November 2011


If you tell a joke in the forest, but nobody laughs, was it a joke?
Steven Wright

Il faut être aveugle et sourd, abruti par le matraquage de la propagande, pour ignorer qu’il ne s’agit nullement de « protéger le citoyen », mais au contraire, sous les prétextes fallacieux de l’ordre, de l’hygiène et de la sécurité, de réprimer sans nuances et sans soucis d’élémentaire civilité, en un mot d’instituer la répression seule comme principe et mode de gouvernement.
R. Dumay, La Mort du Vin

INDEX KEY Organic Wines – * Biodynamic Wines – ** Natural Wines – ! -1-

The Alternative Natural Wine Manifesto
1. Start from the following simple premise: to borrow from Gertrude Stein, the wine is the wine is the wine and the grower is the grower and the vintage is the vintage etc. It is not about “this is good” and “that’s better”. There is no uncritical freemasonry of natural wine aficionados and its devotees will happily diss a faulty wine if it deserves it. 2. Who is the leader of the natural wine movement and articulates its philosophy? Probably, whoever chooses to – over a drink. We are all Spartacus in our cups. Think camaraderie and comity with these guys, not po-faced tablethumping, self-indulgent tract-scribbling and meaningless sloganeering. 3. But wouldn’t it be a heck of a lot easier for consumers if there was a manifesto detailing what winemakers are supposed to do and not to do? What conceivable difference would that make? Take several hundred individuals and ask them if they agree on every single point of viticulture and vinification. See what I mean. Rules is for fools. There are enough guidelines for natural winemakers to be getting on with and as long as they work within the spirit of minimal intervention they may be said to be natural. 4. But that’s cheating! How can you claim the moral high ground for natural wines if you won’t submit to scrutiny? We’re not claiming any high ground; in fact we prefer rootling in the earth around the vines getting our snouts grubby; we’re simply positing an alternative way of making wines that doesn’t involve chucking in loads of additives or stripping out naturally-occurring flavours. Yes, this is self-policed – there are no certificates to apply for or accreditation bodies to satisfy. Praise be. 5. If natural wine is not sufficiently equipped/bothered to organise itself into a movement why should anyone take it seriously? To paraphrase Groucho Marx: a natural winegrower wouldn’t want to belong to any club that would accept him or her as a member. The world of wine is far too clubby and cosy. In the end it is about what’s in the bottle of wine on the table. 6. But we do know who they are, these growers? Some are certainly well known, some fly under the radar. Yes, some of them are best mates; they drop in on each other, share equipment (including horses!), go to the same parties, wear quirky t-shirts, attend small salons and slightly larger tastings. And quite a few don’t because they have so little wine to sell (such as Metras, Dard & Ribo...) By their craggy-faced and horny hands shall ye know them. But their activity is not commercialised; there is no single voice that speaks authoritatively for the whole natural wine movement – and therein lies its beauty, so many character simply getting on with the job without hype or recourse to corporate flimflam. 7. A certain amount of silliness and cod-referentiality is required to appreciate natural wine. Especially those goofy labels. Plus a working knowledge of French argot. And probably an intimate acquaintance with the oeuvre of Jacques Brel. 8. People who love natural wine are not preachy nor are they competitive. We are thankful when we drink a bottle that hits all the right notes and que sera sera if it doesn’t. Those who love natural wines don’t mark them out of 100 because that scale is too limiting (darling, I love you, I award you 97 points); and rarely, if ever, are natural wines submitted to international tasting competitions. 9. We believe that wine is a living product and will change from day from day just as we ourselves change. 10. Oak is the servant of wine not its master. Natural winemakers understand this. 11. If it is a movement (and it’s not) how big could it possibly be? We must threaten our growers with violence, we get on our knees and wail piteously, we bribe and cajole for our pittance of an allocation. Take out those Parisian cavistes and wine bar owners with their hot line to the growers, the Japanese who won’t drink anything else and a healthy rump of Americans led by Dressner et al. And there’s barely enough to whet your appetites and wet our whistles, let alone begin to satisfy the market we’re priming over here. Small is beautiful and marginal is desirable, but it makes a nonsense out of continuity. We gnash our teeth, but we love it as the knowledge that the wine is such a finite commodity makes it all the more precious (my precious) and we become ever more determined that it goes to an appreciative home. 12. 99% of people who criticise natural wine have never made a bottle of wine in their lives. 110% of statistics like this are invented.


13. The heroes of the natural wine movement are the growers. There are teachers and pupils, there are acolytes and fans, but no top dog, no blessed hierarchy, no panjandrum of cool. Some growers are blessed with magical terroir; others fight the dirt and the climate, clawing that terroir magic from the bony vines. They are both artisans and artists. What impresses us about the growers is their humility and their congeniality, a far cry from the arrogance of those who are constantly being told their wines are wonderful a hundred times over and end up dwelling in a moated grange of self-approval. 14. One new world grower wrote to me that he felt had more in common with vignerons several thousand miles away; he understood their language, loved drinking their wines – these people were his real family. 15. Natural wines – they all taste the same, don’t they? D’oh! Of course they do, there isn’t a scintilla of difference between these bacterially-infected wines which are all made to an identical formula of undrinkability; they are totally without nuance, subtlety, complexity, and those who drink, enjoy and appreciate natural wines evidently had their taste buds removed at a very young age with sandpaper. This canard is one dead duck. 16. Does the process of natural winemaking mask terroir? Terroir is in the mouth of the beholder, perhaps, but the clarity, freshness and linear quality of natural wines, supported by acidity, makes them excellent vehicles for terroir expression. 17. Natural wines are incapable of greatness. Let us put aside for a moment the notion that good taste is subjective and transport ourselves to our favourite desert island with our dog-eared copy of the Carnet de Vigne Omnivore, the natural wine mini-bible. Because the natural wine church has many mansions; you will discover a constellation of stars lurking in its firmament. Natural wine growers don’t work according precise calibrations of sulphur levels; instead they seek to express the quality of the grapes from their naturally farmed vineyard by keeping interventions to a bare minimum. You are thus allowed to take with you the wines of Dominique Lafon, Ann Leflaive, Aubert de Villaine, Bize-Leroy, Jean-Marc Roulot, Olivier Zind-Humbrecht, Andre Ostertag, Jean-Louis Chave, Thierry Allemand, Alain Graillot, Larmandier-Bernier etc. In certain regions such as Beaujolais, Jura and the Languedoc-Roussillon, virtually all the great names are what we might term “natural growers”. Again we don’t seek to make anyone join the family or fit in with an overarching critique. Natural wine is fluid, in that vignerons who are extremists row back from their position, whilst others, who start out conventionally, feel emboldened to take greater risks by reducing the interventions. 18. Natural wines don’t age well. Hit or myth? Myth! It is true that many natural wines are intended to be drunk in the first flush of fruit preferably from the fridge. So sue them for being generous and gouleyant. Ironically, many white wines with skin contact and deliberate oxidation have greater longevity and bone structure than red wines. But it is simply not true to assert that natural wines can’t age. A 1997 Hermitage from Dard et Ribo was staggeringly profound (et in Parkadia ego), old magnums of Foillard’s Morgon Côte du Py become like Grand Cru Burgundy as they morgonner, some of Breton’s Bourgueils demand that you tarry ten years before becoming to grips with their grippiness. Last year we tasted a venerable 10.5% Gamay d’Auvergne from Stéphane Majeune, as thin as a pin, and still as fresh as a playful slap with a nettle, whereas the conventional big-named Burgs, Bordeaux and Spanish whatnots alongside it all collapsed under the weight of expectation and new oak. If the definition of an ageworthy wine is that you can still taste the knackered lacquer twenty years after, then give me the impertinence of youth any day. 19. Natural wines are unpredictable. You said it, kiddo. And three cheers for that. Their sheer perversity is embodied in these lines by Gerard Manley Hopkins: And all things counter, original, spare, strange; Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim... 20. My glass is empty. As it should be – it was a glass of delicious wine from Maxime Magnon. Natural wine recognises that not everything can be made in a petri dish. To capture the spirit of the vineyard and the flavour of the grape, one has to let go. Natural wine is the freedom to get it wrong, and the freedom to get it very right indeed. It relishes and embraces the contradictions and dangers inherent in not being in control. We want people to drink without fear or favour, not worry about right and wrong, leave critical judgement on hold, and enjoy wine in its most naked form.


Gascony & The Landes Plaimont Co-op Château du Tariquet Château d’Aydie Domaine de Ménard Château Darroze, Armagnac Bergerac & The Dordogne Valley Domaine de l’Ancienne Cure, Monbazillac Château Tirecul-La-Gravière, Monbazillac Château Tour des Gendres, Bergerac* Wines of the Middle Garonne Domaine de Laulan, Côtes de Duras Domaine Elian da Ros, Marmandais*/ ! Domaine du Pech, Buzet**/ ! Gaillac & The Tarn Château Clément-Termes Cave de Labastide de Lévis Domaine d’Escausses Domaines Bernard & Myriam Plageoles*/ ! Maison Laurent Cazottes, Distillerie Artisanale*/** Marcillac & Aveyron Domaine du Cros, Marcillac Le Vieux Porche, Marcillac Laurent Mousset, Entraygues Le Fel Patrick Rols, Aveyron*/! Domaine Nicolas Carmarans*/! – NEW Cahors & The Lot Château du Cèdre Château Paillas Clos Triguedina Clos Saint-Jean* – NEW Clos de Gamot Fronton & Villaudric Château Le Roc Château Plaisance** Madiran & Pacherenc Domaines Alain Brumont Domaine Berthoumieu Wines of the Pyrenees Clos Lapeyre, Jurançon* Cave de Saint Etienne de Baïgorry, Irouléguy Domaine Arretxea, Irouléguy**/ ! 15 15 16 16 17 19 19 20 23 23 24 25 25 26 27 28 29 29 31 32 33 34 35 35 36 36 37 38 39 40 41 43 43 LANGUEDOC-ROUSSILLON cont… Terroir d’Aniane Mas de Daumas Gassac, Vin de Pays de l’Hérault* Domaine Montcalmès, Coteaux du Languedoc Languedoc-Roussillon AOCS Toques et Clochers, Les Caves du Sieur d’Arques, Limoux Domaine de Roudène, Fitou Château Ollieux-Romanis, Corbières Domaines Gérard Bertrand, Corbières Maxime Magnon, Corbières**/ ! Clos de l’Azerolle, Minervois Domaine Pierre Cros, Minervois Domaine Jean-Baptiste Sénat, Minervois*/ ! Clos du Gravillas, St Jean de Minervois* Domaine Thierry Navarre, Saint-Chinian*/ ! Domaine du Metéore, Faugères Clos Fantine, Faugères**/ ! Domaine Leon Barral, Faugères**/ ! Château de la Mirande, Picpoul de Pinet Domaine de l’Hortus, Pic Saint Loup Mas Foulaquier, Pic Saint Loup**/ ! – NEW Domaine d’Aupilhac, Montpeyroux*/ ! Domaine Le Roc des Anges, Côtes du Roussillon*/** Domaine des Foulards Rouge, Côtes du Roussillon*/ ! Le Bout du Monde, Côtes du Roussillon*/ ! Le Scarabée, Isabelle Frère, Côtes du Roussillon*/ ! – NEW Domaine Léonine, Côtes du Roussillon*/ ! – NEW Domaine du Matin Calme, Côtes du Roussillon*/ ! – NEW Domaine Matassa, Côtes du Roussillon**/ ! Domaine de Majas, Côtes du Roussillon* Domaine Olivier Pithon, Côtes du Roussillon**/ ! Château de Jau, Collioure & Banyuls Domaine Bruno Duchene, Collioure & Banyuls*/ ! Domaine Les Terres des Fagayra, Maury* Mas Amiel, Maury* 53 56 57 58 59 60 60 61 61 62 63 64 65 65 66 67 67 68 70 71 72 72 73 73 73 74 74 74 75 75 76 77 80 80 81 81 82 82 82 83 83 83 84 84 85 85 86 86 86 86 87 88 88 88 89 90 91 91

Domaine Stéphane Othéguy, Côte-Rôtie*/ ! Domaine du Monteillet, Saint-Joseph Domaine Romaneaux-Destezet, Saint-Joseph*/ ! Domaine Albert Belle, Crozes-Hermitage Dard et Ribo, Crozes-Hermitage*/ ! Domaine Franck Balthazar, Cornas*/ ! Les Champs Libres, Ardèche*/ ! Les Vignerons d’Estézargues, Gard */ ! Château Saint-Cyrgues, Costières de Nîmes Château Mourgues du Grès, Costières de Nîmes Domaine Gramenon, Côtes-du-Rhône**/ ! Domaine Maxime François Laurent, Côtes-du-Rhône*/ ! Clos des Grillons, Côtes-du-Rhône*/ ! – NEW Domaine de Chapoton, Côtes-du-Rhône Domaine La Ferme Saint-Martin, Beaumes-de-Venise*/ ! Domaine Didier Charavin, Rasteau Domaine Armand, Cairanne Domaine La Garrigue, Vacqueyras Domaine Montirius, Vacqueyras** Clos du Joncuas, Gigondas* Domaine Mestre, Châteauneuf-du-Pape Clos Saint-Michel, Châteauneuf-du-Pape Domaine La Barroche, Châteauneuf-du-Pape Domaine de Fondrèche, Ventoux Mas de Libian, Ardèche**/ ! Domaine des Vigneaux, Coteaux de l’Ardèche*

Vin de Pays Les Clairières, Vin de Pays d’Oc Bergerie de Bastide, Vin de Mediterranée Villa Saint-Jean, Vin de Mediterranée Domaine Nordoc & La Boussole, Vin de Pays d’Oc Domaines Gérard Bertrand, Vin de Pay d’Oc Domaine Mas Montel, Vin de Pays du Gard Domaine de Moulines, Vin de Pays de l’Hérault 49 49 49 50 51 52 52


RHONE cont…
Domaine du Mazel, Coteaux de l’Ardèche*/ ! Mas de la Bégude, Coteaux de l’Ardèche*/ ! 91 92 93 93 94 95 95 96 97 97 99

LOIRE cont…
Domaine Sébastien Riffault, Sancerre**/ ! Domaine Henri Bourgeois, Sancerre Domaine Maupertuis, Côtes d’Auvergne*/ ! 131 132 134 135 135 136 137 138 139 142 143 143 143 143 144 144 147 147 148 148 148 148 149 149 149 150 150 150 151 151 151 151 152 152 152 152 152 153 153 153 154 157 157 158 158 159 159 159 160 160 160 163 163 163 164 165

Thomas & Cécile Carteron, Côtes de Provence Château d’Ollières, Coteaux Varois Château Hermitage Saint-Martin, Côtes de Provence* Domaine Hauvette, Coteaux des Baux**/ ! Château de Pibarnon, Bandol* Domaine La Suffrène, Bandol Domaine de la Tour du Bon, Bandol* Domaine Les Terres Promises, Coteaux Varois*

Vignobles Scherer Domaine Pierre Frick**/ ! Domaine Albert Mann*/** Domaine Audrey & Christian Binner**/ !

Domaine Mathis Bastian

Domaine Culombu, Calvi

Domaine Ganevat, Côtes du Jura**/ ! Domaine Emmanuel Houillon, Arbois*/ ! Domaine Daniel Dugois, Arbois Caveau de Bacchus, Arbois Domaine de la Tournelle, Arbois**/ ! – NEW Domaine Philippe Bornard, Arbois**/ ! – NEW Domaine Bruno Lupin, Savoie Domaine Belluard, Vin de Savoie-Ayze**

Domaine Saint-Nicolas, Fiefs Landéens**/ ! – NEW Pierre Luneau-Papin, Muscadet Domaine Jo Landron, Muscadet**/ ! – NEW Domaine La Roche aux Moines, Savennières Domaine Damien Laureau, Savennières*/ ! Domaine Vincent Ogereau, Anjou Domaine Sylvain Martinez, Anjou**/ ! Domaine Cousin-Leduc, Anjou** Domaine Benoit Courault, Anjou**/ ! Domaine Pithon-Paillé, Anjou*/ ! Domaine Stéphane Bernaudeau, Anjou**/ ! – NEW Domaine René Mosse, Anjou**/ ! Domaine Nicolas Reau, Anjou*/ ! NEW Domaine Didier Chaffardon, Anjou**/ ! – NEW Domaine Jean-François Chene, Anjou*/** ! – NEW Les Vignes Herbel, Laurent Lelandais*/ ! – NEW Domaine du Collier, Saumur**/ ! Domaine Sylvain Dittière, Saumur**/ ! – NEW Domaine des Roches-Neuves, Saumur** Domaine de la Chevalerie, Bourgueil* Domaine Luc Sébille, Chinon* – NEW Domaine Alain Lorieux, Chinon Domaine Patrick Corbineau, Chinon**/ ! – NEW Domaine Catherine & Pierre Breton, Bourgueil**/ ! Domaine Sébastien David, Saint-Nicolas de Bourgueil*/ ! Domaine Champalou, Vouvray Domaine Lemaire-Fournier, Vouvray**/ ! – NEW Domaine Frantz Saumon, Montlouis*/ ! Domaine Stéphane Cossais, Montlouis*/ ! Domaine de Montrieux, Coteaux du Vendomois*/ ! Domaine de la Charmoise, Touraine Domaine Guy Allion, Touraine Domaine du Salvard, Cheverny Noëlla Morantin, Touraine**/ ! – NEW Les Cailloux du Paradis, Touraine**/ ! – NEW Domaine Le Briseau, Jasnières**/ ! Domaine Jean-Pierre Robinot, Jasnières**/ ! Domaine Chahut et Prodiges, Touraine*/ ! – NEW Domaine Pascal Simonutti, Touraine*/ ! – NEW Domaine Les Capriades, Pascal Potaire*/ ! – NEW Clos Roche Blanche, Touraine**/ ! – NEW Domaine de la Garrelière, Touraine**/ ! – NEW Domaine Thierry Puzelat, Touraine*/**/ ! Clos du Tue-Boeuf, Touraine**/ ! Domaine du Moulin, Cour-Cheverny*/ ! Domaine Henry Pellé, Menetou-Salon* Domaine Laporte, Pouilly-Fumé Domaine des Berthiers, Pouilly-Fumé Domaine Alexandre Bain, Pouilly-Fumé**/ ! Domaine Gérard Fiou, Sancerre Domaine Sébastien Riffault, Sancerre**/ ! 101 102 103 104 104 106 106 107 108 108 109 110 111 111 112 112 113 113 114 115 115 116 116 117 117 118 118 119 119 120 121 121 122 122 123 124 124 125 125 125 126 126 127 128 129 130 130 130 130 131 131

Château Deville, Bordeaux Château Maine-Martin, Bordeaux Superieur – NEW Château Penin, Bordeaux Superieur Château de Lamery, Bordeaux**/ ! – NEW Château Toulouze, Graves de Vayre – NEW Château La Claymore, Lussac Saint-Emilion Vieux Château Clos Lamarzelle, Saint-Emilion Domaine des Gourdins, Saint-Emilion Château La Croix Chantecaille, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Château Larmande, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classé – NEW Château des Annereaux, Lalande-de-Pomerol Château Monregard La Croix, Pomerol Château Saint-Ahon, Médoc Château Lalande d’Auvion, Médoc Château Lanessan, Haut-Médoc Château Coutelin-Merville, Saint-Estèphe Château Lacoste-Borie, Pauillac Château Batailley, Pauillac Château Gruaud-Larose, Saint-Julien Château Lagrange, Saint-Julien Ségla, Margaux Château Paveil de Luze, Margaux Château Chasse-Spleen, Moulis Château Poujeaux, Moulis Château Filhot, Sauternes

Domaine du Calvaire de Roche-Grès, Morgon Domaine de la Plaigne, Beaujolais-Villages Domaine Jean Foillard, Morgon*/ ! Domaine Georges Descombes, Morgon*/ ! – NEW Domaine Yvon Métras, Fleurie*/ ! Château de Raousset, Fleurie Marcel & Marie Lapierre*/ ! Domaine Damien Coquelet, Chiroubles*/ ! – NEW Domaine Cret des Garanches, Côte de Brouilly Domaine Jean-Claude Lapalu, Brouilly*/**/ !

Domaine du Corps de Garde, Auxerre** Domaine Cantin, Irancy Domaine de la Cadette, Vézelay*/ ! Domaine Gérard Tremblay, Chablis Domaine Colette Gros, Chablis


Domaine Alice & Olivier de Moor, Chablis*/ ! – NEW Domaine Christophe Thibert, Mâcon Domaine Philippe Valette, Mâcon**/ ! Domaine des Vignes du Maynes, Mâcon**/ ! Domaine Arnaud Combier, Saint-Véran*/ ! Domaine Parize, Givry Domaine Jean-Baptiste Ponsot, Rully Domaine Belleville, Rully Domaine Emile Juillot, Mercurey Domaine Dominique Derain, Saint-Aubin**/ ! Domaine Jean-Jacques Girard, Savigny-lès-Beaune Domaine Patrick Miolane, Saint-Aubin Domaine Hubert Lamy, Saint-Aubin* Domaine Larue, Saint-Aubin Domaine Henri & Gilles Buisson, Saint-Romain* – NEW Domaine Coffinet-Duvernay, Chassagne Domaine Sylvain Bzikot, Puligny Domaine Jean Javillier, Côte de Beaune* – NEW Domaine Dublère, Côte de Beaune Frédéric Cossard, Beaune*/ ! Domaine de Chassorney, Saint-Romain*/ ! Domaine Heresztyn, Gevrey-Chambertin Domaine Philippe Pacalet, Gevrey-Chambertin*/ ! Domaine Prieuré-Roch, Nuits Saint-Georges**/ ! Domaine Confuron-Cotetidot, Vosne-Romanée Domaine Bart, Marsannay Remoissenet Père et Fils, Beaune 166 167 167 168 168 169 169 169 170 170 171 171 172 172 173 173 174 174 175 176 176 177 178 179 180 181 181 182 182 182 183 184 185 186 187

SPAIN cont…
Bodegas El Cortijo de la Vieja, Granada* – NEW Barranco Oscuro, Granada**/! – NEW Bodega Cauzon, Granada*/! – NEW Naranjuez, Granada*/! – NEW Cava Recaredo, Alt Penedes – NEW** Pago de Tharsys, Requena – NEW Bodegas Emilio Hidalgo, Jerez 204 204 205 205 206 207 207

Casa de Cello, Dao & Entre Douro e Minho Afros, Vinho Verde** 208 208

Les Crêtes La Cave de Morgex Cantina di Barrò 211 212 213 216 216 216 217 218 218 220 221 223 224 224 224 225 226 227 227 228 228 228 231 232 233 234 235 235 235 235 236 236 239 240 241 241 241 242 242 243 244 246

Renato & Ezio Trinchero* Tenuta Grillo*/! Ca’ d’ Gal * Vittorio Bera**/! Viticoltori di Monferrato, Francesco Iuli* – NEW Valli Unite*/**! – NEW AA Sottimano* Giacomo Borgogno* AA Roagna I Paglieri*/! Cinzia Bergaglio Cascina Baricchi Cascina degli Ulivi**/! – NEW

Jean-Paul Deville Laurent-Perrier Demarne-Frison** – NEW Philipponnat Franck Pascal** – NEW Francis Boulard*/** – NEW Ruinart

Mezza Corona Foradori** Tenuta Falkenstein* Cantina Valle Isarco Weingut Untermoserhof * Weingut Niklas Bruno Gottardi Peter Pliger**

Château de Hauteville, Eric Bordelet**

Bodegas Urbina, Rioja Bodegas Luis Medrano Irazu, Rioja Bodegas Navajas, Rioja Vina Albergada, Rioja Bodegas Honorio Rubio, Rioja Gran Cerdo, Rioja**/! – NEW Bodega Classica, Rioja Hacienda Grimon, Rioja* Bodegas Solar de Urbezo, Carinena Bodegas Pirineos, Somontano Agricola La Castellana, Rueda – NEW Angel Rodriguez Vidal, Rueda – NEW Bodegas Balcona, Bullas* – NEW Gaznata, Avila – NEW Artesano, Terra Alta Tralanzas, Cigales – NEW Bodegas Pittacum, Bierzo Bodegas Terras Gauda, Rías Baixas Bodega Mengoba, Bierzo* – NEW Bodegas Chacon Belta, Tierra de Cangas* – NEW Adega Sameiras, Ribeiro* – NEW Adega Algueira, Ribeira Sacra* – NEW Adega Cachin, Ribeira Sacra – NEW AdegasMoure, Ribeira Sacra – NEW Bodega Godeval, Valdeorras* – NEW Bodegas Ameztoi, Txakoli Bodegas Toro Albala, Montilla-Morales 188 189 189 189 189 191 192 192 193 193 193 194 194 194 195 195 196 197 199 199 199 200 201 201 201 202 203

Tamellini Inama Monte dll’Ora**/! AA Bellenda Cantina Bernardi Casa Coste Piane*/! AA Gatti Lorenzo*/! Cantine Volpi Cantina San Marziano

Princic Dario**/! AA Zidarich**/! Le Due Terre* AA Bellanotte Livio & Giorgio Marega Bressan* Ronco delle Betulle

Massa Vecchia**/! Il Paradiso di Manfredi**/! Montevertine


TOSCANA cont...
Cantine Vittorio Innocenti Podere Terreno Podere Le Boncie*/! Fattoria di Rodano Tenuta Caparsa* Poggio Argentiera* Antonio Camillo* Mattia Barzaghi* Montenidoli * 247 247 248 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 257 258 258 259 261 261 262 263 264 264 265 266 269 269 270 270 271 271 273 273 275 277 277 278 278 278 279 280 281 282 283 283 283 284 286 287 287 288

SICILIA cont...
Palari COS**/! Arianna Occhipinti**/! – NEW 289 290 291

Hatzidakis, Santorini* 292

Celliers de Meknès Domaine de la Zouina Château Musar* 293 294 295

Cantine Ceci Zerbina Camillo Donati**/! La Stoppa* AA Denavolo**/!

Davenport Vineyard, East Sussex */** – NEW Camden Town Brewery – NEW 295 296

Paolo Bea, Montefalco**/!

Orovela, Kakheti Ckhakhveri – NEW Pheasant’s Tears – NEW Manavi – NEW Nika Bakhia– NEW Alaverdi Monastery – NEW Kakha – NEW 297 299 299 299 299 299 299

Colle Stefano* Ciù Ciù* Fattoria San Lorenzo**

Edoardo Valentini* Gianni Masciarelli Madregale (Cantina di Tollo) Cantina Frentana

Hermann Dönnhoff, Nahe Weingut Louis Guntrum, Rheinhessen – NEW 300 301

Di Majo Norante*

Rainer Wess, Wachau 302

Guido Marsella AA Il Tufiello*/! Benito Ferrara Cantina Vadiaperti Enza Lonardo Monte di Grazia*

Felton Road, Cental Otago** Burn Cottage, Central Otago** Pyramid Valley, Canterbury**/! – NEW Framingham, Marlborough Clos Henri, Marlborough* Cambridge Road, Martinborough** – NEW Stonyridge Vineyard, Waiheke Island* – NEW 304 305 306 307 308 309 310

Fatalone* La Casada Conte Spagnoletti Zeuli

Copeland Estate Sandford Estate, Victoria Stanton & Killeen, Rutherglen Luke Lambert, Yarra Valley* Tom Belford, Yarra Glen*/! – NEW Timo Mayer, Yarra Valley* Bindi, Macedon Ranges* Sorrenberg, Beechworth** – NEW Castagna, Beechworth** – NEW Bespoke Brothers, Heathcote – NEW Wakefield, Clare Valley Wangolina Station, Mount Benson Ngeringa Vineyards, Mount Barker** – NEW Lucy Margaux, Adelaide Hills**/! – NEW Domaine Lucci, Adelaide Hills**/! – NEW Jauma, James Erskine, South Australia**/! – NEW Tom Shobbrook, Barossa**/! – NEW Natural Selection Theory**/! – NEW 311 312 313 313 313 314 315 316 317 318 319 319 320 321 321 322 323 324

Cantina Sociale di Gallura Tenuta Masone Mannu – NEW Giuseppe Sedilesu* – NEW Cantina Giovanni Montisci* – NEW Cantina di Orgosolo* – NEW Alberto Loi Tenuta Dettori*/! – NEW AA Panevino**/! – NEW

Ceuso Vini del Sole Fazio Caruso & Minini Marco de Bartoli Frank Cornelissen**/! AA Benanti Vino di Anna*/! – NEW I Vigneri**/! – NEW

Casa Azul La Poda Corta Louis-Antoine Luyt */! – NEW 325 326 326


Colchagua**/! – NEW ARGENTINA La Agricola Santa Julia Organica* Salentein Osaado Bodegas Cecchin* – NEW 327 329 330 330 331 331 331 OREGON Sokol Blosser* 332 SOUTH AFRICA Luddite Vinum Good Hope Radford Dale Black Rock Inkawu Elgin Ridge* Testalonga*/**/! – NEW The Observatory**/! – NEW 333 334 335 336 337 338 338 339 339 340 342 353 SHERRY & PORT EAUX DE VIE SEMI-CLASSIFIED MISCELLANY -8- .CHILE cont… De Martino* – NEW Villalobos.

but people didn’t like the way it changed the wine… The consumer always wants to have the same wine. Patrick Matthews in his book “The Wild Bunch” quotes Telmo Rodriguez. earthy. And why should wine be consistent? There are too many confected wines that unveil everything and yet reveal nothing. Those positives that we aim to promote are: wines of terroir and typicity. we are not responding to the wine per se. and analysing how flavours derive from sympathetic farming. seeking out and preserving the unusual. carefree and happy. In the words of Hubert de Montille in Mondovino we like “chiselled wines”. 190 different grape varieties and counting… The future.Putting out mission statements tends to erode credibility. diverse Alpine growers for upholding recondite traditional indigenous grapes (life for us is no cabernet. My glass was filled with a light red wine poured from a pitcher. Oh. of course. rather than transform or to impose a style that the wine would not otherwise have had”. and we lose respect for the wine. we want to accentuate the positives and eliminate the negatives in our list. be it power or structure. although that pleasure may evolve according to the complexity of the liquid in the glass. but. a reduction of numbers of grape varieties and a general orientation towards branding. As one of our Italian growers puts it: “We seek to express exactly what the grapes give us. wines that appeal to us have to be well-made. vino rosso. the vineyard and the grower. We cannot see the whole for deconstructing the minutiae. sapid. those who apply sensitive organic sustainable solutions and achieve biodiversity whatever the struggle. Talking about terroir is not mad-eyed mumbling hocus-pocus nor misty-eyed mysticism (though the French wax so poetical about it). “We were the first to try to produce the expression of terroir. Every wine tells a story and that story deserves to be told. it gleamed in the sunlight. as the song goes. of course. The young woman who had poured it for me was amused when I asked what it was. and with a long glossy finish. If the path be beautiful. how ruby bright that wine was. Over-analysis is invidious in that you frequently end up criticising a wine for what it is not. We even say things like: “That is a perfectly correct Sauvignon”. the region. we believe. getting to the roots of wine itself so to speak. and the importance of sustainable. the endeavours of small independent growers. is personal. This is the zero defect culture which ignores the “deliciousness” of the wine. We work from the point of view of understanding the wine by trying to understand the country. mineral. Ultimately. The wine was sweetly exotic: lively on my tongue. refreshing. she said. organic viticulture. so we neglect enjoyment. but to a platonic notion of correctness. let us not ask where it leads. for example. It was. or finesse and elegance. are perhaps too hung up on what they think customers think.” And. yet certainly more-ish. I remember clearly its enticing aroma – youthful but with a refinement that surprised me. imbued with a sense of its own importance. diversity of style and indigenous grape varieties. a top grower in Rioja Alavesa. it concerns systematically highlighting the peculiar qualities of the vineyard. you’ll have a bad wine. unmediated wines. The requirement for homogeneity reduces wine to an alcoholic version of coca-cola. digestible. I was relaxed. This reminds me of the American fad for highbrow literary criticism. We never mention enjoyment. the trouble is if you have a bad consumer. delicious. The pleasure. those who work the land and harvest by hand. and capable of accompanying food. We therefore applaud growers and estates such as Mas de Daumas with their rows of vines from ancient grape varieties. we want wine to taste of the place it came from. Criticism like this becomes an end in itself. In the wine trade we seem to be in thrall to notions of correctness. perfectly balanced. the distinctive and the avowedly individual. A wine should offer pleasure from the first sniff to the draining of the final dregs. old chum). not a textual conundrum to be unpicked in a corridor of mirrors in the halls of academia. It was the sort of wine that Omar Khayyam might have in mind for his desert tryst. tasty. if you push wines that are bland and commercial. Wine is as a poem written for the pleasure of others. Quite simply it is the main reason why things naturally taste differently. -9- . lies in reacquainting ourselves with “real wines”. not necessarily commercial. Remembrance of Wines Past – Gerald Asher Putting our oak chips on the table. We each bring something to what is there in the glass and interpret the result differently. left on the table. then the public will continue to drink bland and commercial wines. rather than accepting it for what it is. Restaurants. Henry Marionnet from Touraine for working with French rootstock. the microclimate. The continuing commercialisation of wine has necessarily created a uniformity of style.

But where is the diversity. Mass production ultimately leads to less choice and the eternal quest for a consistency denatures the product of nature with all its imperfections and angularities. but also assailed with the full battery of technology. of the lifestyle and philosophy of the people who tend the vines throughout the year. Volume and stability are demanded: stability and volume are produced. It is time to reclaim wine as something individual. determined by artificial yeasts. a common denominator of supposed consumer values. and a desire to see a natural creation naturally expressed. (My italics) Whilst it is no bad thing to have technically competent wines. where is the choice? Man cannot live by brand alone… Research shows that branded wines dominate the market (i. a simulacrum of wine. oak chips and corrective acidification. To satisfy the thirsty market wines are produced in vast quantities which. shipped half way across the country in huge refrigerated trucks and made in factories with computerised technology. Those guilty of dismissing terroir as romantic whimsy are just as much in awe to the science of winemaking by numbers (or voodoo winemaking as I prefer to call it). highlights this dichotomy in what he calls traditional wine-making as opposed to industrial or process wine-making. There is enough mediocrity. not to say an exaltation of mediocrity… Where is the supposed consumer choice – when week after week certain influential journalists act as advocates for boring supermarket wines rather than pointing people in the direction of specialist shops and wine merchants? How do we know that consumers wouldn’t prefer real wines (and paying a little more for them)? Those companies who commission surveys to support their brands are not asking the right people the right questions (otherwise they’d get the wrong answers). For factory farming read factory wine production. Paul Draper. of Ridge Vineyards. rules and models destroy genius. pleasurable and occasionally extraordinary. the land. To adapt Hazlitt’s epigram. the growing season becomes irrelevant – if anything it’s a hindrance. have to maintain a minimum level of consistency. Nature is not only driven out with a pitchfork. Why should we call it wine at all? Quality wine is what growers make: it is an art as well as a science.10 - . Real wine-making is surrounded by an entire sub-culture: we speak of the livelihood of small growers. This cannot be said for a commercial product. these wines must therefore reflect what people enjoy drinking. because it aspires merely to the denominator of price rather than the measure of quality. Thus we can view cheap branded wine as no more than alcoholic grape juice. as we have said. There will always be branded wines. Flavour profiles can be. it is also.e. The relationship with the soil. it does promote a culture of what Draper calls Consumer Acceptance Panels and an acceptance of mediocrity. concerns the farmer’s understanding of the land and respect for nature. the supermarket). We would like to give customers the opportunity to experience a diverse array of real wines produced by real people in real vineyards rather than bland wines that could be produced (and reproduced) in any region or country. You only have to stand in a vineyard to sense its dynamics. harvested by the tonne. of how the vineyards themselves have shaped the landscape over centuries and the way the wines have become a living record of their terroir and the growing season. by definition. fruity. vulgarity and cultural imperialism in our lives. This is a bogus inference. Wines are being made to win the hearts and wallets of supermarket buyers by appealing to a checklist. but the dead hand of globalism determines our prevailing culture of conservatism. Style precedes substance because there is a feeling that wine has to be made safe and easy for consumers. yet the rationale of a brand is to sell more and gain greater market share which in turn necessitates bringing more and more land on-vine at higher and higher levels of production. because it must obey the laws of fickle Nature.The Stepford Wines… The philosophy of selling the brand is much like having your glass of cheap plonk and drinking it. sprayed with chemicals and pesticides. Such confected wines are to real wine what chemical air-fresheners are to wild flowers or as a clipped hedge is to a forest. and are. inconsistent. and there is a place for them. The fault lies as much at the door of the supermarkets and high street multiples as with the wine-makers. Terroir. Result? Pleasant. . denatured wines branded to fit into neatly shaved categories: vini reductio ad plonkum. The logical extension of this approach would be to use flavouring essences to achieve the style of “wine” you require. by definition.

The Vineyards of South West France The same vine has a different value in different places (Pliny on terroir) .11 - .

Courbu Irouléguy Rouge : Tannat. Merlot. the torrefying travails of this year are well documented. Courbu Tursan Blanc : Baroque. Merlot. Not all wines from the South West are designed to realign the molecular structure of your palate. in the great heat. Syrah Irouléguy Blanc : Mansengs. Duras and Gamay for alternative summer quaffing. rippling with sweet fruit. Cabs. And don’t forget Monsieur Luc de Conti. with so many growers working from low yields and on the lees. Duras. Ondenc. Cabs. Muscadelle Côtes de Duras Rouge : Merlot. Caramalet. Ugni Blanc. is. the wondrous Vin d’Autan from Plageoles and finally the honeydewsome twosome from Tirecul-La-Gravière and discover the glories of nature and the wild winemaker’s art. Muscadelle Bergerac Rouge: Merlot. Petit Manseng. Malbec Côtes du Frontonnais : Négrette. But this is all so mundane. Arrufiac. marked by grace.00. Gamay. new oak. Muscadelle Gaillac Rouge : Braucol. To coin a phrase we’ve copped (the Cot) in the Lot. they slide down your throat like the Good Lord in red velvet breeches to quote Frederic Lemaitre (Pierre Brasseur) in Les Enfants du Paradis – not! This year the big boys are jousting to make the supreme super cuvée for squillionaires. Plaisance. Check out your quintessential nectar options with Jean-Bernard Larrieu’s Jurançons. Malbec Buzet: Merlot. Sauvignon. Muscadelle Montravel : Sauvignon.. Pacherencs from Brumont and Barré. The organic wines of Elian da Ros straddle both styles: certain cuvées are frolicsome. Sauvignon. Never mind the hilarious prices – these are wines made with meticulous care from minuscule yields and are to be sipped rather than supped. Cabernets Côtes du Marmandais : Merlot. Sémillon. Gros Manseng Côtes de Saint Mont Blanc : Courbu. as are the more structured wines of Ch. Step forward “Le Grande Cèdre” from Château du Cèdre and “Le Pigeonnier” from Château Lagrezette. Tannat Côtes de Duras Blanc : Sauvignon. Le Roc. Some of the early wines are particularly aromatic and the Laulan Sauvignon is the best ever. Cabernets Jurançon : Gros Manseng. Château Paillas and Clos Triguedina are. Fer Servadou Bergerac Blanc : Sauvignon. For those of you who aspire to speak in “russet yeas and honest kersey noes” our range of Gaillacs (five) & Marcillacs (two) will drink happily in your idiom. Sémillon. With lower yields and greater fruit extraction the wines from Bergerac are an impressive reminder of what can be achieved with Bordeaux grape varieties for under £10. Cabs. Merlot. Contrast the jawdropping Escausses Vigne de l’Oubli – another “semi” Sauvignon in the Moulin des Dames bracket (lots of lees contact. you cry… A trip to Malbec-istan the other year yielded our xithopagi. Milton described “a wilderness of sweets” in Paradise Lost. A succession of belting vintages for the reds from 1998 onwards. GRAPE VARIETIES OF GASCONY: a quick guide Béarn : Tannat. Lauzet Madiran : Tannat. Sauv. microbullage) the Godzillas of Gascony can be expected to drink comparatively young. Look at wines from Négrette.) Big can be beautiful though especially if you enjoy tannin on your tusks or lees in your lungs. Cabernet Franc Gaillac Blanc : Mauzac.THE SOUTH WEST OF FRANCE La symetrie.” (I’ve been told to leave that line in again. Ch. thick with flavour – we second that emulsion!) with the more traditional ethereal qualities of a Plageoles Mauzac-inflected Gaillac. Cabs.. acidic wines. Sémillon. Fer Servadou Marcillac : Mansois Monbazillac : Sémillon. Cab Franc.? You will be! . Pinenc in Jurançon and in Madiran – also called Fer Servadou Malbec is also known as Cot and Auxerrois Duras has nothing to do with Côtes de Duras Confused. pleasing on the gums. although ageing them will obviously reap glorious rewards. Mansengs Côtes de Saint Mont Rouge : Tannat. Arrufiac. Cabs. Creosote them gums or lay down for a millennium or two. Syrah. Malbec Cahors : Malbec (Cot). grapes were literally roasting on the vines) although with growers like Didier Barré you can almost name any year in history and he will smile seraphically as if to suggest that all Madiran is good Madiran. (lots of scrabble points) most notably the wines of Clos de Gamot whose bottles might bear the ancient Roman warning “exegi monumentum aere perennius” (I have reared a monument more lasting than brass) – translated into modern winespeak as don’t forget your toothbrush. Abouriou. Gros Manseng. The “classic” wines from Château du Cèdre. Cabernets. Sem. Enhanced by technological savvy in the winery (new oak. (’03 excepted. much more amenable beasts. gone are the days of thin. relatively speaking. Cabernet Vins d’Entraygues Le Fel (VDQS) : Fer Servadou. Loin de l’Oeil. Check out the Prunelart – the art of Prunel. Prunelart. Gamay Côtes de Gascogne : Colombard. Les Miserables VINTAGE REPORT & NEW AGENCIES 2010 is another super vintage for whites. the Plageoles wines are in their own palely loitering uncompromising idiom. aka Monsieur Mayonnaise. aka Le Vinarchiste. The red versions pit pure extract of black night against paleperfumed subtlety: the Escausses reds eat Saint-Emilions for breakfast. Courbu. Muscadelle Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh : Mansengs. 05s and 07s are exceptional by any standard. Sémillon NOT ONLY… BUT ALSO: Mansoi(s) is Braucol in Gaillac. c’est l’ennui – Victor Hugo.12 - . as one might infer from the name. to have acquired two looks like careless obsession. others demand a decanter and attention. from the Fronton. Two Marcillacs?! As Lady Bracknell might have animadverted: “To have acquired one Marcillac may be regarded as good fortune.

The sauce Basquaise is made with onions. The truffle seemed to me like earth and sky and sea. The food’s deep flavours result from the slow melding of simple ingredients. The garbures from Landes illustrate that cooking a staple dish is about passionate attention to detail. the buttery. The Whole Hog – Hamming it up in Bayonne Ou il ya un bon cochon. There are more than a hundred recipes for foie gras. Picking a Peck of Piquillo Peppers – The Catalan Influence Piperade is a classic light supper dish (which can be eaten at lunch or breakfast). writes Stephanie Alexander. who. or a typical terrine. Truly. As I ate I sipped a glass of Médoc. Nothing is lost with me. good quality ham from Bayonne as well as garlic and cayenne. endive and radicchio and fresh herbs. Salt pork. or a lightish Cahors with this. the late harvest wines of Jurançon and Pacherenc are equally fabulous. andouille and boudin to rendered fat. with a light sprinkling of walnut oil and a pinch of salt. il ya une bonne menagère “Lou Moussur. a savoury sapid red from Fronton. peppers and pimentos combined with lightly scrambled eggs and fried ham. Such dishes. The raw livers may be steamed in a towel or tournichon or poached in delicious solutions and subsequently served cold or warm (pan-fried or grilled).FOOD OF THE SOUTH-WEST “Wine is a part of society because it provides a basis not only for a morality but also for an environment. garlic. have come to meet the needs and the lifestyle of a hardworking and healthy people.” . almost reverence in the South West. a naughtiness. a keen respect for the ingredients and for the process of cooking and an almost mystical appreciation of giving and doing credit to the bounty of the land. A simple red with the taste of the earth would hit the mark. . they can be cooked and tinned. Mushrooms at the Auberge – Morel Fibre for the Truffle Generation Paula Wolfert recounts her first experience eating truffles: “It was baked in a salt crust and served on a doily.” Fresh cepes can be eaten raw with olive oil and lemon or stewed gently à la Bordelaise with olive oil and garlic (ham and parsley may be added). Some cooks will add a fricassée of onions and vegetables fried in goose fat. but it can be a stand-alone dish with some fresh baked brioche and a jelly made from Sauternes or grapes. mi cuit (barely cooked and vacuum-packed) or raw.” The pig is treated with respect. With a confit of pork. A gastronomic black diamond. Marcillac or Côtes de Saint Mont. Truly. rillettes. cook what they produce and waste very little. There was a ripeness. The waiter cracked it open with a mallet. something beyond description. silky textural decadence of the liver begs to be matched by a sweet wine with singing acidity. and the luxuriant versions will contain slowly amalgamated confit of goose. Cepes can be also used with potatoes or in the classic Salade Landaise with sautéed strips of duck breast. dishes rooted in historical traditions with natural taste affinities and their own logic. or chorizo with lentils.13 - . Live a Little – Liver Lot – Fee Fi Foie Gras The making of foie gras is both a cottage industry and an industry. A well chilled Sauternes or Monbazillac is traditional. tripe. There is much discussion and lyrical debate about food in the South West. I sliced the truffle myself and ate in on toast. or a fresh young Gaillac made from Duras or Braucol. I felt at one with nature that my mouth was filled with the taste of the earth. warm croutons. releasing the powerful penetrating bouquet. Poulet à la Basquaise is a classic dish containing red and green peppers. the best things cannot be rushed. The livers are soft (they should have the suppleness of cold butter when raw) and perishable. nothing is wasted with the pig: saucissons. it is an ornament in the slightest ceremonials of French daily life. cabbage and beans are the mainstay but the many gastronomic embellishments sustain the ancient mystique of the dish. I like a rosé from the Fronton. it was utter luxury and earthiness combined. rocket. beautiful ripe tomatoes. others will make their garbure into a kind of gratin. A Béarnais dish in origin it has several local variations depending on the ingredients and when it is eaten. Béarn or Irouléguy. as he is known.Roland Barthes Paula Wolfert. from the conversation at the local café to the speech at a formal dinner. Fattening the goose may be a controversial issue outside the South West and any factory farm approach is certainly to be deplored. tongue and trotters – a culinary nose-to-tail journey in the pot or on the plate. in her seminal book The Cooking of South West France identifies the signature of the region which she terms ‘evolved food’. Salt-cured country ham may be eaten raw or sautéed basque style with eggs fried in goose fat or made into a kind of persillade and used to give certain dishes a lift. Marcillac or Marmandais is a good bet. from the snack to the feast. in the main. one of the best of modern food writers. a Cahors. The meticulous care taken in preparation and cooking of the foie gras is somehow mirrored by the elaboration of the wine. A rosé from Irouléguy would be the perfect accompaniment.

The cheeses of the Pyrenees are very fine especially the Ossau Iraty. Cabecous can be eaten in several ways. anise. One talks airily of food and wine marriages. In the South West food and cooking is that most tangible and sensuous necessity of people’s lives. Fromage Roquefort. Pyrenean style are another seasonal treat. semi-molten. filled with sweetened fruit and then baked. Armagnac has fiery power. sausage and broad beans. but this threesome represents connubial bliss. Le Trou Gascon Taste of the earth. truffles. or a red wine from Malepère. cepes and mushrooms. milky when young.” Georges Blanc. otherwise crepes.14 - . no less. orange flower water and Armagnac. regional versions of pastry pies. waffles (gaufres) and the famous Gateau Basque. It mixes science and folklore. veal. Sweet wine is not always necessarily the ideal companion for sweet food: the combination can become cloying. Look for the sweetest juiciest Gamay. Carcassonne or Castelnaudary this is a rustic glutinous dish begging for a wine of high acidity and digestible tannin. However. If Cognac has finesse. Sponge cakes such as madeleines are fun to dunk in brandy or sweet wine. Uncork your best bottle of Marcillac – that’s what it’s there for! Gaperon is from the Auvergne. creamy. it comes from the heart. . millas (a Languedoc version with cornmeal porridge that is fried and sprinkled with sugar). on toast or on leaves or on country bread drizzled with honey. just as they are. And don’t forget the plump fresh figs. but the cuisine de terroir always remains close to the earth – each dish invariably constructed around the strength of local ingredients. the sheer diversity of the cuisine of the area that we call South West France. from ‘Ma Cuisine des Saisons’ Lamb. A Sauvignon from Côtes de Duras or sharp young Gaillac works best. Gateau Basque itself is a cake filled with pastry cream flavoured with almonds. wrapped in thin strips of pine bark and with a washed rind. As recipes are handed on. for example. velvet flame. fierce pride. the historic former mentioned by Pliny the Elder. fruity and piquant when it is affiné. Eternal verities about food itself are enshrined in the debate. deserves nothing less a brilliant Jurançon. the cow’s cheese Crottin du Poivre and the 100% sheep’s milk Ardi Gasna. the terroirs of Landes. cut the richness of a sauce or perfume and flavour fruits. “Happy and successful cooking doesn’t rely only on know-how. or even a garrigue-scented Languedoc red. chicken and guinea fowl. Le Cabri-Ariegois is a goat’s cheese version of Vacherin. a Cahors. regional rivalry. a hearty roughness – this is the distinction le trou Gascon will give you. here a Catalan influence. pork and game. stubborn traditionalism. We believe that to appreciate fully the wines of the South West you must also experience the food and that the pleasure you take in the one nurtures a desire for the other. Writing in generalities can’t do justice to the regional vitality. sharp. bang it in the fridge and guzzle it with this rustic cheese. having been passed under a hot grill. Minding Your Prunes and Quinces Gascony has a wonderful array of dishes to appeal to the sweetest of teeth. Also justly famous are the croustades. prunes and plums endless variants. A dash of the spirit will lift a daube or stew. it is flavoured heavily with garlic and pepper and made with skimmed milk or buttermilk. the famous blue-veined ewe’s milk cheese matured in the limestone caves of Chambalou.FOOD OF THE SOUTH-WEST continued… Cassoulet S’il Vous Plait – 57 varieties – Beanz meanz duckz I love the cassoulet debate. Like the raw country wines from Gascony Armagnac roughens you up. Using fruits in savoury dishes has a rich tradition: the prunes and quinces that often feature in meat stews are part of the Moorish culinary heritage that appeared in France by way of Spain many centuries ago. Clafouti with cherries. helps you to digest and leaves the day/evening open for further indulgence. ducks and geese. pastis and tourtières. sturdiness may be replaced by lightness. makes great demands on the palate and needs enthusiasm and a deep love of food to bring it to life. Be it from Toulouse. writes Paula Wolfert. a kind of pain perdu. dancing fire. Traditional desserts include les daudines. Finally. with simple fruit pastries or a bowl of white peaches a glass of chilled Jurançon is a pleasure not to be denied. Technicalities aside the main ingredients are confit of duck leg. Vins Doux Naturels with a touch of bitterness – such as Muscat de Rivesaltes. It would be a mistake nevertheless to assert that things stand still. there a Languedocian note. Salt. apricots and plums is an internationally renowned and frequently copied dessert. sweet. Roast figs. subtle refinements are made. we should mention two cheeses from the mountains of the Aveyron: Cantal and Laguiole. rum. pork knuckle or bacon. chestnuts and cheeses. Banyuls or Maury – are more appropriate. the genius of cooking which is about taking the slowest and most deliberate of pains. ripeness – the oppositions are sublime attractions. Prunes themselves are often marinated in Armagnac (or Sauternes) for a period before being added to desserts. Cabecou de Rocamadour is a silky goat’s cheese. the Dordogne and Quercy all yielding their diverse signatures. Moreover every recipe is a kind of history in itself and every family has its story to tell about the way it should be cooked.

not only the particular microclimate. Madiran and Irouléguy. It would be far too easy for Les Caves de Pyrène to list purely commercial wines so we’ve added a Côtes de Saint Mont Blanc which contains Gros Manseng. The simple Côtes de Gascogne contains a higher proportion of Ugni Blanc than Plaimont’s which means that it will be less aromatic but crisper. Gascony itself is a land of rolling hills and fortified towns. VIN DE PAYS DU GERS “LES VIGNES RETROUVEES” COTES DE SAINT MONT BLANC LE LESC ROUGE. are wines that reflect the notion of terroir. FAMILLE GRASSA. free lovers. a Chardonnay-Sauvignon blend. once you’ve developed a taste for them. Le Faite – très accompli. offers depth and excellent aroma. There’s also a dollop of Gros Manseng for complexity. Fresh as an iced buzzsaw on the palate. Great with a plate of pimentos de padrones. The Coté Tariquet. through the Bordeaux-influenced efforts of Duras and Bergerac. acidity and aromas. And if that sentence makes any sense at all. evolving towards more exotic flavours. PRODUCTEURS PLAIMONT. but also the local culture and heritage & even the personality of the growers themselves. their compatibility with food and. truffles and garbures. a blend of Tannat. These. nothing else confers the same kind of bibulous pleasure (well. elegant wine with a good balance between fruit. At the top of the red scale lurks a Tannat-ridden beast in the Madiran mould blacker than a black steer’s tuckash on a moonless prairie night. as Paula Wolfert observes. There is unparalleled variety as well: from the modern fruity wines of the Côtes de Gascogne. old names and old splendors. citrus and pearskin aromas. elderflower and gooseberry fool. A fine.GASCONY & THE LANDES Free fighters. The Sauvignon gives a powerful aroma of ivy. almost nothing). A versatile wine capable of charming a fresh foie gras and offering true Gascon resistance to a lobster from Brittany. an honest fruit-driven style with cherry-skin crunch and some white pepper. 2010 2008 2010 LE LESC BLANC. armagnac. 2010 GROS MANSENG 1ERES GRIVES Sw . In Gascony. of great chefs. Cabernet and Merlot. love of song and rugby. soil & growing conditions. VIN DE PAYS DU GERS W W R CHATEAU DU TARIQUET. namely Le Lesc rouge. Superb light golden colour. the Chardonnay provides structure and vinosity. In the Landes. Côtes de Gascogne Meticulous wine making across the board with the accent on freshness and balance. is light. The grapes are picked by hand and when the juice has fermented the wine is transferred into rotating steel cylinders & the lees are pumped back. It is at this time that the Gros Manseng harvest starts at Domaine du Tariquet. with its rich gastronomy. of course. The basic white. this has attitudinous pithy (crunchy celery) Gascon-style drinkability. We have sought to demonstrate the individuality and integrity of the wines from this area by focusing on their uncompromising strong flavours. Edmond Rostand – Cyrano de Bergerac The South West. the people are truly sweet. extremely fruity and refreshing with pleasant acidity.15 - . will always be our favoured region. the hoar-frosts at the end of autumn herald the arrival of the first thrushes (grives). Caves de Saint Mont The Caves Co-operative de Saint-Mont has established a reputation for unrivalled consistency over the last ten years. how. therefore. Arrufiac & Courbu. you’re probably half way through a bottle of “Le Faite”! The baby white has acquired a ruddy partner. to the dark and powerful rustic curiosities of Cahors. their idea of a burning issue is whether one should put white wine or red in a wild mushroom ragout. and. of foie gras. free spenders – The Cadets of Gascoyne the defenders Of old homes. being a blend of Colombard (40%) & Ugni Blanc (60%). hint of warm brioche..

savoury and definitely moreish. I sawed through the beam. The finish has firm and gripping tannins that linger. owners of Château d’Aydie. Subtle hints of spice and pear mingle with peachiness on the finish. Aramis (as this cuvée is sometimes known). farewell to useless Porthos.GASCONY & THE LANDES Porthos: [he puts the rope around his neck and prepares to jump] Farewell. world. are among the region’s top producers. who managed to raise the profile of the appellation to a worldwide audience. The Marine is elegant and aromatic. [jumps] [Aramis and Athos are watching the building from the outside] Aramis: It’s alright. Time to dig out that tin of goose or duck fat that you bought ages ago and still haven’t used to roast some serious potatoes to accompany a confit of duck. 40% Cabernet Franc and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon..16 - . dark chocolate. with beautifully defined citrus flavours of lemon and grapefruit and mineral notes of chalk and seashell. Ugni Blanc and Gros Manseng to express fully its minerality and purity. I’m a genius. a vin de pays. The family’s ancestor Frédéric Laplace is one of Madiran’s pioneers. ELIZABETH JEGERLEHNER. The wine is firm and fresh. not an engineer! The Three Musketeers Continued… CHATEAU D’AYDIE. FREDERIC LAPLACE. Côtes de Gascogne Situated in Bretagne d’Armagnac Domaine de Ménard is one of the new wave of estates making highly reckonable Gascon white. [the building promptly collapses. which allows the blend of Colombard. but it has buckets and bouquets of élan and panache of its own. The terroir for the Cuvée Marine is special with a subsoil comprising decomposed seashell (similar to that of Chablis) with a clay/calcareous topsoil. Madiran The Laplace family. is made from 40% Tannat. and Athos stares at Aramis in disbelief] Aramis: Well. The colour is a vivid purple and the nose playfully confidential revealing depth behind the aromatic primary fruit and suggesting notes of roasted coffee beans.. It may be the mere cadet to Laplace’s musketeerial Madiran. 2010 COTES DE GASCOGNE ROUGE “ARAMIS” R DOMAINE DE MENARD. The baby Gascogne is a blend of Colombard and Sauvignon with immediate tangy richness and grapey freshness. smoky. 2010 2010 COTES DE GASCOGNE SAUVIGNON COLOMBARD COTES DE GASCOGNE “CUVEE MARINE” W W Time to buckle your squash . with black currants and plum. He was also behind the creation of the appellation in 1948.

is truly the most noble and most ancient brandies. while respecting the originality and typical nature of each estate. very smooth. Experience “Le Trou Gascon” with Darroze. The total ageing process. flavour and alcohol is. A blend of gentleness and violence. The original character is diluted by the oak vat. reached after 15 years. Pamela. The brandies are tasted and assessed frequently in their infancy. After 12-15 years of ageing the alcohols are generally decanted into older barrels which will soften them and provide noticeable viscosity. After 25 years. leather. Francis Darroze started his business in 1974 as a trader and a producer of vintage Bas-Armagnacs. All Darroze Armagnac’s are distilled using this method. Pamela: Armagnac? Del: Yeah. Armagnacs are never blended together – even two casks from the same domaine. The final measure to preserve authenticity and ensure purity is that the spirits are always allowed to reduce naturally rather by adding water (which is a perfectly legal process in the region). Labastide-Armagnac. and Le Houga. vanilla and even cinnamon. The still originally introduced by the Arabs was first used in the region in 1411 and from that year the “Alchemist Recipes” a famous manuscript in the Auch describes some thirty uses of brandy as medicine. The desired balance between tannin. And this is why the Darroze family had their alcohols distilled on their various estates with a mobile still and always by the same “bouilleur de cru”. After 15 years ageing Armagnac develops all the qualities which make it an inimitable brandy. Lacquy.GASCONY & THE LANDES Continued… Pamela: Derek? Del: Mm … brandy. climate and varietals. The aftertaste becomes remarkable. when a product is sold under its original vintage. le Bourdalat. Perquie. Darroze Armagnacs are kept in barrel and bottled to order to ensure the maximum beneficial interaction between oak and brandy. orange peel. Hontanx. Since then he has intensified his search for the best vineyards and the best soils in Bas-Armagnac and sourced from a golden triangle of villages comprising. Arthez. Darroze refuse to blend vintages either. and becomes mellow. The initial concept was simple: to create awareness of a region and its extraordinarily varied wine-producing soils. softens. Armagnac. Armagnac brandy loses its strength. These Armagnacs have a body and fullness which exalt the land. The flavours of hazelnut. the law imposes a minimum ageing period of 10 years in oak casks. noticeable over a day later. Thus was born Armagnac. verbena. that’ll do if you’re out of brandy. Villeneuve-de-Marsan. please. in fact. which can last forty to fifty years demands a lot of patience.17 - . The domaine offers about 45 vintages dating back to the beginning of the 19th century. . Bas-Armagnac Château Darroze is one yak you can’t afford to pass up. suppleness and elegance definitively taking over from warmth. In the Armagnac region. amongst others. To preserve the identity of the product and to respect the characteristics of the soil. Only Fools and Horses CHATEAU DARROZE. he intoned solemnly. these Armagnacs have an extremely long lasting aftertaste. traditional in the region for over150 years and come out of the still at between 52-54% alcohol by volume. cocoa and quince combine with the aromas of rose.

18 - . . by himself.” The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide – Douglas Adams CHATEAU DARROZE VINTAGE ARMAGNACS NV 1995 1992 1990 1987 1986 1981 1972 1970 1966 1965 1962 1951 1945 1936 RESERVE D’ARROZE “10 ANS D’AGE” DOMAINE AU MARTIN à Hontanx DOMAINE DE POUNON à Labastide d’Armagnac DOMAINE DE RIESTON à Perquie DOMAINE DE JOUANCHICOT à Mauléon d’Armagnac DOMAINE AU DURRE à Saint Gein DOMAINE AU MARTIN à Hontanx CHATEAU DE GAUBE à Perquie CHATEAU DE GAUBE au Bourdalat CHATEAU DE GAUBE à Perquie DOMAINE DE PEYROT à Ste Christie d’Armagnac CHATEAU DE GAUBE à Perquie CHATEAU DE LASSERRADE à Lasserrade (Appellation Armagnac Contrôlée) CHATEAU DE LASSERRADE à Lasserrade (Appellation Armagnac Contrôlée) DOMAINE DE PEYROT à Ste Christie d’Armagnac Arm Arm Arm Arm Arm Arm Arm Arm Arm Arm Arm Arm Arm Arm Arm Older vintages may be available on request. know how any of it worked. He had been extremely chastened to realize that although he originally came from a world which had cars and computers and ballet and Armagnac.GASCONY & THE LANDES Continued… “The available worlds looked pretty grim. They had little to offer him because he had little to offer them. he didn’t.

botrytised fruit. the delightfully-named Rosette. Much of the soil is clay and soft limestone (with some sandy parcels) and the hard limestone terroirs are better suited for dry white production. 30% Muscadelle picked on successive tries through the vineyard) with its spanking botrytis. Deep gold. Monbazillac It was in the winter of 1992 that Claudie and Bruno Bilancini (a designer and oenologist couple by trade) had the extraordinary luck of being able to lease one of the top sites in Monbazillac. often picking grape by grape. and somewhere on a hillside amid the mile upon mile of golden broom or close to a splashing waterfall you will have. blazingly vivid definition. Monbazillac Monbazillac has a long history (known as early as the 14th century) and is one of the world’s great sweet wines. 2001 MONBAZILLAC “CUVEE MADAME”– 50cl Sw . tangerine essence. to obtain the optimal fruit for each cuvée. These wines are magical. Yields at the property are kept amazingly low (6-10 hl/ha for the sweet wines) and every action in the vineyard is performed by hand. and subtle spicy oak. Most notably. orange peel and spices. All of the vines at Château Tirecul-La-Gravière are facing either north or east. The “northern slopes” are prized for their high level of quality. these wines can last for decades under optimal storage conditions. a few slices of which you will buy and carry away with a salad. has a mere six growers making deliciously floral mediumsweet wines. “A charcuterie in Aurillac or Vic-sur-Cère or some other small but locally important town will possibly provide a paté the like of which you have never tasted before. hazelnuts. allowing for slow. is an AOC for red wines only and has a particular gout-à-terroir derived from a mineral-rich subsoil. Tirecul-La-Gravière is recognized as the top property of the AOC. medium and sweet white wines. the wines are now rapidly beginning to acquire their own discrete identities. gentle ripening and the development of the noble rot. (70% Sémillon. The harvest is done in multiple passes through the vineyards. huge body. The Monbazillac Château is 45% Muscadelle and 55% Sémillon with a 2-6 month fermentation in barrel and a further 20-30 months maturation. and finish that lasts for nearly a minute. Christian Roche has emerged in the last five years as one of the best growers in this appellation. Despite having been virtually annihilated by phylloxera a century ago and being viewed simply as an extension of Bordeaux. Saussignac is sweet Bergerac with a peppermint lick. a bottle of Monbazillac and a baton of bread. a kilo of peaches. just for once.BERGERAC & THE DORDOGNE VALLEY Bergerac and its associated appellations are strung out along the Dordogne river valley. a wine to give top Sauternes a run for its money. which lies furthest east on the river. The Cuvée Abbaye. realized their dream of owning the property. this nectar constitutes one of the most extraordinary sweet wines that you can sup with a spoon. a rarity for wines from this area of Southwest France. gingerbread. fresh mint and eucalyptus on the palate. defining examples of the best that Monbazillac can offer and more. With its profound richness. The Botrytis Conference – A forum where people talk noble rot - The Alternative Wine Glossary DOMAINE DE L’ANCIENNE CURE. The Ancienne Cure is mini Mon-bee. honeyed. they cared for it as if it were their own. viscous thickness (with no heaviness). marzipan. the Cru de Tirecul (one of the ancient premier cru sites in the AOC. Of the various inner appellations Montravel is associated with a variety of dry. whilst Pécharmant. named after a tiny village. the ideal picnic. CLAUDIE AND BRUNO BILANCINI. Glorious nose of apricot jam. or a locally cured ham. With good acidity and a solid backbone. Robert Parker has awarded the property two 100 point scores (all genuflect) and compared it with Château d’Yquem (permission to gasp with incredulity). Cuvée Madame has 60% Muscadelle and spends 2-3 years in oak.) Even though the vineyard and small cave were in disrepair.” (Elizabeth David) 2009 2005 MONBAZILLAC “JOUR DE FRUIT” – ½ bottle MONBAZILLAC “CUVEE ABBAYE” – 50cl Sw Sw CHATEAU TIRECUL-LA-GRAVIERE. Fermentations are very slow and the wines pass into French oak for several months to mature before even more bottle age before release. fat with peachy botrytis tones. and in 1997. The fame of Château Tirecul-La-Gravière has spread far and wide over the last few years. Now.19 - . The Dordogne river is absolutely essential to the development and spread of the noble rot. is absolutely stunning. CHRISTIAN ROCHE. Monbazillac is renowned for the stunning quality of its unctuous botrytised Sauternes-style wines. The vineyard on Monbazillac hill is positioned on limestone interbedded with molassic sands and marl and the special micro-climate of its position on the north-facing slopes is particularly conducive to those autumnal mists which harbour the microscopic fungoid growth called botrytis cinerea.

All the reds begin with the same fanatical biodynamic attention to detail in the vineyard.” Sam Diamond in Murder by Death (1976) . the long natural yeast fermentations (30 days) are accompanied by micro-oxygenation and there is a further malolactic in barrique. and his unfiltered baby Bergerac from Merlot and Malbec. the oak is beautifully integrated. Luc is a true Vinarchiste. relying on micro-oxygenation to avoid reduction problems. La Gloire de Mon Père (50% Merlot/25% Cabernet Sauv/15% Malbec/10% Cab Franc) has an elevage in oak for 50% of the wine and in used barriques for the remainder. always checked by fresh-fruit acidity. 50% used before. A thing of beauty and a joy forever. LUC DE CONTI. exudes buttery white-apricot fruit. He neither filters nor fines and uses hardly any sulphur. and the wine will only be released if it reaches the highest of standards. A truly golden wine with luscious heavy honey notes and oriental spices. In the vineyard the soil is nourished with seaweed and silica treatments to encourage microbial activity. Luc is a true defender of the yeast. This wine will age gracefully for thirty years. Higher or lower? Higher! The red Anthologia. The fabulous. The reds are equally worthy of attention. contains Merlot (60%) as well as Cab Sauv. spiciness makes way for sweetness. The straight Moulin des Dames Blanc made from grapes harvested on Les Gendres plot and containing 35% Sauvignon. This vigneron even riddles the grapes on the vine. Imagine waxy peaches and sweet cashews with a dash of ginger. They are. “Green” procedures are crucial to Luc’s wine-making philosophy. giving them a quarter turn (at least that’s what he tells us – difficult to know when you’ve been hoaxed by Luc). 50% Sémillon and 15% Muscadelle. 20% of which sees some new oak. super-rich warm spiced apricots. The Moulin des Dames wines are from a plot of vines where he practises biodynamic viticulture. She was going out to get a bottle of wine. peaches and quinces. both delicious. the maximum expression of the potential of the grapes.20 - . Two hours later. testament to the power (sic) of underextraction. The blends will also change according to the physiological ripeness of the grapes. 2010 2009 2005/7 2010 2008 2007 2008 BERGERAC BLANC “CUVEE DES CONTI” MOULIN DES DAMES BLANC MOULIN DES DAMES BLANC “ANTHOLOGIA” BERGERAC ROUGE “LE CLASSIQUE” BERGERAC ROUGE “LA GLOIRE DE MON PERE” MOULIN DES DAMES ROUGE MOULIN DES DAMES ROUGE “ANTHOLOGIA” W W W R R R R “The last time that I trusted a dame was in Paris in 1940. on the top cuvées there are several tries in the vineyard. persistent finish. nevertheless. Manual picking and selection of ripe grapes is essential. opulent Anthologia Blanc consists of 100% late harvested Sauvignon (picked grape by grape). the Germans marched into France. Stunning purple colour. In the winery he mixes the lees into a kind of mayonnaise and reintroduces them (or it) into the wine to nourish it. blackcurrant fruit encased in vanilla and marked by savoury cedarwood. Bergerac – Organic A wonderful character and a fine wine-maker. According to him the soil is lifeless (“a cadaver”) and it is a fifteen year process to rid the ground of pollutants. a glossy purple-black wine of fabulous density. This “yeast of Eden” stands comparison with the greatest of all white Graves. Luc de Conti’s exuberant wines reflect his personality. Malbec and Cab Franc. particularly Luc’s piece de resistance. The Anthologia Rouge is fermented in 500 litre barrels which are turned (“roulage”) to give a gentler extraction. Ample mouthfeel and vivacity essential for a fine equilibrium. The fermentation is in barrels made from Allier oak – 50% new. cumin and white pepper. Madness or pertinence or the countenance of sublime perfection? Cuvée des Conti is a creamy Sémillon-dominated effort spending eight months on the lees and a month in barriques for the Muscadelle. incredible concentration and well-defined minerality. Luc laughingly dismisses his pink wine made from 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot. but one that surrenders its considerable treasures slowly and subtly. looking for purity and intensity. given a maceration pelliculaire. Power and sweetness allied to refinement and purity – the crowning achievement of a true Vinarchiste. The grapes are destemmed. There is no filtration or fining. Intense buttery texture. After a short spell in the decanter the aromatics develop profoundly.BERGERAC AND DORDOGNE VALLEY Continued… CHATEAU TOUR DES GENDRES. using herbal tisanes to nourish the soil. barrel-fermented and left on the lees. the Moulin des Dames Rouge (40% Cabernet 60% Merlot) which once famously finished ahead of Château Margaux in a blind tasting in Paris.

for if our senses are dulled or our mood is indifferent. Experiencing the Anthologia for the first time was an epiphany for me. and therefore an emotional experience. it (the Lambrusco) would exactly fill that gap when the afternoon had faded but the evening has not properly begun… Perhaps that’s why I like this Lambrusco so much – it makes me think of all these things. one can measure the physical contents (acidity. like the ravelling up of a screen. The first thing I noticed is that they all suffered from compulsive taster’s twitch. when one desires to nurture every drop and explore every nuance of a great wine.BERGERAC AND DORDOGNE VALLEY Continued… ANTHOLOGIA AND THE NATURE OF WINE TASTING Many dozens of books have fully explored the mechanics of taste.21 - . when the straitjacketed scientist smiles. a definitive old gold that seemed to trap the light in its embrace. By all means nose the wine for primary aromas and swirl a bit to discover if there are lurking secondary aromas. when the clouds fold back. a nervously fanatical rotation of the stem of the glass to imbue the taster with an air of gravitas. it is that the wine lavishes and ravishes the senses to an uncritical froth. unquantifiable. its fixities and definites. Victoria Moore describes how a glass of Lambrusco (bloody good Lambrusco it has to be said) whisks her on an imaginative journey: “And if I only had a villa in Umbria with a terrace surveying a tangle of olive groves and cypress-ridged hills. and over-studious sniffing obfuscates the impressions. Tasting (wine) can be a sensory conduit through which we explore our memories and emotions and. sugar) of wine with laboratory instruments. that which Coleridge refers to in his Biographia Literaria as “the living power and prime agent of all human perception… a repetition in the finite mind of the eternal act of creation in the infinite I AM”. To experience a wine fully you need to savour with your spirit as well as your palate. we are unreceptive. The other day I held a tasting for group of sommeliers at a well-known London restaurant exhibiting a dozen white wines comprising various grape varieties and styles. This may be linked to our primary unmediated experiential perception of wine. and then all that remains is the ability to dissect. has the capacity to transform us positively. as Adam Nicholson put it. then the nose conjured a riot of sensuous (and sensual) images. but considered as rather the perfect foil to a traditional cassoulet. like the beauty of a sunset “…the time between the lights when colours undergo their intensification and purples and gold burn in the window panes like the beat of an excitable heart. receptive. The secondary imagination according to Coleridge “dissolves. diffuses. to blend some metaphors. Magic is what you make of it. Without the taster there would be no taste. But there is a relationship between man and nature to be teased out: a camera-obscura can reproduce the rainbow insofar that it imitates the action of the eye. Allow me to wax lyrical. Food should always be factored into one’s overall perception. As what the camera does not do is to perceive. Certainly not Piat d’Or. shaping organism with the capacity for growth. Not every wine can be a pluperfect Anthologia – not even an Anthologia on every occasion! And context is everything after all. I would like to propose an alternative romantic notion that wine is a liquid vessel of experience waiting to be tapped by the poet within us. plump peach and honeydew vying with exotic Indian spice – there’s cumin. fenugreek and dried ginger … and as the wine warms and develops after each swirl in the glass the leesy butteriness which reined in the rampant fruit dissolves and one is left with sweet balm tempered by the most wonderful natural fresh fruit acidity. culminating in the act of creation or.. This was not Vin Blanc but Vin d’Or. but don’t. I poured a glass: its colour was striking. when quite athwart goes all decorum. Sometimes I wonder if this is not a case of “we murder to dissect”.. If we look at tasting merely as the science of accounting or describing phenomena. and spontaneous. when scoring points becomes pointless. The romantics would further say that the mind was an esemplastic. Greatness in wine. The current orthodoxies in wine tasting seem to date back to Locke’s model of the mind as tabula rasa – totally passive in itself. when the beauty of the world which is soon to perish. by alluding to the primary imagination. So far so obvious. in our extended metaphor. has two edges. This is the vinous equivalent of the yips. How often does wine elicit this reaction? Perhaps the question instead should be: How often are we in the mood to truly appreciate wine? Rarely. one of laughter. A rasping. If the colour drew me in. dissipates. coconut. Some wines yield so much that they demand the deepest absorption from the taster. When the cultured snob emits an uncultured wow. like genius. surrendering oneself emotionally to the moment whilst at the same time actively transforming the kaleidoscopic sensory impressions into an evocative language that will later trigger warm memories. Or like summer arriving after a harsh spring. Everyone has their special wine moment and their own private language to describe it. one of anguish”. rustic red from South West France should not be dismissed for having rough edges. neither do the instruments in the laboratory taste the wine. similarly. alcohol. and acted upon only by the external stimuli of the senses. is fugitive. like the contemplation of art. which the romantics would define as a sentient act. create a tsunami in the glass and always expect to discover the holy grail amongst the sediment. the moment when wine becomes word. considering that the first three wines of our tasting were cheerful gluggers retailing for around three pounds a bottle it all seemed a bit melodramatic. active. tannin. put aside preconceptions and “taste in the round”. yet demands utter engagement. and. and there are numerous systems to codify or judge these. an imaginative commitment which is creative in that it is inspirational. No wine should be so relentlessly agitated for two to three minutes. in order to recreate” and so we use it to make sense of our primary experiences and shape them into words.” The magic is lost when you are (over)conditioned to judge. Anyhoo. Reducing wine to its material components is like reducing a rainbow to its discrete prismatic colours – a pure function of the mechanism of the eye. we diminish our own role in the process. The Anthologia Blanc from Luc de Conti is for me one such. must be the answer. One breathes in tropical aromas of candied apple. . This peach-hued song of sunset with resonant nose-honeying warmth was truly the “yeast of Eden”.

the furrowing of the brows denoting concentration. Too oaky. But all wines are different and there is a story behind each one. where structures dissolve and new meaning is found through emotion and reaction. Good humour. Too shoes and ships and sealing wax. commented one sommelier about one particular Chardonnay that we were tasting. “There is in genius an unconscious activity” . Leaving aside that dross is dross for a’ that. a stylized response uncoupling pleasure from the experience. the business of being serious about wine – the calculated response based on a blend of native prejudice and scientific scepticism. The more I taste wine. joy. reductive wine criticism you will not find any words like magic. the sepulchral hush. In conventional. said one. said another. Too cabbages and kings. as if registering subjective pleasure should be invalid. the more I believe that that each response is one of many truths and that if I purely use a narrow critical approach then I exclude my imagination and intuition. rejoined another. the lips curled in contumely.BERGERAC AND DORDOGNE VALLEY ANTHOLOGIA AND THE NATURE OF WINE TASTING continued… The Walrus and the Carpenter deconstruct a Chardonnay… Continued… Ah yes. spontaneity or creativity – the language of transcendence. If we can bring an open mind to tasting wine – as Coleridge wrote. the mindset of the critic is often to anatomize for the sake to it. good company. Too acidic. good food and open-mindedness are the best recipe for imaginative appreciation.we may allow the wine itself to breathe and fulfil its living destiny.22 - . passion. Criticism like this becomes an end in itself. I say there’s only one thing better with oysters than a good Chablis and that’s a bad Chablis .

the charismatic Gilbert Geoffroy (hailing from Chablis) makes benchmark Sauvignon. 2010 COTES DE DURAS. His basic red is baby Bordeaux in style. appetisingly dry red wine designed to age and to be drunk with food. rigorous. Vinification is in open tank with pigeage à la bourguigonne. aged in barriques for around 14 months. The excellent Les Vignerons Réunis des Côtes de Buzet is responsible for 85% of the production of AOC Buzet. GILBERT GEOFFROY. “If it were a Médoc it would be classed growth status – by which I mean it should not for a moment be confused with common or garden AC Bordeaux – but it has a little extra spice. that is to say according to observation rather than by predetermined method. Syrah and Abouriou from his best vineyard sites. The ultimate realisation of his Sauvignon-hood is the Cuvée Emile Chariot. cassis and black cherries and notes of coffee and vanilla from the oak. working without chemicals (8 hectares are in biodynamie). Vignoble Elian comprises around 50% Cabernet Franc with some Merlot and Syrah. Additional balsamic notes also of resin and liquorice. since Roman times. clay with gravel for the Chante Coucou Rouge and limestone-clay for the Clos Baquey. He vinifies parcel by parcel. The grapes are the same as Bordeaux with Sémillon and Sauvignon dominant in the whites and Merlot and the two Cabernets accounting for the reds. heady wines that diffuse a potent charm and have their own particular flavour. and there’s a very agreeable prickle combined with earthy minerality that carries the wine easily over the tongue. This is serious stuff whose chief distinguishing characteristic is freshness – really lively fruit without a dead grape in that vat but with quite sandy tannins still in evidence. a blend of Merlot and the two Cabernets. so that Bordeaux thumbsuckers don’t hurl their legal nomenclatura out of the pram. A wine for quiches and other cheese tarts. Côtes de Duras Dubbed the brains behind the appellation by Paul Strang in his book “The Wines of The South West of France”. Lovely purple colour. clay-silt with a substratum of iron for the Vignoble d’Elian. His top cuvée. violets and liquorice. It’s more pepper than tannin.WINES OF THE MIDDLE GARONNE “I am not fond. prunes and cinnamon). Deep ruby in colour it reveals some fragrant fruit and spice (black cherries. 2008 2009 2009 2008 2008 CHANTE COUCOU ROSE LE VIN EST UNE FETE ROUGE ABOURIOU CHANTE COUCOU ROUGE CLOS BAQUEY Ro R R R R . He works his 16 ha with fanatical dedication. Cabernet Franc (30%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (10%) and is brimming with pepper-flecked red fruit flavours. one-year-old and two-year-old wood) with batonnage on the lees for twelve months. an area between Agen and Marmande on the left bank of the Marmande. Clos Baquey. Here you will find the Abouriou grape and red wines with a touch more rusticity. The vineyards here are scattered and virtually half the production is in the hands of the cooperatives. but you could also cellar it for at least five years with confidence. more savoury than sweet. Harvest is always manual. although serious oak-aged cuvées have become fashionable recently. Marmandais straddles the Garonne river with two caves co-operatives dominating production. wherein the vinification takes place in barriques (one third each of new. There is also some decent Moelleux made from Muscadelle. Almost black with an intense expressive nose of plums. One can carry plenty of it and it has a good and homely flavour of the land. The bare minimum of sulphur is used in the winemaking process. with classical gooseberry and elderflower crispness and the 2006 vintage exhibits a crackling return to form. sixty per cent Merlot with equal parts of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon and is absolutely classic. deep-coloured. The Chante Coucou Rosé is a bonny pale wine mixing Merlot (60%). The Abouriou is lean and crisp with juicy violet-scented black cherry fruit. but not astringent. What I like best is a clean. You could certainly drink it now.23 - . is a blend of Cabernet. wild sloes. Côtes du Marmandais – Organic Elian worked with Olivier Humbrecht in Alsace before starting his own domaine in south west France in the 1990s. and of the earth and sky and woods”. The tannins are pronounced. Between the southernmost part of Bergerac and Entre-Deux-Mers lie the Côtes de Duras. SAUVIGNON BLANC DOMAINE ELIAN DA ROS. A powerful wine which is just starting to show its potential. expressive nose of cherries. Country-style Buzet will be a firm mouthful of black cherries and prunes – many growers are suspicious of new oak while others yearn to create a smooth rich Bordelais style. of racy. The wine is “gras” with a nose of vanilla and grilled bread and a full palate – and palette – of pineapple and passionfruit prolonged with flavours of hazelnuts and grilled almonds. modest country vintage of no special name. replanting rootstocks. For copyright reasons the wine must now be labelled Chante Coucou rosé. DOMAINE DE LAULAN. for everyday at least. light. (Jancis Robinson)”It’s undeniably dense yet also quite crisp. Merlot. Steppenwolf. ideally next year. The Duc de Laulan (not listed but we have a little bit of it) is a cracking wine blended from the best cuvées and seeing about 1/3 new oak and has le temps d’y voir as they say in Gilbert’s native Burgundy. grapes are destemmed. Chante Coucou Rouge is a mix of south western French grape varieties. Wine has been made in the Côtes de Buzet. Not for nothing is Gilbert known as the “Pope of Sauvignon”. The four types of soil and subsoil which make up the domaine determine the styles of wine produced: clay-silts for the Chante Coucou Rosé.

Billie Holliday DOMAINE DU PECH. Cabernet Sauvignon (30%) and Cabernet Franc (30%).24 - . In 1997 the estate was taken over by his daughter Magali and her boyfriend Ludovic. No fertilizers have been used for twenty years. the basic garnet-hued wine aged in old oak foudres after égrappage and three weeks vinification in stainless steel vats.WINES OF THE MIDDLE GARONNE Continued… If I’m going to sing like someone else. The wines are a mix of Merlot (40%). The white gravels have excellent drainage and the consequent reflection of light and accumulation of heat ensures optimal maturity for the grapes. thereby necessitating minimal treatments with copper or use of sulphur. These are wines of love and respect. Viticulture is “lutte raisonnée”. then I don’t need to sing at all. son of long-standing winemaking family in Jura. developing striking prune and leather aromas after several years in the bottle. Buzet – Biodynamic Domaine du Pech is situated on the slopes of Sainte-Colombe-en-Bruilhois in the extreme south east of the appellation. Only natural yeasts and bacteria are used and the wines are bottled without filtration. Both wines will drink happily with rabbit with prunes or confits. which we are not listing this year. is raised in oak and should be carafed before drinking to loosen its taut structure. Daniel Tissot. 2004 VIN DE TABLE LE PECH ABUSE R . If you love these wines. has been making wine and winning medals in the Côtes de Buzet since 1980. Since 2000 yields have been significantly reduced and since 2004 the drive towards biodynamic methods of cultivation has included the use of medicinal plants as well as minerals. we’ll respect you. The Cuvée Barriques. DANIEL TISSOT.

François I of France used to buy Gaillac wines. means “far from the eye” (loin de l’oeil). In the 18th century. Gaillac The red is a light. for it goes to the veins rather than to the head”. He produces all styles. Mauzac is gently perfumed with a nose of apples and pears and an underlying chalkiness. a touch smoky with exquisite acidity. His clients then were largely composed of churchmen. the respect for tradition is undimmed. It was only a few years later that he built the château. Duras and Braucol.25 - . during the Wars of Religion. then in the Middle Ages the Church leased out land to farmers who were prepared to plant vines. the limestone slopes being used to grow the white grape varieties. which. fruity and herbal it is understated and yet happily satisfying. a fascinating native blend of Mauzac and Loin de l’Oeil. Barthes said that current opinion (which he called Doxa) was like Medusa. Floral. was rebuilt on the plain of the Lisle and became Lisle-sur-Tarn. whilst gravel areas are reserved for the red grapes. the price might be somewhat different. The other major variety is Len de l’El. He offered some of them to Henry VIII of England on the occasion of their meeting in the field of gold and the latter was to drink more of these wines regularly in the course of the following years. When he visited the town in 1533. although the temptation to create a Bordeaux style in the interests of commercialism has meant that grapes such as Merlot. this terroir is widely renowned for the excellence of the wines that are grown there. delicacy and finesse. The Romans started planting vines as far back as the 1st century AD. 150 years later the winery is spitclean new and the philosophy commercially oriented. CHATEAU CLEMENT-TERMES. Catel wrote the following words in his Memoirs (1633): “Gaillac is a town standing on the Tarn river in the region of Albi. in 1868 to construct a winery building. composed of Duras and Merlot and that sappy acidity should you need “une soif etancher”! The original vineyards of this estate were located at the foot of the historic Bastide town of Montaigut. is especially versatile: it is resistant to rot and ripens late and may be found in everything from sparkling wines (methode rurale or gaillacoise was being praised by Provençale poet Auger Gaillard long before champagne was a twinkle in Dom Pérignon’s eye) through dry (en vert). We feel he would have approved of Robert Plageoles. Sauvignon by nature. he was given fifty barrels as a gift. you suspect. The reds are made predominantly from two more native varieties. Lewis Grassic Gibbon – Sunset Song Gaillac is one of the most original wine growing areas in France in every sense. Cabernet and Syrah have found their ways into blends. The Gaillac Blanc. It is terrific value. as is shown in his accounts books. the accent is always on wines with purity. which. If you acknowledged it you become petrified. The wine is aged on the fine lees (after filtering out the heavy lees) for six months. but was forever. something to smack down with the bacon and eggs of a morning. Gaillac Elegance by name. Were it Italian. However.GAILLAC & THE TARN Nothing endured at all. JEAN-PAUL & FRANCOIS DAVID. for example. to semi sweet and even vin jaune. anyway). 2010 SAUVIGNON “ELEGANCE” W . Clément was passionately interested in the vines and in wine and decided. 2010 2010 2010 VIN DE PAYS DES COTES DU TARN SAUVIGNON-MAUZAC GAILLAC BLANC SEC VIN DE PAYS DES COTES DU TARN MERLOT-DURAS W W R CAVE DE LABASTIDE DE LEVIS. exhibits fragrant apple-blossom aromas and vibrant fruit. a former bastide town. which are sold to both Italy and England…” and he added that “the wine is perfect for the stomach and is not in any way harmful. in Occitan. The range of grapes and styles is amazing. it moved and changed below you. juicy fruit-charmed red. He delivered his wines all over France in barrels. Robert Plageoles has been dubbed “one of the artists of the appellation”. Mauzac is his particular passion. The Mauzac grape. nothing but the land… The land was forever. gravid with gooseberries and requited passion fruit (we love it.

délimités par des haies de genets. DENIS BALARAN. Domaine d’Escausses is located halfway between Albi and the medieval village of Cordes. de blé ou de tournesol. avec ici et là. Gaillac The serious side of Gaillac. falling of spinach . The climate is a balance of oceanic with Mediterranean influences.GAILLAC & THE TARN Continued… DOMAINE D’ESCAUSSES. brunch of salad with pesto Baked back of grey mullet with tea. is a barrel-fermented blend of Sauvignon (50%). named after a small stone cross in the vineyard.” You can certainly taste the country in these wines. des champs de colza. Quand au climat. 2009 2010 2008 GAILLAC BLANC “LA VIGNE DE L’OUBLI” GAILLAC ROUGE “CUVEE DES DRILLES” GAILLAC ROUGE “LA CROIX PETITE” W R R The Fer Servadou menu – Château de Salettes Aumoniere of char and pikeperch crystallised. The Cuvée Vigne Mythique (100% Fer Servadou) has merited its soubriquet by harvesting another coup de coeur from the Guide Hachette. des étés chauds et des automnes ensoleillés. The mint and vanilla is plummed (sic) in now. American sauce. blette in gratin.26 - . mainly juicy Duras (75%) with some Fer. “Notre région a tout pour séduire : un paysage doux et vert. A l’image de nos vins. The Cuvée des Drilles. There are 26 hectares under vines for AOC production. American oak for the rest) with renewal of barrels every four years. Beautifully supple and creamy in the mouth with the oak beautifully offset by pure acidity and delicious fresh berry fruit flavours. is one for the lads and ladettes after a hard day’s harvesting. fait de coteaux et d’ondulations de terres. Mauzac and Muscadelle spending twelve months on the lees in new oak and has a subtle flavour of dried fruits and curry spices. l’autre méditerranéenne. is a dark powerful blend of 50% Fer. Clément. green with garlic or Fowl breast with crayfish. 25% Syrah. bitter cherry and appealing suppleness in the mouth. The soil is a mixture of marne and sedimentary limestone and the vineyards are treated with organic and mineral-based manures. ink and warm gravel and lovely wild mint notes. il convient lui aussi à la perfection à la culture de la vigne. A fair accompaniment to Sir Loin of Steak. the terroir will do its phantom of the opera routine later. hints of Seville orange. The nose is enchanting: coffee. de chênes ou de genévriers. 15% Merlot and 10% Cab Sauv raised in a mixture of new oak (1/3) and one year old Allier oak barrels.. chantante et fantasque. with its bright peppery notes. La Vigne de l’Oubli.. avec des hivers peu rigoureux. from a mixture of fifteen to fifty year old vines. This cuvée confidentielle was created for a restaurant in Albi and undergoes an elevage for one year in futs de chêne (Allier oak for some. stable et forte. de petits bois. La Croix Petite. the sort of red that we need to drink for medicinal quenching purposes. il est la conjugaison subtile et sanvante de deux alternances : l’une océanique.

after phylloxera it virtually died out. Robert Plageoles and his son have always refused to use wood barrels for the elevage. reminiscent of salt-dry amontillado.” says Plageoles. the vintners go through the vineyards and pinch the peduncles to stop the sap from flowing to the fruits. Later they are carefully picked and left to desiccate even further on straw mats. in which he has found the potential for a whole range of styles. has found writings on this type of work in some forgotten archives. when the grapes are ripe. The style: similar to a Beerenauslese or a Tokaji. an imposing mouthfeel and is structured and fresh with remarkable length and lingering notes of honey and beeswax. The grapes then slowly dry out. which blows from the southeast. quince and white flower. yet subtly fresh: bruléed autumn apples and pears flecked with syrup and a persistent elegant finish hinting at walnuts. According to Paul Strang.27 - . Oundeng à Gaillac) was once widespread throughout the south west and the Loire. white cherries and angelica. is made from Ondenc. They also perpetuate a way of working which was prevalent in Gaillac from the 12th to the 18th century. is made from the obscure Ondenc (“the grape which gave Gaillac its past glories”) in vintages when the grapes shrivel and raisin in the warm autumn winds. il est le vin du vent et de l’esprit.” They order these things better in France (I wish I’d said that too). however. Plageoles describes it as “a nul autre comparable. After pressing. losing about 20% of volume. who invented cane pruning (taille Guyot as it is called in France). it was only 0. . BERNARD PLAGEOLES. but rather the permanence of its origins through time Frederik Tristan Robert Plageoles believes in rediscovering what has been lost. After a year the must develops a thin veil (voile) of mould which protects it from the air. with a method similar to the one used to make straw wines. 2005 was a perfect vintage. The Plageoles don’t just stop there. which explains why it is not always consistent in style. Champagne producers – please note quality of base product here! NV NV 2008 2010 2010 2009 1997 2004 2005 MAUZAC NATURE MAUZAC NATURE – magnum ONDENC SEC BRAUCOL MAUZAC NOIR LE PRUNELART VIN DE VOILE CAPRICE D’AUTAN VIN D’AUTAN – 50cl Sp Sp W R R R W Sw Sw THE HISTORY OF A UNIQUE WINE The Autan wine. The Vin d’Autan.GAILLAC & THE TARN Continued… DOMAINE LES TRES CANTOUS. and back to Nature (so to speak) why not get your frothy jollies from the infinitely gluggable sparkler (à boire à l’esprit libre as Andrew Jefford quotes Plageoles as describing it).45 ton/acre (6hl/ha). the flagship of this domain. thanks to the Autan wind. Guyot. “This is a climatological wine. This seductive beauty has subtle aromas of pear. Not for him the slavish adherence to global varietals. with the acidity to age half a century. as they want to keep the purity of the fruit and the characteristics of the terroir. “a dry wine with the allure of a moelleux”. an avid reader of old manuscripts. contriving to be sweet. While the way they prune the vines combines tradition and new methods (gobelet and trellising). This arcane wine is made from the first pressing. on the other hand. Dr. Leaving the overripe grapes on the vine and the subsequent drying out of the fruits on straw mats dramatically reduce the yield. it is also responsible for sparkling wines and an array of sweeties ranging from the off dry (Roux) to the unique piercingly dry sherry-like Vin de Voile. Ondenc (Oundenc. Phylloxera. a grape variety originally from the Tarn Valley and which had been widespread in the southwest region of France since the Middle Ages. He also makes an Ondenc sec. Robert. almost wiped it out. Plageoles preserved it in the Vin d’Autan. The flavour is delicate. Gaillac – Organic Tradition is not a return to an obsolete past. This curious wine would go well with a soup of haricots beans laced with truffle oil or a Roquefort salad with wet walnuts. After a spell in the glass the wine will assume delicate aromas of sherry and even ginger beer! Back to Mauzac. Mauzac. used to say that Ondenc produced wines that could rival the best Sauternes. Robert Plageoles replanted almost five acres (2 ha) of it in 1985. when dry (or sec astil to be precise) can produce a fascinating soft style redolent of pears. the grapes ferment and the elevage in concrete tanks lasts 12 months. which is fermented in old oak and returned to the same barrel where it remains for a further seven years. he has grubbed up his plantings of Sauvignon and concentrated instead on the native Mauzac. In 2001. From this point of view.

meanwhile the fruits are left until December to passerillé and the first frost announce the harvest. artificial yeasts or enzymes. The work is a labour of love: the cores. For the liqueur de Prunelle Cazottes again attends to the details that make the difference. It is all about picking the fruits when they have reached optimal maturity – that is to say (in the case of pears) when they have dropped to the ground. Light pressing and a natural fermentation leaves the residual sugar to distil into an eau de vie of delicious suppleness. The Goutte de Mauzac Rosé truly embodies the spirit. MAISON LAURENT CAZOTTES. 12 tonnes of pears realise a mere 2. Then they are manually de-stoned and split one-by-one and then undergo a six month maceration in sugar syrup before distillation. The pears are then allowed to ripen further in cagettes in the warm autumn wind. Laurent Cazottes lets nature do the talking. They are allowed to dry further on shelves until the colour of the skins changes from yellow to red. Cazottes sources the best pears either from the organic orchards of friends or from his own biodynamic ones. Meticulous work in the vineyard ensures ripe and healthy grapes (debudding in spring. the pips and the stems are removed to preserve the maximum aromatic flavour of the pears. The juice is fermented for six weeks in tank to transform the sugars into alcohol.000 bottles. distillers and liqueur-makers.28 - . they attain 8-9 degrees. The sloe bushes form a habitat to shelter fauna. as it were. A long. Made without sulphur. To obtain freshness and purity the stalks and stones of the fruit are manually eliminated leaving nothing else other than the flesh and the skin. green harvest in summer. manual triage). 2007 2009 2009 2009 2010 2008 2007 2009 APERITIF AU NOIX VERTES – 50cl APERITIF DU FLEURS DE SUREAU – 50 cl LIQUEUR DE COING SAUVAGE – 50cl LIQUEUR DE PRUNELLE – 50 cl LIQUEURS DE GUIGNES ET GUINS – 50cl GOUTTE DE POIRE WILLIAMS PASSERILLE – 50cl GOUTTE DE MAUZAC ROSE – 50cl GOUTTE DE REINE-CLAUDE DOREEE – 50cl .GAILLAC & THE TARN Continued… DISTILLERIE ARTISANALE. From 3-4 degrees of potential alcohol. of this autochthonous variety. All this confers an unctuosity and richness to the final eau de vie. slow fermentation using only the indigenous yeasts intensifies the perfumes while the gentle. precise distillation amplifies the aromas further. Villeneuve sur Vere – Organic These are “haute de vies” from a distillerie artisanale. La Reine-Claude Dorée is a very ancient variety and no stranger to jammakers. In order to bring out the flavour of the plums Cazottes effects a passerillage on racks.

