and walks their vineyards. When harvest and fermentation are complete, the wines are racked into Michel’s barrels and aged in his cellar.
A native of Provence, France, whose passion for food and wine was cultivated from an early age, Michel Tardieu became intimately familiar with the great terroirs of the Rhone Valley as well as its many fine vignerons during a sixteen year career as a chauffeur for the Conseil General de Vaucluse. While driving various dignitaries around the countryside, he also absorbed great knowledge of the regional wines and developed invaluable relationships with many important growers, local chefs and restaurateurs. Later, through these contacts, Michel met his future partner, Dominique Laurent, who was gaining recognition as a negociant in Burgundy. Laurent’s expertise in choosing small lots of wine from old-vine parcels and raising them in barrels of his own making provided an example and inspiration for Michel and the two friends soon began a similar effort in the Rhone Valley. Their first vintage was 1994. Within a few short years, Tardieu-Laurent became known as one of the Rhone Valley’s finest producers and Michel Tardieu as one of its most gifted winemakers. Selection and hand-crafting of wines at this level can only be accomplished on a small scale. Today his production remains limited with two thirds coming from the southern Rhone and one third from the North. The wines are coveted by connoisseurs throughout the world and have earned consistently high praise from numerous respected wine critics. Anyone interested in exploring the splendors of the Rhone Valley would be fortunate to do it with the wines of Tardieu-Laurent.