Clock the Occitan dialect on the label whilst you tuck into milk fed lamb from the Aveyron (or Sainsbury’s). JEAN-LUC MATHA. “I love working with the vine up on the hill. It is fermented in open tanks with the cap punched down twice a day then aged in well-seasoned barrels or foudres for 20 months.. I breathe and listen to the sounds around me. To the north are the barren plateaux called les astil. the soil is the reddish-purple le rougier with a schist underlay. minimal sulphur is required in the fermentation. More recently. in a thesis on the prevention of cholesterol by the consumption of wine. the vinous equivalent of Chalybeate water. The wines here are made exclusively from the Mansois grape. The economy was devastated and many natives of the region moved away. Jean-Luc Matha trained to be a clown and priest (although not necessarily at the same time) before finding his true vocation. is the beauty of winemaking. the earth. thanks to the high iron content. brilliant fresh reds packed with fresh currant fruits. otherwise known as fer astille. The wines are high in jagged acidity with a haunting earthiness and should be drunk with food: confit de canard. That.. La lune eclairera nos tombes une a une Omar Khayyam Marcillac lies on the Aveyron river just north west of Rodez. The style or philosophy of the wines is connected to the area and the grape variety.” 2008 2006 MARCILLAC. And in a way. discovered especially high concentrations of cathecine and procyamidol – anticholesterol agents. because it was preferable to drinking the local water. I like to watch the sunset and see how the colours change. the son of a pharmacist in Marcillac. called “rougier” by the locals. The wine exhibits a supple texture full of red and black fruits. The vineyards are grown on terraces with very steep gradients. You might say that drinking Marcillac is like letting your tongue go on an outward-bound course for terroiristes. For nearly a thousand years vineyards were the base of the region’s economy. “Take a little wine for thy stomach”! DOMAINE DU CROS. is linked historically to the Abbey of Conques and is the only appellation in the Aveyron region to enjoy AOC status. otherwise known as Fer or Fer Servadou in Gaillac. Well.. the frost. Marcillac Marcillac is a tiny obscure appellation near Clairvaux in Aveyron comprising some eight growers. 2010 2008 2008 MARCILLAC “LO SANG DEL PAIS” MARCILLAC VIEILLES VIGNES MARCILLAC VIEILLES VIGNES – magnum R R R LE VIEUX PORCHE. Bois du vin : on n’a pas toujours cette fortune Sois heureux et jouis : après nous. The Peirafi is a special cuvée based on a rigorous selection grown on old vines. delicious wine so instantly appealing that we unfurl our tongues and allow the flavours to slide silkily across our palates without analysis. PHILIPPE TEULIER.. mure and cassis to name but several. Pascal Monestier. I am in the midst of nature and feel completely content. but by how one digests – South West Saying Do we love these wines or what? Marcillac is good for you. as the bible says. This is wild mountainous country gutted with deep river gorges. for me. Domaine du Cros makes two styles: a basic “tradition” or Lo Sang del Païs which is quite supple with juicy raspberry flavours underpinned by slate and gravel notes and the “Cuvée Speciale” from 50-80 year old vines (now called “Vieilles Vignes”) which spends 18 months in old oak casks and expresses myriad black fruits: myrtille. In 1868 phylloxera destroyed the vineyards by ninety percent. provocative acidity and a medicinal minerality. The Cuvée Lairis undergoes 28 days of maceration in closed fermenters. You certainly end up with a grasp of rasp. oxtail with carrots or a traditional pot au feu are choice partners. the rain and the sun. CUVEE LAIRIS MARCILLAC. Marcillac One does not live by how one eats. The medieval citizens of Rodez used to take Marcillac for their health.” says Matha. Other local delicacies include tripoux and aligot (mashed potato and cheese) and fromage de Laguiole. CUVEE PEIRAFI R R . only old barrels and traditional methods are used. the vine. they are like my thirteen children. This mouthful of forest fruit. provokes and delights in equal measure.29 - . due to its intense red colour. yet each one has a common bond that gives them their ultimate identity. bien des fois. The result? Violet-tinted. indeed after the third glass or so you feel that your life expectancy has substantially increased! The grape variety here is known locally as Mansois (the local patois for Fer Servadou). And just before I come down. The wines define the notion of gouleyant or gracia placendi. The soil of Marcillac is very particular. really.MARCILLAC & AVEYRON “As hard-working as an Auvergnat” Saying quoted in Flaubert’s Sentimental Education La nuit a dans sa robe un trou de clair de lune. “I love the things that the earth gives. Each one is a little bit different. the grape variety is astill. “So far I have made thirteen wines at this property. minerals and spices teases.” Thoreau revisited or winemaker? Both.

Consequently. The way I taste is who I and what I like. I don’t “get” these wines any more than I get an expensive fake fur coat. we can anatomise every single detail and pile up the adjectives. when we drink Marcillac we believe that simplicity is an under-rated virtue. overelaborated wines. The winemakers themselves are guilty in coaxing the wine fit the recipe. pumped. or 50 and above according to others. The sanguine wines of Marcillac remind us that less is more. although it effectively operates at 80 and above according to some. as I’ve mentioned. our sense of pleasure and our sense of imagination brings the wine ineluctably to life. And that’s something worth getting. Disagreement is an important part of debate. he’ll start gibbering and saying Wow! Tasting doesn’t just involve the usual “perceptive” senses. for example. faulty. or the music) is when I am least critical. there are wines that I find faulty because I dislike them. whilst we are in philosophic mode. least straining after meaning. wherein I can taste the interventions at the expense of the fruit and essential flavour is. The usual register is 100. When he really loves a wine his descriptive powers completely desert him and the tasting note collapses in on itself. The former get the juices flowing. that the wine in the glass is only one stage in a complex transformative process. My experience of wine competitions is that in a line-up of multiple wines of various styles the nuances are discarded in favour of the broad brush strokes. because language is an insufficiently sensitive instrument. Oh yes. As Eric is wont to ask: “Which is the wine that you would take home and drink”? The delicious gutsy-savoury wines of the Aveyron and Gaillac are a million miles away from the ramped up international cuvées lying inertly in their oak coffins surrounded by their trove of competition medals. But the final transformation is the response to tasting the wine itself and where that experience takes the individual taster. The so-called objective transformations are the result of what happens to the grapes in the vineyard and in the winery. then I don’t “get the wine” – it “gets me”.MARCILLAC & AVEYRON Continued… L’homme est le vin – Jean-Luc Matha “GET” MARCILLAC Is there a point in getting the wine? Understanding something is necessarily constrained by the very limited linguistic frameworks within which we operate. in one major respect. any wine which tastes acidified or alcoholic or sweetly toasted. It is difficult to share these responses. Who establishes the criteria for marking and is the scale remotely meaningful? Is there a received wisdom concerning wine that we can deconstruct the various components that make it up and assess clearly and conscientiously the real value of what we are drinking? Critical approbation tends to focus on the lavishly made up wines: primped. our sense of excitement. I admire Parker. souped up models. For example. The desire to improve on nature and keeping on adding layers of flavour is the desire to conform to a perceived archetype of what is good. but the words are just cold echoes of the emotions we feel when we taste the wine.30 - . I do a lot of tutored tastings and I realise that although we may all use the same words in describing a wine we may mean quite different things by them. . the others clog our arteries. Wine does not have to be pretentious to be interesting. If you listen to classical music do you appreciate it more by pulling it apart intellectually or do you allow yourself to be swept up in the flow and feel it on the pulses? The time I get the wine (or the picture. or the poem. Back on terra firma points are the means whereby we codify “getting the wine”. to my palate. I also think. Language is an impure form of description: in tasting notes we use ten words where one will do and we never get close to the heart of the wine. I can’t imagine the winemaker admitting the fault – which becomes a neat paradox: the desire to avoid faults in the wine is so great that it drives the winemaker into making meretricious.

Patience is the slow careful flame that transforms the off-cuts. a glass of chilled pastis. Eating cassoulet without a glass of wine though is like trying to carve your way through the Amazonian jungle with a pair of blunt nail clippers or wading through lava in carpet slippers. fennel. its name in Occitan means “between waters”. From the rivers come trout and crayfish. giving us a lust for life on this planet which Man is otherwise intent on making totally uninhabitable”. It’s called a local marriage not because it is a love-date of perfect unquenchable affinities. and flocks of lamb (from the Causses). nor something in the chomping tannin vein. We should accept that some combinations are meant to be. variations. and reds primarily from Fer Servadou (locally called Mansoi) with some Cabernet Franc and Gamay (occasionally). but because it is a hearty entente of two mates with close memories of where they come from. and divided amongst six estates. stuffed cabbage. bones. recounted so eloquently by Paula Wolfert and others. reduces and melds the various components to the quintessential comfort food. The town was founded in the middle of the 13th century at the same time as the castle built by Henri II. The genius of slow food is that it nourishes more than our bodies. It has a sanguine quality that gets the pulses racing. Aveyron offers spectacular landscapes. The vineyards benefit from a southern exposure and plenty of sun which allows ripening of the grapes despite the coolness of the immediate environment. tripous (sheep’s feet stuffed and folded up in pieces of stomach) and estofinado (salt cod cooked in walnut oil). not to say forswunke. After destemming the grapes are fermented in tank. are filled with flowers. Cahors is renowned for its medicinal. Entraygues is situated at the confluence of the Lot and Truyère rivers. which confers finesse and vigour with the addition of some Cabernet Franc giving a little weight and mouthfeel to the blend. The Lot rises in the Cévennes mountains and flows through villages rich in history. And. from the woods beautiful ceps. The taste of things is influenced by the degree to which we engage with food and wine. Sweet. Cahors and cholesterol. grimy-faced urchins in rakishly-angled caps with their warm crusty baguettes cradled like sheaves. which seems to exist as a metaphor for all such slow-cooked peasant dishes in Europe. water. how we savour and understand it. Cassoulet is crusty. A word of advice though. oozy and gluey. and lardloads of cured pork and ham roam blissfully and earthily throughout the local menus. add to the mystique of the dish. Certain foods take me back to places I’ve never been and conjure effortlessly a John-Major style misty-eyed epiphany: The ploque of boule upon boule in the village sandpit. raspberries and cherries on top of a layer of cool stones and pungent medicinality. there is cheese to please and bring you to your knees: on mange Roquefort et Cantal içi. skull it! 2009 ENTRAYGUES LE FEL R CAHORS & CASSOULET – AS NATURE INTENDED Those of you who don’t have duck fat coursing through their veins look away now for this a paean to three C’s: cassoulet. The food requires a wine of certain roughness and ready digestibility. The astille Entraygues et du Fel. it is the earth. Delightful red fruit flavours abound amidst the sturdiness of the wine. and cleans your palate by providing a cool rasping respite from the richness of the cassoulet. In the vernacular parlance. produces white wines from Chenin. the value we ascribe to details. it has a pleasant astringency and a lingering acidity. and you’re feeling partial to a schooner of some revivifying red. don’t mull it. it also teaches us to appreciate the value of meal time. it is a visceral sacrament based on ritual and intuition. they are circumscribed by the Lot and Tarn rivers which cut deep gorges into the countryside. Specialities of the region include aligot (a rich purée made with Tomme cheese. of course. herds of beef from the Aubrac. The origins of cassoulet and the regional. If you’re hunkering down for some wholesome filling refreshment try Potée Auvergnate. The Entraygues is the perfect paregoric. Cahors adds a dash of pep (and pepper) to the stew whilst remaining aloof. Its plateaus. Slow cooking is a luxury in a world driven by convenience and fraught by the notion of wasting time. bevies of game. it expresses notes of tea. should be savoured and not wasted. classified as a VDQS. old maids cycling home with their confit de canard – and is there cassoulet still for tea? Cassoulet is more than a recipe. Entraygues Le Fel Perched on hilltop dominating the Lot valley the village of Fel gives its name to 22 ha of vineyard land planted on slopes and constituting a series of steep rock-strewn terraces descending to the river. You are dwanged and snooled. butter and mashed potato). even familial. jammy oaky reds and powerful spicy wines lack the necessary linear quality. putting iron back into your blood. grass and stones churned into a ruby-hued liquid.31 - .MARCILLAC & AVEYRON Continued… Located in the south west of the Massif Central. bound by fat. a substantial soup of vegetables and meat. LAURENT MOUSSET. beans and sinewy meat into wholesome food. Not an oak-breasted vanilla soft-soaper from the New World. Keats’s beaker of the warm-with-a-mitigating-cool-microclimate-south! I can almost feel the cholesterol dissolving now. According to Curnonsky “The Rouerge is one of those lands blessed by bounteous nature. . called Les Causses. but a simple ruby liquid that speaks of stones and earth. dried herbs and figs. There is even a moral dimension associated with this dish for to cook slowly and with care is to suggest that food is precious. iodine flavour. Laurent Mousset’s wine is dominated by Mansois. You’ve had a hard day thrippling in the fields or in front of a blinking computer screen. sometimes we should look at wine as an elegant seasoning to the food. it is good will amplified in a glass. count of Rodez and fortified in 1357 and still has a strong medieval flavour.

brine and chalk minerality. It is called Le P’tit Curieux. as dry as the winter winds that sweep through the Aveyron. maybe if I like you. it blossoms to layers of white peach. In the mouth. nothing”. 2008 2009 CHARDONNAY-CHENIN “LA CROUZETTE” LA COQUILLE ROUGE W R .. The maybes hang in the air like seagulls on thermal breezes: maybe if I feel like it. quince and ripe greengage. but I love a wine that tickles my ribs whilst staying several steps ahead of my palate. alkaline minerality. maybe if the north wind is blowing. Whence did it come. and fruit skin. scathing acidity introduces an opposing sensation. vine and chestnut forests watch where mantis pray and buzzards levitate. grapefruit and white peach. The two tone element is difficult to reconcile and makes the wine hard to appreciate.. Not for beginners though. although whether it relates to Georges. myriad tiny bubbles and offensive quantities of fun.32 - . Orthodox wine lovers would roll their eyes (and I once saw a sommelier squirming in his straitjacket after trying this). bleached oak doors and rusted hasps obey. stepped in as a late substitute. Or.MARCILLAC & AVEYRON Continued… PATRICK ROLS. It was in a barrel. but. whither is it going? Well. pet their crust. I prefer to suffer for my Chenin. Would you bottle it for us? Another shrug – why not. a different dimension. who was scheduled to display his wares. Sun grinds sandstone walls below. verve. Light gold it conveys a touch of funny honey on the nose giving way on the palate to ripe. Sizzling sparkling white unsheathing sharp darts of spiky lemon. Monsieur Rols shrugged. anise. the curious little boy. Eric tasted and liked the wine. We can’t guess the intention of a grower who surrenders so little information and we have little idea how the wine is supposed to taste and how it might develop. angelica. in the words of Manuel: “I know. Here the initial sweetness was disconcerting. Gate-house tower browbeats carp-scaled roofs. Obscurity is the realm of error said the Marquis de Vauvernage in one of his many moral apercus. was forced to pull out. almost tropical fruit like pineapple chunks in syrup followed by full throttle tartness. and subtle bitterness of herbs. Roger Darby Patrick Rols recently appeared at the natural wine festival (Dive Bouteille) in Deauville. Walnut. finishing persistently with musky florality. We are not sure that he was supposed to feature but his neighbour-in-Aveyron-wine. It has renewed zip. I expected it to be bone dry. more simply. And so it came to pass that a secondary fermentation happened in the bottle. Nicolas Carmarans. the wine in question is most assuredly a Chenin and comes from the old province of Rouergue. with the two cheeses that we were nibbling – Harborne Blue and Wigmore – the flavours were suddenly realigned and harmony was achieved. Unlike the force of marketing nature that characterises so many commercial estates we can appreciate a piece of Gallic insouciance. The wine resists easy categorisation. then jolting. to taste quince shaved off the stone and to suck on the memories of bleached almond. Centuries creep through and hide in alleyways that mid day heat forgets. supposedly. Without sulphur? Most certainly. now the department of Aveyron.. and Patrick. Vin de Pays de l’Aveyron – Biodynamic At Clairvaux d’Aveyron Hamlets in biscuit stone crown bluffs: white knights guarding red queen. not far from Marcillac. and asked him what he was doing with it. the cheeky monkey is not known.. blushed as its wine. The great Loire Chenins are like tiny super-crunchy apples or pears and often possess the sort of minerality as if they had been filtered through the rocks themselves.

” The only two phrases that Victor ever actually learned to spell out were lait and Oh. However. He wanted to civilise Victor with the objectives of teaching him to speak and to communicate human emotion. The Enlightenment caused many thinkers. a young medical student.MARCILLAC & AVEYRON Continued… “No-one is prepared to admit that wine doesn’t have any taste. like the countryside. did prove to be a step towards new systems of pedagogy. Itard wrote “Under these circumstances his ear was not an organ for the appreciation of sounds. Victor was given his name after the leading character in the play Victor. As he says himself “I want to make wines that I like to drink”. and wild. but presumably because he dimly recognises the injustice of the action.500 of the 2. ou l’enfant de la foret. mouthfilling wine stays in barrels on the lees for ten months. on this occasion the professor strikes him across the face. the first fully developed melodrama — by René Guilbert de Pixérécourt. Eventually. has vines in planted on the decomposed granites high in the northern Aveyron. education could be restructured and characterized. he was taken to Paris to the National Institute of the Deaf to be studied by Roch-Ambroise Cucurron Sicard. Called Selves Blanc it is Chenin. a man who looks like he wrestles bears and then eats them for breakfast. Black Books . speak elvish. At the Itard home. Victor died in Paris in 1828. unfiltered and only a touch of sulphur. Aveyron – Organic Nicolas (Nico) Carmarans. It would seem. 2009 2009 2010 SELVES BLANC MAUVAIS TEMPS ROUGE BRAUCOL “L’ALTRE” W R R Bernard. Victor stopped what he was doing and displayed consoling behaviour towards her. who believed that by educating the boy and giving him the tool language he would elevate him from his savage state. this idea would gain support. unfined. first produced in 1798 and published in 1803. man was looked at as not special. Itard believed that two things separated humans from animals: empathy and language. While Victor did not learn to speak the language that Itard tried to teach him. Itard reported on this progress. and itself based on a book with the same name written by François Guillaume Ducray-Duminil in 1796. ridiculously sapid and savoury and made with the 30% Negret de Banhars (Nicolas has 1. to believe that human nature was a subject that needed to be redefined and looked at from a completely different angle. When Victor accomplishes a task successfully he is given a glass of milk as a reward. restaurateur and vigneron. Rousseau appears to have believed “that natural association is based on reciprocally free and equal respect between people. Whole grape vinification for thirty days and then used barrels for elevage makes for a wine that both Nicolas and ourselves would like to drink. The Mauvais Temps is the good bad time had by all. eat elvers and believe that Elvis is alive and living on the moon. planted on steep slopes. that Itard implemented more contemporary views when he was educating Victor.33 - . but as characteristic of his place in nature. the wild child Victor of Aveyron was a feral child who lived naked and alone in the woods of the Aveyron before being found wandering near SaintSernin-sur-Rance in 1797.” The Story of Victor of Aveyron. escaped and re-emerged a couple of years later when he was taken in by the townspeople. Jean Marc Gaspard Itard. The wines are as natural as nature – wild yeast fermented. the oddly prescient melodramatic play — indeed. housekeeper Madame Guérin was setting the table one evening while crying over the loss of her husband. It was hoped that by studying the wild boy.” This notion of how to educate and to teach was something that although did not produce the effects hoped for. This intense. By attempting to learn about the boy who lived in nature. He was captured. it seems that Victor did make progress in his behaviour towards other people. their articulations and their combinations. The next wine is for people who are selfish. including naturalists and philosophers. 50% Fer Servadou 10% of the two Cabs. He became a case study in the Enlightenment debate about the differences between humans and animals. however. effectively adopted Victor into his home and published reports on his progress. DOMAINE NICOLAS CARMARANS.500 vines still planted). Dieu. Victor’s story was memorably retold in François Truffaut’s “L’Enfant Sauvage”. Because of the French Revolution and new developments in science and philosophy. Victor cries (not because he is hurt – he is virtually impervious to pain). it was nothing but a simple means of self-preservation which warned of the approach of a dangerous animal or the fall of wild fruit. Victor showed significant early progress in understanding language and reading simple words but failed to progress beyond a rudimentary level. written in 1797/8. One of the striking scenes in the film sees the professor trying to teach Victor morality.

a kind of Pomerol amongst Cahors”. Heritage is for you. whilst Jean-Luc Baldes has just created his version of the original black wine. as Voltaire said. The recipe is exacting: a tri de vendange.34 - . the former in Burgundy and California. This is 100% Malbec from 30-40 year old vines and miserly yields of 30hl/ha. malolactic fermentation and sensible use of oak. but you don’t fancy taking out one of the big guns. destemming. grilled meats and duck every which way. and is. sweet. spicy red wine endowed with red and black fruits and smoked fig and liquorice flavours. the reputation of Cahors became established all over the world. We also receive a healthy allocation of his remarkable top treacle-thick cuvée “Le Cèdre”. In the cellars the Verhaeghes aim for softness. supplemented by smidgens of Merlot and Tannat. The grape variety here is Malbec (also known locally as Auxerrois). a bonny ruby-red. lush and richly fruited. The Heritage du Cèdre is the Pugsley in this Addams menagerie. the heart is black but the flesh is youthful. CHATEAU DU CEDRE. and encourages a more active fermentation in which the colouring agents dissolve perfectly”. By the 14th century Cahors was being exported throughout Europe including England (where it earned the sobriquet of “The Black Cahors!”) and Russia. From vines yielding a mere 15hl/ha this black beauty. without Water at mid-day. it was even considered superior to Bordeaux in France. a thoroughbred in a fine stable of Cahorses. Pascal Verhaeghe from Château du Cèdre has just started using the micro-oxygenation technique (pioneered by Patrick Ducournau in Madiran) to create wines of great suppleness. leaf stripping for greater sun exposure and air circulation. an anagram of Cahors Auxerrois is “Ou! Six Rare Cahors!” Sometimes. is aged in 500-litre new oak demi-muids with long lees contact. 2009 2007 2008 2002 2006 2002 HERITAGE DU CEDRE CAHORS CAHORS – ½ bottle CAHORS. “as cypress black as e’er was crow”. made from the oldest vines on the estate. Decant and be awed. perfumed and plum-pruney. The Cèdre wines repay long ageing and will accompany local goat’s cheeses such as Cabecou and Rocamadour. harvesting the grapes on the verge of overripeness yield the superb raw material essential to create fabulous wines. It quacks duck magret to me. PASCAL VERHAEGHE. By the way. yield reduction by serious pruning. CUVEE PRESTIGE – magnum LE CEDRE LE GRAND CEDRE R R R R R R . Now top that – and we have – with Le Grand Cèdre. The family traits of abundant dark brooding fruit are evident. Tastes change… now one can find wines made by carbonic maceration. and when the river Lot was eventually adapted as a trading waterway. A mixture of new and old oak. the top cuvées are made from low yields and old vines on the estate. His sons Pascal and Jean-Marc duly studied winemaking. and in The evening just as The Good Lord gave it to us! Old Aveyron proverb – quoted in Paul Strang’s Wines of South-West France Cahors has enjoyed a long and complex history. Vines were originally introduced by the Romans. richness and harmony through gentle extraction by long vattings and limited pigeage. With its thick cassis aromas and wild raspberry fruit this is a meal in itself and should be eaten with great reverence and a long spoon. the Malbec softened by plummy Merlot soothing to the gullet. the superfluous is very necessary. as Andrew Jefford describes it so eloquently “strikingly soft. Ecological viticultural methods eschewing weedkillers and chemical fertilizers.CAHORS Wine should be drunk neat In the morning. It’s lunchtime and you could murder a Cahors. a nice touch of lip-smacking acidity. think again! Pascal Verhaeghe has been the driving force behind the Cahors “Quality Charter” and quality oozes from these wines. Cahors – Organic If you think that Cahors is just brushing your teeth with tannin-flavoured twigjuice. almost impenetrably dark with glossy purple tints. or bringing to the boil the whole of the vintage before it is put into barrel for its natural fermentation… The first-mentioned process removes from the must quite a lot of the water content of the wines. The Cahors is inky. The wine is then aged for twenty months where it acquires its fabulous colour. The estate was originally created by Charles Verhaeghe on vineyard land devastated by the frosts in 1956 in Viré-SurLot. vinification at 30-32 degrees with pigeage and a 40 day cuvaison followed by 100% malolactic fermentation in new oak barrels. Paul Strang quotes Monsieur Jullien in his book Wines of South-West France describing this strange black wine: “They make a point of baking a proportion of the grapes in the oven. the latter in Bordeaux. a light pressing.

The emphasis on terroir is exemplified most purely in the Clos Triguedina which is aged in large old oak casks for twelve to eighteen months. With its glossy purple colour. Using evidence garnered from old documents Jean-Luc Baldes has been experimenting in a corner of his cellar over the years with small batches of grapes and. We decided to list it this year. And why. The wine has the rasping digestibility of terroir. The vineyards comprise 40 hectares of prime south-facing vineyard sites by Puy l’Eveque and contain the usual mixture of Malbec. The style is radically different to Château du Cèdre. now. menthol. One could invade Argentina with these aromas. Black cherry. herby. but most dominant are the smells of dry hay and earl grey tea. ripe berry fruit and a long finish. The Paillas with its frisky tannins and gentle fogginess is our summer Cahors drinking like a dangerous dream at the moment. 1996. Supposedly. with mint and vanilla from the new oak. Apparently. Domaine de Paillas. a wine to cause you “se casser la tete”. a revisitation of a traditional style of vinification. pray? “The chosen red wine is Cahors. The domaine is situated on the Floressas plateau and benefits from excellent terroir. Cahors How many Cahors can we list? Come on.35 - . 2004 2001 1999 CLOS TRIGUEDINA PRINCE PROBUS THE NEW BLACK WINE OF CAHORS R R R . has produced this special limited release from his oldest vines in the best-located vineyards. Selected super-ripe grapes are put into a vat. eucalyptus. Cahors The Baldes family has been making Cahors since 1830. to wit. which could add additional oak-specific phenols to the wine. named after the Roman emperor who repealed Domitian’s edict and allowed vines to be planted again in the region. but judging from the colour and extraction it should age 10 years comfortably. a half-baked (literally) thoroughly pruny oddity. grippy. The vines occupy a single parcel of 27 hectares and are an average age of 30 years old. the Probus is very polished in the mouth. Merlot and Tannat. and the fact that it is not matured in oak tree casks. 2002 CAHORS R CLOS TRIGUEDINA. A delicious well-integrated wine. JEAN-LUC BALDES. “triguedina” in Occitan derives from the expression “il me tard de diner” (or to put it more pithily “I want a drink!”) and indeed the property is on the site of a former coaching house. it is all in the timing and the ingredients – the French love their alchemy. The flavours are fabulous. because as TS Eliot might say “humankind can easily bear too much new old-fashioned Cahors”. selected for its high content of phenols. Factoid: Domaine de Paillas was the test wine used in an experiment by one Erik Skovenborg to examine the isolated and combined effects of red wine solids on atherosclerosisprone apoE deficient mice. There’s more – a new “Black Cahors” as black as a stack of black cats.” I would have chosen Marcillac myself but then I’m not a scientist. The final blend is 90% Cot and 10% Merlot. finally. is a cuvée of older vines aged in a mixture of new and old oak barrels for nine to twelve months. yet also smooth and port-like with a whisper of prunes and truffles to come. attractive nose of blackberries and sloes. for the wines are austere and very minerally. figs in spirit. it’s Cahorses for courses! We like Cot (Malbec) a lot. Prince Probus. The resulting style is unique: dry. remarkably forward. requiring several years to soften. heated quickly to nearly 60 degrees centigrade and the resulting juice goes into new oak barrels to brood and treacle darkly awhile.CAHORS Continued… CHATEAU PAILLAS.

You can almost taste the wisdom of centuries. Clos Saint Jean is the result of a unique experiment from the Jouffreau family. Cahors This is an historic estate. like wine. making very traditional unembellished Auxerrois – the authentic voice of Cahors calling from the vasty deeps. So she locked me in the cellar. Clos de Gamot. Jean’s family has been making wine at Gamot since 1610. junipers.000 per hectare. With a total area under vine of 25 acres. Over the centuries past winemakers used the stones in the vineyard to build walls. whose ambition was to rediscover the expression of a forgotten vineyard. It is just on the mark. and so did the Tsar Peter the Great. Cahors “I told my wife that men. improve with age. toffee and truffle. The wine is vinified entirely is small cement tanks to conserve the maximum amount of characteristics from this great terroir. tucked into a bend on the River Lot in the village of Prayssac. who were the then masters of Guyenne. came from the 100+ year old vines that the ‘Vignes Centenaires’ cuvée is made from. aniseed and red fruits. 2004 2002 CLOS DE GAMOT CUVEE CENTENAIRE R R . The Jouffreau family planted three generations of Malbec. local relative Auxerrois (all from the Clos de Gamot vineyards) on a variety of rootstocks. the harvesting is by hand and the viticultural solutions are green. stone walls and “gariottes” still dominate the landscape.” Rodney Dangerfield The vineyard of Cahors. was much praised as early as the 7th century by the Bishop of Verdun. The 2001 Clos Saint-Jean is a grandly caparisoned Cahors with deep ruby colour and aromas of menthol. The third and final generation. Gentle pumpovers are performed to obtain a harmonious structure. one of the oldest in France. 2001 CLOS SAINT-JEAN R CLOS DE GAMOT.36 - . Destroyed by phylloxera at the end of the 19th century and later killed by the devastating frost of 1956.CAHORS Continued… CLOS SAINT-JEAN. Complex and mineral on the palate with pruny fruit and concentrated black truffle notes. Loyal to their philosophy of producing authentic. The Cuvée Centenaire is made only in exceptional years: it is from one hundred and twenty year old vines. They were not trying to duplicate the wines of their principal domaine. and its close. The vineyard is situated on a small mountain face. The cuvaison lasts an average of three to five weeks and the methods of extraction remain traditional and respectful of each vintage’s needs. Clone JU (Jouffreau) 594. Everything was done by hand (shovels and pickaxes carved the vineyard out of the rock and scrub) and the vines were densely planted – on the terraces 10. liquorice. Try with trouffe sous la cendre. shoulder of lamb or duck magret with a balsamic and honey reduction sauce. were also erected to give the labourers temporary cover while working amongst the vines. the Jouffreaus chose to wait more than ten years before releasing the wines from Clos Saint Jean’s quality-rich terroir. the English. Small stone huts. the wine of Cahors has re-conquered connoisseurs and won back its rightful place among the great appellations of France. Long-lived. richly endowed in tannins and aromas of liquorice. Racking. fining and blending over this time allow the tannic structure to soften and bring out the numerous complex aromas of the Malbec. In the 13th century. Don’t expect to be blown away by power – this wine describes subtlety and understatement. was cultivated again. The second comes from a more recent Gamot site that is partially used for the vieilles vignes cuvée. considered it very highly. when the Auxerrois. Viticultural life was extremely hard. Wines from the “Pech de Sals” were particularly valued and renowned throughout Europe during the 17th century. winemakers since 1610. age-worthy wines. called “gariottes”. tasting. JEAN JOUFFREAU. with a delicate whiff of rose-petal (interestingly Jouffreau plants roses at the end of each row of vines – it keeps off the mildew apparently) and a gentle palate of soft currant. The wines are from low yields. The first generation. comes from another site used for the Vignes Centenaires. it is only in the early sixties that it came back to life. these can still be seen on the edge of the vineyard. a noble grape variety specific to the appellation. near the village Sals located between Castelfranc and Labastide du Vert. FAMILLE JOUFFREAU. ‘the original’ Auxerrois. These original winemakers were responsible for constructing the landscape of the Quercy region and today. but rather expose the superb characteristics of this specific terroir with their extensive wine-making savvy. Ageing takes place over 18-24 months in demi-muids. powerful and generous.

For those of a more quixotic disposition try the Cuvée Don (Négrette/Syrah 50/50) – a tilted windmill of extraordinary charm. made from a field blend of 65% Négrette. you can sense their earthy digestibility. the Mavro became the Négrette and is the origin of the typicity of Fronton wines. Soil composed of gravel and stone allied to low-yielding vines provided the foundation for this intention. but with a pronounced and particular flavour of almonds. Much later. The unique Négrette grape grows here. We are due north of Toulouse here and just west of Gaillac between the Tarn and the Garonne. the variety which was to write Fronton’s history. 160th Pope after St Peter. Le Roc Classique. out of which the Cypriots used to make a wine to “ increase their valour. Deep ruby colour offers aromas rich in red fruit and spice. Négrette makes good quick-maturing wines. Le Roc Reserve is 50% Négrette (from 25-year-old vines). Over the years. during the siege of Montauban. This red will run up your nostrils and do backflips. the Cabernets and Gamay in various quantities. It was the Romans who planted the first vines on the terraces overlooking the Tarn Valley. he was so enthusiastic about the wine that he demanded that its praises be sung on parchment.” The Knights introduced this grape to their commanderies in the Occident. sent each other a gift of the respective wines. Fronton Je negrette rien (“I have no negrette”) – Edith Pif (the little nose) The Côtes du Frontonnais is a highly unique winemaking region located on the left bank of the Tarn River about twenty miles north of Toulouse. and mild and wet in the winter. Louis XIII and Richelieu. the two neighbouring parishes of Fronton and Villaudric quarrelled over the supremacy of their soils. The wines are given structure by the addition of Syrah. CUVEE DON QUICHOTTE Sp/Ro R R . is medium-bodied. with occasional hills that create small slopes. Monsieur Ribes believes in low yields and rigorous selection of fruit. the only area in France where this variety has become perfectly and durably acclimatised. having each taken quarters in one of the two towns. Wonderful scent of parma violets. the Mavro (which means black in Greek). including that of Fronton. on one of their crusades. NV 2008 2008 LE ROC AMBULLE – magnum COTES DU FRONTON CLASSIQUE COTES DU FRONTON. rhubarb and liquorice. The wines reflect their terroir: the soil is poor. Fronton is one of the oldest vineyards in France. a red stone called rouget with a base of iron and quartz. pencil lead. cherries. The typical climate of the region is similar to that of Bordeaux: warm and dry in the summer. came to consecrate the church in Fronton on 19th July 1191. a hint of violet and a touch of spice. quite low in acidity. This could be a northern Rhône with its fabulous floral effusion and roasted coffee tones. a material very rich in iron that lends a particular flavour to the wines. vanilla and cinnamon. medium-bodied with red fruits (cherries and raspberries).FRONTON & VILLAUDRIC To me He is all fault who hath no fault at all: For who loves me must have a touch of earth Tennyson – The Idylls of The King Fronton and Villaudric are embraced in the Côtes du Frontonnais. The vineyard’s subsoil is composed of ice age deposits. Full-bodied texture shows notes of extremely ripe blackberry. 25% Syrah and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. CHATEAU LE ROC. Jean-Luc and Frederic Ribes have always wanted to make Frontonnais with some oomph since they took over the Château Le Roc property in 1988. Seville orange and cinnamon. discovered and brought back a local grape from Cyprus. ripe cassis. FAMILLE RIBES.37 - . The area is generally flat. Soft tannins and a bright fresh finish. 25% Syrah and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. The story is that the Knights Templar brought the vines back from Cyprus almost 900 hundred years ago and called it Négrette because of its dark skin. Vinification with pigeage helps provide extraction for the wine which is then aged for 12-15 months in oak barrels (15% new). peonies and a suggestion of marzipan. hint of leaf and some peppery notes. with notes of red berries. white pepper. topped by alluvial soil and rouget. But it was only in the 12th century that the Négrette appeared. They were the ones who. and taste the significant concentration of minerals. the vines belonged to the Knights of the Order of St John of Jerusalem. finishing with well-integrated tannin and excellent length. cherry. Bottled without filtration this has a deep ruby colour. At this time. When Calisstus II. is extraordinarily aromatic with notes of vanilla. The story goes that in 1621. A distinctly savoury red this would go well with charcuterie and wild duck salmi.

blossoming a world away from our contrived idylls. the wine is rounded and balanced with a finish of tannins that are present yet refined. and from low yields of 35hl/ha. the Cuvée Classique. with no reference to the universe of ideas. The vines are planted on the highest terrace of the Tarn at an altitude of about 200m. Double ouch. a smooth. MARC PENAVAYRE. and is fully expressive of typicity. lay stone on stone. dense and packed with fruit and powerful yet refined tannins. Balzac – The Wild Ass’s Skin CHATEAU PLAISANCE. Ample mouthfeel. The grapes are not destalked. 2009 2010 2008 2010 CHATEAU PLAISANCE ROUGE CHATEAU PLAISANCE ROUGE “ALABETS” CHATEAU PLAISANCE ROUGE“TOT CO QUE CAL” CHATEAU PLAISANCE ROSE R R R P There are moments in our life when we accord a kind of love and touching respect to nature in plants. peppery quality that cries: Drink me! With aching hands and bleeding feet We dig and heap. in the customs of country folk and the primitive world. If Ribes wines lean towards the Rhône in accent. with greater emphasis on the Négrette (70%) is aromatically akin to putting your nose in a cherry clafoutis. These deposits provide a check to the vine’s vigour which is what is needed to produce quality grapes. balanced wine that merits its Coup de Coeur in the Guide Hachette.FRONTON & VILLAUDRIC Continued… Here nature was simple and kindly. The nose is very marked by aromas of spice and stewed fruit. 7-8 for the Négrette and a bit longer for the Syrah and Cabernet. Harvesting began at the beginning of August but a massive hailstorm at the end of the month decimated the harvest. 20% Syrah and 5% Cabernet Franc) is a sheer joy with a moreish. 40% Syrah. the Cuvée Thibaut. and wish were done. both genuine and poetic. soy and new wood. Subsequent vintages have been delightful and Penavayre is moving to a more natural style of winemaking. giving an impression of rusticity. the countryside. Time for some grilled country bread rubbed with garlic and tomato and the best Bayonne ham. exotic oriental spices. On the palate. honed and polished from twelve months in barrels. The pinky and perky rosé (75% Négrette. the pure product of chance. for example. with some actually dying of thirst. Explosive nose with wild dark fruits. not because it is beneficial for our senses. (and that’s not including the “flail of lashing hail”) 2003 was the vintage from hell for Marc. gravel and silt. and 10% Cabernet with eighteen months in new oak. but who cares – let’s celebrate diversity. This year we have acquired a soupçon of the cuvée above the cuvée so to speak “Tot So Que Cal”: 50% Négrette. The Thibaut has an intense brilliant and lively dark red colour. named in honour of his son. A lack of rain combined with searing heat with two months of temperatures above 40 degrees combined to attack the vines. self-generated. but cuvaisons are relatively short: 6 days for Gamay. We bear the burden and the heat Of the long day. minerals. Marc Penavayre makes wines that are a sheer delight to drink. is toned. Johann Christoph Friedrich Schiller – On Naïve and Sentimental Poetry . an elegant Négrette/Syrah blend. Villaudric – Organic Based in the village of Vacquiers in the south east part of the appellation. Penavayre’s seem more Burgundian.38 - . and not because it satisfies our understanding of taste either… but simply because it is nature. He makes several styles of wine. as well as the human nature in children. a concentration achieved with yields of below 20hl/ha. The soil is composed of alluvial deposits. essentially pebbles.

Dry. Brumaire means misty by the way and is also the name of the month on the old calendar. redefined Madiran in the 1980s and 1990s and resurrected its reputation. he experiments constantly with oak from different regions of France and with different periods of ageing. As with Jurançon (q. meanwhile. Madiran Whatever you think of his methods in garnering publicity for his wines. a November harvest dulcet-toned wine made from Petit Manseng with a nose of almond pastry. In Madiran the traditional grape variety is Tannat. COTES DE GASCOGNE MADIRAN. CHATEAU BOUSCASSE MADIRAN. Patrick Ducournau. hand-picked (mais. Brumont is a strong advocate of the Tannat grape and using new oak to age the wines. although many growers are turning to gros and petit Manseng and even a little sauvignon. The soil in Madiran is endowed with deposits of iron and magnesium and is so compacted that neither rain nor vines can easily penetrate – these are dark. Alain Brumont is the man who. For reference the Montus Prestige and the Bouscassé vieilles vignes are 100% Tannat. admitted Sir Lulworth. I mean the wine has the nose. The reds are predictably massive and backward when young like embryonic clarets (but what claret!) but with age the oak will mellow and support the Tannat. PACHERENC DU VIC-BILH MOELLEUX – 50cl W R R R R Sw Sw . He even grades his organic manure into different vintages. There have been vineyards in Madiran or Vic-Bilh (to give its original dialect name) since the 3rd century and. Pacherenc may be made from any one of a variety of grapes: Arrufiac (or arrufiat or ruffiac) is traditional. He also believes that true Madiran has as near 100% Tannat as possible. then the Bouscassé is the more terroir-driven and wilder with the classic nose of “bois et sous-bois” and hencoop. in his invention of the microbules machine.” “He is a southerner”. the idea being that the normal method of racking off the lees disturbs the wine too much. His passion for new wood is unfettered. PACHERENC DU VIC-BILH MOELLEUX – 50cl FRIMAIRE. Please try also the unpronounceable Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh “Brumaire”. I took that into consideration when he nearly killed the gardener’s boy the other day for bringing him a spurious substitute for sorrel. If the Montus wines are more polished. cinnamon and caramelised pears.MADIRAN & PACHERENC “… Sebastien is a man of hot temper. its very name suggestive of rustic astringency. low yields. whereas this gentler method allows slow aeration leading to wines of greater suppleness. pain eper . Different types of oak give different accents to the wine. These growers are known locally as “Les Jeunes Mousquetaires” and foremost amongst them is Alain Brumont whose achievements at Château Montus have garnered worldwide recognition. ‘Tell me your longitude and I’ll know what latitude to allow you’. CHATEAU BOUSCASSE VIEILLES VIGNES MADIRAN. And is he a perfectionist. from raisined grapes left on the vine until December. CHATEAU MONTUS PRESTIGE BRUMAIRE. minerally wines. not the millionaire! 2010 2007 2004 2006 1998 2007 1996 GROS MANSENG-SAUVIGNON.” The Blind Spot – Saki Confidentiel – description of a wine which is known only to connoisseurs and the local growers. granules and pebbles strengthened with iron and manganese oxide resulting from glacial alluvials from the Pyrenees. This device injects tiny bubbles of oxygen into the wine after the fermentation. The straight Bouscassé and Montus contain some Cab Sauv and/or Cab Franc for light relief. Although he now makes a wide range of wines we are chiefly concerned with those bottled under the Château Bouscassé and Château Montus labels. naturellement). The Frimaire.) a group of young wine makers have worked hard to promote the identity of their wines. DOMAINES ALAIN BRUMONT. pilgrims en route for Santiago de Compostela appreciated the wines. Let him lead you on a tour of his estate as he indicates the finer points of red soil and galet stones and something called “Grebb” or “Grip” (also known picturesquely as eye of the goat). off dry or sweet. in the Middle Ages. to be geographically exact he hails from the French slopes of the Pyrenees. goes one step beyond. is my motto. intense. has harnessed modern technology. these wines are unusual and quite distinct from Jurançon with flavours of spiced bread and mint. Fermented and aged in new oak barrels for one year this is liquid pain perdu for millionaires with the most beautiful nose of sweet white truffle. One must always make allowances for origin and locality and early environment. in effect. and it constitutes anything between 40 and 60 per cent of the blend with the Cabernets and a little Fer (locally called Pinenc) making up the remainder. creating a profound wine. He also believes in terroir – indeed he has compared Maumusson to the Napa Valley. no filtering or fining.v. CHATEAU MONTUS MADIRAN.39 - .

Raisined grapes. The wine slides around the tongue and fills the mouth with pear william and yellow plum flavours. punchy with acidity and bags of orchard fruit flavour. It certainly inspires us. 2009 2007 2007 2007 2007 2008 PACHERENC DU VIC-BILH SEC VIEILLES VIGNES MADIRAN HAUTE TRADITION MADIRAN “CUVEE CHARLES DE BATZ” MADIRAN “CUVEE CHARLES DE BATZ” – ½ bottle MADIRAN “CUVEE CHARLES DE BATZ” – magnum PACHERENC DU VIC– BILH DOUX. Indeed the very fine estate of Quinta de la Rosa was the inspiration for this extraordinary wine. chocolate texture in the mouth is offset by an echo of tannin – this wine would go beautifully with cheese. a veritable vin de garde. The Madiran Haute Tradition is a pugnacious vin de terroir. aromas of bitter-sweet cherries and prunes. late Tannat show. flavours of dark cherries. uncompromising and will develop in their own time. Batonnage is for 8 months. bulging with sugar. Such is the fruit quality. The wine is named after Charles de Batz Castelmore d’Artagnan. This is a big. a blend of Tannat. and inspiration for Dumas. along the Adour River south of Armagnac. These wines are perfect expressions of the notion of terroir – they are true to themselves. Vic Bilh is the name for the local hills that are part the Pyrenees foothills. Courbu & Petit Manseng) gets better every year. whilst the award-garnering Charles de Batz is oak-aged. The velvet.40 - . Tanatis is the result of the late. The Pacherenc Symphonie d’Automne is an evocative meditation on autumn with meltingly aromatic pears in clover honey. are picked in November and “muted” to give this soi-disant vin de liqueur. conjuring half misty-half sunny early autumn afternoons. but it’s an excellent wine and just the thing if you’re wired for weird. He even has a few rows of gnarled and knobbly 100 year old + Tannat vines. that it will be drinking beautifully soon. SYMPHONIE D’AUTOMNE – 50 cl W R R R R Sw . Hmm – from d’Artagnan to Portos (lousy pun). Madiran There are several fine growers in Madiran at the moment and Didier Barré ranks in the first echelon. This delight comes from a blend of Petit Manseng (90%) and Petit Courbu (10%). figs and pepper. This is from old vines (up to 50 years old) half fermented in tank and half in new oak. purple-black in colour and could probably age forever. made from 90+% Tannat. You’d want food – grilled salmon with fennel or some juicy scallops perhaps – because it has whopping weight. DIDIER BARRE. a Gascon take on Banyuls or Port.” This refers to the modern method of planting vineyards in regular rows. Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinenc (Fer Servadou). generous wine: quite golden with a nose of orchard fruits burnished by the sun.MADIRAN Continued… DOMAINE BERTHOUMIEU. The local dialect uses the word Pacherenc – derived from paishet for “posts in a row. The vintage is harvested entirely by hand with three “tris” from early November to December in order to intensify those rapturous aromas of wild honey and confit fruits. however. using a post to support each vine. a rustic tangle of humus and farmyard aromas. The Pacherenc sec (made from a blend of Gros Manseng. a French soldier under Louis XIV. ginger and angelica (tastes as if there is quite a lot of lees contact) and is rounded off by a lambent vanillin texture.

and is richer still with a powerfully oily texture. produces a wine from 70% Petit Courbu. by definition. the territory of the Basques. born in Pau when it was the capital of the Kingdom of Navarre.and also Courbu 10%). so if you’re about to watch Countdown. In a good vintage the results can be stunning. before sec became sexy. “Le Béarnais” (a dialect of Occitan spoken in Béarn) is the mother tongue of Jurançon. is in a region called Cornucopia. Jurançon – Organic The vines of Clos Lapeyre face southwards towards the hound’s-tooth Pic du Midi d’Ossau with maximum exposure to sunlight yet simultaneously protected from strong winds. the prelude to any great reign one would imagine. It is called. classic with Roquefort. of great sweetness and delightful acidity. where the vines are tied up with sausages. The area of Jurançon lies in the foothills of the Pyrenees. The old vines (Vitatge Vielh) cuvée sees some new oak. for example. The story is that during his christening his lips were rubbed with Jurançon and cloves of garlic. CLOS LAPEYRE. Just like singing. this is ideal. the more you got of it. La Magendia plus some. domineering and two-timing like all the great seducers: Jurançon. Colette The history of Jurançon begins in effect with Henri IV. The 12ha vineyard has been exhaustively mapped and analysed for soil composition to obtain a profile of the microbial activity in the vineyard and as a result divided into twelve segments. There are only about half a dozen wine makers as well as the co-op. Finally. And in those parts there was a mountain made entirely of grated parmesan cheese on whose slopes there were people who spent their whole time making macaroni and ravioli. pineapple and nutmeg. and the faster you could pick it up. Vent Balaguer. exhibiting a sublime expression of sweet fruit: mangoes. IROULEGUY Nomansland. grapefruit and banana bound by crystal-pure acidity. And is also what Jurançon used to taste like. which they cooked in chicken broth and then cast it to the four winds. These wines are grown on the last remnants of a big Basque vineyard founded in the 11th century by the monks of Ronçevaux Abbey. A minuscule amount of white is made at the co-operative from the two Mansengs and Domaine Brana. is immensely enjoyable as a pre-prandial quaff. which we will be drinking with friends and family. a rare liquoreux. Growers such as Charles Hours. I was introduced to a passionate Prince. a four o’clock wine. Virtually all production is red or rosé with Tannat and the two Cabernets being blended according to the taste of the grower. Magical as an aperitif. to the spectacular late-harvested nectars made from the Petit Manseng grape with their beautiful bouquet of honey and flowers and opulent flavours of guava. harvested as late as December in some years. the wine of Jurançon encourages conviviality amongst friends. 2010 2010 2007 2005 2010 2007 2008 2006 JURANCON SEC – stelvin JURANCON SEC – ½ bottle VITATGE VIELH DE LAPEYRE JURANCON SEC VITATGE VIELH – magnum JURANCON MOELLEUX LA MAGENDIA DE LAPEYRE LA MAGENDIA DE LAPEYRE – ½ bottle JURANCON “VENT BALAGUER” – 50cl W W W W D/S Sw Sw Sw . Much of the vineyard work is artisanal. The wines range from a dry almondy style with aromas of fresh hay and lemon-zest through the mellow marzipan brioche flavours of moelleux.WINES OF THE PYRENEES JURANCON & BEARN When I was a young girl. but it is his super sweet wines (100% Petit Manseng in new oak). The town of Gan marks the eastern limit of the vineyards and La Chapelle-de-Rousse is the village name you will commonly see on growers’ bottles. La Magendia is an Occitan expression meaning the best. perfect with foie gras or anything rich. you can’t afford it. an appellation consisting of nine communes. Made from 80% Gros Manseng and 20% Petit Manseng with the latter picked in three successive tries. the vines are grown on steep terraces and have to be harvested by hand. I believe.41 - . Jean-Bernard Larrieu and Henri Ramonteu are thinkers and innovators engaged in continuous debate with fellow growers about the styles of the wines they are producing particularly with regard to the role of oak. The slopes here are very steep. but the overall standard is very high with Domaine Arretxea (see below) being the reference in the region. The typical Béarnais expression of “ca-i bever un cop” (to share a drink) is symbolic of the region’s welcoming nature. coconut. This delightful number dances a brisk citric tango on the palate. If one had to distinguish between the wines of Chapelle-de-Rousse and Monein it would be that the former have higher acidity and are a touch more elegant whilst the latter are more vinous and richer. To the west and. has a proportion of Petit Manseng (40% . dancing and gastronomy. If you have to ask you can’t afford it and even if you do ask. lies the commune of Monein and therein some of the great white wine makers in southern France. each of which are treated according to how the soil. and simply delicious with white peaches. JEAN-BERNARD LARRIEU. and. the vine needs to be nourished. at a much lower altitude. known simply as Jurançon. which consistently offer the greatest pleasure. is situated in the French Basque country high up in the Pyrenees on the border with Spain. In his straight Jurançon Sec (100% Gros Manseng) he achieves aromatic intensity by picking late and using the lees to obtain colour and extract. The basic Moelleux. Giovanni Boccaccio – The Decameron (quoted in Mark Kurlansky’s The Basque History of the World) Irouléguy. the south-west facing vines require a long growing period. Jean-Bernard Larrieu is one of the poets of Jurançon.

apricot jam. honeydew. Bright amber colour. the grapes change in colour. The mouth is lively. up from behind the Pyrenees.42 - . This is an extraordinary wine with exquisite equilibrium that will last for decades. peach and apricot. blond tobacco and spiced bread. confit of orange and lemon. giving the impression of biting into perfectly ripe grapes with poised citric notes. also floral with superlative concentration. The vanillin flavours are integrated into a rich texture and enrobed by a truly noble acidity. The tactile sensation is unctuous and rounded. Their flavour also changes and hints of apricot. Besides dehydrating. These trays are laid outside on the sun during the hot and sunny days and brought inside the winery in damp and rainy weather. It is the warm wind that comes from Spain. The Petit Manseng grapes are late harvested and then put in trays to perfect the process of “passerillage”. Corinth raisins. turning from a golden-yellow to russet and brown. .WINES OF THE PYRENEES Continued… Jean-Bernard Larrieu in “artist of the vines” garb Old gold – Manseng nectar sweetenin’ in the cellars Jurançon Vent Balaguèr de Lapeyre Vent Balaguèr means “southern wind” in Occitan. profound nose. The finish is long and harmonious with mirabelle plum. returning to haunt one with its multiple nuances: new wood. Intense. spicy with cooked fruits. candied orange peel and medlar fruit appear.

These wines. gunflint and crystallised lemons. 2010 2010 2008 IROULEGUY BLANC. Blaise Pascal A small six-hectare domaine entirely planted on south-facing terraces. a homemade delicacy prepared in the Pyrénées since the 17th century and properly called etxekobiskotxa. Similar in style to a really good Graves from Bordeaux. but being protected against the north wind. The Xuri is 55% Gros Manseng. displaying a fine citrus character. The ripeness of the grapes emerges in crystallised black fruit scents & a full palate perfectly structured by tasty tannins. Irouleguy Irouléguy is a tiny appellation in the Basque country. Basque cake. given a forty hour maceration & partially fermented in barrique. Both whites see some new oak. We bring you mountain fresh white Irouléguy from the heart of the Basque country for collectors of arcana. Savoury aromatic nose of fern.” … with every piece of cake an historical. All the wines have been clanking with medals and awards recently. which are falsehoods on the other. humus and warm gravel. Good with ingl iraty. The Hegoxuri. As for the Tannat-rich reds 4-5 week macerations. called etxe or etche (the x in Basque words often appears as ch to indicate the way it is pronounced in English): For the Basque. 20% Petit Manseng & 10% Petit Courbu. his daily life and his sepulchre. CUVEE ANDERE D’ANSA IROULEGUY BLANC. In 2008 the ripeness of the Petit Manseng confers some mandarin and even mango flavours and a surprising belt of alcohol. ripe fruity finish. Maybe that glacier has got some inbuilt après-ski. made from Gros and Petit Manseng and Courbu. structured and very pure. The vines are cut into steep Pyrenean mountains up to 400m above sea level. 35% Petit Manseng and 10% Petit Courbu from 30hl/ha yields fermented in stainless steel and barriques. Haitza and Hegoxuri? Sounds like a couple of Verdi characters that wandered into a Wagner ring cycle and started mixing it with the Valkyrie. admirable with roast pork or pot au feu. The etxe is profoundly rooted in the Basque earth and soul. on the other hand. are electrifying. all morello cherries and spice. aged twelve months in barrel. DOMAINE MIGNABERRY W W R DOMAINE ARRETXEA.” F On the traditional Basque home. the local ewe’s cheese. the taste equivalent of letting your tongue roller-skate down a glacier. but you would never know – although the Xuri has a balsamic edge. they enjoy more sunshine than those from most French wine regions. repeated pigeages and long elevage in oak with lees-stirring make for strong yet harmonious wines. the etxe carries enormous emotional weight. Irouleguy – Biodynamic There are truths on this side of the Pyrenees. tense with acidity. elegant medium-bodied palate. is remarkable from its golden straw colour to its subtle nose where white flowers mingle harmoniously with extremely fresh exotic fruits. It is also his cradle. The proportion of Tannat (about 80%) is very high for this appellation. with wild flowers. 2009 2008 2008 IROULEGUY BLANC “HEGOXURI” ~ on allocation IROULEGUY ROUGE IROULEGUY ROUGE CUVEE HAITZA W R R Seen on a web site… “The subject of inquiry was le gateau Basque. made from 70% Gros Manseng. Michel and Thérèse practise sustainable viticulture throughout their vineyard & use biodynamics in particular on the plot where they grow white grapes. or “cake of the house. The red Mignaberry (the name means “old vines”). with all the wonderful digestibility of wines from this region. MICHEL & THERESE RIOUSPEYROUS. The Andere. is dark. social and philosophical discourse! . It protects him from the empire of the outside: divine and intemperate forces. is 80% Gros Manseng and 20% Petit Manseng.WINES OF THE PYRENEES Continued… CAVE DE SAINT ETIENNE DE BAIGORRY.43 - . XURI D’ANSA IROULEGUY ROUGE.

Much less those joyes which trample on his head. the choice is this: is winemaking a natural act. additives and stabilizers and for natural fermentation (i. So did I weave myself into the sense. There is a fine line between art and artifice in winemaking. and that was dead Nothing could seem too rich to clothe the sunne.THE VIRTUES OF SIMPLICITY When first my lines of heav’nly joyes made mention Such was their lustre. they did so excel. for no chemicals in the vineyard. Thousands of notions in my brain did runne. Off’ring their service. Our wine manifesto would echo those who argue for “natural wine” or a natural balance: specifically. “Decking the sense. and trim invention. sprout and swell. Commercialization has created a competitive wine culture where glossy wines are products created to win medals. writing about the act of glorifying the son of God. Style soon supersedes substance: more oak. louder. . when they ascend.44 - . George Herbert – Jordan (II) Herbert. without artificial enzymes). for a reduction of sulphur. It is like putting gilded metaphor before meaning or gaudy clothes before the body. if I were not sped: I often blotted what I had begunne. more extraction. better – nothing is too good or too much to show the wine in its best light. Curling with metaphors a plain intention. As Herbert writes: “There is in love a sweetness readie penned”. Ultimately. more flavour. bigger. and more alcohol. My thoughts began to burnish. and save expense. add lustre and burnish to it and lose the connection with the wine. How wide is all this pretence! There is in love a sweetnesse readie penn’ed Copie out only that.e. This was not quick enough. As flames do work and winde. But while I bustled. makes the point that the very grandiloquent language designed to exalt and celebrate actually obscures the simple notion of devotional love. neither correction nor amplification of flavour. an intuitive and highly sensitive response to what nature provides or is it about the greater glory of being the creator oneself (so did I weave myself into the sense). I might heare a friend Whisper. Decking the sense. That I sought out quaint words. as if it were to sell. as if it were to sell” describes the impulse to “improve on nature” (plain intention). In just the same way winemakers may take something which is pure.

Romans. comprises five communes producing exclusively red wines from low-yielding Grenache. coffee and cocoa.e. 75% of the wine produced is red. from the rugged barren escarpments to the lagoons of the Mediterranean. As well as Grenache. rillettes. Every year we hear accounts of triumphs and disasters as the fickleness of the weather determines the nature of the vintage. whereas the limestone gives lighter coloured wines. woody notes. It is nevertheless important to recognise the improvement in the wineries themselves and the drive of new generations of aspirational young growers who have injected dynamism into old enterprises and used scientific methodology to create a more polished product. grilled beef. The Coteaux du Languedoc is France’s oldest wine growing region. a warm. The schist expresses the darker. granted a separate cru status recently. crab flan. delivering the intensity and spicy warmth to the reds. raw earthiness and fragrant subtlety too often masked by sweet charred oak. Once again Carignan and Grenache are vital. monkfish bourride. Pic Saint Loup and Montpeyroux and. Bourboulenc. Fitou. has a wonderful variety of landscapes. The best-known designations are La Clape. game (wild boar. Syrah and Carignan.D’OC FILLED PLATITUDES… From the Camargue to the foothills of the Pyrenees.000 years. One cannot mention the wines without paying respect to the food. poached eggs à la mézoise. sole meunière… The rosés work with shellfish. The vineyard. arid landscape speckled with tiny villages. undergrowth and game. orchards. . the late-ripening Mourvèdre gives distinctive flavour and texture to many Faugères reds. the Knights Templar. Expect wines with red fruits. these lend their subtle perfumes to the wines from this region. climbing from the sea and lagoons to the white schistous escarpments. beekeeping) contributes to their understanding and respect for the capabilities of the land. the sun and the air. red mullet and stuffed squid. although have yet to garner the critical plaudits of Minervois and Corbières. bearing pungent medicinal-herbal flavours. situated between Narbonne and Nîmes. and lamb cutlets cooked with garrigue herbs. sage and savoury grow wild on the hot chalk heath and scrubland. Lighter reds are delicious with charcuterie. They tend to be full-bodied. dry climate with fantastic variegated terroirs and a tradition dating back a couple of thousand years: in the Languedoc wine truly lives as much in the blood as in the soil. The land is an amphitheatre open to the Mediterranean with Mistral and Tramontane winds to each side. with summer fruit compote flavours. like other appellations. but Syrah is increasingly used to pep up the more garagiste wines. oilier than thou. The potential of this heterogeneous region is only just being tapped. The former (a corruption of Saint Anian – the ‘t’ pronounced ‘ch’ in Occitan) encompasses twenty communes with the vines planted on the southeast facing slopes of the Montagne Noire all the way down to the Bitterois plain. hints of leather and prune. and. crystallised berries). is a wild. onion tart and country salads. venison). runs down in a series of terraces from the foot of the Montagne Noir to the river Aude. ranging from sandstone and marl to the ubiquitous limestone and schist outcrops in the higher zones. the fact that traditional grape varieties have been reassessed and revitalised (how trendy is Carignan now?) by the compelling desire to rediscover the flavour of the terroir. Cistercians and Cathars. the human factor – having met the growers I can attest that the wines mirror the personalities of the vignerons! Intuition. vanilla and liquorice on the oak-aged versions. grilled peppers and aubergines. the consequent blending of varieties to display those discrete subtle accents of terroir. Syrah and Mourvèdre. The wines bear voluble testament to a landscape inhabited formerly by Greeks. for white wines alone. jugged hare. lavender. crowned by Cathar castles. Or try curried loin of pork. the Languedoc and Roussillon vineyards throw up a rainbow spread of spectacular geologies and intimate human histories. and with age tend to develop leathery. truffle risotto. The underrated white wines are perfect with brandade de morue. in riper vintages exhibit mellow-mature notes of roasted coffee and cocoa. Minervois-La-Livinière. The quality of this appellation is continually improving with promotion envisaged for the best terroirs: Boutenac. young partridge and guinea fowl. whilst parsley. rounded and powerful. The rich mosaic of terroirs allied to the scent of the garrigue: thyme.45 - . garrigue tones of bayleaf and spice. but great wines are undoubtedly being made. with Syrah and a tad of Mourvèdre adding spike and length to the typical blend. and the south mainly argillaceous limestone. These wines can age developing mature aromas of old leather. Vermentino or Maccabeu) are Mediterranean in character i. amongst others. flair. whilst secondary scents of spice. the inherent diversity of the Languedoc is its real strength: the fact that many of the best small growers still embrace a polyculture (olives. low acidity and ripe tannins. producing the two styles of red wine. Gnarled Carignan and wizened Grenache rule the cepage roost here. Roussanne. for example. the more full-bodied style with lamb casseroles. fennel and annett thrive in the more permeable soils. animal undertones. especially those based on Syrah. Think wine and you think food – and vice versa. the endlessly drinkable salt-sharp Picpoul de Pinet. Lagrasse and Sigean. The Corbières massif. Marsanne. on mainly limestone terrain. Durban. However. Faugères has a higher proportion of schist with the resultant wines acquiring that toasted/roasted character. Making great wine consistently is still a struggle. The terrain to the north of the Vernazobre (a tributary of the Orb) is predominantly schistous. Aromas of blackcurrants and violets dominate the reds in their early years. the rest split between rosé and white. not least. truffle and cinnamon are bestowed with time. Before one is accused of rose-spectacled romanticism such aromas and flavours can be (and are) obfuscated by the nouvelle vogue for extraction. more extracted wines with smoky notes which. rosemary. Saint-Chinian and Faugères are contiguous appellations in the northwest part of the Hérault. perfumed with fresh and floral notes (violets. Vines have been a feature of the Minervois countryside for more than 2. The wines show potential. The rich and unctuous white wines (which may be made from Grenache Blanc. vanilla. bloody hard work coupled with Natures’s gift.

described as “the largest vineyard in the world” by Liz Berry M. a meticulous. the cooler conditions on the margin flatter the white wines. grape varieties are matched to their most appropriate terroir. Respect due.. in general. When the wines hit top form. the 2010 vintage united concentration. whose wonderful Faugères wines illustrate biodynamics in its purest form. Soils and climate have historically combined to create an environment that is exceptionally well suited to growing vines. Isabelle Frère. On a Southern shore there is a string of round. . delicious perfume and elegant fruit. bang-torights respect-my-quality red wine. Sénat makes beautifully elegant wines. the star of which from the former is a pure Carignan from old vines. The grape varieties (or blends) are different. is an estate for which we have a strong affinity.LANGUEDOC-ROUSSILLON The woods and desert caves With wild thyme and gadding vine o’er grown John Milton – Lycidas VINTAGE REPORT & NEW AGENCIES In Languedoc-Roussillon. particularly after the significant reduction in the Aramon. is a laboratory of innovation where the best of the old is being given a healthy technological makeover. these appellations embrace it with pride and give it due nobility”. the beguiling garrigue-perfumed Corbières of Ollieux-Romanis and Côtes du Roussillons from Olivier Pithon and Marjorie Gallet. Look also for his wines made from distinctly unfashionable grapes such as Piquepoul Noir and Aramon. Bruno Duchene and Edouard Lafitte make similar gentle-fruited. And finally a grower whose wines we have always admired. characterful reds with soft tannins and light extraction. wonderful wines are emerging at all levels from the Languedoc-Roussillon appellations. The terroir of Aniane has spawned other bespoke wines. then the next grape harvest. alcoholic content. for instance. Because of its early notoriety it endured a period of critical reverse snobbery. Newest additions to the list include a range of Minervois from Pierre Cros and Jean-Baptiste Sénat. yet they retain their individual identities. however. Those bored with garage-brewed Shiraz soup will enjoy Gassac’s more refined eloquence. every glass seems to express the history and terroir of this remarkable estate. against the traditional French areas that one should be measuring the phenomenal progress of the Languedoc-Roussillon. notably Domaine de Montcalmès. finding them empty once more. the mercurial Didier Barral. rather it is countries like Spain and even Australia that could do with a quality/price ratio lesson. The modern wines of Stephane Vedeau and Gérard Bertrand.46 - . if the day is a really hot one. for it refreshes you and leaves a double taste behind. continue to prove that France can compete on the varietal front with any of the laboratories of garnishes/fruit factories around the world. of muscat and cedarwood. At the commercial end some excellent varietals are being made without sacrificing terroir unlike their new world counterparts “distill’d almost to a jelly”. The quality of fruit is now being captured and enhanced by expert wine-making techniques. Someone once wrote: “Far from despising the word ‘peasant’ wine. Jean-François Nicq. the use of oak is different and the vinification methods are different – the wines are homogeneous only in their respective excellence. whilst the elegant Chardonnays of the Les Caves du Sieur d’Arques are antidotes to the usual lactic caricatures. perversely. With the recently acquired fabulous little “schist-hot” Saint-Chinian from Thierry Navarre. whilst the 2009s are ripe and powerful and occasionally wanting in acidity. a variety bogging down the image of the wines from this region. dry. we think nothing of drinking down a good pint of this particular wine. whilst. To highlight this fusion between traditional quirkiness and newfangled expertise look particularly at our three estates from Minervois: Domaine Pierre Cros. Even when it is of a warmer constitution. One grape harvest fills them to the brim. The teeming earth definitely moves in his reds. the definition of purity and finesse. wicker-covered demijohns always kept in store for me. Colette – Earliest Wine Memories The Languedoc-Roussillon. There comes a time in life when one begins to prize young wine. they flow easily from the throat to the kidneys and scarcely pause a moment there. The wines fully reflect the terroir of the region. you would look in vain for equivalent value for money in the Rhône or Bordeaux. And who needs clunking claret after all when you can fill your mouth with epic taste sensations from southern France at a fraction of the cost? It is not only. The Rousse is on the loose Roussillon is where a lot of small growers are making natural (low sulphur) wines. down there. eighteen-carat. Mas de Daumas Gassac. The wine culture of centuries (vines were introduced by Greek traders as early as the eighth century BC) has been revitalised in the last thirty years. a blessed relief after a succession of problematic summers. in its turn fills them up again… do not disdain these wines because they give such quick returns: they are clear. complexity and finesse. various. The 2008 reds have. invariably described as the first “Grand Cru of the Languedoc”. The wines have charm and subtlety.W. Jean-Baptist Sénat and Clos de l’Azerolle.

Sure – it’s a lovely map. but where the hell is Corbières? Olivier Pithon’s State-of-the-Art Tractor .47 - .

It is surprising that a positive philosophy that should connect people divides on so many levels. We believe – as do many of the growers on our list – in the relationship between terroir and organic viticulture, in agricultural sustainability, in sensible and sympathetic farming practices, in nurturing the soil and protecting the environment. Sounds fine and dandy, but there are a group of certified growers and journalists who strongly believe that the use of the word “organic” (now sanctified in legislation) is heretical unless appropriate certification is produced. Given that the growers have submitted to a regime of inspection one can understand that they might feel aggrieved if people started bandying around the term willy-nilly, but I think they are being over-defensive for a variety of reasons and damaging the reputation of organic wines. We do not actually claim official organic status for non-certified wines, but explain in detail in our list the viticultural practices, which would entitle them to that status should they wish to apply for it and be inspected. The fact that most of the estates don’t, despite more than fulfilling the criteria of “organic status”, is largely irrelevant. Or should be irrelevant. The growers are not trading on it, nor are we as the wine merchant who distributes their wines, but when we know how a grower works, we tell it as it is. Despite legislation regarding labelling no one body owns the notion of “organic” farming – if you farm organically then you farm organically. (Monty Waldin in his book “Biodynamic Wines” cites Felton Road Winery as a good example of an essentially organic estate that works the vines according to biodynamic principles but is unwilling to go for organic certification because of perceived weakness of the Bio-Gro dictates). This semantic lockout of the word “organic” is ridiculous; if we’re forced to use a synonymous term we will, but that won’t alter the fact that the grapes can be grown organically anywhere. Nor, incidentally, are we advertising any special properties for the wines by their being organic although we implicitly believe that all vine growers and farmers should move towards sustainable and organic viticulture. The question that should be posed is: are organic wines better than non-organic wines? Given the extremely variable quality of food and drink that is passed off as organic, is the term worth a candle anyway? Real quality depends on good provenance which depends on the relationship between the consumer and the supplier and not between the consumer and a label, no matter how worthy the body that confers it. As a wine merchant we are in the position to give more information to our customers than a mere blanket certification – including our own caveats. It makes commercial sense for us to educate our customers, which entails giving them as much information about the product as possible. Just because an estate describes its produce as organic tells us nothing about the quality of farming (when the grapes are picked, the yields) nor does it give any indication of competence in the winery. We live in a culture in thrall to the certificate; where information is packaged like fruit in a supermarket. We’d rather read a label than touch or smell something. Wine labels contain much information that is crass, pointless, patronising or just plain bogus. We want to celebrate great organic wines, not wines with labels where “organic” is the unique selling point. In any case the certification system is flawed. We have heard from several of our growers of examples of accredited “organic” estates spraying crops with proscribed chemicals; presumably they falsify their records. Who to believe? In other words, just because a bureaucratic body ratifies something doesn’t make it true. We would presume, if this anecdotal evidence was correct, that these were rare examples, but the wine world is not, and never has been, purer than pure – especially with regard to labelling. Speaking of purity – what is the position of the farmer who does not spray at all, but whose neighbour uses pesticides, herbicides and other aggressive chemicals that militate into the soil and water table or are blown onto the organic vines of the first farmer? And are we just talking about certificates here or something more profound? As I have mentioned we deal with many growers whose philosophy is stricter than the minimal guidelines laid down by the bodies that grant organic status. Organic farming derives from a philosophical choice: a desire to grow things naturally without recourse to damaging chemical solutions; to respect and protect the environment; to ensure that the soil is full of living organisms; in short, allowing nature to express the quality of the product. Whereas many of our growers in France and Italy understand and accept this as a matter of course, they do not see the necessity for some officious body to pronounce on a farming methodology let alone a lifestyle that they have been privately pursuing for years and possibly for generations. Others have made a considered choice to eschew certification. Why? Because they strongly believe that the current EEC laws are weak and poorly administered and that the need to fill out more paperwork has little or nothing to do with the choices that they make as artisanal growers. As Jean-Gérard Guillot observes in Patrick Matthew’s The Wild Bunch, “C’est une question de liberté. I have the necessary paperwork to go organic. But in some cases it’s a racket, anyway. Let’s face it, either people like the wine or they don’t. The whole philosophy is in the wine, not on the label”. Calling a wine organic has not sold a single bottle for us. The quality of what is in the bottle always matters most. Should a customer ask us about organic wines then we are totally transparent, highlighting those that are genuinely certified, but also mentioning growers and estates that abide by the selfsame principles laid down by Ecocert and other similar bodies. We don’t confer any legitimacy on those wines other than our profound knowledge of the growers and the way they work in their vineyards. Knowledge may not constitute proof in a verifiable legal sense, but knowledge, in an evaluative sense, is more meaningful than a certificate qua certificate. In summary, we support growers who make quality wine. We have seen an enormous growth towards the eradication of chemicals in the vineyard and a movement towards sustainable agriculture with respect for biodiversity. This is not so they (the growers) can achieve a certificate, but that they can have a vital, healthy vineyard with healthy grapes, the raw material to make great wines.

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And time for all the works and days of hands... Time for you and time for me, And time yet for a hundred indecisions, And for a hundred visions and revisions Before the bottling of a wine sur lie’ (With apologies to TS Eliot)


LES CLAIRIERES, JEAN D’ALIBERT, Vin de Pays d’Oc Plumply plummy little number from a co-operative in La Livinière. The wine is almost indecently purple with bags of blackberry fruit and more than a smidge of (ripe) tannin.

BERGERIE DE LA BASTIDE, Vin de Pays d’Oc This pair of wines illustrate amply that the Languedoc is where the mustard is being cut vis-à-vis bang-for-buck cheapies (that’s not a sentence you read everyday). The Bergerie de la Bastide white is a mouthful, and then some, of 50% Grenache Blanc, Terret and Sauvignon. It reveals typical notes of dried herbs, white flowers, fennel, juniper and green olive with a touch of citrus to bring up the rear. A wine that will hold its own with shellfish and crustacea. The red is a savoury assemblage of Grenache Noir, Cinsault and Merlot, a lovely effort built on the twin pillars of fruit and structure. Ruby red with red fruit aromas of cranberries and red cherries it is light, clean and fresh on the palate with lively acidity and recurrent flavours of cassis and vanilla. Surprisingly good with Indian and Chinese food as well as grilled fish. The rosé is a blend of Cinsault, Syrah and Grenache. These are real wines: not whey-faced macedoines of token gumfruits.

VILLA SAINT-JEAN, Vin de Pays d’Oc The vines for these wines are cultivated on soils composed of pebbly scree and clay from an area south east of Avignon. The grapes for the white are harvested at night to preserve the natural acids, thereafter to the wine where light skin maceration (four hours) is succeeded by pneumatic pressure and light racking of the must. The wine is distinguished by its pale yellow robe with straw yellow nuances. The nose is fresh with notes of citrus fruits such as grapefruit, lime and liquorice and both round and fresh on the palate. The grapes for the red are destemmed with a traditional vinification including two-week fermentation on skins. After a pneumatic pressing the wine is matured in stainless steel. The mouth offers a nice freshness with a long lasting finish and pleasing cherry, redcurrant and plum notes.

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DOMAINE NORDOC & LA BOUSSOLE, STEPHANE VEDEAU & CLAUDE SERRA, Vin de Pays d’Oc Domaine Nordoc may sound like an orc-overridden enclave of Middle Earth, but is, in fact, one of Stephane Vedeau’s many labels. Behind the label is some very good quality inexpensive vin de pays. The Chardonnay is from a selection of the best parcels located on the hillsides along the Mediterranean sea, well known for natural restriction of the yields and a good microclimate. On chalky soils, the Chardonnay can give its best expression. Grapes are harvested at night to preserve natural acidity and prevent oxidation. After fermentation the wine matures in tank on the fine lees for six to eight months. Very aromatic nose with notes of quince, honey and spices combined with hints of citrus fruits. The mouth is fleshy yet fresh, and the exotic palate suggests mango and ginger. Delicious Merlot oozing bags of primary fruit: mulberry, sweet cherry and plum, rounded off by savoury flavours of black olive, eucalyptus and white pepper. The Cabernet Sauvignon, from chalky-clay soil with broken stones, is varietally bang on, a touch of clove-edged bitterness and Languedoc herbs mark its individuality. The Boussole Pinot Noir displays ripe strawberry fruit flavours with secondary aromas of sous-bois and menthol. This would be good with a lamb curry or duck with olive. The Viognier is extraordinarily rich, deep gold, with aromas redolent of lychee and sun-ripened peach. A wine that matches modern fusion cuisine. None of these wines are aged in oak (or in orc for that matter).

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DOMAINES GERARD BERTRAND, Vin de Pays d’Oc The luscious clusters of the vine Upon my mouth do crush their wine The nectarine and curious peach Into my hands themselves do reach Andrew Marvell – The Garden Cultivate simplicity, Charles Lamb counselled his friend Coleridge, advice many wine growers might heed. Gérard Bertrand is something of a phenomenon in the Languedoc-Roussillon. Initiated into wine by his father George, he worked at Domaine Villemajou in Corbières while still at school, before pursuing a successful career in rugby captaining Stade Française, participating in trials with the French national team, and, on retirement becoming President of Narbonne. In fact, at the end of his rugby career, Gérard Bertrand decided to create a business reuniting the best winemakers of the Languedoc in order to give a new dimension to his own winemaking activities. Although we are not slaves to the varietal we do acknowledge that they are useful introductions to wine. For years we have sought consistency and quality across a range of vin de pays, looking for the same rigorous application that you might find in appellation controllée wines. Bertrand’s wines successfully link the grape variety to the terroir to expertise in the winery. Grapes are harvested manually, yields are naturally low, whilst the vinification process helps to determine the cleanest and most characterful expression of the fruit. All these wines represent very good value. The Chardonnay shows attention to detail. It has lovely golden yellow colour with green tints, a nose suggestive of ripe fruit: white peach, passionfruit with a touch of honey and is mouthfilling and unctuous with flavours of vanilla, grilled nuts, and buttered exotic fruits. Try with prawns or langoustines on the barbecue. The Viognier is lively, rounded and perfectly balanced. Mid yellow with green tints. Floral nose of acacia and orange flower. Unctuous and fat in the mouth with exotic fruit flavours (dry apricot, peach, honey) leaving an impression of roundness and ripeness, but a nice limey flicker of acidity to leave the wine fresh. The Sixième Sens Rosé is a perky blend, a classically light pink wine mixing Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault. And something for the connoisseur, the delightful Christmas pudding of a wine that is Rivesaltes VDN. Russetcoloured, aromas of gentian, candied citrus, plum spirit, roasted hazelnuts and walnuts, gingerbread, caramel and brown tobacco with a nifty nip of acidity to help the medicine go down. Drink with macerated fruits or cheeses or collapse, if you must, into your favourite armchair with a stogie, and wreath yourself in plumes of smoke and smiles. For the crustiest most venerable Bedes amongst ye, the tawniest of owls, the 1959 will definitely be your jar of tar.

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DOMAINE MAS MONTEL, DOMINIQUE GRANIER, Vin de Pays du Gard A domaine outside the village of Aspères near Montpellier that is making great strides. The terroir (Terres de Sommières) is characterised by soils of limestone and clay with flints. Dominique Granier’s wines are always very approachable with charming fruit. La Petite Syrah is marvellously consistent with soft ripe fruit flavours to the fore, an uncomplicated vin de bébé showing stewed fruits flecked with cinnamon and nutmeg. Garnet colour, earthy aromas, notes of red fruits, spice, leather and liquorice. Well balanced with elegant and rounded tannins.

DOMAINE DE MOULINES, SAUMADE FRERES, Vin de Pays de l’Herault These wines offer an interesting stylistic contrast to the range from Mas Montel (q.v.) The Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon have attracted the attention of a certain Robert Parker: they are darkly coloured, dense, rich, mouth-coating wines, almost New World in style. The vineyard is worked according to “culture raisonée”, whilst in the winery there is a traditional vinification with fermentation and maceration of 25-30 days, light extraction of fruit and ageing in tank All the wines are unfiltered. Beautifully assembled, with just a whisper of garrigue, the Merlot is impeccably balanced, both elegant and pure. A sweet nose of bright red cherries opens to a plush, soft, round mouth of black fruits, fresh plums and blackberries and more cherries, with easy tannins and a bright acidity. Monsieur Saumade recommends this wine with gigot of lamb with cepes. The Cabernet Sauvignon has bitter fruit flavours, a nice dusting of grippy tannins and hints of paprika and black pepper.

2008 2008



Appellation – What’s in a Name? The notion of appellation was originally a charter, often a royal seal of approval. Appellation or “naming the wine” gave it an official legitimacy. The word has since – in many people’s views – moved away from expressing the need to protect regional identity and to promote authenticity as well as supporting good practice towards more negative associations such as died-in-the-wool protectionism, restrictive and inflexible practice and bureaucratic authoritarianism. Appellation was never intended to stamp a homogenous identity on wine and winegrowers. It was meant to encourage wine growers to improve their working practices and inform consumers as to how such methods affect the way an appellation speaks though its wines. Typicity and diversity are not mutually exclusive; within each appellation there are myriad terroirs. Wine is a soft interpreter of the grape variety, the microclimate (the aspect, the soil, the vegetation, the sun, the heat and so forth) not to mention the technique in the winery – there are as many wines as there are variables in a given year. Diversity is therefore, by definition, a fact of nature. But a vigneron looking to preserve the subtlety and unique character of a specific place, to capture the essence of terroir, will never try to modify or homogenise his or her wine by driving out nature with a pitchfork. Typicity and terroir mean simply this; that wine duly reflects where it comes from and changes according to the unique variables of each vintage, but the wine has an inherent identity, a singularity that tells us that it is a natural product from a “specific” place. It is interesting finally to note that the quality charters of La Renaissance des Appellations and Slow Food France are based on philosophical and ethical convictions as to what constitutes terroir and good farming practice and are not legal frameworks. This highlights the problem with so many things in our world: people are bluntly told they can’t do such-and-such when it should be explained instead why it would be a morally good idea for them to pursue a particular course of action. Ideally, and from a consumer’s viewpoint, appellation should be inextricably connected to quality. Quality can be determined by pinpointing origin of product and methodology or farming practice – these are objective measures – in conjunction with the subjective evaluation of tasting panels.

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Why devote an extra page to one estate? Well, it could have been a chapter or even a book. However, the book of the story and the wine has already been most ably penned by Alastair Mackenzie and the vintages have been scrupulously chronicled by the redoubtable Michael Broadbent in his Vintage Wine. Daumas Gassac, a long-standing favourite, is one of only wine estates to merit a special chapter to itself (along with Musar and Vega Sicilia). The story of Mas de Daumas Gassac is one of vision, enterprise, passion and pride. When the Guiberts first purchased their farm (the mas) in the charming Gassac valley they little realised that they had a particular micro-climate which would give them the potential to make great wines. A visiting professor from Bordeaux, one Henri Enjalbert, identified a particular red soil that was common to certain great estates in the Médoc and Grand Cru Burgundies. Under the thick garrigue scrub and shrubs covering the Arboussas hills, he found some 40 hectares of perfectly drained soil, poor in humus and vegetable matter, rich in mineral oxide (iron, copper, gold etc). Formed from deposits carried in by the winds during the Riss, Mindel and Guntz glacial periods (ranging from 180,000 – 400,000 years ago) the terroir provides the three elements necessary for a potential Grand Cru: deep soil ensuring the vines’ roots delve deep to seek nourishment; perfectly drained soil ensuring vines’ roots are unaffected by humidity; poor soil meaning that vines have to struggle to survive, an effort which creates exceptionally fine aromas. Rock, scrub and tree clearing began in 1971 and the first vines, principally Cabernet Sauvignon, were planted on the 1.6ha plot. Soil is only one element in the cocktail that makes Gassac the great wine that it is. You only have to stand in the vineyards to engage with the subtleties of the micro-climate. The hill is thick with garrigue; strong warm scents of wild herbs imprint themselves in the air; the quality of light is fantastic. The vines are planted in small clearings, magical glades hidden in the dense, forest-like garrigue. The complexity of Daumas Gassac wines derives heavily from the scents of myriad Mediterranean wild plants and herbs: bay, thyme, rosemary, lavender, laburnum, fennel, wild mint, lentisque, strawberry trees... It’s all part of the ‘terroir’ effect, a combination of soil, climate and environment that sets one wine apart from another, sadly an effect that is lost in modern monoculture, where huge areas are cleared of all vegetation except vines. At nightfall, the cold air from the Larzac (850 metres) floods into the Gassac valley, with the result that, even in the height of summer, the vineyards benefit from cool nights and moderate daytime temperatures. The northern facing vineyards accentuate the beneficial effect of this cool micro climate by ensuring they are exposed to less direct sunshine during the hot summers. The micro-climate also means that the vines flower some three weeks later than the Languedoc average; that’s why the red grapes are harvested later – in early October. The micro-climate is a huge factor in creating the outstanding complexity and finesse of the red wines, most especially the splendidly fine balance of the great vintages’ alcoholpolyphenol-acid content. The cellars have been created in the foundations of a Gallo-Roman mill; they now house 400 Merrain oak Bordeaux barrels; one in seven is replaced each year. There are two cold water springs under the cellar’s floor, nature’s own air conditioning system, which slows the alcohol fermentation down to between 8 – 10 days. This slow process means the complex flavours have time to develop, something that doesn’t happen with modern high-tech fermentation. You cannot talk about Gassac without mentioned Emile Peynaud who effectively came out of retirement in 1978 to mentor the Guiberts in their early wine-making endeavours. The wines do not lie; they have natural elegance and a purity that marks them apart. Each vintage is truly a testament to a wine-growing season; one tastes the terroir rather than the technique.

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MAS DE DAUMAS GASSAC, FAMILLE GUIBERT, Haute Vallee du Gassac … Clarissa was passing me the bottle – a 1987 Daumas Gassac. This was the moment, this was the pinprick on the time map. Enduring Love – Ian McEwan We are not making coca-cola here. Samuel Guibert Exquisite and sublimely subtle wines that are unique for a variety of reasons. Firstly, the terroir is exceptional, the vines growing on a deep, well-drained soil formed by glacial deposits. Secondly, the upper Gassac valley has a cool microclimate that allows a longer growing season. Thirdly, the vineyards have been created in small plots or clearings surrounded by forest and garrigue. The wines consequently soak up the fragrances of the surrounding plant life of laurel, thyme, rosemary, lavender, arbutus, fennel, wild mint and lentisque. Fourthly, Daumas Gassac embraces an organic culture, eschewing chemical fertilizers, using only natural dung compost as well as tree and straw cuttings. Fifthly, yields are naturally low (35hl/ha), allowing the wine to express the terroir more than the grape variety & the vines are manually harvested. The vinification for the red wines is similar to that in Médoc; long fermentation (three weeks), ageing in wooden casks, light fining with egg whites and no filtering. The white grapes undergo skin maceration for 5-7 days followed by fermentation in stainless steel, whereupon the juice is transferred briefly to Burgundy oak casks where it is filtered with an alluvionaire filter. The vineyard for the red wine is situated on a 40 hectare hill in the heart of the property and is planted with 80% of old Cabernet Sauvignon grafted onto root-stock R110 and 41B. The remaining 20% of vines are composed of 10 complementary grape varieties: Cot from Cahors, Merlot from Pomerol, Cab Franc from the Val de Loire, Syrah from Côte-Rôtie, Tannat from Madiran, Pinot from Burgundy, Nebbiolo from Piedmont, Grenache from the Languedoc, Tempranillo from Navarre, Voskehat and Kontorni from Armenia, Salte from Syria as well as the small (very small) presence of ancient grape varieties from Georgia. The white grape varieties are grown on the surrounding white lutetitian limestone. This vineyard is composed of 20% each of the following grape varieties: Viognier from Condrieu, Chardonnay from Burgundy, Chenin from the Loire and Petit Manseng from Jurançon. The remaining 20% of vines include grape varieties from Georgia, Armenia, Madeira etc. Etc. As well as the slightly better known Roussanne, Marsanne, Clairette, Muscat. These wines are quite beautiful. Treat them with reverence and you will reap rewards. The Gassac Blanc should not be served too cold. Decant it and witness how the primary pearfruit Viognier aromas melt into the wine to be replaced by an impression of warm butter, pollen and dried fruits. Roll the wine gently in your mouth and you will understand harmony. The Gassac Rouge is even more complex exhibiting a fantastic bouquet of crushed blackberries and mulberries along with an array of smoky-leathery notes and a silky finish you can taste for several minutes. It is no exaggeration to suggest that this wine outperforms many first and second growth clarets. The Emile Peynaud, released around July 2005, is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aujourd’hui rien, but, in time, greatness. A wine of staggering potential. Start mortgaging the family silver. The Vin de Laurence is a vin de liqueur made from a double fermentation of Sercial with Muscat à Petits Grains (these grapes are harvested in October when roasted and shrivelled). Yields are a severe 10hl/ha. It is amber in colour and tastes of cooked oranges, sweet apricots and cloves with a hint of garrigue honey. Superb!

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amply demonstrating that the wines are truly are product of their unique natural environment. the elegance of the fruit certainly makes them a pleasure to drink in the first year or so after release. whilst the wine settles. Then.TERROIR D’ANIANE Continued… Vineyards and garrigue Older vintages of Gassac… It is said that the red wines of Gassac begin precociously. as with any great wine. comes a period of dormancy. perhaps three to five years. matures and evolves. . 1995 1994 1990 1986 MAS DE DAUMAS GASSAC ROUGE MAS DE DAUMAS GASSAC ROUGE MAS DE DAUMAS GASSAC ROUGE MAS DE DAUMAS GASSAC ROUGE R R R R Older vintages may be available on request. despite the powerful tannins. As anyone who has tasted verticals of the Gassac reds back to the 80s will attest. these wines have magnificent ageing potential and not only is the structure and balance evident.55 - . but the garrigue flavours become more pronounced.

and even the classic galets roulés of Châteauneuf fame. my dear. The grapes are de-stemmed. 2008 2006 COTEAUX DU LANGUEDOC ROUGE COTEAUX DU LANGUEDOC ROUGE – magnum R R . followed by ageing in one to three year old barriques from Domaine de la Romanée Conti. being a glutinous substantial liquor. 10 hectolitres per hectare from his Syrah.” James Howell (1594-1666) DOMAINE DE MONTCALMES. The wine is from between 65% and 70% Syrah. The eventual aim is a wine in the proportion of 60% Syrah. Coteaux du Languedoc Montcalm down. As you would expect from a disciple of Laurent’s. and the wine is exceptionally concentrated. and undergo a long cuvaison. Frédéric is looking for very small yields. good wine carrieth a man to heaven. He had inherited 25 hectares from his father. good humors cause good thoughts. of this wine. 2000 and 2001. The talented young winemaker. Vinification and ageing is in a mixture of used barriques and demi-muids for twenty-four months. may be verified that merry induction: That good wine makes good blood. started his career as a stagiaire with the illustrious Laurent Vaillé of Domaine de la Grange des Pères. including friable limestone. the yields are exceptionally low. but it nutrifieth also. he produced a minuscule amount of wine in 1999. with the Grenache being transferred back to stainless steel after the first 12 months of oak ageing. it’s only a winner from the Languedoc. producing around 20 hectolitres per hectare from his old Grenache. dried apples and honey and is vinous and herbal in the mouth with notes of poire william. The parcelles and varietals are vinified separately. good blood causeth good humors. ergo. This golden wine has an agreeable nose of quince. and he is aiming eventually to have a domaine of between 15 and 18 hectares. and doth not only breed good blood. This is yet another domaine on the famous plateau near Aniane. The vines with less potential will be grubbed up when his father retires in two years time. good thoughts bring forth good works. if of any other. and the wine undergoes 24 months maturation in barrique. Frédéric Pourtalié. and only 30 hectolitres from two and a half hectares of Mourvèdre.56 - . who sold his grapes through the co-operative. and after reflection and some re-planting. with varying soil types. with Grenache and Mourvèdre. and 20% each of Grenache and Mourvèdre. but this is the wine that digests. From the 2002 vintage he vinified grapes from eight hectares.TERROIR D’ANIANE Continued… “French wines may be said but to pickle meat in the stomach. good works carry a man to heaven. There is a very useful white made in microscopic quantities made from 50/50 Roussanne and Marsanne. FREDERIC POURTHALIE.

the Malepère has more affinity to the Atlantic. from vines grown at 450m in altitude. although each of the sub-zones displays markedly different characteristics. caramel and toast. who absorb all they drink. Yet another wine where the accent is on terroir and minimal intervention. Accorded appellation status in 1998 Cabardès lies north west of Carcassonne and is separated from the Minervois by the river Orbiel. Certainly. Strain-bags. The primary grape varieties are Merlot. Burgundian. Oceanique.LIMOUX. which confers complex flavours of melted butter. Mogul Diamonds. Blanquette is claimed as the oldest sparkling wine in France. The Cave Cooperative de Limoux is responsible for about three quarters of the production in the area. Try it with lentils with bacon or cassoulet. nuts. to slopes of clay and limestone to gravel. That’s the sort of Cabernet Franc that wins instant converts. although the vegetation is mixed as is the terroir ranging from sandstone terraces of glacial origin. reveals the tightest structure with marked acidity and the greatest ageing potential. where wheat is grown in the west and where lavender and thyme flourish in the south. There is also a delicious lemony twist in the finish. the watershed between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. where soft and cool Atlantic winds blend with the heat of the Mediterranean sun. who retain nothing. As Rosemary George writes in her excellent book “The Wines of the South of France” the vineyards are “a melting pot of grape varieties… Midi mingling with Bordeaux”.57 - . Mediterranean and Haute-Vallée. The wines from this area of are good inexpensive examples of wannabe claret (though why would you wannabe claret) with sweet ripe fruit flavours. deep enough for a small sommelier to disappear into. Watch out for the punt on this bottle. The Haute-Vallée. The elevage of the wine is in new oak. and enable others to profit by it also. who profit by what they drink. and is. The traditional grape variety here is Mauzac but more recently Chenin. The variety of microclimates and aspects has led to the definition of four different zones: Autan. graceful pepperiness and quenchworthy acidity. 2008 LIMOUX CHARDONNAY. The still wine whites of Limoux were given AOC status in 1993. as well as making sparkling wines they produce Chardonnay from the four climats. To the south west is the town of Limoux with its tradition of sparkling wines: Blanquette and Cremant de Limoux. only a little dirtied. Sand-glasses. Climatically. equally rare and valuable. to coin a cliché. The name Cabardès originates from Cathar times referring to the local lords of Cabaret who defended Château de Lastours against Simon de Montfort in the 13th century. Ages wonderfully too. Cab Franc. where Bordeaux grape varieties live alongside those of the Languedoc. A gala dinner is cooked by a celebrity chef (hence the Toque – the chef’s traditional tall white hat) whilst the proceeds of the auction go to a different Limoux wine village each year – to be used for the restoration of its bell tower (the Clocher). and are content to get through a bottle of wine for the sake of getting through the time. the Bordeaux varieties seem to be gaining favour at the expense of the Languedoc ones. This climate is locally described as vent d’est. TOQUES ET CLOCHERS W Drinkers May Be Divided Into Four Classes – with apologies to Samuel Taylor Coleridge Sponges. Chardonnay and red varieties have been planted. TOQUES ET CLOCHERS. Limoux We call the Chardonnay our “petit Meursault”. Cab Sauv and Grenache Noir are also present. and return it nearly in the same state. who merely retain the dregs of what they drink. what the French call le partage des eaux. This is a comparatively small region. predating Dom Perignon’s happy accident by about half a century. vent d’ouest. The Côtes de la Malepère is at the frontier of the Languedoc and Aquitaine. COTES DE MALEPERE & CABARDES This part of the Languedoc is centred around the city of Carcassonne and its spectacular medieval citadel. LES CAVES DU SIEUR D’ARQUES. . The Toques et Clochers refers to an auction of exceptional barrels from the best parcelles on the Sunday before Easter every year. Malbec and Cinsault.

The baby wine is from grapes grown on the terraces of argilo-calcaire and is a blend of Carignan (50%). Yields are low here (30hl/ha) and the richness of the wine can easily support 12 months ageing in new French barriques. for example. Gnarled Carignan and wizened Grenache rule the cépage roost here. although have yet to garner the critical plaudits of Minervois and Corbières. Treilles. and the dizzy medieval citadels preside over an extraordinary countryside. The premier wine is from Grenache (40%). Paziols. the grain of salt and mustard are needed… DOMAINE DE ROUDENE. climbing from the sea and lagoons to the white schistous escarpments and the limestone plug of Mont Tauch. ravines. for life to be lived. Two superb wines from this consistent estate.58 - . harvest is by hand when grapes have reached full phenolic maturity whilst a long cuvaison of twenty-one days and pigeage helps to extract all the aromatic components. with a fine complex nose of confit fruits. 2008 FITOU. help to make this region one of the driest in France. Grenache (30%) and Syrah (20%). This is a land of magically shaped mountains. like other appellations. Carignan (30%) and Syrah (30%) grown on schistous terroir.FITOU In order for the wheel to turn. tablelands where shrubs scented with thyme and lavender grow. saltimbocca etc. impurities are needed. Fitou In Occitan “fita” means border or frontier and Fitou sat on the border of France and Catalonia. The climate is Mediterranean with long hot summers and mild winters. Leucate. Jean-Pierre is trying to rationalise the estate by inducing other growers to exchange bits of land for his own. Everything is done traditionally. red and black berries suffused with peppery spices and notes of bay and clove. progress is slow”. CUVEE JEAN DE PILA R In Praise of Limestone – WH Auden …Mark these rounded slopes With their surface fragrance of thyme and beneath A secret system of caves and conduits That spurt everywhere with a chuckle Each filling a private pool for its fish and carving Its own little ravine whose cliffs entertain The butterfly and lizard… . with Syrah and a tad of Mourvèdre adding spike and length to the typical blend. BERNADETTE & JEAN-PIERRE FAIXO. Syrah is gaining ground in the hills. and the impurities of impurities in the soil. is divided into small parcels. boned baked shoulder of lamb. persillade of cepes. located in the pretty village of Paziols. The feel of the wine in the mouth is fresh and lively and the tannins are fine and supple. like the Tramontana. The wines show potential. diversity. as is known. And for food? Terrine of wild hare. La Palme. The wine is bright and purple with blueish tints. The dry winds of the Pyrenees. has a wonderful variety of landscapes. it contributes a flowery note with hints of red fruits and juniper. The AOC area includes wines from selected parcels of the communes Fitou. Dissension. but as Paul Strang writes: “in a country where the ownership of a particular plot has a symbolic importance beyond the quality of the purpose to which it is put. Domaine de Roudène. too. Caves-de-Treilles. Fitou. Tuchan en Villeneuve-des-Corbières. if it is to be fertile. Cascatel.

2010 2009 2009 2008 2009 2008 2010 CORBIERES BLANC CUVEE CLASSIQUE CORBIERES ROUGE. JACQUELINE BORIES. Mourvèdre 25% and a dollop of Syrah for poke. whilst the robust whites would cope well with a salt cod brandade or chicken sautéed with morels. weak and wibbly vin de table plonk sloshing around the Midi. The legacy of that terrible conflict lives on today and there is strong sympathy for those early rebels who reflect so much of the Languedocian temperament. A peculiar wine best enjoyed by a frumious bandersnatch after a hard day’s whiffling through a tulgey wood. a mere annual production of five hundred cases. Aged in wood for about fifteen months this Corbières is impressive in youth. Mourvèdre and Syrah from vines planted on hard red clay soil. The sheer diversity of the district and the designated eleven terroirs suggest that several crus will be created. situated in the heart of the Boutenac region. pas de filtration or fining and we’ve copped the lot! The wine develops sensationally in the glass. Grenache 25%. Cherry-red with violets glints the Entramis has an intense nose with sweet raspberry and cherry fruit. Biodynamics may literally be wired to the moon. lovely balance and easy freshness. such as ripe banana. spice and liquorice and a smooth. The eruption of the Pyrenees has resulted in layers of different type of soil and subsoil. Corbières Corbières is the largest of the appellations in the Languedoc-Roussillon with a large number of cooperatives and hundreds of independent growers. The region enjoys a history that goes back to the Greek settlements in the second century BC. Its role formerly was as a Teinturier grape. pineapple. by the sea. lychee and papaya. as well as tobacco leaf and pepper. dry climate ensures a long growing cycle for the vines. and. coral-like chalk. a meagre yield of 25 hectolitres per hectare and one hundred year old vines. Set aside your snotty wine prejudices. The riots of 1907 when the vignerons took on the government have been echoed down the ages since when desperate farmers have taken the law into their own hands to protect a heritage that is their livelihood. gaze deeply and adoringly into these atramentous depths and suck in that peppery mulberry fruit. In the north there is red sandstone as well as pebbly terracing. orange peel. The hot. the flavours seem to arch out across the palate. Variety and contrast is noticeable also in the soil formation. liquorice and balsam. The facts: manual harvesting. These wines make me feel hungry. angler and cuttlefish cooked for ten minutes in sea water and thicken with aioli) would hit the mark with the rosé. but don’t knock it! Bouschet to leave you bouche-bée and the ultimate Aude-job! Finally the Atal Sia grown on the pudding stone (over sandstone) terroir of Boutenac is a lush confection of Carignan 45%. A family owned vineyard for several generations Château Les Ollieux Romanis is in Montseret (renowned for honey flavoured with thyme. but could happily snort awhile in the Seven Sleepers’ Den. A garlicky calamari salad or bourride (burbot. Luscious red and black flavours are counterpointed by the drier garrigue notes of bayleaf and rosemary. The Cuvée Classique Rouge is a blend of Carignan. In case you think this is a digression there still remains a strong independent spirit. rosemary and lavender). duck with orange. Nowadays it has acquired a weird cachet. CUVEE ALICE CORBIERES ROUGE CUVEE CLASSIQUE CORBIERES ROUGE CUVEE PRESTIGE ALICANTE BOUSCHET. Erosion has contributed also. roast pigeon with peas or rabbit in chocolate sauce or a Roussillonnade of sausages and mushrooms grilled on pine cones. the Carignan grape reigns supreme. an area dedicated to the culture of the vine since Roman times. The wine is fermented and then aged in tank for 12-18 months. Grenache. The vines are located on a sheltered hillside facing south east. VIN DE PAYS DE L’AUDE CORBIERES-BOUTENAC “ATAL SIA” CORBIERES ROSE W R R R R R Ro . This is Cathar country with a vengeance. The Alicante grape has virtually disappeared from France today. lamb stew. Vinification is in tank with an upbringing in oak involving a period on the lees with regular batonnage. The Corbières region provides a diversity of terroirs and climates. cocoa butter. After a carbonic maceration vinification is in stainless steel without sulphur using indigenous yeast. almost sweet palate.59 - . The reds would go variously with Laguiole cheese. So here are some local dishes to play with. The Cuvée Classique Blanc is a mixture of Roussanne and Marsanne from yields of no more than 40hl/ha. to add colour to the pale. silky.CORBIERES CHATEAUX OLLIEUX ROMANIS. The Entramis is a blend of old vines Syrah and Grenache vines grown on limestone-clay. In the Aude valley. while in the heart of the mountains there is marl as well as some shale. from Lezignan and Boutenac westwards to Mont d’Alaric. The Cuvée Prestige Rouge from Carignan vines (up to 100 years old) plus the usual grape suspects (see Classique blend) has concentrated flavours of black cherries. and the winds keep to a minimum the need for chemical treatments in the vineyard. No oak here yet this is still a deep and intense wine with black fruits. This yields intriguing flavours of orange blossom and exotic fruits. Try it chilled.

the so-called gentle rebel. evoking very ripe black fruit through “an empyreumatical web of toasty oak and minerals (flint)”. 2008 2001 CORBIERES BOUTENAC. which sets it apart from the rest of the Corbières. down the present day. The high quality of this area has been recognized with the current appointment of a new appellation.CORBIERES Continued… DOMAINES GERARD BERTRAND. This jolly purple red hails from the border of the Corbières/Fitou appellations. the wine is blended and put in small new French oak barrels to age for 15 months. balsamic aromas and masses of sweet spice. Maxime Magnon. wine and the olive. nurture the vines as nature intended. Grapes are picked by hand and placed in cement vats for carbonic maceration and thereafter into oak for maturation. Yields from the century-old vines are very low (22 hl/hectare) but highly concentrated. Corbières – Biodynamic Carignan on schist on sandy-limestone blend and a field blend of Grenache Gris. the history of the Languedoc has revolved around the vine. but positively encouraged. renowned as the best area of the Corbières appellation. Winemaking on the domaine dates back to Roman times when it was named the « Villa Major » meaning the big villa which then housed the emperor Avitus. balanced finish allows the taste of the terroir of Boutenac to linger on… Carafe for a couple of hours and then sip meditatively. Grenache (30%). his jersey cow Camomille and nine sheep (at last count). Unfiltered. DOMAINE DE VILLEMAJOU CORBIERES BOUTENAC “LA FORGE” R R MAXIME MAGNON. vanilla. allowing a long lifespan for the vines. In the mouth. The long. dates back to the Miocene period. 2010 CORBIERES ROUGE “ROZETA” R . Maxime ferments in cement betons and neither filters nor fines his wines. Corbières Boutenac. Yields are 35 hl/hectare. Best with game or red meat. It is the oldest winemaking property in the Corbières. covered with pebbles and gravel. Jean Foillard. True greatness in wine comes when. In early October the grapes are hand picked and placed in “cagettes” (very small wooden crates) in order to preserve the bunches in perfect condition. The clay and limestone gravelly stones heat up in the daytime and then reflect the heat onto the vines at night. through the helping hand of the winegrower. fine tannins. The resulting liquid is gloriously deep ruby-purple. Those grapes are immediately transported to the cellars on the estate and the whole bunches are placed in cement vats for carbonic maceration (separated by varietal) for up to 15 days. Drinking it lightly chilled is not only not frowned upon. pieces of Roman vases and other antiquities are frequently dug up in the vineyards. What is so extraordinary about this terroir? Its decomposed clay and limestone soil. Corbières “From the time of the Visigoths. The grapes reach their optimum maturity enhanced by the natural heating effect on the grapes from the pebbles and gravel that absorb the heat of the day and reflect it at night. The terroir of Corbières Boutenac is composed of decomposed clay and limestone soil. the texture is rich with layers of concentrated fruit and soft. The varieties are old Carignan (40%). Once malolactic fermentation is completed. our forbearers. covered with pebbles and gravel. La Forge itself is a terroir of 4 hectares in the heart of the Boutenac region of Corbières. Jam-packed with earthy ripe berry fruits. aromas are complex and multidimensional. In the seventh each glass a geology of wild flavours.60 - . backed up by liquorice. Syrah (20%) and Mourvèdre (10%). The Corbières La Forge sings lustily of hot fractured terroir. Corbières La Forge is from 100-year-old Carignan vines (50%) with 30-year-old Syrah making up the balance. the wine is bottled and further bottle-aged prior to release. and allows an exceptionally long lifespan for the vines (well over 100 years). a wine gives expression to the terroir that engenders it”. highly concentrated and viscous. The Domaine de Villemajou comprises 90 hectares of south and south-east facing vineyards in the terroir of Boutenac. You name the black fruits: berries and cherries. The poor soil with limited fertility forces the vines’ roots to grow deep in search of sustenance – often more than 20 metres deep – and delivers a profound expression of the earth into the grapes. grilled or in sauce. this is a summer fruit pudding of a wine. A chip off the block of his mentor. The style of the new barrels is chosen especially to complement the character of each particular vintage. Macabeu & Terret blended en masse into one delightful Languedocian brew. the famed Sidoine Apollinaire sang songs about the wines of Villamajor. On the nose.

LE ROUGE DE L’AZEROLLE MINERVOIS. The cuvée Les Mal-Aimés is based on an assemblage of cépages (speak English. Le Cendrous is a stand-by-your-barrels sweet full-bodied Syrah drenched with warm cassis fruit and white chocolate. un terroir de feu. dotted here and there with ancient dolmens and isolated farmsteads. Le Clos de l’Azerolle is pure (and I mean pure) Carignan from fifty year old vines. Supple and full. “Fruit to the fore and promising. perched like the ark of the deluge on the spur of a plateau. Situated in Badens. incandescent. as one of the ugly ducklings combined with the aforementioned Alicante. And finally Les Aspres. descry the dulcet features of fair young damsels. berry-laden characterful red. Alicante (1927) and Carignan (1910) alongside the more classic “noble” (parvenu) varieties of Syrah. 2010 2009 2008 2009 MINERVOIS. Modern style but well done. in their midst. coffee. dammit) which have a bad reputation amongst the bien-pensants (there you go again). full tannins. barks and makes you take notice. sprung from the lays of Ramon de Miraval. pitted with caves. here. has induced Pierre Cros to preserve ancient parcels of Aramon (planted in 1930). The Minervois Blanc is lovely – a field blend of Grenache Blanc.61 - . One to stick your spurtle into.MINERVOIS MINERVE A jutting outcrop of burnished stone blotted against the blue of the sky. The Minervois vieilles vignes is from vines nearly one hundred years old and is another reason why we shouldn’t pension off the Carignan grape.” says Decanter awarding it four stars. the vineyards of Domaine Cros sit on the poorest of poor shallow stony argilo-calcaire soils so stark and inhospitable in certain places that only the vine and the olive tree can scratch an existence. a village above and beyond the world. 2010 2010 2010 2010 2004 MINERVOIS BLANC MINERVOIS ROUGE TRADITION MINERVOIS ROUGE VIEILLES VIGNES VIN DE TABLE LES MAL-AIMES MINERVOIS ROUGE “LES ASPRES” W R R R R . precarious on the brink of the twofold precipice of the Cesse and of the Brian. The love of this arid terroir. Piquepoul Noir and Carignan. Rich. LE CLOS DE L’AZEROLLE VIEILLES VIGNES MINERVOIS LE GRAND PENCHANT MINERVOIS. Minervois Located in Badens due east of Carcassonne in the south west part of Minervois. All wines experience varying degrees of carbonic maceration. it seems. and. sinewy yet supple. an intense dark red wine that unleashes aromas of spices. This is wine that sits up. Typically floral and resinous at the same time this white conjures dried apricots and plums sprinkled with garrigue notes of fennel and broom. Grenache and Mourvèdre. brambly chewy fruit with a most agreeable iron-earthiness. Minervois Un caractère d’acier. dark berries and spice with sweet oak. Vermentino. Raymond Julien is a grower to watch. Adapted from Maurice Chauvet – Translated by David Bond CLOS DE L’AZEROLLE (CHATEAU MIRAUSSE). a few kilometres from Carcassonne. scarred with gorges. Piquepoul Noir (1910). the fearful fires of a vengeful Simon de Monfort and the horrors of charring human flesh and yet. a singlevarietal Syrah from low-yielding vines. the sly shades of visigothic archdeacons and of rapacious feudaries. it creates a wonderfully lithe. a steep steppe where the sun strikes. the manly form of Raymond Roger Trencavel. where the drought seems more extreme than elsewhere. through the clouds of acrid smoke one can. Once you taste it you will buy it. Carignan and Syrah it yields sweet red fruits whilst retaining the warmth and herby grip of terroir. LE CENDROUS R R R R DOMAINE PIERRE CROS. A more conventional blend of Grenache. against the dreaming spires and where the cruel light plays strange tricks upon the eyes – mirages that recall to life the hunters of prehistory. The Minervois tradition provides superb value for money. the march of Roman legions. Muscat à Petit Grains and Piquepoul Blanc. RAYMOND JULIEN. The ensemble develops substantial structure and balance as the palate is supported by fine. ruling with fierce pride over a desert of brush and stones. confit red fruits and vanilla. On fertile soils Aramon can produce yields of 350 hl/ha.

10% Mourvèdre and 10% Cinsault (40 year old vines). On many of their wines you can taste a familiar quality: blueberries. or. Lovely equilibrium. and ferment. La Nine has a cuvaison of 16 days with pigeage and spends ten months in cuve before being bottled (by gravity) without filtration. nor are many vines neatly trained into efficiently-pickable rows. press. Mais Ou Est Donc Ornicar is a mnemonic phrase containing the French conjunctions (mais. no filtration and only a tiny bit of sulphur are the recipe for living and drinkable wines.MINERVOIS Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months. ni. car). Minervois – Organic Jean-Baptiste and Charlotte Sénat have been working this fifteen hectare domaine in the heart of Minervois since 1996. and the indifference that droops from the leaves. One can see the work that will be necessary. But it’s a way of life. 10% Syrah. Mais Ou Est Donc Ornicar is a blend of the energetic Mourvèdre (60%) and Grenache (40%). Vinification takes place with minimal intervention in a mixture of large and small casks (stored underground): natural yeasts. ou. “The terroir of Minervois is visually and functionally hardscrabble. no fining. They are certified organic and carry out all work by hand. donc. blackberries. Staring at a field of rocks from which gnarled vines struggle to emerge and plump up a few angry grapes isn’t like gazing over the verdant plains and hillsides of certain other regions. and that probably doesn’t help in the elevation of spirits. Everything is done by gravity to avoid pumping. That’s a lot of despair to crush. 30% Carignan (including 100 year old + gnarled gobelet vines). earth and always the garrigue aromas of wild thyme.” (Thor Iverson) 2010 2010 MINERVOIS ROUGE “LA NINE” MINERVOIS ROUGE “MAIS OU EST DONC ORNICAR” R R . A more powerful effort reminiscent of macerated fruits and dark spices and one that requires a haunch of meat or several. et. Oscar Wilde Continued… DOMAINE JEAN-BAPTISTE SENAT. This wine spends six months in barrique.62 - . in every beaten-down vine. a delicious wine with notes of spice over black fruits. elegant tannins and mellow mouthfeel. And yet the region is absolutely carpeted with vineyards. The exact composition of the blends changes from year to year but La Nine generally features a mixture of around 40% Grenache (45 plus year old vines). They are located in Trausse Minervois in the foothills of the Montagne Noir. grilled mushrooms. The soils here are limestone-clay and their mainly south-facing vineyards are set in the heart of the garrigue. and the heartbreak that sprouts from the earth. and that’s not easily abandoned.

Tasting. mineral edge. her husband John. Rendez-Vous du Soleil is old vines Carignan with Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. journalists and the public itself. the use of organic treatments. great and structured when the conditions permit this… above all. whilst starting to plant the noble grape varieties that would ultimately constitute their grand vin: Syrah. a sort of rosé manqué that mutated into a rich oily lees-aged white. 2010 2009 2010 2008 2008 2010 EMMENEZ-MOI AU BOUT DE TERRET MINERVOIS BLANC “L’INATTENDU” “SOUS LES CAILLOUX DES GRILLONS” “RENDEZ VOUS DU SOLEIL” “LO VIELH” MUSCAT DE SAINT JEAN DE MINERVOIS “DOUCE PROVIDENCE” – 50cl W W R R R Sw SLOW FOOD FRANCE – Terroir and Environment Without wishing to delve too deeply into current breast-beating debates about appellation controllée it is worth looking at the manifesto of a group of French growers who are questioning the concepts and practices of the AOC and wish to contribute to a debate inaugurated by a steering committee set up by the French government a few years ago. Yields are minimal (20 hl per hectare) due to rigorous pruning and even more rigorous manual selection. brooding red that needs some time to show its best. In 2002 the grapes were devoured by wild boars (expect some excellent fermented hams from the region young). the possibility of experimenting and questioning different aspects of work. I popped the cork expecting to pour it down the sink. NICOLE AND JOHN BOJANOWSKI. one that rewards richness of diversity and complexity. deep nose shows hints of ripe raspberry and blackberry fruit.ST JEAN DE MINERVOIS Continued… CLOS DU GRAVILLAS. a nutty nuzzle of amontillado and an unexpected pop of caraway – a right savoury number. I opened one bottle. round tannins and spicy blackberry fruit flavours – no rough edges here! This would be nice with grilled duck breast or pigeon pastilla. wines which have the peculiar characteristics of our grape varieties. The primary tenet is that each wine shall be the full expression of its terroir. Counoise. This is a work in progress and the blend will change each year. The palate is savoury and dense with lots of ripe red fruits cloaked in a rather minerally. wines simply and solely made from the grapes of our (sic) vineyards. minimum or no filtration. Mourvèdre. climate. The priorities are: the life of the soil. mackerel and one which will even accompany strong cheeses. the search for good vine health through natural balance. home to France’s wonderfully aromatic VDN Muscat. as well as tasters. respect of history. This requires a massive philosophical shift on behalf of those arbiters of appellation controllée. there is a rational attempt to tie together essential common practice. the Slow Food growers are creating a sensible foundation for a renewed appellation controllée system. and the vines are grown in sheltered pockets and scrapes. Counoise about 5% each. but all are linked by certain aims. To the quirkily named wines. taut structure. A wine to drink with guinea fowl in sauce. the respect for the variability of vintages. It’s got lots of appeal but not in a forward. “It’s a fairly serious. Carignan 20%.63 - . from the wine plains of Kentucky. that each wine “be good. selection massale. as craftsmen seeking harmony between nature and man…” The expression “labouring the soil” recurs in the manifesto. By understanding and promoting typicity and by espousing natural or organic practices in the vineyard. showy style: it’s more guarded and beguiling. St Jean de Minervois – Organic This is the story of Nicole Bojanowski from Narbonne. but the wine had not changed a jot. Fermented in stainless steel with lots of skin contact a wine that has plenty of colour. in this case the white limestone gravel plateau of St Jean de Minervois.” In 1999 they purchased a hectare of 1911 Carignan and Grenache Gris. tastings must become an instrument to check the respect of diversity. Everyone has their different approaches and their own history as a winemaker. Cabernet Sauvignon. Thoroughly wonderful. with a liquoricey. the refusal to chaptalize systematically. the prudent use of chemical plant treatments. healthy. consumer acceptance panels. of our special characters… our common will is to work our soil while respecting nature. a sparing or zero use of SO2. Part of a proposed “new dynamic of French wine for 2010” was “to become leader in practices that are respectful of the environment”. The tight. Only 800 bottles are made a year and tend to gravitate to *** Michelin restaurants in Paris! Sous Les Cailloux des Grillons is Syrah 35%. Although the practices in the vines and the cellars could never be codified in a strict charter. analytical and organoleptic examination. Instead of becoming an instrument for standardization. Mourvèdre. the refusal of standard definition of taste of wines by certain enological or market trends. however. Whiffs of apple-skin. As Andrew Jefford writes: “Cool air tumbles off the Montagne Noire. manual harvests. Cabernet Sauvignon 25% Terret Gris. whereupon it rests on the fine lees for a further twelve months. Grenache Noir. The white L’Inattendu is from Grenache Gris. Very good/excellent 90/100” (Jamie Goode). The journey begins here… First find your terroir. geology. a search for terroir. history and cultural specificity that leaves open the possibility for maximum expression of personality and individuality. and their quest to make a grand vin. . the attachment to historic grape varieties and the refusal of the increasing trend to plant standard varieties. the search for full maturity. natural fermentations. of roots… Most of the growers in this list make wines in a specific context of geography. the refusal of GMOs. of our particular terroirs. with a hint of oxidation. but in 2003 the young Cab Sauv and Syrah yielded good results and were supplemented by some old Carignan. that these wines give people a desire to drink them. drank three quarters and left it out of the fridge for two weeks. can stifle creativity and become a “guillotine to submit nature and the winemaker’s personality to a rule”. After a light pressing the must is chilled and allowed to settle naturally. The growers have a specific agenda beyond the vague accord of “respect”. Half of the juice is transferred to new barriques of Allier oak.

limber.5% would have to be the rankest pair of pantaloons to garner my disapproval. simply composting.iv DOMAINE THIERRY NAVARRE. Cinsault and Syrah with some other varieties thrown in such as Terret. fresh. The harvest is manual and carried out by a small team. plant infusions and working the soil. all in the fruit. and at her late being here / She gave strange oeillades and most speaking looks / To noble Edmond. is not to tarry over. Another traditional variety of the Languedoc it is a close cousin to the Cinsault grape. He speaks of pleasure and emotion of trying a bottle of wine after a period of time and tasting the sense of place. the seasons. An organic wine from an impossibly beautiful estate Languedoc from a grape variety that I have only just heard of and clocking in at 11. A tripartite blend of very old Carignan vines with Grenache and Syrah. Muscat. the cycles. all in the glancing moment. a forest of small trees and bushes and the familiar clumps of fragrant rosemary and thyme which captures the scented spirit of the high Languedoc. As Thierry would say each wine and each year is a lesson in humility. / I am sure of that. Thierry also cultivates one of the truly forgotten ancient varieties of the Languedoc called Ribeyrenc (which I would love to try – calling Les Caves buyers of all things rare and wonderful. however. King Lear IV. supple and fresh. namely Grenache Noir.SAINT-CHINIAN I know your lady does not love her husband. No chemical products are used. naturally vibrant. Cuvée Olivier is a bigger beast. Carignan. yet is unforced. The culture in the vines revolves around the respect for the soil. it is aged in 600litre demi-muids and has rich red fruits. but to surrender to its simple charms. Oeillades.64 - . Saint-Chinian – Biodynamic Thierry Navarre has a dozen hectares of vines planted on dark brown schist terraces around Roquebrun. This is a vrai wine of the country. natural preparation. Any wine that barely judders the alcoholic richter scale sets my heart all of a flutter. The grape varieties are typical of Saint-Chinian. As I surmised the Oeillade is the gnat’s spats. The Oeillades. The achingly beautiful countryside is an amphitheatre of small mountains clad in a sea of green. 2010 2008 VIN D’OEILLADES SAINT-CHINIAN CUVEE OLIVIER R R . Clairette and Grenache Gris. liquorice tones and plenty of herbs and spice.

which flakes like pastry. Phytosanitary Protection: The grower agrees to put into practice those viticultural methods which aim to decrease phytosanitary risks. harvests are manual. or in circumstances beyond the individual’s control. Faugères The vineyards of Faugères are planted on steep-sloped schist outcrops of the Cévennes. Faugères – Biodynamic Bargain bloodhounds lift up thy snouts and truffle this terroir. The Carignan is from 50-80 years old. bay. The wine itself is a traditional meaty Faugères with its gorgeous deep colour. controlled grassing and the working of the soil between the rows of vines are encouraged. The Léonides. or even closer. using those products least harmful to the environment. 10% Syrah. Faugères has virtually no connection with the Church and. and to allow her to have the energy and strength to express herself. so as to avoid polluting streams and underground water sources. Drinking this Faugères will make you feel close. Certain defects are necessary for the existence of individuality. GENEVIEVE LIBES-COSTE. Terroir is poor schist. Firstly. Faugères has decided to become involved in environmental issues within its appellation. Mourvèdre. There is no oak. the winemaker agrees to abandon the principle and use of systematic chemical disease prevention. The estate is in the commune of Cabrerolles in Faugères. in a state that verges on the wild. no filtration. He also agrees to respect the treatment advice published by the Appellation offices. described by Paul Strang as “one of the bargains of the appellation”. those winemakers who sign the charter will qualify for a seal of approval. he may on his own initiative proceed to such treatments which he judges indispensable. the soil is almost entirely schist. Whatever the circumstances. to nature.FAUGERES Faugères is similar to other Languedoc appellations in many respects. such as moderate nitrate fertilisation. As Corinne Andrieu states: “We have always worked to respect what nature has to offer… Our pleasure is to listen to nature. Carignan and Grenache. which can be seen at the base of the crater.” The blend is 40% Mourvèdre with approximately 25% Carignan. heady aromas of flowering shrub. to watch nature. In certain instances of risk. Two sisters and one brother run this vineyard. the fruit is meaty with game-and-gravy flavours and lots of garrigue notes of bay and roasted thyme and there is pronounced bonfire smokiness on the finish. He agrees also to carry out or to have carried out soil analyses in order to ensure that the fertility of the soil is maximized. This particular estate owes its name to a 10. hard and brittle. The advantage for the wine grower is that it forces the vine-roots deep into the ground to search for moisture. is made from roughly equal quantities of Syrah. aeration of the vine-trunks. no fining and no sulphur. following the death of their parents. balsam and serious quantities of dark smoked fruits on the palate. Soil Improvement and Use of Fertilisers: The winemaker agrees to improve his soil taking care to use possible natural products or those with slow degradability and weak solubility. correction of soil deficiencies. Secondly. it is a region without a long viticultural history. FAMILLE ANDRIEU. Fermentation (with wild yeasts) and maceration last for thirty days with no temperature control. Weedkilling – working the soil: The winemaker agrees to gradually stop the use of residuary weed-killers. whilst the Mourvèdre and Syrah are from 30 year old vines. Faugères was originally known for Fines de Faugères. This is a crawl on the wild side. An ambitious charter has been drawn up under the slogan “Careful cultivation protects the environment”. In fact. For this reason their vines “grow like any other local plant. Whilst not holding a certificate for either organic or biodynamic farming. (Goethe) 2009 2009 VALCABRIERES BLANC FAUGERES TRADITION W R . pruning in accordance with the local rules. The schist also retains and reflects back the heat of the sun. the vineyard is run with the utmost respect for nature. but feels different in others. since the abbeys were the original location of the vineyards. 2007 FAUGERES “LES LEONIDES” R CLOS FANTINE. DOMAINE DU METEORE. and 25% Grenache. The practice of natural. Finally. a marc distilled from cheap white grape varieties such as Terret and Carignan Blanc.65 - .000 year old meteor.

pigeage is by hand. gentle work of earthworms. Strong dark fruits. damson and violet. Faugères – Biodynamic Didier Barral has 25-hectares of biodynamically-farmed vineyards on slightly acid schist soils in which a little of everything grows. named after a small stream. warm leather. We begin with the baby of the bunch. There’s grass in our vineyards and amongst the grass. No filtering or fining. Sometimes they think they are doing the right thing by ploughing too often for example. turn down the lights and let it have its wicked way with you. The wood. bay and thyme as well as a supple mouthfeel. a blend of Carignan. nicely structured by crisp acidity. for it reveals astonishing diversity of benevolent creepycrawlydom. Triage is vital for the quality of the grapes which makes or breaks the wine. long macerations are followed by ageing in wood. Mourvèdre is the grape that gives Didier real pleasure. It is perceived as difficult to bring to even maturity. and the assemblage (all grape varieties are vinified separately) follows eighteen to twenty-four months later. fresh black fruit and a hint of dark chocolate. A vin de garde. Worth broaching a celebratory lobster or regal turbot for.” This is an extraordinary micro-climate where the mountains on one side and the proximity of the garrigue which shelters fauna and flora create the preconditions for an excellent terroir. The colour delights being blackish-purple. As Paul Strang writes: “He scorns the modern bottling plant. And there’s a white too. No filtration or fining to leave a mark on this intense dry white with its mix of sherry and honey aromatics and incredibly pure citrusflecked palate. and not having delved too deeply into these matters. with a distinct whiff of fresh herbs and earthy grace notes that mirror the nose. Cuvée Jadis is Carignan (50%). a blend of Terret Gris and Blanc (80% of the mix) with Viognier and Roussanne making up the rest. Everything starts from the soil which must be made as healthy as possible. Ripe plum and black-cherry scents dominate a fruit-forward aroma. We have to observe nature and to understand how micro-organisms operate. but his aim is “to make something irresistible: a bottle of wine that no one would willingly leave unfinished” (Virgile’s Vineyard – Patrick Moon). as it were. melts into the fruit leaving behind a fabulous fierce minerality. but according to Didier it’s all about the health of the vine which in turn is about the health of the soil. evident initially. The mouth follows the nose. finesse. conveying a suppleness. He dislikes carbonic maceration as he believes that it explodes the fruit and leaves nothing behind it. Didier is adamant that cow manure is the best. the Carignan provides colour and concentration and the Grenache gives fragrant garrigue notes of laurel. yielding luscious aromas of confit cherry. indication of a thriving. His Valinière. The fermentation is done with wild yeasts. black olives and all the spices of the orient (quite a few. living soil.66 - . there are cows and horses: a whole living world that lives together. fine floral notes. almost opaque.” And the wines? Well. All you need is a north wind and an old moon. dark chocolate. who are we to say otherwise? A photographic album of the vineyards could be entitled: My Favourite Bugs or A Diet of Worms or even A Riot of Worms. but there’s plenty of earth to please the truffle-hounds. Grenache and Cinsault. Then we see that tools and machinery can never replace the natural. The Terret vines are 90 years old. smooth tannins emerge as a cleansing astringency in a long finish. insects and other creatures that travel through a maze of tunnels. which eventually damages the soil structure. On the one hand he is returning to the physical roots of winemaking before the days of quick fix chemical solutions and the other hand he is challenging the received wisdom and conservatism of the previous generation. Natural solutions prevail: small birds make their nests in the clefts of the vines (these nests lined with the horse hair that has been shedded) and they prey on the mites and bugs that are the enemies of the vine. Jadis is a way is a testament to Didier’s organic credentials and his passion. Fermentation takes place in cement vats with natural yeasts and a further malolactic in barrels 1/3 new and 2/3s first and second use. Syrah (40%) and a soupçon of Grenache. gives it equilibrium. they have a magnificent fruity intensity. yields are 15hl/ha with a strict triage. has deep purple colour and a glorious nose that benefits from aeration. The Cinsault is amazing.FAUGERES Continued… DOMAINE LEON BARRAL. where density and power are controlled and shows an acidity that completes the wine. lest we forget. anyway). farmers feed the planet but destroy it at the same time. and made from 80% Mourvèdre and 20% Syrah. these are natural products. Didier is a perfectionist in the vineyard and believes in totally natural vinification. length in the mouth as well as a capacity to age. creating porosity and aerating the soil. 2010 2009 2008 2006 2006 VIN DE PAYS DE L’HERAULT BLANC FAUGERES TRADITION FAUGERES “JADIS” FAUGERES “JADIS” – magnum FAUGERES “LA VALINIERE” W R R R R . Full-bodied. each dependent on the other and each being vital to the balance of the biotope. Leather and pleasant “barnyard” notes add complexity. “Nowadays. otherwise carafe it. deploring the use of filters and pumps which interfere with the natural qualities of the wine. making it permeable and alive. juicy and tart flavours. a vin d’amour.

In 1979 Jean and Marie-Thérèse Orliac planted some abandoned land at the foot of two dramatic cliffs. split over two sites. the Pic St Loup and the Montagne de l’Hortus. They also built a distinctive winery. JOSEPH ALBAJAN. JEAN ORLIAC. A wake up call to the jaded palate. If the Hortus reds have the spit. but the real salt of the earth. whereas Grenache and Syrah are grown on a northeast-facing slope under the Pic St Loup. when a second and a third bottle measures up to expectations. the contents of the bottle have disappeared into history. As Jean-Marc Delys of Odette’s Restaurant so eloquently puts it: “one sip transports you from Condrieu to Meursault”. The main vineyard area is near the winery. Picpoul (Piquepoul Blanc) itself is an ancient grape variety. Green harvesting and organic viticulture are part of the estate’s philosophy. This is a deliciously understated wine. prickly. 2010 2010 2009 2009 CLASSIQUE BLANC “BERGERIE DE L’HORTUS” GRANDE CUVEE BLANC CLASSIQUE ROUGE “BERGERIE DE L’HORTUS” GRANDE CUVEE ROUGE W W R R . Oberon Kant’s Big Book of Wine DOMAINE DE L’HORTUS. with a cooler microclimate. is quite resinous with an ample mouthfeel and savoury flavours of iodine. constructed mostly of wood. (A blank look from me. a salt-water lagoon dedicated to the cultivation of oysters and mussels. polish & all-round smoothness one might associate with Bordeaux. he expounds authoritatively. Château de la Mirande is located in the commune of Castelnau-de-Guers not far from the Bassin de Thau. It is traditionally consumed with the local oysters (huitres de Bouzygues) from the Bassin de Thau. with 43 ha red grapes and 12 ha white. Coteaux du Languedoc ‘A good Picpoul’. gritty. Mastodon with red wine. green fruits and herbs. But the closet etymologist soon gives way to the more familiar bibulous incarnation. Outstanding winemaking. and before you know it. Domaine de l’Hortus is one of the standard bearers in AOC Pic St Loup. Virgile’s Vineyard – Patrick Moon Picpoul de Pinet is situated in the Languedoc roughly half way between Béziers and Montpellier. The whites are Roussanne/Sauvignon/Chardonnay/Viognier and Viognier/Chardonnay for the Bergerie Classique and the Grande Cuvée respectively. The second vineyard area is situated some 25 km away. ‘should be crisp and full at the same time. which has the sort of green-tinged iodine fruit and crisp acidity one would associate with Muscadet or Gros Plant. Pic Saint Loup Jean Orliac is one of the top producers in Pic Saint Loup and his wines are to be found in many of the top French restaurants. garlic and parsley (which is what I had to eat last night). a touch of savoury brininess. a hint of white flowers. This version has a spicy aniseed bouquet. It is a watery wine in the best sense. they now have 55 hectares of vines. That’s how the grape got its name: pic as in piquer – to prick – and poul as in poul. thirst quenching and utterly appropriate with linguine of crab with chilli. yellow plum and pepper. but with more vinosity. where Mourvèdre grows on the hot scree slope under the Montagne de l’Hortus. The high proportion of Syrah in the reds makes them beautifully eloquent wines & the use of seasoned new oak is most intelligent. then the Clos Prieur is an earthy peasant yodel of terroir.) ‘An old Occitan word meaning soft and rounded.67 - . at Clos St Jean. In total. The vineyard spreads through the Mediterranean garrigue with its thousand scents and is in part situated on slopes of red earth covered with pebbles which release the sun’s heat to perfect the maturity of the Picpoul. as if he thought everyone fluent in the medieval language of the troubadour poets. M.’ he elaborates. also a sharp prickle. the latter being a synthesis of the best of Rhône & the best of Burgundy.COTEAUX DU LANGUEDOC CHATEAU DE LA MIRANDE. An addition to these polished wines is the heat-drenched herb-strewn stew that is Clos Prieur from the roasting Terrasses du Larzac. 2010 PICPOUL DE PINET W An example of early food and wine matching advice from a wine merchant in (the caves of) Lascaux: Bison with white wine. The terroir for the Mirande vineyard is a clay-limestone mix on south-facing terraces with the vines between 30-100 years old.

which encourages proper maceration of the grapes. The grapes are harvested by hand. PIERRE JECQUIER & BLANDINE CHAUCHAT. it is aged for 24 months.68 - . which allows the indigenous yeasts to begin working slowly and progressively. Fermentation temperatures are unique to each vintage and vat according to the profile of the grapes. The wine spends 18 months in barrel. and good water retention thanks to the red clay. This bonny red is extremely aromatic with winning notes of cherries and raspberries. the property is part of the exceptional Pic-St-Loup terroir: a pebbly landscape warmed by the southern sun and cooled by the climate of the lower reaches of the Cévennes The limestone clay soil is pebbly and has both good filtering capacity due to the presence of stones and limestone fragments. with firm but fine tannins and ample acidity. Blandine Chauchat joined the Foulaquier team bringing with her three hectares of old vines in the plot known as Les Tonillières in Claret. Tonillières is named after the plot of land where the vines are planted. Their work respects the rhythms of the biodynamic planting calendar. which strengthens soil life and boosts the vines’ resistance to disease. In 2003. which means the grapes ripen early. horn silica and several plant or flower decoctions These preparations are dynamised and then sprayed on the vines. half in barrel and demi-muids and half in concrete vats. The method of viticulture is driven by love for this rugged environment. Mas Foulaquier use preparations such as horn manure. In former times ‘Les Tonillières’ denoted a forest where the trees were used for making barrels. Vat fermentation can vary from two to six weeks. Weed control is mechanical or indeed manual. leather and brandied cherries. Gran’ means old in Occitan and Gran’T is an homage to the old vines of the domaine. Petit Duc is 100% Grenache from relatively young vines grown on south facing limestone slopes. Vinification takes place in small concrete vats (50-80hl. No synthetic substances are used on the vines. whilst conversion to biodynamic production started in 2006. The palate is packed with red and black fruits. Harvesting is manual in small 20KG boxes. In addition to this lovely setting. The terroir is composed of gravel (crushed limestone) for the Syrah and a slightly marlier limestone clay terroir for the Carignan. The vines are therefore cultivated and treated with biodynamic preparations applied in accordance with the biodynamic sowing calendar. both in the vineyard and in the cellar. Comprising half each of Grenache and Carignan. in order to promote a certain complexity for future blends. herbs. sometimes with several days’ maceration prior to fermentation. The aim is not to obtain maximum extraction. against background of violets. without the addition of oenological products. A wine made exclusively from Grenache is very unusual in the Pic St Loup. aromatic herbs and liquorice. Treatment of the harvest is manual without pumping. The wide divergence between daytime and night-time temperatures is accentuated by the altitude of the vines (200m) and ensures that the wines are extremely refreshing on the palate. clove and cedarwood. composted cow manure. 2010 2008 2006 PIC SAINT-LOUP “TONILLIERES” PIC SAINT-LOUP “PETIT DUC” PIC SAINT-LOUP “GRAN’T” R R R . and respect for this magical and unspoilt landscape. allspice and dark chocolate. similar to an enclosed Burgundy parcel. Neither sulphites nor yeast are added in order to allow the maximum expression of the ‘terroir’. The blend is Syrah-Carignan 50/50 with the latter from 50 year old vines.COTEAUX DU LANGUEDOC Continued… MAS FOULAQUIER. A deep purple/black colour. transferred into vats by gravity and fermented using only indigenous yeasts. The main plot slope faces south-southwest. the wine mingles pure blackcurrant and bramble aromas with garrigue herbs. but rather elegance and fruit. Pic Saint Loup – Biodynamic With its old stone farmhouse built over centuries Mas Foulaquier is situated at the northern edge of the designated Pic Saint Loup ‘cru’. Individual grape varieties may be vinified separately or together in variable proportions. along with some quite meaty/savoury notes and an interesting hint of iodine. As the wine develops it begins to display subtle notes of dried mint. nor any oenological products in the wine production. Application for organic certification was made in 2005. The farm overlooks a large plot of 8 hectares of sloping vines. but Foulaquier with its limestone scree terroir gives fine and delicate expression to this delicious grape variety.) coated with epoxy.

as if you were gradually becoming acquainted with a complex. a sophisticated form of branding. there is a sense that terroir can be used to differentiate one wine from another. when the wind is going to change and so forth.69 - . microclimate. not gloss over inadequacies nor reduce to a lowest common denominator. but could equally apply to wine. In a wider sense terroir embodies the general notion of “respect”: respect for the land and the environment.” If. . I believe that this approach goes against the grain (not to mention the grape). the soil. The alliance of instinct with knowledge is a kind of romantic inspiration. Experienced vignerons can often distinguish the flavour between one plot of vines and another. Wines lacking this dimension. terroir is the interrelation of soil structure. I suspect that many French growers would shudder if you called them wine-makers. no matter how technically accomplished. It has always been an evolving expression of culture. they prefer to see themselves as vignerons instinctively cultivating the potential of the grapes and faithfully perpetuating their cultural heritage. respect for history. where sang has two possible meanings: blood and kinship. respect for culture. scientifically speaking. not how much you interfere in the process but how sympathetically. like the geological underpinning of a given terroir itself. It concerns the wine’s interpretation of place as opposed to the concept of the varietal which tends to be about a nominated or fixed interpretation of a grape in order to obtain an instantly recognisable “international” style. Terroir is a progressive notion feeding on the positive elements of tradition.” Jonathan Nosier – Liquid Memory What actually is terroir? Scientific definitions abound about the various liaisons between microclimate and soil composition. the soil and the landscape. Also. we should be able to dissect flavour components in a wine to the nth biochemical degree to see if we can discern whether the wine has physically interpreted its terroir. if you like. therein lies the art of great wine-making. in taste or in perception. So when you taste a wine of terroir your senses will accumulate impressions. To return to our musical analogy the vigneron is the conductor who can highlight the grace notes of the wine by creating the right conditions for the vine to flourish. I am reminded of something Pierre Boulez once said about great art. local fauna and flora. the sense of a terroir would evolve over generations. I am optimistic that the new generation of wine-makers is beginning to appreciate the value of interpreting terroir and comprehend that our palates may be tiring of synthetic homogeneity. hundreds of years. One basic formulation is articulated by Bruno Parts in his article “The Terroir is Important” (Decanter 1983): “When a French wine grower speaks of a terroir. De ces justes mariages devaient naitre des vins donc l’expression etait originale car intimement lieé à leur environnement et donc inimitable. “A landscape painted so well that the artist disappears in it. Today layers are stripped away overnight. an aggregate of sensations. he means something quite different from the chemical composition of the soil… The terroir is the coming together of the climate. implying a natural “blood-relationship” between man and terroir and that the earth itself is living breathing dynamic force. Before. What distinguishes our era is the instantaneousness and universality of change.” When we taste wine we get an overall impression. A New Reign of Terroir? There will always be a vibrant debate between the technicians and holisticians. the boffins and the poets. and a new layer is added nearly each vintage. for the very reason that they have been brought up in the local countryside and know the fauna. but the wheel has begun to turn. are cold shadows: they are calculations of correctness. As Nicolas Joly observes in his book Le Vin du Ciel à la Terre the creation of the first appellations controllées resulted in “une connaisance intime de terroirs fondeé sur l’observation et l’experience de plusieurs generations de viticulteurs.Terroir – Earth Rocks “Terroir has never been fixed. Throughout the world growers perceive that the future is in the quality of their terroir and that technology should only be allowed to assist. Une experience qui avait conduit à l’union de tel cépage et de telle parcelle. as more quality wine floods onto the market. the flora. Wine truly is made in the vineyard. In other words terroir is greater than the sum of its parts. Terroir is the synergy of living elements.” Even this definition seems conservative. an intuition borne of living in the countryside which informs the activity of being a vigneron. allowing for the slow accretion of knowledge and experience to build into sedimentary layers. but they can only scratch the surface of the philosophy. the age-old intuitive alliance forged between Nature and Man. you cannot separate its components any more than you can analyse individually all the discrete notes in a symphony and compare it to the whole. Nicolas Joly uses an expression sang de la terre. organic thing.

The wine is a deep violet colour. the aromas are intense – a melange of cocoa. The AOC Montpeyroux wine is a reckonable beast: a brooding blend of Mourvèdre (32%). A summer or green harvest is carried out on the younger vines to remove some bunches before they reach maturity. Sylvain has a gleaming chai with an array of stainless steel tanks but is sceptical about any interventions when the wine has entered the vat. The wine is vinified on the lees for seven days and then is matured for nine months in small oak casks. it was owned by Sylvain’s maternal grandfather. The cellar.COTEAUX DU LANGUEDOC Continued… DOMAINE D’AUPILHAC. The aromas remind one of Pinot Noir – floral notes with a hint of confiture. created in 1989 in the family home. 2010 2009 VIN DE PAYS DE L’HERAULT ROUGE “LES SERVIERES” AOC MONTPEYROUX R R . cherries. They’re mainly Mourvèdre and Carignan. Marcel Baumes. vanilla.70 - . this stops the vines suffering from the heat and helps root development. or chicken with tarragon or even lightly chilled. game with fruit and spit-roasted woodcock. SYLVAIN FADAT. The most northerly facing part is planted with the four white grapes recognized by the Coteaux du Languedoc: Roussanne. Carignan (28%). undergrowth or herbs and one cannot fail to be impressed by the richness of the palate which mingles pleasant substance with satisfying fullness. the “Plôs de Baumes” at Aniane. A large part of the vines grow on south-west facing “terraces” on a site named “Aupilhac”. Grenache and Cinsault grow here too. The philosophy articulated by Sylvain echoes one we’ve heard from so many French vignerons: ”We believe that work in the vineyards has far more influence on a wine’s quality than what we do in the Cave”. the absolute priority being to maintain its natural balance. but some Syrah. The land is treated with great respect. as well as ensuring silky tannins. It’s not necessary with the Carignan as the vines are so old that they limit their yield automatically. Grenache (15%) and Cinsault (5%) also on mixture of limestone scree and hard blue marls. some 36 kms north-west of Montpellier. Montpeyroux – Organic The Domaine d’Aupilhac is in Montpeyroux. leather. is right in the heart of the village. Another part of the vineyard is the north-west facing “Les Cocalières” at an altitude of some 350m (1150ft) where Syrah predominates. The wines mature in casks and barrels in the underground cellar. consists of terraces made up of gravel washed down by the Hérault river. Sometimes known as Les Servières (after the wild lynx that used to roam in the local forests) the VdP is made from 100% Cinsault vines planted over a hundred years ago on south east facing hillside terraces where their roots plunge deep into the hard marl and clay-limestone soil. thus protecting the vines from seasonal drought. though Mourvèdre and Grenache grow here too. this means the roots have to force their way deep into the cool sub-soil. The local wild yeasts ensure the grapes ferment naturally. Finally. The wine undergoes a long maceration of up to 30 days with frequent pigeage and is then aged in small tuns and barrels for about twenty months before being bottled without filtering or fining. The wines are unfiltered and unfined. Syrah (20%). The nose is dominated by sharp red fruits (redcurrants. or pot au feu. In the Montpeyroux region this wine is regularly seen dating the following: Fillet of beef with chanterelles. No herbicides or pesticides are used. The Fadats have been growing grapes for over five generations. A regime of travail du sol is practised: the land ploughed regularly. This savoury wine has several gastronomic buddies: try it with grilled quails with cherries. Grapes are harvested by hand so that the skins are properly mature in order to extract the best aromas and colour. Marsanne. bitter orange) and in the mouth the wine is fresh and aromatic with an attractive finish. white Grenache and Rolle (Vermentino). and so is named in his memory.

The Segna de Cor comprises 50% Grenache. they are blended with old Carignan (60-80 years) and Syrah giving firm structure and dark colour and resulting in a tender (as the French would say) and fruity wine sustained by a real texture of tannins.ROUSSILLON Greek traders planted the first vines in the 8th century BC in this region close to the border with Spain. dried spices and roasted herbs. smooth. It is brilliantly pure and precise. gneiss etc. In the cellar simplicity and authenticity are the watchwords. This is a work in progress. pruned in the gobelet fashion. on the north exposed side of Força Réal mountain. All work is based on seeking equilibrium for the vine and allowing it to find its “autonomie” (defined by vigour. extracting limpid juice. Its ideal soil is on slopes. When it is mature. The relation between the Grenache and the terroir of Roc des Anges gives fruity and fleshy grapes. is a varietal of Catalan origin (some say that it is originally from Asia Minor). Four ‘S’: soft. and the shape of the tanks and the level of the fill determine the appropriately gentle extraction. lingering finish. The vineyards are a mosaic of 43 tiny parcels of land arranged in a variety of expositions on the north shoulder of the Força Real. DOMAINE LE ROC DES ANGES. The Vieilles Vignes is a blend of old Grenache Gris and Macabeu vines fermented in foudres. an essential factor in the expression of terroir. Densities of 4000-plants/hectare on the old vines and 7. gentle flavours of red grape and berry. It is the light permeable soils themselves from where the wines obtain their unique texture and vibrancy. the finish mineral and persistent.000-10. Port Vendres. on the edge of the great fertile plain around Perpignan some excellent red. 2009 2009 2009 VIN DE PAYS DES PYRENEES-ORIENTALES BLANC VIEILLES VIGNES VIN DE PAYS DES PYRENEES-ORIENTALES BLANC “IGLESIA VELLA” COTES DU ROUSSILLON VILLAGES ROUGE “SEGNA DE COR” W W R Macabeu/Maccabéo Long established in Roussillon. and a light green colour. silky and smoky! Lively and fresh in the mouth. Vinification is in concrete tanks ranging between 24 and 50hl. nutrition and natural defence). close to Spain). along the steep slopes of the Côte Vermeille. white and rosé wines are made. not too stony. . Côtes du Roussillon – Organic Le Roc des Anges is an estate of approximately 22 hectares in the village of Montner in the Agly valley (Pyrénées-Orientales. yield. schist. Grenache Noir. thereby reducing vigour. concrete – which exalts the aromatic purity and freshness of the wine – and wood (for about 10% of the elevage) in the form of one-to-three year old barrels. Other than leaf thinning and pruning of the vine to encourage the microclimate. its high alcohol content lends a full-bodied quality to some blends of red wines. which is sensitive to drought (it doesn’t suit dry soils) and doesn’t like fertile and wet plains where its large. Here castles and medieval watchtowers dominate the scarped landscape. compact bunches rot easily. Macabeu. very sweet. it is the main grape. The domaine comprises old vines of Carignan (50% of the red vines) and Grenache Gris (80% of the white vines). Macabeu is susceptible to powdery mildew. all bound up in the notion of respect for the cultural heritage of the region. The vines. 30% Carignan and 20% Syrah. in the foothills of the Pyrenees. That is undoubtedly the reason why it is quite widespread in the Agly valley. mostly associated with Grenache Gris and Grenache Blanc. Iglesia Vella (old church) is pure Grenache Gris from 80 year old vines fermented and aged in 500 litre barrels. Here. In white Vins Doux Naturels. The reds may be from Carignan.). granite. the vineyards of Aspres spread over the tumbling hinterland of the Pic de Canigou (the Mount Fuji of the Roussillon). This is extended further into viticulture where respect for the environment is paramount. The region contains the most southerly and sundrenched vineyards in France on a network of ancient terraces overlooking the picturesque fishing villages of Collioure (once summer home to Fauvists such as Matisse and Derain). with a strong skin. In red Vins Doux Naturels. South of France. quite full-bodied. From the rock of the angels springs the blood (segna) of the heart (cor). When aged. only a truly living soil will be able to liberate the essence of the terroir. with a sophisticated and delicate taste. its qualities are accentuated and it almost miraculously produces delicate and complex aromas that are truly phenomenal. to the north of the department along the Agly river valley. colourful. Here. according to the vigneron. between the rivers Tech and Tet. These decomposed flaky schists allow excellent drainage but encourage the vines to form deep root systems. Today the wines are produced in 118 communes of the Pyrenees-Orientales. operations in the vineyards are strictly non-interventionist. exerting the mildest of pressure. The grapes are harvested in early September for the dry wines and carefully made into an original. are well adapted to the dry climate. To the west.71 - . delicate dry white wine with quite subtle aromas and a nose of ripe fruits. Ageing takes place in two types of containers. the vineyards that back up against the Corbières massif.000 on the young vines encourage competition. hot. the fruit flavours are particular and delicate. Syrah and Maccabeu. the full-bodied table wines of Collioure and the famous vins doux naturels of Banyuls have been produced since antiquity (and even praised by Pliny). Banyuls and Cerbère. Clean. well-drained and not too rich. Montner derives from Monte Negro (Montagne Noir) is so named because of the dark schists. produce a wide range of wines including the vin doux of Maury and Rivesaltes as well as the full-bodied reds of the four Côtes-du-Roussillon-Villages appellations. Syrah or Mourvèdre. Everything done in the vineyard is traditional from the use of local stone to create low walls to divide the parcels of land. wind and variable soils (limestone. MARJORIE GALLET. then Grenache noir. Late maturing and quite fertile. The nose picks up notes of white and yellow flowers. nestling between Corbières and the Pyrenees. it is a secondary but important varietal. or Maccabéo. More vineyards are to be found at the base of the Albères massif. Finally. To balance this generosity. The soil is composed of old rotten schists (which are the best sort of schists) and traditional grape varieties dominate the cépages. A traditional press is used. Its grapes are of average size. whose branches break in the wind. that separates the Roussillon from the Languedoc. The first vines were planted in 1903 and 55% are between 40 and 90 years old. It is a vigorous vine.

No sulphur is added. The domaine is jokily called le Bout du Monde referring to the fact it is situated in the back of beyond (somewhere near the end of the world). Depending on the parcel the yields range from 525hl/ha. where the maritime influence brings the freshness that enables the wines to reach phenolic maturity without excessive alcohol. The wine still speaks eloquently of the origins of its terroir with purple fruits underscored by grippy minerality and surprising freshness. Grenache Blanc & Macabeu. The vineyards. It was then ten hectares and he planted a further two on beautiful schist and gneiss (very gneiss) slopes. The yields are kept low by the climatic conditions. Purity is the watchword here. exudes pretty aromas of black fruits with a suggestion of gaminess. the first thing you notice is the freshness of the wines. The yields are a valiant 10 hl/ha (count those grapes) Viticulture is entirely organic. NV 2010 2008/9 2009 2009 2008/9 2009 2008 NV LA SOIF DU MAL BLANC CUVEE OCTOBRE (2010) LA SOIF DU MAL ROUGE LES VILAINS LES GLANEUSES LES GLANEURS FRIDA L’ANGLORRE AUX FOULARDS ROUGE – magnum RANCIO BLANC “JOUR DE FETE” – 50cl W R R R R R R R Sw LE BOUT DU MONDE. Harvests are carried out by hand whilst vinification is as natural as possible with carbonic maceration at low temperature. It’s just that these wines liberate my inner terroir. where he avoided disaster by the “skin of his teeth. The wines are neither filtered nor fined. Les Glaneuses is 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah from yields ranging between 5-15hl/ha (mad. 30% Carignan and 20% Grenache on gneiss.72 - .” La Luce is a blend of 85% Grenache and 15% Syrah with a touch more extraction from a prefermentation soak and a short period in three year old barrels. floats our boat as its bangs our gong: 70% Syrah. Côtes du Roussillon – Organic Défenseur des vins de fruit. marl and granite terroir which confers the freshness and dynamic fruitiness to the wine. EDOUARD LAFFITTE. seasoned with herbs and some crushed minerals is the order of the day. mad). are situated between 150m and 400m on a terroir of schists and granites. Jean-François Nicq took over the domaine in 2002. Waxy fruit. The nose is elegant. JEAN-FRANCOIS NICQ. The name of the cuvée refers to the first vintage that Edouard made. Carbonic maceration for twenty days on the indigenous yeasts and no sulphur. called Tam Tam. I tell you. The nor-nor –east exposition of the vines compounds this character and finally the soils which make up this ancient granitic area bequeath a delicacy and elegance to the wines. Check out that nick of thyme on the aftertaste. In his first year he began the conversion to organic viticulture. The vines are cultivated organically without pesticides. suave palate. I should be writing this in English. If ever a wine tasted medicinal in a good sense then this paregoric potion fits the bill and hits the spot. LANSAC. Grapes are destemmed and fermented at a low temperature on the wild yeasts for a month. almost desert landscape. some pretty juicy fruit. successive droughts over the years have forced the vines to develop deep root systems to search for water and mineral nourishment. Soif du Mal is a medium-bodied summer white combining the usual Catalan suspects: Muscat. L’Echappée Belle is composed of 50% Syrah. dare one say. Frida is from 50% Grenache and 50% Carignan (80 year old vines) on shattered granite soils. Soif du Mal is made similarly except that it is a blend of Syrah 70% and Grenache 30%. Côtes du Roussillon – Organic Edouard Laffitte acquired his experience vinifying at the Cave d’Estézargues before installing himself in small six hectare domaine in Lansac south of Maury and the Côtes du Roussillon Villages. scattered amongst various parcels. The latest arrival. de plaisir et de terroir. The terroir is Les Albères in the Pyrenées-Orientales. a bonbon full of minerality with a crunchy. 10km from the sea and Collioure. and. 15% Carignan and 15% Grenache sur schist. 2010 2010 2010 VIN DE TABLE “L’ECHAPPEE BELLE” COTES DU ROUSSILLON ROUGE “TAM TAM” COTES DU ROUSSILLON ROUGE “LA LUCE” R R R . Sorry. Like all Edouard’s wines it is characterised by a lovely freshness with enough danger to remind you of the dramatic. Jean-François Nicq incarne une nouvelle génération des Côtes-duRoussillon. In his previous job he vinified the wines at the co-op in the Côtes-du-Rhône (Estezargues) where he worked without sulphur and maintained this practice of natural winemaking at Foulards for his first vintage.ROUSSILLON Continued… DOMAINE DES FOULARDS ROUGE.

The wine is made from pure young vines Syrah. 2010 2009 AMEDEE PRIMEUR CARBONE 14 R R DOMAINE DU MATIN CALME. VERONIQUE SOULOY & ANTHONY GUIX. akin to a dark rosé with cherry confit flavours. organic since its creation in 2007. Kung Fu.73 - .The first thing you notice is the softness and almost velvety texture of the wine and to counter-balance the sweetness of the fruit there are lovely. Blanc et Noir) which undergoes a twenty-day carbonic maceration and is fermented and aged in old oak barrels. The vines are worked strictly organically without any chemical or synthetic products used and the soils manually worked with a pick-axe. It is a pale red. just plain common sense. by the way) and is very much the artisan wine in terms of its flavour. Harvest is then manual in small cagettes of 8-15kg and grapes are chilled on their arrival to the winery. The residue of sludge in my last glass attests to the fact that the wine is heroically unfiltered. one young and one older in the commune of Laroque –desAlbères. is soft and remarkably vibrant.And the taste? This is where the Roussillon scores time and again – it is clean. the wine is bottled without filtration. and still is. by horse. Stéphane says the carbonic method requires very healthy grapes – it gives an infusion of fruit. herbs and spice. Le Petit Scarabée is a reference to the 70s TV series. 2009 VIN DE TABLE “MANO A MANO” R . The name has an interesting derivation: Isabelle explains that this is in honour of her team of pickers in 2008. but without that artificial boiled sweet and banana foreground that mars many examples. after whole-bunch ferment with indigenous yeasts. Sur Un Nuage is 90% Grenache (old and younger vines) and 10% vieux Carignan sur granit (the soil has been. virtually all of whom were musicians. the name given by the master to his apprentice. ‘Clampin’ can mean a person who makes the most of life. After the usual carbo and vinification at comparatively low temperature the wine is aged for six months in used 228 litre Burgundy barrels and 500 litre Austrian double barrels. no use of sulphur during the vinification.’Les Copains d’Abord’(friends come first ). He started working the land. irreverent version of the lyrics to this famous song. STEPHANE MORIN.8 hectare domaine. herbal-savoury notes. Despite one might think there is subtle variation in each of the wines. 30% Carignan (80 year old vines) from 22 hl/ha yields on average. but who is conscious of the fragility and limits of that life. nothing added. whilst there are two small parcels of Grenache Noir. making a travail du sol with a pick axe. no filtration nor fining and no other adjustments of the must. using a horse to plough certain parcels. fining or added sulphur. employing homeopathic treatments from tisanes of horsetail and nettles in accord with the lunar calendar and generally following biodynamic principles. nor had they been weeded so that the roots of the vines had penetrated deep into the soil to draw water and mineral resources. it is obviously a carbo wine. Côtes du Roussillon – Organic A 5. There are notes of what the French might call torrefaction. worked. Carbonic maceration lasts for ten days to two weeks depending on the wine and fermentation is in cuve of 10-30 hl. Isabelle and her team of pickers actually wrote an alternative. more or less stony or sandy with some decomposed schists. punchy. gently roasted dark fruit and a whiff of herbs in the background. a summer pudding of fruits and their skins. It is a five hectare estate due west of Perpignan in Belesta on the kind of granitic soils that promote freshness in the flavour of the wine. The usual natural wine regime in the winery: wild yeasts. one of which is used for the P’tit Scarabée. situated at the foot of the Albères massif in the south of the Pyrenées-Orientales. Texturally. a triple scoop of Grenache (old Gris. This name “Clampins d’Abord’ is a parody of the extremely famous song by the doyen of French folk music : George Brassens.ROUSSILLON Continued… LE SCARABEE. Intensive work is done amongst the vines with leaf thinning and selection. Isabelle sees herself in this role. The vineyards had never undergone any chemical treatments. 2010 2010 2010 LES CLAMPINS D’ABORD – 5 litres BIB LE P’TIT SCARABEE SUR UN NUAGE R R R DOMAINE LEONINE. The terroir is granitic. Syrah/Grenache (60/40) blend. Mano a Mano is 70% Grenache. the remainder stays in vats. The Amédée. Côtes du Roussillon – Organic Domaine du Matin Calme was created in 2006 by Anthony Guix and Veronique Souloy. humid influence. Part of the wine goes to used barrels where it stays on the lees. In terms of vinification it is all about the indigenous yeasts. ISABELLE FRERE. and who does not seek to profit materially. Côtes du Roussillon – Biodynamic Stéphane Morin created Domaine Léonine when he purchased a twelve hectare estate of old vines in Banyuls à Passa. Renew your carbone-dating with Carbone 14. fluidity and smoothness in the mouth. the sea is a mere 2km as the crow flies giving a marine. ever so slightly salty and.The wine Clampins d’Abord is a blend of 80 year old Carignan and young Syrah. The Carignan vines are between 20-80 years old situated in the commune of St André. there are a couple of parcels of Syrah. Finally. The handharvested grapes are gently pressed with a vertical press and gravity fed (no pumping) and.

hand harvested in early morning to preserve freshness and acidity. 2009 2009 THREE TREES MACABEU-ROLLE “LE CAYROL” THREE TREES CABERNET FRANC “METAIRIE BRUGENS” W R DOMAINE OLIVIER PITHON. spicy and quite savoury with a hint of tar and some smokiness. La D 18. Elevage is in a mix of 500 litre demi-muids and 228 litre pieces. The Cabernet Franc is a delightful surprise. Mango. a saturnine Che Guevara lookalike. and handling is gentle. of which only a third are new. has no Macabeu. sweet red and blackberries balanced by exuberant acidity and firm minerality. almonds. Laïs Rouge is an equal blend of Carignan and Grenache. cheddar or comte cheese. one and two year old barrels as well as some demi-muids. Lovely nose: sweet. A wine that remains on the palate and the memory for a long time or. Côtes du Roussillon – Biodynamic A nine ha Côtes du Roussillon domain located around the delightful tiny village of Calce (adjacent to Domaine Gauby). aromatic minerally nose is sophisticated with a lovely reductive edge. pink grapefruit and citrus arc across the palate allied to the hint of wild herbs within a yogurty texture. The Macabeu-Rolle tangy and flavoursome with lime peel notes and dried fruits and herbs. 450 metres. Brilliant aromatic blend with notes of juniper and clove. Lubbe has experience of making wine in both France and South Africa and is renowned for making fascinating Observatory Syrah from the Swartland region of South Africa. The palate is ripe and full with lovely freshness and minerality. Recommended for those of a carnivorous disposition: hare. the growing season is around a month longer than the lower vineyards in this warm region. and honeysuckle. Carmine-red this shiny wine has lifted aromas of ripe blueberry and red cherries as well as varietal flavours of twig and pepper. in the words of Irving Berlin: “The song has ended but the melody lingers on”. Soils are schist and slate surrounded by garrigue. is a blend of Macabeu. particularly.” We think you’ll agree with those sentiments. on the palate notes of fennel. Lovely toasty. yields a mere 15hl/ha. on claylimestone and schist soils. slightly reduced fruit with an attractive savoury. AGNES & ALAIN CARRERE. The vineyard was a hillside plot planted with old-vine Carignan. A wine to be assimilated mouthful by meditative mouthful. The palate has a lovely density of tight. Try with roast chicken or Mar I Muntanya (Catalan chicken and prawn ragout) and splendid with a well-aged manchego. Côtes du Roussillon – Organic The vines from Domaine de Majas are located in the Fenouillèdes area between 350-400 metres above sea level. There are minerals. Lubbe says that the lower vineyards contribute power and the higher ones minerality and finesse. Carignan. “Grenaches particuliers pour Elevage particulier pour Reflexion Particulière pour Boisson particulière sur Route Particulière donc Plaisir particulier. olive and dried fruit.ROUSSILLON Continued… DOMAINE MATASSA. 2008 2008 2006/7 VIN DE PAYS DES COTES CATALANES BLANC VIN DE PAYS DES COTES CATALANES BLANC “ALEXANDRIA” VIN DE PAYS DES COTES CATALANES ROUGE “ROMANISSA” W W R DOMAINE DE MAJAS. 2010 2009 2008 2008 VIN DE PAYS DES COTES CATALANES “CUVEE LAIS” BLANC VIN DE PAYS DES COTES CATALANES “LA D 18” BLANC COTES DU ROUSSILLON ROUGE “CUVEE LAIS” ROUGE VIN DE PAYS DES COTES CATALANES ROUGE “LE PILOU” W W R R . The wines are raised in a mixture of new. made from 70% Grenache Gris and 30% Maccabeu. dark. From 1999–2002 he made wine at Domaine Gauby. His Côtes du Roussillon Blanc Lais Blanc. in the Roussillon region of France. Grenache Gris and Grenache Blanc grown on schist-scarped soils from yields as low as 15hl/ha. lower down (at around 150 m). spicy character and good acidity. mouth-filling and very long. a bonny soothing fruit-drenched red with singing acidity. slightly sherry aromas. makes wines of superb elegance and exquisite quality from organically grown grapes. and because of the altitude. The wine is whole bunch pressed in a wooden basket press and is fermented with indigenous yeasts in foudre and barrel and then aged on the lees for 14 months. The wines are fermented with native yeasts and minimal intervention resulting in freshness of fruit and lively minerality. Mourvèdre and Cabernet.74 - . a celebrated estate that’s led the way in this part of the Roussillon. called Clos Matassa. Extraordinary wine – apples. with half high up in the Coteaux des Fenouillèdes and the other half around the village of Calce. The fruit carries on all the way supported by pleasing acidity. named after a cute Jersey cow. some spice and some flint. young wild boar or saddle of lamb catalane-style. Matassa Rouge Romanissa is a blend of Grenache Noir. Vineyard management here employs biodynamics. and the winemaking here is aiming to be as natural as possible. The only addition is a bit of sulphur dioxide. named poetically after the little road that winds next to the tiny vineyard. Matassa Blanc. Côtes du Roussillon – Biodynamic In 2001 Tom Lubbe purchased a small vineyard high up in the hills of the Coteaux du Fenouillèdes. They are all old vine vineyards. Olivier Pithon.

Pigeage and remontage is according to the nature of vintage. His vines are on the steep hills overlooking the sea and worked by horse and human. By law the grapes harvested for Banyuls must contain 254 grams of sugar per litre. made from Mourvèdre (90%) and Syrah (10%). The region’s schist soils compare to those of the Douro in Portugal. chocolate and even with classic French savoury dishes such as rabbit. The Muscat de Rivesaltes is a grapey delight with extra concentration from skin contact and mutage sur marc. an unsurprising fact when you realise that its yields are some of the lowest in France. once known as Banyuls sec. The wine is full-bodied with warm strawberry and cherry cola aromas and confit fruits on the palate. Collioure J’ai bu l’été comme un vin doux – Louis Aragon A small pretty Mediterranean seaside village just north of the Franco-Spanish border. With its summer pudding and mocha flavours (not to mention dried herbs. This should be drunk very chilled. Collioure is considered to have some of the finest wines in the south of France. Collioure – Organic Bruno Duchene. prune and caramel) it marries well with cheese. FAMILLE DAURE. is a dark red wine. Banyuls is a vin doux naturel made predominantly from Grenache Noir. but is still a thoroughly elegant and tonic wine. A dessert in itself! 2007 2010 2008 COLLIOURE “LES CLOS DE PAULILLES” MUSCAT DE RIVESALTES – 50 cl BANYULS RIMAGE “LES CLOS DE PAULILLES” – 50cl R Sw Sw DOMAINE BRUNO DUCHENE. fermentation is stopped by addition of grape brandy and the wine continues to macerate on the skins for a further three weeks before being aged in tanks. or with fruit or creamy desserts. with heady aromas of over-ripe fruits and spices.75 - . is vinified in a similar fashion but spends seven months in used barriques. 2010 2010 VIN DE PAYS DE LA COTE VERMEILLE “LA LUNA” COLLIOURE “LA PASCOLE” R R . either as an aperitif. hare or venison braised with a chocolate sauce. He works biodynamically and the red varieties are Grenache Noir and a little Carignan. The La Pascole (AOC Collioure) is from older vines (80 years).ROUSSILLON Continued… CHATEAU DE JAU. Finally. The hand-selected grapes are then destemmed. La Luna is from several parcels of vines averaging 35-40 years old and undergoes a semi-carbonic maceration. It has greater intensity. the Grand Roussillon is an exotic orange coloured. tangerine marmalade-flavoured wine made from late-harvested Grenache Blanc and fermented in open-topped containers. an energetic vigneron moved from the Loir-et-Cher to the Roussillon and is now based in Banyuls-sur-Mer. Try with Baixas fraginat (beef in a red pepper and tomato sauce). Collioure itself.

or standing out in its own right by expressing uniquely bold flavours. Olivier Pithon – 50% Carignan (Grenache) . old-fashioned respect for terroir and grape allied to scientific know-how. This is 100% Carignan. firm damsons and tight sloes. high-toned. Pierre Cros – 100% Carignan . After a wild yeast ferment the wine is aged in stainless steel for seven months and a further four in bottle. Côtes du Roussillon. rain is more frequent and temperature is lower. Two soils are present: pure schist and schist with limestone sediments. Grenache.” Carbonic maceration can. La Forge. LES CAVES DE CARIGNAN – THE UNUSUAL SUSPECTS Fitou. carbonic maceration. elevage in old wood Côtes du Roussillon. traditional vinification. dark plums. Domaine de Roudène – 50% Carignan (Grenache/Syrah). lending terroir character to blends. wild vines DOMAINE LES TERRES DE FAGAYRA. 100++-year-old vines. Root systems are deep. Clos du Gravillas – Carignan. tank fermented Carignan Reserva. The grape variety is in no way compromised by the vinification and reveals that exhilarating freshness and fine structure are not mutually exclusive notions. the desire to express local terroir by using traditionally cultivated varieties. Grenache) . barrels and foudres Côtes du Roussillon Villages. stainless steel fermentation Saint-Chinian. a tiny parcel of 100-year-old vines owned by Gérard Bertrand. aged in foudres Frida. Carignan is most often tasted in blends with Syrah. Syrah. Mourvèdre and Cinsault. Syrah – 600 litre demi-muid Faugères Tradition. they taste as if handfuls of stones had been stuffed in a liquidiser and ground down to a dark pulp with bitter cherries. Cab Sauv . 80+ year-old-vines . carbonic maceration. Carignan really flourishes in Corbières. the incorporation into appellation rules of a higher proportion of “noble” varieties (in particular Syrah and Mourvèdre). 12-18 months in barrel Corbières Boutenac. 70 year old vines. Domaine Thierry Navarre – Old Carignan. Cuveé Laïs. 90-year-old vines . Villalobos – 100% Carignan. 40+ year-old vines . Mourvèdre. two climatic conditions that give elegant and balanced grapes. 18 months new barriques Minervois. 105 year old vines . “should be grubbed up in favour of Syrah”. La Forge – 50% Carignan. In these wild lands nestled at the bottom of a limestone cliff. The nose first reveals exotic and white fruit aromas followed by mineral notes upon further aeration. smooth. it is now perceived as one of the signature grapes of the Languedoc-Roussillon. Take Raymond Julien’s Clos de l’Azerolle. 50% Grenache – 80 year old vines. The theological debate will run for centuries. Clos de l’Azerolle – 100% Carignan vines. what is not in doubt is the resurrection. 2009 2009 MAURY BLANC MAURY ROUGE Sw Sw . Enjoy with most cheeses and chocolate. Of course. Carignan is a more efficient vehicle for terroir than Syrah and Grenache particularly on the poor schistous soils (worked by maso-schistes) that characterise much of the Roussillon and eastern Languedoc.ROUSSILLON Continued… Carignan – so many prestigious wine writers (you know who you are) have had to gnaw the numble entrails of what they have written regarding this grape. 50 years old. cement and old wood Faugères. As Andrew Jefford writes in The New France: “The greatest wines of the Languedoc never taste easy or comfortable. Domaine Le Roc des Anges – 30% Carignan (Grenache/Syrah) . The estate lies on three hectares of old vines located at the north border of the Maury appellation. fermented in concrete. Domaine Leon Barral – 60% Carignan . 100-year-old vines .76 - . Carignan is also being heavily promoted in neighbouring Fitou (a geological scrapyard – Jefford) – once again old vines provide the blood of the wine. and. Domaine Ollieux Romanis – 40-60% Carignan (depending on cuvée) 50-100 year old vines. silky and linear with superb poise. The red is old vines Grenache Noir grown on schist with limestone sediments. Maury – Organic Les Terres de Fagayra is exclusively dedicated to the making of fortified wines with personality. Grenache. “not capable of greatness”. As Marjorie Gallet and Olivier Pithon illustrate magnificently it is not necessary to subject this grape to carbonic maceration to smooth out the rough edges and highlight the fruit: the same effect can be achieved by naturally low yields. schist. a fact that mirrors the rise of the reputation of the Languedoc-Roussillon. delightfully soothe the sauvage grain. fullbodied palate with a delicate. limestone and marl. The white Maury is a blend of Grenache Gris and Maccabeu on pure schist and limestone. nevertheless. “the bane of the European wine industry” and “only distinguished by its disadvantages”. chalky. secondly. A nose of dried red flowers and dried figs leads to an intense. 50-100 year old vines. challenging and rather wonderful wines. gentle extraction and traditional vinification techniques. Serve with tuna sashimi. mineral palate. Domaine du Météore – 40+% Carignan (Syrah. Cuvée Olivier. particularly in the zone of Boutenac which is a chaotic mixture of sandstone. Used oak Corbières. old vines . is a notable amalgam of power and finesse. The wine is aged for seven months in vat and then for a further four in bottle. Two viewpoints: firstly. carbonic maceration . Previously dismissed as “a workhorse variety”. stainless steel fermentation Minervois Rouge Vieilles Vignes. or rather the establishment of Carignan’s status as a grape capable of producing serious. Domaine des Foulards Rouges – 50% Carignan. carbonic maceration Rendez Vous de Soleil. traditional vinification .

If only fate had taken a different turn that night. It is smooth in the mouth. The bishop left. cherry and crème-de-cassis. the massive profile of whose tower dominates the landscape for miles around. The alcohol is added while the wine is still in the vat (mutage sur les grains). soupe de fruits blancs au gingembre. the bishop would have paired Monsieur & Madame Raisin the winemakers. In the mouth it is lively. destemmed and vinified in the normal way. star fruit. Everywhere there is black schist. The story of Mas Amiel begins in 1816 when Raymond Amiel won the deeds to the property from the Bishop of Perpignan in a game of cards. sometimes as dark as coal. Thon mi cuit au sel de Guérande et fenouil. their tufts flowing freely in the Tramontane wind.ROUSSILLON Continued… DOMAINE MAS AMIEL. digging up the hillside to plant new vines. the vines brilliant green. The Maury Rouge is made in the same style as the rimage wines of Banyuls. From 100% Grenache Noir grown on the southfacing broken schists and marne soils and yields of 25 hl/ha. looks as if they have been planted in the ashes of the Cathar martyrs who were burnt alive for their faith in the mountains of the South”. It has a beautiful limpid colour with hints of green and a mineral stone evoking warm stones and orange blossom which develops further with aeration to unveil fresh brioche and pollen.After a chequered career the estate was purchased by a Charles Dupuy who cultivated it until his death in 1916. 2009 2009 MAURY VINTAGE BLANC MAURY VINTAGE ROUGE Sw Sw Marjorie Gallet of Roc des Anges avec le pooch . OLIVIER DECELLE. This Maury is ruby with violet tints and the nose eloquently expresses framboise. Vinification is at 18c followed by a mutage to adjust the alcohol. Maury – Organic Maury is surrounded by the Rivesaltes appellation. langouste tiède aux agrumes. The Maury Blanc is from old Grenache Gris vines on schistous slopes. the red fruits reinforced by bitter chocolate and spice as well as fine tannins. fleeced of what could have been a prime source of communion wine. Charles’s son. holding the Old Maid. red-faced. Amiel would have been left. If you come down from these heights the soil suddenly changes. and the property in question would have fallen to the church. If the game were poker this would be quite a story – if you believe it – but what makes this event all the more remarkable is that the two were actually playing an early version of the classic card game ‘Old Maid’. Maury is thus in Pyrenees-Orientales and thus Catalan in nature. round and supple and unleashes panoply of flavours: boxwood. The wine is then aged in tank on the fine lees. and Mas Amiel was born. allowing a longer period of maceration and thereby conferring greater richness. Jean took over and started to produce high quality wine under the Mas Amiel label. which slows down the final fermentation. the grapes are subsequently sorted. As Paul Strang vividly writes: “It lives in the shadow of the Cathar stronghold of Quéribus. The mountains to the north denote the end of Corbières and of the Aude department.77 - . He extended the vineyard. But thankfully there was no divine intervention on the night. Yields are a miserly 15hl/ha. mandarin and juniper to name but few.

The love of a job well done. however. precisely because they encapsulate the multifarious differences of their locations. I use sulphur against the vine mildew and an infusion of horse tail for the little mildew that we have. from the exchange of information between the vine-plant and its milieu over generations. your love. as a result of too many interventions – the better to create a wine that conforms to international models – the wine itself becomes denatured. This is a caricature of the idea (terroir is not an idea). And every year it is different. And so we return to the matter of taste. But most of all. whilst respecting our environment and considering the problem of leaving to generations to come healthy soil: “We don’t inherit the land of our ancestors. Underpinning all their ideas are the notions of sustainability. you can obviously force the wine to obey a taste profile by artificial means and it will taste artificial. Who deniges of it? As Mrs Gamp might enquire. The biodynamic movement in viticulture and the Slow Food philosophy are progressive in their outlook and approach. and a reflexive mot-juste!) and given a quasi-mystical.” Terroir is about such respect for nature. wherein you can taste a different order of qualities. a mark of respect. the importance of tasting during the production of wines and the respect for the prime material. the precision in the choice of interventions. As time goes by. And we love ‘em! . This remains a base. through reading. a quality of expressiveness. I believe that “somewhereness” is absolutely linked to beauty and that beauty reposes in the particulars. these wines have somewhat of the something from a particular somewhere. because the critics perceive it as a “concept” appropriated by the French (the word is French after all. wine tasting and other experiences. Yes. love and pleasure. posits that the subtle secrets of the soil are best unlocked through biodynamic viticulture: “Biodynamics is perhaps the most straightforward path to the enhanced expression of terroir in one’s vineyard. exchanging ideas. its wines will tend to be more balanced more of the time than its unfortunate contiguous pirit al. the specific somewhereness of the living vineyard. emasculated and obvious. in our case the Gassac (valley) makes the wines. people will argue in ever-decreasing circles whether it is fact – or fiction. The same people believe that terroir is solely associated with nostalgia for old-fashioned wines and a chronic resistance to new ideas. a mare and a dog for my personal equilibrium and just as naturally comes the profound desire and necessity to fly with my own wings or to look after my own vines.” Continues Grahm: “A great terroir is the one that will elevate a particular site above that of its neighbours. Beauty must relate to some sort of internal harmony. If you are a New World winemaker the word may have negative connotations insofar as it may be used as an alibi (by the French mainly) covering for lack of fruit or bad winemaking technique. I don’t do anything extraordinary. It will ripen its grapes more completely more years out of ten than its neighbours. but it’s everything you didn’t learn at school that counts. they taste differently real.78 - . We never learn that it’s essential to make wines which you love. It is not old-fashioned to talk about spirit. I work. he explains. articulates his concern about interventionist winemaking: ‘I don’t like the term “winemaker” at all’. I’ve had only one desire: to give everything to my vines so that then they give it back in their grapes and in my wine. exposition. Its express purpose is to wake up the vines to the energetic forces of the universe. pantheistic spin. rich or powerful. They never speak to you about poetry.” Terroir – because one word is so freighted with meaning. You must be proud and put your guts. Matt Kramer once very poetically defined terroir as “somewhereness. we love and admire individuals in a way that we can never love classes of people or things. ‘Until recently it didn’t exist: now we live in a world where we “make” wines’. your sweat. “I discovered… the sensitivity to how wines can become pleasure. or to put it more reductively. your joy and your dreams into your wine.TERROIR: The Soil & The Soul. not every vigneron has an intuitive understanding of it and. In all the “making” the virtue of terroir is lost’. how nourishèd? In a recent paper Randall Grahm wrote: “Terroir is a composite of many physical factors – soil structure and composition. I believe. It seems natural to me to have a cow. We have to remember to be humble before Nature. and that is why a particularly great terroir wine seems to speak with so much elegance. soul. like so many French growers. you should remember that we do not make the wines. Growing biologically was for me self evident. micro-climate as well as more intangible cultural factors. My goal is to make the wine as good as possible by getting as much out of the soil as I can. It is not old-fashioned to pursue distinctiveness by espousing minimal intervention in the vineyard and the winery. He is talking about wines that are unique. harmony and individuality in wine even though these qualities cannot be measured with callipers. your desires. The plant and the soil have learned to speak each other’s language. Silica and horn dung (501 and 500) complete the infusions of horse tail. It may sound silly.” and this I think is the nub of the issue. It’s economically irrational for a young enterprise like mine but I don’t know any other way to be than wholly generous and natural. we lend it to our children”. essence. that every country or region naturally has its own terroir. of distinctiveness that will provoke a sense of recognition in the consumer. I put on the compost. it will have a calling card. ‘to be involved with a great wine is to remove yourself from the process. the harmony of a great terroir derives. Grahm. fern and nettles which I use. We say. healthy grapes that you translate their potential into something fine and natural. Two Vignerons Explain… Tell me where is terroir bred Or in the heart or in the head? How begot. topography. Ever since then.” Olivier Pithon articulates a similar holistic credo.” Expressiveness. ethical farming and achieving purity of flavour through fewer interventions. balance and lightness. a qualitative requirement and a choice of life style. the wish to take inspiration from the biodynamic comes naturally. rather it denotes intelligence that if you’ve been given beautiful. The great growers want to be able to identify Matt Kramer’s “somewhereness” in their wines. whether or not the consumer has ever tasted the wine before. as if the term was invented to endorse the singular superiority of European growers. Eben Sadie. distinctiveness: words that should be more compelling to wine lovers than opulent. are vital. as an intellectual truth. a South African vigneron. Nature makes the wines. but its true purpose is to wake up the biodynamicist himself or herself. Eben continues. The final word goes to Samuel Guibert: “Firstly.

its earthy purity a testament to the benefits of no holds-barred organic viticulture. Continue the delightful spring theme with warm lambs’ tongue and spring pea salad. partridge with cabbage and saddle of hare with juniper may be found on many menus. whilst in the south the sunny influence of Provence prevails. spicy. Rasteau. The slow cooked or braised dishes particularly suit the warm Grenache-dominated wines of the southern Rhône such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In the north it echoes the richer Burgundian style cuisine. There are some excellent wines at the cheaper end. as would a robust rosé. Game is equally important in season: braised wild boar. zippier wines. improving in aroma and freshness year by year as growers seeks to achieve fruitier. a red berry Syrah-rich smoothie.Gérard Chave (as quoted in Robert Parker’s Wines of the Rhône Valley. This might smoothen some of the rough edges. From Gigondas itself Clos du Joncuas is a wonderfully unpretentious Grenache-based wine. for example. sage and garlic. so we strongly suggest you get your Rhône gear from the Gard. everyday drinking rouge is arguably more versatile with food than tannic vins des gardes and can be guzzled slightly chilled with some crusty bread. Technology has progressed to the point that far too many wines lack the taste of the place of their origin and resemble one another. cheese and excellent ham. you’d swear they’d put things back in. A richer red. we are able to offer a good selection of growers on top of their form. At the modern end of the spectrum the lush. the Provençale-influenced grillade de marinière (beef flavoured with anchovies) or civet of venison.79 - . A typical light(ish) Rhône lunch might comprise a chicken liver terrine with Viognier or muscat jelly. more than anything. is an expression of finesse and complexity. jammy. The wines are full of spirit. 07s are also sensational. As in many parts of rural France meat is an essential part of the menu. It can be as saddle flavoured with herbs or chops grilled with thyme or cooked Provençale-style with tomatoes or braised in gravy. Terroir. north and south. cod with ratatouille. Fierce power and easy pleasure coexist harmoniously. but would surely stifle the unique signature of these wonderful southern Rhône red wines. delicate little pasta packets (unless you put foie gras and cream on them!). such a Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages (still easy on the tannin) would favour julienned truffles in soft-boiled eggs.” . Summer – one thinks pink and aches for Provence (maybe): tomato tartare. At one end of the spectrum is Jacques Mestre. but it is the 05s – as elsewhere in France – that should unlock the lexicon of superlatives. FOOD AND WINE IN THE RHONE The Rhône may be home to superb. Domaine La Barroche. A Dance To The Music of Thyme As mentioned elsewhere we are particularly fond of the underrated Grenache grape which seems to soak up the heat of the sun and express the flavours of the soil to such good effect. In certain houses you will find strong North African influences. with omble chevalier (salmon-trout) with fava bean cream and a local speciality. In the past couple of years Guy de Mercurio and François Collard have surpassed themselves at Château Saint-Cyrgues and Château Mourgues du Grès respectively. Lamb is ubiquitous. In terms of vintages it is often a boon to be behind the times! Clos Saint-Michel meanwhile has furnished us with a white and red Châteauneuf of supreme quality. look consistently strong. a sweet and delicate fish fresh from a local lake. baby goat with asparagus and duck with fresh cherries. Gigondas and Vacqueyras. sunshine. whom we are determined to elevate to cult status – if you wish to taste great mature winter-warming Châteauneuf submit your taste buds to his vintages from the mid 1990s. It’s not only a wine with nowt taken out. Other regional specialities include new potatoes stuffed with escargots. fillet of rouget (red mullet) roasted with olives and saffron-tomato sauce. ravioles du Royans. Many modernists wish to use new oak or a higher proportion of Syrah or extract greater colour. 09s very fine. then quail wrapped in Swiss chard and garnished with peeled white grapes – all sublimely served by Stephane Montez’s superb Condrieu. It goes without saying that with these meaty dishes one is looking for wines with a touch of acidity and a fair amount of tannin. Despite the plonky-iffy Côtes du Groan that you may encounter. exotic flavour and savouriness (that herby edge that gives definition to the weightiness) – the gravy to a lot of meat! . but when you move into the top villages. For value for money the Gard est le lieu and miles better than most of that attenuated slop that masquerades under the Côtes-du-Rhône appellation. poultry cooked with vegetables or pulses and meat cooked with fruits. Two contrasting wines from Vacqueyras: in the traditional corner a warming gravy-browning brew from Domaine La Garrigue. Spring/summer dishes and floral-fruity Viognier are synonymous. followed by fillet of féra. revealing good concentration and structure. This estate has taken the appellation to a new level. From old spices to baby spices. and the quality? Uncertain! As usual there will be local microclimatic triumphs and mini-disasters – the diurnal rhythm of the vigneron. After the debacle of 2002. packed with sweet fruit. flavoursome wines but its cuisine is rather less renowned. Try daube of lamb spiked with rosemary. given the complete biodynamic makeover (the full Montirius). rabbit with pistou and a refreshing bowl of strawberries splashed with rosé and splashed down by rosé. plummy Ventoux wines of Domaine de Fondrèche reveal intense fruitiness underpinned by striking minerality.RHONE “It is sad that few people understand naturally made individual wines. meanwhile make opulent. only relatively small quantities from a handful of growers are available (such is the demand) and even those wines tend to be too young to drink. pigeon with truffles and artichokes. The 2004s. Red wine is the iceberg in the Rhône but the “white and pink tips” are increasingly worth the detour. spicy CNdP which has garnered rave reviews. yields necessarily diminished. Of the various villages. Frost in spring followed by stress hydrique and the earliest harvest in living memory in the northern Rhône. just north of Gigondas. 2003 proved to be another pig’s porridge. 1998 edition) Green Harvesting – Chuck Berries The Rhône presents a bit of a problem at the moment. Nevertheless. warm waves of exotic flavour lavish the taste buds. A chilled red with soft tannins would suit all these. provides us with a sumptuous Châteauneuf-manqué from Didier Charavin. from Clos Montirius.

” I’m imagining. try serving it cool cellar temperature and decanting it and see how the aromas develop magically in the glass. Stéphane is fully committed to organic methods.. never a commercial wine. violets and mixed garrigue herbs. wild rose and cherryblossom. produced in tiny quantities (from 1. Since taking over from his father. is 100% Marsanne with typical mango flavours. is vital and tonic. Apricot jam. The palate is equally perfumed revealing cherries and wild berries with firm yet integrated tannins bringing up the rear. with Vincent Gasse. when Vincent retired.. raisins and nougat – a sweet wine for foie gras or to sip meditatively by itself. Stephane has transformed the standard of wine-making at Domaine du Monteillet. aged in old oak and foudre. The nose develops with notes of burnt wood. almond blossom and beeswax and his Condrieu. We have obtained a miniscule quantity of the Montez late harvest nectar (well.5 hectares of vines grown on Chanson and Boissey) is exceptional. A wonderfully aromatic wine breathing black cherries. 100% Côte-Rôtie originelle… Pour les amateurs. green and black olives. but is not interested in critical acclaim. The wine is neither filtered nor fined and only has the smallest addition of sulphur. is pure Syrah: it seems quite light at first. The Saint-Joseph Rouge. Robert Parker. (Le petit Dieu. awarded this wine ***** in his recent book on the Rhône). Côte-Rôtie – Biodynamic If you think that Côte-Rôtie’s good – you should taste the Otheguy’s! Stéphane Otheguy used to work at Domaine Gasse-Lafoy. violets and blackberries and exhibits a kind of cool smokiness. The mouth embracing theses flavours. but no new oak. raisonnables épicuriens. but then puts on flesh after it has been open for half an hour. I make my wines for those that care enough to support my ways and enjoy the wines at home with their family”2009 2009 2008/9 2007/9 CONDRIEU SAINT-JOSEPH COTE-ROTIE COTE-ROTIE “LES MASSALES” W R R R DOMAINE DU MONTEILLET. There is a preferment maceration for three to four days then an opentopped fermentation on the indigenous yeasts. les collectionneurs. les amoureux. he took over the rental of his vineyards. As one website gushingly describes it : “Imaginez une cuvée 100% Sérine. Pigeage takes place once a day with regular pumping over. fresh and stylish. Saint Joseph Domaine du Monteillet is situated high on the plateau above the village of Chavannay. Leya. The domaine has been worked organically since it has been taken over in 1984. The Saint-Joseph Blanc. STEPHANE MONTEZ. both in the vineyards and the cellar. A very pretty Côte-Rôtie. The Côte-Rôtie comes from parcels at Ritolas. The vinification takes place in cement betons. Les Massales is the real show-stopper. Serve with a piece of grilled beef or roasted aubergines with thyme and spices and confit shoulder of lamb. The wine with its high percentage of Viognier (15%) is strikingly floral: billowing sweet violets. 2009 2009 2009 2006 SAINT JOSEPH BLANC CONDRIEU SAINT JOSEPH ROUGE COTE-ROTIE “FORTIS” W W R R .80 - . naturally expressing the terroir. les gens heureux… et bien sur pour nous. Côte Rozier and Rozier. and displays a dynamic minerality. To get the best out of it. The Côte-Rôtie is a eumorphous beast – let it rest or decant with prejudice. Long elevage in barrels. Since 2004. From the oldest vines (40 years+) comes the late Syrah-harvested Cuvée du Papy which enjoys a new oak elevage of 18-24 months and throbs with sinew.NORTHERN RHONE DOMAINE STEPHANE OTHEGUY. The vines are a minimum of twenty-five years old and are situated on micaschists oriented south and south east. actually nearly 1/3 of the entire production) picked in mid-October after seven or eight passes through the vineyard. “Why would I want my wines tasted by a wine critic-what’s the point? It’s a waste of a perfectly good bottle of my wine that could be enjoyed instead. It is made from 75 year old vines of Petite Serine.

Ideal with pigeon. black cherry. then a palate which is initially dry and herby with a mint edge opens out to reveal layers of blackcurrants. Of the two red Saint-Josephs (neither of which has destemmed grapes) the Saint-Epine from one hundred year old Syrah vines matured on the lees in used barrels combines exotic perfumed fruit and spice with glorious purity. The SO2 is less than 25mg/l when bottled. marmite and wood-smoke greet you. wet stone and vanilla bean all interplay nicely as they gradually unfurl off the rim of the glass. the grapes are harvested and then undergo a very long maceration at a low temperature. It has aromas of apricot and waxy pear with some herbal notes and an agreeably mouth-filling texture. roasted herbs and spice. the Belle family have rapidly made a name for themselves as a producer to watch. Crozes-Hermitage and Hermitage. These are long-lived subtle wines. This is a truly superb Gamay with a lovely mineral edge.NORTHERN RHONE Continued… DOMAINE ROMANEAUX-DESTEZET. Crozes-Hermitage This family estate in the Northern Rhône has forged an enviable reputation for supple. generous wines. The tannins that gradually crop up on the finish are in the featherweight division and highlight the readily accessible fruity components this stellar Syrah possesses. Saint Joseph – Organic The Domaine Romaneaux-Destezet was created in 1993 by Hervé Souhaut. of course. The vines are between 60 to 80 years old. guinea fowl. Violets. The Syrah grapes for his VDP cuvée come from a tiny parcel of land along the slopes of the Doux River and the vines are on average 40 years old. Belle has two small parcels of Hermitage. deep black cherry and juicy plum flavours meshed with candied violets and cool strawberry tones dominate. It is then bottled without filtration. in second-hand oak casks. The straight Saint-Jo is delightfully fresh. At the end of September. is directly pressed with maturation on the fine lees and bottling without filtration. As the Crozes flies it doesn’t get any better than this. the wonderful climate helps produce grapes of exceptional quality. freshly roasted coffee beans. from yields of 20hl/ha. peppered plums and prunes. The winemaking involves a long maceration at low temperature. They are then matured in oak for between 12 and 18 months with 20 to 25% new barrels each year. and the red of smoked meat.81 - . Cuvée Louis Belle is a selection of 40+ year-old vines with the Syrah partially fermented in oak casks then aged for12 months in 25-30% new oak barrels. flowers and pineapple. Fermentation of the Les Pierrelles is in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks and the wine has a twelve-month elevage in old oak barrels. HERVE & BEATRICE SOUHAUT. 2010 2010 2010 2010 2010 2010 VIN DE PAYS DE L’ARDECHE VIOGNIER-ROUSSANNE VIN DE PAYS DE L’ARDECHE “SOUTERONNE” VIN DE PAYS DE L’ARDECHE SYRAH SAINT-JOSEPH ROUGE SAINT-JOSEPH ROUGE “SAINT EPINE” SAINT-JOSEPH ROUGE “SAINT EPINE” – magnum W R R R R R DOMAINE ALBERT BELLE. The red wines are produced traditionally using whole bunches of grapes and extended maceration. Aromas of warm tar. roast chicken or pork. bacon fat. The palate employs many of the same flavours the wine contains on the nose. the white suggestive of pine needles. His holdings on the acidic granite soils of the northern Rhône and the southern Ardèche are a mixture of new and ancient vines—from 50 to100 years old. however. The domaine extends to 19 hectares in 4 communes and two appellations. a reminder that this variety can possess real finesse. Cool climate Syrah tends to have very dynamic aromatics and this gem has one of the most explosive noses I have experienced in quite some time. The Viognier-Roussanne. without destemming the grapes and the juice is matured on the fine lees. 2009 2009 2006 CROZES-HERMITAGE ROUGE “LES PIERRELLES” CROZES-HERMITAGE ROUGE “LES PIERRELLES” – ½ bottle CROZES-HERMITAGE ROUGE “LOUIS BELLE” R R R . Low yields in the vineyards (30-35 hl/ha) and. The Souteronne is made from only old Gamay grapes. only five hectares and he employs only organic and biodynamic winemaking techniques. The wine is then matured on the lees in second-hand oak casks for six months and then bottled without being filtered. Sumptuous Crozes with copious jammy black cherry and cassis fruit and a silky finish. His white comes from Les Diognières and his red from Les Murets. Hervé Souhaut’s holdings are minuscule. Previously a member of the local co-op.

lavender and violet. poached pears and roasted pineapple.82 - . undeniably artisanally-made wines. The proof is in the cheerful drinking.NORTHERN RHONE Continued… Continued… DARD ET RIBO. Located in Cornas. 2010 2010 2010 LARD DES CHOIX BLANC LARD DES CHOIX ROUGE CROZES-HERMITAGE ROUGE “FOUFOUNE” W R R . Their 7. from vines on decomposed granitic soils. the estate encompasses just two hectares of extremely low-yielding. in particular. The Crozes. 2009 2007 2010 2009 2009 2009 2009 2008 2009 2009 2009 2009 CROZES-HERMITAGE BLANC CROZES-HERMITAGE BLANC “KARRIERE” CROZES-HERMITAGE ROUGE “PRINTEMPS” CROZES-HERMITAGE ROUGE CROZES-HERMITAGE ROUGE – magnum CROZES-HERMITAGE ROUGE “LES ROUGES DES BATIES” CROZES-HERMITAGE ROUGE “LES ROUGES DES BATIES” – magnum SAINT-JOSEPH BLANC SAINT-JOSEPH ROUGE SAINT-JOSEPH ROUGE “PITROU” SAINT-JOSEPH ROUGE “PITROU” – magnum HERMITAGE ROUGE W W R R R R R W R R R R DOMAINE BALTHAZAR. The red effortlessly combines frivolity (imagine just crushed red grape juice) and cheeky terroir notes of black olives and pepper. whilst the Karrière is from a parcel of Marsanne vines on caolin (white clay soils). waxy and spicy. All the whites manage to bridge the gap between being golden. wine that does not necessarily have to be kept – just drunk and drunk again”. the earliest to ripen of the three great appellations of the northern Rhône. picking up exotic floral pastilles on the finish. orange blossom. is almost salty with notes of violets. Franck works organically and still ploughs with a horse. walnut oil and lanolin. The winery is located near Mercurol (a short distance east of Tain l’Hermitage). with a bright iron-mineral element. In terms of drinkability let’s just say that the gradient of the glass projecting the wine down one’s throat steepens appreciably. We are taking three whites. The straight Crozes is a blend of Marsanne and Roussanne. Cornas – Organic Franck Balthazar took over from his father René in 2003. dill. “What we like is natural wine because it’s alive. It comes in waves: you think it has dropped off the end of your palate into the oblivion of your gullet then the flavours ping back. 90-year-old Syrah planted on the sunny slopes of the village’s granitic hillside amphitheatre. They use two types of pruning. This has wonderful freshness and finishing cut. 2008 CORNAS “CHAILLOT” R LES CHAMPS LIBRES. juicy black olives and silky blueberry fruit mingled in the glass. sun warmed soil. The white Lard is a choice Grenache Blanc whilst the red is a chillable and eminently gluggable blend of Gamay and Syrah weighing in at a slimming 11. honeyed. humus. Seductive perfume of red and dark berries. kirsch. fleshy fruits dominate the nose and mouth. two Crozes and one Saint-Joseph. is round and smoky. echoing incense.8%. These wines remind me of Kafka’s advice to start with what is right rather than what is acceptable. FRANCK BALTHAZAR. Fermenting in cement vats he raises his wine completely in 600-litre old demi-muids for eighteen month and then bottles without fining or filtration and with very low sulphur. from red clay soils with gravel and alluvial stones.5 vineyard holding is split around seven villages on a variety of terroirs comprising different soil types. The Foufoune strips off and reveals those beautifully eloquent primary Syrah aromas: sweet violets. whilst the Saint-Joseph. These are attractive. Crozes-Hermitage – Organic René Jean Dard and François Ribo have acquired a cult following amongst those who frequent the natural wine bars of France and they are also revered in Japan. Ardèche – Organic No lard-di-da numbers these but ‘umble natural wines co-scripted by the René Jean Dard and Hervé Souhaut. The rhyme of this ancient Marsanner fills the mouth with creamed apricots. DARD ET SOUHAUT. the second home of great low sulphur wines. Spicy cherry and blackcurrant flavours combine richness and sinewy-sappy vivacity. depending of the slope and other terrain conditions and practise organic viticulture. The former is golden-yellow and vinous. The Saint-Joseph meanwhile is pure Roussanne. goblet and tie-up. olives. spicy yet defiantly mineral. blackberry and leather. The finish is dry. The Karrière deserves an extra mention. The two reds share a common purity of fruit.

VIN DE PAYS DU GARD SAINT-CIRICE SYRAH-GRENACHE. being a blend of Roussanne (75%) and Grenache Blanc (25%). especially the Terre d’Argence (from the older vines on the Costières) which displays a positively indecent amount of flavour. soil and climate as the southern Rhône (alluvial terroir of galet stones and sandstone). This super little co-op works according to the principles of Terra Vitis using no chemical treatments other than a little sulphur. it shares the same topography. the farm originally having belonged to a convent near the village of Beaucaire. You make shoes. but usually features Grenache (roughly 50%) with Syrah and Carignan in equal measure. We are delighted to be able to distribute this eye-opening. advantageous in hot years such as 2003 and 2005 when the well-established root systems could probe the clay calcareous marl in search of moisture. The saignée rosé punches well above its weight and even the whites. are taut in structure and rich in fruit. slightly cloudy purple colour and gentle flavours of blackberry. Costières de Nîmes Mourgues was originally a Provençal name for Ursuline nuns. perfect for ripening those reds. under the fruit. Viognier and Grenache voluptuously combine. When much generic Côtes-du-Rhône is so pallid that it won’t even leave a stain in your carpet any more. LES GALETS COSTIERES DE NIMES ROUGE. Mourvèdre. Wine is a great gift. so often a flabby irrelevance in southern France. Roussanne. you don’t make wine. displaying strong flavours of blackberries. Flavours here of ripe apricots. The Terre d’Argence Rouge. quoted in The New France – Andrew Jefford LES VIGNERONS D’ESTEZARGUES. is sine sole nihil (nothing without sun). COSTIERES DE NIMES BLANC W R W CHÂTEAU MOURGUES DU GRES. That’s the way to keep a low profile – under nature. VIN DE PAYS DU GARD CHATEAU SAINT-CYRGUES. It doesn’t mean anything to me. The motto of the estate. I prefer to call myself a “wine helper” You help the wine make itself. dried black olives and oriental spices. With Mont Ventoux visible from the top of the vineyard slopes this is a region that feels closer to Provence or the Rhône than the Languedoc. Viognier and Grenache Blanc. This blend of Grenache and Syrah pleads for barbecued leg of lamb. 2010 2010 2010 2009 2010 COSTIERES DE NIMES BLANC. 2010 2010 VIN DE PAYS DU GARD “LES GALETS” VIN DE PAYS DU GARD “LES GALETS” – 5 litre BIB R R CHATEAU SAINT-CYRGUES. pepper and nutmeg. these Syrahdrenched wines will roll back the rug and form an enticing purple lagoon. Very much a natural wine with no filtering or fining. The Syrah vines are more than forty years old. Galets Dorés. is a wine of profound concentration and equal elegance. expressing white flowers and ripe citrus fruits. Grenache. pulped pears. sweet apricots and other explicit fruits as well as glorious honeyed tones – Roussanne. Notes of violets and bubbling with aromatic red fruits.SOUTHERN RHONE “I don’t like the word winemaker. GUY DE MERCURIO. GALETS DORES TERRE D’ARGENCE BLANC (VIN DE PAYS DU GARD) COSTIERES DE NIMES ROUGE. The sun is in these wines. Côtes du Rhône This chirpy convivial red comes from the pebble (galets) strewn clay terraces of the Gard between Avignon and Nîmes. The Galets Rouge is predominantly Syrah with Grenache.83 - . That’s how I consider my job. a pornucopia of supple melons. Bottled in spring after the finish the wine is very juicy with a soft. under the climate. The vineyard site is made up of flat pebbles called Grès and is planted with a mixture of Syrah. grilled lemon sole and even young Roquefort. The baby white. green herbs and lime leaves and the characteristic southern Rhône “oily” mouth-feel. In the vineyard natural remedies are encouraged and work is done by hand. LES GALETS W W R R P . Les Galets refer to the large stones (also found in Châteauneuf) which heat up during the day and release their warmth at night. is Grenache Blanc with Roussanne and Vermentino. TERRE D’ARGENCE COSTIERES DE NIMES ROSE. from those old exposed Syrah vines. Costières de Nîmes Costières de Nîmes is an appellation in transition. taken from an old sundial outside the house. The murrey-hued violet-scented Saint-Cirice Rouge is for those who enjoy gutsy spicy wines – fabulous concentration for a wine at this level. gob-enlightening range of Rhône-ettes. The Costières de Nîmes Blanc is a mini-Châteauneuf. It received full AC status in 1986 and although notionally in the eastern part of the Languedoc. Try this with fruits de mer.” Louis Barruol. The grape blend varies. liquorice. ANNE & FRANCOIS COLLARD. Château Saint-Cyrgues is beginning to produce quality wines across the board. 2010 2008 2009 SAINT-CIRICE GRENACHE BLANC. a touch of Carignan and Mourvèdre.

We begin with the white wine called “Vie On Y Est”. Not only are the vines old (there is one parcel of 100-year-old Grenache. perfume and subtle depth. but the traditional cellars contain no high-tech equipment with the wine descending by means of gravity to the tanks (to use a pump apparently “stresses the yeasts”) and the ageing of all the cuvées of red wines is in old cask and demi-muids. Ceps Centenaire is a real rarity from the oldest vines. 2009 2010 2010 2010 2007 2008/9 2008 2008 2009 2008 2007/9 COTES-DU-RHONE “VIE ON Y EST” COTES-DU-RHONE “POIGNEE DE RAISINS” COTES-DU-RHONE “ELEMENTAIRE DE GRAMENON” COTES-DU-RHONE “SIERRA DU SUD” COTES-DU-RHONE “LES LAURENTIDES” COTES-DU-RHONE “LA SAGESSE” COTES-DU-RHONE “LA SAGESSE” – magnum COTES-DU-RHONE “PAPESSE” VINSOBRES COTES-DU-RHONE “LA MEME” CEPS CENTENAIRE COTES-DU-RHONE “LA MEME” CEPS CENTENAIRE – magnum COTES-DU-RHONE “A PASCAL S” W R R R R R R R R R R MAXIME FRANCOIS LAURENT. pepper. or like Betty Grable’s for those with black-and-white memories. an expansive. Provençal herbs. Gather ye round the barbecue. A second glass reveals a softening of the edges. MICHELE AUBERY-LAURENT. the level of alcohol or the sugar content of the wine. These natural wines won’t frighten the horses and those cynical gainsayers who believe that wild yeast ferments and minimal sulphur inevitably leads to death-by-funk. the alcohol is converted into luscious pollen-dusted fruit. Côtes-du-Rhône – Biodynamic Nunquam aliud natura. named after the ancient Syrah clone. minerals and flowers. some graphite and pencil shavings. alcoholic. Its irresistible juiciness will get you plunging this into the nearest ice bucket but there’s enough grunt for a grilled steak. These are living. sumptuous mouthful. you have to look into yourself as well as into the glass. or a combination of these factors. It is a huge. Candied fruit dominated by notes of cherry and raspberry. Legs have replaced tears and arches appear to have fallen out of favour. Sierra du Sud. This viscosity may be due to the extract. As the wine reaches room temperature the transformation is astonishing. DOMAINE GRAMENON. The Pourpre. sometimes lush. from 50-80 year old vines aged in used barrels for six months. fugitive. neither particularly aromatic nor mineral. scents of warm brioche and yoghurt appear. by the way. Amidst the power is delightful delicacy: cassis mingled with tapenade. there is the flavour of red grape juice but also the skins beautifully combined with ripe tannins. wines of natural grace. Made with gloriously ripe fruit and bottled by hand without fining or filtration. La Sagesse is a blend of 95% Grenache and 5% Syrah. All arches. is a shade more purple (yes. wet leather and herbs. bursting with bright kirsch-laden fruit. loaded with pepper and a smear of grape jam. the power is there. 2009 2009 2008 COTES-DU-RHONE “IL FAIT SOIF” COTES-DU-RHONE “POURPRE” COTES-DU-RHONE “POURPRE” – magnum R R R . May be described as vast and trunkless if you are in poetic mood. floral and bold. Côtes-du-Rhône – Biodynamic Maxime-François works with his mother at Domaine Gramenon and also produces two wines under his own label. is indeed 100% pure Syrah. Arches) – having swirled your glass observe how the liquid clinging to the sides after the wine has settled. but warm fruit begins to emerge. Il Fait Soif is violet purple in colour and possesses fantastic aromatics — lots of sour cherry.SOUTHERN RHONE Continued… Legs (Tears. mutable wines constantly confounding expectation. aliud sapentia dicit (For wisdom ever echoes Nature’s voice – Juvenal trans. minimalist wine-making par excellence. it does what it says on the label) and is more textural. must be gothic. intensely fragrant Côtes-du-Rhône with a chewy texture and a medicinal flavour. Located not far from the village of Vinsobres Michèle Laurent makes some of the most beautiful and compelling Rhône wines.84 - . To taste Vins du Raisin. Samuel Johnson) These are wines that we have long admired deeply for their purity. many of the cuvées are also bottled without the addition of any sulphur in order to keep the yeasts and microflora alive. sometimes shy. An initial impression would suggest that this is a powerful. This is noninterventionist. austere. oily Viognier.

85 - . The vineyard area today comprises 15 hectares of vines most of them planted before 1960. 1901 is old vines blend of 85% Bourboulenc and 15% Ugni Blanc from the lieu-dit of Le Monteil on north east facing clay soils. rosemary and oregano. the garrigue. Aromas of violets and soft black fruits dominate and silky ripe tannins lubricate the transition in the mouth. liquorice and a touch of strawberry. harvesting and sorting by hand and vinifying the grape clusters intact according to the traditional method. He has been practising organic viticulture with dedication since 2006. 2010 2010 COTES-DU-RHONE COTES-DU-RHONE – ½ bottle R R . the southern Rhône and the Languedoc.Cinsault 50% with the Grenache vines being over 60 years old. This is composed of bunches of herbs including thyme. He is also restoring the old local varieties such as Counoise and Bourboulenc and in 2011 reintroduced Picpoul Gris and Grenache Gris. for example. Clos du Grillons Rouge is composed of Grenache Noir 50% . yellow and red clays and marls and are exclusively classed as Côtes du Rhône and Côtes du Rhône-Villages-Signargues. although there are varying quantities of Grenache and Mourvèdre also. Syrah dominates these lively. Fennel. a fruit-driven savoury style of Côtes du Rhône. a blend of four different parcels on the communes of Saze and Rochefort. SERGE & ANNIKA REMUSAN. Low yields (less than 40 hl/ha) give the wines their sturdy yet elegant structure. brilliant Côtes-du-Rhônes. Ugni Blanc 30%. Côtes-du-Rhône – Biodynamic Nicolas Renaud’s wines come from vineyard parcels on a variety of different soils: white sands. Clairette. The Remusans are enthusiastic artisans of the soil. In the cellar he vinifies with natural yeasts and without sulphur which is for him the only way of respecting and rediscovering terroir. Oldfashioned wine making is sympathetic towards bringing out the garrigue character: ageing the wines in old oak foudres results in a kind of positive oxidation that brings out all the latent aromas of the terroir. 2010 2010 2010 COTES DU RHONE GRILLONS BLANC COTES DU RHONE “1901” COTES DU RHONE GRILLONS ROUGE W W R DOMAINE DE CHAPOTON. Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages Rochegude Rochegude is situated between Avignon and Montelimar and its notoriety stems from the period when the Marquis d’Aqueria. Whole bunch. carbonic maceration for twelve days.SOUTHERN RHONE Continued… “Take. Grillons Blanc is made up of from 35 year old Grenache Blanc 70% with the balance from Bourboulenc. . After the must settles over one night there is fermentation (without temperature control) in barrels. exported wines from the village to the United States to one Thomas Jefferson no less. owner of the Rochegude castle. galets stones. NICOLAS RENAUD. the majority of the vines being Grenache Noir for the reds and Grenache Blanc for the white. Exotic notes of grapefruit and lychee with mineral freshness to round off. the wild brush that grows on the rocks and hillsides of Provence.” (A Digression Concerning Terroir) CLOS DES GRILLONS. It is a taste archetype of the region and tends to be more pronounced in wines from very ripe grapes with low acidity and is especially evident in Carignan and Grenache.

meat casserole or lamb stuffed with garrigue herbs. The Côtes du Ventoux vineyards are situated on gravel soils in St Hyppolyte le Graveyron. An elegant racy wine that reveals lovely purity with dark berry fruits on the nose and aromas of wild bay-leaf and roasted herb to give the palate an extra dimension. without filtration). After a tri de vendange. Impressions of undergrowth. The south-facing vines are 20-45 years old. Amazingly impressive.DOMAINE LA FERME SAINT-MARTIN. In this domaine the diversity of the terroir allows an expression of typicity in the wines as well as providing the complementary components. 2010 2010 2010 COTES-DU-RHONE “ROMANINS” VENTOUX “LA GERINE” BEAUMES-DE-VENISE “TERRES JAUNES” R R R DOMAINE DIDIER CHARAVIN. This is a Rhône with great life expectancy and requiring a sturdy diet of wild hare. and total destemming there is a15. 2007 RASTEAU PRESTIGE R DOMAINE ARMAND. Harvest is by hand and yields are relatively low at 38hl/ha. que tous les travaux que nous réalisons à la vigne et sur le domaine. A blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Cinsault. the wine is bottled without filtration and with a very light dose of sulphur. warm meat and fresh coffee beans with a good slew of spice and mineral. After a short period in vat. The vineyard work is free of chemicals and the estate has organic certification. The yields are a moderate 35-38 hl/ha of Grenache (75%) and Syrah (25%).” The quality of grapes is paramount and determined by triage in the vines and on a table at the winery. after vinification. 2008 VACQUEYRAS R . this is a wine very much on the fruit with soft confit fruits and a gentle dusting of pepper. the wine is bottled unfiltered with a very small dose of sulphur. The baby Côtes-du-Rhône. 20% Mourvèdre and 10% Syrah. musk and leather are evocative of the garrigue from which the vineyard derives its name. It has an intense ruby colour and powerful garrigue-scented nose of pepper and spice and typically mouth-filling flavours. is produced in the commune of Suzette from parcels of vines not classified as Beaumes de Venise and from young vines just entering production. Mais surtout. The colour is most attractive and lovely aromas of ripe fruits assail one (prune and apricot) and subtle sunshine notes of cooked spices and liquorice. the tannins are powerful yet well integrated. wines that would hold their own (Rhône?) with many a top Châteauneuf. Le travail du sol et l’absence de produits de synthèses permettent donc le maintien d’une faune et d’une flore diversifiées autour de la vigne. the tannins are round and the whole experience is completed by a waft of secondary gamey aromas. Vacqueyras This typically Provençal 65-hectare estate has been in the same family since 1850. Cairanne Cairanne is one of the leading villages in the Côtes-du-Rhône and will soon surely achieve independent status. Practice in the winery is very much up-to-date with destemming. PIERRE-ALBERT BERNARD. Mourvèdre and Cinsault). the upbringing is traditional (24 months in cement vat. Develops in the glass to reveal fruits macerated in port. The vines are grown on clay-limestone mix with cailloutes and the blend is 70% Grenache. All wines are fermented with natural yeasts. The Terres Jaunes is from vines grown on the Triassic limestone that dominates the terroir of Beaumes-de-Venise. Rasteau A delicious wine with an expansive nose of roasted currants. the fruit is brandied cherries and a firm rasp of pepper seasons the palate.20 day maceration. Beaumes-de-Venise – Organic Domaine Ferme Saint-Martin is situated in Suzette in the upper part of the Beaumes-de-Venise. The strong. Grenache (from 50-year-old + vines) forms 75% of the blend (the remainder shared between Syrah. sont faits dans le but de produire des raisins sains. A winter wine for roast partridge with cabbage or duck with olives. As you can imagine this is “take-no-prisoners” southern Rhône. the mouth is enhanced and filled with flavours of plums and tobacco. Their philosophy is encapsulated thus : “Cela veut dire que nous labourons nos vignes bien sûr. The vines are worked in the traditional way with leaf thinning and lutte raisonnée as part of the respect for the environment. The yields are still relatively low (45 hl/ha). rich flavour is finely structured. The grapes are lightly trodden by foot and. 2009 CAIRANNE SOLEIADOR R DOMAINE LA GARRIGUE. et que nous n’utilisons pas de produits de traitements issus de synthèse. thoroughly justifying the rather expensive price tag. temperature control and pneumatic pressure amongst the procedures designed to accentuate the fruit. GUY JULLIEN. Les Romanins.86 - . La Gérine (Grenache/Carignan blend) undergoes a semi-carbonic maceration without sulphur and using indigenous yeasts. tout en gardant une vie dans les sols et un équilibre dans la nature qui nous molécule entoure.

their gentle approachability and spirit recalls the sunny. the sun in its descendant phase. in other words a wine should ultimately be true to itself – this is the “morality of terroir. the ascendant sun. Biodynamics starts from a different perspective and posits a unified methodology insofar as it is not treating the vine as a patient but creating a healthy environment for the vine to exist in. the waxing of the moon (and how it corresponds to high pressure) and the role of wild yeasts. The lunar calendar meanwhile is used as a timetable indicating when is the best time to prune vines or to rack the wine from barrel to barrel. Preparations stemming from vegetable. Rather than being a reactive form of farming. Nature is about a series of transformations. Autumn. The seasons are a necessary part of the great natural balance. Montirius is based on the northeastern edge of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation. but ascendant and descendant ones. to be a short term one. There may be alternative therapies such as acupuncture or homeopathic remedies which may achieve the same effect as the pill. seasonal tasks. The dynamic of the vineyard mirrors all the cycles.” What is more. as one winemaker put it. multifaceted landscape from which they come. Incorporated within this philosophy are such diverse matters as the importance of a planting calendar. the time of decomposition. solid tannin. Is biodynamic wine better? Perhaps this is not the question we should be asking. it is prescient. It enjoys a particular microclimate with less rainfall than other areas. and crystalline formation. This is a radical way of looking at plants (although it was proposed by Goethe as early as the 1800s before being elaborated by Rudolph Steiner and Maria Thun. All activities in the vineyard will mirror these rhythms. CHRISTINE AND ERIC SAUREL. Dense ruby/purple-coloured. The soil is composed of alluvial residues: the classic Galet pebbles on top of sand and yellow sandstone and pockets of blue Marne clay from the Pliocene period.87 - . The entire estate is run under full biodynamic principles. Clos Montirius is a piece of land that rises above the Comtat plain. The grapes are selected by hand and tasted for ripeness.) The vineyard then is worked through the cycles of natural peaks and troughs. The aim is to create a wine with finesse and suppleness. Andrew Jefford quotes Nicolas Joly’s credo: “Avant d’etre bon. and serious concentration the Montirius possesses copious amounts of sweet kirsch and black currant fruit intermixed with notes of liquorice as well as leather. The wine then remains for two years in tank in order to have a natural period of stabilisation before bottling. and biodynamics analyses the different states and exchanges of matter and energy that operate in the growth of the vine: between the mineral and the roots.” Biodynamic viticulture is the ultimate endeavour to realise terroir. a sweet lieu-dit in the vineyard of some eight hectares of Syrah and Grenache vines. Eric is a trained oenologist and also consults for any successful estates in the southern Rhône. For an in-depth analysis of the philosophy and methodology of biodynamics Monty Waldin’s Biodynamic Wines published by Mitchell Beazley is an invaluable guide. heat and the fruit. with son Eric in control of wine-making and day-to-day operations. epedaphic conditions. dormancy and recomposition. a series of metamorphoses which can be seen not as different states. is marked by the use of compost and diverse animal and vegetable preparations to nourish the soil. What the pill contains is a chemical solution to a problem that tends. In the modern winery all the grapes are destemmed. “express more tenderness than any others in the world.SOUTHERN RHONE Continued… DOMAINE MONTIRIUS.) Biodynamics goes a step further than organic farming although it shares many of the practical approaches. it lies on top of Marnes argileuses bleues du Pliocène (zone grise bleutée). Vacqueyras – Biodynamic Montirius is owned by the Saurel family. This helps to stabilise the colour and anthocyanins as well as eliminating odours of reduction. the water and the leaf. Spring witnesses the time of regeneration. the constant process of decomposition. photosynthesis. I think science is too often confused with technology: its applications might be represented in the metaphor of a pill. intuitive and intelligent. (Niels Bohr on a horseshoe nailed to his wall. Faith-healing and hypnosis can alleviate certain illnesses because they can stimulate the brain to send out signals to create antibodies. . After a cool maceration and during fermentation the remontage (pumping over) begins at the same as a gentle aeration. The garrigue soil is known as zone brune. light and the flower. But I understand that it brings you luck whether you believe in it or not. 2006 VACQUEYRAS “CLOS MONTIRIUS” R Biodynamics – Earth Calling Of course I don’t believe in it. un vin doit etre vrai”. articulating almost animistic and Gaian values and allies to it its own scientific analysis and observation. The wines of the Rhône. It assumes philosophical holism. with medium body. Even in this light vintage it will age well for another ten years and combine happily with a rustic pappardelle with hare or a good casserole. in Vacqueyras and Gigondas. by definition. The Clos Montirius from low yielding vines (35 hl/ha) is a 50:50 blend of Grenache and Syrah. animal and mineral materials are made and their applications are at the precise moments in the cycles of the year with regard to a lunar and global calendar (the Marie Thun calendar).

a superlative vintage in Châteauneuf. delivers the smoky bacon. Both colours of Châteauneuf will age happily for ten years or more. Old-fashioned Châteauneuf from a quirky grower who ages his wines in enormous oak foudres and releases them to order. Grenache 30%. mind and lots of body – a really pukka wine as a formerly young TV chef might say. Gigondas – Organic WHERE’S THE BEEF? Asked an American president famously. trodden in the traditional way. The 2000 sees a touch more Syrah and structure. it still marches to the drum of sun and the garrigue. plus olives. oranges and a mahogany smoothness derived from maturity. all the grapes being manually harvested and fermented separately in 225 litre oak casks. Well.SOUTHERN RHONE Continued… CLOS DU JONCUAS. lutte raisonnée. is drinking really beautifully now. plum and orange) with a hint of bitter olive. the wines are blended. Bourboulenc 20%. the wine is put into foudres. it all went into this particular wine – lock. a wine whose flavours seem to disappear only to bob up again like a nervous dabchick. CUVEE DES SOMMELIERS – ½ bottle CHATEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE. a mouthful of subtle pleasure. If you seek characterful Côtes-du-Rhône in the embryonic “Neuf” idiom then the supple Mathilde. A more perfumed wine. game-and-gravy. Châteauneuf-du-Pape One cannot be precise and still be pure – Marc Chagall Cue Ennio Morricone music: this is the domaine with no name. It is a pleasure to find a grower who can achieve aroma. organic viticulture and low yields (below 35hl/ha) help provide the raw ingredients. beeswax and vanilla. From a terraced vineyard this is a blend of Grenache (80%) the remainder being equal parts Mourvèdre and Syrah. Roussanne 20%. herbs (bayleaf. With heart. and. pepper. Clairette 30%. nor fining. 10% Syrah. Finishes with firm but sweet tannins and a note of dark chocolate. Buy some now – for now – and buy some now – for later – it’s got legs to burn. 2009 2009 2006 2000 CHATEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE BLANC COTES-DU-RHONE ROUGE “MATHILDE” CHATEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE ROUGE CUVEE SPECIALE CHATEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE ROUGE CUVEE RESERVE W R R R . 2004 GIGONDAS R DOMAINE JACQUES MESTRE. The 2001. After twelve months. for Gigondas. This is a didapper palate. CUVEE DES SOMMELIERS – magnum R R R CLOS SAINT-MICHEL. from the vineyard where strictly organic practices are observed to the sympathetic treatment in the winery. with a compelling sweetness of fruit and a lush. 2004 2004 2003 CHATEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE. aims for high extraction and ages in foudres for about 12-16 months. power yet finesse and elegant fruit in a wine. this is southern Rhône red at its purest. Green harvesting in the vineyard.88 - . Although weighing in at a hefty (and. 10% Mourvèdre and 5% Cinsault and the remaining odds and curious sods making up a baker’s dozen à la Château Beaucastel. two stock tablets & smoking gravy essence not to mention a fine additional cultural whiff of death-in-venison. The blend is reassuringly southern Rhône: 60% Grenache. rosemary) glycerine fruit. and. and after a rigorous selection process. pliant texture. No filtration. The grapes are harvested at the beginning of October. tamarinds. deep and generous. Compared favourably in a tasting against the fiercely tannic monsterpieces from the appellation. has the usual animal aromas. in other words. CUVEE DES SOMMELIERS CHATEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE. The soil is pebbly red clay with galets (pudding stones). seemingly mandatory) 13. Consult the guidebooks and you will find a glorious blank. OLIVIER & FRANCK MOUSSET. black cherries and kirsch. This estate destems about 50% of its grapes. FERNAND CHASTAN. The white Châteauneuf is just sublime: aromas of acacia and wild mint jostle with honey. with a touch of bottle age. Rich.5%. after a cuvaison of 18 days and regular remontage. Châteauneuf-du-Pape The red is a chewy Châteauneuf with smoky roasted meat character. a right old roister-doisterer. 20% Syrah from 15-40 year old vines) all juicy jammy fruits (strawberry. this Gig. (80% Grenache.

Glowing with pride


Growers in the Rhone have been rejoicing since they have been given permission to change the name from Coteaux du Tricastin with its connotations of the local nuclear power plant to the more poetic “Ile des Trois Miles”.

DOMAINE LA BARROCHE, CHRISTIAN & JULIEN BARROT, Châteauneuf-du-Pape In the 17th century Alexandre Barrot purchased the first plot of land and founded a domaine. After him followed Pierre Barrot and, after a lot of begatting, Eugène Gabriel Barrot. After him the domaine was divided between four sons, one of them was Marcel Barrot. His son Christian Barrot resumed the estate and called it “Lou Destré d’Antan” “the press of yesteryear” in memory of his grandfather. The current domaine comprises 12.5 hectares in AOC Châteauneuf-du-Pape producing only red wines. The average age of the vines is 60 years old, but 1/3 of them are 100-year-old-plus nubbly-knobbly Grenache bush vines, notably the 1.6 ha vineyard at Grand Pierre, a small pebble-free parcel planted on sloped sandy red soils, the 0.8 hectare at Terres Blanches (stony, limestone soils) and a 2.3 hectare plot at Palestor with some more centurion Grenache vines. Julien is also very fond of his 0.5 hectare parcel at Pierre à Feu with 60-year-old Cinsault. The Châteauneuf Signature is the cuvée that most naturally expresses the subtlety of the terroir. It embodies both the fullness and the finesse of many complex aromas. It is at once an invitation to travel and a heightening of the senses. The result of blending 100-year-old Grenache to Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Syrah varietals it offers a subtle mixture of spices and well-ripened red and black fruit flavours, mingled with cocoa-coated dry fruit overtones. Think raspberry, incense, mineral and lavender with fine grained tannins, a stony-garrigue cocktail of flavours. The winemaker writes: “We have developed this wine with the greatest of care, taking into account the effects of both the earth and sky on the grapes and wine. While in the vineyard, we only use organic fertilizers, manually harvest the fruit and meticulously select our grapes. Once in the cellar, we gently handle our wines, which are regulated according to a gravity-feed system.” Soft extraction methods are used, juices are gently handled and manipulations in the cellar are done according to the lunar calendar and weather conditions. Wines are matured in foudres and only bottled when they begin to reveal their personality (anywhere between one and three years) Fiancée was born out of a love for two grapes: 100-year-old Grenache and young Syrah, combined in equal measure. It is an alliance of opposites, and yet the perfect fusion of masculine and feminine – a silky blend of power and finesse with the aromas of fresh fruits, gingerbread and coconut. This is a more modern style, plush and sweet, opulent and seductive. Pure is, as the name suggests, something special, a wine meant to reveal an alliance between tradition and terroir. Imagine a corner of land filled with century-old vines and the purest, sandy soil. The resulting wine, 100% Grenache, pays due homage to historical Châteauneuf-du-Pape and its most celebrated grape varietal. It embodies delicacy, an escape, a synthesis of subtle flavours: strawberries, black cherries, liquorice and a hint of toasty spice. Pure fruit and muscular minerality, beautiful texture and length with supple tannin. It signifies the perfect balance between kindness and strength. Stephen Tanzer 93pts: “Intense raspberry, strawberry, and exotic blood orange aromas complicated by garrigue and anise. Supple, sweet, and elegant, showing excellent depth and a broad range of red fruit tones. Silky, intensely fruity, and long.” Only a handful of vintages made and the “R” (Rayas) word has already been mentioned.

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From the ripened cluster brandished by its tormented stem, heavy with transparent but deeply troubled agate, or dusted with silver-blue, the eye moves upward to contemplate the naked wood, the ligneous serpent wedged between tow rocks: on what, in heaven’s name, does it feed, this young tree growing here in the South, unaware that such a thing as rain exists, clinging to the rock by a single hank of hemplike roots? The dews by night and the sun by day suffice for it – the fire of one heavenly body, the essence sweated by another – these miracles… Colette – Earliest Wine Memories

DOMAINE DE FONDRECHE, SEBASTIEN VINCENTI, Ventoux Word has it that Luc de Conti, of Château Tour des Gendres, visited this estate and was so taken with the quality that he momentarily vowed to give up winemaking. These wines are worth the detour. The Ventoux appellation is located east of the Rhône Valley, in an area sheltered from the Mistral wind by the Dentelles de Montmirail and the foothills of Mont Ventoux and Monts de Vaucluse. 80% of the production is red wine (15% rosé and 5% white). Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre dominate the blends, Syrah taking a preferential role in the darker, more extracted top cuvées, whilst the whites may feature Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc and Clairette. The Côtes du Ventoux Blanc L’Eclat is stamped with resinous Mediterranean personality showing lovely aromas of fennel and allspice and surprising delicacy on the palate. The Cuvée Persia Blanc is a different level, a white vin de garde from 100% Roussanne. This exhibits rich aromas of seasoned oak, gingerbread, marzipan and spiced melon. Open several hours before serving and decant. This exotic Persia would go beautifully with a spicy lamb or chicken tagine with a good harissa bite. The Sud Absolu (now called Mas de Fondrèche) is the bouncing baby of the red bunch: Very dark ruby in colour, this wine offers warm, appealing aromas of red fruit and herbs, fresh and slightly floral. Full and juicy fruit flavours are structured with snappy acidity, a simple but appealing wine. For sheer innocent pleasure the gong of gongs goes to the Fayard. An appealing glossy purple entices the eye and a bouquet of melting red and black forest fruits seduces the nose. The palate is clean and sweet, fresh and very moreish. Côtes du Ventoux Cuvée Nadal is a blend of 50% old Grenache (aged in tank) and 50% Syrah (aged in barrel). This fleshy effort reveals pure blackberry fruitiness, well-concealed alcohol (16% for the Grenache and 15% for the Syrah), a luscious, layered texture, and a blockbuster finish with great purity as well as intensity. Cuvée Nadal also exhibits additional notes of smoke, cassis, and liquorice as well as hints of espresso and chocolate. It possesses great fruit, full body, and a tremendously long, concentrated finish. This wine has had Robert de Parker weeping into his warm Château Pavie recently. Allow me to quote generously: “These wines are simply too good for their prices. Does anyone really believe such amazing quality exists at this price range?” If that wine sent the World’s Most Famous Critic to the bottom of his stairs, he reascended with his observations on the Cuvée Persia Rouge. Ecstasy is not a thing we like to witness in a grownup wine critic. He also enjoins you to mortgage the family silver for Les Dements, a Grenache of stunning quality. Dements means terrific as well as insane.

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MAS DE LIBIAN, FAMILLE THIBON-MACAGNO, ST MARCEL D’ARDECHE – Biodynamic Mas de Libian, a working farm (cereals, fruits and vines) since 1670, has remained in the hands of famille Thibon for its entire history. Hélène a remarkably energetic member of the family took over the viticulture and winemaking in 1995, and convinced her family to bottle their own wine rather than sell to local négociants. Her farming is entirely biodynamic since the 1960’s when her grandfather ran the farm, and the vines (averaging 40-45 years-old) are pruned for low yields and concentration. Nestor, a Comtois workhorse, joined the team for her ploughing prowess. The terraced vineyards, composed mostly of galets rouges, in St-Marcel d’Ardèche (the west bank of the Rhône) provide stunning views of Mont Ventoux, the Alpilles, and the Dentelles de Montmirail. Hélène is in her late 20s and in June this year she was selected by the French Wine Review as one of its Young Winemakers of the Year. She makes her wines in a traditional fashion following organic principles, and the vineyards have ‘pudding-stone’ soil like that found in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The stones reflect sunlight during the day and retain heat during the cold nights, thus making the vines work harder to extract water and minerals from the soil. One should drink Vin de Petanque (a 75/25 Grenache/Syrah blend) chilled while playing petanque (or crown boules) – preferably. The vines are grown on clay-limestone with lauzes (flat stones) and some rolled pebbles. Grapes undergo strict manual selection, are destemmed, lightly crushed and given a five day maceration. Dark ruby colour, aromas of blackberry, myrtle and gentle spices. The palate is warm and digestible with olive notes that recall the Rhône origins. Slap the tapenade on the lamb cutlets and get the barbie fired up. Bout d’Zan refers to bits of liquorice; it was also a nickname for Helene’s father in his youth alluding to his small stature and tanned skin. Now it refers to the liquorice flavour of the wine. From clay-limestone terroir, the gobelet vines yield only 40hl/ha. The wine is vinified without sulphur and 30% of it spends seven months in foudres. Black cherry, peppery spice, earthy notes, and did I mention the liquorice?

DOMAINE DES VIGNEAUX, Vin de Pays des Coteaux de l’Ardèche – Organic A lovely juicy Syrah bursting with healthy smiling purple colour and exuding a warm nose of ripe cassis fruit. Ecocert certified.
2010 SYRAH R

DOMAINE DU MAZEL, GERALD & JOCELYNE OUSTRIC, Vin de Pays de l’Ardèche – Organic Because you can’t get enough of them here are two more delicious low-sulphur wines sur fruit. Valvignères is a remote village in the Rhône south west of Montelimar. Domaine du Mazel plant several different grape varieties on the limestone-clay soils. The grapes are hand picked and transported to the winery in cases where there is a further triage. The fermentation occurs on the lees without addition of sulphur dioxide and at no point is the wine adjusted with sugar, enzymes, yeasts or acids. No mechanical pumping is used, only gravity-feeding. The Oustrics pride themselves on a respect for the tradition of wine making and the environment. Regular ploughing allows the roots to grow deeper, the soil to breathe and permits non-chemical weeding. A soil free from chemical products contains all the nutrients necessary for the vines and grapes to protect themselves from disease and insects whilst reduced yields are indispensable for a healthy and balanced harvest. Cuvée Briand is a dark ruby red Grenache with a pronounced nose of savoury, tarragon, herbes de provence, vanilla pod, peppercorns and smoke. It has a fresh attack in the mouth, sour cherry acidity, liquorice fruit, dried herbs and pleasing astringency. Cuvée Larmande is Syrah pure and not so simple. Rich nose of juniper, orange peel and red pepper and then a smooth palate of smoked blackberries and the merest dusting of pepper with discernible balsamic notes of creosote. This lion will lay down with a roast lamb.

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MAS DE LA BEGUDE, GILLES AZZONI, Vin de Pays de l’Ardèche – Organic “At Mas de la Bégude the grape is the infant king, the vine is the queen mother and the vigneron is the shepherd who attends them. I try to reconcile my life with my philosophy of work with respect to nature. In the first place to love nature whethershe is capricious or generous.’ To handle the grapes gently by hand to protect them, to put them in small cases, to crush them underfoot and to ; by these means you have healthy grapes – no need for sulphur dioxide, no need for sugar, nothing other than the grapes. The point of these procedures is to oblige the vigneron to accompany rather than transform...” “The transformer is a man who uses the tools, the products, intended to channel the grapes in a precisely fixed direction. This is a man who elaborate a product in his image, he demonstrates an ability to understand phenomena and do the appropriate thing. The accompanier takes plenty of risk ; it is necessary to possess knowledge and not to be imprisoned by it.” Le Raisin et L’Ange is isolated in the beautiful Ardèche mountains on shallow limestone clay soils, partly on slopes and partly on river banks. Gilles Azzoni’s philosophy is to accompany the grapes and the wine, not to impose a specific transformation on them. He works naturally from the vines to the bottle (no added SO2). Gilles grew up in Paris, went back to school for wine making, and took over his vineyard in 1983. He has augmented the density of the planting per hectare to 5500 vines. In the cellar, Gilles treats the grapes and then the fermenting juice, as delicately as possible. The “Fable” derives its name from the project “Le Raisin et de L’Ange” which Gilles likens to a fable. It is 70% Syrah, and 30% pure as the driven grape(s). Whole grape ferment in stainless steel, partial carbo, no remontage, ambient temp, no filtration, fining, sulphur – just natural. Brân, according to Gilles, is the spirit of the crow or the raven in Celtic culture, and represents clarity, transparency, whiteness, part of his feeling wthat wine should be “pur, natur et dur”. The wine is a blend of 40% Merlot with 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Grenache Noir & 10% Alicante. These country wines are simply delicious. Drinking them with pleasure my tasting notes go for a burton– glug, glug, glug. I don’t think of the appellation, I think of young wine, impetuous, indomitable, vital, tonic and fresh – it has a complete purpose. It about nature and the grape.

2010 2010



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And there, in the sunshine, the world began to glitter; everything took on tone and colour… Is this the beginning of my happiness? Gustav Mahler
I’m not sure whether it is the terroir or it could be just romantic association, but Provence wines are so, well, Provençale. Andrew Jefford says the wines tend to sell on the purchaser’s memory of “love on a bed of pine needles rather than the lure of raw flavour”. The best examples, however, are sun-burnished and exude magical Mediterranean aromas and will coo to your coeur: the reds, particularly from Bandol, reveal dominant nosenotes of pine-trees, sandstone, resin, terebinth and leather, and the Mourvèdre grapes, being from vines adjacent to the sea, give a salty-herby green-olive flavour to the palate.

After Matisse picnics beneath olive trees; the Sunday cuts shadows like painted paper Beignets, Socca, Bagne Cauda: tastes bright as bougainvillea Adrian Henri – A Propos de Nice

Just as we are a two “Marcillac” list, we are also a “two Bandol” list. Since the latter wines are not supposed to travel we are hoping for some mild evidence of global warming this summer and for the burgeoning of an al fresco culture that fondly imagines itself on the promenade at Nice or Cannes sipping pink wines and watching the world drift by. If only we could introduce a rigorous culture of mañana!

It’s the eye of the partridge, it’s the juice of the grapes, Rising up to the challenge of our palates, And the last known imbiber drinks his fills, gawps and gapes, And he’s watchin’ us all – in the eye of the partridge. After Survivor

THOMAS & CECILE CARTERON, Côtes de Provence The grapes for the Carteron’s rosé are sourced from vineyards situated in the commune of La Londe in a valley surrounded by the Massif des Maures on sun-drenched slopes and a landscape of rocks of schists with veins of quartz. In the summer the location of the valley near the sea allows cooling breezes which leads to a slower and more progressive maturation of the grapes, giving the wines fine aromatic structure. Yields are 50 hl/ha and organic manures are used. Harvests are completely manual over the course of six weeks, always in the morning when temperatures are cooler. The estate waits until there is an optimal balance of sugars, acids and polyphenols before starting the harvest, parcel by parcel. The blend of the rosé is Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah. The colour is the spirit of Provence, pale, crystalline and limpid. The nose is pretty, unveiling floral aromas of bergamot and sweet jasmine as well as bouquet of exotic and red berry fruits, whilst the palate picks up notes of mango and lychee with a more savoury edge of peach-stone and citrus.

CHATEAU D’OLLIERES, Coteaux Varois-en-Provence Located 30m east of Aix Château d’Ollières comprises 35 ha of vineyard on clay-limestone soils surrounded by five hundred hectares of forest and garrigue and enjoys a remarkably cool micro-climate. Quality is assured by a variety of approaches: short pruning to control yields, “travail des sols” to aerate the soil and encourage microbial activity, using organic manures, and harvesting by hand in small cagettes. The blend is 50% Grenache, 40% Cinsault and 10% Syrah; this perky pink has good freshness, delicious floral fruit and refreshing spiciness.

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Sweet spring, full of sweet days and roses, a box where sweets compacted lie.



George Herbert
Chateau Butlins

Epicureans and hedonists have been cancelling their holidays abroad in favour of sojourns at Britain’s favourite holiday camp. From now on it will be destination Minehead instead of hola Madrid, bravo Bognor and buenas noches Barcelona. Punters will be swanning off in their droves to sunny Skeggie rather than slumming it in rain-spattered Sicily and they’ll be keenly checking out the Coats of Red rather than the Cote d’Azur. The reason for the new-found allure of England’s coastal camps is nothing else but a revolutionary new bargain fine wine list devised by a food and beverage (f.a.b.) consultant for Butlin’s. And prices will definitely not be sky “high-de-high”, campers! A spokesman for Butlins announced: “We’ve decided to change our offering completely and swapped Lambrini ladies for a Ladoucette culture designed to appeal to families who are not afraid to bare their Alsaces in public. Instead of the Rainforest Adventure you can experience the” Loire of the Jungle” and, instead of X factor rejects singing for your supper, you will be able to listen to the corks-apopping Rock-Steady Krug or enjoy a 50s theme day where you can Rioja around the clock. And don’t forget the Glamorous Grannie Cru competition, where leading clarets will be paraded before a panel consisting Simon “Cowell’s of Chelsea”, Robert Parker and his incredible farting dog.” He added: “From now on Butlins will be the go-to place if you like your bubbly jubbly, your Burgundy buttery and your irony free of charge. These are world class wines at eper prices that don’t take the mickey rourke.” The wine list is characterised by highly humorous tasting notes that describe one Champagne as “like diving into a pool… of battery acid”, whilst a Faustino Reserva Rioja is compared to Roger Moore’s acting being “charming, old-fashioned and completely wooden”.

CHATEAU HERMITAGE SAINT-MARTIN, GUILLAUME ENZO FAYARD, Côtes de Provence – Organic The vineyard’s history begins around 1000 AD. In the beginning, o best beloved, there were two different vineyards, “Le Domaine de la Toche”, a large house on a hillside and a monastery: L’Hermitage Saint-Martin – both surrounded by the vineyard. Once the hermitage became a monastery the monks started to look after the surrounding vineyards while leaving the care of winemaking to the locals in the village. During the French Revolution the two vineyards were merged into one, called Saint Martin la Toche. Located on a hillside, right on the border of the valley of Cuers and Puget Ville, the Saint-Martin vineyard is situated in a beautiful location. All combined conditions are gathered from this terroir to produce the most beautiful wines. The south east exposure ensures regular and constant sunlight from the beginning of the day. Rocky mountains trap clouds and bring water to a particularly demanding soil. They also guide and moderate the strength of the Mistral wind, protecting the vineyard from wind damage and from disease due to humidity. The vines are situated on a clay and calcareous ground with a lot of rocks (calcite, quartz and sandstone). The characteristics of this very complex soil are similar to the terroir in Bandol. In order to preserve this extraordinary potential, Guillaume Enzo Fayard concentrates on quality viticulture, respecting the environment and nature, without recourse to chemical products (pesticide, fertilizer, weed killer). Talent, rigour, tradition and avant-garde techniques are the ingredients of this adventure, the expression of an art, motivated by a single one goal: quality. Grapes are picked by hand at perfect maturity and ripeness and are transported in small cases. There is a triage to sort the best grapes with destemming, gentle pressure with a membrane press and thermoregulated vinification to extract aromatic flavours. The yields are only 38hl/ ha, the blend is Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah, with a light skin contact (cold soaking) before being pressed, followed by ageing in stainless steel tank. If the sharp thorn produces delicate rosés (with apologies to Ovid) then G. Enzo Fayard is one pure prickle. The wine has a limpid pink hue, and real brilliance. With an exotic nose of guava and grapefruit and a fresh, lively palate with citrus fruits and apricot notes this admirable rosé pairs twinklingly with grilled tuna coated in tapenade.

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DOMAINE HAUVETTE, DOMINIQUE HAUVETTE, Les Baux-en-Provence – Biodynamic Domaine de Trevallon lovers pin back thy lugs – this concerns you! Dominique Hauvette’s wonderful wine appeared on our list three years ago. We couldn’t flog it to a Peter Mayle zombie if we tried. Since then because of a pickled peck of high Parker scores the reputation of Mas Hauvette has soared into the Provençale cerulean (and the price has risen commensurately). As with Trevallon this is a seriously bosky infusion of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache, but what gives the wines their superb individuality and paregoric purity is an adherence to organic principles in the vineyard for qualitative reasons. The culture biologique involves spraying distillations of herbs instead of insecticides, ploughing back leaf cuttings to aerate the bauxite-rich soil. The wine is rich in natural aromas: the classic bouquet des garrigues of lavender, rosemary and thyme as well as more animal nuances of smoked beef and reduced gravy. The palate is gripping; like all great wines there seems to be something different in every mouthful.

CHATEAU DE PIBARNON, COMTE HENRI DE SAINT VICTOR, Bandol – Organic Here is wine, Alive with sparkles – never, I aver, Since Ariadne was a vintager, So cool a purple. “Pibarnon is a wine that unveils its qualities beginning in its youth, with an early fruitiness that is exceptional. But it is with cellaring of 5 or 6 years that the wine expresses all of its breed. It is a truly great wine moulded by harmony, at once modern and anchored in tradition. This unique blend represents the ensemble of its terroir, which is not the least tour de force of this emblematic growth.” Revue des Vins de France Oh frabjous joy – it’s back ! As usual small quantities only from the “Petrus of Bandol”. Pibarnon’s greatness owes much to the passion of Comte de Saint Victor who bought the property when he fell in love with its wine on holiday and subsequently restored the 13th century bastide (a Provençal country house) and the vineyards, which were in disarray. Château de Pibarnon is located to the north of Bandol on the Télégraphe hill, which was once part of the Toulon-Paris optical telegraph system. He enlarged the estate carving new terraces out of the calcareous soil. The hill whereon the vineyard parcels are located is a geographical oddity, containing Triassic limestone – very different to the granite and other soils in the region. This and the altitude to 300 metres explain Pibarnon’s great elegance and aromatic finesse. The Mourvèdre vines are protected from the fierce Mistral by the semi-circular amphitheatre of terraces. Vineyards tasks are carried out by hand: severe selection means low yields. There is rigorous adherence to quality in the vineyard, including careful (and traditional) gobelet training, green harvesting (removal and disposal of some bunches of grapes from the vine before ripening begins) and keeping yields less than 40 hl/ha. The vines themselves are predominantly Mourvèdre, this grape dominating the red wine that is the only such wine produced by the château – no super-cuvées here. In addition there is a fine rosé produced by the saignée method (bleeding the juice off the red grapes following sufficient contact to impart the pink colour) from young Mourvèdre and Cinsault vines, as well as a white wine, produced from the traditional varieties of the region; Clairette, Bourboulenc, Marsanne, Roussanne and Petit Manseng. This white is mellow and vinous and develops a wonderful freshness that delights the palate, accentuated with flavours of white flowers (jasmine, lime flowers and hawthorn) and fruits (such as pear and peach). The winemaking for the red is traditional with three weeks vatting and daily pigeage to obtain dark colour and long potential lifespan. The wine is then matured in large oak barrels for eighteen months with up to fourteen rackings to air the Mourvèdre. Initially, Pibarnon is vibrant with stone-fruit, blackberry and violet aromas, but subsequently develops sophisticated secondary aromas of tobacco, leather, pine, and dried fruits. “From Bandol, tart in the finish, a little too flinty for my companion, but my teeth appreciate a hint of limestone in a grape. There is something manly and voracious in it somehow, as though one is drinking the rocky underpinning of the planet.” (Howard Jacobson) Unique, tongue-larruping wine to be tried with grilled meats, venison, hare, truffles and goat’s cheese. Alternatively, put this in a dark corner of the cellar and forget about it for five years. The rosé will accompany red mullet, dishes with saffron, curried food and blue cheese.

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Grape varieties? Ugni Blanc (30%) Sauvignon (5% . Domaine La Suffrène extends over 45 hectares across the communes of La Cadière d’Azur and Castellet. particularly alcoholic. and their wings fluttered over my nose until I grew dizzy with pleasure”. and dry. their delicacy makes them a pleasure to quaff uncritically. in the red and rosé. as stubblewheat – Kept seven years in a drawer. Nor are the wines. and intone in a voice like a stately foghorn: “Remember – YOU ARE THERE”. Vineyard practices are traditional from gobelet-trained vines to the strict vendange vert which keeps yields low.” a kind of superior house/Pinot Grigio default wine. No matter the improvements in winemaking these are still wines to drink in the first flush and blush of youth. vineyards. A further selection is done at the tables before the grapes are received into the winery. but also provides excellent accompaniment to oily fish such as mullet. It all makes perfect sense with a bouillabaisse. amongst what Sybille Bedford memorably described in Jigsaw as: “the sun-baked. coffee and leather. Cedric Gravier is already a superstar in the making. wild thyme. . perhaps the adoption of an al fresco lifestyle. or perhaps praise Ryanair and Easyjet for transporting us at the drop of a penny (plus taxes) to sunnier climes where any blushing wine (usually consumed in an impossibly picturesque location) forever trills the romance of abroad. But pale. CEDRIC GRAVIER. A natural with wild boar. tables are hurled willy-nilly onto pavements and all the coffee chains start serving frappacinos.for aromatic bounce) make up the white wine with Clairette (the grape that makes vermouth) giving typically resinous pastis notes. sandalwood. Meir Shaley – Four Meals Pretty In Pink We’ve probably endured enough whimsical articles about “la vie en rosé” and how we should be “tickled pink” by surprisingly drinkable rosé wines. nor soft. pepper. The traditional red is from 50. cicada-loud. Ugni Blanc and Sauvignon providing the acidity and aroma. whereupon the wine is transferred to foudres undergoing malolactic fermentation. Grenache (20%). All the red wines undergo malolactic fermentation and none of them sees any new oak instead spending time in foudres. Rosé is oddly the only one of the three colours (quick digression. Elizabeth Barrett Browning might have been describing the effects of age on a bottle of pink wine when she wrote: “O rose. The white and rosé are worthy of consideration also. but there are wines that are good enough to be considered on their own merits. He would establish the mise-en-scene of a famous historical event at the beginning of the programme. Cuvée Les Lauves is a selection of vines from the best terroir and is 95% Mourvèdre and 5% old Carignan. fennel and herbs and often as dry as the rocks from which the vines spring. but that’s not going to stop this miniature pink peroration. courgettes and tomatoes. who dares to name thee? No longer roseate now. The harvest itself takes place from the end of September into October according to the maturity of the grapes. a romance that only rosé can reignite in our veins. except for powerful. garlic-heavy fish soups and works equally well with stuffed aubergines. The 2001 Bandol Rouge is a mastodon. Rosé is a by-product of red wine-making and will be either be guzzled by the grower’s family and friends or sold to local hostelries. or the fact that Mediterranean cuisine has become so popular both in restaurants and in our homes. I’m trying – and failing – to imagine a cheerful Kieslowski film: Three Colours – Pink. Whenever I smell this red Bandol I make that similar leap of imagination to be there in Provence. then turn to the camera. a Provençale bonne-bouche. Cinsault (15%) and Carignan (10%). saddle of lamb with herbs and truffles.PROVENCE Continued… DOMAINE LA SUFFRENE. and is done by hand. fix you with a senatorial stare. After a partial or total destalking there is a cuvaison for 15-20 days with remontage twice daily. ageless country of scrub and terraced hills… the archetypal Mediterranean landscape of rock & olive. 2006/8 2007 2010 BANDOL ROUGE BANDOL ROUGE – ½ bottle BANDOL ROSE R R P “… when he opened the heavy door. Provence is the spiritual home of pink wine producing pale or pearlypink wines scented with wild flowers. olive and garlic soared out of there. summer or holidays.) that has been the subject of intensive marketing campaigns primarily due to brands such as Mateus and Blossom Hill – shudder – which are predicated on the notion that we choose to drink rosé – almost as a statement of who we are. the warm swallows of rosemary and wine. but… we are undoubtedly consuming more and more of the frolic wine. Bandol Although he has only been bottling his wines for a few years. menthol-intense wines of Bandol. weighing in at a burly 15 degrees of alcohol and is hugely concentrated and wildly aromatic with spices.96 - . light”.year-old vines. optimising quality and contributing towards concentration in the grapes when harvested. sardines and is a dream with saffron-drenched. nor sweet. thy titles shame thee.” While the wine is still alive with beaded bubbles winking at the rim it lifts the spirits and makes one think of sunshine. I prefer to attribute the growth of rosé-drinking to all the reasons listed above plus one other: the inability to choose between red and white! Underlying this facetious point is a more serious one: rosé is the classic modern “compromise wine. I seem to recall a faux-historical documentary series in the 1970s called “You are there” hosted by the gravel-voiced Walter Cronkite. and hard. Mourvèdre (predominantly). Perhaps it’s global warming. wherein at the first watery glimmer of the sun.

A Bouche Que Veux Tu is Ugni Blanc and Rolle. JEAN-CHRISTOPHE COMOR. Only native yeasts are used and the wine is aged in stainless steel tanks for eleven months before it is bottled without filtration. after a few years. with a leg of lamb with broad beans. naming it “Terres Promises”. 90% of the grapes are destemmed. 50/50 Grenache and Cinsault is pale peach-pink in the glass with succulent strawberry & watermelon-fresh flavours. the Bandol Rouge requires the whole of the fruit in its production. which has had a rough time as a result of repeated assaults by the scourge of the region. Garnet in the glass with shimmering highlights. This is a fruit forward red with moderate acidity and a zesty finish.97 - . On the palate. Cinsault and Carignan has a tad more structure. and man. 30% Cinsault and 20% Mourvèdre from yields as low as 35hl/ha. forest fires. harvest is by hand. Bright cherry and candied plum scents dominate the nose. pepper accents of Mourvèdre. 15% Cinsault. The slopes of Castellet and Brulat rest on a relatively homogeneous geological substratum made up of marls and limestone. The altitude combines with the effect of the mistral to ensure that the land is cleansed. The grapes are destemmed and then fermented in stainless steel vats at a relatively cool temperature. Fortunately in this natural arena. a blend of Grenache. Truly the “blood of the earth”. 25% Grenache. Maceration lasts for fifteen days and fermentation takes place with indigenous yeasts with remontage and pigeage. emblematic of the culmination of a long-held desire. with Cinsault uniting the whole. 5% Carignan). A high proportion of Grenache lends cherry notes as a counterpoint to the spicy.The wine is natural with no filtration. The wine is neither fined nor filtered and spends eighteen months in foudres. between the mountains and the sea. supplanting the dominant tree. no fining and only a jot of sulphur. Coteaux du Varois – Organic Jean-Christophe was born and brought up in in Aix-en-Provence and used to be involved in national politics(working in Paris). From vineyards on the slopes of Mont-Caume in the Bandol area La Chance is 50% Grenache.William Carlos Williams. from a plant-care point of view. Here the dry wind from the north flirts gently with the southern breeze. located in the extreme north-west of the Bandol appellation. A white very much on the fruit with ripe citrus to the fore and a hint of pear (but not peardrop) on the mid palate. It has great aromatic complexity associated with the three or four grape varieties it contains. whilst the Tire l’Arigot. The Wedge: ‘To Ford Madox Ford in Heaven’ Continued… DOMAINE DE LA TOUR DU BON. Yields are about 27hl/ha. faces the sea. mellowing to silky meatiness with age. This wine may be enjoyed now with peppered rib of beef. Of the two rosés Les Idées. 2010 2010 2010 2010 2010 « A BOUCHE QUE VEUX TU » VINS DE PAYA DU VAR A TIRE L’ARIGOT ROSE – 5 litre BIB COTEAUX VAROIS ROSE LES IDEES HEUREUSES COTEAUX VAROIS ROUGE LES IDEES HEUREUSES VIN DE PAYS DU MONT-CAUME “LA CHANCE » W Ro Ro R R . Bandol – Organic The Tour du Bon estate. It follows the course of time and the interaction between nature. fantastic. Aleppo pines spread luxuriantly. the vine. hand sorted and then destemmed. for lazy days indeed. Les Idées Heureuses is 100% Carignan from 30-60 yrs old on clay/limestone soils. the tannic framework can be powerful in youth. The blend of this wine is 55% Mourvèdre. the arid site is tempered by the gentle marine climate. This garrigue-scented landscape is washed with a very special.PROVENCE Is it any better in Heaven. also fermented in stainless steel. 2007 BANDOL ROUGE R DOMAINE LES TERRES PROMISES.A 5-litre BIB of this will be living in sin throughout the summer on the top shelf of my fridge with some marinaded anchovies. The fruit undergoes a cold soak and an extended maceration. following his “désir de raffinement” to become a vigneron and purchased a vineyard in Roquebrussane in 2003. Grapes are harvested by hand in small baskets. my friend Ford/ Than you found it in Provence? . the former from old vines. herbs and spice. dazzling light. a prune tagine or. It is a gentle wine with notes of dried herbs and confit fruits. the oak. so often captured by the world’s great painters. He then decided.

Two of the classic ones are the soft and creamy bastelicacciu (a brebis). and the development of several important domains. Chestnuts are another story. an island where free-range animals live side by side with free-range people—who would rather hunt and gather than farm and fish. not lawsuits. did the same. garlic. Six centuries before Christ. It is also the basis of pulenda. or Corsican scrub—a dense. potatoes. first oïdium. and is commonly eaten at breakfast seasoned with salt and pepper or topped with jam. and goats—all of which forage at their leisure. until they are sapped of nearly all their water. and beignets. The scrub also provides ideal grazing for game as well as for free-range pigs. the chestnut has filled the void and shown remarkable versatility in the process. sautéed. Corsica’s prisuttu. tangy niolu (which may be either sheep’s or goat’s milk). the Genoese. omelettes. sheep. Dubbed l’arbre à pain. awaiting the return of peace. a dense.CORSICA The barrel can only yield the wine that’s in it – Corsican Proverb CORSICAN FOOD – A Tale of Chestnuts. they have been a staple on the island since the Middle Ages. the Pisans. which literally means ‘’bread tree’’. By the end of the century there had even been a renewal in sales overseas. The famed Farina castagnina (chestnut flour) is made by drying whole chestnuts. and wild herbs and flowers that covers much of the island. the men. Consider a goat stew. However. initially due to a long tradition and knowledge of wine-making. Darker and sweeter than wheat flour. and then phylloxera ravaged the vines. powerful cheeses— derive their unmistakable character from the maquis. The food bears witness to the wilderness and is heartiness incarnate: unctuous stews and soups. juniper. thorn. a light fresh ricotta-style cheese with a flavour of the maquis. In 35 BC Virgil mentioned the wine of the Balagne. from the village of Casamaccioli. Also noteworthy are coppa (salted and peppered pork loin) and lonzu (preserved pork loin served in paper-thin slices). or chèvre. patted down. However. the Greeks were making Alalia wine (from Aleria). resulting in especially aromatic and flavourful meats and milks. aromatic beauties are served raw. and other hearty dishes. from the early years of the twentieth century a general collapse in wine prices halted this expansion. however. These blights were. then stuffed into casings and smoked. this last a local favourite. the vines survived. it is milled into flour. These dark. having replaced the Pisans. When dining out in restaurants or people’s homes. cheesemakers often worked out of their shepherd’s bergerie . which is used to build everything from traditional Corsican houses to coffins. beignets. a mountain soup. and sliced with string or thread. roast lamb. The island’s cheese industry is composed mainly of small producers. chestnut flour is used in cakes. cheeses here—unlike those in the rest of France—do not usually have specific names. earthy substance—not to be confused with cornmeal polenta—that traditionally accompanies goat stew. after 1850. the fruit is slowly baked for about a day until it partly caramelizes. Used for everything from flan to beer. During the centuries of trouble and invasion which followed the fall of the Roman Empire. cookies. its fiercely independent inhabitants have always kept central government at arm’s length. New French laws now prohibit this. from goats. or smoked ham. including storzapreti. Its bittersweet lemon-pepper aroma. from sheep. or grilled. Wherever you look you see the famed maquis corse. one of their favourite drinks. overcome. the vines and the commercial links. weak arms need not apply). Brocciu. and of wine-makers. are the rule.98 - . the choice is likely to be simply brebis. One of the great local earthy delicacies are ficatelli—small sausages made of finely chopped pigs’ livers that have been marinated in wine. storzapreti—gratinéed cheese dumplings with mint and egg—and soupe corse. A century later. And Corsica’s industrious cooks utilize this bounty to the fullest. also called soupe montagne or soupe paysanne which includes a meaty ham bone—schincu in Corsican. usually a small stone or wooden hut. noodles. and the Great War completed the decline. After the shells and skins are removed. described as ‘’akin to incense’’ by English anthropologist Dorothy Carrington in her award-winning Granite Island has earned Corsica the sobriquet The Perfumed Isle. with the same weapon. and heaps of vegetables and herbs. Corsican wines have a very distinct identity. cows. Fifty years were to pass before the island’s viticulture became again a valid sector of the economy. the chestnut tree is valued not only for its fruit but also for its wood. put Corsican wine in the vessels of their priests and the goblets of their nobles. who specialize in a single type of cheese. French sovereignty did not put an end to wine-making activity and to wine exports to Italy. After 1769. often rebellious nature. a seabound granite precipice where vendettas and feuds. There remained only a few marginal sectors of production. who had become the administrators of the island. reflective of Corsica’s independent. gathered in the fall. from the Ajaccio region. crêpes. heather. garlic. From the 11th century. fragrant underbrush of oak. Cheese and Animals Grazing the Maquis Corsica is wild—Balzac’s ‘’back of beyond’’. an archaic mix of Latin and Italian—olive oil. With Corsica’s steep terrain unfavourable to the cultivation of wheat. and peppercorns. Cooking pulenda is a little like mixing cement: Chestnut flour is sprinkled into boiling salted water and stirred until it is nearly solid (needless to say. Cheese is still an enormously important part of the Corsican diet. . But. ruby-coloured and agreeable to the palate. over a chestnut-wood fire for about three weeks. plays a part in many Corsican dishes. killing. Corsican cheeses are generally salty with an assertive taste and smell. and the sticky. is on a par with Italy’s prosciutto di Parma and Spain’s jamón serrano. Finally. wonderful smoked and roasted meats. and more. It is then placed on a flour-covered cloth. (Why grow wheat when chestnuts fall from trees?) Although Corsica has been under French control since 1768. Until a few years ago.

These are mainly Sciaccarellu and Niellucciu. determined by the localisation and proportion of the native grape varieties and by the special nature of each producing region. Since 1986. These attributes are the result of a selection of native grape varieties (principally Sciaccarellu. hazelnuts. 20% Syrah. with “elevage” on fine lees. Village and Cru. jam and liquorice it fills the mouth with rich fruit flavours and reveals a good tannic structure. raspberries and redcurrants). the identity of Corsican wine is also one of variety and quality. relief and climate). and produces wines of great distinction. Corsica “A glass of Corsican wine and I’ll climb the Stromboli” – Tuscan Proverb (not a compliment!) Founded in 1973 by Paul Suzzoni. 30% Niellucio. with a complex nose of red fruits. whilst Niellucciu characterises the latter. the Clos has more structure and fine mineral notes plus leesy creaminess. Figari. There are nine Appellations. The Appellation Cru is applied to two regions: Ajaccio and Patrimonio.99 - . Chardonnay) as well as of a variety of natural conditions (soil. Situated only 2 kilometres from the sea and 8 kilometres from the mountain peaks. with a peppery nose. The more extracted Clos Culombu from 50% Niellucio. but mainly concerns the east coast and the Golo valley. in fact. In its bouquet one finds aromas of red fruits (blackcurrants. Niellucciu is the variety which gives the wines of Patrimonio their renown. Carignan). The soil is worked in the traditional manner and minimal weed killer and chemicals are used. apples and honey. The Appellation Corse is applied to the whole of the island. there are 15 hillside parcels and vines are planted in arena-shaped granite formations on terraces of clayrich soils. almonds and charred wood. Serve the reds with grilled pork with rosemary. It is considered apt for producing wines suitable for ageing. this vineyard covers 39 of the 95 hectares that comprise the estate. with an intense nose of fresh summer fruits and a hint of fleurs de maquis and classic Grenache strawberry-and-cherry fruit. Syrah. apricot and white chocolate undertones. the great Mediterranean variety. CLOS CULOMBU BLANC VIN DE CORSE. CLOS CULOMBU ROUGE W W R R . Unwooded it is ruby red. mainly Mediterranean varieties (Grenache. Sciaccarellu. spice. lightness and freshness. Niellucciu and Elegante. thin-sliced carpaccio of beef with basil. DOMAINE CULOMBU ROUGE VIN DE CORSE. followed by twenty-six day maceration with “pigeages”. The baby Culombu rouge is an attractive blend of 50% Grenache. and flavours of peach and almonds. violets. Grenache. Etienne Suzzoni. and have an after-taste of almonds. Merlot.CORSICA Just One More Thing… (The most famous Colombo quote) Continued… Rich in tradition. DOMAINE CULOMBU BLANC VIN DE CORSE. whose peaks reach 2000 metres and the vineyard has direct southern exposition. Indecently purple. Vermentinu is the white grape variety of Cap Corse. laurel and garlic and Corsican cheeses with herbs – but not necessarily at the same time all together. If today they are less highly prized than the pale wines. has been at the helm of the enterprise. except in Cap Corse where Vermentinu predominates. spices and apricots. Porto Vecchio and Sartène. undergoes a pre-fermentation cold soaking for six days. Sciaccarellu is the predominant variety in the former. Vermentinu produces white wines which are among the best of the Mediterranean. herbs. the vineyard enjoys a very particular micro-climate. are characterised by floral aromas. 30% Sciaccarello 30%. Cinsault. and almonds with a crisp and acidic framework. Niellucciu and Vermentinu) and of imported ones (Cabernet-Sauvignon. It produces a fullbodied wine of a deep red colour. supple and rich. Sciaccarellu is the black grape variety characteristic of the granite areas of the island. In these regions the proportion of native Corsican grape varieties is higher. crystal clear. The Domaine wine is softer in the mouth with a touch of verbena and lime. with pre fermentation cold soaking for five days followed by a twelve day cuvaison. CLOS CULOMBU. Paul’s brother. ETIENNE SUZZONI. said to have “un nez de fourrure de lièvre et de règlisse”: a nose of “hare-fur” (a term used to describe its subtle gamey bouquet) and liquorice. 2009 2010 2010 2009 VIN DE CORSE. These wines also have scents of red berries. of the famous Chianti Classico. The Appellation Corse-Village is given to five regions: Calvi. CALVI. This grape comes from the Malvoisie line. They vary in colour from pale and transparent to golden-yellow. The golden-coloured wines are more aromatic than fruity. The yields are kept low to maintain quality by de-budding and bunch-thinning of grapes. The AOC (Appellation d’Origine Controllée) wines are. Both Vermentinos are typically aromatic combining notes of citrus. Sangiovese. Le Clos Culombu is situated between the Gulf of Calvi and the Montegrossu mountains. they are the only ones which can be aged. at three levels: Corse. Cap Corse. The varietals planted (in keeping with the island’s traditional practices) are Vermentinu. Syrah 10% and Grenache 10%. Studies carried out in the 1980s have shown that the Niellucciu grape is no other than the Tuscan variety. The character of this Appellation comes from the high percentage of imported. Pinot Noir. civet de lapin— rabbit cooked with thyme. beef tartar. These wines. fresh grass.

labours of love and acknowledgements to the rhythms of the past. As the bard says “Present mirth hath present laughter… youth’s a stuff will not endure”. the whites. some grassy. although those who harvested late made reds with good colour and excellent balance. If you seek the world’s greatest Sauvignons. crisp green vegetables and tangy citrus fruits will instantly mug you – truly a grape that refreshes the parts of the nose that other wines cannot reach! These wines. but quality across the board looks excellent. I think I prefer the wine. delicate Pinot Noir.” The 2008 vintage in the Loire was potentially tricky. and the wine seasons the food. soil and water around you? Your mouth tingles as the pungent acidity slides around touching every corner and impressing itself on your memory buds. and the sun and the scenery season your mood. are dry. Sweet Chenin tho’ sense from soul doth prise. the joy of sexy Sauvignon is usually an ephemeral one: it is the ‘wham bam thank you ma’am’ of grape varieties. Drink to me only with thine eyes. lazily picking at a plate of heaped crayfish with a glass of the local Saumur (or Anjou) Blanc. The initial dramatic aggressive impact is never bettered: the wine will rarely develop in the glass nor acquire complexity with further age.100 - . The dry Chenin from this vintage has good definition and a nice touch of austerity. are beginning to leave a slightly sour taste in the mouth. Dagueneau. 2009 saw hail and mildew. Laroche. Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé from a comparatively small harvest showed ripe wines with firmness. beautifully balanced. A rainy spring and a cool sunless summer diluted much Muscadet. Liaison d’Anjou Rosé? Invest in summer joy. surely the sign of a noble grape. Luneau-Papin and Marionnet go from strength to strength – transcending the limitations of difficult vintages. Loire wines provide the perfect antidote to palates jaded by bloated oak and hammer-extracted fruit. Does not the austerity of the wine melt away. Germain. Vouvray and Coteaux du Layon. . exemplify the vibrancy and sappiness of a spring morning. Prices. more rain in October and November ensured that sweet wines were at a premium. this product of air. Bourgeois. (With apologies to Ben Jonson) Sauvignon Blanc or Sauvignon Bland ? If the description “cat’s pee” sugars your gooseberry you’re probably an avid fan of the Sauvignon grape. great Chenin. Puzelat and Pellé. Jove’s nectar.LOIRE “… the river that moves sideways. zesty. and the food seasons the wine. Tasting Sancerre Jadis or Sancerre d’Antan is a back-to-the-future experience. but Pierre Luneau’s emerged with the nervous concentration of good Chablis. With their complete structure and fine mineral edge these wines will age more than thirty years proving that Sauvignon can be a real pleasure when it’s serious. fair weather reds without the pocket pain of Burgundy. in general. each of which lends the wines particular nuances. Or leave a kiss but in the cup And I’ll not look for wine. and mouth-watering. our existing stalwarts – Champalou. at their best. yet they also reveal the potential of the Sauvignon grape when released from its primary role as nose-piercing thirst-quencher. length and character. And I will pledge with mine. however. with a wonderfully frivolous example of this much reviled appellation (Cabernet d’Anjou to be precise) and consider anew for easy quafferama the pale Pinots from Delaille. from the austere dry wines of Anjou to the fabulous nectars of Bonnezeaux. start reading now. Meanwhile. weather permitting. When this. And yet… In the Upper Loire the vein of Kimmeridgean limestone extending through Chablis to the Champagne region provides the perfect terroir for Sauvignon to express its taut energy. on the other hand. 2010 is that perfect combination of fruit and acid. and. Conversely. Uncork a bottle and a bouquet of flowers. The wines from Anjou-Saumur were also affected. boldly challenging the psychic cartography which decrees that everything about France is aligned north to south. The Allure of the Loire Imagine sitting outside a restaurant on the banks of the Loire with the sunlight glinting off the water. raucously promising more than it delivers. And you drink and you eat. expressing a cool youthfulness. It is a drink divine. and above all. slatey Cabernet Franc. the reds are lithe and fresh. I do sup. The vineyards of Domaine Henri Bourgeois are situated on a range of soils. refreshing sea-breezed Muscadet. These are wines made from low yielding old vines (50+ & 70+ years respectively) on tiny plots of organically farmed land.

and Chenin Blanc. the obscure Négrette and the equally obscure Grolleau Gris. persimmon. a Pinot Noir from vines planted in the mid 1970s. etc…) Fresh and lively. woodland and the marshes of the Ile d’Olonne. Gamay and Cabernet and southeast for the Chardonnay and Chenin on clay and schist soils. manifesting as heather. Fifteen months elevage in big (400-litre) casks (hence the name. manually harvested and 80% destemmed grapes made in the Burgundian style. exhibiting a strong hit of raspberry allied to a vibrant saltiness. Négrette and Cabernet Franc. Thierry is the prophet of biodynamics in this tiny viticultural area. inheriting several acres of vines belonging to his father. Slowly but surely he bought more vines to increase the value of his wine heritage which is now over 32 hectares. For Thierry Michon. Beautifully distinctive with aromas of the forest and the sea.101 - . Chenin Blanc. this Pinot Noir is one of the Loire’s best. Working on schist and silex a flint stone’s throw away from the Atlantic. The vines are planted facing south-west for the Pinot Noir. Whilst the vignoble is planted with the standards such as Chardonnay. it’s a religion. Les Clous is a blend of Chenin.FIEFS-VENDEENS DOMAINE SAINT-NICOLAS. Whether it is the schist soil or the micro-climate. For him. Pinot Noir and Gamay.. elegant frame. The Négrette ends up in his baby red called Reflets Rouge which normally sees 40% of Pinot Noir blended with 20% each of Gamay. In 1970 he moved to Ile d’Olonne and built a winery. planted on clay/schist soils . the wine has flavours of candied fruit with a wet rock element. crisp palate. Lastly. whilst the red of the same names features Pinot Noir with Gamay and Cabernet Franc (and often a little Négrette. The playfully monickered Gamme en May (geddit?)is light. Grapes are harvested by hand and are sorted on a mat and de-stemmed. punching down. You can smell the marsh in the aromas present.2001 LES CLOUS BLANC LE HAUT DES CLOUS BLANC REFLETS ROSE GAMMES EN MAY REFLETS ROUGE PINOT NOIR RESERVE « LA GRAND PIECE » W W Ro R R R . refreshing and delicious. His vineyards never see a non-organic product. It finishes almost dry and has the hallmark refreshing acidity of cool-climate wines. fermentation and ageing in oak barrels. cultivated biodynamically since 1995. Fiefs-Vendéens – Biodynamic It was in 1960 that Patrice Michon settled in Brem-Sur-Mer. vines treated with sulphur. He raises his own cows simply for the manure they produce which he religiously spreads between the vines. Reflets Rosé is 90% Pinot Noir. lavender and almond. alluding to its maritime origins. it’s all about the soil. mechanical and manual hoeing. Grolleau or Groslot Gris adds a touch of spiciness and excitement to the salty. The domaine extends to some thirty-seven hectares and each one of them farmed biodynamically! It is a major undertaking to keep the soil. Due to its proximity to the ocean. apple and pear notes stretched over a bright. healthy. 2010 2008 2010 2010 2009 . herb treatments (nettle. spraying with Bordeaux mixture. He has slowly purchased buffer zones all around his property to prevent chemical products from other winemakers from seeping into his parcels. 10% Gamay and Groslot Gris with average vine age of twenty years. biodynamics isn’t just a pragmatic consideration. the gregarious force behind one of the Loire’s best-kept secrets. “Grande Pièce” which means big cask). with light-weight floral. Domaine Saint-Nicolas benefits from a micro-climate: sea. Fantastic delicate balance in the mouth. THIERRY MICHON. He was joined in 1984 by his two sons Thierry and Eric who have broken with wine-making tradition in Vendée and are now making their mark with these very special wines of Domaine Saint – Nicolas. Whites and rosés undergo pneumatic pressing and partial pelliculaire maceration followed by cold settling and temperature-controlled fermentation at 18/20°C on the indigenous yeasts in stainless steel tanks the reds Stainless steel and wood tank maceration. ploughing.Slight slopes which are exposed south-east.Gloriously pale pink colour with berry aromas with a savoury dry finish. Thierry’s job is also made more difficult due to the range of different grapes he tends here. green almond.) Light berry aromas on the palate but the real beauty of the wine is the incredible lightness of being in the palate. Good tight. white wine called Les Clous which is a blend of Chardonnay. Chardonnay and Grolleau Gris from clay schist soils. and hence the vines. there is also Cabernet Franc. planted on schist soils. Le Haut des Clous is pure Chenin with average age vines of 25 years.

Melon. but to Muscadets that have been kept on the lees for more than four months and have not been racked or filtered prior to bottling – which takes place before the last day in June in the year following the vintage.102 - . Pierre Luneau studied with the renowned Emile Peynaud and Ribereau-Gayon and has been making superb Muscadet for as long as we can remember. is that it is not named after a geographical or historical area. If you want to freak your friends out purchase a bottle of the “L” d’Or – it’s Muscadet. the 1er Mousquetaire of Muscadet. controlled yields). terroir differentiation being the name of the game. From 50-year-old+ vines in the terroir Vallet (comprising granitic micas) this also undergoes a maceration followed by nine months on the lees. schist or volcanic gabbro. He keeps a variety of thoroughbred Muscadets in his stable and on his table. 2009 2010 2009 2009 1999 2006 2008 GROS PLANT DU PAYS NANTAIS DOMAINE DU VERGER. The poet Andrew Marvell wrote “Stumbling on melons. lees are eliminated. The vines may be grown on sands and gravel. Although the gross. but not as we know it Jim. but the mineral. And here it is: sur schist and sur lie (24 months thereon) – Le Clos des Noelles. Even on this commercial wine the production is largely organic (organic manures. Mrs Miggins . MUSCADET DE SEVRE ET MAINE SUR LIE DOMAINE DU VERGER. Domaine du Verger. a mightily mineral taste bud tingle that’s serious enough for food. CLOS DES ALLEES “L” D’OR DE LUNEAU MUSCADET DE SEVRE ET MAINE “LE CLOS DES NOELLES” EXCELSIOR MUSCADET “BUTTE DE LA ROCHE” DE PIERRE-MARIE W W W W W W W A dozen native oysters and a gallon of Muscadet. The yeasty sour-dough smokiness lingers hauntingly and the length would grace a premier cru Burgundy Possessor already of superb single and cru locations. but that the name probably dates from the Middle Ages when Muscat grapes from Cyprus acquired a reputation at feudal courts. or coarse.PAYS NANTAIS PIERRE LUNEAU-PAPIN. The sur lie designation contrary to supposition is not given solely to rude French producers. Clos des Allées is low-yielding old vines Muscadet. on granite and gneiss mica. Wonderful bready/yeasty nose and a smooth buttery palate with good concentration. certainly it is reminiscent of all things littoral. MUSCADET DE SEVRE ET MAINE SUR LIE – ½ bottle MUSCADET DE SEVRE ET MAINE. Finally. according to the Hachette Guide. The concentration is achieved by hand-harvesting. and. they have now brought a spectacular new vineyard on stream. Muscadet One of the unusual features of Muscadet. said Matthew Bradford. Truly the DRC of Melon de Bourgogne. stones and water. salty nuances are always present and the capacity to age built into the steely structure of the wines. Hmm (strokes chin quizzically) is this the only list where the Muscadet is older than the Vin Jaune? And did you know that Pierre Luneau is at the forefront of a movement to make Grand Cru Muscadet? Top quality Luneau-cy all round. La Butte de la Roche – planted on the exposed slopes of a hill that rises steeply out of the marshes the vines are on a fascinating iron-rich serpentite and magnetite soils caused by gradual metamorphic transformations. Lees are the deposit or sediment left at the bottom of the tank after the wine has fermented. (a man who knows his (sea)weed) as he was nosing this. This terroir imparts terrific complexity to the wine which is initially taut with cool oyster-shell notes before unveiling more complex aromas of salt butter. lutte raisonnée. from the schists of Landreau (20km south east of Nantes) reminds one of Petit Chablis: white flowers. gorse blossom and river stone and a palate bound together by soothing acidity. Laverbread. almost exotic nose of acacia-blossom and limeflower and fills the palate with layer upon layer of “bread-and-butter” fruit. After the great frost of 1709 the vineyard was replanted with a Burgundian grape variety. many Muscadet producers choose to leave the wines on the fine lees to impart aromatic substance and richness to the wines. You’d be ready to bet it was butt… Burgundy. Muscadet in excelsis. as I pass…” We warrant he never stumbled across a melon like this! This single vineyard Muscadet has an amazing. A far cry from la lavasse served up in many bars. maceration pelliculaire and seven months sur lie before bottling.

with a slightly herby element. Unlike their master the wines do not sport a luxuriant ‘tash. in the case of the top cuvées. well defined. with lots of fabulous appeal. gaining full certification from Ecocert in 2002. which range in age from 15 years up to about 70 years. The vines see leaf-thinning to aid drying and discourage rot. with an elegant acid backbone. Landron’s vineyards display many of the terroirs that can be found across the Muscadet appellations. Domaine de la Louvetrie was established by Pierre Landron in 1945. Lemon. and it is quite long too. although in the vineyards with a more favourable exposure a green harvest may also be employed. likes to express the particularlity of the multi-faceted terroirs. which counts a good number of the leading winemakers of Nantais amongst its alumni. with the addition of schist and micaschist. fresh and minerally nose. sometimes rich. having first finished his studies. Quite precise in style. The use of chemical fungicides and other such methods were totally abolished. who goes by the name of Jo. Nicely composed. bring yields here below 40 hl/ha.PAYS NANTAIS Continued… DOMAINES JO LANDRON. 2010 2010 2010 2009 MUSCADET AMPHIBOLITE NATURE VIN DE FRANCE “MELONIX” MUSCADET DE SEVRE ET MAINE SUR LIE CLOS LA CARIZIERE MUSCADET DE SEVRE ET MAINE SUR LIE LE FIEF DU BREIL W W W W . minerally efforts. and there is certainly some grip and structure evident too. like many growers in the region. bright. wines worthy of cellaring. and it was not until the 1980s that his son. always interesting and. he now farms about 36 hectares at Domaine de la Louvetrie. In 1990 Pierre handed everything over to Jo. Thereafter comes Le Fief du Breil. and easy to drink. Amphibolite Nature rings with tastes of green and red apple. including gneiss and orthogneiss. His wines. The Amphibolite Nature has lovely. The palate is sappy and shows some good substance. in frost-bitten vintages such as 2008. joined him. including clay and flint. these are fine. a graduate of the École d’Agriculture in Briacé. gaining Biodyvin certification. a local stone of metamorphic origin with a beautiful green hue. The vines. The wine is named for the aforementioned amphibole. and Atlantic breezes also help with this task. Château La Carizière displays an intense minerality with a very floral style again. stone and truffle aromas and stony anise-tinged flavours on the palate. and white flower. In 2008 he took the leap to full biodynamic viticulture. bringing the total up to about 48 hectares. and even sandstone. has been ensconced at Domaine de la Louvetrie in La Haye-Fouassière for more than twenty years. Muscadet – Biodynamic Jo Landron. characterises the soils of Chateau de la Carizière. almond. A similar mix of rocks and soils. Chateau de la Carizière and Les Grand Houx. a wine from clay. One such site-specific wine is Amphibolite Nature. yields have been much lower. Very zippy. It was under Jo’s direction that the vineyards were converted to 100% organic viticulture in 1999. which might be considered to be Landron’s entry-level cuvée. Of course such numbers can at times be academic. fertilisation is with biodynamic compost. although he also tends two other domaines. flint and orthogneiss soils. being a lively little number intended for earlier drinking. after which it is bottled. before resting on its lees for between six and twelve months. and then add on a little oyster shell and sage for a smart finish. Fief du Breuil is aromatically extremely pretty and has a shimmering mineral character making it a superb accompaniment to oysters or Dover sole with a butter sauce. While this wine is lighter in body than the granite or gabbro based wines. and the vineyards are ploughed to reduce competition from weeds. with firm acids and a balanced texture and weight. lemon rind. The must is then allowed to settle and ferment naturally in glass-lined temperature-controlled cement vats.103 - . The fruit is harvested by hand before transport to the cuverie where it undergoes a pneumatic pressing. Jo. in truth like their master. are planted at a density of 7000 vines/ha and pruned to eight buds to bring yields below 50 hl/ha. speak very clearly.

Les Genets is intriguing with rich aromas of apple bakewell. allowed to settle for 12 hours and then left to ferment (indigenous yeasts for up to a year in vats or barrels depending on the “terroir”. Get vertical – and horizontal – with the duo of vintages that we are listing. papaya. yields are low. The Chenin is harvested via successive sorting. secondary development veering towards roast mushroom. truly an unfiltered philtre. The character of the Chenin and the terroir are maintained through gentle. non-synthetic vine treatments. 1999 SAVENNIERES “LES GENETS” W . as it ages. The soils under these vines are a mix of volcanic material and schist. Try this with grilled wild salmon. Savennières – Biodynamic Wine has been made in the fields that Domaine Laureau currently occupy. on the edge of the city of Angers. sherry and old musk. favouring the use of fruit extracts. 2000 1994 SAVENNIERES-ROCHE AUX MOINES SAVENNIERES-ROCHE AUX MOINES W W DOMAINE LAUREAU. Thermoregulated stainless steel vats and a pneumatic press ensure that pure fruit quality and gentle extraction are the order of the day. To the west of Angers. All of this allows the wine to acquire fullness. the honey notes become drier and it acquires a bruised fruit mingled with soft nutty character. Vineyard practices are designed to protect the environment. nerve and elegance whilst the 1994 is a powerhouse with diamond bright acidity and a beeswaxy texture. key to the drainage and eventual mineral character of wine farmed here. The 2000 has verve. and the cohabitation of symbiotic. but before the onset of widespread botrytis which would fundamentally alter the aromatic qualities of Les Genets.85 hectares within it. it is possible to create probably the most intellectually engaging. although the object is not to acquire a woody flavour in the wine. The wines are matured in slight reduction to preserve all their aromatic potential. the ripeness of the fruit balancing the muscular minerality of the wine. There is also a “petit chai” with twenty-five oak barrels in which the best selections of each vintage are either fermented or aged. toasted oatmeal and honey. pressed directly. and some vats undergo malolactic fermentation. on the north bank of the Loire river. Damien Laureau avoids chemical vine treatments.104 - . complexity and charm. Typical Chenin that. Savennières Savennières is a tiny but justifiably celebrated appellation just south west of Angers where white wines of immense nerve. Les Genets is picked from some of the highest elevation vineyard parcels in this part of the Savennières AOC. concentration and longevity are made from the Chenin Blanc grape – locally called Pineau de la Loire. In exceptional vintages a doux or slightly sweet wine is produced. rabbit in white wine or veal chop à la crème. indigenous plant species in his fields to create a healthy vine-growing environment. The AOC lies south-southwest of Angers on the right bank of the Loire on sandy schist soils and the lieu-dit of Roche-auxMoines occupies a mere 6. They are matured on the lees for 18 months. MONIQUE & TESSA LAROCHE. andouillette. noninterventionist maturing. a breath-taking vintage that leaves you on your knees. Fruit is picked relatively late to assure sufficient texture in the wine. since the middle ages. ageworthy Chenin Blanc in the world. organic fertilisers are used.ANJOU-SAUMUR DOMAINE LA ROCHE AUX MOINES.

The test tube can effectively replace the womb. we are looking for a wine that reflects the context in which in it was grown. they resist facile comparison. Nature presents the choices. I have rarely experienced such purity and depth of flavour in a white wine. became richer and more complex. which with the help of certain chemicals would be the same year in. We believe that it is a good thing that growers are occasionally unable to control all the parameters that go into the making of wine because it is precisely this element of uncertainty and imperfection and surprise that helps to forge the character of the wine. One might describe them without too much fancy as an invigorating blend of fermenting apples. like the living thing it was. Without the vigneron there would be no wine. A French winemaker once told me: I understand deacidification. does a disfigured person have less of a soul than a perfectly formed one? Chagall once observed: “one cannot be precise and still pure”. wild honey. I refer elsewhere to Tennyson’s description of Maud “faultily faultless. Generically. In a brand-driven. for my imagination has been engaged and my senses enraptured. Character is irrelevant. I know that’s a tautology!). but standardized wine. the vignerons have to act accordingly. oak chips. how do you like them apples? Can one reconcile these views? Who is right and what is right and by whose normative standards are we judging? Do we criticise a sunset for not being romantic enough. soil. But that is not my choice. almonds and dry sherry marked by perfect incisive acidity carrying the wild flavours across the palate. You might equally say that they taste oxidised and faulty. Provenance is irrelevant. icily regular.ANJOU-SAUMUR Continued… GETTING SAVVY Taste these wines. but are true to themselves and to the vintage. It is a romantic notion that wine makes itself or that the winemaker is benignly neglecting his or her vines. When I have drunk great Savennières (and these are great Savennières). year out. Well. splendidly null” as a good definition of the orthodoxy of homogeneity. do we mark trees out of ten. We also say that wine is le sang des pays. then aesthetic criteria are fundamentally irrelevant. Each year brings a lot of uncertainties and it would be useless to try to ignore them. Indeed we should try to learn from the whims of weather to understand that with a bit of enthusiasm and by acquiring knowledge we can stand out in a market that is increasingly standardised due to globalisation. the conductor not the creator. There is a subtle difference. mulch. the greater the interference the more one gets away from the genius of nature. Savennières wines are not easy. We do not call him or her “the winemaker” but rather “the vigneron”. We are not aiming to discover a good. reacidification. supermarket-dominated world let us celebrate their funky quirkiness (yes. You have to work hard to achieve purity. I have seen it done and I understand why it is done. Rather. but one might argue.105 - . wines of tremendous length and brio and seigniorial rusticity. the blood of the earth. an unmediated expression of character. the wine changed in the glass: the aromas multiplied. If the sole purpose of wine is to transform blocks of grape juice into a chemically stable product. The wines from Domaine aux Moines are truly singular. Wine is made in the vineyard. And. .

Sweet or dry. As someone once wrote about another wine: It doesn’t ask for pity nor beg for charity. When all three are in balance. a peasant farmer who instilled in him a respect for the soil. 2008 2007 2009 2003 ANJOU ROUGE ANJOU-VILLAGES ROUGE COTEAUX DU LAYON. The viticulture is completely organic chez Ogereau and only natural yeasts are used for the fermentation. He is following in the steps of his grandfather. His vines. produces its high-quality white sweet wines from grapes grown along the Layon River. a nectar marvel of dried fruits. and yet another coup de coeur from this top grower. matching perfectly with the clay-schist soils of the region. Confit plums and cherries with some wild herbs. Big. The harvest. The baby Anjou Blanc has acidity as keen as a whippet with mustard on its nose and fruit to boot. Anjou Plus mon Loyre Gaulois. Vinification is very slow with light pressure using an ancestral press. After ten years experience working with Mark Angeli and René Mosse he then worked alongside Olivier Cousin where he learned how to work with animals. from October through the end of November. tannins abound here. average age 80 years. Ogereau is considered one of the masters in this premier sweet-wine producing region. que le mont Palatin. the harvest is conducted in a series of tries. This appellation. The village indication “Saint Lambert” on the label indicates a higher level of quality. The Gazouillis is a Pet Nat chip off the bruised appley Chenin block. Serve at cellar temperature for best results. Fermentation takes place very slowly in 500 litre oak demi-muids for at least 6 months. red or white. A beautiful wine rippling with tension. so serve “modern” room temperature. not analysis. is performed manually in selected pickings called tri. The unfiltered Anjou-Villages Rouge is hugely extracted with thick juicy grungy damson fruit and a cool earthiness – so different to the majority of weedy Cab Franc. which helps stabilize these sweet wines. all Ogereau’s wines are made with the capacity for ageing. In this way Ogereau gets the most out of those shrivelled berries without any of the bitter elements. Finally. Plus mon petit Lyre. Anjou – Biodynamic Sylvain Martinez is a young vigneron passionate about working the vines in harmony with nature. to ensure gathering the grapes at their maximum maturity. another excellent red for charcuterie. Exotic heady aromas of melons come billowing out of the glass. where they undergo a long but gentle extraction for 12 hours. The Anjou-Villages Blanc Prestige is old vines Chenin Blanc and has the same steely frame as Savennières (see above). The cornerstone elements of his sweet white wines are acidity. Only 500 bottles made. lightly sulphuring and filtering at bottling. Yields are a minuscule 10 hectolitres/ha and a manual harvest with strict selection is carried out in small cagettes. Ploughing is by horse. This is celestial. possessing an exceptional. Apparently Vincent Ogereau plays music to his wines whilst they are maturing in cask – on this evidence it would have to be the Ode To Joy. Seekers of heavenly pleasure will instantly be drawn to Ogereau’s Coteaux du Layon. The early morning fog rising off the Layon River creates the high humidity necessary for developing Botrytis Cinerea. At a top domaine like Ogereau. or passes through the vineyard to select only the ripest grapes. are from a small parcel situated in the heart of Coteaux du Layon. The climate. Chenin Blanc is king here. no chemicals are used and only natural.106 - . Ogereau works by taste. dried fruits and herbs. organic solutions are sought. 2008 2008 2009 PETILLANT NATUREL « GAZOUILLIS » VIN DE TABLE CUVEE “GOUTTE D’O” CORBEAU « GROLLEAU » Sp W R . CLOS DES BONNES BLANCHES – 50cl R R Sw Sw DOMAINE SYLVAIN MARTINEZ. amen. soils and grape type are ideal for producing some of the world’s finest sweet wines. Et plus que l’air marin la doulceur Angevin Joachim du Bellay Vincent Ogereau is currently considered one of the outstanding producers from this dynamic region of the Loire Valley. the famous “Noble-Rot” which makes great sweet white wines such as Sauternes. Fermentation and maturation is in old barrels for fourteen months before the wine is bottled on the lees without filtration or added sulphur. Like all great winemakers. in the region around the medieval city of Angers. sugar and alcohol. unveils subtle aromas of poire william and shaved quince. precise minerality. The warm afternoon sun and long harvest season allows full ripening of the grapes. nepenthean Chenin with overtones of wild honey – the finish seems to go on forever. Corbeau is pure Grolleau (from Olivier Cousin’s vineyards) aged in old barrels. SAINT-LAMBERT COTEAUX DU LAYON. albeit ripe. The grapes for the moelleux wines go directly from harvest to press. que le Tybre Latin. up to a year for the top cuvées. on schist soils over a bedrock of volcanic sandstone.ANJOU-SAUMUR Continued… DOMAINE VINCENT OGEREAU. spices and honey. which shrivel and concentrate the sugars. he stops the fermentation by racking. This is dirt-under-the-fingernails artisan viticulture.

We’d spent the previous evening destroying one of the finer lists in the city in search of a wine – any wine – that would jolt us upright and beat a taradiddle on the tastebuds. The Gamay combines that carbo fruitiness and freshness with blood sausage and herb flavours. Joker. The Anjou red is pur Breton by another name. He does this because he loves the companionship of animals. This credo produces wines from organically grown grapes. Pierre Casamayor (L’Ecole de la Degustation) – this is the credo of Olivier Cousin. Then this Chardonnay. We’ve added a couple of other Cousin humdingers. The exotic label will have you asking: “Who’s the daddy longlegs?” Le Cousin. “Les traitemùents contre les maladies ou la pourriture risquent d’anéantir toute flore lévurienne naturelle et de laisser des résidus qui se retrouveront dans le vin. Cousin’s version is a still a vin de copain. Sauvignon. Grolleau (or Gros Lot). are as “large as life and twice as natural”. almost trembling with volatility. These wines are free of enzymes. made in small batches by hands and feet…”Provided it doesn’t involve the addition of anything illegal or harmful. 2010 2006/8 2007 2009 2010 2010 GROLLEAU “LE COUSIN” VIEILLES VIGNES GROLLEAU “LE COUSIN” VIEILLES VIGNES – magnum CABERNET FRANC VIEILLES VIGNES PUR BRETON GAMAY GAMAY – magnum R R R R R R . A silky texture and cherry flavours complete the picture. Chardonnay.” …Take technology and interference away from wine and you get vinegar.These wines have plenty of poke for your pig.107 - . Very herbal on the nose with a mossy undertone it has a very medicinal quality. And yet from such ugly corbies something gentle and rather fine can occasionally emerge. Cabernet Franc. Cousin’s wines are of the nowt-taken-out-and-nowt-added-to-them brigade. We first made the acquaintance of the Chardonnay one lunch time in a small bistro-à-vins in Paris.ANJOU-SAUMUR Spot the deliberate mistake? Continued… “We are becoming besotted with the notion that wine must be biodynamically grown. a vin de table. but it does have the benefit of being from sixty year old vines and undergoing carbonic maceration. Nature red in tooth and claw. the preservation of regional organic. Flavours of violets and sweet red fruits allied to soft tannins and fresh acidity make this a friend to the ice bucket. the binding of biological flavours through a purer form of chemistry. The Angevin climate. By the way he ploughs the vineyards with the help of his trusty horse. Situated in Martigné-Briand south of Angers the domaine extends over 12-hectares planted to Gamay. OLIVIER COUSIN. Pur Breton – not to be confused with the structured Cab Franc meniotned above isa pot-pourri of ripe plum. herein a wine that wore its guts for garters. a bird with plumage as black as the grapes of this vine. the climate. natural elements such as micro-flor. reeking of bruised apples and honey. juicy cherry. to quote Alice Through The Looking Glass. I am in favour of using whatever techniques are legally permissible to make a wine better. the selection of grape varieties and traditional methods of viticulture and vinification is what gives these wines their powerful identity. naturellement. it is a philosophy derived from a paramount desire for quality and the fruit of real conviction rather than a statement of fashion. at whatever price it might be intended to sell. voir biologique est plus respectueuse du milieu”. the air. Everything seemed hollow and confected as if someone had sucked the corks out of the bottles and drawn out the very souls of the individual wines themselves. the skin of the grape. so alive that the flor seemed to be at war in the wine. Anjou – Biodynamic These wines. Grolleau and Chenin. According to my research this grape truly has croaked along with similar anachronisms such as Aramon. Une lutte raisonnée. Crushed strawberries mixed with invigoratingly fresh Bing cherry and red apple ignoble explode on the palate. Joie de vivre. Its name is derived from an old French word “grolle” meaning the raven. red apple core and chalk tones with a secondary naughty whiff of mushroom and undergrowth. tempered and regulated by the Atlantic and the Loire river.” Jeremy Oliver – Australian Wine Writer of the Year 2005 (Wine Selector Magazine) DOMAINE COUSIN-LEDUC. Alicante Bouschet etc. the mulched soil. is properly the subject of withering scorn from all manner of wine journalists. artificial yeasts or added sulphur. a variety now virtually only encountered in Rosé d’Anjou.

long vinification. Farming is organic and the non-interventionist philosophy extends into the winery. clove and vanilla. Les Treilles was a vineyard prior to the 1940’s.5 ha vineyard in 2006. Lysandra bellargus”. Anjou – Organic Clear the decks for more Chenin. The terroir is truly magnificent with beautiful quality of light and the microclimate is almost Mediterranean in character. Not that the Tabeneaux is churned out by the barrel-load. with the floral purity of a spring meadow. A mineral nose. Yes. To say that not much of this is made is an understatement. show that Les Treilles has a micro climate similar to the Mediterranean climate. the other to red vin girl. This Cabernet Franc/Grolleau blend (60/40) from old vines is unoaked. with slopes ranging from 30 to 70%. Situated on a magnificent hill with southern exposure. 2009 2009 2009 ANJOU BLANC « BONNES BLANCHES » ANJOU BLANC “COTEAU DES TREILLES” ANJOU BLANC “COTEAU DES TREILLES” – magnum W W W .ANJOU-SAUMUR Continued… “It’s hard to be a diamond in a rhinestone world. Eric Pfifferling. The Gilbourg (name of the plot) is pure. but it also has great balance. makes for a rich. These boules rule. wild yeast ferment without temperature control and maturation for twelve months in three to five year old barrels. Fauna and Flora Studies that were conducted. showing just a little vanilla from the oak. They discovered a very beautiful blue butterfly. Coteau des Treilles is a top selection. in particular. this Chenin is utterly butterfly. Overall a fresh wine. In 2000 they started cultivating Les Treilles with Chenin and provisionally finished in 2006. Les Treilles is managed by LPO Anjou and we work in unity with organic practices for our collaboration on nature and for the butterflies…. sometimes sharper and delineated. Sixty year old vines. Benoit took over the 6. 2010 2010 2008 2009 2010 2008 PETILLANT NATUREL “LE PETIT CHEMIN” LE P’TIT CHEMIN SEC VIN DE TABLE GILBOURG VIN DE FRANCE “LES GUINESCHIENS” VIN DE FRANCE TABENEAUX VIN DE TABLE TABENEAUX – magnum Sp W W W R R DOMAINE PITHON-PAILLE. “The vines succeeded with the southern exposure but they were not alone.” Dolly Parton DOMAINE BENOIT COURAULT. unfiltered. very rich with fauna and flora is classed as a protected site with ‘Reserve naturelle régionale des Coteaux du Pont Barré’. This area. but after the war it was abandoned and returned to fallow ground. almost salty pet nat Chenin. New to our Courault mini-range is “Le Petit Chemin”. one to appeal to white vin man. Chenin. but with vibrant. A piffling 11. And on Les Treilles. youthful pear fruit in the middle. Anjou – Organic Two wines for the table. they found fauna and flora very rare to the area. having cut his vinous teeth in Chambolle-Musigny and in Tavel with the one of the archbishops of natural wine. firm minerally undertones overlaid with honey. a superbly crunchy. but not so simple. In short. a wine of magnificent concentration that floats like a butterfly across your palate before delivering its jaw-dropping. Imagine ripe apples rolled in honey-coated green leaves then add cinnamon and musk and some spiky acidity for definition. by botanist. The wine moves. There is a lovely vinous texture to the palate. Robert Carillon. sometimes more mellow and textured. earthy style of wine with bruised orchard fruit. How easily one falls into these reductive tropes. very low yields. this is a profoundly delicious wine that doesn’t need to be profound. unfined and unsulphured.5% means that you can drink a magnum before the neo-Prohibitionists and their witchfinder generals cotton on to what you are doing. Lots of spicy acidity underneath it.108 - . knockout blow. It took three years for Jo and Isabelle to purchase the 70 different plots from twenty-five different owners for a total surface of seven hectares of which five hectares would be planted with vines.

no fining. It was the salmon. in a broken voice. is neither filtered. Terres Blanches is from 80-year-old low-yielding Chenin vines. one of which is located at Aubigné –sur-Layon. Anjou – Biodynamic Stéphane trained in the Loire region to be a ‘bûcheron’ (lumberjack/ logger/woodman. murmured Mr Snodgrass. » 2009 2009 2009 VIN DE FRANCE “TERRES BLANCHES” VIN DE FRANCE “NOURRISSONS” VIN DE FRANCE “LA CHANTELEE” W W R . Grapes are first pressed then fermented in (used) oak barrels for twelve months. Utterly agreeable tasty red wine with the thirst dial firmly set to quench. In 1999 he started working for himself. Responds well to chilling. both situated in Thouarcé. producing on average 1.” Pickwick Papers DOMAINE STEPHANE BERNAUDEAU. one Gamay. no sulphur. La Chantelée is a cheeky blend of 50% Gamay.5 hectares of vines consisting of three parcels of Chenin. a touch of wood tannin grip. Stéphane ploughs with a horse.109 - . It was not ok so he ended up working for the great Mark Angeli in the village of Thouarcé. describing it as « un vin avec une belle fraicheur et une grande minéralité.ANJOU-SAUMUR Continued… “It wasn’t the wine. After a maceration of eight days the wine undergoes an ambient fermentation of eleven months (whole bunch). The wine is then aged for twelve months in used oak barrels. some sweet apples and quinces opening out to reveal some beautiful aromas and flavours of fresh cut pineapple and honey. partly rented and partly purchased. No filtration. Les Nourrissons is a 100-year-old one hectare plot of Chenin Blanc and Verdelho. picks ripe. Currently he has a total of 2. acidity and fantastic length.). Stéphane’s tasting note for this wine is succinct. tension. this would age for fifteen to twenty years. Stéphane allows a partial malolactic intentionally in order to conserve the wine’s acidity. Stéphane observes that “it’s the wine that decides on the temperature of the fermentation”.000 bottles a year. makes a natural ferment and ages for fourteen months on the lees in barrels used for three wines. This is a wine of power. Sumptuous and rich with a suggestion of waxed apples. another at Thouarcé and the last one in the village of Cornu as well as two devoted to red vines. herbs and cheese. nor fined and given a small amount of sulphur. a healthy score of acidity and a little carbon dioxide lurking underneath. farming a few acres before acquiring a patchwork of parcels. gravel and schist. A profound wine. Red and bramble fruits (with the prickles left in). 50% Grolleau from 25 year old vines on mixed soils of sand. So where does this sit in our Chenin pantheon? Roasted almonds leading into beeswax. the other Grolleau and Cabernet. where he still helps out to this day. eleven months in used oak barrels. biodynamically farmed. bouche dans un premier temps avec une belle attaque acide puis un côté salin sur la finale un vin encore jeune eper faut savoir attendre.

Anjou – Biodynamic …toutefois l’absorption de 184646 bouteilles de vin d’Anjou ne rendit pas sa langue moins habile… Rabelais Agnès and René Mosse live and work in the village of Saint-Lambert-du-Lattay. They spent two years working in Côte-de-Beaune. specifically the Moussamoussettes. Chardonnay. it is fresh. quince paste and woodspice.3 g/l residual sugar. with no rain. They work 13ha of vines. after they purchased the land from Eric Morgat.Yields are low (25 hl/ha) with strict triage and initial fermentation is in a mixture of vats and barrels.DOMAINE AGNES & RENE MOSSE. so called because of the dark colour of the soils of slate and volcanic rocks). and they credit the great vignerons they met there. As is the case with Anjou. malo takes place in barrels and the wine spends a further year in them before bottling. Vinification is slow. They studied viticulture and oenology at the agricultural lycée in Amboise where two of their teachers were Thierry Puzelat (Clos du Tue Boeuf) and Christian Chaussard (Domaine le Briseau). then bought the estate in St-Lambert in 1999. The wine is gently sparkling with framboise. Once the wine warmed up in the glass it developed secondary nutty aromatics and layer after layer of rich flavour. Arena is quite youthful at the moment with a somewhat muted palate – albeit one with plenty of substance and would benefit from spending half an hour in a carafe. and usually the whites go through their malolactic fermentation. Grolleau Gris and Noir. the soils are shallow. With all the efforts put into vineyard work. with subsoils of schist and sandstone. The vines only came into the ownership of Agnès and René in 2007. The Layon is a small tributary to the Loire that lazily digs its way through well exposed and drained hills of schist and sandstone. vanilla and gorgeous pineapple acidity. Its micro-climate allows for a long hang-time. and they are particularly attentive to minimizing manipulations and the use of sulphur. Ample. In their area of Anjou Noir (Black Anjou. The Bonnes Blanches is a 2. cherry and rhubarb. in the Coteaux-du-Layon area of Anjou. The warmth of 2009 manifests itself in the 9. the Mosses had owned a wine-bar/wine retail in Tours. NV 2010 2008 2009 VIN DE FRANCE MOUSSAMOUSSETTES PET NAT ROSE ANJOU BLANC ANJOU BLANC INITIALS BB SAVENNIERES “ARENA” Sp/Ro W W W . most of them planted with Chenin blanc (nine ha). Try with ris de veau. fleshy apricots. Previously. long in the mouth this wine has profound texture. as the impetus to become winemakers. and Cabernets franc and sauvignon (three ha). candied apple. mineral. ploughing between and under the rows. The barrels are renewed as needed: they are containers.45 hectares of vines planted in 2002 on soils of wind-blown sands and schist near the Moulin de Beaupréau. among them Jo Pithon and François Chidaine. All the wines are barrel-fermented and aged. botrytis develops easily on the Chenin grapes.110 - . Rich and acacia-honeyed with a dried-fruit (apricot and quince) character yet seemingly defined and lively too.5ha parcel of thirty-five year old vines on a special terroir of sandstone with a subsoil of decomposed schists. Arena is a Savennières sourced from 0. it is equally important to them to vinify in a natural fashion. Wild honey. and varying amounts of clay on the surface. and when the mornings are foggy in the fall. Honeydew melon and sweet quince. Yields in this vintage were less than 15hl/ha and harvest was done by hand with selection (tri) of grapes. They adopted organic viticulture techniques from the start. Summer’s ready and the mousse is on the loose. and use biodynamic preparations to treat the vines and soil. the fruit here is hand-picked and the fermentation en fût with 12 months elevage topping up once a week. grilled sea bass and certain cheeses. the rest is planted with Gamay. not oak flavour providers. a delightful pet nat rosé made from a blend of Grolleau Gris and Gamay. soft and lively in the mouth. joyously simple. The Anjou Blanc sec is from young selection massale Chenin vines planted in 2001 & 2002 grown on clay and gravel soils alternating with schist.

Pourquoi “Incredule” for the red? Didier explains this name thusly: “ In 2007 I was amazed (incredule”). The nose of the Chenin is perfumed and sweet with honey. Anjou – Biodynamic Didier Chaffardon cultivates his 2. Didier Chaffardon has annexed the expression for his delightful slightly sweet. “You need to let go of the rudder. that he feels the Cabernet Franc vines must have been amazed to produce a wine of such quality in that year. The wine is more profound than it seems at first. Exotic fruits on the palate. no sulphuring and twelve months in used oak barrels (used for two to five wines). and offsetting well the slight amount of residual sugar in this wine( 5g/litre). fining and just a little dose at crushing and before bottling. the silty soils lend a silky texture.111 - . “In 2009. At one point he considered copyrighting the phrase.” This was a year when the fermentation was never completed (hence 12 g/l of residual). As it opens out spiced bread and honey. Didier explains that 2008 was a year with adverse weather conditions (hail and frost in April &May). and forget any prejudices. There are notes of smoked charcuterie in this wine that incite one to eat.. followed by maturation in oak barrels. After a natural malo the wine is aged for approximately eighteen months in 400 litre Vicard oak barrels. fining or sulphuring.. slightly ignoble wine made from 85% Cab Franc and 15% Cab Sauv – a mixture of medium age and older vines.ANJOU-SAUMUR Continued… DOMAINE NICOLAS REAU. tarte tatin and mirabelle plum. (reminiscent of that seen in the 2006 vintage). an excellent acidity level. and any received wisdom. He makes a Chenin from vines on clay-limestone soils that displays characteristics of minerality and ample fruit combined. and forget all previous experiences. 2010 2009 ANJOU BLANC “CLOS LES TREILLES” ANJOU ROUGE “POMPOIS” W R DOMAINE DIDIER CHAFFARDON. Otherwise this startling Cab Franc undergoes the fully monty of natural (non) interventions with wild yeast ferment and zip in terms of filtering. He studied winemaking and viticulture at Montreuil and supplemented these studies with more at Bordeaux. and to distinguish his naturally-vinified. A lovely rumpus-pumpus red with prominent black fruits on the nose and palate and. Nobody’s perfect. Anjou – Organic Former jazz and blue pianist Nicolas Reau one day decided to tickle the vines rather than the ivories. There is no filtration. and all certainties. but that the resulting wine was attractive and delicious. The grapes are fermented in old barrels and aged for a further year without racking. giving vibrancy. no fining. 2008 2009 2010 ANJOU BLANC L’INCREDULE ROSE D’UN JOUR W R Ro . typical of the vintage.9 ha vineyard in the commume of Saint-Jean des Mauvrets He works organically and biodynamically eschewing chemicals. No filtering. “and in 2008 it was the vines’ turn to be amazed. tropical notes papaya and dried banana. low-sulphur version of this crowd pleaser. having suffered so much during the growing season. and also tannins. Fermentation is ambient. And a word from our sponsor. notes of lime tea and celery. it is the turn of the consumers to be amazed by the originality of this wine. The grapes for the Anjou Rouge Pompois are de-stemmed before fermentation which place in cement tanks.” Rosé d’Un Jour was a phrase first used by Mark Angeli ( considered the’Pope’ of natural winemaking in the Anjou region) to thumb his vinous nose at the liberally-sulphured swill masquerading under the generic brand of Rosé d’Anjou’. in resin vats and barrels. easy on the gums. and takes place without temperature control for at least a year. one shouldn’t be worried about opening this wine well in advance. The vines ranging from 15-40 years in age are silt-on-schist and marl containing fossilised sea shells on schist.

basket-of-fruit-wine. It smells like Chenin. O2 is more than a nod and a wink. Comté. He specialises in Chenin in all shapes and sizes and loves to make a “Jura-style” wine under a yeast veil.4 ha of Chenin Blanc planted in 1920 and 1. This includes 1. a flavoursome apple compote wine for easy-drinking. membranous “white” (ironic inverted commas).6 ha of Cabernet (70% Franc and 30% Sauvignon) planted in 1974. A beautiful wine that expresses the potential of the Chenin.who discovered the use of plants for medicine. or a gentle sipper. punctilious acidity chiselled to an arrowhead designed to bring a bead of appreciative persp to your forehead. Paniers des Fruits is his lovely userfriendly. practising and certified for organic viticulture since 2005. Now Jean-François is well along on the road to biodynamics. This is either a food accompanier. also deriving from old Cab Franc vines is a massive knowing blink at Pedro Ximenez style of sherry. muzzy. The grapes are raisined on mats until Christmas: aromas of roasting. Douceur Angevine is from late harvest grapes and has gentle fresh and apple compote flavours with a suggestion of honey and caramel. Les Joues Rouges is a nod and a wink to Anjou rouge but Jean-François opted out of appellation when the board asked him to add sulphur in his wines for stability. A pleasure wine. the wine begins its subtle transformation. from 60 year old Cab Franc vines. There is a lot of something in suspension. This cheeky wine.Like all his white wines this Chenin is fermented in futs de chene with wild yeasts with temperature control. Back to Chenin and a couple of amazing late harvest wines. a soot snowstorm in this murky. is whole bunch fermented at coolish temperature to bring out the latent fruitiness. ageing for approximately three years under those cheesy yeasts. heather honey. shedding noxious aromas and releasing hints of fruit – here are apples. fine spun wool. Earthy and rich with a great balance of sweet fruit. this O2 may not be your favourite Chenin network. acid and minerality. Jardin de Chiron is named after the centaur. but it certainly connects to your inner yeast. Carafed. whilst Le Clos des Ortinières is from botrytis grapes vinified and aged in barriques for thirty-six months without any further interventions. or a goat’s cheese.The wine is fine and complex with a broad palette of apricots. 2008 LA POINTE CHENIN « VIEILLE VIGNES DE 1920 » W . one of those wines that evolves as you revolve it around the glass.112 - . La Pointe Chenin 1921 is a true vin de garde with a long elevage in wood.creamy intense palate. Yes. something to get down and meditative with. You might stare into the crud-rich opalescent depths of the wine and say Chenin Voile? More like Chenin Vile. Anjou – Biodynamic Les Vignes Herbel is the project of Laurent Herbel and Nadège Lelandais who started in 2005 and now have a three-hectare parcel of vines at Rochefort-sur-Loire called La Pointe on a terroir of purple schist and clay.(Jean Francois nods and winks a lot) to the wines of the Jura that he admires so greatly. He has a seraglio of Chenin that has taken the veil. The initial aroma is not altogether pleasant – butter on the turn and smoking corn on the cob mixed with oxidative notes. quince and confit fruits. The entire vinification takes twenty-four months and the wine spends a total of three years in barrels without topping up. JEAN-FRANCOIS CHENE. 2008 2005 2006 2008 2010 2006 2005 2005 PANIER DE FRUITS L’O2 VIGNE CHENIN VOILE L’O2 VIGNE CHENIN VOILE JARDIN DE CHIRON LES JOUES ROUGES DOUCEUR ANGEVINE DOUCEUR ANGEVINE “LE CLOS DES ORTINIERES” – 50cl PEDRO CABERNET – 50cl W W W W R Sw Sw Sw LES VIGNES HERBEL.LA COULEE D’AMBROSIA. LAURENT & NADEGE Greek mythology. Those sly salty Jurassic flavours come to the fore and the acidity reins in the funkiness. They farm organically and biodynamically. prunes and candied figs and a thick. slivers of toasted almonds and dried spice. Pedro Cabernet. Anjou – Biodynamic A 4 ha estate on limestone clay soils with schists and silex in Beaulieu sur Layon.

aged between 18-70 years and yielding a mere 30hl/ha. Jean in the village of Monteuil-sur-Bellay so this vintage is his maiden voyage. La Charpenterie. in an area known for the quality of the Chenin. To be drunk with hushed reverence. ANTOINE FOUCAULT. the second training with Thierry Germain. Saumur – Biodynamic Within a short period of time Antoine Foucault is already making some of the most sought-after wines of the region. In 2010 Sylvain purchased his vineyard in the Rue Porte St. 2006/7 2004 SAUMUR BLANC SAUMUR ROUGE “LA RIPAILLE” W R DOMAINE SYLVAIN DITTIERE. from the oldest vines. The Saumur Blanc is from vines grown on limestone-clay mix. The colour is a brilliant yellow and the nose precise.DOMAINE DU COLLIER. Pertinent to the vintage and to the vinification this is a lithe Cab Franc with “le crunch veritable”. pure and noble with a fine minerality. Having worked at the legendary Clos Rougeard for four years he took the opportunity to buy four-hectares of vines in the commune of Brézé in the lieu-dit of La Ripaille. . The grapes are destemmed and fermented in vats for forty days on the wild yeasts with a touch of sulphur and then aged for seven to eight months in twice used barrels from Château Latour (all kneel) before bottling without filtration or fining. Trumping even that a white wine.113 - . Round and ample in the mouth the flavours of quince and apricot fan out in all directions relayed by lively acidity. 2010 SAUMUR-CHAMPIGNY “PORT ST JEAN” R / Two workers at Domaine Cousin-Leduc getting better acquainted. studying viticulture and winemaking for two years. No herbicides or other synthetic chemical products are used in the vineyard and harvest is naturally by hand. before going to Alsace to do an extended stage with Marc Tempé. whilst his last post was a one –year-stint at Domaine Gauby. which delivers an extra dollop of what the French call “le welly”.This wine has us delving in our lexicon of superlatives to convey the exquisite expression of exquisite impressions. peaches and cinnamon cream fill the mouth rounded off by a whiff of toasted hazelnut. The wine is fermented in new oak barriques and spends a further twelve to eighteen months maturing so as all the flavours can combine to best effect. Saumur-Champigny – Organic As an apprentice Sylvain worked with the best.The estate is three hectares organically farmed vines comprising 30 years old Cabernet Franc on silt-clay sand on a bedrock of limestone and some clay on limestone. Warm honey aromas cascade from the glass.

Organic work is done on the soil with special tisanes. Indefatigable. from a long line of Bordeaux winemakers. 70% new oak as well as 228l Burgundy barrels and aged on the fine lees for 12 months with batonnage.114 - . has been a winery since 1850. harmonious and full and a smoky finish with subtle tannins. Very concentrated. The bouquet is marked by cassis and blackberries.” The wine is paean to Chenin Blanc. big and perfumed like a sweet Coteaux du Layon. Germain has garnered praise in the European press for his exciting wines. attracted by the region’s perfect balance of grape varietal. The grapes macerate for 25 days before undergoing malolactic fermentation. full of pears. he continues to progress in refining each of his cuvées. they challenge the palate with their energy. Germain. It is remarkably delicious. but not easy to obtain because the demand for them is so great. and yields no more than 18hl/ha. which are always filled with ripe. The Cuvée Marginale is a selection of the best grapes (tiny yields of 25hl/ha) put into barriques neuves. pineapple and honey. the other half is kept in stainless steel. a snapdragon on an anvil. violets and stewed fruits. selecting grapes at their very ripest level. plump wines. Every year we see an evolution in Thierry’s wines. arrived here in 1991. The vines for the Marginale are situated on the superb clayey-limestone soil of Fosse de Chaintrés. Saumur-Champigny – Biodynamic Serious wines are produced at this estate run by the charismatic Thierry Germain.ANJOU-SAUMUR Continued… DOMAINE DES ROCHES NEUVES. After a couple of hours in the carafe drink it with lobster in sauce. a balanced and ripe palate. Disregard a label so loud it could be heard in Timbuktu. the grapes are macerated for 30-35 days. It is produced from the ripest grapes at harvest and aged in new barrels (400 litre). situated in a superb viticultural location in the appellation of Saumur Champigny. Yields for the Marginale are a miniscule 25hl/ha. and drinking it will give your goosebumps goosebumps.” Painstaking attention to detail: the grapes are selected at optimum maturity to create suave. with the last pass being only nobly rotten grapes). generous fruit and supple textures. The vineyard is worked in a natural way with the goal of keeping the vine and the soil at its healthiest and Thierry has become a fully-fledged advocate of biodynamics. a felicitous amalgam of Bordeaux and Loire styles. A happy future for this wine which is beautifully balanced in nose and palate. Vinification is handled in small batches with bottling unfined and unfiltered. exhibits lively aromas of irises.One might think that Thierry Germain was going to take a break. this dry wine unveils a beautiful ampleness on the palate. with notes of oak and vanilla which will surely harmonize after bottling. In some ways it is more reminiscent of Grand Cru white Burgundy from a very ripe vintage than a Loire wine.” Saumur-Champigny Cuvée Marginale Revue du Vin de France: “This wine is always held back for a year and only made in exceptional vintages. with purple highlights. This cuvée is only made in the best years when the grapes achieve a minimum of 13 degrees alcohol. this wine could easily age several years. (Germain) gathers exceptionally ripe grapes which give a unique smoothness and velvety texture to his wines…. It will mature for 18-24 months depending on the vintage. They possess finer bone structure and less obvious oak influence. structured like a top Bordeaux. Half the wine is matured in barrels that have been used before. grown on clayey-limestone with sandstone and flint subsoil. This 50-acre domaine. The colour is dark-ruby. a beautiful structure and fine. sea bass steamed with ginger and/or gourmet Chinese food. The harvest is manual. The grapes are harvested in several picking sessions according to ripeness (three selections (tri) in the vineyard. This is the move to natural winemaking. The palate is dense. NV 2010 2010 2009 2008 2008 BULLES DE ROCHE SAUMUR BLANC “L’INSOLITE” SAUMUR-CHAMPIGNY SAUMUR-CHAMPIGNY “TERRES CHAUDES” SAUMUR-CHAMPIGNY “LA MARGINALE” SAUMUR-CHAMPIGNY “FRANC DE PIED” Sp W R R R R . The wine is fermented in 400 litre barrels. Rich and powerful. Revue du Vin de France – Michel Bettane “One of the elite wine-growers. Saumur-Champigny Terres Chaudes Revue du Vin de France: “More powerful than the Cuvée Domaine. Yields are a mere 35hl/ha. The basic Cuvée Domaine is garnet with purple tints. His approach is closer to a Burgundy wine-maker than a typical Loire producer. L’Insolite is from a plot of vines some 80 years old.” The yield for this intense wine is only 25 hectolitres/hectare coming from southern-exposed hillside vineyards. then the wine is placed in new oak to undergo malolactic fermentation. It is bottled twelve months later when the complexity of aroma is revealed and the tannins have balanced out. from organically cultivated grapes grown on the unique tufa-rich soil (sandy clay and clayey limestone soils that suit wines with deep root systems). climate and terroir. is as seductive as the swish of a silken kimono. ripe tannins. Revue du Vin de France: “Fermented and aged in new 400 litre barrels with regular batonnage. it merits an ageing of 5 years. There is incredible richness on the palate with perfect balancing acidity. The nose is very attractive. The Terres Chaudes. This grand wine is powerful yet elegant. THIERRY GERMAIN. velvety. All of his wines are superb. which he considers one of the finest in France. with fat fruit.

with savoury and dark chocolate flavours complementing black cherry and blackcurrant fruit. my dear. Monumental depth of flavour. As well as harvesting Cab Franc. DANIELLE & PIERRE CASLOT. It won’t say no to a Côte-de-Boeuf. A deep purple (almost opaque) core leads to a narrow rim – this is a big. alcoholic then malolactic. Chinon – Organic Luc Sébille’s wines are made with due respect for the environment without herbicides. Les Galichets. it’s not a crisis/But this wine has brettanomyces (Ogden Smashed) The Alternative Wine Glossary DOMAINE DE LA CHEVALERIE. The fermentations. yet wonderful finesse. is a lively aromatic number with small ripe fruits and notes of framboise and griottine cherries. He makes several cuvées of varying degrees of intensity and complexity from different soils. from twenty-five year old vines planted on sandy soil. Put it in your rabbit stew and drink with proper gusto. Damn it. It’s savoury and easy on the gums. concentrated wine. so saddle that haunch of wild boar and make like a parody of Henry VIII (tearing the meat off the bone. It will continue to age magnificently. great length. we do give a Franc.115 - . savoury richness – pronounced. more sculpted style of Cabernet Franc. mouth-watering acidity. The work amongst the vines and the harvest is accomplished manually. with a touch of cedar/pencil shavings as well as spice and blond tobacco and sous-bois. yet intense. ripe fruit flavours. the kind of soil necessary for the preservation of the pre-phylloxera francs de pied. from average thirty-year old vines on silica-clay soils. the Caslot Bourgueil is a delightful fresh. The wine is made from a semi-carbonic maceration for a period of three weeks without remontage. Peu-Muleau. with notes of freshly dyed leather and pencil shavings. including notes of cinnamon. These are the massive tuffeau cellars carved into the slopes. The palate is dense and rich. is a firmer. but elegant tannins are married to refreshing. There are some healthy tannins here. juicy red fruit flavours with a sweet and sour black cherry quality and a chocolatey. Velvety and rich. Caslot has also been harvesting a tidy crop of coup-de-coeurs. Moving on up the Chevalerie is from forty-five year old vines. Bourgueil – Organic The Caslot family have been farming their domaine of thirty-three hectares since 1640 from their farmhouse which sits on the hill overlooking the vines in the heart of the superb terroir of Restigné.. The terroir is sandy on surface with some gravels. are realised in barriques for four months. his horse. The nose displays aromas of raspberry and redcurrant. fungicides or chemical fertilisers. their unvarying temperatures providing a perfect haven for the conservation and ennoblement of fine wines. gulping your vinous grog and lobbing the carcase over your shoulder – it’s the new courtly behaviour). The nose offers a huge whiff of raspberry. All very wonderful. Some wines are to be quaffed with a smile and some smoked meats. wine with a floral bouquet and flavours of raspberry and blackberry. the more profound versions should be decanted to allow the fruit and mineral perfumes to mingle. cloves and Sichuan peppercorns. Made from Cabernet Franc grapes. Yet more flavours reveal themselves with time in the glass. As you enter the courtyard a dark tunnel leads you down to the huge family cellar where you’ll get to see row upon row of unlabelled pleasure. 2010 2006 2005 1998 1995 BOURGUEILVENUS BOURGUEIL BRETECHE BOURGUEIL CUVEE PEU-MULEAU BOURGUEIL CUVEE DE LA CHEVALERIE BOURGUEIL LES GALICHETS R R R R R DOMAINE LUC SEBILLE. The travail du sol is effected essentially with the aid of Chouan. blackcurrant and dark cherry aromas. with bags of sweet. The wine is unfiltered and unfined with only a touch of sulphur to preserve the wine. Busardières is from the oldest vines planted on limestone-clay soils. 2009 CHINON “FRANC DE PIED” – magnum R . The palate is full of fresh. TOURAINE Do not fret.

The pleasure is all yours. the man who once wrote: “When I drink I think. fresh and refreshing. Henry II. This graceful savoury wine suits dishes as diverse as veal kidneys. non? 2008 2008 2008 2008 CHINON “BEAULIEU” CHINON “BEAULIEU” .116 - . Classic taffeta-textured Chinon.magnum TOURAINE “LES CONQUETES” TOURAINE “LES CONQUETES” . vinification is in conical vats. of expectation) which grander and more ambitious wines inhabit as their landscape. tonic wines will undoubtedly improve your chi. capable of seeming both playful and fruity in some moods. although he does have a few ares of Chenin Blanc. though without really ever preparing to challenge the peaks or plumb the abysses (of sensation. a wine that is a constant gentle reminder that wines don’t have to be powerful to be beautiful. A strict green harvest is also done to eliminate superfluous grapes. the celebrated chalky bedrock of variable hardness.magnum R R R R .” This delightful wine is made with due environmental respect or “travail raisonnée” in every aspect of vineyard conduct involving minimal treatments. Chinon “The tangy. wild strawberries and cerise. The Chinon is a humble wine. precise. stalky Cabernet Franc. no use of fertilisers or herbicides. 2008 2008 CHINON CHINON – ½ bottle R R DOMAINE PATRICK CORBINEAU. Juvenes dum sumus. The very pretty village of Candes is on the confluence of the Vienne with the Loire. darker and even a touch forbidding in others. fluidity and roundness in the mouth. expressive. Famous for its red wines. Leaf thinning is carried out in August in order to allow air to circulate amongst the grapes and to promote better ripening. He is the first in his family to live solely by making wine – his grandfather practised polyculture. Chinon – Biodynamic Patrick Corbineau has four hectares of vines at Candes-Saint-Martin right on the western limits of Touraine. The 2008s are beautifully composed Cabernet Franc with cassis notes mingled with liqueur cherries and the combined impression of equilibrium. Most of his vines are Cabernet Franc on limestone clay. The grapes are harvested by hand.TOURAINE Continued… Gaudeamus igitur. and when I think I drink. The town of Chinon was the favourite residence of the Plantagenet king. springy acidity. the vines are planted on tuffeau. Nos habebit humus DOMAINE ALAIN LORIEUX. pure. He uses pigeage and the wine is matured in 15 hl foudres for at least 18 months. violets and irises. silky smoky fruit. leg of pheasant and grilled salmon. These vital. PASCAL & ALAIN LORIEUX.” John Lanchester – The Debt To Pleasure The Chinon appellation lies in the triangle between the Vienne and Loire departments. and it was in the Great Hall of the château during the Hundred Years’ War that Joan of Arc acknowledged the future king Charles VII. Post jucundum juventutem Post molestum senectutem. perfume of sweet hay. And of course the great Rabelais himself lived within spitting distance of Chinon.

So much fun and it tastes healthy. Somewhere between cider and perry with delicate honey notes. Saint-Nicolas de Bourgueil – Organic Hare-brained person. The range kicks off with an early-bottled Bourgueil made by carbonic maceration called La Dilettante. There are known knowns. No clunk. do what’s right. Sébastien David makes deliciously crunchy Cabernet Franc from his vineyards situated on the limestone-clay and gravels of the Loire. From twenty years old vines Trinch (the sound made by two glasses clinking together) planted in gravelly soil is raised in large foudres. Eschewing chemicals and working without sulphur in the winery he makes a gratifying aromatic red. surrounded by the vines of the Galichets vineyard.TOURAINE Continued… Donald Rumsfield’s Maxims on Natural Wines On the unclear outcomes of wild ferments. But there are also unknown unknowns. On using sulphur. There are known unknowns.117 - .. don’t. Bourgueil – Biodynamic The Bretons (the perfect name for Cabernet Franc specialists) are based just north of Restigné. then bottled early while it still shows of all its fruity. including Les Perrières and Clos Sénéchal in Bourgueil. although some are bottled without any sulphur at all. That is to say. as well as vines in Chinon. tender and silky on the palate with black cherry. Half way down the bottle the wine becomes cloudy and vinous and finally full of skin extract. restrict yields to something like 40-45 hl/ha (although some cuvées are below 35 hl/ha) and harvest by hand. The Bretons use indigenous yeasts and their desire for “natural” winemaking comes through strong in their resistance to the use of sulphur. you may not be doing much DOMAINE CATHERINE & PIERRE BRETON. The vineyards see ultra-intense organic care. youthful vigour. If still in doubt. The wine looks as if it has just been born. being ribena-hued. It showcases the fruity side of the Cabernet Franc grape.. just clink every trip to the bottle. On critical disapproval of wine pundits If you are not criticized. exuberantly fresh. with typically just 10 mg/l added at bottling to many cuvées.. and a little storm (when the hurly-burly’s done) in a wine glass. It is sapid. The Breton philosophy stems. gently effervescent. Les Galichets is but one part of their domaine. The Chinon Beaumont has a beautiful ruby colour. If in doubt.. They live in an old but well restored farmhouse with adjacent cellars. Catherine’s brilliant natural Vouvrays are in two words – de-licious. no mean feat in this northerly clime. brimming with cherry and cranberry goodness and a lively wriggle of liquorice. currant and pomegranate with earthy notes. no dosage or filtration. they avoid chemical fertilisers and weedkillers. as the pair have about 10. Once the grapes have arrived at the cellars they are fermented according to terroir.5 hectares of vineyards to their name. There are things we don’t know we don’t know. nice herbaceousness and minerality bringing up the rear. The Pet Nat stems from a natural fermentation in bottle. and a ripe core of juicy berry fruit. a coiffure. These are things we know that we know. savoury and moreish and delicious served lightly chilled. there are things that we know we don’t know. High toned white fruit notes meld with honeycomb and goats milk wrapped in a loving shroud of sweet blossom. plenty of violets on the nose and is lush. however. NV 2010 2010 2010 2010 2009 2010 2010 VOUVRAY LA DILETTANTE METHODE TRADITIONELLE VOUVRAY PETILLANT NATUREL TOURAINE PET NAT ROSE “RITOURNELLE” VOUVRAY LA DILETTANTE SEC BOURGUEIL TRINCH! BOURGUEIL TRINCH! – magnum BOURGUEIL DILETTANTE CHINON BEAUMONT Sp Sp Sp/P W R R R R DOMAINE SEBASTIEN DAVID. in their own words. With an aroma of roses it possesses a little more structure than the Trinch. whereas those from clay-limestone vineyards are fermented in old oak vats. with those from gravelly soils going into stainless steel. And they are bottled unfiltered. from a love of the land. 2009 SAINT-NICOLAS DE BOURGUEIL “HURLUBERLU” R .

The base wine for the Brut is the sec tendre which undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle with the residual sugar of the wine. As for sulphur MarieAnnick points out that they do everything to ensure that the grapes arrive at the press in pristine condition and not damaged. distinctive bright acidity on the finish.” Aromas of white flowers. As she explains:”this means we don’t need to protect the just-harvested grapes by adding sulphur to them. the whole nine yards of length. with hints of beeswax. white meats and various cheeses. an extraordinarily intense oak-matured dry wine of crystalline purity and with. Vouvray Didier and Catherine Champalou have been established in the heart of the appellation since 1983 and have acquired over 20 hectares of Chenin. An enticing golden colour draws you to nose an exotic bouquet of lavender honey. The cultivation of the mousse takes place in the troglodytic cellars where the cool ambient temperature contributes to the finesse of the bubbles and the aroma of the Chenin is allowed to re-establish itself after the second fermentation. it is located in Vernou-sur-Brenne. The grapes for the Vouvray Sec are cultivated on argilo-calcaire soils and are the earliest harvested to preserve their vivacity. lively acidity supports the rich apple fruit. They make only three hundred cases of this virtuous rarity. in a village on the slopes along the Loire river. whilst the gorgeous floral Vouvray Brut should be sampled in a field (Elysian or otherwise) with a gobload of wild strawberries. Delightful nose of honey. Exchange of letters in The Guardian Continued… DOMAINE CHAMPALOU. with a powerful. Delicious with rillettes. CATHERINE & DIDIER CHAMPALOU. 2003 VOUVRAY MOELLEUX “LA REVEILLERIE” Sw . This cuvée was traditionally known as pétillant. Back in 1998. Reducing the number of bunches by debudding increases the level of sugars in the bunches that are permitted to grow. sweet hay and quince.TOURAINE Bird flu? Dead ducks in France? Surely. depending on the temperature in the cellar. the palate reinforces this delightful impression. Vouvray – Organic Domaine Lemaire –Fournier is a 30 hectare estate in Vouvray. Once picked the grapes are placed immediately in the press. The wine ferments at an even cool temperature and is aged in troglodyte “cellar-caves” gouged from the limestone. this is tempered by the residual sugar (118 grams in this wine). Chenin Blanc like this works well with many types of food. it will accompany wild salmon. in other words dry but soft and supple in the mouth. NV 2009 2004 2007 VOUVRAY BRUT VOUVRAY SEC VOUVRAY “CUVEE DES FONDRAUX” VOUVRAY SEC “LE PORTAIL” Sp W W W DOMAINE LEMAIRE-FOURNIER. ethereal Vouvray. The wine undergoes a partial malolactic. The fermentation for the 2003 Vouvray Reveillerie took four months. so that the bigger particles fall to the bottom of the vats (“ débourbage”). trout. rabbit and pork. since then Emile Heredia has supervised vinification. and on the quantity of wild yeasts on the grape skins). dried fruits and nuts. so grab some while you can (although we would prefer if you left it for us). the terroir and the nature of the vintage. The 2003 vintage here was made by Nicolas Renard. sweet grape and marzipan. The Champalous are registered with the Terra Vitis programme. Champalou first released a thrilling special cuvée Le Portail from an enclosed south-facing microterroir. To be precise. typical of the Chenin Blanc grape. no filtering. a charter that promotes sustainable farming and respect for the environment by maintaining a good balance in the soil. tender. Fascinating aromas of dry pollen. MARIE-ANNICK LEMAIRE. as the Americans would say.118 - . His wines have a rounded. close to Vouvray. “filtration tangential”. Viticulture is organic. Good weight on the palate. a demi-sec. that’s a canard! A canard? More like a mallard imaginaire. The estate calls this “pétillant naturel”. The balance that the Champalous seek to achieve in this wine is “sec tendre”. almost buttery texture with suggestions of apples and ripe quinces sheathed in delicate threads of honey. amazing finesse. biodiversity is encouraged with wild plants and grasses growing in the soil between the vines which are 50 years old planted on clay-limestone. Didier Champalou makes beautiful. The Cuvée des Fondraux. The resulting juice is left in vats for between twelve and twenty-four hours. (This can change every year. the terroir and the plant and limiting chemical applications. Their philosophy is simple: to create wines that respect the grape variety. is from densely planted 50-year-old vines propitiously located on slopes of argilo-silicieux terroir.

The winery is an underground cellar carved into the tuffeau. Viticulture is strictly organic. et en particulier un Saumur “Brézé” 1996 des frères Foucault. no herbicides are used so that the microbial life of the soil is encouraged. the ubiquitous fossil-rich clay of the region. 2007 MONTLOUIS SEC “LE VOLAGRE” W . A regime of “travail du sol” leads to the development of a deep root system and enhances natural fertility. 2010 2010 2010 2010 2009 2010 VIN DE TABLE PET NAT ROSE (GAMAY-COT) SAUVIGNON DE TOURAINE MONTLOUIS MINERAL + MONTLOUIS MINERAL + – magnum MONTLOUIS SEC “LE CLOS DU CHENE” ROMORANTIN Sp/P W W W W W DOMAINE STEPHANE COSSAIS. Stéphane’s love affair with Chenin originated with tasting the wines of Foucault: “Pour moi.119 - . The wine is unfiltered and no sulphur is added. The oak gives additional mouthfeel but does not obscure the grape or the terroir. pear and marmalade with classic raw almond back notes. who died in 2009. the wine reveal ripe green figs. In 2001 he decided to take over a small three hectare property in Montlouis near Tours. Marvellous purity here – it feels like you are sucking the pure terrain through your teeth. by precise attention to individual parcels and protection of local fauna all helps to establish a balanced ecological milieu favouring the natural defences of the vine. je suis convaincu que ce cépges peut produire de grands vins blancs secs. le cépage qui caractérise le mieux la Vallée de la Loire est le chenin. 2007 is a rich vintage. Les viticulteurs qui en possèdent recherchent souvent la production de vins moelleux. Soil is silica-clay on limestone. by assiduously plucking leaves to allow ventilation of the canopy. With its spiky personality and honeyed texture this Montlouis is designed for the most regal salmon that you can lay your mitts on. apple. Stéphane Cossais. Mon souhait est de produire un grand vin blanc qui soit une reference”. The maintenance of the soil is paramount. capables de rivaliser en richesse et en complexité avec les grands Bourgognes. Montlouis – Organic A wee domaine covering around three hectares of densely-planted Chenin (between 15-85 years old). Montlouis – Organic Frantz Saumon used to be a forester in both Canada and France for several years. and all the wines are vinified in barrels (some 228l. looked for lower than average yields than the appellation norm (30 hl/ha as opposed to the permitted 52 hl/ha). Après diverses dégustations de chenin sec. By limiting the vigour of the vines. assuring physiological equilibrium in the grapes no matter the vintage. Frantz is another non-interventionist and works without chemicals in the vineyards.TOURAINE Continued… Judge Red – “I am the Loire!!” (Comic Book Heroes for Our Age) You’re looking at Montlouis now (south of the yellow blob that is Vouvray) DOMAINE FRANTZ SAUMON. some 400l) only with the indigenous yeasts. Clos de Chênes is a dry wine made from Chenin grapes from a 95 year old vineyard on silex and clay.

talcum powder and wild yeast. All the wines are certified organic by Ecocert. Sulphur and copper are only used in tiny doses and tisanes made from horsetail and nettle ensure effective phytosanitary protection. Soils are flint with clay on top of limestone. It is made thusly: In the purest tradition of natural wines without sulphur the secret consists of harvesting the grapes ripe and in perfect health. Remarkable aromas catch your attention as soon as you bring your nose to the glass: A whiff of white pepper is quickly followed by a lovely minerality reminiscent of rainwater washing over limestone. The wine of the domaine is old vines Pineau d’Aunis. When making his red wines Heredia has delved into the past where traditional technique were employed such as using open barrels to crush the grapes underfoot. To further this natural approach neither artificial yeasts nor other additives are used in the winemaking process except for a smidge of sulphur at bottling.TOURAINE Continued… DOMAINE DE MONTRIEUX. the terroir and the work of men. subtle berries and white pepper linger in a long finish. Fresh strawberries follow. The age of the vines permits a natural reduction of the yields and deep root systems assure minerality and intensity of the wines. Other aromas include red flowers. pop. Touraine – Organic Domaine de Montrieux was created in 1999 by Emile Heredia. occasionally known as Chenin Noir. spicy with delicate tannins. The wine produced is an exact reflection of the vintage. EMILE HEREDIA. Heredia does something similar. peppery side helps it to marry with grills. Ode to joie de vivre – purple stained mouth – check – beaded bubbles winking at the rim – check. the carbon dioxide and the pressure created by the fermentation in bottle undermines the work of the yeasts. charcuterie. This variety. the quality of the soils and the expositions. In order to improve equilibrium and life of the soil and to allow flora and fauna to flourish no chemical products are employed. The fermentation occurs in barrels which have been used to make eight previous wines and after the malo has finished in May the wine is bottled. The Pet Nat (Pétillant Naturel) is a savoury Gamay sur juice. The parcels of vines were chosen for their quality: the old age of the vines. The richness of the sugars.120 - . bone-dry redberry flavour that’s light-bodied but mouth-filling. As if you would… 2008 2005 2010 COTEAUX DU VENDOMOIS ROUGE COTEAUX DU VENDOMOIS ROUGE – magnum PETILLANT NATUREL BOISSON ROUGE R R Sp/R . then closing them and waiting until the festival of Paques.seriously frivolous? – double check. So flip off the red crown cap. After a natural semi-carbonic maceration the wine obtained is light. The must begins its fermentation in vat and finishes in bottle. This fizzy McLizzy is intended for the dizzy days of summer and Heredia counsels sternly against drinking it beyond September. leading into a tart. Lemony acidity. ripe and sweet. cheese and even fish. It is be drunk fresh. a seductive whisper and foam into the glass. Amidst the oodles of strawbs and rasps there’s a smoky flavour and a neat whack of green pepper – drink it chilled. of course. its mineral. The fermentation then proceeds in a very slow manner until it finishes leaving the wine demi-sec. Manual harvest respects the quality of the grapes and yields are tiny: 35 hl/ha from densely planted vines. seems to be the original red grape of the Loire.

By Gamay standards this is a rich full-bodied red uncannily reminiscent of liquidised fragolino grapes. has lifted aromas of elderflower cordial. This Sauvignon de Touraine. The wine is living history. Every time his master interrupted him with a question that was a little long he would unfasten his gourd. perfumed. Were it a matter of resolving a moral question. minerals and honey. By picking late and discarding green grapes he achieves maximum ripeness which translates into fruitiness of the wine. a codified system which posits not only respect for the environment but knowledge of the land. perfumed berry fruit – no blowsy banana fermentation odours. weighing up the advantages or disadvantages of a political matter. HENRY MARIONNET. and his last word. no filtration. continuing or abandoning a transaction. yet also good concentration for a Gamay. This golden wine brings to mind apples. Marionnet is generally considered to be the best exponent of this grape variety in the Loire. ungrafted vines. which in previous years has garnered high praise from the Guide Hachette. “Let us consult the gourd”. discussing an event. It has lovely purity. throw back his head. They give more aromas. Jean de la Bruyère This domaine with its beautiful Touraine-style house made out of tufa produces first class Sauvignon from vines grown on perruche (sandy-clay) soil.. The Vinifera is a remarkable wine. that Jacques never went anywhere without a gourd filled with the best wine. The combined length. lightly chilled from the fridge. better colour and richer matter than those from the younger rootstock”. pears and white flowers. Lovely freshness. Provignage is the name given to the technique used originally to propagate the vines. Cour-Cheverny provides the ungrafted vine of the Romorantin. 2010 SAUVIGNON DE TOURAINE W . The bottle’s label suggests (demands) that you “server frais”. “That is the opinion of the gourd and my own”. only putting it back when his master had stopped speaking. no chaptalisation – purity from a grower whose wines are a true reflection of his love and passion for natural things. delicious purity. concentrated but not heavy. Jacques The Fatalist – Diderot (presumably the origin of the expression “Gourd help me”? DOMAINE GUY ALLION. So – organic methods in conjunction with old. raise the gourd above it and pour a stream of its contents into his mouth. Touraine If you don’t like Gamay you’ll love this! Even the baby of the bunch has restless bouncing energy with sweet. richness and complexity is fabulous – it is difficult to imagine this originates in the Loire. The grapes are picked at maximum ripeness and immediately transported to the winery to prevent oxidation. Not only are the wines completely different but they also are always better in the case of those made from original stock. which used to hang from the pommel of his saddle. The estate is managed according to the Terra Vitis programme. a grape variety planted in the 1850s. Reader. The palate is filled with gooseberry fool infused with elderflower and hints of summer fruit. beginning. no sulphur. Victoria plums and hints of grass. This sensitivity to the environment means that natural rather than chemical solutions can be pursued in the vineyard.121 - . a commercial or financial speculation. I have also forgotten to tell you that in moments which required reflection his first impulse was to ask his gourd. Touraine Between good sense and good taste there lies the difference between a cause and its effect. an attempt to recreate the flavour of pre-phylloxera wine. red berry fruit on the nose. 2009 2010 2010 PROVIGNAGE GAMAY DE TOURAINE GAMAY VINIFERA NON GREFFEES W R R I have forgotten to tell you. “I wanted to know if an ungrafted vine gave the same wine as its grafted equivalent and if our grandparents were drinking the same wine as us. the wisdom or folly of a law… his first word was. parcel by parcel. but also dried fruits. is silky smooth. and therefore prephylloxera. vibrant red cherry and blueberry fruit and lovely freshness on the palate. choosing one road rather than another.TOURAINE Continued… DOMAINE DE LA CHARMOISE.

charcuterie and hard cheeses. Vinification is natural: only indigenous yeasts are used. which was essential for the types of wines that she wanted to make. sit on the upper hill on the slopes along the Cher river and are surrounded by woods with a lot of wildlife. No sulphur is added at bottling. intensely fruity and surprisingly spicy with some herbaceous-sappy characters glimpsing through . the red Cheverny is a good accompaniment to guinea fowl. The Cheverny Rouge is another one of those “the cranberry-juice-is-on-the-loose” numbers. Violets burst out the glass as well as a summer pudding of blueberries. Its symbol is the castle of Cheverny. and the wines are never in contact with a single additive before the racking. DELAILLE. 2009 2010 2009 2010 LES PICHIAUX SAUVIGNON CHEZ CHARLES LA BOUDINERIE MON CHER GAMAY W W R R DOMAINE DU SALVARD. This remarkably lovely Gamay (La Boudinerie) is purple. which are intermingled with the ones that CRB keeps for itself. natch… Mon Cher Gamay ramps up the pleasure if possible. M. Mildly serious frivolity. an engaging nose of red cherries. Essence of cinnamon mingling with peppermint.TOURAINE Continued… NOELLA MORANTIN. Her new location is a handful of kilometres from there. The soils and vineyardshad benefited from years of care and from the organic farming of Didier. and as she was looking for vineyards. Try it with goat’s cheese (Pouligny St Pierre). The appellation extends along the left bank of the Loire from Sologne to the outskirts of Orleans. One Sauvignon cuvée. A mid-cherry red. The nose is full and fruity with elderflower and blackcurrant bud aromas and the creaminess of the Chardonnay fills out the palate providing weight and structure. After malolactic the wine is stored in underground vats before bottling. on the same southern bank of the Cher river in the Loire Valley. strawberry and raspberry. the nose has elements of bruised bramley apple and medlar. The vineyards. Cheverny moved to full AOC in 1993. cloves and earth. fresh and fruity with strawberry and liquorice dominant on the palate with acidity and tannin provided by the Pinot. where she vinified natural wines from organic vineyards.122 - . and there are some flavours of bitter lemon and some exacting acidity. From father to son. Settling of the juice for 48 hours is succeeded by an alcoholic fermentation in thermoregulated stainless steel tanks at a temperature of 18-20°c for10 days. Gentle pneumatic pressing avoids extracting harsh tannins. named les Pichiaux. as it breathes the more delicate red fruits become evident. the only time it is used is when the casks are racked (and there is only one racking). although she rents them from the nearby Clos Roche Blanche winery. blackcurrants and redcurrants and thirst-destroying acidity. The wine is turbid with a hint of straw. is from relatively young low-yielding vines. She worked for years for Les Bois Lucas (owned by Japanese winemaker Junko Arai). Grapes are macerated and fermentation with the skins last 8-10 days at 28C so most of the colour and aroma is drawn out. This wine exudes vibrancy in every way and is truly a pleasure to drink.crayfish and asparagus. chicken. The wine is unfiltered and benefits from breathing in the decanter or the glass. built in the style of Louis XIII. it would also go well with smoked eel. After the grapes for the Cheverny Blanc are picked they receive a short maceration followed by a pneumatic pressing. Touraine – Biodynamic 2009 was Noëlla Morantin’s first harvest from her own vineyards. LA TESNIERE. Cheverny Classified as a VDQS in 1973. It was bottled with zero sulphur added. The wine rests on its fine lees at 12°c for 3-12 months of maturation (according to the cuvée) before bottling. a fruitsome soother blended from Pinot Noir and Gamay.5 grams per hectolitre (which is minuscule). and no sulphur is added to the fermentation vats. Chez Charles from older vines (named after a previous owner of the vineyard) has aromas of exotic fruit such as pineapple and ripe citrus. Craftsmen of terroir and quality since the beginning. Made from 90% Sauvignon and 10% Chardonnay the Cheverny Blanc is junior Sancerre with intense gooseberry crispness. after the name of the vineyard plot. 2010 2010 CHEVERNY BLANC CHEVERNY ROUGE W R . Domaine Salvard has been a family wine estate since the 1890s. the latest generation expertly manage their 30 ha of vines with a program of conscientious vineyard management. snails à la bourguignonne . at a ratio of 1-1. lively. the Delailles continue to transmit the family’s winemaking passion. if you know what I mean. So much for the fiche technique. she jumped at the opportunity on learning that Didier Barrouillet and Catherine Roussel of Clos Roche Blanche wanted to downsize their holdings by half.

fungicides. Cabernet Franc. This is a truly outstanding. replied Claude darkly. Claude Courtois has created a small farm which exemplifies what biodynamics is all about in terms of biodiversity and selfsufficiency. plum. An hour in the carafe reveals the true nature of the wine. bio-diversity with trees. with great mineral & core fruit presence & a lingering inner mouth perfume of pear eau de vie. that it ages for many a moon. While they are certainly mad enough to appeal to my warped sensibility. destemmed and gently pressed grapes (Cabernet Franc. The grapes – Gamay. Such vitality as if the roots referred to had sucked the life blood from the very soil. No pesticides. complex wine and we know. generous and capricious. nutmeg. meanwhile. guiding beautiful naturally expressive wines to the bottle. “What’s the hole for?” Eric asked. As we will hear Claude is not fond of being pigeon-holed or have his methods categorized. Cabernet Sauvignon. warm iron and damp chalk. new recipe. although he does not consider himself to be a biodynamic grower. woods & fields. at that time the capital of Sologne. With aeration this cuvée booms. This wine undergoes an elevage of eighteen months. Only natural yeasts are used and the juice undergoes an extended maceration. It drinks well in its youth. herbicides. in bio it takes three people. meaning no chemicals ever. The nose offers sliced apple & poached pear backed by apple chutney spiced with brown sugar. cherry) with a distinctive minerality and a lightly tannic structure this is fresh and balanced style of wine. I’m content to delve into their undoubted pelagic depths at my leisure. acacia and fresh almond. fruit trees. Touraine – Biodynamic I’m going to nail my taste-buds to the standard here – these are my wines.000 hectares of this Gascon variety in the Yonne (Northern Burgundy) before phylloxera. You spray at your peril in his proximity. 2008 2009 2010 2008 2009 2009 NV QUARTZ BLANC ROMORANTIN NACARAT RACINES ETOURNEAUX L’ICAUNAIS MISTELLE W W R R R R Sw . “To bury my enemies”. Courtois also grows organic wheat. There are probably around twenty cuvées. chemical fertilizers. The wines here aren’t submitted to a rigid temperature control and there are fluctuations along the seasons. CLAUDE & ETIENNE COURTOIS. Darkly mysterious as ever we have to accept it for what it is rather than probe its origins. He has his own methods for promoting the diverse life of the soil. & the wine can age for a decade. Yields are naturally low and the wine spends between 18 and 24 months in old futs. Quartz is vinified in barrel & aged for 12-24 months in oak. the mouth is pure suavity with every new sip a pure joy. Together they farm a balanced & completely chemical-free 13 hectares of vines in the heart of the Sologne. whilst the palate has tremendous tension and minerality. beautiful stony minerality. Etourneaux. is pure Gamay with nice pepper notes. with a firm acidity. The palate has great depth of dried currant. they also have a sheer honesty that seems bring a smile of bemused lack of recognition to all who taste them. and from which town it derives its name. There is a price to pay for whereas a vigneron using chemicals can tend ten hectares by himself. With Courtois you should not speak about the variety. vines. Côt & Cabernet Sauvignon from 20 hl/ha). He has created a well-balanced. Full of delicate red fruits aromas. Golden straw in the glass with shimmering pale highlights. fierce. The wine has lovely acidity. It is always about the terroir of the cuvée. Claude regards the soil on his farm as a living organism. “Nothing comes into my vineyard. Recommended with well-preserved tommes de vaches. Great persistence with secondary aromas of smokiness. a terrific structure and finishes with red berry fruit and mineral zest. a grape variety introduced to the Sologne by François 1st who planted it on his mother’s property situated in Romorantin which was. fig and plum hewn to a deep mineral bed. “Nature admits no lie”. Vinified in barrel and then aged for 18 months in oak. made by design or caprice or the restless desire to experiment and push boundaries. laurel leaves. Marked by black confit fruits ( cassis. I mean winemaking. Nacarat is the most delightful summery red made of Gamay plus Pinot Noir plus “something else”. Situated in the heart of Sologne. Roots by name and by nature Racines is from hand-harvested. which doesn’t seem to harm the wines. Recently. it could even make them more apt to stand their SO2-free life without accident. Slightly prickly (this dissipates in the carafe) its colour is clear-bright red with some turbidity. Claude Courtois and his sons elaborate their wines according to ancestral methods and are zealous advocates of natural wine.. Many roads at Les Caves lead to Romorantin. though decanting is highly recommended. natch. The nose is beautifully flowery with notes of Mediterranean flowers. cinnamon & allspice.” he says. I enjoy their unorthodoxy on all levels. He is one of the wild men of the region. and just kept a couple of hectares for himself. he has handed the reins to one of his sons. Deep purple in the glass the nose is redolent with pounded stones. According to the official records of the varieties surfaces as of 1988. The palate is very nutty. Côt (Malbec).123 - . As if that wasn’t enough Claude says that wines like Nacarat are made to a secret. which he feeds to his cows who provide the manure for the vines. There were 9. there were only 3 hectares of Gascon left in the whole world. and even then he may not have any wine to sell. pointing out that the French vineyards are generally doped with chemicals in order to guarantee bigger yields. Etienne. 35 km from Blois. He lives in harmony with nature & the wines he crafts are a pure and vibrantly alive testament to outstanding biodynamic winemaking. The first time Eric met Claude Courtois the latter was digging a hole in the ground on his estate. as Carlyle said. The mouth is savoury and mineral and the length is terrific. or synthetic chemicals of any kind are allowed on the vines or in the soil of the vineyards.LES CAILLOUX DU PARADIS. and Courtois (Claude) often says that his wine is made from “true grapes”. L’Icaunais means inhabitant of the Yonne. The wine finishes long & vibrant. from experience. no sulphur. cherries. Claude won’t sell you wine unless you taste it with him and he assesses the cut of your jib. Sauvignon Blanc & Pineau d’ Aunis and maybe up to a further forty varieties (ye dare not ask)r—are harvested by hand and only indigenous yeasts are used during fermentation.

nettle and horsetail decoctions are sprayed on the foliage. Apart from biodynamic viticulture. the estate started its conversion to biodynamic principles. deliciously savoury showing as it does a combination of crunchy strawberry. revealed as a dusting of black pepper. A cornucopia of red fruit notes – wild strawberry. Jasnières – Biodynamic More on these fabulous wines shortly… 2010 2008 2008 2010 2005 BULLES DE L’OPERA PET NAT ROSE VIN DE TABLE IRIS BLANC VIN DE TABLE CHARMES BLANC VIN DE FRANCE REGARD DU LOIR VIN DE TABLE CAMILLE ROBINOT ROUGE Sp/Ro W W R R . no enzymes. are graced with the characteristic spice of Pineau d’Aunis. 2009 2009 2009 2009 JASNIERES “KHARAKTER” COTEAUX DU LOIR BLANC “LE BRISEAU” COTEAUX DU LOIR ROUGE “PATAPON” COTEAUX DU LOIR ROUGE “LES MORTIERS” W W R R DOMAINE JEAN-PIERRE ROBINOT. and they set out to find vines somewhere in France. Bright red cherry. nothing is added to the wines and the same principles are used at bottling. Maceration occurs under the protection of carbon dioxide in a semi-liquid stage (semi-carbonic maceration) and lasts one to three weeks. Again. And here’s the rub. Their wines have a wonderful way of being carefree. they settled in the Jasnières/Coteaux-du-Loir area in northern Touraine. utterly bonny. backed up by delicate smokiness. Coteaux du Loir means Pineau d’Aunis.) Malolactic fermentation usually follows and is not stopped by any means. and a little chalky perfume. between 2004 & 2005 is profound. the vines are ploughed and grass allowed to grow between the rows. leave me!” Most certainly the vagaries of vintage determine the style of the wine: the difference. There is a light filtration and addition of 2g/hl of sulphur at the time of bottling. it is warm. NATHALIE GAUBICHER & CHRISTIAN CHAUSSARD. Brilliantly purple. insecticides or chemical fertilizers are used. copper is used in modest quantity (less than 5kg/ha).124 - . for example. The nose is reminiscent of fermented grape juice. Send in the malevolent clown with Patapon. The entirety of Jasnières covers eighty hectares of vines. waxiness and those almond notes typical of Chenin. There is one racking to get rid of the wine’s gross lees. though the wine is quite graceful. the longer you leave it the more profound it becomes. The white grapes are pressed lightly and slowly. sweet beet and black pepper fruit. There’s warmth. yet beautifully made. then the must goes into barrels for the alcoholic fermentation (none of the barrels are new. A bit of smokiness and a waft of violets lend seductiveness to the mix. It is said that. and Coteaux-du-Loir about two hundred hectares. the estate had grown to eleven hectares. Lovely just for sipping. I like this notion of a terroir. The soils are largely all clay and silica over a subsoil of limestone. a grape as delicious as it is unknown. but rather four to eight year old. In 2002. Débourbage (first racking to separate solid matter from juice) takes place after twenty-four hours. Jasnières – Biodynamic Christian Chaussard studied and then taught viticulture and oenology whilst running a small estate in Vouvray. In 2007. The texture is a bit chewy. no selected yeasts. the following harvesting and cellar practices are followed: The harvest is done by hand in 10kg boxes. no fining. that unabashedly fixes you with its glittering eye and declares: “I am what I am – take me. Nothing is added: there is no chaptalisation. or preferably. no sulphur. Even the more sumptuous examples have an astringency that keeps your palate guessing. no de-acidification. In 2006. a Swiss actress with an oenologist and sommelier diploma. according to each cuvée. There is an appealing freshness to it. strawberry and pomegranate notes are highlighted in Les Mortiers by the distinctive dusting of black pepper typical of this grape variety. maybe three or four times a century. and a lovely peppery finish.TOURAINE Continued… DOMAINE LE BRISEAU. The musts are then pressed and go into barrels for their alcoholic and malolactic fermentations. he met Nathalie Gaubicher. notoriously temperamental. Before accomplishing that goal. For financial reasons he had to give the latter up. and then aging for several months. and Domaine le Briseau was started with four hectares of vines planted mainly with Chenin Blanc and Pineau d’Aunis. the appellation of Jasnières makes the greatest Chenin on earth. approachable. but soon decided that he wanted to practise vine-growing and winemaking. a distillation of red berry aromas and flavours. The palate is dry and taut with a sweet wild strawberry character. raspberry and thimbleberry with a hint of rose geranium. some sly sherry aromatics and pulped-pear-mingled with-flint-fruit. so please carafe in order to allow the dry honey to become runny. All vineyard work is done according to the principles of organic viticulture (with the certification of Qualité France): no pesticides. The red grapes are trodden by foot before going into maceration vats.

Dutronc The Gamay. 2008 VIN DE TABLE GASCON R DOMAINE LES CAPRIADES. is a delight. of pear and of bergamot. its lightness carries a rustic charm. Lurking amongst the funk is unmediated fruit and sweet earth. Coup de Canon is 100% Grolleau Noir on clay flint soil. Touraine – Organic La Mule is 100% low-yielding Gamay on clay limestone. made in the same way as Brer Mule.TOURAINE Continued… DOMAINE CHAHUT ET PRODIGES. lime and rhubarb with a nice touch of austerity to keep it honest. In the mouth the wine is pure. Il sait coincer la bulle à l’instant T qui donnera le meilleur du cepage C sur un terroir T. Sylvie Augereau puts it nicely : “Pascal Potaire est le monsieur pet’ nat’ de Touraine. Vinification is typical for a natural wine: carbonic maceration.125 - . To say that not a lot of information exists in the public domaine about this grape is an understatement. Ici. followed by elevage in epoxy tank. He is particularly respected by his peers for his skill in elaborating pet nats. un truc tabou. we can take another Sauvignon if you can) reminds one of confit citrus. but a light filtration. fresh. In 2005 Pascal started working entirely for himself and has six varieties planted in his five hectares: a hectare each of Chardonnay and Sauvignon.” “Moi j’ai un piège à filles. if he were a character in the Batman comics he would have to be the riddler. NV 2008 2008 2009 LA P’TITE COMPET’ PET NAT ROSE (GROLLEAU) COUP DE CANON LA MULE LA MULE – magnum Sp/P R R R DOMAINE PASCAL SIMONUTTI. three weeks cuvaison in cement tank (no pumping or remontage of any form). with its bronze colour and rose-tinted reflections. PASCAL POTAIRE. Touraine – Biodynamic Pascal Potaire is located in the Vallee du Cher in Touraine engaged in making organic and natural wine. la rondeur du Chardonnay claque sous des cailloux teigneux portés par une bulle ciselée. 80 ares each of Menu Pineau and Chenin Blanc and. the wine is made from a grape variety called Gascon that still nibbles a living in a handful of vineyards in the Touraine. It has a nose of tarte tatin. Drinking Pascal Simonutti’s Gascon wine one senses a wine that does not hold back from spooking the frail of heart. Claude Courtois makes another example. And yet. you can get as googley as you like. all of 20 ares of Cabernet Franc. I loved it. Yes. The Sauvignon (yes. This wine is firmly positioned at the durian fruit end of the aromatic spectrum. digestible and crunchy.3 ha of Gamay. Incidentally. Touraine – Organic There is a great line in Monsters Inc where they are advertising the renewable power ethos behind frightening the bejasus out of little children “We scare because we care”. 2009 2009 2010 SAUVIGNON VIGNNASOU CHE NAIN DE JARDIN VIN DE TABLE BLANC “COCKTAIL” W Sp Sp . La Mule is one of the most acquiescent Gamays you are likely to taste. It exemplifies everything that it is fun and pleasurable about the grape with its simple freshness and juicy vitality. Pepin La Bulle is not the name of an amusing French skunk but a Chardonnay that is made entirely with the secondary fermentation in the bottle and thereafter is nattier than a gnat with a cravat. finally.and his vineyards are now en biodynamie. reader. un joujou extra qui fait crac boum hue!” – J. 1. He has been working organically from the start. if this wine were a labour of Hercules it would be the mares of Diomedes and the Augean stables rolled into one. GREGORY LECLERC. and no sulphur used at all (not even at bottling). The mouth has a lovely equilibrium with fine bubbles and elegance and sweet unctuousity mixed with savoury white fruits. you will be none the wiser.

with plum. Lively. The former is a Sauvignon. pepper. a pet nat with the mouthfeel of Chenin and the tonic quality of Cabernet Franc. Catherine Roussel took over this 28-hectare estate in 1975 from her father. light of body and full of flavour in the mouth. Roussel and Barrouillet preferring to use carbon dioxide to ward off oxidation instead. The vines are treated with copper and sulphur solutions. but there is a galactic gulf in price/quality. natch. Throbbing with healthy purple. plum and woodland fruits with hints of exotic spice. Catherine & Didier describe “Pif” as “un vin aromatique et vineux”. Touraine – Biodynamic Inspect our Plouzeaus. the kind of wine that glues a meal together from soup to nuts. Cuvée Pif (meaning “nose” in slang – named for their dog supposedly – which is a blend of Cabernet Franc and Cot (70/30) from vines ranging between 20 and 115 years on clay soils mixed with sandstone and flint. slowly bringing it back to life after many years of conventional farming and have quickly become one of the rising stars of the region. Gamay Tra la la has bright aromas of wild cherry. Milliard d’Etoiles are stars you can see without a telescope. Côt (or Auxerrois. Roussel and Barrouillet keep yields low by maintaining old vines. blackberry and wild cherry fruits. Gamay. utterly vibrant and charming beyond belief.minimal sulphur is used in the wine-making process. a Loire Valley appellation. who tends the vineyards and makes the wine. They converted the vineyards to organic farming and. This little sparkler is a billion tiny little diamonds in the ruff. 2010 PIF (CABERNET FRANC-COT) R DOMAINE DE LA GARRELIERE. earth and roasted meats. Their soil is poor. Unlike “stellar” Champagne it is not reassuringly expensive. near the village of Richelieu just to the south of Tours. herbs and pan juices. and unsurprisingly are often bottled unfiltered. the palate full of sap and zip with a trace of graphite minerality bringing the wine to an exhilarating close. All the fruit at Clos Roche Blanche is harvested by hand.TOURAINE Continued… CLOS ROCHE-BLANCHE. dried flowers. designates a large viticultural area around the city of Tours. all supple and juicy slipping nicely through to a mid-palate that shows hints of spice. the flavours are clean and crunchy. The wines are made very naturally…harvested by hand. Touraine – Organic Touraine. rosemary. with the option of temperature control. The vineyards of Clos Roche Blanche were planted on the Touraine hills bordering the Cher river by the Roussel family at the end of the 19th century and have remained in the family since. François and Pascaline Plouzeau tend their 50 acres of biodynamic vineyards. received the official “organic agriculture” accreditation.126 - . Le Blanc and Le Rouge do a bit more than it says on the tin. whilst Le Rouge is a generous yet fluid Cab Franc. A beautiful natural wine that is fresh. using organic fertilizers in moderation and growing grass between and ploughing under the rows. with the 1995 vintage. There are plenty of earthy facets along with some raspberry and red-fruited high-tones – quite a pretty smelling wine. They started working the land here (the estate once belonged to the Duc de Richelieu) in the 1970′s. and it is natch. sous bois. healthily purple and the nose is equally youthful and expressive with lifted dark red fruit aromas leading into a crunchy fresh palate where the vibrant fruit is underpinned by soothing acidity. The colour is ebulliently. Both are enthusiastic proponents of noninterventionist winemaking. violets. NV 2010 2009 2010 VIN DE TABLE MILLARD D’ETOILES PET NAT LE BLANC LE ROUGE GAMAY SANS TRA LA LA Sp W R R . Sulphur is avoided on the whole. CATHERINE ROUSSEL & DIDIER BARROUILLET. Yields are low – around 40hl/ha in a region where 60 hl/ha is closer to the norm and the vineyards are on south-east facing slopes with limestone and clay soils. the grape of Cahors) and Sauvignon Blanc. Much of this comes through in the wines. pressed using pneumatic equipment. in a very ‘natural’ fashion. This is real grapes-to-bottle stuff. extra maturity on the vine and low yields conferring some fleshy mouthfeel. FRANCOIS PLOUZEAU. and then fermented in a variety of vessels which might include old tronconic oak vats or new barrels. natural yeasts and carbonic maceration…. and was later joined by Didier Barrouillet. which are typically fresh and vibrant. After destemming the grapes are fermented in stainless steel vat and are bottled without filtering or fining. and plant decoctions (a mixture of nettles and other herbs) used in biodynamic viticulture. whether they be red and white. The vineyards at Domaine de la Garrelière have been certified organic by Ecocert and biodynamic by biodyvin. The varietals grown are Cabernet (Sauvignon and Franc). The wines are handled minimally. mainly clay with flint over a limestone subsoil.

I loved the wine. sweet and smoky with that smell of justfinished fermentation. providing balance and structure for the full. Pinot Meunier is rather obscure to most wine drinkers and will rarely be seen on a wine label. Bacon fat. Others see it as a kind of irrefutable truth.127 - . even the beefier specimens. It seems raw. honey. The ripeness is just-so. Or even in cot for that matter.5%. have a ramrod up their backside. steely acidity that sings like a taut violin string. minerally scents reminiscent of finely-spun wool. sans filtration and sans sulphur. been described as the “Pope of unsulphured wine”. Ripe apple juiciness quickly gives way to tart. white pepper. smoked trout or langoustines with garlic mayonnaise.. Touraine – Organic Hold the horse manure. no filtration. The grape has been favoured by vine growers in northern France due to its ability to bud and ripen more reliably than Pinot Noir. The only way of serving this wine is to put it in the fridge for an hour which helps to tone down some of the funkier elements. DOMAINE THIERRY PUZELAT. the uncertainty and volatility. Some critics complain that it is not wine. Please chill this and serve with Roast Chicken à la Simon Hopkinson. It may look fragile at 11. Consider 105 year old vines and younger vines (a mere 37 years old) planted on French rootstock on silex and then aged in old barrels. in the Loire. william pears). smoked meat – this wine wears its guts for garters. but then I usually like wines that flirt with danger. This is undoubtedly due to the marginal climate and the commitment growers need to put into their vineyards. I hope he’ll repeat that operation because first. eschewing chemical solutions to problems such as mildew means that every vintage is a lottery. made from a collection of tiny such private plots from which he bought the grapes through a non-profit group dedicated to save them : “le Rouge est Mis” is the name of this cuvée . Its strength is that it tastes so real. You won’t find any babies in Thierry’s Cot (I trow) but you may discover a veritable wilderness of yeasty madness for this is Malbec sauvage. but the wine is a veritable vin de garde and has an intensity that lingers remarkably on the palate. Puzelat’s version is bonny and fresh. this version is soft. Puzelat’s reds are a journey into a mulching tangle of undergrowth. not unnaturally. Continued… There is no doubt that the Loire is the real and spiritual home of the natural wine movement. It’s complex on the palate. the wine is good. they are not familiar the style. having worked amongst their vines with such extraordinary devotion. a velvet crush of raspberries and summer strawberries with enough of a liquorice twist to give the winery a savoury dimension. Biodynamics is hugely risky. but actually carries deceptive weight under its flowing robes. lacking in structure and yet at the same time is very moreish. Thus we have natural wines with wild yeast fermentations. the flinty minerality more pronounced taking on back notes of ginger. no fining and little or no added sulphur dioxide. ordure in court. 2008 2010 2010 2008/09 2010 2010 2010 PETILLANT NATUREL SAUVIGNON DE TOURAINE VIN DE TABLE ROMORANTIN TOURAINE KO “IN COT WE TRUST” PINOT NOIR VIN DE TABLE ROUGE EST MIS PINOT MEUNIER VIN DE TABLE ROUGE EST MIS PINOT MEUNIER – magnum Sp W W R R R R . a beautiful. Puzelat has. Thierry Puzelat. On the second day the acidity became steelier and more penetrating. many vignerons wanted to express the terroir and the typicity by relying on minimal interventions in the winery. unfinished. Drink this with aged Gruyere. suggestive rather than full throttle. When you taste it the metaphorical impression you receive is that the wine has escaped its surly bonds and is drunkenly staggering around the place happy to pick a fight with every wine you’ve tasted and every expectation that you hold. It is a lean and hungry specimen with the colour of cranberry juice with the smell of fermenting redcurrants. because it helps prevent these tiny isolated plots from being uprooted and from melting into the fields nearby. and second. extremely vinous showing lemoncream and honey. However.. Benedictus benedicat! In Cot We Trust hails from the same whiffy stable of wine as Olivier Cousin’s Grolleau. are utterly natural and disregard the usual flavour conventions! Blood and guts mingle with guts and blood – pitch this Cot at a civet of venison or hare or a game pie or some lamb’s sweetbreads. initiated a special cuvée in 2007. Most of the Malbec I’ve come to grips with. peppery wine made with a now minor variety. too. that may also be its weakness. And stand well back… The Pinot Noir acts as the mad monk in this scenario. we’re glad he believes in the living Cot. an expression of identity and individuality in a world of homogeneity. marmite and leather. pearskin and hell’s granny smiths. Well. It allows us to understand what wine tastes like when it is naked. and the lightness of alcohol (12%) makes this a breeze to drink. a red Pinot Meunier. Aromas jostle for attention: lemon and chalk followed by mixed white fruits (white peaches.TOURAINE Getting Real. He made two casks of this wine. luscious fruit. Puzelat’s Romorantin is simply stunning. almonds and clean.

earthy. When the Cheverny AOC was created with the 1993 vintage. La Guerrerie smells and tastes as if it has slaughtered quite a lot of beef in its time and knows where the bodies are buried. whilst Buisson Pouilleux is its old vines brer is unlike any other Sauvignon Blanc that you can imagine. who tend their 10-hectare family estate in Les Montils (in the Cheverny AOC) and rent 6 hectares in a village nearby. Petit Buisson is a tangy Sauvignon. they sell it under a Vin de Pays or Vin de Table label. doughy smells. Dusty. the Puzelats’ father had been making his own selections of vines to replant. honey. both Gamay/Pinot blends. Touraine – Biodynamic Since the Middle Ages. so little time. As with other “low sulphur” wines you can’t escape the ping of wild yeast which manifests itself here as warm. then carafe it. and a pair of limpid red Chevernys. Pinot Gris. Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. A Pet Nat – from Menu Pineau. complex and savoury. Chardonnay. Since the 60’s. and left them with vines of Sauvignon Blanc. is not the story here. though. in the Touraine AOC. 2010 2010 2010 2010 2010 2010 2010 2009/10 BRIN DE CHEVRE CHEVERNY BLANC “FRILEUSE” BUISSON POUILLEUX VIEILLES VIGNES BUISSON POUILLEUX VIEILLES VIGNES – magnum CHEVERNY ROUGE CHEVERNY ROUGE “ROUILLON” CHEVERNY ROUGE “CAILLERE” CLOS DU TUE-BOEUF ROUGE “LA GUERRERIE” W W W W R R R R . Despite its brightness it is definitely on the dark berry fruit side of things. Bear in mind this wine and its idiosyncratic nom-du-guerre when you next exclaim “I could murder a steak”. This is very full-bodied due to the high content of Cot but the Gamay softens it and makes it accessible. History. has always used a wide variety of grapes. Great palate coating depth. There’s a Cheverny Blanc called Frileuse which mixes Sauvignon Rosé (yes. The region. Chill it for half an hour in the fridge. Cabernet Franc and Côt (or Malbec). Pinot Noir. indeed). verbena and even persimmon. The family name Puzelat is mentioned in 15th century documents. Gamay.TOURAINE Continued… CLOS DU TUE-BOEUF. spice. (mais nat). Now. Jean-Marie and Thierry Puzelat. there have been records about the lieu-dit “le Tue-Boeuf” and its excellent wines which were enjoyed by the local nobility and the kings of France. La Guerrerie is a blend of 75% Cot and 25% Gamay and definitely earns its wacky wine moniker. their customers know and trust their work and methods. It’s about two brothers. some varietals became outlawed from the blends. when a wine is rejected. minerally. crystallized ginger. fresh herbs with ash and wood notes. So many cuvées. and the brothers started a yearly struggle to get their wines accepted under their appellation. near the hunting grounds of Sologne. Menu Pineau (or Arbois). Bright light lemon with intense minerality and brilliant notes of honeysuckle. So exotic. Chenin Blanc. Jean-Marie (the older brother by 10 years) was joined on the estate by Thierry in the early 90’s and they began converting their vines to organic viticulture.128 - . Very earthy (polite term for barnyardy) with extremely bright fruit such as plum. Structured as much by acid as by tannins. Brin de Chevre is another example of this rare grape – citrus.

punchy tannin and stiletto acidity. ISABELLE & HERVE VILLEMADE. In the late 90’s Hervé met Thierry Puzelat (who was then in his second year of organic viticulture) and tasted his wines as well as Marcel Lapierre’s Morgons and was struck by their purity. and also no-or very-little sulphur. The results proved to him that he should travel the non-interventionist path.. Climb into this Cot with alacrity. A lovely sense of freshness on the palate with some wicked. meat jus. The vineyard is farmed organically. Natural wine at its most ebullient. the vines being on mixture of sand and clay with flints. It has passed from father to son from the installation of Hervé’s grandfather in 1939. jasmine and sous bois. kirsch and caraway and has a gutsy palate flaunting pepper. Built for food with a bright.129 - . sous bois. After fifteen day wild yeast fermentation. jasmine and a waft of smoke and liquorice. exhibits aromas of peonies (I guess). There are hints of violets. He decided to turn a couple of hectares organic just to check: no synthetic products. 50% Gamay) has appealing aromas of wild cherry and plums and a definite rusticity…. The Cheverny Rouge (50% Pinot Noir.. but ploughing and hand harvest instead. Hervé took over the estate in 1995. Because you’re worth it. NV 2010 2008 2010 VIN DE FRANCE PET NAT BULLES ROSE SAUVIGNON DU VAL DE LOIRE VIN DE PAYS DU LOIR ET CHER PIVOINE CHEVERNY ROUGE Sp/Ro W R R . plenty of underlying spice and earth studded with meaty/gamey nuance. the wine is aged in 30hl oak barrels before bottling with filtration. Pivoine has a blue-purple colour is pricklier than Gore Vidal after a few drinks.plenty of spice and earth with hints of minerals. floral notesand a nice pure wild cherry and plum fruits with a touch of redcurrant lift. Cour-Cheverny – Biodynamic Pivoine by Hervé Villemade. musky. Pivoine (the name means peony) is a blend of 90% Cot and 10% Gamay. energetic mouthfeel.TOURAINE Continued… DOMAINE DU MOULIN. Domaine du Moulin is an estate of 25 hectares (17 of which are planted) located in Cour-Cheverny. quite light in body but not lacking punch and drive and a nicely shaped curtain of fine. after studying viticulture and winemaking. fining and only 2mg of sulphur at bottling. ripe chalky tannins.

The Domaine Henry Pellé cellars are nestled at the foot of one of these slopes The vines grow in Kimmeridgean clay-limestone marl made up of myriads of minute fossilized oyster shells called locally terre blanche or white soil. has a clear garnet colour. with excellent exposure in the appellation. whilst neither pesticides nor artificial fertilisers are used. and a living environment. This method of working the soil. elegant Pouilly-Fumé from vines grown on a mixture of chalk and flint combining high quality ripe Sauvignon fruit with a fine array of pure mineral flavours. 2009 2008 2006 POUILLY-FUME POUILLY-FUME – ½ bottle POUILLY-FUME “CUVEE D’EVE” W W W DOMAINE ALEXANDRE BAIN. from Pinot Noir. and hits the palate with a lean and herbal first impression. This is a lovely expression of Sauvignon with ripe kiwi fruit and a particularly tangy finish. blackcurrant and shell-like minerality. Take a shot glass. The brevity of the note indicates how little we need to advertise its qualities. these are some of the best-drained soils. beautiful persistence and a rapier thrust of acidity. Out of respect for the terroir the estate practices organic viticulture (promoting healthy soil. The wine is vinified partly in vat and partly in old oak barrels. from 40-year-old vines.CENTRAL VINEYARDS DOMAINE HENRY PELLE. Les Blanchais. debudding. Working the soil and green harvesting helps to control yields. deserves some relaxation in the decanter to shed its primary austerity. not much darker than a dark rosé. The red Menetou. grape-pith and crystallised lemon on the palate. a stone’s throw from Bourges lies the charming little Berry village of Morogues with its fields. It is then aged on the fine lees to give the wine added richness and some of that distinctive smokiness. JEAN-CLAUDE DAGUENEAU. His vineyards are situated in the terroir called Les Berthiers in the village of Saint-Andelain.9ha) are situated in Tracy-sur-Loire in the north of the Pouilly-Fumé appellation on south west oriented slopes mixed between Portlandian limestone and Kimmeridgean clay. leaf thinning. Pouilly-Fumé Poised. It shows rather vegetal green-tomato aromas over vinous red fruit at first. The wine itself sees a short period of skin contact before being slowly cold fermented for 3-4 weeks. in the extreme east of the Loire Valley. 2010 2009 2008 2009 MENETOU-SALON BLANC MOROGUES MENETOU-SALON BLANC MOROGUES “LES BLANCHAIS” MENETOU-SALON BLANC MOROGUES “LES BLANCHAIS” – magnum MENETOU-SALON ROUGE MOROGUES W W W R DOMAINE LAPORTE. the vines.130 - . but a little time in the glass sees the nose add pleasant spicy notes of cinnamon and cloves. 2009 POUILLY-FUME “ROCHE BLANCHE” W DOMAINE DES BERTHIERS. almost plush red fruit with plenty of lemony acidity to give it structure. Showing lively nostril-arching gorse and broom aromas there is a bristling palatal interplay between grapefruit. chill it in t’ freezer for twenty minutes. bang some Menetou-S in and deck it with some friendly natives (I’m still speaking bivalves here). is a touch more vinous and more complex. Consequently. Pouilly-Fumé – Biodynamic The vineyards (4. The length is incredible. Grapes are gravity fed into pneumatic presses and fermented using natural yeasts while thermo-regulated stainless steel tanks allow control over fermentation These wines with tongue-samba-ing acidity will introduce the notion of oystercide in your mind’s palate. and the flavour develops full. 2010 POUILLY-FUME W . from forty-year-old vines. This area is composed almost exclusively of hillside vineyards overlooking the Loire river and facing south-southwest. His basic wine is rich and fruity with a touch of grapefruit and red apple whilst the Cuvée d’Eve. Travail du sol is effected with the aid of a horse. Pouilly-Fumé Jean-Claude is the scion of the famous Dagueneau clan. Menetou-Salon – Organic Situated right in the heart of France. ultimately focusing the fruit flavours. the grapes and the wine is based on ecological responsibility and the desire to create a wine that offers the maximum of pleasure. there are even secondary notes of honey. fauna). meadows and slopes clustered around its very beautiful church. Which it does. It’s got guilefully gaious alto-tude in abundance. Astonishingly pure mineral nose (slate). A lot of work amongst the vines: pruning.

CENTRAL VINEYARDS Continued… Terroir – poetically revisited The vines and the wine it produces are two great mysteries. He has a small south/south west facing parcel of vines situated on a very steep slope composed of limestone-clay soils with flinty underlay. The manipulations in the vineyard have proceeded by trial and error over time. clean and racy on the palate with a core of orchard fruits that is very pure and focused through the mid-palate. With what fidelity it makes the translation! It senses. no sulphur is used at fermentation and the must settles naturally in 8-10 year old Burgundy barrels. but there’s an edge of ripe pear and pear-drop. herbicides and pesticides are eschewed.131 - . 2008 2008 2008 2008 2009 SANCERRE BLANC “LE ROUET” SANCERRE BLANC “AKMENINE” SANCERRE BLANC “AKMENINE” – magnum SANCERRE BLANC “SKEVELDRA” SANCERRE ROUGE “RAUDONAS” W W W W R . The goal is to ensure the same number of buds on each side of the vine. This normally results in low yields of high quality. which is not what he looks for. Harvest is manual and as late as is feasible in order to achieve small. then expresses. The soil has needed a certain amount of time to adapt in order for its microbiological organisms to be fully functional and regular springtime treatments of preparations 500 & 501 have seemingly proved highly beneficial. sir. then this turbid yeasty wine will lead you to all manner of unexpected places. His petit parcel of Sancerre is planted with Sauvignon “en massale” with an average age of 45 year old vines. Only in wine does the ungrateful chalk pour out its tears… Colette – Earliest Wine Memories DOMAINE GERARD FIOU. no filtration and the merest tiny dose of sulphur. the wine is bottled au naturel: no fining. through the vine. waiter there’s a flaw in my Sancerre. Other treatments amount to only a little sulphur and Bordeaux mixture – all other chemicals. tasteslike a great old Chenin crossed with an Amontillado and then in the background was the gunflint minerality that bolts the ensemble together. Very pungent elderflower and gooseberry fruit. in its clusters of fruits the secrets of the soil. Finally. Sancerre – Biodynamic Waiter. Alcoholic fermentation lasts 3-4 months followed by natural malo with the wine remaining on its gross lees. Sancerre This small domaine was one of the first to modernise in the region of Sancerre. What’s it like? What isn’t it like might be the easier question. intensely flavoured orange-verging-on-the-violet grapes. All these weeds and their tiny flowers help attract useful insects that will destroy potential acarian pests. with melon and a tangy apple acidity on the finish. adding another monoculture to the vineyard. Sowing ray-grass is like. Pressure is pneumatic. No artificial yeasts are used either in the fermentation but a pied de cuve acts as an inoculation. Interventions in the winery are equally minimal. the process of debudding the vines during the vigorous growth period in the month of May. That’s because it’s a natural wine without sulphur. the vine makes the true savour of the earth intelligible to man. he says. Alone in the vegetable kingdom. up to half the buds are brushed off. thus balancing the growth. The flint. But when it does. after nine to twelve months. a giver of nourishment. He also never sows ray-grass seeds because he prefers the grass and weeds that grow naturally. fusible. Skeveldra is Sauvignon sur flint and sans compromise. A wine that would terrify any wine educator or master of wine. Riffault leaves weeds and grass growing between the wines to promote biodiversity. In some cases. He practises ébourgeonnage. it is impressively pure and expressive of the flint from which it was born. This helps build the right food chain for the vineyard and that’s why he tries not to plough too often. Very crisp. if you prefer a thunderous gallop through wild forests and murky thickets. concentrated fruit. The vines are planted on the rocky silex soils and the resultant wine takes a little time to show its true colours. he has a close physical and emotional attachment to the terroir of Verdigny. tells us that it is living. in his opinion the soil composition is now sufficiently rich in nutrients. Sébastien hasn’t used any manure for six years. with a little suggestion of a more tropical fruit character. 2010 SANCERRE BLANC W DOMAINE SEBASTIEN RIFFAULT. which is why the fly is gleefully swimming the backstroke in your glass. Sébastien Riffault comes from a long line of Sancerre vignerons. His aim is to rediscover a style of Sancerre that reveals the natural flavour of the terroir. If you fancy a trot around a green paddock then this is probably not your garden centre bag of grass-cuttings Sauvignon.

Such a method of vinification requires top-quality grapes for a successful marriage of wood and wine. In the subsequent auction the Bourgeois family outbid interested buyers from around the world to preserve this piece of local culture and to renew it by crafting it into barrels in which they placed the fruit of their most cherished Sauvignon and Pinot vines. All the wines are sublime with cheese. a great oak was planted in what would become the National Forest of Saint-Palais near Bourges.132 - . Around 85% of this wine has been fermented in stainless steel and the other 15% in oak from the Tronçais forest. The oaked Etienne Henri cuvée comes from the older vines on flint clay slopes. Since the eleventh century noblemen would try to outbid each other just to possess a small parcel of this prized land. This is a wine of great charisma. slopes so steep that they are called “cursed”. It is aged on the fine lees for seven to eight months. like thy fate. But in 1993 a violent storm struck down the 433 year-old tree. Racking is done after the full moon. don’t neglect the rosé.D. liquid testaments to the vessel in which they have been aged. Oak aged in barrel for five months on the fine lees. with its lovely nuances of wild strawberry fruit. grapes are harvested by hand and after pressing and maceration the wine is left in old wooden barrels for eighteen months batonnage. a touch of breadiness from the lees and the terroir notes of truffle and warm stone. As you wipe away a misty tear know that the wines are magnificent. Viticulture is biodynamic. Result: a fine wine of great complexity. Rainer Maria Rilke – Sonnets to Orpheus An acclaimed producer whose wines exhibit the complexity of the terroir of Chavignol. hath lingering stood /For years. in the lonely sea /Of grass that waves around thee!” 2010 2010 2010 2010 2010 2009 2002 2008 2002 2009 2009 2008 2002 2009 PETIT BOURGEOIS QUINCY “HAUTE VICTOIRE” SANCERRE BLANC “LA VIGNE BLANCHE” SANCERRE BLANC “LA VIGNE BLANCHE” – ½ bottle SANCERRE BLANC “LE M. o best beloved.” SANCERRE BLANC “CUVEE JADIS” SANCERRE BLANC “ETIENNE HENRI” SANCERRE BLANC “CUVEE D’ANTAN” SANCERRE BLANC “LE CHENE SAINT-ETIENNE” POUILLY-FUME POUILLY-FUME “LA DEMOISELLE” SANCERRE ROUGE “LES BARONNES” SANCERRE ROUGE “LE CHENE SAINT-ETIENNE” SANCERRE ROSE “LES BARONNES” W W W W W W W W W W W R R P . “Old noted oak! I saw thee in a mood /Of vague indifference. the terroir being an amalgam of clay and limestone chalk. a real wine by any other name. The Monts Damnés (M. The style is sui generis: the wine fills the mouth with layer after layer of creamy fruit. Finally. initially steely. King Charles V and Agnès Sorel came to rest at the foot of this great oak and many others since used it as a place of assignation.) is from grapes harvested on the Monts Damnes. Cuvée d’Antan (70 year old vines) is a different ball of silex made in “the old style” from vines on south-facing slopes. Alcoholic fermentation is exclusively in oak barrels followed by 12 months of maturation on fine lees. The earth is like a child who knows poems. La Vigne Blanche is vinous with herbaceous notes of elderflower and ivy as well as a hint of kiwi fruit. Once upon a time. very aromatic and concentrated. Complex and well-balanced. We would also draw your attention to the manifold other cuvées. legend has it that Sully. As the centuries passed it grew bigger and stronger and one day became the eldest and most majestic of a line of great oaks that were used to build the frame of the Saint Etienne cathedral in Bourges. A grace and flavour wine that will age and age. Located at the crossroads of telluric forces (yes. being chalky with a touch of gunflint. Les Demoiselles is a Pouilly-Fumé made from select Sauvignon grapes from the SaintLaurent Kimmeridgean marls. this was a feng shui oak tree). The Jadis is grown on Kimmeridgean Marl (60 year old vines) and is made according to grandfather’s recipe.CENTRAL VINEYARDS Continued… DOMAINE HENRI BOURGEOIS. the site of the first vines planted in Pouilly-Fumé. This belt-tightening faux-Sancerre has undeniable typicity. and yet with me /Thy memory. then ripening in the mouth with a broad array of flavours and wonderful length. La Vigne Blanche comes from vines grown on slopes separating the village of Chavignol from Sancerre. Sancerre Spring has come again. The wittily titled Petit Bourgeois misses appellation status by a gnat’s whisker. Sancerre Jadis reveals aromas of exotic fruits and honey.D. thou hermit.

According to Balzac they look like “pork residue sautéed in fat which looks like cooked truffles. The salmon is cut into steaks which are then grilled or served in fillet with sauce. covered with a fine mould rind. but the region. That opposition of sweet fat with the hint of bitter cherry and damson makes a happy marriage. the whole landscape pretty. which charms without seducing. Wild salmon should be drunk with Savennières. Gamay or Pinot Noir. Beurre Blanc accompanies pike. ripe tannins and refreshing acidity. but of a beauty which caresses without captivating. It is France. The rustic flavours of a casserole of snails from the St. Tours and all the way to Orléans. “Potatoes. Its reputation grew quickly and it began to be served at all the fine tables in Anjou. rabbit. Flavours tend to be fresh and subtle rather than heavy and rich. The Crottin de Chavignol is most noteworthy. Fish & Shellfish The wild salmon fished in the Loire has now become a part of legend. prunes feature heavily in Loire gastronomy – prisms are noticeably absent.” Uncork that bottle of Gamay de Touraine from Henry Marionnet which has been cooling in the fridge and gulp with extreme prejudice. light. the muscularity of the noble fish pierced by the harpoon of the wine’s natural acidity. gracious. Touraine high quality free-range chicken. naturally). prunes and prism are very good for the lips: especially prunes and prism. rolls or conical shapes. a true regenerative mutuality. Dishes are cooked simply to highlight the quality of the ingredient. others such Sainte-Maure de Touraine. and even scallops marvellously. Gourmets respect these goat’s cheeses which have been produced according to an old tradition in the places they are named after.” Joanna Simon writes in Wine With Food: “Gourmet and gourmand. cut into chunks. Friture de Loire is composed of bleak fish and gudgeon and is prepared with garlic butter. has more common sense than grandeur and more spirit than poetry. these reds have an earthiness that respects this hearty rustic dish. the two extremes (though not opposites of good food) can find contentment in the… Loire region” Stretching as it does from Nantes almost to the Ardèche it would be foolish to generalise about the food from the Loire. Rillons are delicious served warm. and which. Nicolas de Bourgueil area. People from Nantes attribute its creation to Mère Clémence (a restaurant on the levee called the “Divatte”). as goats’ cheeses are called in France. A good Bourgueil. small white onions and lardons and sometimes served with fresh pasta and local truffles. Muscadet and oysters are another happy marriage and for the skyscraper fruits de mer platter good quantity as well as good quality is a prerequisite! You can even try Gros Plant (or maybe not). The sauce is an emulsion of melted salted butter thickened with a reduction of shallots and vinegar (Muscadet wine vinegar for purists). Local chefs will cook their eel in Chinon or Bourgueil.FOOD AND WINE OF THE LOIRE Gustave Flaubert once wrote of the Loire valley: “The wind is mild without voluptuousness. creaminess and tangy gooseberry as the cheese crumbles on your taste buds. Take a mature piece of goat’s cheese and put a little on the tip of your tongue and drink some fine Sancerre and take in the interplay of chalkiness. not hot. Some of the varieties are coated with plant coals or depending on the degree of maturity. such as the one from Domaine de la Chevalerie. Goat’s cheese The area along the Loire is known for the diversity of goats’ cheese. neither dominate nor are dominated. but flow. On a similar theme grilled shad with wild mushrooms and sorrel. The white wines are pungent from the brine-scented Muscadet to the intensely flavoured (but never heavy) Chenin and Sauvignon to sapid light reds from Cabernet Franc. chicken and fish. turbot. Selles sur Cher. stewed in red wine with mushrooms. even a red Sancerre would do. salmon. Loire River pikeperch fillet in Vouvray wine with asparagus and morel mushrooms is a classic rendering (with Vouvray. varied in its monotony. whipped cardamom sauce and beetroot butter or John Dory fillets served with ginger butter and garden vegetables or roasted langoustines set around a creamy risotto made with local andouillette (sausage made of chitterlings) seasoned with shellfish vinaigrette. More elaborate dishes might include: sautéed scallops served with vegetable parmentière. or braised with white wine with beurre blanc are particularly good hosed down by a nippy Anjou or Saumur Blanc. poultry. the sun soft without ardour. but may also be served roasted – as it is in Sologne. The “Chèvres”. are available in pyramids. if we may call it so. Cooked with pork. has an exhilarating gastronomic heritage. Bresse pigeon or calf’s sweetbreads braised perhaps with candied lemon and cumin and served with turnip-rooted chervil attract a chunky Anjou-Villages (they don’t come chunkier than those from Ogereau) or an earthy SaumurChampigny. Pike is a very savoury fish that is gorgeous with beurre blanc. the natural oils of the fish softening and enriching the angularity of the Chenin. It is now as rare as truffles would be on the daily lunch table and has been replaced with imported salmon or salmon from fish farms. is a tremendously adaptable red. and Pouligny Saint-Pierre are worth seeking out. Anguille (eel) is prepared in matelote sauce with red wine. . Muscadet is a good bet here. Charcuterie. in a word. of course. One of Henri Bourgeois’ oak-aged white Sancerres would fit the bill beautifully here. Snails. swirl and eddy like a river around the constituent parts of the dish. Poultry and Prunes The rillettes from Tours and Vouvray are just as renowned as those from Mans. there are the fabulous sweet wines… Beurre Blanc This is a “nantaise” specialty. “ quoth Mrs General in Little Dorrit. its soothing gravelly flavours.133 - . Then.

The murky wine. Princic. Bea and Valentini. La Stoppa. refreshing and darn therapeutic to glimpse life on the wilder shores.THE AUVERGNE Too much and too little wine. clean-choppedidentikit. prickles and dances. but most would prefer the tooth and claw filtered out. but we live such mappined lives. NV NV NV GUILLAUME VDT GAMAY D’AUVERGNE SUR CALCAIRE (2010) VDT GAMAY D’AUVERGNE “CUVEE PIERRES NOIRES” (2010) VDT PETILLANT PINK BULLES (2010) R R Sp/P IN PRAISE OF FUNK Thou hast shewed thy people hard Things: thou hast made us to drink The wine of astonishment Psalm 60. Our list would be a pale shadow if it were missing wines from Cousin-Leduc. handled gently without filtration or addition of sulphur. Domaine Maupertuis is located in the commune of Pérignat-lès-Sarlièves fairly close to Clermont-Ferrand (twinned with Salford and Aberdeen amongst other places). a wine that does not conform to our notion of tutti-frutti correctness. As Ralph Waldo Emerson says: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. as prickly as a hedgehog with ants in his pants.134 - . the wines are alive.oenologically-smoothed clones that bestride the supermarket shelves. that it is salutary. he cannot find truth. Call me perverse. Auvergne wines are made with the Gamay variety. give him too much. It is important to appreciate the simple things in this complex world of ours. in fact their faults make them what they are. Take the Gamay from the Auvergne (take it. unfiltered and unsulphured. but to others a welcome diversion from the smart. but the Pierres Noires (from vineyards adjacent to La Roche Noire) are on volcanic basalt. This dissipates quickly. constantly in flux. vitally raw. some of them 100 years old. Dare we say that this wine has vulcanicity? We daren’t. nettles the furthest outposts of your tongue with lancing acidity. oozing zum zuyder aromas of fermenting apples. . The Guillaume is an aerial number and asks you to remove the bottle to the nearest picnic zone. Sour cherry and pomegranate seed flavours are accompanied with earthiness too. This is a Gamay as nature intended. Côtes d’Auvergne – Biodynamic Stop sneering at the back. a dark pickled damson strut across the tongue.3 Authorized Version Some wines are so naughty they deserve to be put in honorary detention. no filtering. reductive. We love these wines for their faults. I say). and you should drink it with alacrity from a pot Lyonnais with some tripoux or”Truffade” a baked mixture of sliced potatoes and Tome de Cantal. Gramenon. Give him none. Take the Bulles by the short and pointies. To some these may be the taste equivalent of Joan Crawford’s fingernails scratching the underside of an iron coffin. Slightly cloudy with an aroma of barnyard when it is first opened. no fining and no sulphur. which has been cultivated in the region for centuries. as someone once wrote. or on the hills (domes) on the eastern edge of the Massif Central. for it prompts the question: is the wine meant to taste like that? Why not go further: is wine ever meant to taste like that? We’ve heard of nature red in tooth and claw. prinked. rarely the same one day to the next. It is the coldly reductive logic of the Consumer Acceptance Panel which ignores the fact that individuality and unpredictability are what makes wine a living drink. but leaves behind a topsoil smell that remains to accompany the raspberry notes. 95% of the drinking populace would pucker up on acquaintance with this rude fluid. Wild thing/You make my heart sing.” I wonder who laid down the primer for correct and incorrect wine. are planted on a mixture of terroirs. Blaise Pascal (born in Clermont-Ferrand) DOMAINE JEAN MAUPERTUIS. Whether grown in volcanic hills called puys. Made with wild yeasts. We’ll provide the vin if you provide the table. Bera. in Limagne. in this case. It is a cute Pet Bul made au natural (natch) with wild yeasts and (second) fermentation finishing in the bottle with manual disgorgement with no malolactic. organic. superlatively cloudy. the same. The vines.

grenadine and spice. buttery fruit – definitely a food wine. tobacco and mineral – impressively lively in the mouth. His Chasselas (the grape originates in Switzerland). Pfaffenheim – Biodynamic Second Yorkshireman: Nothing like a good glass of Château de Chasselas. vinified without the addition of sulphur. griotte cherries. redolent of pineapples.135 - . There is a touch of residual sugar here. The unsulphured Pinot Noir Strangenberg has beautiful discreet aromas of cassis. The Pinot Gris is typically round and rich: think plum jam. It is quite vinous reminiscent of greengage. From promoting biodiversity in the vineyard to hand harvesting all the grapes to using little and even no sulphur during the winemaking to ageing in large old oak casks. Josiah? Third Yorkshireman: You’re right there. roast goose and fresh fruit. Consider also Scherer’s late harvested wines.ALSACE And the jessamine faint. VENDANGES TARDIVES – 50 cl GEWURZTRAMINER EICHBERG GRAND CRU. caramel and apple compote: try with cheese. is left on the lees. and grown on a limestone-clay plot. is more restrained and seemingly drier with thick. Jean-Pierre aspires to capture the essence of the grape and also the flavour of the terroir. SELECTION DE GRAINS NOBLES – 50 cl W W W W W Sw Sw DOMAINE PIERRE FRICK. If your palate seeks the enchantment of the spice bazaar. – Percy Bysshe Shelley VIGNOBLES ANDRE SCHERER. it opens to reveal yellow fruits and menthol and has a long. fresh. vanilla and mineral. Notes here of praline. mirabelle plums and dried banana. more than offset by mouth-charming acidity – check out the Turkish delight and rosewater aromas on this one! The Holzweg. CHRISTOPHE SCHERER Husseren-Les-Châteaux Gewürz-stamina – an Alsace wine that goes on and on The Alternative Wine Glossary A grower highly regarded for the quality of his Gewürztraminers. and the sweet tuberose/ The sweetest flower for scent that blows. from a vineyard in the picturesque village of Husseren-lès-Châteaux. Equally adept battling chilli fire or choucroute garni. Monty Python: Four Yorkshiremen At the forefront of the biodynamic movement Jean-Pierre Frick makes wines that are scrupulously natural. Recently it has soared to new heights: “Fine intense floral notes both on the nose. 2009 2004 2007 2009 2002 2007 1997 2008 2001 2001 CHASSELAS VINIFIE SANS SOUFRE RIESLING BIHL GEWURZTRAMINER ROT MURL PINOT GRIS VINIFIE SANS SOUFRE RIESLING ROT MURL VINIFIE AVEC SOUFRE RIESLING GRAND CRU VORBOURG RIESLING ROT MURL VENDANGES TARDIVES PINOT NOIR VINIFIE SANS SOUFRE RIESLING SELECTION DE GRAINS NOBLES – ½ bottle GEWURZTRAMINER SELECTION DE GRAINS NOBLES GRAND CRU STEINERT – ½ bottle W W W W W W W R Sw Sw . almost salty finish with flickering minerality. Try the straight Gewürz. The Riesling is dry with hints of blackcurrant bud. Obadiah. 2010 2010 2010 2010 2009 2008 2000 PINOT BLANC RESERVE RIESLING RESERVE PINOT GRIS RESERVE GEWURZTRAMINER RESERVE GEWURZTRAMINER “HOLZWEG” GEWURZTRAMINER PFERSIGBERG GRAND CRU. eh. mint. The Riesling Grand Cru is a wine of considerable complexity and develops intriguingly in the glass. extraordinarily long and aromatic finish” enthused the Hachette jury who awarded it Coup de Coeur. dates and honey these provide toothsome accompaniments to foie gras.

Offdry on the palate. which is a brilliantly tightly focused. Wettolsheim – Organic The ability to tell your Alsace from your Elbling is the raisin (sic) d’être of a wine connoisseur The Alternative Wine Glossary This well regarded Alsace domaine is run by two brothers. stylish and elegant. pears and spices.o.136 - . a fact well-known in the French press. Finishes with a slight peppery quality. with a full. The dry palate is defined by a natural acidity and a focus structure. Maurice. this is a taut wine. Maurice and Jacky Barthelmé in the village of Wettolsheim. It’s not a huge operation: they have 22 hectares in all. Apple. to obtain grapes of elevated maturity with rich and complex substance. The Riesling tradition is more of a vin de fruit. made from fruit from vines more than 50 y. The length of this wine is extraordinary. All the wines from the Pinot Auxerrois to the stunning SGNs are fabulous. Cuvée Albert has Soil-driven aromas of smoke. yet with intensity and richness.5% alc and 31 g/l rs. their domaine is guided by rules of art. MAURICE AND JACKY BARTHELME. These superb grapes are then transformed in a chai of gleaming stainless steel. Very fine texture for Gewurztraminer. mineral interpretation of this great grape. yellow stonefuits. up-front bouquet of honeyed tropical fruits. but we were particularly taken with the wonderful Schlossberg Riesling. The Pinot Gris tradition is pale straw in colour. Light golden hued straw yellow. is married to the daughter of the late Albert Mann who gave his name to the domaine. which allows the production of wines that are clean and pure and where often the initial rich constitution of the grapes comes to light. lychee and spices. near Colmar. In this modern oenology their clay-limestone soils seem to be especially favoured because of their structure…” Revue du Vin de France The Muscat tradition is a very giood example of the grape. it exhibits fresh grapey aroma with some vibrant summer white fruits and hint of blossom. mineral and wax integrate with the sinewy structure and rich texture. each of whom stands a good 6’6” (Jacky is at least 6’7” and plays semi-pro basketball. Broad and sweet but with almost riesling-like acid grip and a saline element giving it a sappy quality. butter and pastry dough. this wine possesses a floral and spice amalgam of flavours with a little alcohol warmth.ALSACE Continued… DOMAINE ALBERT MANN. a characteristic of these lighter grand cru soils. Off-dryish. from two parcels. Even straw yellow in colour this has a tightly bound bouquet of florals and minerals. conceived in the style of an American winery. An excellent expression of the variety. With a pale gold colour the Schlossberg combines power and finesse. and thus the basketball analogy). The Furstentum weighs in at 13. who took over here in 1984. the Gewurz has a classic bouquet of ginger. but five of these are in five different Grand Cru vineyards and a further two are in lieux-dits. with carefully controlled yields. 2009 2009 2010 2008 2009 2009 2009 2009 2008 2006 PINOT BLANC/AUXERROIS TRADITION RIESLING TRADITION MUSCAT TRADITION PINOT GRIS TRADITION PINOT GRIS CUVEE ALBERT GEWURZTRAMINER TRADITION GEWUZTRAMINER GRAND CRU “FURSTENTUM” RIESLING GRAND CRU “SCHLOSSBERG” RIESLING GRAND CRU “SCHLOSSBERG” – magnum PINOT NOIR GRAND P W W W W W W W W W R . winemaking duties are shared between the two Barthelmé brothers. Off dry on palate. Using the best organic methods. It has an attractive musky nose and a tranquil palate with ripe pear and apple offset by cleansing notes of mandarin. the other is in the caves. Attractive and accessible. with no coarse blowsiness at all. the palate was soft and rounded with accessible fruit and a touch of alcohol warmth showing. intense and fresh. While one brother is in the vineyard. “In the same way that a basketball team exhibits good teamwork. spice..

Béatrice is equally lovely with a tad extra oomph. a blend of Riesling.. So minerality abounds in the reds of central Alsace. strawberries and fresh. Let’s examine the terroir of Kaefferkopf that gives the signature flavours to Binner’s wines. The Binners own nine hectares in total. A lovely wine for any occasion. The baby Riesling d’Ammmerschwihr is properly hazy with some leesy notes and primary flavours of butter lemon. clay. has been chemical-free for over two decades. savoury herbs. comprising some quite heavy soil types. This is accomplished by fermenting as much as sugar as possible. To manage. a heaviness that is due to a subterranean layer of Loess limestone. A deep golden wine with gorgeous minerality underpinning the spiced apple fruit. and plenty that have entered their second century of productivity. The result is aromatic and dry wines with a lot of personality and somewhat unpredictable character. with 40% over 60 years old. linden and soft orchard fruits. They harvest in October. as mentioned. Ratchet up the intensity a notch or two for the Riesling K Non Filtré which exhibits that charged Kaefferkopf terroir. As it should be. You name it. use only natural yeasts..137 - . with only six planted to vine and estate. south-east-facing or south-facing slopes on a terroir that is blessed with a very complex geology. sunnier and drier than land to the west of the Vosges. one has to make a wine that is as biochemically stable as possible. They also strive to vinify as naturally as possible with a minimum of sulphur addition. even some loess. It is only of the only Grand Crus in Alsace where different grape varieties are allowed to be blended. and very elegant( thanks to the presence of acidic rocks). Ammerschwihr– Biodynamic The Binner family has owned vines in Alsace since 1770 and today they practice organic and biodynamic agriculture. with patience that allows for fully ripe fruit and resulting complexity of flavour in the bottled wines. mostly thyme. This presence of limestone in areas with acidic soils(granite and sandstone) is perhaps the explanation of the style of the wines: (powerful. later on average than any of their neighbours. preferable not even at bottling. Pinot Gris and Muscat is a aromatic and textured: apples. The hills that ripen Binner’s Pinot Noir are a geologic melange of limestone. even in areas that that contain both granite and sandstone. gypsum. sand. Christian Binner has an excellent slice of land in and around the Kaefferkopf Grand Cru. All the wines are aged in 100 year old big foudres and undergo malolactic fermentation. 2009 2009 2007 1995 2008 2009 2008 2008 LES SAVEURS RIESLING D`AMMERSCHWIHR RIESLING K NON-FILTRE PINOT GRIS “CUVEE BEATRICE” KAEFFERKOPF “L’ORIGINEL” PINOT NOIR PINOT NOIR “CUVEE BEATRICE” PINOT NOIR “CUVEE BEATRICE” – magnum W W W W W R R R . Les Saveurs. Kaefferkopf L’Originel is a true expression of terroir.. The average vine age is 35-years-old. In this case 60% Gewurztraminer meshes brilliantly with 25% Riesling and 15% Muscat. use minimal sulphur. poached pears and grapes. thanks to the limestone). etc. allowing malolactic transformation and storing and bottling the wine under reductive conditions keeping some carbon dioxide in the wine at all stages. This wine reminds one of cranberries. close to his home village of Ammerschwihr on a terroir of colluvial granitic top soil over a marly bedrock. and thanks to being warmer. pleasantly ripe and still delicate red wine can be grown here. That is Caves de Pyrène mood music..DOMAINE AUDREY & CHRISTIAN BINNER. neither fine nor filter the wine. schist.

Today. Alan Coren – The Sanity Inspector Pass de Duchy on the left hand side – well that’s what it sounded like to me. Think of it as a soothing roasted butternut squash smoothie. Domaine Mathis Bastian. These wines will upset your long-held preconceptions about Luxembourg wines (as if). the major grape varieties being: Rivaner. they say the Riesling is greener on the other side of the river. The Grand Premier Cru appellation.LUXEMBOURG There are more things in heaven and earth… On a clear day. Prepare to be pleasantly surprised.000hl of mainly white and rosé wine a year. DOMAINE MATHIS BASTIAN. have been grown on the slopes of Remich since before the Roman conquest. Pinot Blanc. and survived serious damage by oidium in 1847. similar to the splendid ramato Pinot Grigio that Specogna makes in Northern Italy. Premier Crus and even Grands Premier Crus! This system has attracted criticism and a rival organisation called Domaine et Tradition which encourages local variation and expression and restricts yields. signifies nothing other than some grand premier cru persiflage. Riesling. The blushing twinkling oeillet Pinot. There is one covering appellation called Moselle Luxembourgeoise and tasting panels may rank superior wines as Vin Classes. Check out your primary fruit options with this quintet of friendly Luxembourgers.138 - . off dry with compensating singing acidity – the perfect aperitif wine. It exudes memories of golden autumn afternoons plumped up on a tussock after a lotos-munching picnic in Yeats’s bee-loud glade. whilst Andrew Jefford dismisses it as “not worth the detour”. Left side of the Moselle that is. True. phylloxera in 1864 and mildew in 1878. In my antediluvian edition of Hugh Johnson’s Wine Atlas it remains as uncharted as the dark side of the moon. Bastian’s “Domaine et Tradition” Pinot Gris has finesse illustrated by the manner in which the wine evolves so eloquently in the glass from the initial nose of meadow flowers broadening into something earthier: medlars and truffles. is a rosé by any other name.7 hectares of vines on chalky soil located on the exposed slopes of Remich Primerberg overlooking the Moselle. Vines. Its posher big brother is trying to escape the house and align itself with the Germanic Moselles on t’other side of the river. Auxerrois. freighted with amber grapes as Arnold might say. a regular visitor to the Guide Hachette comprises 11. Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer. perhaps highlighting a convergence between the prevailing styles of Alsace and Germany. 2010 2009 2009 2006 2009 RIVANER VIN CLASSE PINOT GRIS. Take away this country – it has no theme. The Rivaner (Sylaner/Riesling cross to you). Most wines are labelled as varietals. So there. Well. Aye. but where there’s muck there are schmucks. With its lipsmacking cherry-menthol fruit they’ll be sipping this on the sun-bleached promenades of Etzelbruck I’ll be bound. by the way. The basic Grand Cru Riesling impresses with its clean lemon-glazed fruit. The climate is one of the coolest in Europe for winemaking (rivalling England supposedly) and Luxembourg also has a clear-as-mad-mud cru classé system. finally reenforced by the burgeoning of the secondary mineral aromas. “DOMAINE ET TRADITION” RIESLING GRAND 1er CRU “REMICH PRIMERBERG” RIESLING “DOMAINE ET TRADITION” PINOT NOIR “DOMAINE ET TRADITION” W W W W R/P . a thousand grape growers produce around 140. however. the main problems appear to be massive over-production and linking the correct grape variety to the appropriate terroir. worthy of the Circumlocution Office. It is tempting to think of Luxembourg as a “beuro-country” producing wine only by qualified majority voting. REMICH Luxembourg has a long tradition of making wine (since late Roman times). is a yummy fresh pineapple popsicle. Virtually all production is for white and sparkling. (which is where we come in) and Eric has sourced some brassy numbers. many of the wines are distinctly average. from the terrace you can’t see Luxembourg at all… this is because a tree is in the way. Now imagine an Alsace Pinot Gris with its ripe honeyed orchard fruit and slide in a little Moselle slatiness. very pleasantly surprised.

Peloussard. Pale gold. thereby preventing oxidation but allowing evaporation and the subsequent concentration of the wine. in the main. sedimentary Triassic deposits. Polozard. Worth the detour. The Gringet grape is grown in the village of Ayze. nutty richness. Mondeuse. Finally the wine is vinified in 228l barrels (20% new) lasting 12 months. Of the whites Altesse (also called Roussette de Savoie) is most notable and is similar to Furmint from Hungary. Grown in Jura since the 13th century Poulsard’s names are legion: Ploussard. Dark burgundy colour. chocolate and leather on the palate. after all. Pulsard. Much of the terrain is too mountainous to cultivate vines and the Savoie vineyards tend to be widely dispersed. just on the opposite side of the Saone valley) with some very fine examples of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to be found. particularly in Arbin. a mad bouquet with plenty of sous-bois and fruits (cherries and strawberries) in eaux de vie.139 - . whereby a film of yeast (une voile) covers the surface. DOMAINE JEAN-FRANCOIS GANEVAT. The soils are. The Trousseau is one such. The result is a sherrylike wine with a delicate. Said to be related to the Savagnin. an indigenous quality variety produces full-bodied reds with a peppery flavour and a slight bitterness. quinces and white flowers. Mescle dans l’Ain. The pale Trousseau has plenty of acidity with leather and musk overtones and a peppery finish whilst the Pinot Noir shows excellent potential for development. It is exotically perfumed with good crisp acidity and has a certain ageing potential. Savoie stretches from the French shore of Lake Geneva to the Isère. The Grands Teppes is from old vines. Or… I can see you’re looking at me quizzically. A silk ‘n’ spice trail in the mouth: redcurrants. comprising the departments of Savoie and Haute-Savoie. Or the Traminer. Pigeage and remontage twice daily give further extract and colour. unfiltered and unsulphured. Burgundian interlopers also thrive in the Jura (the Haute-Bourgogne is. black cherry and beetroot. Whereas the Trousseau would happily accompany guinea fowl or smoked meats. Côtes du Jura – Biodynamic Superb Chardonnays from a grower who worked with Jean-Marc Morey in Burgundy. Vin Jaune undergoes a process similar to sherry. bilberries and rhubarb tied up with liquorice shoelaces. black fruits. the Pinot would appeal with venison or smoked duck breast. 2008 2008 2008 2008 2007/8 2008 2005 2002 1999 2009 2009 2008/9 2008 2008 2009 2008 2004 CHARDONNAY “CUVEE FLORINE GANEVAT” CHARDONNAY “GRUSSE EN BILLAT” CHARDONNAY CHALASSES VIEILLES VIGNES CHARDONNAY “LES GRANDS TEPPES” VIEILLES VIGNES CHARDONNAY “CUVEE MARGUERITE” – magnum SAVAGNIN OUILLE CHALASSES MARNE SAVAGNIN CUVEE PRESTIGE TRADITION VIN JAUNE SAVAGNIN VERT – 62cl SAVAGNIN OUILLE “VIGNES DE MON PERE” VIN DE TABLE ROUGE “J’EN VEUX !!!” SANS SOUFRE PINOT NOIR “CUVEE JULIEN GANEVAT” SANS SOUFRE PINOT NOIR “CUVEE JULIEN GANEVAT” SANS SOUFRE – magnum TROUSSEAU “SOUS LA ROCHE” SANS SOUFRE TROUSSEAU “SOUS LA ROCHE” SANS SOUFRE – magnum POULSARD VIEILLES VIGNES “L’ENFANT TERRIBLE” SANS SOUFRE POULSARD VIEILLES VIGNES “L’ENFANT TERRIBLE” SANS SOUFRE – magnum VIN DE TABLE SULQ – ½ bottle W W W W W W W Yellow W R R R R R R R Sw . Frangy is the one of the best communes for Roussette de Savoie. The latter achieves its Côtes de Nuits-style concentration by virtue of minuscule yields of 21hl/ha and strict green harvest. Jean-François Ganevat vinifies all of his scattered parcels separately respecting the primacy of terroir. Thereafter the wine undergoes cold maceration (7C) for 9 days before a natural fermentation begins with indigenous yeasts. a wine that will happily age for another ten years. Savagnin is best known as the variety used in the vin jaune (yellow wine) of Château-Chalon aged for 6 years on ullage in barrel. being rich in colour and tannin. particularly in the north of the region. it has a scent of honey. The local grape varieties are perfectly adapted to the clay soils and produce wine of a very specific regional character. The complexity of the nose continues on the palate. Another local grape variety is Savagnin cultivated on the poorest marly soils. or liassic deposits of Jurassic marl. nose of blueberry. frisky acidity – it’s a wine for the decanter. What an enchanting oddity! Such colour – pale colour with flickering orange.JURA & SAVOIE One cannot simply bring together a nation that produces 265 kinds of cheese – Charles de Gaulle The Jura vineyards occupy the slopes that descend from the first plateau of the Jura mountains to the plain below.

The wine is so long. Chardonnay « Cuvée Marguerite » Cuvee Marguerite. Chardonnat « Cuvée Florine Ganevat » Florine Ganevat. but it came from Chardonnay. however. remarkably fragrant with hints of orchard fruits (cut apple) mixed with walnut. Combine bruised apple and yellow plum. Form an orderly queue rouge. “Chardonnay on poor clay soils near Arbois eventually became another grape. From the delicate nose of acacia to a mouth filled with yellow apricot to a fine. from vines planted sixty years ago. Taut and acidic. add melting butter. Here be aromas to get all seekers-after-and-snapper-uppers-ofconsiderable-trifles to snuffle keenly. aged in demi-muids) may hide initially under a reductive veil. it is vinous electricity. But evolves into a stunning wine comparable to a top Burgundy. Vin Jaune Savagnin Vert Vin Jaune is one step beyond with so many tangible and intangible qualities: a butteriness verging on the aroma of warm cheese (Comté. natch). according to Stephane Tissot. an array of toasted nuts and some eyeball-loosening acidity. Chardonnay « Les Grandes Teppes » vieilles vignes Les Grandes Teppes (ninety year old vines. dry honey.. but with such purity and freshness. Chardonnay. When the distance between ourselves and the wine is eradicated we don’t have to make the effort to analyse its “hues and fragrances” by lolling the liquid around our mouths. persistent finish seasoned by dry spice.140 - . is made from Melon à Queue Rouge. The intensity of the wine is balanced by its freshness. length and mineral presence. is beautifully composed. evolved from Chardonnay in the Jura.ce vin va vous mettre sur le cul . The complexity of the nose continues on the palate.So Tell Me About This Multitude of Ganevats. a red stemmed grape that. the red-tailed grape we call Melon-Queue-Rouge. This will age forever and a day. Savagnin Cuvée Prestige Traditon Ganevat’s Savagnin Cuvee Prestige is pure delight. white pepper and a note of peatiness. imposing wine with the complexity of a vin jaune. the mouth so intense and spicy. “ Other Jura producers believe that Melon-Queue-Rouge is a cousin of Chardonnay or even the same grape. A veritable vin de garde.. Chardonnay « Chalasses Marnes » vieilles vignes The Chalasses Vignes Vieilles from 108 year old vines has tremendous vitality with a fine precise almost flinty nose and slithery acidity. It is not the same as Chardonnay. walnut. Savagnin Ouille Chalasses Marnes Ouille Chalasses Marnes is Savagnin topped up. The wine acquires sherry-style nourishment from the yeasts and reveals all the concomitant nutty/dry spicy notes that you might expect. a cachet of oriental spice. quinces and white flowers. A very refined and elegant wine that really leaves a strong impression. twenty four months sur lie. Marguerite is only sold in magnums. The wine is thicker and creamier than the Florine with phenomenal mouthfeel. Truly amazing . and finish with an electric charge of withering acidity. explosive. Pale gold. Savagnin Ouille « Vignes de Mon Père » Les Vignes de Mon Père is based on Savagnin topped up aged for nine years in barrels and is a massive. Épatant! Ganevat’s sublime Chardonnay Chalasses Marnes is pared to the essence of flavour. this is an effortless Chardonnay. we are simply content to drink and be charmed. it forms a fluid wordless language of its own. fenugreek. « Grusse en Billat » The minerality comes through on the nose and the palate with orchard fruit and lemon oil. it has a scent of honey.

This shows not only a lack of taste but a serious cultural misapprehension. light of body and energetic on the palate with pure. They are lithe. Gros Béclan. Taut. The Pinot. rustic red. regal nectar of apricots and peaches and plum jam in one sip. wild strawberry and quince. Fragrant and very alluring. The vines face due south . but my. dried flowers. a vin du soif. Check out this mystery Jurassic gang. Sleuths of recondite grapes. 2009 is a superb vintage in the Jura and the Cuvée Julien is a terrific wine….7g/l acidity. quinces. The reds. with crunchy tannins. and the schisty vineyard from which the Pinot Noir hails was planted partly in 1951. occasionally angular. I have heard supposedly reputable experts on wine airily declare that the glory of the Jura is white wine and that the reds are as insignificant as they are insubstantial. I have described it in other pages as rose-hued. there is Poulsard Blanc. baking spices and stone. With its amusing label of a bloke sconing liquid from a beer mug this vin glouglou (9. dried flowers and a dab of garrigue. well. is the bear a catholic? Pinot Noir « Julien Ganevat » sans souffre Cuvée Julien is named after the grandfather of Jean-François. Argant (that’s what he has the most) which lead the roll call of the who’s? who. Seyve-Villard. a savoury. L’Enfant Terrible Vieilles Vignes Sans Soufre to give its full moniker comes from 50 year old Poulsard from yields as low as 10 hl/ha vines conveys skittish aromas of morello cherry. medium-bodied Pinots to rustic. mineral.behind which lurk bubbly-yeasty notes (imagine the smell of earth after rain). slithering hither and thither across the palate with the slicing angularity of a razor blade dipped in pomegranate juice or cracking whip flavoured with raspberry liquorice Vin de Table « Sul Q » Check out these stats -360 grams residual sugar. with the remainder of the planting being added in 1977. The whites (or rather yellow wines) are the art of the possible and an improbable triumph. scrape out a few tunes on your trusty strad. pure quafferama.a tremendous exposition but are on a 50% incline! It has cherry red colour. fresh and spicy with a good bite. It is apparently not necessary to do a green harvest on this cuvee because the vines are from a selection of old vines that only give small yields (selection massale). It is pared down.141 - . lean. how pure – and what delicious food wines! From ethereal Poulsards through aromatic.Vin de Table Rouge « J’en Veux » !!! sans souffre J’en veux. And some of the wines age with amazing grace. And the finish comes as if the sweetness had been carved to a point and layered with gently toasted brazil nuts. Gueuche (white and red). Set on a backdrop of schist and stone are hints of leather. Poulsard « L’Enfant Terrible » vieilles vignes sans souffre Those whose profession is boxing off wines would also presumably do a double-take when confronted with a twinkling. There are 17 of these small but beautiful varieties nestling in Jean-François Ganevat’s property. And is there high VA.. earthy. I don’t give marks out of 100. with a dimension of purity that I love. red cherry fruits with some redcurrant and light raspberry high tones. Poulsard Musqué… all of which combine to have a party in “J’en veux”. It smells so beautifully pure with hints of leather. fragrant red cherry and redcurrant fruits. has brilliant red fruit aromas and flavours. It has a terrific line on the palate and shows great sense of place with amazing complexity with a brilliant. “Un vin de table fait de bric et de broc”. An exotic. pink-tinged Poulsard (otherwise known as Ploussard). has a terrific nose of red fruits and spices and a mouth which is round. redcurrants. Trousseau « Sous La Roche » sans souffre The Trousseau comes from a terroir which is marne with big stones. Enfariné. clap the deerstalker on your noggin. rasping. 8. mineral laden acid backbone. capture the spirit of the region in a profound way. aromas of red fruits and blackcurrants and is lively and fresh on the palate with pronounced acidity and just a hint of musk and sous-bois. however. but this would surely max out with extreme prejudice . Portugais Bleu. from even tinier yields. They are wines without of great vitality. mahogany and soft spice with touches of game.5%) is best served chilled to highlight and enhance the bombinating cherry clafoutis and pomegranate juice aromas and flavours . Then. structure and harmony. game. On the nose the wine is rich in earth and minerals with spicy. crunchy. a melange of various red grapes. Ampelographical archivists will lick their lips over indigenous oddities such as Petit Béclan. most of the others are red-skinned with white juice. stiletto sharp. musky Trousseaus we’ve drunk Jurassic reds that seem to be the very distillation of rocks and fruit. for the game is afoot. forego the customary seven percent solution. Some are white. Corbeau. par excellence. like Seyve-Villard. gooseberries and pineapples dusted with preserved ginger in the next.

Houillon’s convivial red contradicts the notion that wine should be stable. Phenomenal length. the wines are neither filtered nor fined and they retain a lot of carbon dioxide. After the initial active phase some of the white wines continue to ferment a year or more. variable. File defiantly under quirk. The Ouillé is Savagnin aged on the yeast lees in very old barrels and topped up. the temperature is held to about 8C for about ten days of maceration. with carbon dioxide added at the start before the fermentation supplies its own. The white grapes are immediately pressed and their juice is also protected with carbon dioxide. strangeness and charm. Then the temperature is allowed to rise and fermentation begins. Houillon’s pale. with its fine skin. which has an antioxidant effect and helps to convey aroma. exceptionally light and piercingly fresh red is filled with flavours of morello cherry. It was vigneron Pierre Overnoy who established the unyielding purist precept that wines should be made without the addition of sulphur. green plums and figs mingled with the salty leesiness. 2007 2007 2009 1999 2003 ARBOIS PUPILLIN BLANC (SAVAGNIN-CHARDONNAY) ARBOIS PUPILLIN BLANC (CHARDONNAY) ARBOIS PUPILLIN ROUGE (PLOUSSARD) ARBOIS PUPILLIN VIEUX SAVAGNIN BLANC OUILLE – 50cl ARBOIS PUPILLIN SAVAGNIN BLANC – 50cl W W R W W . In the cellars the selected grapes undergo a semi-carbonic maceration in a covered vessel. location and atmospheric pressure. Without sulphur the quality of the grapes has to be exceptional.JURA & SAVOIE Le Dernier Repas A mon dernier repas Je veux voir mes frères Et mes chiens et mes chats Et le bord de la mer A mon dernier repas Je veux voir mes voisins Et puis quelques Chinois En guise de cousins Et je veux qu’on y boive En plus du vin de messe De ce vin si joli Qu’on buvait en Arbois… Jacques Brel Continued… DOMAINE EMMANUEL HOUILLON. Wines such as these have an evanescent quality: they are unpredictable. who did his internship in Burgundy. Pierre’s father originally made zero-sulphur wine. the avatar of purity. Bright golden colour. a study in deliciousness. virtually all in old oak barrels of various sizes. who fully espouses the philosophy of his mentor. wild strawberry and quince. yields are never more than 35hl/ha and Houillon turns the top six inches of soil.142 - . Emmanuel Houillon. The maceration and fermentation give little colour to the Ploussard. everything in the vineyard is done totally organically. experimented with it. The vines and the cellar are now in the hands of Pierre Overnoy’s protégé. even fragile. pickled ginger and toasted walnuts. Before bottling. Arbois – Organic In the quiet village of Pupillin just north of Arbois is a sign beside the road that proudly announces: World Capital of Ploussard”. redcurrants. Houillon is opposed to adding anything to the wine. They can react adversely to certain temperatures. until tasting the difference between his father’s wines and his own convinced him that the zero-sulphur wine had a finer aroma. cutting the surface roots and thus depriving the plant’s of the topsoil’s potassium which otherwise combines with tartaric acid and lowers their acidity. but Pierre. No new oak barrels influence the taste – some of the barrels in use are a century old. To keep the bacteria from multiplying.

In its youthful incarnation it tastes of strawberry. LUCIEN AVIET. The core of the wine has an earthy. hazy sweet orange sparkling Ploussard under crown cap. Lucien’s Vin Jaune has very good fruit with typical aromas of walnut. chicken with morels. red apple and shows fine tannin and a good structure. It still is closed at the moment and one only can imagine how it will develop. fresh walnut. pale and oh-so-fresh. The trademark lemon acidity grips and cuts. 2006 2003 2008 ARBOIS PUPILLIN BLANC SAVAGNIN ARBOIS VIN JAUNE ARBOIS TROUSSEAU “CUVEE DES GEOLOGUES” W Yellow R DOMAINE DE LA TOURNELLE. NV 2010 2008 PETILLANT NATUREL DE RAISIN UVA ARBOSIANA (Maceration Carbonique) TROUSSEAU DES CORVEES Sp/R R R DOMAINE PHILIPPE BORNARD. The Savagnin tastes of bruised apples. no pesticides. this Trousseau is both delicate and elegant. intense and spicy with daily pigeage and remontage for three days. manual harvest in small boxes and severe triage. Work in the vineyard is rigorous. Or all wine and no bull. How to describe it? It’s a non-oxidative style. 2007 2003 2008 ARBOIS SAVAGNIN ARBOIS VIN JAUNE – 62cl ARBOIS TROUSSEAU “CUVEE GREVILLIERE” W Yellow R CAVEAU DE BACCHUS. Morello cherry. barnyard character. The Savagnin is complex and fascinating. which manages to be both ethereal and have a heck of a lot of vinosity. is dark. It spends twelve months in foudres before release before bottling. EVELYNE & PASCAL CLAIRET. Point Barre is Ploussard and that’s the end of the argument (a very rough translation of the French colloquialism). apple and straw. vanilla and caramel. Puts the phantom into fanta. and balances a tightrope between earth and fruit. spices. Ivresse de Noé is a late harvest Savagnin. exhibiting the trade mark fenugreek and roast mustard seeds aromas. Your first hint that something interesting is going on is the nose of the wine: notes of spicy strawberries and spiced apples tease your nostrils. Uva Arbosiana is Ploussard from clay and marne soils. scrupulously ensuring the balance of the vine by canopy management. a little Bordeaux mixture otherwise biodynamic preparations. not quite dry. not quite sweet. A serious wine to tackle game and roast meats. Try with wild boar or venison. a tart palate-tickler. soft pressing of whole bunches. It’s delicious and startling. Wines are bottled unfiltered and unfined with just a touch of sulphur. Watch out also for amazing aromas of fresh curry powder with fenugreek to the fore.JURA & SAVOIE Continued… DOMAINE DANIEL DUGOIS. The vin jaune is probably a bit of an infant itself. only organic manures.143 - . conversely. The Pet Nat is a crazy. indigenous yeast ferment and elevage on the lees. The body is medium to full with a delicious mid-palate of acidity that pricks your senses. trout with almonds and various cheeses. musky on the nose with attractive tannins. but one that is wrapped in fruity. These yellow wines will go well with foie gras. Arbois From a man who styles himself Bacchus a Trousseau Cuvée des Géologues that drinks well young but also ages rather wonderfully. Arbois Garnet coloured with an expressive bouquet. The Trousseau. He makes wines in same very natural vein: unfiltered. Arbois – Organic Philippe Bornard is based in the world capital of Ploussard – otherwise known as Pupillin – and is a good friend and neighbour of Emmanuel Houillon. pink grapefruit and a candied cherry and pomegranate finish. 2007 2009 2009 IVRESSE DE NOE – 50cl PLOUSSARD POINT BARRE PLOUSSARD POINT BARRE – magnum W R R . unfined and with no added sulphur. vinification without sulphur where possible (and low doses otherwise). It is bright. Arbois – Biodynamic Evelyne and Pascal sing sonorously from the natural wine hymn sheet. and has a still unresolved yeasty-spiciness on the palate. It is a baby vin jaune with a highly developed style. massale selection. having only just emerged from its yeasty veil. blackberry jostle for attention on the palate and there is an edge of pinesap which makes this very appealing. For those of you who like to push the pedal to the flor.

with exuberant acidity that skates across the tongue and performs a triple salchow on your gums. mellow and off dry. The brilliance of the acidity provides a profound palatal expergefaction (you heard it here first). 2010 ROUSSETTE DE SAVOIE CRU FRANGY W DOMAINE BELLUARD. The Alpine climate ensures a big temperature difference between day and night. it’s as glacial as a Hitchcock heroine. As with many of the vineyards in this region the viticulture is lutte raisonnée. hand harvested) and the yields moderate (49hl/ha). followed by a natural settling of the must. Savoie – Organic The village of Ayze is a little commune in the Haute–Savoie situated in the heart of the valley of the Arve between Geneva and Chamonix Mont-Blanc. ensuring both physiological maturity in the grapes as well as good acidity. apricot nectar. It is yellow gold with notes of yellow-fleshed peaches. The soils here are argillaceous limestone and glacial moraines and the exposure of the vines is south facing. located on the east ridge of the Mont Blanc Massif. lee contacts.amphora VIN DE SAVOIE-AYZE “GRANDES JORASSES” W W W W .144 - . No malolactic fermentation – the fruit is beacon-bright. One of the best of these crus is Frangy. returning from Cyprus in the 13th century. Wilful obscurantism apart this is a wine that expresses a lungful of mountain air. gingerbread. low yields. and eventual bottling in April the following year. all of which have higher standards than those of the Vin de Savoie AC and Roussette de Savoie AC and may append their name to either of these appellations if their wines meet these higher criteria. The vines are 450m high on exposed south-facing slopes where the soil is composed of glacial sediments. 2008 2009 2010 2008 VIN DE SAVOIE-AYZE GRINGET “LES ALPES” VIN DE SAVOIE-AYZE GRINGET “LE FEU” VIN DE SAVOIE-AYZE GRINGET « AMPHORE » . or even the local Beaufort cheese. honey and fresh ginger. In 2001 the vineyards started undergoing a total conversion to biodynamic viticulture. The flavours are reminiscent of pear. spice and honey with a touch of nougat and the mouthfeel is soft. heck. or veal escalope. Aromas of white flowers and jasmine. This would be splendid with river fish such as pike or perch. Grandes Jorasses is named after a spectacular peak. The Belluard version combines the aromatic definition of Riesling with the almost luscious mouthfeel of a Pinot Gris. violet and a twist of aniseed to finish. Vineyards have been established here since the 13th century. other research suggests that it was brought back by monks. an almost oily texture (something of pine resin?) and mellow yet delineated acidity. Lupin’s Roussette has recently harvested a Gold Medal at Paris Concours general agricole as well as Coup de Coeur La Revue des Vins de France for best Roussette. moraines (continuous linear deposits of rock and gravel). There are sixteen villages in the Savoie. citrus-edged with a hint of white peach. crystalline and the acidity sings. Savoie Hills peep over hills Alps on Alps arise The Roussette de Savoie AC is for dry white wines made from the Altesse variety (locally called Roussette). Patrick and Dominique Belluard make use of the virtually unique ancient grape Gringet said to be related to the Savagnin grape of Jura. (Minimal use of chemicals. Also called Petite Roussette and said to be part of the Traminer family.JURA & SAVOIE Continued… DOMAINE BRUNO LUPIN. These are wines sans maquillage. In the winery some skin contact is allowed for richness of aroma with fermentation at 18-20c.

marzipan and hazelnut and grilled walnut and oloroso in the great vins des gardes. from October 15th to March 15th. and then baked in the oven. a cured ham from the town of Luxeuil. and desserts. Morbier cheese gave its name to the morbiflette (a cousin of famous tartiflettes). wild game. a sausage made exclusively with pork meat. wonderful cheeses. which. The raw materials are rich and varied—cheese and other dairy products. the veal cutlet is coated with a rich and creamy mushroom sauce and Potée Comtoise. but their peculiar angularity vitally accords with the food of the region. The wine of choice to accompany the dish is naturally vin jaune. Other local favourites include Escalope de veau Comtoise – first glazed in a pan. At this hour. the delicate flesh of this freshwater fish is perfectly complemented by the exotic flavour of the unctuous sauce made with the typical Jura wine. Finally. these same ingredients are still fundamental to the local cuisine. The number of “salt goat nights” is increasing in the city of Saint-Claude. The wines are unique. An electric grill is centred on the table and each diner is given a stack of sliced cheese and places each slice into his assigned individual square dish under the grill till it melts. pike. Historically during the long winter months the people of Chamonix subsisted on a diet of potatoes. It is initially marinated in a bath of salt and juniper berries then slightly smoked with fir tree sawdust. the whole dish being baked until the cheese melts. garlic-infused white wine. includes smoked meats. from Mediterranean seafood to such unmistakably local offerings as raclette (melted raclette cheese served with potatoes. Dishes such as trout or char cooked in white wine from nearby streams. bitter fruit and tannin. Coq au vin jaune benefits from the unique flavour of the famous “vin jaune” (yellow wine). originates from Morteau. divided today into the departments of Savoie and Haute-Savoie. Palette. especially one where the wine has been aged in previously used Savagnin barrels. served with pickles and “charcuteries”. The restaurants in and around Courchevel (and there are many) serve authentic Savoyard dishes such as warm beaufort tart. cured country ham. generous slices of creamy reblochon (a cow’smilk cheese made in the Haute-Savoie) are melted on top. fresh fish from local lakes—not just trout but perch. slowly simmered. celeriac and green beans. and the sublime omblechevalier. is smoked according to an ancestral recipe. onions. Fondue savoyarde is the region’s most famous dish. wherein cooked potatoes and onions are covered with slices of morbier cheese. Its meat is an attractive pink and is prepared as a pot-au-feu served with boiled potatoes. pétillant Savoyard white wine (Gringet or Abymes). The reds from both regions are pale yet robust with plenty of acidity. but hearty soups and stews (among them the famous potée). The pot called “poêlon” is centred on the table where guests (this is truly communal eating) dip pieces of crusty bread on long-handled forks to coat them with the cheese mixture. and also a local speciality popular in many Jura restaurants.145 - . another classic Franche-Comté recipe. and glorious fruit tarts all appear on the Savoyard table as well. plums. cabbage. a sturdy cousin of the classic gratin Savoyarde. cheese. Savoie whites are as crisp as mountain air. then topped with cured ham and grated eper cheese. roast kid with morels. It is then spread over boiled potatoes. the mountains still reflect light from the horizon. tingeing white peaks with pink. In the evening. It goes well with most vegetables and is traditionally served with warm cancoillote cheese. The dish is made of thinly sliced potatoes sautéed with bacon and onions. Then they sit down to a sumptuous array of dishes. This hearty dish needs a spiky local Jura or Savoie white wine and a green salad to cleanse the palate. sausages and lard enrich this complete meal of potatoes. restaurants have it on their menu or it can be cooked at home. carrots. One of the most popular offerings is an ancient speciality called reblochonnade (also known as tartiflette). This recipe uses a rooster or a large hen. In Jura the whites are characterised by their rich nuttiness: Vin Jaune. ham. yellow wine and morels (morilles). located in the heart of the traditional “tué” region. A rustic spiced berry Trousseau or Trousseau blend would serve admirably. Still on a cheesy theme. and local cheeses. Jambon de Luxeuil. civets of game. It used to be the staple country food and is now becoming fashionable again. until the mid-1800s—and it is here that French mountain cooking thrives most vigorously. Saucisse de Morteau. Things change slowly in the mountains of France. nutmeg. lambs’ brains fritters. Used fresh in season (spring) or freeze-dried. spiced with cumin. and cherries. Notes of apple. Comté cheese goes a long way in the Jura! The region of Savoie. Raclette Jurassienne is made with “Bleu de Gex”. straw and almond for the lighter wines moving towards flor. and ham or pork. Fondue-making consists of melting Comté cheese into a pot of warm. ready to lay eggs but not laying yet). Today. morel is a delicate mushroom imparting distinctive perfume to the sauce. skiers sip mulled wine before heading off to the table. Truite au vin jaune. potato dishes. garlic and white wine and is smoked in accordance with the regional tradition. moistened with cream. pears. although a straight Savagnin will suffice. . and cornichons) or a classic fondue. A Poulsard with its high acidity would cut through this hale heartiness.FOOD & WINE IN JURA & SAVOIE The wines of Jura and Savoie are not for the faint hearted. Poularde aux morilles is a variation of the “Coq au Vin Jaune”. mountain berries and wild mushrooms. a dessert of thick risen pancakes and apples cooked in butter—all washed down with a crisp. when the day’s play is done and the broken limbs and bruises totted up. Château Chalon and even straight Savagnin are magnificently aromatic with texture and flavour in abundance. Poulet à la Comtoise is another gratin-style dish involving poaching chicken then covering in creamy cheese sauce and mushrooms and finally grilling it in the oven. Other French regions prepare a similar dish with red or white wine. The sausage is hung in a “tué”. One might try a Chardonnay with this. It needs to be carefully poached in simmering water to prevent it from bursting and can be eaten hot or cold. instead of the traditional Raclette cheese. It is prepared with a hen (16 to 20 weeks old. served in winter. unlike other country “potées”. lies at the heart of the French Alps—the remnants of a kingdom that ruled much of this part of Europe for eight centuries. The sausage should be cooked for twenty minutes in simmering water or wrapped in foil paper and baked in the oven. have been a feature of Savoyard cooking for centuries. Chèvre sale (salted goat) is a traditional dish of the Haut-Jura. apples. Saucisse de Montbéliard comprises high quality pork. enveloped by the smoke from coniferous trees for a minimum of 48 hours to achieve its unique taste and full flavour. followed by mountain berries beaten with cream or by honeyed matefaim—literally “hunger-killer”. It may not be all cheese and pork – actually that’s what it virtually all is! As is customary in rural France in the Jura region there is plenty of pig to poke about.

Man. the meagre frivolity of awards. it seems that many must hold deep opinions even if they are about shallow subjects. There was an extraordinary amount of hobbyhorse-riding. conversely. editorial constraints mean that even accomplished writers are shackled and their columns effectively reduced to a succession of sound-nibbles and supermarket recommendations. Meanwhile. This is not to say that appreciating wine is a solitary activity. the fripperies of branding. it exposes an anti-philosophical. yet equally it is about formulating individual opinions and developing a personal sense of taste. the deadly buzz of what’s considered new and groovy. Too often we strain for definitive answers. Yet pleasure may consist of denying the final moment of critical appreciation.146 - . “Well. and. intellectual absolutism and second guessing. I went puffing in many directions simultaneously. Do you love a particular wine? Then it may shake your confidence to know that many so called authoritative wine writers (supertasters) will mark it out of a hundred and perhaps completely disagree with you. quoting out of context. and. pontifical side. In his Ode to Melancholy Keats depicts the tightly-bound unresolved relationship between pleasure and melancholy with a succession of extraordinary taut images and juddering juxtapositions. I read recently a forum on biodynamics and was surprised how many contributions were couched in the contrarian language of pseudo-academia. is as old as the world itself. The poem was probably a poem about itself as a pearl speaks of pearls and a butterfly of butterflies that poem which eludes me in daylight has hidden itself in itself only sometimes I feel its bitterness and internal warmth but I don’t pull it out of the dark hollow depth on to the flat bank of reality unborn it fills the emptiness of a disintegrating world with unknown speech Tadeusz Różewicz – Translated by Adam Czerniawski For me the pleasure of wine is pleasure: occasionally we should resist analysing our experience in the same way as when we read a poem or listen to music we do not have to clinically dissect its beauty and rearrange it (what is this but translating one language into another). suspend judgement and allow yourself to receive impressions. it’s just changing one set of the emperor’s new clothes for another. (In fact that argument is a fanciful invention of scientists on an ego trip. trite packaging. it is part of mass culture now. Communicating pleasure takes it to another level. So I asked him.Notes From The Undersoil “I had that Bertrand Russell in the back of my cab once. or must every single word fit the purpose – in that the writing is designed specifically to sell “the business of wine” and is consequently destined forever merely to skim the surface of this fascinating subject. Do you believe that you taste terroir in a wine? A scientist will be on hand to assert contentiously that there is no evidence for terroir and that it is a fanciful invention of the French. Forget ‘em. for relaying aesthetic appreciation and sensual pleasure. Give rein to the senses. most of all. A portion of humility works wonders. the omphalic wine press focuses increasingly on the folderol and gimmickry of a trade fascinated by the tarnished lustre of pr campaigns. Wine writing has become an abstraction because it is unable to celebrate this sense of pleasure. what’s it all about?” And do you know – he couldn’t tell me!” A cab driver funnily enough asked me what I thought about wine. Romance? Magic? Pleasure. In these moments the wine is more important than the taster. The quality of debate is not much better at a supposedly more exalted level. but. endlessly regurgitated surveys. Which brings me back to my initial point: to question whether there is there any room in wine writing for philosophical interrogation. it bears less and less relation to the wine itself and to the way we respond as human beings. we want to consciously validate our experiences rather than to feel them on the pulses. as Pierre Brasseur observes in Les Enfants du Paradis. Keats suggests that the instant you resolve the pleasure (be it through gratification of desire or exploding a grape or tasting a wine) you destroy the pleasure. It reminded me of those conferences where carefully researched papers are given. savour the moment exquisitely. The wine trade reinvents itself constantly in order to track trends. Sharing a bottle of wine in good company with good food is the definition of happy sensuousness. like the poem that has hidden itself in itself a wine doesn’t need to be yanked out of a dark hollow depth and exposed to flip judgement. one of the most memorable of which is “…whose strenuous tongue/ Can burst Joy’s grape against his palate fine” . in others. drest in a little brief authority most ignorant of what he is most assur’d etc. many opinions are vehemently ventilated and no-one ends up any the wiser. Wine as a subject is out there. proud man. in reality. posturing. They can’t disprove its existence but they can create false arguments to knock down). Novelty. The love that many of us have for us for wine is gradually being eroded by a welter of spurious scientific evidence thrown into our faces. Wine tasting has become over-evaluative. lacking a pat ontological response. Wine elicits in some a strong philosophical inclination. Mr Russell. but that that let-down is an inevitable part of pleasure. .

I would prefer a claret.” Père Goriot – Honore de Balzac OOOoooOOO Thuggish baddy (not so cunningly disguised as waiter): Would you like your Château Mouton-Rothschild decant -ed now. or over-extracted wines where frantic fiddling in the winery is trying to compensate for the poor fruit quality. Sure they talk the talk. democratic second wines such as Lacoste-Borie and Sarget de Gruaud-Larose provide an echoic flavour of the real thing. very sudden fin-Diamonds Are Forever A relatively small selection of Petits Châteaux at the moment. Waiter explodes with a stick of dynamite between his legs I give this peroration 84 Parker points Upfront. A selection of the oldest vines in the vineyard. Bordeaux occupies the dark basement in our value-for-money index. dark plum and cherry with gravelly freshness and hints of green pepper and dried herbs. Are we that bovvered? Maybe not. lacking in structure. It is possible that it may not change vintage within our life-time. As in “I appreciate that this bottle of Pomerol will be worth three times as much if I sell it five years hence”. but they are generally not. ENTRE-DEUX-MERS CHATEAU DEVILLE ROUGE. I don’t give a franc. Cabernet Franc 35%. 2009 2005 CHATEAU DEVILLE. joyless wines with either dried-out or soupy fruit. Lovely nose of black fruits and developed herbaceous notes. The red Deville is a jolly juicer sans tannin. That’s the upside. ENTRE-DEUX-MERS/BORDEAUX Neither mean nor green the Entre-Deux-Mers is a well-balanced wine wherein the grapefruit tanginess of the Sauvignon is complemented by the more vinous qualities of the Sémillon grape. fine and well-integrated tannins.BORDEAUX To happy convents deep in vines Where slumber abbots purple as their wines Alexander Pope – The Dunciad WHAT’S UP MEDOC? (The price is – every day) Appreciation – the process whereby the value of wines of a certain reputation multiplies exponentially over a short period of time. Are not many growers in Bordeaux as smug as bugs in rugs? They certainly have green fingers. “I (Vautrin) propose a little bottlerama of Bordeaux made doubly illustrious by the name Laffitte…” He poured out a glass for Eugene and Père Goriot and then slowly poured out a few drops which he himself tasted… “Devil take it! It’s corked. and it would be nice if the traditional English seigneurial palate ventured into the humble French regions in search of greater fulfilment.147 - . one for the mumblecrust tendency. 2005 CHATEAU MAINE MARTIN VIEILLES VIGNES R . Until we find something good we will resist the lustre of Listrac. sir?” James Bond: No. acidulous facetiousness. mean. a consistently fine wine punching above the modest Bordeaux Superieur classification. If you were a real waiter you would know that Mouton-Rothschild is a claret. For years we have been spun a myth. I will fetch you a claret. The Alternative Wine Glossary “Crambe repetita” (cold cabbage warmed up) as Juvenal wrote. Hype is the name of the game with every vintage at the time promising to be the vintage of the century with specious rumours of shortages and the wines being perceived as commodities to be broked rather than drunk. avoid parting with our hard-earned moolah for Moulis and will never rave for the Graves and damn it. moderate offensiveness. my dear. lean. For those in the Bordeaux name game who can’t afford the top dollar top dogs. Now let’s talk quality and squeaky pips and the mutest of fruit. but we are scouring the region for goodies. BORDEAUX W R BORDEAUX SUPERIEUR Merlot 65%. Ages more than gracefully. I would commend to your attention Château La Claymore (a flavoursome Lussac Saint-Emilion likely to be enjoyed by Scotsmen looking for hand-to-hand combat) and the Château Penin. a character transmitted into the wines which embody the true flavour of LEAF-THROAT-MULCH. fruity language. but do they destalk the stalk? We taste endless samples. Grapes are hand harvested. Bond: Aha.: Very well. Such tactics might conceivably be excused if the wines were divine. B. T. What Eric refers to as lunch-time claret.

no racking. some of them with a mixture of water or worse. The terroir is sandy and also rich in iron. Then it is natural all the way to the bottle with a wild yeast ferment. 2009 AUTREMENT DE LAMERY R GRAVES DE VAYRE 2006 CHATEAU TOULOUZE R LUSSAC SAINT-EMILION Several communes bordering Saint-Emilion are permitted to put their name on their wine labels along with that of their famous neighbour. Lussac is one of these. 2007 2006 2007 CADET DU CHATEAU CLAYMORE CHATEAU LA CLAYMORE CHATEAU LA CLAYMORE – ½ bottle R R R . dark. Merlot and Malbec. The wine stays nine months in casks plus four months in a blending vat. Eventually the wine is racked into barrels of finegrained Allier oak (one third of which are renewed annually) and aged for twelve months with regular oxygenation. The Cadet is the junior version. complex and subtle with dried fruit and mineral tones. zero additives.200 vines per hectare. exuding sweet blackcurrants. 2008 CHATEAU PENIN “GRANDE SELECTION” R CHATEAU LAMERY.The estate is a mere 3 hectares with south-facing vines on well-drained sandy-clay soils. The blend is Merlot (90%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (10%).no topping up. Very beautiful nose. chunky with good grip. or giving short measure. bilberries and nuances of cloves all plumped up with nice oak. Yields are kept reasonably low (less than 50hl/ha) with a green harvest and a selection of grapes at harvest time. Yields are kept low.. After a manual harvest and a strict triage vinification takes place in small cement vats. At last something to shout about – highly potable Bordeaux from Maison Dubard (but you should taste their Bergerac!). no fining. Since 2006 Jacques abandoned conventional viticulture and vinification to work naturally – working the soil. The Grande Selection is a blend of grapes sourced from 11 hectares of the best gravel and sandy soils on the estate. grapes are harvested at maximum ripeness and then destemmed and fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel vats. Very highly regarded by the jury of the Guide Hachette. game and cheese and both should be carafed before serving. no filtration and no added sulphur. that the philosophers exchange their ware for money. All the vines are over thirty years old. It’s a Cabernet Sauvignon with Cabernet Franc. Both senior and junior are 80% Merlot with an equal split of the two Cabernets. The Cadet would go well with terrines and smoked ham. Each grape variety is vinified separately at controlled temperatures.BORDEAUX Continued… “I hardly know wherein philosophy and wine are alike unless it be in this. the estate wine with red meat. the Claymore has that attractive old-pine-in-warm-earth mellow glow to the fruit. plant tisanes and preparations of natural vine products.” Walter Pater – Marius The Epicurean BORDEAUX SUPERIEUR Patrick Carteyron’s Château Penin is extremely supple. The vineyard’s roots and history go back to the 14th century where it belonged to the Cistercian monastery of Faise and it takes its name from the 100 years war. The vines are aged from 25 to over 70 years planted at 5. like the wine-merchants. BORDEAUX /VIN DE FRANCE – Biodynamic Château Lamery is based in Saint Pierre d’Aurillac. Très supérieur.148 - . JACQUES BROUSTET.

leaf and grape thinning is followed by meticulous hand selection of grapes according to optimal maturity. the tannins are pronounced. singing the lyrics to the Carpenter’s Top of the World whilst dispensing fizz to all and sundry – preferably in glasses. the nose is marked by hints of game and venison. Calm down. my dear. but a palatal sponge-down with a warm flannel. ocean essence Mock parrot. the finish is complex. it is carmine red with tile coloured shades. supple. a palate-pummelling grippiness of a swiftly flipped rare fillet of steak. To the victor the spoils. Food-wise. Judging this section will be Dom Dom Ru. the initial taste is lively.* Emulsion of angels’ wings Muttering oysters. The winner (no pun intended) is the sommelier who allows the balloon to reach the greatest height before hurling the auteur of Deathwish 4 out of the aforementioned dirigible. 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc from an 8-hectare vineyard located so adjacent to the borders of Pomerol that you could virtually lean across the fence and pick the grapes of Château L’Evangile (perhaps they do). The soil is made up of siliceous sand with lies on a subsoil of ferruginous gravel. Serving Michael Winner a bottle of wine in a hot air balloon. elegant and mineral. try this with quails in their coffins as cooked in Babette’s Feast. SAINT-EMILION 2002 VIEUX CHATEAU CROS LAMARZELLE R SAINT-EMILION Domaine des Gourdins covers one and half hectares on the outskirts of Libourne. buried treasure. to the losers a jeroboam of Liebfraumilch. 2004 2007 CHATEAU LA CROIX CHANTECAILLE CHATEAU LA CROIX CHANTECAILLE – ½ bottle R R . edible sand Existential chocolate ideas *Extra marks will be awarded in a half-assed fashion. and the finish. Not. L. seaweed fritters. “Roaderer (sic) Rollerblading” amongst an obstacle course of 15 tables pulling champagne corks out with their teeth. Green harvesting. Passing the yak and Cristal in a single glass is one of the mandatory disciplines. MC Mumm. Finalists will be tested on their ability to make Merlot sound as close to a three syllable word or Lloyd Grossman swallowing a giant octopus. or. Sommeliers will each be asked to sell a bottle of the Pauillac 1st growth to a table of unwilling customers. The chest-beating Château Latour challenge. Pee.) this Saint-Emilion has a youthful bite. Macerated cherries and dark chocolate on the nose leads to a satisfying weight of red fruit in the mouth. and the grape varieties are 60 % Merlot and 40 % Cabernet Franc. it’s only a game! The pronunciation test. If they succeed they must pound their pectoral muscles with their fists and ululate for precisely three minutes and 45 seconds.149 - . All cocktails must be made with ice (diamonds) rather than ice (frozen water). more conventionally. The terrain is composed of light gravels and old sands. entrecôte béarnaise. devils’ islands. Food and wine matching to a menu devised by Ferran Adria’s gothic imagination. a luxuriant chest hair wig and a TV series involving lots of shouting at the camera. The candidates will be expected to excel in the following disciplines: “The Quick Pour”. Points will be deducted if straws and multi-coloured parasols are omitted. bludgeons and cudgels. Creating the ultimate gangsta champagne cocktail. The wine is aged in cask. as the name suggests. 2002 DOMAINE DES GOURDINS R SAINT-EMILION GRAND CRU Whilst this lacks some of the immediate charms of the Lalande–de-Pomerols (q. the challenge is divided into six stages. Snoop Salon Salon and the Wu-Taittinger Clan.v.BORDEAUX A new Iron Sommelier Challenge has been inaugurated in the US Continued… Said to test the skills of wine waiters under the most extreme conditions.

“an essential discovery for any claret lover”. quail or squab would be perfect pairings with this delicious Bordeaux. what can you do in an hour and a half? Wine Expert: Oh. As you might expect of a Pomerol satellite this red is plush. with the balance consisting of lush. Any Port In A Storm Continued… SAINT-EMILION GRAND CRU CLASSE 2001 CHATEAU LARMANDE R SAINT-EMILION GRAND CRU CLASSE 1996 CHATEAU TROPLONG-MONDOT R LALANDE-DE-POMEROL Château des Annereaux is presently owned by the Milhades. developing a creamy richness with bottle age. Wine Expert: It took me forty years to acquire my expertise. However. accessibly priced Pomerol. Ample airing and further bottle age enhance the wine’s long. Critics consider Château des Annereaux to be this family’s crowning achievement.BORDEAUX Columbo: I want you to teach me everything you know. and chocolate combine with lush fruit and silky tannins to provide depth and layers of flavour in the wine. Here. Roast chicken. Vinification is totally traditional. The vinification takes place in thermoregulated tanks at the winery of Clos du Clocher with a long maceration of four to five weeks and ageing in barriques. just the very basics. leaf and bunch thinning and manual harvest of each parcel at optimal maturity. lingering finish. fruity and easy to drink. The vineyard is worked by hand with green harvesting. Columbo: Well. Château des Annereaux produces one of the region’s longest lived wines. 2004 2006 2004 CHATEAU DES ANNEREAUX CHATEAU DES ANNEREAUX – ½ bottle CHATEAU DES ANNEREAUX – magnum R R R POMEROL “It’s like looking in the eye of a duck and sucking all the fluid from its beak”. The resulting wine is invariably rich and full. Dylan Moran – Black Books (on drinking a £7000 bottle of claret) Impressive. and the 55-acre vineyard is planted primarily to that variety. roast pheasant and soft cheese such as St Nectaire and Brie. prompting Decanter to call this property. 2002 CHATEAU MONREGARD LA CROIX R . leather. as would more traditional fare. No time in its more than five centuries of continuous production has Château des Annereaux produced better wine than it does today. Columbo: Let’s start with this–How can you tell a good wine from an average wine? Wine Expert: By the price. Supple. The terroir is excellent for producing well-balanced wines: a mixture of free-draining limestone gravels on a subsoil of iron. Nuances of spice. This smooth supple wine (from 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc) would partner duck with figs or red fruits. it would be easy to dismiss this wine as a lovely. Situated on the plateau near Lalande in the heart of the appellation. beef tenderloin or loin lamb chops. a Bordelais family known for their uncompromising devotion to the production of fine wine and unwavering commitment to the viticultural restoration of historical Bordeaux estates. about 35-50% of which are new each year. Elevage takes place in small barrels. the presence of natural wild yeasts on the grapes adds elegance as well as complexity to des Annereaux. the gravel and clay soils favour Merlot. fragrant Cabernet Franc. opulent and delicious. like a crown roast of pork. beginning with handharvesting and a long maceration (time the fermenting must spends on the skins). round claret for early consumption. and long lasting.150 - . as a result of centuries of cultivation at the same site.

thereafter the wine is aged in barriques for twelve to eighteen months. CRU BOURGEOIS Classic Médoc from a vineyard located in Blaignan on clay-gravel soils containing a fairly equal mixture of Cabernet and Merlot. (Wine News Headlines) A 31-hectare estate divided into different parcels with vineyards mainly on a mixture of gravels and flint soils. The vinification in cement tanks is traditional with a long maceration and daily pumping over. Classy nose of soft autumn fruits. caramel. 2002 CHATEAU COUTELIN-MERVILLE R . The blend is Cabernet Sauvignon 60%. Respect for nature includes the use of manures made from animal and vegetable material. venison. Cabernet Franc 10% and Petit Verdot 2%. 55% one-year-old and 35% two-year-old) for twelve to fifteen months and fined with egg white before bottling. Once in the winery the grapes undergo a long fermentation of 18-21 days in stainless steel and cement vats. grilled beef) this would go well with a variety of cheese – camembert. As well as meaty dishes (jugged hare. 2004 CHATEAU SAINT-AHON R MEDOC. Highly recommended and a bargain cru bourgeois. The harvest is manual with a table de tri to sort the grapes. Traditional vinification in vat followed by nine months ageing in vat and a further nine months in barrels.151 - . A lingering finish gives the wine character and definition. Deep ruby wine showing some development at the rim. leather and earth. The blend is quite unusual with a high proportion of Cabernet Franc (about 25%) giving compelling fragrance to the wines. leaf and bunch thinning to allow better circulation of air and manual harvest parcel by parcel when the grapes have reached maturity. Dry and full-bodied with firm tannic structure and good weight of ripe fruit with hints of cassis. CRU BOURGEOIS According to authorities in Bordeaux. despite the adverse weather conditions. damsons and blackcurrants with a hint of sweet spice. 1999 CHATEAU LALANDE D’AUVION R HAUT-MEDOC. This tawny-hued wine is beginning to reveal secondary aromatics of smoky bacon. Ayala’s Angel – Anthony Trollope MEDOC.BORDEAUX Continued… It may be said that nothing in the world is charming unless it be achieved at some trouble. CRU BOURGEOIS Bernard and Francois Estager’s property is situated on the highest point in Saint-Estèphe next to Château HautMarbuzet and Tour de Pez. 2002. CRU BOURGEOIS 1997 CHATEAU LANESSAN R SAINT-ESTEPHE. will undoubtedly be the vintage of the year. With the vines being fairly youthful high-density planting is necessary (7200 vines/hectare). old eper and brébis. Merlot 28%. If it rained ’64 Léoville – which I regard as the most divine of nectars – I feel sure I should never raise it to my lips. A very hands-on approach in the vineyard includes green harvesting. In a bad light with the wind in the opposite direction you might easily mistake it for an old-fashioned Rioja. The terroir is typically limestone-clay. The wine is then aged in barriques (15% new.

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914). The two Gruauds from the 80s would grace any cellar: the 85 still rich and chunky. sweet and spicy. And on the altar. 2002 SEGLA R . some wine was poured on his lips to revive him. 2004 CHATEAU LAGRANGE R MARGAUX Rauzan-Ségla made a stellar wine in this vintage and its second wine ain’t half bad either. Yum. leather. The 1978 is old style for those who enjoy the tawnier things in life. A fragrant nose of violets and roses mixed with ripe cassis. It was fragrant. intensely there. pin you in an armlock and render you unconscious. plums. Quite savoury on the finish. smoked beef and herbs.BORDEAUX Continued… Petrus – What is the wine about? Imagine a cathedral lit with every light and line focused on the high altar. showing some depth on the midpalate and finish. Traditionally Gruaud has been a rich chunky wine revealing a big mouthful of raw flavours: blackcurrants. probably the finest wine from this estate. 2007 1985 1982 SARGET DE GRUAUD-LAROSE CHATEAU GRUAUD-LAROSE CHATEAU GRUAUD-LAROSE R R R SAINT-JULIEN Typical of this vintage the Château Lagrange is balanced and elegant on the palate. Very supple and concentrated on the palate.152 - . tar. 2004 CHATEAU BATAILLEY R SAINT-JULIEN The beautifully-drinking second wine of Château Gruaud-Larose at a corpse-reviving price. (With apologies to HG Wells) An old wine-bibber having been smashed in a railway collision. ”The Devil’s Dictionary”. a punnet of blackcurrants and the gospel according to Robert Parker. an expansive wine that at any moment could turn violent. He could recognise with his eyes wide shut that classic blackcurrant and cedar nose and playful minerality. the 82. very reverently placed.” he murmured and died. 1911 PAUILLAC 2006 LACOSTE-BORIE R PAUILLAC Bond had a thing for Chateau Batailley. 1873. More recently it has become refined and less rustic. yet more layered. with a gentle structure. We have an old vintage of Daddy-Larose. Firm tannins. a stave of oak.” Pauillac. There is a healthy dollop of Merlot (about 30%) in the blend.

and the flavour stylish and fine. The Baron Alfred de Luze purchased the estate in 1862. just after the village of Arcins. GRAND BOURGEOIS EXCEPTIONNEL The château is in the village of Poujeaux and has ancient origins. 2006 CHATEAU PAVEIL DE LUZE R MOULIS. Velvety tannins and a long. Supple nose of black fruit and herbs. are the vineyards of Chasse Spleen. And I’m not being too heavily ironic. this vineyard benefits from a remarkably well drained subsoil and is superbly well exposed to the hot summer sun. The vineyard is located on a rich vein of deep gravel.BORDEAUX Bernard: The older the wine the gooder it is Manny: The more expensive the wine the gooder it is Black Books Continued… MARGAUX Château Paveil de Luze is a small family estate in Soussans in the Médoc. The weather and the poor soil are exactly what are needed for the Médoc grape varieties: 73% Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot (30%). It is not what you would call a Parker wine. The wines. care of the ripe Cabernet Sauvignon which confers splendid cassis notes and ripe tannins. GRAND BOURGEOIS EXCEPTIONNEL On the “Route des Châteaux” in the Médoc. It is a classic Margaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (65%). It lies on deep. 2004 CHATEAU POUJEAUX R . The best vintages have remarkable depth: cassis fruits. extract. being an estate dating back to 1544 when it was a dependency of Château Latour. Before the vines were planted only extremely rustic cereal like rye grew on this land. and Cabernet Franc (5%). juicy fruit across the palate with good underlying acidity. Beautiful garnet colour. and his descendants have held it ever since. concrete and stainless steel vats. the wines themselves are deep coloured with overtones of tobacco. smooth finish. The 1999 was a fine effort packed with high tannin but also exhibiting sweet blackcurrant fruit. The encepagement is interesting because all four traditional grape varieties are used with the proportion of Petit Verdot being surprisingly high (around 10%). and means that the roots must go even deeper underground for their necessary water supply. to the left after the famous inn the Lion d’Or. A hot summer is hard on the vines. The soil is composed of 80% Garonne gravel on a chalky substratum and 20% chalky clay. The fleshiness derives from the opulent Merlot. The vinification is traditional with long fermentations and macerations of 4-6 weeks in wooden. With a good twenty years in the tank this is the sort of wine that could give Bordeaux a good name. The property is now run by the Theil family who took it over in the 1920s and reunified the various parts on the estate. body and texture with a hint of plums and spicy new oak (50% new oak casks are used for ageing).153 - . 30-40% new casks are used and the Theils either do not believe in filtering their wine (according to David Peppercorn) or they do (Robert Parker). It is an old property dating back to the 17th century. The climate is also particularly important. well-drained gravel soils that are ideal for Cabernet Sauvignon. The vines are an average of 20 years old. Whichever. are top class. This is one of the handful of Médoc estates that does not filter either after the malolactic fermentation or before bottling. from comparatively old vines. 1985 1986 1986 1989 1989 1990 1990 CHATEAU CHASSE-SPLEEN CHATEAU CHASSE-SPLEEN CHATEAU CHASSE-SPLEEN – magnum CHATEAU CHASSE-SPLEEN CHATEAU CHASSE-SPLEEN – magnum CHATEAU CHASSE-SPLEEN CHATEAU CHASSE-SPLEEN – magnum R R R R R R R MOULIS. Some gentle spice and herb flavours. which it shares with Château Chasse-Spleen. South of the gravelly brow of Grand Poujeaux. 20% Merlot and 7% Petit Verdot. Ripe. The rainy Médoc springtime constitutes a water reserve in the buried tertiary shelf. This wine spent 18 months in new oak barrels. although rich and powerful.

‘School is pretty bad. more aromatic quality than some of the bigger-boned Sauternes. Yields are low (about 15hl/ha) and the blend is Sémillon (55%). and the more ethereal part mounts into the brain. Good School and School.’ (Decline and Fall – Evelyn Waugh). bouncing against the wainscot. I said that before. into four grades: Leading School. Basic – This is what I feel about honest-to-badness Bordeaux (just substitute descending cru classifications for schools). Sauvignon (40%) and Muscadelle (5%). operated by an unseen hand. The location is just to the north of the village of Sauternes on gravelly hillside beds with a southwest orientation. and lies as quiet as it did in the grape. ‘tis rather a peace-maker. Oh. Then it is as fragrant as the Queen Bee. The quality of this second growth estate has improved markedly since the mid 1980s. then goes down to cool and feverless. The Alternative Wine Glossary The necessary result of a Bordeaux vertical . Would be victim: “That’s a bloody Château Margaux 78!!” “How I like claret! …It fills one’s mouth with a gushing freshness. First-Rate School. said Mr Levy. but rather walks like Aladdin about his enchanted palace. like a bully looking for his trull. A bottle arcs into the sky and explodes on the ground narrowly missing its victim.. No. This high proportion of Sauvignon and the refusal to use any new oak (the wine is aged in stainless steel and 5+yr old oak barrels for 24-36 months) gives Filhot a fruitier. definitely better than a slap on the shins with a warm kipper. you do not feel it quarreling with one’s liver. not assaulting the cerebral apartments.154 - . but you should really try a Jurançon or a Vouvray. 1999 CHATEAU FILHOT – ½ bottle Sw Bordeaux. and hurrying from door to door. No..” John Keats (1795-1821) SAUTERNES You know it’s not bad. Frankly’.BORDEAUX The perfect English murder. fires first growth clarets at your stricken body.. then. ‘We class schools. you see. care of Midsomer Murders Continued… Being nailed to a lawn by croquet hoops whilst a trebuchet. so gently that you do not feel his step.

gratins (fried pork fat) or crubeens (pig’s trotters). Nowadays the best sausages are made from leg of pork that has been stuffed into the rosette. while an aromatic Fleurie will happily wash down equally aromatic andouillette. The potato was “the truffle of the poor. Gamay may not hit great heights. Overall the Beaujolais wines are adaptable. and the soft goat’s cheese Saint Marcellin. He… has his cellar rigged up with a quadraphonic high fidelity phonograph set on a continuous loop.BEAUJOLAIS Like Dead Sea fruits. a selection of boiled meats served with leeks and mustard. and those various aforementioned sausages for which the city is famous – including boudin blanc (veal sausage) and the airdried or boiled saucison de Lyon. one of the first regions of France where potatoes were successfully cultivated (in the seventeenth century). (Vive la difference!) Another popular local dish is quenelles (dumplings). Delicious dishes include slabs of pâté wrapped in pastry (pâté en croute). fish. don’t announce the fact too loudly! For something less carnivorous opt for a platter of freshwater crayfish (l’écrevisse). It is near “the Dauphine”. Cervelle de Canuts. rich chocolate cakes. Although Lyon looks south to the Rhône. politics and andouillette. a brilliant.” and Stendhal claimed that in Lyon he discovered twenty different ways of cooking potatoes. The meat is salted twenty-four hours before being cooked. still have sufficient weight and acidity to tackle dishes like pig’s trotters. This device plays his hit musicals over and over again at considerable volume. which in Lyon is a tripe sausage based on veal rather than pork. That may finish you off. More adventurous meat-lovers can try the unusual cervelas pistaché et truffé – sausages boiled in fat and dotted with pistachios and truffles. but when you’re eating… simplicity is a friend to simplicity. that tempt the eye. In an English cookbook of 1865. Morgon. Look out too for the local salamis Jésus and rosette de Lyon. A primeur wine with that familiar slight prickle of gas is good to slug with fish and country salads as well as soft cheese. And now to prove that Gamay from old vines on poor soils can compete with the posh neighbours in Burgundy: welcome a silky Chiroubles from Damien Coquelet. which can be made from meat. In the neighbouring province of the Bourbonnais. isn’t it? Up to a point. the lakes of the Dombes and Bourget for carp and frogs. The BeaujolaisVillages and Régnié from Domaine de La Plaigne have impressive colour and extract. And this is not a recent phenomenon. which will contain boiled eggs and bacon pieces (well. Edouard Herriot. the result of modern marketing. bitingly mineral Brouilly from Domaine Lapalu. meaty Régnié from Georges Descombes and the inimitable Morgon from Jean Foillard. at least ten of which were unknown in Paris. Chiroubles and Brouilly. Before the end of the nineteenth century. a soft cheese with herbs. they were recommended for breakfast. and innumerable rivers for fish. a bit of meat). There is now more to these wines than jam today. lively Fleurie from Yvon Métras. where the potato is also abundant and important in the diet of poor people. The wines seem to love it. the Auvergne for lamb. the Brouilly from Domaine Cret des Garanches is enticingly juicy but with the sort of tannin to tackle food and the quartet from Didier Desvignes (there’s a name for a viticulteur) are certainly no bubblegum bimbos. which is known in the Lyonnais as pommes de terre à la paté. Finish off with a regional dessert – white nougat from Montélimar. although fruity. could cope with game and beef. paillasson (fried hashed potatoes) or a Lyonnais salad. its true partner-in-wine is Beaujolais (the local Côtes du Lyonnais wines are Gamay). and it is perhaps because of this opinion that the Lyonnais started to use veal. it is near the Charolais for beef. the long pig’s gut measuring about twenty inches. but turn to ashes on the lips! – Thomas Moore – Lalla Rookh Crude Beaujolais – that’s fruit flananas. Savoy for mushrooms. intense. Gimme that Gamay! Beaujolais-palooza! My great mate Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber has an enormous cellar full of the last century’s best Beaujolais vintages. Another form of sausage is the andouillette. used to say that there were only two things that left an unmentionable taste in the mouth. poultry or cheese. and are usually served with a crayfish sauce. naturally made wines from old vines and low yields using minimal sulphur. Sound and Wine – Oberon Kant LYON HEARTY CUISINE The most obvious reason for Lyon’s reputation as a leading gastronomic centre of the world is that it is so well situated – it has access to the very best food supplies. there is a potato dish called le paté de pommes de terre. juicy and fruity. If you find that you have four quenelles on your plate. for they are amongst the finest examples of aged Beaujolais that I’ve ever tasted.155 - . To it are added small pieces of pork. Here be premier crusading Beaujolais. travellers were already enchanted by the animated markets by the Saone. marrons glacés (sweetened chestnuts) from the Ardèche and Lyon’s speciality. The most typical meat dish is pot au feu. the farms of Bresse for poultry. Lyon sausages have always been famous. one of the more full-bodied and robust of the cru Beaujolais. Good local cheeses include the creamy blue-veined Bresse Bleu. Still further courage is needed to assay sabodet (pig’s head sausage) or other Lyonnais favourites such as tablier de sapeur (tripe). Régnié would also trough well with various parts of the pig. A Beaujolais-Villages would suit a plate of charcuterie. . taken from the firmest parts of the flesh that have been soaked in marc (a spirit distilled from the skins and pips of grapes after the wine has been made) and pepper and other seasonings. who was mayor of Lyon from 1905 to 1957.

2010 2010 2010 2009 2009 2008 CHIROUBLES FLEURIE FLEURIE – ½ bottle MORGON PRESTIGE MORGON PRESTIGE – ½ bottle MORGON “LES CHARMES” R R R R R R DOMAINE DE LA PLAIGNE. Traditional vinification techniques reflect the quality and character of the each parcel of grapes.” Jules Chauvet Consistently good wines with great depth of fruit and concentration from vineyards on sandy granitic soils. heavy lump of soil you can touch and weigh in your hand. this possession seemingly never to be achieved. in other words. irises and elderflowers – the Chiroubles is the lightest and sweetest of the cru Beaujolais. The expression “the fruit of Beaujolais. Blood sausage. And this desire which had been built up over the centuries. therefore. you finally obtain by conquest and make your own. For the Morgons greater extraction of material gives greater weight. Recently. the rich. The resultant wines exhibit aromas of kirsch and fruit eaux de vie as well as subtler mineral characteristics inherited from the schistous terroir. Morgon Didier Desvignes is another grower who believes that great wines are produced from healthy and mature grapes. we tried a bottle of the 1990 and swelp me if we weren’t supping complex. evening rest and morning enthusiasm. its light. the sole joy and light of your life. whilst in the mouth pure finesse and suppleness leads to notes of mineral. after you have coveted it in such suffering for centuries. 2010 2009 2008 BEAUJOLAIS-VILLAGES BEAUJOLAIS-VILLAGES – ½ bottle REGNIE R R R .156 - . if you are that way inclined. is ample and balanced with robust cherry and apricot fruit. explained his love for his own plot. GILLES & CECILE ROUX. His main aim. The Beaujolais-Villages has very good colour and avoids the boiled sweets clichés being vivid crimson with blackberry and cherry fruit. Plenty of wine here to tackle a steak. his passion for land. The Morgon wines. DIDIER DESVIGNES. its infinity. intensity and capacity. particularly the Charmes. still a comparatively infant cru (albeit from 40-year-old vines). treat each parcel of vines according to its needs and practise a strict green harvest. will morgonner as the French would say. The Fleurie (vines on pink granite) is made in the same fashion with an extra couple of day’s maceration. A delicious purple-robed wine throbbing with floral aromas – roses. but do remember that your investment can go down as well as up.BEAUJOLAIS Continued… The constant intimate link with the land which makes him love and desire it with a passion such as you might feel for someone else’s wife whom you care for and take in your arms but can never possess. A lovely nose of violets greets you. The vineyard has a favourable east to south-east exposition on granitic slopes. The Morgon. is very firm with compact tannins and needs food. aromatic Burgundy. Emile Zola – The Earth DOMAINE DU CALVAIRE DE ROCHE-GRES. which express a balance between the aromatic richness of the grape variety and natural sugars and acidity. eventually taking on the characteristics and qualities of a red Burgundy. Beaujolais “Beaujolais is nature with its fragrances. So age that Beaujolais. the charm of Burgundy” describes this à point.roast partridge stuffed with herbs might be one choice. Another coup de coeur for this top grower. is to reduce the vigour of the vine. develop slowly and uniquely. The Régnié. The vines grow on shale with deposits of ferrous oxide and manganese sometimes called terre pourrie or rotten soil. Manual harvest and selection allied to a respect for the equilibrium of the vines and the soil by treatment with organic manures creates wines. that land which. For the Chiroubles and Fleurie the objective is to create deliciously aromatic wines. from a single vineyard with exceptional terroir. Gilles and Cécile Roux harvest by hand with a strict selection ensuring wines of concentration. the largest possible amount of land. After a five to seven day carbonic maceration the wine remains in tank before assemblage. but best with fish such as pike and salmon with a sorrel sauce. or Jambon persillé. This would flow throughout the meal with bird of any feather.

. His cellar is fairly unsophisticated. After a while longer. or then there’s Poulsard from the Jura. cassis and sweet raspberry smells and more than a hint of earthiness.. The colour is on the dark side of cloudy ruby red. Andrew Jefford DOMAINE JEAN FOILLARD. complex yet direct. It has no heaviness.. the children were playing in the courtyard. unsulphured turbid Gamay. The fabled Côte du Py is a climat of the Morgon Appellation where the vineyards grow on slopes with crumbly schists soil that give Gamay a unique expression. Then the bottle is empty. He also has two foudres. Jean Foillard is one of the region’s greatest growers. It is lush yet poised. maybe.. Bordeaux. and has something of the quality of what Keats described as “cool-root’d flowers”. We enjoyed his Régnié with its transparent violet purple colour with immediate fresh violet. leading to a lingering finish”. 2008 2008 REGNIE BROUILLY R R . Consider my boxes well and truly ticked. he says. whilst aromas boom happily out of the glass. and what about Santenay?. Their voices faded. there’s a more fugitive bouquet of warm earth.. anchored in the Côte de Py. an unfiltered. What’s in a name? What is more important for him. as darkness fell.BEAUJOLAIS Continued… Take the Foillards in Morgon. modern guesthouse where I stayed that night. an old neighbour (the man who organised the village band) had dropped in. black cherry and cream flavours. hearty yet fresh. but his wines are neither officially organic nor biodynamic even though he actually applies many of the rules. tasted and talked about the wine. It is extremely refreshing. and he has a big parcel of vines up on the Côte de Py. like another line of toy soldiers. Today his estate has a total surface of 11 hectares. first on the family estate. Those who taste Foillard’s wine are struck by its moreishness: “I’m finding myself reaching for descriptors such as elegant and expressive – words you’d associate more with Chambolle-Musigny than Beaujolais. Villie-a-Morgon – Organic Georges makes unfiltered and unfined wine with terrific intensity in Villie-à-Morgon. before their own children arrived. When we had tasted wine a little earlier. herb and tea elements begin to emerge. The Morgon is fabulously pure. Long fermentations are sought as they give the best results in the wine. and the certifications on the labels are not his first concern. The Foillards seemed. but a surprising and impressive emphasis on the mineral and carnal. This wine is all fresh fruit on the palate. After filling the vats. bright sweet fruit is complemented by a smooth.. ‘rotten’ (or crumbled) schist soils produce wines out of which regiments of cherries march like gleaming toy soldiers. like their own vines. I was suddenly hit by an overwhelming sense of rootedness. Descombes uses a single slow press which allows a long smooth pressing of grapes and ferments in cement vats of 60 hl. at the same moment. Morgon is in the heart of the Beaujolais. and their children’s children. it was in complete disrepair. farming organically (using a little copper and sulphur) throughout his 15 hectares of vineyards scattered in Brouilly. It is fantastically drinkable”. Agnès. for example. (Jamie Goode) He’s bang on the money. says the Wine Spectator.. what I didn’t write about was how. or a fresh red from Chinon. is the result in the bottle. stones and dried spice evolving into dark chocolate and cinnamon. close to the famed Côte du Py climat. the grapes are covered with carbon dioxide and begin to ferment by themselves with their wild yeasts. belonging to it.. The Brouilly is also meaty: “This well-balanced red has sweet and smoky spice notes weaving through a subtle mix of strawberry. The hill is actually an extinct volcano. for a few moments. and is as tumblingly pretty a winegrowing landscape as you can find anywhere. Foillard now uses the minimal interventionist viticulture. he began working in viticulture and wine in 1982. it has nothing to prove. rhubarb and sweet blackberries.157 - . silky tannic structure. tinged with salt and underlain by leather notes in a manner more familiar from a cru like Moulin-a-Vent. somehow immediate and pleasing yet subtle and complex. marching off into the future. exploring it for a short lifetime. Chiroubles and BeaujolaisVillages. The soft texture is the best thing about this wine. has turned their rambling old farm into a warm. one of which is over forty years old. His wife. I wrote in the book about the intense emotion Jean Foillard’s Morgon suddenly produced in me. with her and the children. and it makes you want to drink. comparing it to others they knew. 2010 2009 2009 MORGON “CLASSIQUE” MORGON “COTE DU PY” MORGON “COTE DU PY” – magnum R R R DOMAINE GEORGES DESCOMBES. You can stay and play with the generous nose or delve into a palate that seems to meet you more than halfway. with lots of different types of soils depending of the plots. other guests had arrived. with the objective of keeping the wood in the background. When Jean bought the farm. it isn’t making an effort. It has teased my palate and left me wanting another glass. Morgon. He buys one-year-old casks and uses them for 10 years. This finishes with ample fruit. notably kirsch. Morgon – Organic The Foillard’s house is in Villié-Morgon. and so on. eating. Fresh acidity keeps it clean and lively. then renting and buying vineyards. there is plenty of meaty life in this Côte du Py. whose iron-stained. leaving me longing for more. unfined.

bright acid and pure flavours and a long caressing finish. The Printemps holds the promise of the countryside in the spring: it is light. The Beaujolais. the wild yeasts are practically gnawing at your ankles.BEAUJOLAIS Continued… The Gamay grape is thought to be a mutant of the Pinot Noir. You have to like a cheekily-monickered wine with a cartoon label of a geezer swallowing a bunch of grapes (evidently taking his wine in tablet form). has established a reputation for consistency. The edicts had the affect of pushing Gamay plantings southward. On tasting. with raspberry. In contrast to the Pinot Noir variety.158 - . gripping granitic minerality that chisels the straightest of lines across the tongue. Intended to express terroir and possess a cool freshness. delicious is the first descriptor that springs to mind for the wine is fluid and fresh with lacy tannins. do not collect tannin. The wine is then matured is in old oak tuns. outlawed the cultivation of Gamay as being “a very bad and disloyal plant”-due in part to the variety occupying land that could be used for the more “elegant” Pinot Noir. out of the main region of Burgundy and into the granite based soils of Beaujolais where the grape thrived. bright. Yvon Métras possesses parcels of vines in the sector of La Madone (this refers to the chapel of the Madonna that surmounts the rounded hillock of Fleurie). veritably these are vins des soifs. Métras’s aim is to raise the level of Fleurie to a higher plane. fruitier wine in a much larger abundance. Chiroubles Château de Raousset lies largely in the commune of Chiroubles itself in the heart of the cru Beaujolais region. The run-off juice is drawn off into some high-potential vats to improve the extraction of flavours. south of Beaune. Vibrant purple it is beautifully fruity. Gummy Gamay. Vatting time varies depending on the cru and the potential of each cuvée. Fleurie – Organic The terrain in Fleurie is similar throughout the vineyards and made up of crystalline granites which contribute to the wine’s finesse and charm. which peaks at 700m and overlooks the village and houses a tasting chalet. an area with such steep gradients that he is compelled to work with the aid of a long winch! Everything is done naturally on this parcel. You’re madder than Mad Jack McMad if you don’t serve this well chilled. a redcurrant jam jamboree which just manages to steer clear of sweetness by virtue of a thwack of liquorice on the finish.BIB CHATEAU CAMBON BEAUJOLAIS R R R . do not pass go. makes the wine at Château Cambon. Beaujolais – Organic Marcel Lapierre is Monsieur Morgon and very much the godfather of Gamay. nor does he chaptalize. Dangerously easy to drink. These wines are au naturel. We will maintain our reputation”. Gamay ripened two weeks earlier and was less difficult to cultivate. Château de Raousset also has vineyards in Fleurie and Morgon. Don’t expect any change from this wine unless you serve it from the carafe. DOMAINE YVON METRAS. Marie Lapierre. Over the next eight to twelve days run-off juice is pumped over the cap (once or twice a day). as with the others he owns – no chemicals are used whatsoever. aromas and tannins. 60 years later. Chiroubles is perched 400m above sea level atop poor granitic soils. he uses no sulphur during vinification. his wife. from eighty year old vines is wilder. The estate. 2010 2010 2010 VDT GAMAY RAISINS GAULOIS (2010) VDT GAMAY RAISINS GAULOIS (2010) . The Raisins Gaulois is fun incarnate – drinking this wine offers indecent pleasure. Philippe the Bold. 2010 2010 2010 2010 BEAUJOLAIS FLEURIE “PRINTEMPS” FLEURIE VIEILLES VIGNES MOULIN-A-VENT R R R R CHATEAU DE RAOUSSET. equilibrium and fruit. cherry. which has a long history. but allows the wines to express themselves naturally. the Duke of Burgundy. In July 1395. 2009 FLEURIE “GRILLE-MIDI” R MARCEL & MARIE LAPIERRE. in the murk lurks a jungle of brambly fruit with a whiff of the beast. once the bunches have been sorted. balanced with a silky and supple character and an initial bouquet of irises and violets leading to a subtle notes of meat and smoky red fruit. in the 1360s. The Grille-Midi Fleurie shows all the finesse one would expect of this appellation. Grapes are harvested manually to ensure optimal quality and. before bottling the following spring. The village is set around a 12th century church that is at the centre of a territory that climbs to the west up to the slopes of Mont Avenas. issued another edict against Gamay in which he stated the reasoning for the ban is that “The Dukes of Burgundy are known as the lords of the best wines in Christendom. It also produced a strong. they are put into stainless steel vats and undergo semi-carbonic maceration. The older vine cuvée has stones for bones. Philippe the Good. The grape brought relief to the village growers following the decline of the Black Death. and summer fruit aromas. which first appeared in the village of Gamay. And the merest suggestion of cherrystones and gooseberries.

loaded by conveyor to avoid damage. a wine you can drink throughout the year with a wide variety of meat and poultry dishes. The dark red fruits on the nose and palate can’t disguise a probing minerality. What? It’s hard to know Rully. 2010 2010 2010 2009 2010 BEAUJOLAIS-VILLAGES VIEILLES VIGNES BROUILLY VIEILLES VIGNES BROUILLY CROIX DES RAMEAUX BROUILLY CROIX DES RAMEAUX – magnum BROUILLY “ALMA MATER” – amphora R R R R R . 2009 CHIROUBLES R DOMAINE CRET DES GARANCHES. This is one of the new crew of sternly-made rock steady cru Beaujolais. in other words red wine red lolly. which lifts it above the run-of-the-mill Gamay. Earthy and floral. The cuvaison lasts for10 to 20 days. from beautifully exposed prime parcels of eighty year old vines and aged in three-to-five year old barriques after a long cuvaison. During 8-10 days maceration a wooden grill is used to enhance extraction. cranberry and plum) with a hint of liquorice. This Chiroubles has a pure and inviting nose. 2010 2010 BROUILLY BROUILLY – ½ bottle R R DOMAINE JEAN-CLAUDE LAPALU. Brouilly – Biodynamic I’ve always thought of Brouilly as one quaff away from straight Beau Jolly. marked by suppleness. Grapes are hand-picked and sorted. The wine is in the same idiom in terms of viticulture. if ever granite was translated into liquid this is the case. nice minerality with bright fruit (cherry. (there is only some added at the bottling and then only in very small quantities: 2gr/hl). serious wine. fleshiness and finesse. one made by carbonic maceration. and given neither SO2 nor cultured yeasts during the fermentation. Noted. YVONNE DUFAITRE. A must with hearty Lyonnais food: poached sausages paired with creamy warm potatoes or coquelet flavoured with tarragon. Chiroubles – Organic Damien Coquelet is Georges Decombes’ son-in-law. Green practices and low yields (33hl/ha) lend this wine its more mineral backbone whilst the Gamay provides the classic strawberry and raspberry fruit aromas. Croix des Rameaux. tar and red cherry and palate-punching dark fruits: stylistically it seems to straddle Burgundy and the Rhône. With JeanClaude Lapalu’s wine you can detect the fists behind the fruit. Is this where the schist of Côte de Brouilly touches the signature granite of Brouilly? It seems almost to inhabit a hypothetical halfway house between Beaujolais and Priorat! The old vines Brouilly is the combination of two cuvées. youthful Gamay fronts a rich. Brouilly Classic Brouilly where the ebullient. The old vines were old when Jean-Claude’s grandfather began farming them in 1940. has a peppery bite on the finish. Continued… DOMAINE DAMIEN COQUELET. wild yeast ferment and winemaking method and tastes delightfully natural. And yet the Brouillys are neither heavy nor clumsy and one could easily imagine them ageing ten to fifteen years. delicious with toothsome acidity.BEAUJOLAIS A MATTER OF PRONUNCIATION Is that Rully as in Scully? (As in Mulder) (As in Bosch) No. The two cuvées are then assembled after their malolactic fermentation and spend the winter in stainless steel tanks. that’s tosh It should be Rully as in truly Is it really? No that’s Reuilly from the Loire The Lower? No mid-Loire Bette Middler? And it’s pronounced Roy But you haven’t mentioned Brouilly Brewery? No Brouilly as in Artero Ui I tell you what. Balanced.159 - . Duly. the other a traditional vinification with destemmed grapes. The palate. it is quite complex in the mouth. disports a wonderfully wild nose of leather. (Jean-Claude only uses indigenous yeasts and doesn’t use any sulphur during vinification. The wine stays at least a half year on its fine lees gaining power and complexity.

Elizabeth Knox – The Vintner’s Luck THE COTE D’OR We decided this year to give our Burghound a Beaune or several to gnaw on and supplement our meagre selection with some great names. Undoubtedly. These regions are beginning to give the better-known appellations a run for their money. Domaine Prieuré-Roch (Vosne-Romanée. We now boast a greater range of wines from Confuron-Cotetidot. although they are massively structured and could do with a kip. Hubert Lamy (superlative wines). and the estate is moving towards fully organic practices. complexity and fruitiness. are truly charming. so we shall have to see whither the grapes withered or whether they weathered or not! Indifferent quality 04s should be redeemed by bracingly fruity yet structured 05s. higher than average alcohol.. Or our money. mostly and some Grand Cru wines) is moving steadily towards biodynamic viticulture. Meticulous work in the vineyard with relatively late harvesting and careful vinification using natural yeasts and minimal sulphur yields wines of remarkable concentration. For something classy. The strong red Burgundy vintages are 2002 and 2005. the soils and expositions favour Chardonnay and Jean-Baptiste Ponsot’s whites have that fine citric freshness that one associates with this appellation. exhibiting lovely fresh fruit flavours. no grower in France has ever experienced a vintage like it (until the next one). SOUTHERN BURGUNDY It is very difficult to generalise about Burgundy. . As for 2003. Christophe Thibert’s wine thrill with their delicacy and purity. an old-vines Mâcon-Chaintré and a stunning Pouilly-Fuissé. whereas the much-lauded 09s are. extractive Pinot Noir. Most other vintages: 2000.BURGUNDY He took a swig of the eper . Reality Check – The Low-Sulphur Brigade Frédéric Cossard at Domaine de Chassorney and Philippe Pacalet (who buys grapes from various growers and vinifies them himself) work very naturally and with minimal sulphur. low acid 03s are delicious – another difficult vintage where hard work in the vineyard paid off in abundance.160 - . the white wines. Their wines are the antithesis of so much modern. but in our humble opinion wines from 2008 exhibit more tension and finer acidity.. 2009 is being trumpeted across Burgundy as a great white vintage. Didier Larue (mineral white SaintAubin from old vines). Domaine Emile Juillot makes earthy wines. No matter what the vintage there is a sweetness and natural extraction of fruit in Heresztyn’s Burgundies that delights from first sniff to last regretful drop. the best vintage throughout Burgundy in recent times. The wines from the Mâconnais are arguably even better. I should say. Vintage-wise the 2002s were superb. and utterly pleasurable to drink young. in fact. Mercurey is where the most intense examples of Pinot Noir are to be found. 2008. The weather extremes of 06 made it another difficult year. 01 and 2004 produced quite forward wines. The precocious. the fleshy yet silky wines from Domaine Heresztyn stand out. a flavour that turned briefly and looked back over its shoulder at the summer before last. Coffinet-Duvernay (rich yet restrained Chassagnes) and Sylvain Bzikot (pleasing Pulignys). in particular. Recent additions are two wines from Philippe Valette. acidity. flourished. somewhat patchy with lowish acidity. but didn’t pause even to shade its eyes. And then what’s good for whites isn’t necessarily great for reds (and vice versa). In Rully. New to the fold are Patrick Miolane (old-fashioned beetrooty red Saint-Aubin). written off by the critics. Taste the Givrys from Domaine Parize for richness. tasted fruit and freshness. whites will probably be better than reds. The consistent quality in the Mâconnais and Chalonnais continues to delight. As with any region it is often a matter of “follow the grower”. we are seeing more consistent wines.

The last word should go to Anthony Bourdain. All dishes described as being à la Bourguignonne will involve a similar sauce. fish. Bourgogne-Aligoté is a typical partner. The rules of engagement are more guidelines than commandments etched into glass. from the Jambon persillé (parsley-flavoured ham in a white wine aspic) to ham from the Morvan hills served in a creamy saupiquet sauce. Famous cheeses from Burgundy include Chaource. happily drink a VosneRomanée with dishes as diverse as oeufs en meurette. wine and beef are a common feature of Burgundy food. as are mustard sauces: the andouillette de Mâcon. Burgundy snails (escargots) are prepared by stewing the snails with Chablis. St-Florentin from the Yonne valley. Other than beef. then stuffing them with garlic and parsley butter before finishing them off in the oven. onions and shallots for several hours. but with a chicken instead of beef. wholesome food. who. One could. is served with a mustard sauce. Coq au vin is also made in this way. especially those raised on grape leaves. The eponymous boeuf bourguignon mixes these two elements to make a traditional Burgundian recipe. fricassée of cepes. On a related theme. salmon. Bresse chicken and feathered game. and tête de veau or sansiot (calf’s head). poached in white wine. and many types of chèvre (goat’s cheese) from Morvan (try Goisot’s superb Saint Bris with this). may be used (amongst others). Pike. Although the pot is traditionally meant to be favoured (and flavoured) with Gevrey-Chambertin. Red wines. with flavours ranging from cauterising and fiery hot to pleasantly mild. Black snails. be they humble or aristocratic. are the best in France. A type of cheesecake called gougère is delicious served warm with a glass of Chablis. Just to show them who’s the daddy. butter and onions. carrots. river fish abound and are sometimes served as a pauchouse. rable de lièvre à la Pivon (saddle of hare). garlic. after all. a humbler Pinot will suffice with Grand Cru Chambertin exclusively reserved for drinking. writes forcefully about côte de boeuf: “Serve it with French fried potatoes and a staggeringly expensive bottle of Burgundy in a cheap glass. perch. in his Les Halles Cookbook. rich and comes in large portions. carrots and lardons (bits of bacon). for example. Cream-based sauces are common in Burgundy. As the region is known for its heavy red wines and Charollais beef cattle. A classic dish might be veal kidneys a la moutarde (the Dijon mustard made with verjus not wine vinegar). I want a BLT with my DRC There are few greater gastronomic pleasures than drinking great wine with simple. duck with turnips. The potée bourguignonne is a vegetable soup cooked with bacon and pork bits. The only qualification is that the flavours are good and that nothing clashes violently. red or white wine accompanied by a village Burgundy of either colour. the orange-skinned Époisses.BURGUNDY FOOD AND WINE Burgundy food is big-hearted. trout and carp. a mineral Chablis and other unoaked whiter Burgundies would serve equally. then flambéed with marc brandy and served with eggs. The beef is marinated in the wine and then slow-cooked with mushrooms. Coq au vin is a casserole made with coquerel that needs to be simmered for a long period in red Burgundy.161 - . red meat or poultry. the meurette dishes are also made with red wine (but no mushrooms). are choosy about the company they keep. as above. It was introduced by the Romans and now there are hundreds of varieties made with everything from honey to tarragon. which is creamy and white. poussins from Bresse. A good Savigny-lès-Beaune would pick up the earthy notes of the kidneys and also add some sweetness to the liaison. Mustard is a regional speciality. baby onions.” . lardons. Burgundy has a range of meats including various types of ham. Although not near the coast.

although not all at the same time. The wines may appear austere in youth. The vines are 20 years old on average. They cleared the land and replanted the slopes with 12. The Montanets do not resort to so-called “modern” artificial means in their wine making process in order to achieve this goal. Irancy Irancy is a very picturesque ancient wine growing village nestling at the bottom of a valley that opens out onto the right bank of the Yonne River 15 kilometres from Auxerre. we will convene them all and elect an über-pope (after we’ve ceremonially incinerated the vine clippings). 2007 2008 IRANCY IRANCY “CUVEE EMELINE” R R DOMAINE DE LA CADETTE. The Cuvée Emeline sees some wood and has headier scents of black-skinned fruit with a hint of spice and leather. salted pork with lentils. but they grow elegant and spirited after a few years’ ageing or with a wee stint in a decanter. 18 plots of land spread more or less evenly over the four rural districts which carry the Vézelay appellation: Asquins. and there is a considerable amount of limestone soil.v. ripe yet racy. Vezelay – Organic The estate was created by members of the Montanet family and their friends who were willing to embark on this venture. JEAN & CATHERINE MONTANET. The finish is very long and interesting. beef cooked in a salt crust and runny cheese such as Epoisses.5 hectares of vines between 1987 and 1997. Charcuterie. When we get a quorum. who extracted contraband salt from the water at the nearby “Fontaines Salées”. a Pinot Noir – with a sliverette of César – made with rigour and imagination as La Revue du Vin de France might say. Cuvée L’Ermitage is a blend of Pinot Noir and César. a statement we would find it hard to disavow. they hand-pick their grapes and the wine is produced using traditional skills. a bright. 2009 2009 2008 BOURGOGNE-ALIGOTE SAINT BRIS BOURGOGNE PINOT NOIR. The attack is angular and mineral with the fruit racing along the tongue. Gilbert Geoffroy in Côtes de Duras). It has a liveliness and freshness that is very appealing for such an elegant wine. generally. La Saulnier vineyard is a beautiful parcel of land situated on an old road once used by salt smugglers. It makes dark. The Aligoté is benchmark: green-gold. a zingy palate reminiscent of lime-zest and oyster shell and just a hint of ginger and white pepper from the yeast lees. The geology here is quite unusual as while the granite Morvan massif was coming into being it forced limestone strata up to the surface. Some of the plots of land used to belong to Catherine Montanet’s family. tannic wines that are softened by blending with Pinot Noir. a pope for all seasons and all grape varieties. We start with the red. Saint-Père. The first is a limpid Pinot with lively fresh aromas of red fruits (raspberries. GHISLAINE & JEAN-HUGUES GOISOT.COTES D’AUXERRE DOMAINE DU CORPS DE GARDE. (And an equally good Aligoté in the Hither. duck with olives. cherries. this wine has your number and is coming to get you. This wine was bottled in March 2010 after spending approximately six months in vats. ham with parsley. Chaource or Soumaintrain are recommended. Oysters and smoked fish. The Melon (same grape as Muscadet) has a pale lemon-yellow colour. is a brilliant ruby-red hued wine with a robust flavour. nuances of morello) enhanced with floral notes of violet. the Bajocian. Benoit Cantin makes two styles of Irancy. a touch “nerveux”. The Goisots firmly believe that great wine begins in the vineyard and have worked in organic viticulture since 1993 to protect the soil and nourish the vines. The intention is to make honest and authentic wines which reflect the distinctive character of their region and the climate of a particular year. The domaine has existed since the 15th century and Jean-Hugues started working on the wines at the age of sixteen. César is an ancient red grape from northern Burgundy. wild or natural yeasts are encouraged. 2010 2009 2009 2009 2009 MELON BLANC BOURGOGNE BLANC”LES SAULNIERS” BOURGOGNE ROUGE “CUVEE L’ERMITAGE” BOURGOGNE ROUGE “CUVEE GARANCE” BOURGOGNE ROUGE “CUVEE L’ERMITAGE” – magnum W W R R R . beware. Irancy. This wine touches the hem of nature. CORPS DE GARDE W W R BENOIT & BERNARD CANTIN. The vines are mainly planted on marl slopes overlooking the Côtes des Bars. The purity of the nose delights – a gentle perfume suggesting dried flowers and red fruits. insecticides or weedkillers are used. Jean-Hugues has been described as “The Pope of Saint Bris”.) The (Sauvignon de) Saint Bris is equally stunning: aromatic with notes of peachskins and richly textured. Described by the Guide Hachette as the “best Aligoté in the Yonne”. or upper and lower Bathonian limestone and others on Liassic marlstone. No fertilizers. As with all good high acidity wines these crave meaty food. Tharoiseau and Vézelay. usually when the Pinot Noir has been blended with the local variety. Naturally enough. They believe in the primacy of terroir and harvest as late as possible to maximise the potential of the grapes. Côtes d’Auxerre – Organic The Goisots are perfectionists and this shows in their wine-making. We are collecting popes on our wine list (q.162 - . clean nose. the César. Most of the vineyards are located on the most ancient strata.

Average yearly production is around 1760 hectolitres. Sir?’ – ‘You wouldn’t if you knew what it was made of. Hélène. Dussert-Gerber (who ranks their Grand Cru ‘Vaudésir’ as one of the top white Burgundies). but which they have mostly built themselves. Robert Parker.REGION DE CHABLIS Oyster – (i) A person who liberally sprinkles his conversation with Yiddish expressions (from The Washington Post). The forty-year-old vines in the Montmain vineyard contribute to the extra weight in this wine. leaf and honey. As well as the trademark oyster-shell aromas there is a further ripeness and secondary hints of mushroom. The full structure of the wines will take several years to develop however. always seeming to say. Revue des Vins de France. Decanter. The acidity bolts all the flavours into position and accentuates the richness and the length of the wine. the Vaudésir climat is divided into two parts by the track called “le chemin des Vaudésirs”. Grapes are brought directly from the fields and put into pneumatic presses. their list of Chablis is among the most prestigious in the region. Sommelier. its soil type seems rather lighter than most.’ Charles Dickens – Our Mutual Friend DOMAINE GERARD TREMBLAY. A fine wine with a profound mineral nose. It has a double orientation. The entire winery works by gravity. Cuisine et Vins de France. etc. With 80 acres of vines under production. Very steep in places. and contains less lime. after ‘Chablis. deceptive weight and a lingering finish this would go well with something rich and sweet such as scallops or chicken. It is a delicate phase. underlining the terroir of his vines vintage after vintage. Strict hygiene and careful temperature control are the keys to mastering quality fermentation in Chardonnay. The unoaked Petit Chablis is uncomplicated but delightfully crisp and refreshing with easy graceful flavours. This increasing “earthiness” tends to mark the wines. and it is not surprising to find that the best winemakers in white are perfectionists to an extreme. The domain has a superb new winery. Much of the wine is sold directly at the property. as with all the Grands Crus. Tremblay is known locally as an accomplished wine maker. which can be drunk young if one is looking for crispness. 2010 2009 2009 2009 2009 2007 2006 PETIT CHABLIS CHABLIS CHABLIS – ½ bottle CHABLIS 1er CRU “MONTMAIN” CHABLIS 1er CRU “MONTMAIN” – ½ bottle CHABLIS GRAND CRU “VAUDESIR” CHABLIS GRAND CRU “VAUDESIR” – magnum W W W W W W W . They are adamant the Tremblay wines only appear on wine lists or in specialty shops that can do justice to the quality product they are working to produce. Their extreme delicacy has given Vaudésir the reputation of being the most feminine of all the climats. 30% of the wine is aged in futs de chêne. giving approximately 230. allowing them excellent conditions in which to bring out the quality of the fruit that these vineyards produce. oversee a domain that they inherited in a line of five generations.163 - . Set between Preuses and Grenouilles.000 bottles per year. The juice is then left to settle for more 12 hours before being stocked in stainless steel tanks with individual temperature controls. …like a gloomy Analytical Chemist. avoiding unnecessary manipulations of the fruit or pumping of juices. This terrain is formed from exoguira eper a (fossilised oyster shells) and the specific gout-à-terroir is said to derive from this. as roughly half of its vines face due south. Chablis Gérard Tremblay and his wife. their wines have been noticed by the Guide Hachette. though they do export a limited quantity of their wine to carefully selected markets. the olfactory equivalent of smelling soft rain on a spring morning (which is what I do for a living!). whilst the remainder face south-west. most of them in the best Premier Cru and Grand Cru appellations. The basic Chablis is unoaked from 10-30 year old vines grown on Kimmeridgean marl. Understandably. (ii) A bivalve to be washed down with a good glass of Chablis. He is justly famous for his ability to draw out the typicity of distinct appellations.

praises the virtues of the misshapen Roussette tomato as opposed to the tasteless uniformity of the European Moneyspinner… I catch Caro watching Armande with a look of disapproval. The Chablis is cool and tart. Then the vol-au-vents. fish with sorrel or Comté. Colours begin to seem brighter. We pass from the political situation. to the Basque separatists. eyes brighten. 2009 2009 2008 CHABLIS CHABLIS – ½ bottle CHABLIS 1er CRU “FOURNEAUX” W W W The famous spring icicle harvest of Chablis. a mermaid’s cache of delicacies which gives off a nostalgic salt smell. it demands attention. The current head of the Domaine Alain Gautheron. unyielding and limpid. bright. like childhood days at the seaside… Impossible to remain aloof with such a dish. the mouth presents notes of hazelnut and biscuits which add a certain charm and length to the finish. light as a puff of summer air. to ladies’ fashions via the best way to grow rocket and the superiority of wild over cultivated lettuce. Well balanced with lively acidity. spider-crabs. This estate makes classic Chablis with a clear light gold colour. That swathe of acidity will carve through and wash down myriad dishes: from seafood to andouillette chablisienne. sounds take on a cut-glass crispness. Anouk drinks lemonade from hers with exaggerated sophistication. then Chablis describes that wine. In the mouth the wine is dry as apple-parings and steely with perhaps just a delicate hint of violets and mint. The Chablis runs smooth throughout. is working with his wife and son Cyril in an effort to carry on the family’s traditions.REGION DE CHABLIS Continued… I pour the ’85 Chablis into tall glasses. If ever a wine smacked of the terroir: the hard white limestone and Kimmeridgean soils. berniques. Chablis The Gautheron family has been cultivating vines in Chablis for five generations. . glinting with emerald green. I bring a herb salad to clear the palate. then foie gras on warm toast. oysters. curried lamb. prawns.164 - . informality. and I drink more of it than I should. snails. faces made rosy with the effort of extracting the shellfish’s elusive flesh… Chocolat – Joanne Harris COLETTE GROS. if ever a wine seemed to be a combination of light. grey shrimps. I bring more of the Chablis. Narcisse expresses interest in the tartlet’s ingredients. then elderflower sorbet followed by plateau de fruits de mer with grilled langoustines. stone and water. greens and pearly-whites and purples.

for the life of me. Frasier Continued… ALICE & OLIVIER DE MOOR. You know my methods. Typical of the warm nature of the vintage this is a light golden Chablis fermented in old barrels with a certain waxy texture in the mouth and notes of dry honey. ginger-spiked butter and cinnamon-spiced apples. “Holmes.REGION DE CHABLIS “The year listed on the bottle is not an expiration date – so that 1997 wine is safe to drink”. that’s who. . I wrote down each sensation with as much method as I could muster: “Lemon entry in the mouth. my dear fellow. apply them”. smooth vanillin…” “Lemon entry. Chablis – Organic Who are those “masked harvesters”. my dear Watson?” said Holmes quizzically peering over my shoulder. I cannot tell what this wine is”.165 - . “That was the curious thing”. Watson. “There was no oak in the Chardonnay”. Obediently. kemo sabe? Alice & Olivier de Moor. Sulphur and away! 2009 2010 BOURGOGNE-ALIGOTE CHABLIS “VENDANGEUR MASQUE” W W A STUDY IN CLARETS – by Sir Robert Parker Doyle “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?” “To the curious incident of the oak in Chardonnay”. Hi-ho. The De Moors are one of the few growers who work organically and without sulphur in the Chablis region. “It’s all there in front of you.

fresh citrus. The vines are around 50 years old on limestone-clay. Harvest is manual in late September and the entire harvest is pressed slowly with a pneumatic press. This serious proposition is from 45-year-old vines with high density planting on limestone marne soil. is from vines aged 60 years and above planted on clay-slica soils. dry. With its lovely nose of honey. blanquette de veau. The Non-Filtré (50-year-old vines) is impressive and then some. working the soil to control vigour and yields. while the finish is spicy with a recurrence of the cinnamon notes.166 - . minerally and leesy notes abound. andouillette sausage cooked in white wine. chaptalisation or acidification. almost crystalline finish. lemon and grey mineral all come together in a distinctly mature. while the palate’s emphatic. The Thiberts espouse natural remedies in the vineyard. because their qualities are less overt than others. with a more lush profile than Chablis but a long. With lovely intensity of colour the Pouilly bequeaths aromas of white flowers. veal fricassée with chanterelles and goats’ cheese (such as Saint-Marcellin or Bouton de Culotte). zippy. without yeasts. The wine remains on the lees before bottling. Vinification is natural: without sulphur. aerating the soil to allow the roots to search more deeply for water and harvesting by hand at the maximum of maturity ensures wines of concentration and complexity. the rest in futs de chêne. but does mellow considerably with sole or turbot. tension and acidity and a sensation of powerful minerality. With these dry round mineral wines you might investigate traditional dishes such as oysters au gratin. hazelnuts and grapefruit – in the mouth the wine combines richness. 10km south of Mâcon. 2010 2008 2007 2006 MACON-VILLAGES MACON-CHAINTRE VIEILLES VIGNES POUILLY-FUISSE VIRE-CLESSE – magnum W W W W . honey. On the nose. The MâconFuissé is really a mini-Pouilly. taut – ideally it could use three years bottle age. with a generous mealy texture. short pruning. chemical-free viticulture.MACONNAIS & CHALONNAIS DOMAINE CHRISTOPHE THIBERT. Severe bunch and leaf thinning and lutte raisonnée (no use of anti-rot sprays or insecticides here). Uncompromising wine-making. This effort from one of the region’s steadfastly independent families in the village of Chaintré. stony. Mâcon – Organic Working the soil. The aromas suggest cinnamon butter and warm brioche on the nose. Ripe apple. Vinification and ageing is traditional in foudres (70%). winey nose. Chevrières and Plantes Vieilles. Clarity of fruit and good acidity show through. 2010 2010 2010 2009 2009 MACON-FUISSE “BOIS DE LA CROIX” MACON-FUISSE “BOIS DE LA CROIX”– ½ bottle POUILLY-FUISSE “LES SCELES” POUILLY-FUISSE “LES SCELES”– ½ bottle POUILLY-FUISSE NON-FILTRE W W W W W DOMAINE PHILIPPE & GERARD VALETTE. The harvest is in October when the grapes have reached full maturity and elevage is thirty-six months on the fine lees in futs de chêne. the mouth is full with white peaches and comice pears to the fore. Clos de Mr Noly. hints of vanilla from the oak and a fine citrus acidity to provide balance and definition. the Valettes do a huge amount of work amongst the vines to maximise the expression of their terroir. pear and apple and great mouthfeel it will have you checking the label to see if you’re not drinking a more illustrious name! Les Scélés is a real vin de pierre. Elevage is for twenty-six months on the fine lees in tank (20%) and futs de chêne (80%). The Pouilly-Fuissé is an assembly of several different terroirs: Clos Reyssié. Pouilly Pouilly-Fuissé – One of the easiest wines to type on a conventional keyboard The Alternative Wine Glossary Great wines that don’t receive the recognition they deserve.

perhaps? – cloudy cherry-red colour a natural Griotte cherries. Fermentation takes the form of carbonic maceration over a period of ten days (Jules-Chauvet method). as well as cooked cherries and delightfully juggles notes of sandalwood and an aromatic array of red berries (wild cherries). So pure – the terroir of the monastery. The Bourgogne Rouge Auguste the Pinot Fin and under this dorsal is a mouth with the bite of a Great White (or. The Jules Chauvet method is used for semi-carbonic maceration. before taking over the reins from his grandparents in 1999. The wine is left on the lees and aged eleven months. saffron plus a fizzing bright yeasty quality. Les Vignes du Maynes (planted originally in the 10th century) belonged to the monks of the Cluny abbey and subsequently became the property of the powerful Comtes de Montrevel (1557).5 hectares. 2010 2010 SAINT-VERAN “LES MANDELIERS” POUILLY-FUISSE W W . The pressing operation is slow. in this case. the bouquet evolves and notes of citrus fruit and pineapple may be distinguished along with pollen. Grapes for this wine are not destemmed at harvest. Thorough extraction of colouring and aromatic substances of Pinot Noir produces a well-rounded wine with lots of personality. Wow – this makes 95% Burgundy taste flabby. iron filings. carried out on wooden wine presses dating from 1895. the nose releases voluptuous aromas of exotic fruit and white flowers (acacia). The Gamay grapes harvested in Mâcon-Cruzille Rouge yield approximately 38 hl/ha. Its striking colour of pomegranate invites you to discover a nose bursting with red berries and pervaded by notes of macerated blackcurrants. menthol. The Saint-Véran is a very pure style of unoaked Chardonnay with a delicate nose of yellow apples releasing into a beautifully crisp palate with notes of almond-butter and citrus. Initially. Gamay and Chardonnay. Stonefruit. lasting thirteen days. This intense ruby red Burgundy’s nose releases spicy aromas of mango and musk. fruity wine is superbly balanced. It is difficult to describe – liquidised rocks. the vines for the Saint Véran are planted in the commune of Prissé. Monster crunch mark 2. truffle and grilled almond. dear reader. Avoidance of weedkiller and modest yields characterize these authentic wines produced from Pinot Noir. The Bourgogne Rouge is a solid citizen. All wines. the Domaine des Vignes du Maynes comprises about 6. Mâcon – Biodynamic Once upon a time. Today. are left on the lees in oak barrels for eleven months producing wines full of character. wild strawberries. The butter-cream notes of the malo which are more evident when the wine is initially opened become integrated into lovely lemon curd flavours after time.167 - . without chapitalization or the addition of artificial yeast. earth.MACONNAIS & CHALONNAIS Continued… DOMAINE DES VIGNES DU MAYNES. Once it has opened up. I haven’t tasted a Pinot Noir of this mineral intensity for a very long time. regardless of creed or colour. Fast forward a few centuries and Pierre Guillot takes over the domaine and starts practising organic farming and vinification with conviction and dynamism ever since. respecting both the consumer and nature. Its striking appearance may be described as a lovely pale gold. Arnaud studied viticulture and winemaking for four years at Beaune. Saint-Veran – Organic Arnaud Combier’s winery is situated in the village of Pierreclos. He is in the second year of conversion to biodynamic viticulture and works naturally in the winery. On the palate. They grow on a terroir of a clay and limestone mixture. then worked in different vineyards such as Domaine Valette at Chaintré. Great terroir lends the wines their limpidity and intensity in the mouth. 2009 2009 2009 2009 2009 2009 1991 1998 MACON-CRUZILLE BLANC “ARAGONITE” MACON-CRUZILLE BLANC “LES CHASSAGNES” BOURGOGNE ROUGE BOURGOGNE ROUGE “AUGUSTE” MACON-CRUZILLE ROUGE MACON-CRUZILLE ROUGE “MANGANITE” MARC DE BOURGOGNE – 50cl FINE DE BOURGOGNE – 50cl W W R R R R Edv Edv DOMAINE ARNAUD COMBIER. Facing due east. this airy. and Domaine Colbois at Chablis. the vines benefit from the rising sun. Manganite is a greyish soil with a high metallic and crystalline content that militates into the flavour of the wine. From the time the grapes are picked by hand to the time the wines are bottled neither additives nor SO2 are used. Fermentation is in barrels with wild yeast. It is sappy and stony and the acidity is nicely coiled like a cobra about to strike. a Great Red). Aragonite is white Mâcon which undergoes two strict selections. and the vines for the Pouilly-Fuissé are planted in the commune of Fuissé. ALAIN GUILLOT.

vinified in stainless steel. Take the Givry Vieilles Vignes. green harvesting. honeydew and acacia with toasted hazelnut and stunning length. the village of Rully produces distinguished. ripe orchard fruit aromas. This is refined pleasure in a glass: a rich brew of quince. And finally. the Givry Rouge 1er Cru “Grandes Vignes” from the heart of the appellation. has an enticing floral nose.MACONNAIS & CHALONNAIS Continued… DOMAINE PARIZE PERE ET FILS. An aromatic mixture – red fruits such as bilberries and raspberry followed by lavender and fresh mint – enchants the nose. is a wine of great personality and marked minerality. beautiful textured mouthfeel and very long satisfying finish. Worth a sojourn in a carafe to allow the aromatic layers to compose themselves. notes of clove and cigarbox – lovely refinement. Rully Really good Rully – really! Chapitre is a wine of lovely finesse combined with great texture with aromas of acacia honey and cinnamon bread – try with sea bass or rascasse (pardon my assonance). As usual it’s the finical devotion to detail in the vineyard that elevates the wines above the norm: severe pruning. Delicious primary aromas of spiced cherries.168 - . rich buttery nose with notes of cinnamon and clove. Domaine Ponsot was created in 1954 by Lucien Ponsot. grilled veal chop or rabbit fricassée. Rully Just a few miles south of the Côte d’Or. a gorgeous wine that carries its new oak with aplomb. a bonny floral Pinot for drinking young and perhaps lightly chilled. The Givry Blanc “Champ Pourrot”. whilst the Montpalais reaches an extra level with vibrant pears. The three reds demand equal consideration with the whites. The Givry Rouge “Champ Nalot” undergoes maceration and fermentation for 12 days in stainless steel and is then aged in one-year-old oak barrels. clean. The Rabourcé with its intense golden colour with flavours of spicy yellow fruits (pineapple and apricots) and secondary sensations of hazelnuts. The Givry Blanc “Champ Nalot” aged in one-yearold oak comes from rocky terroir with an eastern exposure on steep slopes. almonds and violets. The soil is worked throughout the vegetative cycle and no herbicides are used. berries and rhubarb. Yields are controlled by various measures and vineyard health is maintained by severe debudding and canopy management (Ieaf removal to allow better photosynthesis) After the must has settled it is transferred into barrels for the fermentation (20% of which are new) with regular batonnage for a period of there months. This structured wine would be a fine partner to lobster. lutte raisonnée and selection by hand. oeufs en meurette. 2008/09 2009 RULLY BLANC RULLY BLANC 1er CRU “MONTPALAIS” W W DOMAINE BELLEVILLE. strawberry and liquorice and undertones of menthol. elegant wines. 2010 2010 2010 2009 2009 2008 GIVRY BLANC “CHAMP POURROT” GIVRY BLANC “CHAMP NALOT” GIVRY 1er CRU BLANC “GRANDES VIGNES” GIVRY ROUGE VIEILLES VIGNES GIVRY ROUGE “CHAMP NALOT” GIVRY 1er CRU ROUGE “GRANDES VIGNES” W W W R R R DOMAINE JEAN-BAPTISTE PONSOT. The complexity is premier cru. making the wine fresh in youth and rich with age. A richly perfumed Pinot Noir exhibiting ripe cherry smells. 2008 2009 RULLY BLANC 1er CRU “LE CHAPITRE” RULLY BLANC 1er CRU “RABOURCE” W W . It is then matured for eleven months in barrel and three months in vat before bottling. and green apples sheathed in some sympathetic oak. Lovely silky texture. A fine wine that will grace a table with goose or turkey. Vinified in stainless steel and aged in new oak the frequently garlanded Givry Blanc 1er Cru “Grandes Vignes” could stand comparison with many a Meursault with its golden colour. suggesting definite ageing potential. The mineral rich limestone soil accentuates the grapes natural acidity. scallops or turbot. Givry Every year Gérard and Laurent Parize quicken the heartbeats of the expectant and expectorating Guide Hachette jury with their toothsome offerings. Try with cow’s milk cheese (such as époisses). The extra weight in the wine allows it to tackle feathered game: pheasant and partridge are choice companions. both blanc and rouge. The basic Rully Blanc is crisp and flinty with the engaging citrus fruit flavours. conveys aromatic waxy apples and pears and finishes soft on the palate with a touch of the mineral. minerals. lip-smacking finish.

natural settling of the musts in tank with the juice resting on the fine lees. vibrant cherry fruit. You look for the oak. lacy acidity. custard apple. The Saint-Aubin Rouge is marked with bright acidity.MACONNAIS & CHALONNAIS Continued… DOMAINE EMILE JUILLOT. After fermentation the wine is aged in old oak casks for 12-18 months. Warning! Cool Mercurey rising. set up a triage table to sort the grapes and started cutting down the use of herbicides and phytosanitary treatments. Less extraction (reducing the number of pigeages). This is a model Cote de Beaune wine expressing red flowers (roses. It is a blend of 85% Pinot Noir. elegant. richness and equilibrium. adding only a small amount at bottling for stabilization. buttermilk and citrus. precise and incisive.. 2009 2009 2008 MERCUREY ROUGE “CHATEAU MIPONT” MERCUREY 1er CRU ROUGE “LA CAILLOUTE” MERCUREY 1er CRU ROUGE “LES COMBINS” R R R COTE DE BEAUNE CATHERINE & DOMINIQUE DERAIN. put the grapes into small boxes. The couple never use SO2 during the winemaking process. reducing the pressure. The next development will involve pulling up some vines and replanting to continue to improve quality while at the same time moving towards either organic or biodynamic viticulture. Equal care is taken in vinification in order to preserve the aromatic quality of the wines. instituted a green harvest as necessary. Asian spices and lovely balance. In order to improve the quality of the grapes they started debudding in the spring. rich. This is a silky number that should provide several years of great drinking. hand harvest. lemon curd. complexity and length. cherry-blossom) and then in the mouth cascades of stone fruit supported by lively. There is a silky nature to this Mercurey giving it a supple mouthfeel and a detailed range of raspberry and cherry fruit with a touch of pomegranate. A gem. All the fruit is hand-picked and they destem 90% of their red grapes before fermentation. The thrilling Mercurey from old biodynamically-tended vines (100 years old) reaches an altogether different level. which occurs in wooden vats. you look for the tartness – they are absent– what remains is the wine pure and not so simple. It is all about finding fabulous grapes made in the most natural way possible. absolutely natural. They farm biodynamically.169 - . 15% Pinot Beurrot (related to the Pinot Gris). the “Puligny-manqué” (Saint-Aubon en Vesvau) has a brilliant curve of acidity and embraces so many contradictory notes with its tender quality allied to remarkable driving purity. adapting the length of cuvaison. at once ample. NATHALIE & JEAN-CLAUDE THEULOT. With its aromas of white flowers. do not chaptalize or acidify and use the barest amount of sulphur in their winemaking approach. Since 2004 the estate has adopted une culture raisonnée and further evolved vinification techniques to highlight the improved quality of grapes being harvested in order to achieve harmony. generous and mineral. The watchwords of the domaine are fruity. Mercurey Domaine Emile Juillot has been a work in progress since Nathalie and Jean-Claude Theulot combined forces to completely overhaul practices in the vineyard and the winery. It has lovely spice notes and touch of lavender on the nose. everything in its place… 2010 2007/9 2008 SAINT-AUBIN BLANC « EN VESVAU » MERCUREY ROUGE “LA PLANTE CHASSEY” SAINT-AUBIN ROUGE “LE BAN” W R R . The Saint-Aubin vines are situated on a slope with an eastern exposure and the soil is lime-clay with brown gravel. Saint-Aubin – Biodynamic Dominique and Catherine Derain definitely adopt a minimalist approach.. Striking elegance.

Batonnage is practiced in order to give more aromatic richness to the wine. “C’est un vin gourmand qui révèle dès aujourd’hui une facilité gustative. The acidity is just amazing here. fluid. Several years in bottle will reward patience as you can sense the shimmering nervosity of the wine. It’s very hard to describe this sensation to those accustomed to the heavy and clumsy character of Chardonnay’s made elsewhere in the world. Here again we get the sense that the wine is dancing on the palate. whilst the wood notes lend a depth and sensuality. This red has the ruby clarity characteristic of Saint-Aubin and the well-delineated nose reveals a complex palette of fruit aromas such as redcurrants and cherries.COTE DE BEAUNE Continued… Nose – a term embracing the aroma and bouquet of wine. Savigny-Lès-Beaune The renowned estate of Girard-Vollot split in 1998 and Jean-Jacques Girard took his share of the vines and began to produce perfumed wines with great structure from reduced yields. 2008 2008 2007 2007 2007 SAINT-AUBIN BLANC PULIGNY-MONTRACHET SAINT-AUBIN ROUGE “EN L’EBAUPIN” SAINT-AUBIN 1er CRU ROUGE “LES PERRIERES” CHASSAGNE-MONTRACHET ROUGE « CANIERE » W W R R R . finely textured finish. Ebaupin is a small parcel of thirty-five year old vines situated just above the village of Saint-Aubin on limestone-clay soils. 2008 2008 SAVIGNY-LES-BEAUNE 1er CRU “LES FOURNEAUX” SAVIGNY-LES-BEAUNE 1er CRU “LES SERPENTIERES” R R DOMAINE PATRICK MIOLANE. candied apples and pears. Vinification is in open cuve with the entire harvest destemmed. This charming Pinot would gladly doff its fez at a pot-roast pheasant. a dish assuredly aimed at the chitterling classes. The fermentation begins slowly and naturally and pigeage and remontage take place during the twenty one day cuvaison after which the wine is transferred to futs de chêne for twentyfour months. On the palate it is round. Elegant and lifted the palate is completed by the signature Perrières minerality which raises this wine to a level where it might be confused with some of the finer Burgundies of the region. The micro-climate contributes to the amazing character of the wine. almost twinkling. A strange thought occurs: do wine tasters’ noses evolve to match their speciality? Would a sherry sniffer eventually end up with a beak like a sandpiper. the softness of the fruitness given grip and definition by the refined and delicate tannins. Aubin. is marked by a deep ruby-purple colour and striking fruit aromas. The wine lingers gently in the mouth. and would a burgundy lover’s hooter swell to resemble a big reddish-purple truffle? DOMAINE JEAN-JACQUES GIRARD. The vines for Les Fourneaux are situated on east-facing slopes on limestone-clay soils. ample. The Puligny comes from a parcel of vines planted in the early 1960s on alluvial soils. This Saint-Aubin is dark red. Saint-Aubin This village Puligny shares many of the qualities found in a St. but with more intensity and power. Lutte raisonnée is practised. ideal for poking into a copita. Yellow straw in colour with a nose of hawthorn and holly. Les Serpentières.170 - . The harvest is manual with the grapes transported in small cases to the winery and sorted further on the table de tri. Les Perrières is a parcel of south-east facing vines situated just behind the domaine. Elevage is for 15 months in futs de chêne with around 15% new oak. generous. To preserve maximum freshness and aroma JeanJacques starts the fermentation in stainless steel before transferring the wine into oak barrels. The nose is seductive. Surprisingly open on the palate it oozes silky-spicy red-fruit flavours and has a lingering. and delicate in texture that lingers on the palate for a long finish. This finesse steers our putative food match towards fish such as sandre à la peau croustillante sur une fondue d’échalote et sauce au vin rouge. If that’s a bit too complicated to rustle up in ye olde microwave try it with salmon and a beurre blanc reduction. After the manual harvest and selection the grapes are destemmed and put into a tank cooled down to 8 degrees centigrade.”Get your gustatory kicks as you sup this wine with a fillet of sea bass – which the estate recommends you cook with andouille de Géméné. marked by liquorice and cassis and with a certain animal character that contributes an extra dimension. from 50 year old south-facing vines. After pressing the juice is chilled down for debourbage and undergoes an alcoholic followed by malolactic fermentation. Quite rounded with good concentration of ripe strawberry fruit. They are an average age of 45 years old. Half of the wine is raised in tank and half in futs de chêne of which 20% of new Burgundy barrels.

2009 2008 2009 2009 SAINT-AUBIN BLANC “LA PRINCEE” SAINT-AUBIN BLANC 1er CRU “EN REMILLY” SAINT-AUBIN BLANC 1er CRU “DERRIERE CHEZ EDOUARD ” SAINT-AUBIN ROUGE 1er CRU “DERRIERE CHEZ EDOUARD” W W W R DOMAINE LARUE.6 hectare in size. Ripe fruit and stone layer in a millefeuille on the mid-palate. working the soil. The palate has fresh white peach and is nicely complex and not too heavy. Try this. with silky minerality. manual harvest. Saint-Aubin Situated in the very heart of Saint-Aubin Domaine Larue also produces a particularly fine example of Puligny. took over the winemaking in 1992 and ever since the winery has gone from strength to strength. sea-shelly salinity. There's a sea-spray. Vinification is traditional and the wines are matured in oak casks (20-30% new) for 12 months before minimal filtration and then bottling. Olivier Lamy. Yields are kept low and a recent innovation has been the introduction of selection tables in the cuverie to ensure that only the healthiest and ripest grapes are used. and a kind of delicate lime-zest filigree 2010 BOURGOGNE BLANC “LE PETIT TETU” W . Lovely freshness and cleanness on the palate. The viticulture is exacting: lutte raisonnée. reminiscent of honey with cooked-apples notes. butter and citrus overlaid with hazelnut and pain grillé and the striking palate offers equilibrium between minerality and sweetness. alas. This entails using anti-parasitical treatments that respect the existing fauna and flora – and then only in exceptional circumstances Organic composting takes place to engender healthy soils. peach-kernel and lime-fruited aromas emerging. rather than all 225-litre barriques. St. Plenty of life left in this wine! Ridiculously small quantities. and underscore St. nose of cinnamon.COTE DE BEAUNE Continued… DOMAINE HUBERT LAMY. Jean-Marie Berrux uses only indigenous yeasts and no sulphur at all during vinification. DIDIER & DENIS LARUE. With nice acidity and good. mocha and earth. The Lamys practise lutte raisonnée. It's crisp. It is both intense and delicate with a terrific finish. Hubert’s son. Fermentation is in barrique. except a touch before bottling. He began experimenting with 600-litre tonneaux. En Remilly is a svelte and elegant white wine. Aubin’s mineral character. Liquid crystallised fruits on the nose. has a delicate bouquet with an intimation of oatmeal. a third of which are new and there is a further elevage on the lees with regular batonnage. Limpid colour. Debudding occurs in May to limit the number of grapes on the vine and a green harvest in August ensures that only the best quality grapes will remain to be harvested. Clear pale lemon in colour. this fruity and floral Saint-Aubin. Aubin. the majority of his production is raised in these larger casks. Nestled in the hills between Chassagne and Puligny Montrachet. replete with whipcrack acidity and bedrock mineral. You will like the Meursault-styled earthiness on the finish. coiled Chardonnay. The Garenne vineyard is a mere 0. Saint-Aubin – Organic Hubert Lamy is considered by most to be the benchmark producer in St. this will develop and keep very well. at a fraction of the price. The Saint-Aubin Rouge Derrière Chez Edouard is a mouthful and a mouthful. with medallions of monkfish in a saffron sauce or fricassée de volaille aux morilles. The vineyards are situated on limestone-clay with a south or south-east aspect. belying its name. Today. Aubin – one of Burgundy’s best kept secrets – often produces wines that rival those of its illustrious neighbours and its wines represent exceptional value. if you will. Beaune – Biodynamic This is an original Chardonnay from a biodynamically farmed domaine in Saint-Romain. musk and cherry and mingled flavours of strawberry. from vines over 40 years old. Lamy seeks to make stylish wines that are refined and racy. green harvest. La Princée is bready on the nose with clean. clean length.171 - ." it's dance-inthe-streets delicious right this instant. which means "little stubborn one. But. He feels this protects the purity of the fruit without over-oaking. The alcoholic fermentation takes place for about six months with temperature regulation of the vat and regular topping up without oxygen exchange. Which is to say its a fair ringer for actual Puligny-Montrachet. the mouth. 2009 2008 2007 SAINT-AUBIN BLANC 1er CRU VIEILLES VIGNES PULIGNY-MONTRACHET 1er CRU SOUS LES PUITS PULIGNY-MONTRACHET 1er CRU LA GARENNE W W W JEAN-MARIE BERRUX. crisp. The wine displays classic honey.

“Les Fairendes” is a premier cru vineyard of some twenty-seven acres of 42 year old vines. The complex palate shows a good concentration of tight mineral fruit with some rich nuttiness underneath. the domaine consists of 19 hectares of vineyards. The lowest part of the plot is mostly marl and planted with Pinot Noir. The Buisson family has lived and tended vines here since the 12th century. Volnay and Beaune. traditional vinification with no artificial practices or products used to concentrate flavours. adding prestigious vineyards to the estate: Corton Grand Cru. The silky. They practise green harvesting depending on the vintage. The family began purchasing the vineyard in the late 1920s. Their son Gilles Buisson and his wife. Monica. The vines grow on a deep clay-calcareous soil with some marl and face south near the base of the slope at two hundred metres altitude. quite full. Yields are kept low (mainly by spring de-budding) to concentrate the expression of terroir in the grapes. Only natural wild yeast and bacteria used. Try with brill (whatever happened to brill?) with a white wine sauce or some grilled red mullet.COTE DE BEAUNE Continued… DOMAINE HENRI & GILLES BUISSON. The estate is worked following the sustainable farming philosophy. The grapes for the wine are carefully harvested and sorted. Henri and Marguerite Buisson acquired full ownership of the domaine in the 1950s. took over the domaine from Henri and Marguerite. Yields are a very reasonable 40-45hl/ha with the grapes manually picked in the third week of September. and with a layered depth. based on the Morgeot AOC. minerally lemon fruit. Meursault “Les Chevalières” is from 60 year old vines on marl. harmonious Meursault has well integrated oak aromas richly layering the floral. and earth up during winter. almost racy nose of bright. “Les Blanchots Dessous” lies just underneath “Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet”. apple bouquet with nuances of butter. Today.172 - . the fermentation takes place in barrels (30% new oak) and is subsequently matured for fourteen to sixteen months in barriques depending on the vintage. The Dukes of Burgundy purchased vineyards here in the 1300s. The grapes are hand harvested and there is a further selection on the sorting table. This ripe. Bold aromas of citrus and ripe peach emerge from the glass. Expressive. Pommard. Saint-Romain – Organic The delightful village of Saint-Romain is steeped in the viticultural history of the Côte d’Or. An exciting premier cru that shows a fine arc of fruit and a fascinating. plough the soils. 2009 2007/8 2007/8 2008 2009 2008 2008 2008 CHASSAGNE-MONTRACHET “BLANCHOTS DESSOUS” CHASSAGNE-MONTRACHET 1er CRU “FAIRENDES” CHASSAGNE-MONTRACHET 1er CRU “LES CAILLERETS” CHASSAGNE-MONTRACHET 1er CRU “BLANCHOTS DESSUS” CHASSAGNE-MONTRACHET 1er CRU “DENTS DE CHIENS” CHASSAGNE-MONTRACHET “BLANCHOTS DESSOUS” – magnum CHASSAGNE-MONTRACHET 1er CRU “LES CAILLERETS” – magnum BATARD-MONTRACHET W W W W W W W W . The wine undergoes fining but no filtration. 2009 MEURSAULT “LES CHEVALIERES” W DOMAINE COFFINET-DUVERNAY. mouth-filling texture is tantalizing and very long. The wines undergo long. lingering minerality. They harvest by hand. After the must settles. Very mineral. limestone terroir. Savigny-lès-Beaune. limit the use of chemical products (no herbicides or pesticides). 20% of which are new. A significant plot due to its considerable surface area. with a sense of opulence. After a 50% de-stemming and light crushing the wine ferments on the indigenous yeasts before being matured for twelve months on the lees in French oak barrel. Wines are matured for one year in French oak barrels on their lees. Les Chevalières is pale gold in colour shot through with green flecks. green almond and toasted bread. This is an intense style. the highest part is very rocky on brown limestone and is planted with Chardonnay. Chassagne Domaine Coffinet is a family estate handed down from generation to generation from 1860 in the village of ChassagneMontrachet.

very slightly filtered and bottled. All the grapes for the village wines are hand picked.173 - . At the time farming was polycultural. Now that his parents have retired Sylvain is totally in charge of vineyard operations and also has been developing estate bottling (started twenty years ago). Today his sons Alain and Thierry run the domaine. 2009 2009 2008 PULIGNY-MONTRACHET PULIGNY-MONTRACHET – ½ bottle PULIGNY-MONTRACHET 1er CRU “LES PERRIERES” W W W DOMAINE JEAN JAVILLIER. Terrific purity expressed here from the outset. It took the family almost fifteen years to effectively grasp how to farm and make wine organically although they have been certified since 1976. The Volnay is very pretty. then a pneumatic press is used to aid soft extraction and the wines are clarified in thermoregulated tanks.5 hectares in the famous village of Meursault in the Côte de Beaune. plush and chunky. whilst the 1er cru wines sees 2/3 new oak and 1/3 tank. The Pommard is ripe. The cuvaison is relatively brief about twelve days with natural yeasts. seductive aromas of fresh butter. soft yet rich tannins. 2009 2009 VOLNAY 1ER CRU “CLOS DES CHENES” POMMARD 1 CRU er R R . not only vines but also cereal and cattle. Evoking grace and refinement Bzikot’s village Puligny-Montrachet also has richness and density. After eight to ten months. The Perrières raises the game a notch with its finely-constructed palate and smoky. a vermilion-hued Burgundy with delicate aromas of framboise and mure. The wine is always flattering in its infancy.COTE DE BEAUNE Continued… DOMAINE SYLVAIN BZIKOT. Vineyard work is traditional with an emphasis on lutte raisonnée. they began as “metayer fermier” and subsequently bought a few tiny parcels of land which they planted progressively. once the alcoholic and malolactic fermentations are finished. something unheard of locally in those days. hazelnut and fresh fruits and also a lovely citrus freshness to round off. before developing the classic truffle and sous-bois bouquet. The 13. Puligny Sylvain Bzikot makes wines with real personality. Volnay – Organic Jean Javillier has 7. stony. The minimum number of treatments are used in the vineyard (sulphur for oidium and copper for mildew) and yields are limited to 35-45 hl/ha. The soils are fertilised with compost made up of organic fertilisers – a mixture of horse and cow dung. it would accompany feathered game happily. mineral quality reflected on the nose. He converted to organic farming in 1972. Upbringing for the village Puligny is in 50% new and one year old oak and 50% tank. fined.2 hectare estate was originally created by his grandparents at the beginning of the 1940s. The wines stay in tonneaux or cement tanks for 12-15 months before bottling. the wines are assembled in stainless steel for several months. After a few years working in the fields. on the floral side. They arrived (as Polish immigrants) in Meursault to work in the vineyards as their friends and relations did before them.

It therefore demands refined and delicate dishes which nonetheless possess aromatic power. has always been thought of as the most feminine of burgundies. The colour varies from bright ruby to a light garnet. No insecticides. hands-on viticultural practices which enable them to avoid this strain of rot. The “cuvaison” is fairly long – between 18-21 days – during which the wine is pumped over or has the cap punched down at least twice daily to extract colour.COTE DE BEAUNE Continued… “Don’t drink Burgundy in a boat. It has an immediate appeal which. Honeyed notes are frequently present. lime. pinching of excess secondary shoots. concentration. As it ages. To achieve this goal. de-leafing and keeping yields low allow them to exclude these powerful chemicals from the vineyards. All vineyard work is done with an ultra-light tractor which avoids compacting the soil. to name two – and learned to work both the vines and the wine with care and respect. Its aromas are of violet. its sap.” After pressing. allowing it to breathe and develop naturally. means it can be fully open while still relatively young. just careful. “We feed the soil. When there is a need. only ploughing by traditional methods. Serve between 12° and 14 °C. After pressing.” Bernard. the juice is cooled to 10°C and allowed to settle for 24 hours. Côte de Beaune – Organic Blair Pethel caught the Burgundy bug and moved here permanently with his family in 2003. When young. after qualifying in viticulture and oenology with a year’s course at the famous Lycée Viticole of Beaune.174 - . Well-aerated vines arrived at by pruning long and de-budding severely. BLAIR PETHEL. never the vine”. After a rigorous selection process. Though certain of its terroirs modify this judgment with more vigorous and muscular versions. as would blue cheeses. No weed killers. Both the glass and the palate are filled with its powerful aromas. whose bitterness would be supported by the wine’s forceful minerality. cinnamon. Corton-Charlemagne achieves a perfect balance between its remarkable acidity and its rounded opulence. juniper. It is put in small oak barrels – of which a quarter is new – by gravity. the wine is carefully racked off and assembled for bottling without fining or filtration. the grapes are put in fermenting tanks without pumping. and flint. Poultry or veal in white sauces would also do the wine justice. This aerates the soil.. cherry. The older vintages (25-30 years) reveal leather and truffle. they use only organic compost to add nutrients to our vineyards via the intermediary of the soil.. The wine is matured for 18-20 months. bracken. always sexual confusion pheromones to assure the vines are protected against pests. low-temperature fermentation. citrus fruits. and started making wine in 2004. crayfish. 2007 2006 2006 CORTON-CHARLEMAGNE VOLNAY 1er CRU “LES PITURES” CHARMES-CHAMBERTIN W R R . Rarely do we see such a perfect synthesis between grape variety and “terroir. The attack is fresh. gooseberry. Domaine Dublère farms its vines with absolute respect for the soil and the vine itself which entails no chemical fertilizers. slow. as well as more conventional classics such as good-quality crustaceans (lobster. Black Books DOMAINE DUBLERE. the wine is cooled and allowed to settle for 3-4 days. allowing it to live in the most natural fashion while favouring the development of bacteria that improve the quality of both the soil and the grapes. the finish is warm. power. Corton-Charlemagne is pale gold with green highlights. and its bouquet. in the vineyards owned by others from whom I buy grapes. Volnay. pineapple. and – with age – spices. in the winery and in the cellar”. The must is then put in small oak barrels – of which 50% are new – by gravity for a long. It’s the vinegrower’s job to optimize the vine’s ability to search deep into the soil for the nourishment and minerals which give the wines their innumerable nuances. tannins and aromas. The lies are stirred every 10 days or so until the secondary (malolactic) fermentation is completed. “I bring this attitude to everything I do: my work in my own vineyards. He apprenticed with several top winemakers – Patrice Rion in Premeaux-Prissey and Jean-Marc Pillot in ChassagneMontrachet. then carefully racked off and assembled for bottling unfined and unfiltered. with a fair amount of fine lies to feed the wine during maturation. Corton-Charlemagne is an astonishing demonstration of what the Chardonnay grape is capable of in terms of richness. added to a slight natural precocity. the colour shifts towards yellow or amber. admired for its delicacy. features buttery notes of baked apple. No anti-botrytis treatments. distinction and balance. After maturing for 18-20 months. it truly does stand out among the red wines of the Côte de Beaune like the lipstick imprint of a kiss. The bouquet. delicate in the extreme. game and cooked prune. crab) whose strong but delicate flesh harmonizes with the wine in a spectacular fashion. The natural candidates would include foie gras.

the Savigny is appropriately silky and the Nuits Argillières is beautifully restrained with fine tannins. Beaune Fred Cossard has set up his new winery just outside Saint Romain.COTE DE BEAUNE Continued… FREDERIC COSSARD. He works his seven hectares of vines in various appellations. Saint-Romain – Biodynamic In creating his domaine in 1996 Frédéric Cossard decided to adhere to strict principles. 2007/8 2008 2007/9 2008 2008/9 2009 MEURSAULT “NARVAUX” MEURSAULT 1er CRU “PERRIERES” CHASSAGNE-MONTRACHET 1er CRU “ABBEYE MORGEOT” PULIGNY-MONTRACHET “LES REUCHAUX” VOLNAY BEAUNE 1er CRU ROUGE W W W W R R DOMAINE DE CHASSORNEY. Overall the Bedeau exhibits regal poise and drive. this fluid Pinot sliding vibrantly over the tongue rather than spreading its soft. From low yielding sixty-plus year old vines the Saint-Romain Combe Bazin conveys complexity and harmony between the fruit and minerality. the palate is virtually sliced with a lemony (or liminy) snickersnee of acidity and the merest flicker of vanilla and toasted nut highlights rather than contrasts the edginess of the wine. a probing examination of terroir and the Pinot Noir grape in all its naked beauty. intense. In the cellar long fermentations bring out the depth and subtlety and a minimal sulphur regime preserves the purity of the fruit quite beautifully. The wine is the wine is the wine – there is no filtering or fining. ripe citrus nose with some honeyed richness and notes of patisserie. It is reassuringly pale in colour and aromatically there are suggestions of stonefruit. in a picturesque woodland clearing. apart from a tiny amount of sulphur to keep the wine stable (but still enabling the wine to develop naturally). As well as the domaine wines he also buys in grapes from other small growers and vinifies the wines under his own name. namely respect for the soil and the vine. The palate is lively and sapid. Cossard’s Bourgogne Blanc Bigotes doesn’t pull any punches with its incisively pure fruit. The vinification is equally sensitive with nothing added and nothing taken away. The nose is very fine. This is what natural wine is all about. The reds are characterised by their round red fruit flavours artfully sheathed in oak. Everything is done according to low yields and maximum grape maturity. There’s nothing spare in this wine. The tears of limestone are converted into a tight-corseted. Limpid light gold colour this white Burgundy has a distinctive. ascetic white. FREDERIC COSSARD. perhaps. the fruit complemented and held in check by the stony elegance of the minerality. The Saint-Romain Sous Roche has fine minerality. and the most natural possible expression of the terroir. this wine is a Bigote. Yes. Frederic Cossard is another of those vignerons who work the vines like a sensitive Stakhavonite placing all emphasis on creating a healthy environment for the grapes. almost restrained and yet certainly and pertinently Pinot Noir. 2009 2009 2009 2007/9 2007-9 2007/8 2006-8 BOURGOGNE BLANC “BIGOTES” SAINT-ROMAIN BLANC “COMBE BAZIN” SAINT-ROMAIN “CLOS DU CERISIER” – magnum BOURGOGNE ROUGE “BEDEAU” SAINT-ROMAIN ROUGE “SOUS ROCHE” SAVIGNY-LES-BEAUNE “GOLLARDES” NUITS SAINT-GEORGES 1er CRU ARGILLIERES W W W R R R R . with no added chemicals. flint and red berry and secondary notes of seasoned wood. sweet charms to all corners of the mouth. Purity and quality are the watchwords from the grapes he grows and harvests to the vinification. The Bedeau teases as it pleases.175 - . a young Puligny masquerading as a Bourgogne Blanc.

) Clos Saint-Denis is situated in Morey-Saint-Denis between Clos de la Roche and Clos des Lambrays. Plenty of energy. as Florence Heresztyn increasingly takes the reins. The grapes undergo a prefermentation maceration in stainless steel and concrete for eight days. lacy Chambolle-Musigny. The nose is expansive. clay and stony chalk. We have a range of vintages now for those of you who like to get vertical. The tannins. a terrain that allows the roots of the vines to delve deep for mineral nourishment. Domaine Heresztyn has been one of the consistently fine producers in Gevrey Chambertin. The Gevrey-Chambertin vieilles vignes from 50-year-old parcels planted on deep limestone-clay soils is a firm favourite. It is aged in Allier and Tronçais barrels (40% new) for up to eighteen months. Munster. yielding aromas of strawberry. composed.COTE DE NUITS DOMAINE HERESZTYN. The vineyard is now undergoing conversion to biodynamic viticulture. full of definition. vinosity and concentration here. sloes and bramble not to mention floral notes of violets and jasmine. nevertheless.” These are wonderful glossy precocious wines with eloquent morello cherry and bilberry fruit and a certain stoniness that betokens good ageing potential. A major address these days. pretty. a sustained palate with exquisite finesse and length. This would go well with braised duck in red wine. they have clearly reached another level of quality. As Clive Coates remarks: “Now they are amongst the top in the village: elegant. prunes. remind you that this is a true vin de garde. blackcurrant and violet and the mouth is sensual with pure fruit flavours lingering on the tongue. Heresztyn’s wine is delightful. Gird your best loin of venison or saddle up your meanest hare. while the La Perrière is the more obviously charming with cherry-fruit aromas and harmonious tannins. a point reinforced by the tender fruity palate. could be described as moelleux. The luminous. blackberries. gingerbread. Gevrey-Chambertin “The First Duty of wine is to be Red … the second is to be a Burgundy” An estate founded by a former Polish vineyard worker of Louis Trapet. aromatic.176 - . Gevrey-Chambertin Les Goulots is a premier cru parcel located on limestone-rich soils on the border of a forest. Undergoing a similar upbringing to the other wines it is marked by strong mineral flavours and a certain vivacity. musk) hints at a Grand Cru with nuance rather than sheer power. The Morey-SaintDenis 1er cru Les Millandes is one of the best we have tasted. One to age and to drink with guinea fowl with cabbage. then a further five days alcoholic fermentation before being aged in futs de chêne for sixteen months. The vineyard is planted on Liassic and Triassic limestone. Both the soil and the vineyard are worked to ensure high quality fruit: leaf-thinning. rabbit in mustard sauce and cheese (Epoisses. from two lieux-dits (aux Echanges and aux Badoits) and 65-year-old low-yielding parcels. full of fruit. From 65-year-old vines and low yields (37hl/ha) this vivid ruby-red wine has a stunning bouquet of myrtle. the subtle weaving of fragrances (black fruits. Livarot etc. 2007 2007 2006 2004/5 2007 2007/8 2000-7 2004-6 BOURGOGNE PINOT NOIR CHAMBOLLE MUSIGNY GEVREY-CHAMBERTIN EN BILLARD VIEILLES VIGNES GEVREY-CHAMBERTIN 1er CRU “LES CHAMPONNETS” GEVREY-CHAMBERTIN 1er CRU “LES GOULOTS” GEVREY-CHAMBERTIN 1er CRU “LA PERRIERE” MOREY SAINT-DENIS 1er CRU “LES MILLANDES” CLOS ST DENIS GRAND CRU R R R R R R R R . navarin of spring lamb and cheese such as Brillat-Savarin and Citeaux. However. a terroir that confers elegance and fruit. The Bourgogne Pinot Noir comes from vines grown on sand. green harvesting and lutte raisonnée. The 2001 and 2002s are rich and forward and an hour or two in a carafe eases out spectacular violet aromas and warm toasty fruit. oozing finesse.

average age of each parcel of 45 years. respecting nature by trying to understand its processes. As far as he is concerned he is a scientist and an artist. Today Philippe Pacalet works seven hectares of rented vineyards.177 - . He studied and majored in organic viticulture and in natural wine-making. In 2001 he became a négociant-vigneron in Gevrey-Chambertin. where organic work is done and focuses on making “terroir” wines. thus having also more choice to choose among what he considered the best suited terroirs and vineyards in the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits for the type of wines he wanted to make. Thus the wine-making follows a non-interventionist code as it is conducted without sulphites. The Gevrey-Chambertin is from limestone-rich. which means that all wines should be representative of their individual location and retain their own unique flavour signature. Pacalet says he makes wine like his grandfather did.COTE DE NUITS Continued… PHILIPPE PACALET. using the stems of the grapes. Biodynamics is good for grape juice but not wine. rose. characterised by monkish austerity and restraint! Tasting across the range of the reds you will discern some common features. he simply jettisoned the notion of ownership when he started his activity several years ago and decided to rely exclusively on rented vineyards to make his wines. orientation. (His other mentor is Marcel Lapierre). they share this luminous purity and are beautifully aromatic as well as being light and graceful. His wines were soon remarked for their aromatic purity. organically farmed vines and aged for sixteen months on the lees. It is fresh. elegant and rich with seductive fragrances reminiscent of amber. The 1er Cru Bel Air has greater roundness and depth and an almost salty edge. fragrant and mineral with musky red and black fruits. mignonette and fur. 3) The problem with biodynamics is its founder Steiner. Please write a 500 word essay on each of the following topics using only one side of the page at a time. Pacalet is wont to describe some of his wines as “Cistercian”. Terrific length. with natural yeasts during fermentation (which takes place in wooden vat for three to four weeks) and finally matured in (mainly used) barrels on the lees without racking. Burg-yumdy! Some random Philippe-isms culled from Alice Feiring’s Wine Blog. Fermented compost transforms the soil just as fermented grape juice transforms man. fermenting compost was the key. 2008 2008 2008 2007 2007/8 2008 2008 2007/8 2007/8 2007/8 PULIGNY-MONTRACHET GEVREY-CHAMBERTIN GEVREY-CHAMBERTIN 1er CRU “BEL AIR” GEVREY-CHAMBERTIN 1er CRU “BEL AIR” – magnum GEVEY-CHAMBERTIN 1er CRU “LES PERRIERES” GEVREY-CHAMBERTIN 1er CRU “LAVAUX SAINT-JACQUES” CHAMBOLLE-MUSIGNY CHAMBOLLE-MUSIGNY 1er CRU CHARMES-CHAMBERTIN RUCHOTTES-CHAMBERTIN W R R R R R R R R R . The Chambolle-Musigny 1er cru is a delight and ticks all the boxes one might expect from this appellation being generous. so I’m afraid it’s bottle allocation only) has fine mineral precision and exotic notes of wild flowers. The selection of parcels was originally guided by several criteria: the use of Pinot Fin (a qualitative plant giving small yields). 2) You cannot talk about terroir if you use yeast. You cannot talk about terroir if you use new oak. proving that there were other ways than inheritance or considerable wealth to be a successful independent winemaker in Burgundy. He is a graduate in oenology specialising in natural yeasts and collaborated with Jules Chauvet in his research on the ecology of indigenous yeasts of various terroirs. red berries and sandalwood. In the face of astronomic real estate prices for vineyards in Burgundy. Gevrey – Organic Philippe Pacalet was born to a wine producer’s family. violet. Fermentation is transformation. rarely tannic. identifying how best to liberate those raw materials that great terroir confers. You cannot make a terroir wine when you mix grapes. and never buried in new oak. but with “more consciousness”. Steiner didn’t drink. exposition and quality of the viticultural work. I was reading a 12th century book on compost and it talks of preparing the earth of a deforested section of the woods for grape growing and warm. The Ruchottes-Chambertin (total production 900 bottles.

One of the key elements in this search for natural equilibrium is compost produced from vine clippings. a period of time during which the wine is neither filtered off the lees nor clarified. This ambition extends equally to the upbringing of the wine in the cellar. As Henry-Frederic Roch emphasizes: “Jamais. one of the great personalities of Burgundy.COTE DE NUITS Continued… DOMAINE PRIEURE-ROCH. On their arrival at the winery the grapes are examined again before being put into the vat. The area between the vines is ploughed. HENRY-FREDERIC ROCH. Pride of place goes to two Grand Crus: Clos de Vougeot and Clos de Bèze and two monopoles – Clos des Corvées in Nuits-Saint-Georges and Clos Goillotte in Vosne-Romanée. in the traditional manner. the wines begins natural malolactic fermentation. Espousing the rhythms of nature the natural cycle of work sees a succession of about twenty interventions. During the vintage particular care is taken in only selecting the ripest and healthiest grapes. It is triggered spontaneously by the indigenous yeasts found on the grape skins. We feel that these are truly some of the greatest red wines to be found in Burgundy.178 - . using a horse. where the savoir-faire of the winemakers allows the wine to fully express nature. wherein “reasoned” yields are a gauge of the vitality of the Pinot Noir and the overall excellence of the wine. The domaine covers 10 hectares in the Côtes de Nuits on limestone soils favouring the production of great Pinot Noir. unbroken and without the addition of sulphur. complete. He always had a firm conviction about the importance of adhering to an organic culture. grape marc and a special treatment of cow manure. nous n’oublions que le vin est vivant et que rien n’est eper dans la pierre”. Nuits-Saint-Georges – Biodynamic Inspired by his grandfather Henry Leroy. a healthy combination which permits the cultivation of proper vine immunity and helps guarantee the expression of the personality of the terroir. After this phase of vinification which sees the extraction the aromas and tannins from the skins comes the elevage. The alcoholic fermentation takes place at the same time as the maceration. Henry-Frederic Roch launched into his grand adventure at the age of twenty-six. Put in futs de chêne in the cellar to begin a three to four week cuvaison. Founded on respect for traditional methods it excludes chemical enrichments or curative treatments. 2001 2001 2001 2000 2000 2000 VOSNE-ROMANEE 1er CRU “LES SUCHOTS” – magnum VOSNE-ROMANEE “LE CLOS GOILLOTTE” VOSNE-ROMANEE “LE CLOS GOILLOTTE” – magnum VOSNE-ROMANEE “LE CLOS GOILLOTTE” VOSNE-ROMANEE “LE CLOS GOILLOTTE” – magnum NUITS-SAINT-GEORGES 1er CRU “CLOS DES CORVEES” – magnum R R R R R R . malgré nos soins réguliers. Viticulture is completely organic at Domaine Prieuré-Roch.

old-fashioned Pinot Noir. Fermentation temperatures are set at 28 degrees to attain the required extraction with three pigeages per day. Having planted clones and been unsatisfied. 2004 1993 VOSNE ROMANEE 1er CRU “LES SUCHOTS” VOSNE ROMANEE 1er CRU “LES SUCHOTS R R . tasting history Al Stewart – Down In The Cellar DOMAINE CONFURON-COTETIDOT. If you enjoy raunchy. JEROME Three Men in a Boat Getting wine from this uncompromising so-and-so is like trying to strangle jelly but twas ever thus when you seek the holy grail of great Burgundy. immersing himself up to the neck in the vat amidst the dangerously heady fumes. Confuron is a fanatic for pigeage. And all that he said All of us there were tasting history And all through the night In glass-filtered light. Vosne-Romanee … the odour of Burgundy. They are cooled and sulphured. (Confuron. is a disciple of the Guy Accad method. and selects his own plants for grafting. bag these while stocks last! The vineyards contain a large proportion of old vines and are run ecologically with many steps taken to reduce yields. so expect the wines to have lots of colour and great keeping potential. and the sight of clean napkins and long loaves. by the way. Confuron is opposed to them. The net result of this is the high extraction of anthocyanins. knocked as a very welcome visitor at the door of our inner man. Grapes are harvested fully ripe.COTE DE NUITS Continued… Her Dad still opens Chambertin As the candle burns away It was the favourite of Napoleon That’s what he liked to say. and the smell of French sauces.179 - . are not destemmed but vatted in whole bunches. JEROME K. the heart of which involves a long cold maceration period before fermentation).

otherwise consume it à la Bart with a short side order of your shorts. Dense and spicy it issues forth promises of raspberries. The 2000 baby Bourgogne Rouge encapsulates of the virtues of mature Pinot with its fascinating bouquet of preserved berry fruits. Fruity and forward it conveys a delicious fruit medley of morello cherries. The Chassagne-Montrachet.COTE DE NUITS Continued… Burgundy was the winiest wine. The Bonnes-Mares. the soul and greatest common measure of all the kindly wines of the earth. reveals earthy notes of grilled mushroom and dried spice. grippy tannins and lingering acidity. 1995 1993 2007 1997 1995 1992 1978/92 1969 MEURSAULT 1er CRU “PORUZOTS” CHASSAGNE-MONTRACHET BLANC 1er CRU “LES CHAUMEES” BOURGOGNE ROUGE BEAUNE-GREVES 1er CRU SANTENAY ROUGE 1er CRU “LES GRAVIERES” LATRICIERES-CHAMBERTIN VOLNAY 1er CRU “SANTENOTS” CHAMBOLLE-MUSIGNY W W R R R R R R . mushroom and sweetcure bacon. straw and hay aspects interspersed with spices. a healthy Marsannay with sweet currant. Medium-bodied and intense with red and black fruits. DOMAINE BART. Warm honey and yoghurt flecked with toasted almond. Beaune Straight from the Remoissenet cellars deep under the streets of Beaune. and typical wine. is a grand wine revealing ripe aromas of brown spice. Light ruby-hued with amber at the rim. mint. exotic spice. the central. game birds. On the mid-palate there are more stone. more mature still. Clive Coates. black cherry and saturated plum fruit. The Santenay Gravières is youthful with bright cherrystone fruit and surprising minerality whilst the Latricières-Chambertin is a classic vin de garde revealing dense red fruit flavours. conveys also notes of cinnamon.180 - . 2009 2009 2008 1998 MARSANNAY ROUGE “LES FINOTTES” MARSANNAY ROUGE “LES CHAMPS SALOMON” SANTENAY ROUGE “EN BIEVAU” BONNES-MARES R R R R REMOISSENET PERE ET FILS. lovely concentration throughout. smoke. farmyard aromas and red flowers – rich. the nose is intense with cherries and musk leading to pervasive secondary aromas of almond. no one’s going Catholic. in his article on Best-Value Red Burgundy Producers mentions Marsannay as the source for good medium-structured. The Meursault Poruzots displays aromas of yogurt and honey with dried fig flavours dominant on the palate. strawberries and rhubarb with a bit of pruney development. Les Champs Salomon. The Santenay Beaurepaire is a glorious old white Burgundy – mature yet still twinkling. I’m starving! Mom. from average age 40 year old vines and matured in new oak barrels and bottled without filtration or fining. Age becomes the white Burgundies as well. leather. complex and multilayered. A treat. Starting with Marsannay Les Finottes we have an engaging little wine that “plays the flute rather than the trumpet” as the saying goes. essential. a touch of leather and the familiar humus. menthol and earth. Try with Charollais beef. Three children are enough. It’s good to show some Burgundies from these vintages. thank you. a Grand Cru with the bones to last. beautifully woody flavours gently easing into notes of truffle. Long finish. rich stews. can we go Catholic so we can get communion wafers and booze? Marge: No. caraway and sousbois. The 1978 was a fine vintage for red Burgundy and the Volnay Santenots does not disappoint. ginger and candied oranges. a selection of aged wines. unextracted Pinot Noir and cites Bart as one of the growers to look out for. The Santenay Clos de Tavannes reveals a lovely developed bouquet of herbs. Marsannay Bart: Oh. spicy vanilla. truffle and forest floor. spice and hints of undergrowth.

sublime.181 - . The Three Musketeers (1993) . CHAMPAGNE JEAN-PAUL DEVILLE. Porthos: You’re right – something red. If you don’t buy Philipponnat. it makes you feel good while drinking it. The vintage 2002 is for those who like their champagne as snug as a bug in a bottle of Krug. NV NV NV NV NV NV 2002 NV JEAN-PAUL DEVILLE CARTE NOIRE NV JEAN-PAUL DEVILLE CARTE D’OR NV JEAN-PAUL DEVILLE CARTE D’OR – ½ bottle JEAN-PAUL DEVILLE CUVEE SELECTION – magnum JEAN-PAUL DEVILLE CUVEE SELECTION – jeroboam JEAN-PAUL DEVILLE BLANC DE BLANCS JEAN-PAUL DEVILLE VINTAGE BRUT JEAN-PAUL DEVILLE TRADITION ROSE Sp Sp Sp Sp Sp Sp Sp Sp/P CHAMPAGNE LAURENT PERRIER NV NV LAURENT PERRIER BRUT LAURENT PERRIER ROSE Sp Sp/P CHAMPAGNE DEMARNE-FRISON. Ruinart or Jean-Paul Deville then at least purchase decent champagne and don’t be seduced by the ephemeral promise of the emperor’s new bubbles. Ville-sur-Arce – Biodynamic NV GOUSTAN BRUT NATURE Sp [The three musketeers and D’Artagnan are escaping from the Cardinal’s men in his own coach] Porthos: Champagne? Athos: We’re in the middle of a chase. What is in the bottle should matter more than the label and its attestation of provenance. We should discard the security blanket of branding – that way madness. good balance.CHAMPAGNE Come quickly – I am tasting stars! Dom Perignon (wouldn’t it be great if he really said that?) Garçon! A bottle of your second cheapest champagne! – Homer (Simpson) BETTER THE DEVILLE YOU KNOW Notice to all customers. premier division fruit. in our ever so ‘umble. badness and Liebfraumilch lies – and search vigorously for examples made with craft and care. As Aldous Huxley described it: “The taste of an apple peeled with a steel knife”. is. but there is a cultural conservatism which not only allows. Battery acid containing bubbles is not worth listing as house champagne. Several of the grande marques have released charmless and green wines in the last few years – presumably to cash in on extra demand. Philipponnat. and you know. Porthos. with an assured quality. That may sound trite. Spend a little extra and feel a lot better. but also actively conspires with the con tricks that go on in the name of brand recognition. Reims Champagne Nomenclatura A good mousse – bubbles the size of tennis balls A fine mousse – bubbles the size of ping pong balls Gentle mousse – one bubble the size of a football A Nice Moose – a bubbling caribou who’ll stand you a bloody good glass of champagne Lush wines with a relatively high proportion of Pinot Noir. people don’t say this often enough.

The Réserve Rosée is made according to the traditional Champagne method. Pinot Noir grapes predominate in the blends (except for the Grand Blanc) giving its wines their full body. pear. wild cherries) and displays a charming vibrancy. low-yielding on these shallow soils. Up to thirty per cent of the wine is made in old oak barrels and malolactic fermentation is deliberately suppressed – which helps to explain why such a relatively old wine tastes so fresh. Chouilly. Thus. usually ripen a full week ahead of neighbouring vines (yet another reminder that there is no essential virtue in late picking). as with other great champagne houses.182 - . which is truly unique in the Champagne region. From this site. Philipponnat is one of the main owners of grand and premier cru vineyards. Mutigny and Ay and each have traditional and symbolic names: Les Remissones. The vines are located in the villages of Mareuil. This was formerly a NV blend. Mareuil-sur-Ay The Philipponnat family has been based in the Champagne region since the 17th century. biscuit. located at the edge of the village. dating back several generations. overlooking the Marne river. After establishing themselves as vineyard owners. it has been able to create a consistency of style and of quality across the range of its wines from the house style of the Royale Réserve Brut to the Clos des Goisses. It also tastes extremely dense and interesting. Oger. and yellow apple to bloom from the glass. entirely on southward-facing slopes. Philipponnat produces an exceptional wine. The intense 1999 unveils a nose of firm pears amidst a background of toasty aromas (almost cocoa bean) whilst concentrated citrus forms the backbone for other flavours of toast. Pierre purchased Clos des Goisses. all walled in and bathed in sunshine. with vintners located in the best crus of the Côte des Blancs region. The grape blend is about two-thirds Pinot Noir to one third Chardonnay. The Grand Blanc is a”tête de cuvée” of the famous Côte de Blancs crus: Avize. In the mouth the wine is smooth and well-structured with a flicker of lime on the attack unfolding into a richer palate of red fruits and apples. the Philipponnats started elaborating champagnes in the middle of the nineteenth century. Pale gold with fine persistent mousse it reveals aromas of citrus and red fruits and notes of delicately yeasty fresh bread. very steep. .CHAMPAGNE Continued… CHAMPAGNE PHILIPPONNAT. Named to commemorate the date that the Philipponnat family first owned vineyards in Champagne. pure chalk slope facing south above the river Marne in Mareuil-sur-Ay on the southern flank of the Montagne de Reims. when Pierre Philipponnat registered his coat of arms – chequered in gold and red – still the emblem of the house to this day. This coppery fizz expresses red fruits (raspberries.5 hectares of exceptional vines. etc. A delicious. Vertus. but starting with the 2000 vintage. On this unique site. Clos des Goisses proper includes 5. Auguste and Pierre Philipponnat created the champagne house and acquired historical cellars dating back to the 18th century in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ. From atop the vineyards. This has a big and bold nose full of spicy meaty citrus and red tinged pears yet the palate is full of verve and energy with clean citrus and a stunning dose of minerality. Cramant. work is still carried out by hand. producing very mature grapes. Cuivron. with clear terroir-driven mineral character and certain creaminess as well.5 deg C higher than in the surrounding area. Philipponnat relies on this historical strength and on these rich assets and supplements its grape supplies through close partnerships. at a place called Le Gruguet. Their history dates effectively back to 28th July 1697. The Royal Réserve comprises Pinot Noir mixed with Chardonnay and a small proportion of Pinot Meunier. In 1910. The temperature here is generally 1. In 1935. brioche and citrus.5 hectares of walled. he was able to reconstitute this exceptional vineyard entirely made up of hillsides facing southward – unparalleled in the Champagne region. the Marne Valley and the Montagne de Reims region. the grapes in this cuvée come from various Grand Cru vineyards that Philipponnat owns and sources. Avenay. it now bears a vintage date. and the vines. The Clos des Goisses originates from just 5. The 1522 wines are the tête de cuvées of Philipponnat’s house style. Buisson Saint Loup. which had previously been owned by several vintners. delicate and floral wine with sustained notes of almond blossom. Grauves with a touch of Trépail. rounded flavour and distinctive structure. classical champagne to which has been added a small quantity of Coteaux Champenois red wine from the Philipponnat vineyards. Cuvée du Clos des Goisses. It is the culmination of blending twenty five different crus from diverse areas of the Champagne region and from several vintage years. and workers use small foot-ladders to reach the various plots. By so doing. with its 17-hectare vineyard holding comprising mainly Pinot Noir grapes. you can see all of the wine-producing regions of Champagne: a prospect of great beauty – and great money – right up to the distant horizon. La Bauve.

Tolerance is 58% Pinot Meunier. far better thing they do than they have ever done before… NV NV NV NV NV NV NV 2003 2004 2002 2001 2002 1999 ROYALE RESERVE BRUT ROYALE RESERVE BRUT – ½ bottle ROYALE RESERVE BRUT – magnum ROYALE RESERVE N. with high-toned mineral accented aromas of wild strawberry. he works biodynamically. Vallée de la Marne – Biodynamic Franck Pascal farms four hectares of vineyards in the Vallée de la Marne. Let ‘em tumble I say: it is a far.Penetrating blood orange and red fruit flavours are impressively lively and the mineral focus keeps them long in the mouth.CHAMPAGNE Continued… Sepia tinted photo of Clos des Goisses plunging towards the Marne canal. The south facing slope that is so steep that nets must be put up during harvest time to catch the workers who lose their footing and tumble down the slope. cherry and rose. His vineyards are mostly planted to Pinot Meunier on clay soil with small portions of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. which is extremely unusual in Champagne. “Sagesse” is almost 60% Meunier and is fermented in stainless steel with 20% wood. It is orange-pink. (NON DOSE) RESERVE ROSE BRUT RESERVE ROSE BRUT – ½ bottle RESERVE ROSE BRUT – magnum RESERVE MILLESIMEE BRUT GRAND BLANC CUVEE 1522 CLOS DES GOISSES CLOS DES GOISSES CLOS DES GOISSES – magnum Sp Sp Sp Sp Sp/P Sp/P Sp/P Sp Sp Sp Sp Sp Sp Older vintages may be available on request. The wine is quite dry but not austere and is an elegant example of the style. NV NV 2004 SAGESSE BRUT NATURE ROSE TOLERANCE QUINTE ESSENCE BRUT Sp Sp/P Sp .D. with exotic spice and herb nuances that open up in the glass. fleshy fruits and rocks on the nose. 39% Pinot Noir and 3% Chardonnay.183 - . This is a gentle and pretty style of Pinot Meunier based Champagne that offers white. CHAMPAGNE FRANCK PASCAL.

The grapes are pressed with a 4000 kg pneumatic press to give a refined. Vinification is with natural yeasts whilst alcoholic and malolactic fermentations are carried out in small oak barrels used six times previously. biscuit and malt. Rosé Saignée Brut Nature is 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Pinot Meunier from 40 year old vines in the Marne valley (the oldest vines in the estate). pearskin with mineral lick and a warm savoury note too on the finish with toasted hazelnut shavings. including top ranking «Grand Cru» on the hillside of the Marne Valley and “Montagne de Reims. cow manure and guano and working proactively in the vineyard removing leaves to aerate the canopy and discarding unripe grapes. fresh and supple. long-lasting impressions. whilst the palate is frank with integrated fruits. Great length and finesse. a little lifted citrus. every 10 to 12 days. Fermentation is with natural yeasts. The nose bequeaths fantastic terroir aromas – flint and chalk conjoined. Harvest is manual and as late as possible to ensure optimal ripeness and maximum of aromas so that the addition of sugar isn’t necessary. Les Rachais is pure Chardonnay on flint bearing chalk soils from 40 year old plus vines. the saline minerality provides the core and the secondary aromas of mushrooms. depending upon the character of the vintage. it has a delicate effervescence with tiny bubbles. Batonnage is practised. Since January one of the vineyards has been converted to biodynamie and grapes from here are vinified separately. the nose is expressive with blossoming elegant fruit. one of the champagnes that remind you of stellar white Burgundy. Whether or not malolactic fermentation takes place. This wine just gets better and better in the glass and is. vinous creamy palate with watermelon. yeasty (baked bread) and biscuity. The Boulard family have been tending their vines for five generations. Delicate red berry fruit aromas. Deep ploughing is done every year after the harvest. The vineyards are on the Massif de Saint-Thierry. since 1792. the addition of a little Chardonnay bringing a little extra elegance and lift. and traditional – in oak barrels for 10 to 15% of the aged “reserve” wines. The wine spends approx 40 months on the lees before disgorgement. predominantly a single vintage with a little reserve. Hint of hawthorn berry. Harvest is manual with severe selection. lightly toasted nuts and seasoned wood fill the mouth with rich. “Late” harvesting to obtain optimum ripeness. The saignée is made by the wine being in contact with the skins for a short period of time to extract colour. Vinification is classic – in small 50 to 100 hectolitre stainless steel vats. delicate and precise choice of juice. redcurrant and raspberry predominant and a little shortbread biscuit character. depends on the vintage and cuvée.” Boulard has established a reputation for vine-growing which respects the environment. Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. they farm land in seven villages producing the three classic Champagne grape varieties. The wine develops in the glass – as all great wines do – here some savoury notes. From the Grand Cru of Mailly-Champagne this is a blend of Pinot Noir (90%) and Chardonnay (10%) from twenty years old vines on chalky-clay soils. balanced. The acidity is exquisite. Les Rachais is stunning. using organic manures made from tree bark. Lovely to taste a rosé without clunking dosage and one which is structured without being heavy.184 - . with colour only secondary. Delicate salmon-pink with orange tints. a naturally raised alcohol level and to let the aromas blossom. to the north-east of the Montagne de Reims.CHAMPAGNE Continued… CHAMPAGNE FRANCIS BOULARD – Organic Champagne Francis Boulard lies In the heart of the Champagne region between Reims and Epernay. Les Rachais is neither fined not filtered and bottled on a “fruit day” Extra-Brut with a dosage of 2g/litre. Being a Brut Nature it has a dry crunchy finish. Francis prefers extraction based on aroma and flavour as the primary consideration. Hence the colour will vary from year to year depending on the vintage. lively and refreshing. of course. Harvesting is on a “fruit day” (according to the lunar calendar used in the old days by gardeners and also by adherent of biodynamic methods). a food wine. Today. This wine has plenty of Pinot structure and mineral drive. Very aromatic notes of sun-dried fruits. NV NV NV 2005 ROSE SAIGNEE BRUT NATURE GRAND MAILLY BRUT NATURE PETRAEA MMVI BRUT NATURE LES RACHAIS Sp/P Sp Sp Sp . Golden in colour with that fleeting green Chardonnay tint. to be paired with roast turbot or lobster with a butter sauce. Pinot Noir. The colour is bright. The palate reflects these myriad flavours. and to what degree. a brilliant deep straw gold.

Have a small sherry at your local inn. Seal each rear with time-delay window putty. citrus fruits and dried fruits. fine and delicate sensation on the palate. A blend of 40% Chardonnay and 60% Pinot Noir (of which 25% is reserve wine) it has a golden yellow colour with a beautiful brilliance. Made in the pure Ruinart tradition exclusively from the Chardonnay grape.185 - . greets you followed by a very supple. apricot and cherry-plum dominate a pleasingly long finish. Notes of fresh almonds. A finish suggestive of fresh citrus fruit notes and coffee. and supple wine with notes of morello cherry. Shake the bottle vigorously and then uncork it. Ruinart Blanc de Blancs reflects perfect harmony. The clear glass bottle. Notes of nectarine. It has a fabulous orange colour with a copperish tinge veering towards the colour of cognac and exhibits beautiful clarity and striking brilliance. An intense nose with notes of fresh citrus fruit. Vigorous and rich with a well-balanced palate this is a fine. Suave. smooth. Good vinosity. Orange-yellow. Now retire to a safe distance before the whole thing blows. elegance and savoir-faire. Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs is100% Grand Cru Chardonnay. round and harmonious palate. mango and passion fruit. Virginia tobacco and tanned leather. rose petal in colour it shows a subtle fruity nose: small red berries such as redcurrant and blackberry. The Ruinart Vintage is a blend of 47% Chardonnay and 53% Premier Cru Pinot Noir.CHAMPAGNE RECIPE Champagne Cocktails 4 cockerels 1 bottle Krug champagne Continued… Nail the cockerels to your worktops. Most recent in a line of blends from chardonnay grapes. tobacco and spices. Immediately thrust the foaming neck of the bottle up the rear of each cockerel in turn. A wine to drink throughout the meal. toasted brioche. The initial nose is dominated by hints of soft and cooked fruits. A fine. as with all Ruinart champagnes. A beautiful. a replica from an 18th Century model. Exotic fruits. A great wine. a very beady mousse with fine bubbles. this harmonious wine will envelop palates with its warm fruity flavours. The light and very delicate nose develops in the glass hinting at exotic citrus fruits with slight trace of brioche and yellow fruits such as peach. “R” de Ruinart is a fine introduction to this classic range of champagnes. a delicate fresh and fruity nose showing notes of white fruits (mainly pear) and a harmonious. lively and vivacious palate. ensuring that they are facing the wall. It reveals a pale golden yellow colour with a fine sustained mousse forming a beautiful stream of beads around the glass. Ruinart Rosé. fresh and delicate nose with a beautiful intensity. John Henry Dixon – How To Peel An Otter CHAMPAGNE RUINART In the champagne world where quantity precedes quality Ruinart stands for exclusiveness. further enhances its striking luminosity. The actual blend is 45 % Premier Cru Chardonnay and 55 % Premier Cru Pinot Noir. 85% Grand Cru Chardonnay and 15% Grand Cru Pinot Noir makes up the blend for the Dom Ruinart Rosé. mainly lime. NV NV NV NV NV NV NV NV NV 1998 1998 1996 “R” DE RUINART “R” DE RUINART – ½ bottle “R” DE RUINART – magnum RUINART BLANC DE BLANCS RUINART BLANC DE BLANCS – ½ bottle RUINART BLANC DE BLANCS – magnum RUINART ROSE RUINART ROSE – ½ bottle RUINART ROSE – magnum RUINART VINTAGE DOM RUINART BLANC DE BLANCS DOM RUINART ROSE Sp Sp Sp Sp Sp Sp Sp/P Sp/P Sp/P Sp Sp Sp/P . Those rich and complex aromas on the nose are confirmed in the mouth with a perfect balance between fruit. is made with a high proportion of Chardonnay giving great finesse and elegance. followed by smoky notes. A blend of 100% Premier Cru Chardonnay from different years it has a very beautiful pale golden yellow colour with beautiful luminosity and striking brilliance. delicate this Blanc de Blancs describes the word finesse. full and well-balanced with aromas of ripe fruits (greengage).

The tradition says that it takes one hundred years for the trees to grow. Bordelet often serves it with pan-fried scallops. one hundred years to produce the fruit and one hundred years to die. pressing and settling. the same as with older wines. ERIC BORDELET. Domfront and Rouge Vigny make up the perry brigade. Connerie. gassy drinks that masquerade under the cider label. The biodynamically farmed orchards – covering roughly nineteen hectares – are situated in southern Normandy where the Domfrontais extends between the boundaries of the Mayenne and the Orne. whilst fifteen or so varieties of pears such as Autricotin. former sommelier at Paris’s three-star Arpège restaurant. With an Ecocert certification for organic farming and a scrupulous and scrumpy-tious attention to detail Eric Bordelet makes wonderful natural products that are far removed from the denatured.186 - . The land is composed of schists and sedimentary rocks dating back to the pre-Cambrian period three million years ago. a natural product of character and thirst-quenching ability. artisan style of cider. Those used include the poetically named Douce Moene.5% – 75cl SYDRE ARGELETTE – 4% – 75cl POIRE GRANIT – 3. with sufficient length and aroma to match with creamy dishes or spice-inflected ones as well as cheeses or vanilla-based desserts. And so Eric refurbished his family’s ancestral orchards and ciderworks and would use his knowledge of viticulture to push for the highest level of quality. they brush The descending blue. Marie Menard. with the Granit and Argelette able to go to ten years to develop superb complexity of flavour. De Cloche. almost vinous and mouth-filling. giving the cider more structure rather than more juice. “Swift. dim” as Hopkins wrote – could be a tasting note for a cider. that blue is all in a rush With richness. slow.5% – 75cl CIDER CIDER PERRY . The branches of the trees are pulled down and tied to restrict the sap which makes the small fruit work harder. It was Didier Dagueneau who convinced Eric Bordelet.CIDER The glassy peartree leaves and blooms. concentrated flavour. Petit Fauset. Tete de Brebie. Spring – Gerard Manley Hopkins CHATEAU DE HAUTEVILLE. Sang de boeuf. Rambaud. Bordelet says that the impression of sweetness improves with age. pip hooray!” 2009 2009 2010 SYDRE BRUT – 5. The Poiré Granit is the sublime expression of fruit from ancient trees. The natural traditional fermentation takes place in vat or barrel and in bottle over weeks and months according to the amount of residual sugar in the respective cuvées and therefore without the addition of any sugar (chaptalisation). His classic ciders can age for five to seven years. now measuring over twenty metres. Charchigne – Biodynamic You will not adam and eve these apples and pears. and it would be pretty good also with charcuterie or cheese. it would probably also work beautifully with goat’s cheese. sour. The name “Argelette” has been used since long ago to describe the nature of the terrain composed of small fractured rocks and poor soil where the apple trees found it difficult to flourish and pushed their roots deep into the ground yielding small apples with a wild. adazzle. surprisingly). crushing. There are more apples in these brews to shake your pomme-pommes at. a process of selection. Closette. Certeau (originating in the champagne region). Javron etc. The Sydre Brut is a classic dry cider.. The granite and broken schists form a complex soil and sub-soil that provides the foundation for the terrain. yet also lively with plenty of acidity and extremely refreshing. to develop a new. Barberie. To which we say “Pip. This would wash down those marvellous Breton galettes or crepes. It’s as if thirsty trees have sucked up a myriad of minerals and earthbound flavours and concentrated them into wrinkly fruits to be pressed into apple champagne. tender or mellow in the mouth. which like all the other trees in the orchard have never been sprayed. 40% sweet and 20% tangy/acidulous) The cider is made according to traditional maceration techniques and has several grams per litre of residual sugar but is loaded with the stony character of the eponymous soil along with delicious flavours of caramel. This prestige cuvée is made from a rigorous selection of over twenty different varieties (40% bitter. sweet. Then the pomologie (which is not reading the future in apple pips. like the ciders it has an edgy earthiness and terrific structure. Treat this like a wine. etc. The result is a drink of great quality. which would also work with a wide range of different food. baked apples and crunchy apple-skin.

As soon as a grower produces something vaguely original and worthwhile prices rocket stratospherically as if to anticipate a stampede of bullish demand. I feel myself linked to it in all my emotions. has 75 hectares of vineyards. the production of quality wines. squeezing out the smaller wineries. or as Tennyson felicitously phrased it: “Faultily faultless. the being with it. RIOJA ALTA.SPAIN How a lush-kept. 6 months in bottle) is a blend of Tempranillo with a little Graziano and is deliciously smooth with ripe damson fruit and a touch of mint from the oak. Four generations of the family have dedicated themselves to the cultivation of their vineyards and the production of wine. full! Gerard Manley Hopkins I love the countryside. Spain’s problem lies in the marketing of their wines. variable. All the wines are unfiltered. The giants of the region have been buying grapes for double the price. Mazuelo and Viura. Ribera del Duero requires a mortgage.000 kilos. he would be Don Quixote. secondly. tilting at the sacred glass ceiling of Value-for-Money. In 1975 the bodega began to age and bottle their own wine in order to retain the special characteristics of a small single estate. catspiss is champagne compared. on the northwestern edge of Rioja. Thus Rioja has fallen prey to millennial madness. it is foul. The bodega is situated in Cuzcurrita de Río Tirón. Bdgs Benito Urbina. harvesting by hand and avoiding the use of weed killers and pesticides. mouthed to flesh-burst. in a flash. 2005 1999 1998 1996 1994 URBINA CRIANZA URBINA “SELECCION” URBINA RESERVA ESPECIAL URBINA GRAN RESERVA URBINA GRAN RESERVA ESPECIAL R R R R R . to put it mildly. Gush! – flush the man. A recent tasting of top producers of Ribera del Duero revealed too much oak masking dustydry fruit. The potential is outstanding and there are really good examples of how it should be done. this is the sulphurous urination of some aged horse. Mazuelo and Graziano and has more complex. plush-capped sloe Will. just not enough. and one is forced to look further afield: Navarra. and is therefore excellent for the production of great wines – Reservas and Gran Reservas. It is an area that produces wines with a great capacity for ageing.H. de-stalking machinery. my God. the use of carbonic maceration to mask poor quality fruit and finally the inaccurate blending of crianza wine into a base joven which results in a dull fruit soup with oak croutons swimming the backstroke. The Gran Reservas are as polished as beeswaxed pieces of mahogany furniture in a stately home and age disgracefully well. Trading on the reputation of the DO evidently attenuates quality. Extraction + alcohol + new oak = gimme some Txakoli for gawd’s sake! At the cheaper end I’ve noticed several disturbing trends: a disproportionately high number of oxidised wines. 65 of Tempranillo. Lawrence Letter From Parma to Rhys Davies LATE NEWS (1999): The price of grapes in Rioja has increased by 15-30%. Toro or Carinena. has been achieved as the result of careful viticulture using traditional techniques. The Urbina crianza (12 months in American oak. Brim. single estate winery. splendidly null/Dead perfection. Every so often they seem to convince themselves that they are the biggest thing since sliced Cloudy Bay Sauvignon. If Rioja were a person. a family-owned. What does this tell you? LATEST NEWS (2002): Forget Rioja! LATER STILL (2006): Remember Rioja? FINALLY (2011): How many Riojas do we have? BODEGAS BENITO URBINA. There has been a large investment in modern installations. no more”. We can’t win – in one camp the growers too insular to accept that they are producing underwined oak. Rioja A family-run estate that practises organic methods.” D. Total production is about 460. caramelised aromas. Their sole objective. The quality is. LATER NEWS (2001): Last year the demand for Rioja fell by the percentage equivalent of the price rises. sour or sweet. un entreverdo loco. The Reserva contains Tempranillo. icily regular. and 10 of Graziano. stainless steel fermentation tanks and bottling machinery. My oldest childhood memories have the flavour of the earth. Federico Garcia Lorca I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. in the other those who genuflect utterly to the altar of internationalist style (Pomerolisation across the nations). “The Spanish wine. a muddlehead fool. for example.187 - .

The vineyard’s average age is 30 years. 2010 2010 TREMENDUS RIOJA BLANCO TREMENDUS RIOJA CLARETE W Ro . quite a tonic. beyond the fruit into wit. accompanied by fresh fruits: framboise and cherry.SPAIN Continued… BODEGAS LUIS MEDRANO IRAZU. Damsons beam over mouthbuds. 30km south east of Logroño. this cherry-bomb is almost indecently purple. Cordovín is widely known because of the unique style of Rioja wine produced in the region. but would also be perfect with southEast Asian cuisine and seafood pasta. It is mistakenly classified by many as rosé. The simple Viura is the vinous equivalent of Schweppe’s bitter lemon.188 - . This area is famous in northern Spain for making “El Clarete de Cordovín”. Rioja IRANU! Just ripe: a cherry morning soft rasp. A wine that should be served out of the fridge. Annual rain fall is between 350 and 600 mm. the so called clarete. Maceration is on the skins of both white and red grapes before the juice is drawn off and fermentation takes place.1 acres (15 hectares) spread across the region of Cordovín in La Rioja and controls production of another 150. Rioja The vineyards surround the small town of Cordovín in La Rioja Alta 20km south of Haro. being tangy and refreshing – in fact. Opaque purple-coloured. brambly bite and blackbird. Soils are rich in clay and red sand at an altitude ranging from 580 to 650 metres. A sort of Spanish equivalent to Provence pink it goes well locally with salt cod a la riojana. Rioja Alavesa Bursting with sweet damson and soft plum fruit this young vines Tempranillo is deliciously easy-drinking and can happily be drunk chilled. 2010 2010 VINA ALBIZU TEMPRANILLO RIOJA TINTO JOVEN R R BODEDAS HONORIO RUBIO. This process essentially creates a white wine with a pale pink colour. a light refreshing rosé style wine. Clarete visually resembles rosé but the method of production is different. Rioja – Helen Kidd The Joven (literally “young” wine) is the typical unoaked Rioja that you have served in Spanish tapas bars. CORDOVIN. vegetables a la plancha. with layers of fruit the Rioja has an incredibly sweet mid-palate of black fruits intermixed with subtle spice. The nose exhibits the carbonic pastille notes to begin. The main red wine varietals are Tempranillo and Garnacha and the main clarete wine varietals are Viura and Garnacha.5 acres (50 hectares) owned by wine growers from whom the family have purchased grapes for many years. then evolves more floral aromas of mint and lavender. baked fish dishes. Made from 85% Tempranillo and 15% Viura using the carbonic maceration method. Bone dry and fresh with subtle red fruit flavours and a pleasant creaminess from lees ageing. I sip bark and velvet. The family RubioVillar owns a total of 37. as dark smokes away. so sun blooms along the edge of ample palettes. 2009 RIOJA TINTO JOVEN R VINA ALBERGADA. denoting its freshness and youth. The palate is delightfully lively with the acidity carrying the fresh fruit flavours gracefully across the tongue. partridge escabeche. concentrated yet incredibly soft and elegant on the finish.

rising up through the air Up ahead in the distance. ’we haven’t had that spirit here since nineteen sixty nine’ And still those vintages are mouldering away. Albrecht Durer Such an exclusive place You’ll leave the rat race Shoulda called it Hotel Macabeu. Prices were a scandal. ‘please bring me my wine’ He said.SPAIN Continued… On the opening of Hotel Viura in Rioja On a road in Alavesa. I stopped on a whim Had to refuel for the night. I turned ash grey There were voices down the corridor. cool wind in my hair Warm smell of Rioja. leaves you poorer Makes you a basket case I still got a parking space Plenty of room at the Hotel Viura. maybe they could advertise… (With apologies to The Eagles) . I heard the dinner bell And I was thinking to myself. I saw a shimmering light My thirst grew strong. There she stood in the doorway.189 - . oh hey ho What a nice surprise. ‘this could be Kevin or this could be Mel’. I thought I heard them say… Welcome to the Hotel Viura. mein fuhrer Any time of year It’s extremely dear You can only afford a beer… So I called to the sommelier. Hidden in a cellar just out of sight… Never ever to taste Cabernet Welcome to the Hotel Viura.

his personal oenology project. he dedicated himself to travelling through France and Italy where he met small vine-growers and winemakers and discovered new varieties of grape and technologies After completing his oenologist training in an industrial winery. when they were regarded as the panacea for all vineyard problems. He balances this respect with formal training in the latest enological techniques and methods.SPAIN Continued… GRAN CERDO.5 hectares in size. no stabilization and minimal sulphur. earth worms. With its cherry-red. The ladybug is one of the “good” insects that prey on aphids. Gonzalo and his helpers Teresa and Fernando tend the vines methodically. mites and other “bad” insects. this restored vigour requires plenty of vigilance and creative solutions to combat the various hazards that can befall vineyards. his vineyards. mould and other pests. brilliant colour Gran Cerdo reveals primary notes of fresh fruit. However. Rioja – Biodynamic Gonzalo Gonzalo was born in Logroño. For this Gonzalo keeps a close watch and has revived natural treatments and biodynamic practices used in the past to maintain healthy vineyards. long term exposure. It was not clear at the time that chemicals that were perfectly safe in small doses had significant harmful effects from cumulative. The 100% Tempranillo vineyards themselves were planted 35 years ago in the town of Fuenmayor in the La Tejera subregion. The wine has real character. Spain and grew up among the vineyards that his parents cultivated in Fuenmayor. snails and the various organisms of the vineyard ecosystem were no longer present as they were even two generations ago. Instead he has sought out his own methods with respect for the land. Gonzalo was profoundly influenced in his choice of viticultural methods by the fact that his father became seriously ill from years of daily exposure to high-spec chemical fertilizers and herbicides while tending their vineyards in the 1970s. Fiercely protective of the terroir of his family vineyards Gonzalo rejects market driven fashions. The soil is calcareous clay and the vineyards are 4. chemical treatments and conformism. insects. cherries and violets with clean mineral tones from the granite. The soil itself suffered as well.190 - . After studying biology in León and oenology in the university of Rioja. with no dirty oak to mask its charm. The chemical treatments of the recent past minimized both the “good” and the “bad” and in the process the vitality of the vineyards. Wild flowers. year round and work only with the best grapes they can coax from the land for Orgullo. 2010 GRAN CERDO TEMPRANILLO R . This little natural wine is phenomenal value. losing its vitality as witnessed in the deadening of the biodiversity in the vineyard. purplish. It has a natural way about it but with no funkiness. They also follow the lunar cycle in vineyard and the winery. and the traditions of his forefathers. which is an area between groves of trees along the Ebro River and Mount San Llorente in the heart of the Rioja Alta sub-zone. such as mildew. raspberries. in 2003 he abandoned everything to give birth to Orgullo. In the end Gran Cerdo is all about the purest expression of fruit with whole bunch fermentation. . GONZALO GONZALO GRIJALBA. and with perfection in mind. all the juicy elements of Tempranillo. no filtration. The ladybug on the label of Orgullo is a symbol of the renewed vitality of the vineyards which Gonzalo has worked long and hard to revive. formulae. strawberries.

Rioja – Organic Hacienda Grimón is run by the Oliváns. The ripe tannins and fresh acidity balance the richness of the fruit which results in an elegant and classy Rioja. The wine is aged for 16 months in French and American oak. specialising in Muscat which had long been forgotten in the region. His two sons. six months in bottle) and 25% younger Rioja (aged for 4 months in new French and US oak barrels). nice tannic bite but juicy nonetheless. Viticulture is organic – “always has been here. have expanded the project to include a traditional Rioja winery in Bodega Classica. and a more modern take of Rioja with Maetirrea Dominivm as well as bodegas in Toro. Their 25 hectares of vineyards are based in the Valle de Jubera. A perfect introduction to the reds from Rioja. These wines are not oak wollipops. a family with a long winemaking tradition in Rioja. who now run the company. with no carbonic maceration which is the usual method used for Rioja jovens. Ricardo and José Miguel. 2010 2008 2005 RIOJA TEMPRANILLO RIOJA CRIANZA RIOJA RESERVA R R R . Grimón was established by Paco Grimón who runs the bodega and his brother Eliseo who takes care of the viticulture. The Reserva is more structured with more prominent oak flavours. Plots range from 10 to 45-yearsold. This is as serious as unoaked Rioja gets. Great care is taken to provide the healthiest grapes of the highest quality. most of which are from San Vicente de la Sonsierra. Paco was reluctant to make this wine as he only wants to make oak aged wines but we asked very him nicely! We wanted to show Tempranillo without any oak influence in all its juicy glory. why do I need certification. the only exclusively white wine producer in Rioja.. Local matches would include lamb chops cooked over a BBQ of vine cuttings. 2 week maceration. Vineyards here are at relatively high altitudes for Rioja. Rioja Bodega Classica is part of Vintae. 100% Tempranillo. roast suckling pig or small pork kebabs marinated in paprika.SPAIN Continued… BODEGA CLASSICA. The wine is made from exactly the same fruit that goes into the Crianza (see below). Soils are generally pebbles on chalk rich clay. Fermentation at 28 degrees centigrade. Aromas of black fruits with black pepper and sweet spices. quite full bodied. sheep manure is used as fertilizer. The straight Rioja Tempranillo is fermented and aged in stainless steel. the wine is only lightly filtered The wine is a blend of 75% Crianza Rioja (minimum 12 months ageing in new French and American oak barrels. The result is a wine with all the silky softness you would expect from a Crianza but much juicier and with more red fruit flavour.?” – with no use of herbicides and pesticides. malolactic fermentation in tank. The climate is continental but with cooling Atlantic influence allows grapes to ripen slowly maintain good acidity. The Crianza is a rigorous selection of grapes from three different vineyard parcels. Hand harvesting is employed for all their vineyards. Started in 1999 by Riojan entrepreneur José Miguel Arambarri Terrero. the grapes are sourced from a selection of vineyards in Rioja Alta. a secluded and little known corner of Rioja Alta with a great viticultural history. 15% to Garnacha and 10% to Graciano. This type of wine is great with char-grilled red meats and vegetables and for the classic match go for rosemary roasted lamb. garlic olive oil and coriander. he first established Bodega Castillo de Maetierra. The palate is quite full bodied for a Crianza due to the quality of fruit used and longer than average ageing in oak. The success of the wines has resulted in the creation of a new “Protected Geographical Indication” for white wines in the Community of La Rioja called Valles de Sadacia. 2008 RIOJA MONTESC R HACIENDA GRIMON. as nearly all the wines will experience extended ageing.191 - . a group of six wineries across different regions of Spain. Ribera del Duero and Navarra. around 500-600 metres. a serious Crianza and cut above most others you will try. 75% of the vineyards are planted to Tempranillo. Dense plummy fruit and a good tannic structure.

it goes back to the 3rd century. its texture. characterised by its beautiful limestone canyons indigenous grapes (Moristel) grow on the neighbouring slopes to Spanish classics (Tempranillo. The Garnacha is given a carbonic maceration. smooth & fresh. economy and historical heritage of the area. Ten years later. Somontano Alquézar is named after one of Spain’s most historic & picturesque villages. All the fruits burst smilingly onto the palate reinforced by secondary notes of balsam.192 - . turned over in my mouth with excruciating slowness. are essential for the vines to develop their full potential and to obtain small production of splendidly expressive. tasty and smooth in the mouth with lovely freshness. 45 km from Zaragoza. The culture of wine growing in Carinena is one of the most ancient in Spain. 2010 2010 CASA MARIA VERDEJO BLANCO VACCEOS TEMPRANILLO ROSADO W Ro . Made from Tempranillo. In the Vero Valley in Somontano. young. blackberries. Cabernet Sauvignon with a little Moristel this is an intensely fruity wine with a cherry red colour and aromas redolent of forest fruits and violets. The combination of high altitude where the vineyards are located. The other varieties are destemmed. high quality wine. His vocation was to elaborate grapes from the vineyards of the Gracia-Campillo family. The wine itself is bulging with character.SPAIN Continued… The sense of taste is cultivated. its taste and smell. Santiago Gracia Ysiegas carried on the tradition of his family and founded the winery Bodegas Solar de Urbezo. with well balanced fruit to acidity and a surprisingly long finish. and finally. looked at. sweating. 2010 2010 2008 2006 2006 2010 ALQUEZAR MACABEO-CHARDONNAY BOGEGAS PIRINEOS GEWURZTRAMINER ALQUEZAR TEMPRANILLO-CABERNET TINTO BODEGAS PIRINEOS MORISTEL BODEGAS PIRINEOS PARRALETA ALQUEZAR ROSADO W W R R R P AGRICOLA LA CASTELLANA. raspberries. The Tip of the Tongue – Aphrodite – Isabel Allende BODEGAS SOLAR DE URBEZO. smelled. Garnacha & Macabeo) and more international varieties(Chardonnay & Cabernet Sauvignon). the low rainfall and the calcareous clay-gravel soils. fresh. The white is a pleasant blend of 50% Macabeo and 50% Chardonnay. when the Romans inhabited this land. Yielding an intense cherry red colour with violet and purple highlights it has aromas of red and black fruits. the extreme climate of cold winters and hot summers. gently crushed and then fermented traditionally. swallowed the famous grape. Aromas of pineapple. apple and peach. The Urbezo Garnacha is the baby of the stable. and not taking anything too seriously… every neophyte was handed a large rosy grape by the master. its temperature. cherries and plums. a nifty blend of fifty-plus year old Garnacha with some Tempranillo and Syrah. region of Aragon. This range of wines is about fruit. much like our ear for jazz: free of prejudices. Ideal aperitif or for accompanying white fish. Dry. overlay a background of aromatic herbs. Rueda Vividly crunchy Verdejo. with a spirit of curiosity. Try too with pork & poultry dishes and lightly spiced food. unoaked & unadulterated wines with character imbued by the mountain terroir. offering total guarantee of purity and quality in their wines. I can describe its shape. with the instruction to eat it in no fewer than twenty minutes… During those interminable twenty minutes. The cultivation of grapes has been maintained since that era and still constitutes an essential part in the way of life. herbs and liquorice. Carinena In 1995. 2010 GARNACHA TINTO VINAS VIEJAS R BODEGAS PIRINEOS. Grapes are harvested by hand and the whole clusters are placed in temperature controlled stainless tanks. banana. The ultra spick-and-spain winery is located in Carinena. I touched. oysters and a variety of other seafood and crustacea. Juicy. Delicately fragrant with hints of green apple and fennel – great value for money.

The philosophy is to use the indigenous variety (Monastrell) together with quality international varieties grown on a variety of soils to make a balanced blend which can age in bottle. The wine is aged in French oak only for twelve to fourteen months depending on vintage. from 600-1000m altitude. Martinsancho. a vineyard of ancient Verdejo vines that had been in Ángel’s family since 1784 and he refused to uproot them. the origins of most of the Verdejo vineyards in Rueda can be traced back to Martinsancho cuttings. something like 30 or more bunches to a vine. stone and orchard fruit with some citrus. Avila 100% unoaked juicy Garnacha. a burst of mango fruit and loaded with balancing salty minerality. Bullas – Organic Bullas is located halfway between the city of Murcia. peach. Virtually organic farming. On the palate. Balcona is family run winery. north west of Madrid. The main thing to note about this producer is that the vineyards are planted with bush vines with a minimum age of 40 years old. Pale yellow-gold colour. Today. Most of Rueda is planted with irrigated wire-trained vines which permit higher yields and mechanical harvesting. They are lime bearing and have a top crust. poor in organic matter. Wines are only released when they consider ready.SPAIN Continued… ANGEL RODRIGUEZ VIDAL. The soils on the slopes are brown and so hard that they have to be broken mechanically before vines can be planted.e. 2010 MARTINSANCHO VERDEJO W BODEGA BALCONA. Syrah and Merlot. A complex and mature nose. Here the vines are nearly all old (50yrs+). not to mention outstanding value for money. and they only make this one wine. there arose a push to rip out Verdejo completely. Verdejo is a very vigorous vine. a very soft and delicate palate with ripe red fruits and mint with fresh acidity still apparent. and the grapes are fed into tanks by gravity. As a result of his efforts. he is credited with having saved Verdejo. It comprises numerous small valleys with individual microclimates. Rueda Ángel Rodríguez Vidal is known in Rueda as the godfather of Verdejo and is credited with preserving and reviving Rueda’s indigenous Verdejo grape. on granitic sand and schist soils. 2000 PARTAL R GAZNATA. Very approachable and food friendly. wild yeasts. from vineyards in the Alberche river valley in the Sierra de Gredos mountains of Ávila. They own all their own vineyards. Below that is a high concentration of clay. derived from terraced land. From a small co-op. and the mountains in the west that form the frontier with Andalusia. it grows like a weed and produces an amazing amount of fruit. the highest around 750-900m on the best soils (slate and chalky-clay) with the oldest bush vine monastrell. they control 88 ha of which they sell grapes from 80ha. one of six brothers and sisters. The 2000 is as elegant as Monastrell from these hotter climes can be. The blend for Partal (the nickname of their father) is 65% Monastrell from 60yr old vines together with Tempranillo. Ángel Rodríguez’s efforts have even been recognized by King Juan Carlos. Soils are very poor in organic material and remain warm at night due to the high concentration of pebbles and sand in the top layer. Pepa runs the business. The top 30 cm is composed of pebbly and sandy ground.193 - . JUAN DEL AGUILA. Rodríguez went further and regrafted his other vineyards from the Martinsancho cuttings. and have good drainage. This is simply too much to make very good wine. The remaining 8ha they keep to bottle themselves – what they consider to be the best vineyards i. Viticulture is organic. Aromatics of pear. floral (violets). Harvesting is by hand. The landscape is rugged and slopes upwards from south to north. 2010 GAZNATA TINTO R . with a sandy loam structure. In the early 1970s. grapefruit and white flowers. the regional capital. low(ish) levels of sulphur for a wine made in relatively commercial quantities. herbal. grown without irrigation giving much lower yields (just a few bunches per vine) of intensely flavoured grapes which are hand harvested. made by Daniel Ramos. Cabernet Sauvignon. a very talented young winemaker.

The vineyard is dedicated to the cultivation of Tempranillo grapes. Aurelio Pinacho. and a winemaking process that respects the characteristics of the grape. Syrah and Cabernet. length. As the wine warms in the glass the citrus flavours are replaced by sweet fig and melon. including those of black fruit and liquorice. similar climate. just a different price category. These factors include the maturity of the vines set amongst an exceptional Castilla estate. All the grapes are manually harvested and each variety is vinified separately without sulphur and without recourse to artificial yeasts. known as Tinto del País grapes in the Cigales region. The primary aromas display hints of violet. Traslanzas is the name of a vineyard estate situated in the municipal district of Mucientes (Valladolid) which falls within the Cigales DO. 2006 TRASLANZAS R . The wine has a long. Tempranillo and Lledoner Pelut. aromatic finish. which has evolved into dark brown agricultural soil with limestone content. Grenache (Garnatxa) and Carignan (Carignano). The old vines. The white is a newbie with old vine credentials. The nose is so appealing: red and black fruits mingled with flavours of liquorice and dried herbs. are cultivated side-by-side with the international interlopers. Low annual rainfall with no resultant rot and very few parasites means that a natural organic viticulture can be practised. The wine does not undergo any kind of fining or stabilizing treatments before it is bottled in December. 2010 2010 ARTESANO BLANCO ARTESANO TINTO W R TRASLANZAS. together with quality grapes from the long-established vineyards of Maria’s family. the enormous potential of such an excellent wine-producing area has resulted in many vineyards increasingly placing more emphasis on growing black grape varieties suited to making red wines. full-bodied on the palate with a good leesy cut of pickled ginger and white pepper. Traslanzas has a vibrant cherry-red colour and complex and elegant aromas. Cabernet Sauvignon (15%) and a mixture of Syrah. Situated south west of Tarragona in the southernmost zone of the Catalan vineyards. which have the joint effect of reflecting the sun towards the lower parts of the vines and also help to retain accumulated heat on less sunny days. These are situated in an amazing old underground bodega where the wine will remain with the lees for at least 12 months. It sits on low mountain subsoil dating back to the Pliocene era. similar terroir. In the mouth it is a wine of noticeable body (but not overbearing) and sweet tannins from the grape skins contribute to the overall sensation of the palate. a production of less than one kilogram of grapes per bunch ensuring quality rather than quantity.194 - . which is just less than 800 metres above sea level. The vineyard nestles in a hollow between two adjoining hills and spreads across a gentle south-easterly facing slope. The excellent conditions contribute to red wines that show the required characteristics for today’s markets: structure. grapefruit and crystallised lime. The final blend is Grenache (40%). (I didn’t know that) However.SPAIN Continued… ARTESANO. Cigales Traslanzas was created in 1998 with the specific objective of making and selling a quality red wine from grapes grown within the boundaries of the Cigales Designation of Origen. the traditional style of cultivation. malolactic fermentation takes place in new oak barrels known as “Allier” and “Pennsylvania” barrels. Their knowledge and expertise. Terrific little wine – my heart’s in these highlands. The palate is smooth and consistent and the acidity just perfect. Toasted wood aroma. Terra Alta is an extraordinary landscape of limestone terraces and steep slopes and provides a Mediterranean climate for vine-growing with strong continental influences. Controlled slow fermentation at 25C combined with a five-week cuvaison permits the optimal expression of fruit and terroir. meaning that they are now over half a century old. Several unique factors contribute to the quality of production and combine to afford the wine a range of exceptional sensory characteristics. This is because the huge potential of Terra Alta has yet to be realised. Traslanzas is a society that was formed by a number of members. Terra Alta This is Prorate without the pain. lavender and fruits of the forest complemented by the secondary aromas that come from the Tempranillo variety. Positive contrasts afforded by strong differential temperatures and accentuated by the altitude of 350-600m for the vineyards ensure that ripeness of grapes is allied to lovely natural acidity. The wine is matured partly in tank and partly in French barrels before assembly. The ground is scattered with boulders. Carignan (30%). vanilla and cinnamon also feature. A blend of Garnacha Blanca and Macabeu it is straw-yellow with aromas of pineapple. elegance and personality. cedar and hints of spices such as cloves. combine to produce the exceptional Traslanzas red wine. The vines were first planted in 1945 by a local man. Once the alcoholic fermentation has taken place and the wine has been macerated for three weeks. The Cigales wine growing area in Castilla has a time-honoured tradition of wine-making and is historically associated with the production of rosé wine. including the winemakers Ana Martín and Maria Pinacho.

ready to be processed. but also herbal notes such as rosemary and lemongrass. Only the healthiest. They are then sent straight to the winery. where any below-standard bunches that happen to have slipped through are promptly removed. tuna.SPAIN Continued… BODEGAS PITTACUM. Every day during the barrelling the wines are tasted. very clean and brilliant. Once the timing of the picking of the different plots has been decided. made with the Mencia grape. great balance and roundness. part of which is done in stainless-steel vats and the rest in oak casks. The wine is clarified with egg whites. nestled in the beautifully hilly landscape of the Bierzo region. The Aurea is from a single 1-hectare vineyard called Areixola located on an east-facing hillside slope with a particular microclimate favouring the production of aromatic Mencias. whereas 2003 has richer colour. Next.195 - . stuffed peppers. pleasant woody hints. air-dried beef or slow cooked roast kid washed down with plenty of Pittacum. The winery is located in Arganza. and lomo. constantly researching and experimenting in the winery. The delivery area outside the winery is where the boxes are received on pallets and unloaded one by one onto the selection bench. dense and fleshy and sweet tannin it is a tasty wine to be savoured. and with the aid of analytical monitoring of polyphenol compounds. plus pleasant balsamic resonance. Dense in the mouth. Bierzo Bodegas Pittacum was purchased several years ago by Terras Gauda who were looking to find a red wine with distinctive personality. very fruity with harmonious roasted and toasted flavours again apparent. with a persistent finish and retro-nasal qualities. A very long finish and a complex aftertaste. Organic fertilisers are used and green practices are employed throughout the vineyard to ensure the health of the vines. and a visit to his winery might include a lunch of tuna belly with superb pimentos. located on poor slate soils so as carefully to force the process of ripening. Different oak sources and different vat curing levels to obtain the best results for each type of wine. is both artist and artisan. The wines are sensitive and true to the vintage. This all purpose wine would happily network fish soup. 2004 is stylistically between the two. 2007 2007 2010 BIERZO TINTO BIERZO “AUREA” BIERZO ROSADO “TRES OBISPOS” R R Ro . but left unfiltered. but exceedingly elegant with smooth tannins. the technical director of Pittacum. After a fifteen-day maceration period the grapes receive a smooth pressing. is sourced from 50-90 year-old vineyards. He is equally passionate about food. After aging. 2002 is a wine of bright fruit and delicious acidity. The Aurea has intense. bottled and stored. sheltered from sunlight and at ideal temperature and humidity level. pumping-over and long macerations. toffee and cocoa. sweeter fruit and more tannin. with a significant concentration of fruit. the appropriate time for removal is determined. The wine is intense cherry-red colour with a striking purplish rim. the teams of grape-pickers make the first selection on the vine. liquorice and mineral tones. After malolactic fermentation – and still without having undergone any kind of filtering or clarifying – the wine is moved to the aging casks. for as long as necessary to reveal the potential of each harvest and characteristics of each type of wine. where they arrive in perfect condition. spices – pepper and oregano – and an agreeable backdrop redolent of smoked cocoa. the grape skins are pressed in a vertical press working at low pressure-important if the wine is to be of optimal quality. Now is the time for malolactic fermentation. A further malolactic fermentation in new French barrels is followed by three months batonnage and ageing in new oak for 14 months. with a wide range of aromas including red fruits (blackberry. a town of longstanding vine-growing and wine-making heritage. ripest bunches are packed into 14-kilogram boxes. The casks are located in a stone farmhouse. Warm in the mouth. however. the wine is clarified with egg white and then coarsely filtered. to prevent them from splitting or becoming bruised. Alfredo Marques Calva. raspberry). Tres Obispos (Three Bishops) is a robust yet refreshing Mencia rosé oozing cherries and red plums as well as subtle notes of liquorice and red pepper. expressive aromas: not only mature notes of roasted fruits (black cherries. For such a rich wine this is amazingly delicious. demonstrates the individuality and expressiveness of the Mencia grape. It is marked by a complex bouquet. The selective extraction of tannins is carried out with manual cap-plunging. sweet figs). The Bierzo Tinto. Each wine.

A low yielding grape. gold in particular. Rías Baixas Albariño wine is considered to be the Spanish “gold” of white wines for its colour and quality. good malic and tartaric acidity and a wide aromatic profile. this grape. There is also a strong Celtic tradition of folk song and bagpipes. which is virtually exclusive to Terras Gauda. Terras Gauda is notable for owning around 85% of its own vineyards. which is why they taste so exceptionally fresh and bright. pineapple and mandarin flavours. and by the middle of the 19th century. gives a rich quality to the overall wine. The wine has plenty of extract followed by Caino’s classic acid touch. the region’s great white grape was “rediscovered” and found to yield excellent quality wines. But to excavate these tunnels they needed to soften the rock and to do so they used none other than vinegar! The origins and applications of Albariño were industrial then. the least productive of Galician white grape varieties. cloudy.000 hectares of vines. Galicia boasted 55. scallops. a selective blend of the best Albariño grapes in the O Rosal subzone is mixed with the indigenous Loureira and Caiño Blanco (harvested in October). high humidity and elevated rainfall. Edged with superb acidity and a bristling minerality this reminds one of a really good Riesling. And so to La Mar the latest project from Bodegas Terras Gauda. ending on a saline note and the overall impression is of creamy-textured and rounded wine with lovely spice and the aforementioned balsamic flavours. Rías Baixas – low rivers – is named after the abovementioned fjord-like inlets. The Galician vineyards of Rías Baixas are dominated by the influence of the Atlantic. A word from our sponsors about Caiño. 2010 2010 2010 2009 ALBARINO. the system that they used for extracting the minerals was the “Terra Montium”. After fermentation the wine remained on lees in tank for three months with batonnage. Allied to this was investment in the technology of cold fermentation and stainless steel that exalted the flavours and aromas of the grape. marked mineral tones. grapefruit. evoking white flowers and green plums on the nose and filling out on the palate with fresh grape and apple compote flavours as well as peach kernel. the grape ripens late. second course mussels. The grapes were harvested in the first week of October with excellent ripeness levels. The O Rosal. lobsters.SPAIN Continued… BODEGAS TERRAS GAUDA.” Galicia is the land of percebes (barnacles) and wild horses. now virtually extinct. When in this corner of Spain drink with the harvest of the Atlantic and indulge in a Galician mariscada (seafood feast). What also distinguishes the Terras Gauda – as the estate wine is known – is the presence of the indigenous Caiño variety. Both the wines have delicacy and persistence in equal measure. The wine scene remained moribund until the 1980s when Albariño. Naturally high acidity provides freshness and ensures perfect ageing.196 - . The Romans originally colonized Galicia for its great mineral wealth. The result is that Terras Gauda is one of the few wineries that do not need to do a malolactic on any of their wines. La Mar has initial aromas of sweet hay and ripe tropical fruit (mango and fresh pineapple) as well as fine balsamics with particular accents of pine resin and finishing on notes of ripe peach and stonefruit. The effect is to lift the aromatic citrus nature of the Albariño. with small clusters and grapes Caiño provides very good structure and body resulting in wine with definition and depth. In the mouth great complexity with crunchy nectarine flavours seasoned with ginger and pepper. a blend of Caiño Blanco (85%) and Albarino (15%). prawns. chestnut and oak clad hills with a coastline punctuated by rias (coastal inlets). The region has actually produced wines for many centuries. The Caiño vineyards tend to be planted on steep slopes with lots of broken slates. Terras Gauda produces 90% of the Caiño throughout the region. the remainder of the grapes are provided under strict quality control agreements with local growers. It is a native variety from the O Rosal sub-zone. It has a markedly Atlantic climate with mild winters. crabs and. But there’s also another theory that connects the wine to the metal – sounds daft but we’ll give it a whirl. the proximity to the Mino and to the sea. giving the wine an irresistible zesty length. and with this system they literally managed to destroy mountains. This is a green. The wines of Terras Gauda are located in the subzone of O Rosal on the terraces that rise steeply above the river Miño which divides Spain from Portugal. the whole ensemble soothed by slick acidity. then lighting a fire in them so that they would collapse. is greenish-yellow. ABADIA DE SAN CAMPIO – ½ bottle TERRAS GAUDA “O ROSAL” “LA MAR” W W W W . They round up all the wild horses to brand them and cut their manes. The Abadia de San Campio (100% Albariño) is very attractive with citrus. The sheltered aspect of the vineyards surrounded by forest. After a further period of ageing the wine was bottled in July 2010. also promotes ripening. in Galician it is called “a rapa das bestas”. Starting with pulpo a feira (Octopus fair-style). chocos (cuttlefish). clams. although phylloxera and other diseases greatly reduced this amount. damp region of pine. Having this control allows the estate to pick later and more selectively (and over a greater period of time) than most others ensuring greater maturity and higher sugar levels in the grapes. which consisted of excavating tunnels. There is definitely some ageing potential here. coolish summers. of course. ABADIA DE SAN CAMPIO ALBARINO. centuries later the vine resurfaces and delicious wines are made As they say locally: “Although they took all the gold at least they left behind Albariño wine. Although approximately only 15% of the blend. here they celebrate the famous “curros” (horse corrals). but still has acidity and a strong mineral component.

the place where land ended and an endless sea began. “I will be with you in the squeezing of a lemon” The perfect accompaniment to a whole range of fish and shellfish from mussels. Other than Galicia and northern Portugal. clams and oysters to sardines. Perhaps one minor miracle is how viticulture thrives in such a region. Secondly. Albariño is the product of its environment. some climbing the granite steps at the entrance to the cathedral on their hands and knees. Galicia’s spiritual capital is Santiago de Compostela. Citric notes are plentiful. Modern trellising systems and canopy management techniques have certainly helped to combat rot. Albariño is hardly grown anywhere else in the world (there are a handful of examples coming out of California).SPAIN Continued… Why is Albariño such a firm favourite in London restaurants? Firstly. Many come to atone for their sins. it is one of the few white wines from Spain with a strong identity. certainly it produces a prodigious volume of wine. Here lies the body of St. Albariño is one of the exceptions. meanwhile the best estates harvest manually and also do a triage on a selection bench. Despite its high acidity. sky and land meet. Albariño’s flavours tease and please on multiple levels. lifts the spirits and can transport you to a wild. Centuries ago Galicia was believed to be the edge of the earth or civilisation. the result of moisture in the vineyards. Millions of Christians make the pilgrimage each year. . when the apostle’s remains were discovered.197 - . There is a common feeling that Spain should produce great wine. a true wine of the sea. there is the romance of the region from which it originates. Albariño is meant to be drunk young because it has a tendency to oxidize quickly. The wet maritime climate seldom allows the grapes to fully ripen and one would imagine that the wine should normally either taste tart and thin or funky and mouldy. James the Apostle. visiting the silver casket entombed beneath the altar of the grand cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. It is a reminder of where water. walking hundreds of miles over well-worn paths first navigated in the ninth century. but the number of excellent drinkable whites is relatively insignificant. the Albariño disports ripe grapefruit. skate and hake. lime and kiwi. Although it is often compared to German Riesling. mackerel. beautiful landscape. Others seek the miracle of healing. it quenches the thirst. Albariño is not a wine that ages well. the wine also has good sugar levels balanced by wonderfully natural acids and crystalline minerality. The name Finisterre is testament to this elemental frontier mentality.

Tinta Fina* (Valles de Benavente in Zamora). in the confluence of the valleys formed by the rivers Miño. and a pure. It is in the southwest of Asturias. 2% Torrontes and 1% Caíño Blanco. The four hectares of vineyards for this wine are situated in San Antolin de Ibias. honey. Avia. After a manual harvest in small boxes and goes through a pneumatic press. once they cease to be useful. The Folie Douce is a terrific sweet wine from Petit Manseng. tying the branches with wicker. Raposo (Galicia). Due to the variety of soils Adega Sameirás work with six grapes. The DO is located in southern Galicia. The final wine has 157 grams of residual sugar. 2010 2010 2008 BIERZO BREZO BLANCO BIERZO BREZO TINTO FOLIE DOUCE W R Sw BODEGA CHACON BUELTA.Harvest was made on December 15th . 8% Lado. melon and citrus. After a manual harvest in small cagettes the grapes are rigorously sorted and undergo a 48 hour maceration to extract more phenolic compounds. on the Asturian border with León. 2% Loureira. 12% Godello. Bierzo Bodega Mengoba’s vineyards span over Espanillo. During the harvest Adega Sameirás only pick the ripest bunches. Tierra de Cangas Cangas del Narcea is the oldest municipality in the Principality of Asturias in Spain. and Barbantiño Arnoia. Godello and Dona Blanca on slate and clay spoils. and they only intervene in the vineyard when absolutely necessary. long finish. The vines are between 25 and 80 years old. are ploughed back into the soil for organic matter. The Mencía vines are located in Espanillo at about 2500 ft above sea level. Blanco Verdín (Galicia). Two varieties of grape are cultivated to make their white wine. sometimes on steeplyterraced slopes. Branco Lexítimo* (Betanzos in north-west Spain). It is also the largest municipality in Asturias.198 - . occupying almost all the slopes. They also work traditionally. The Bierzo Blanco (Godello and Dona Blanca) comes from different vineyards with diverse soil types ranging from calcareous-clay.BODEGA MENGOBA. Villafranca de El Bierzo and Carracedo on the slate. raffia and reed materials. the cultivation of the vine is the dominant feature of the landscape of Ribeiro. hints of sweet spice and a complex mouth-feel reminiscent of good quality Chenin Blanc. 2010 SAMEIRAS BLANCO W . stony and slate. The plots of Mencia are located in Horta and Vallafranca del Bierzo at 550 metres of altitude on clay soils with sand. for example.The wine is then fermented in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature. excellent underlying acidity. an indigenous variety that enjoys several synonyms (Blanco Legítimo. Medium-bodied. Winemaker Gregory Pérez takes great pride in the bodega’s artisanal vineyard work. 20% Albariño. the vines are grown organically and ploughed by cows. Produced from an intriguing blend of 55% Treixadura. GREGORY PEREZ. in the northwestern edge of the province of Orense. The grapes are destemmed and crushed with a traditional vinification with pumping over during the fermentation which takes place in stainless steel. Blanco País (Galicia). Ríbeiro – Organic Surrounded by mountainous terrain and sheltered from the oceanic influence. 2009 NIBIAS ALBARIN BLANCO W ADEGA SAMEIRAS. it has a smooth texture. At Sameirás they uphold the utmost respect for the environment. the fine lees selected for five month batonnage. calcareous and stony soils of these areas. The juice is fermented at low temperature. The grapes are Albarin Blanco. The vineyards range from 75 to 400 metres above sea level in the valleys and on the hillsides. matching each variety to its preferred terroir. this medium gold-coloured tank-aged wine offers a complex nose of minerals. I am indebted to Julia Harding for this information. Green pruning and integrated pest management are utilized. maintaining the integrity of soil and microbial activity by using only strictly necessary treatments and preventing erosion by the application of organic matter. doing a severe triage on the vine. Doña Blanca and Godello. The juice is fermented in 225 litre barrels and remains on the lees for a further seventeen months. The wine has subtle dried fruit flavours (apricot and quince). The fermentation is 25% in stainless steel tanks and 75% in 300-litre barriques and then aged for a further nine months on the lees in futs. Valtuille. the grapes raisined and then frozen. which.

To visit this land is to contemplate a form of ancient viticulture which hasn’t changed since Roman times. Today. and finally hauled to the wineries. and delicious.300-foot tunnel through what is now called Montefurado (“perforated mountain”). a few tools. are so inaccessible that when the grapes are harvested. Marcelino. The viticulture. and why this area has the potential to produce wines as great as those from anywhere in Spain. The wine itself is100% Merenzao a. The Merenzao is a delicious alternative to so much Spanish ropa de roble (“oak soup”). the Romanesque monasteries.ADEGA ALGUEIRA. the viticulturist and winemaker began thirty years ago and started bottling commercially in 1998. meaty aromas. Bastardo. and harvest grapes from these improbably situated vines. Fernando Gonzalez. intriguing. the river trips past the vineyards and the spirituality. the local gastronomy. from old plots on some of the steepest slopes of the sub-zone of Amandi. gingersnap and molasses. the beauty of the river canyons. Ríbeira Sacra – Organic In Ribeira Sacra. The Romans entered Ribeira Sacra as early as 24 A. 2009 2009 ALGUEIRA PIZARRA ALGUEIRA MERENZAO CRIANZA R R . have a great deal to do with why the wines of Ribeira Sacra can be so profoundly terroir-driven. that’s where the men (and women) are truly vital. including Cividade.” The region’s steeply tiered slate bancales . All the vineyards have makeshift rails adapted from mining. It’s the sheer bloody mindedness needed to make wine at all that stays with you. filling the riverside slopes with a multitude of stairs towards heaven’. with mechanical lifts that are winched up and down. with ripeness of fruit balanced by earth spice and moderately fine tannins and a mineral flavours on the long finish. FERNANDO GONZALEZ.k. tend. they are lowered to boats waiting on the Sil River. brought to landings that can be reached by road. It imbues the wine with complex.199 - . or terraces. one of a small handful of monovarietal examples of this grape. Ribeira Sacra is one of only two areas in Spain (Catalunya’s Priorat is the other) that requires this “heroic viticulture. Ribeira Sacra growers still have to work like slaves to prune. The palate shows more red fruits and plum. containers of grapes. good acidity. elegant tannins.D. during harvest. The perfumed nose offers an intriguing medley of dark fruits. carrying one person at a time. All the fruit comes from his spectacular vineyards and he makes the wine as sympathetically as possible using wild yeast ferments and low interventions. A few sites. Fernando ferments the whole bunch grapes in large oak vats (tinos) and the wine is aged a further eight months in used barrels (7/8yrs old). Llamada Baboso Negro. floral aromas. to extract gold from the river valleys.a. The Romans also used slave labour to plant terraced vineyards along the Sil and Minho riverbanks. This required prodigious engineering feats such as the diversion of the Sil River—accomplished with slave labour by digging a 1. because the cosecheros (those who tend and harvest the vineyards) must also be capable of what is known as viticultura heroica. and Viña A Ferreira. Bastardo Negro or Maria Ordoña (some say it is the same as the Jurassic Trousseau variety). and.

Marcelino. single-row slate terraces form a perfect south-facing amphitheatre on the Edo River tributary of the Sil. floral and herbal with anise and fresh mint hints. carrying one person at a time.200 - . Ribeira Sacra is where the men (and women) are truly vital. Merenzao. melon skin. has a fine nose. of Ribeira Sacra (or “sacred hillside”) is the most visually stunning of all Galicia’s four D. spicy flavours conferred by oak-ageing that one normally sees in Bierzo. crunchy red fruits (redcurrant/cranberry) with refreshing acidity. penetrating fruity aromas.O. vivid yellow. Ribeira Sacra is divided into five sub-zones following the rivers Miño and Sil (a tributary of the Miño) towards the city of Ourense: This one is Ribeiras do Sil with some of the steepest vineyards of the region spilling down to the river Sil. CESAR ENRIQUE DIEGUEZ. sappy.300-foot tunnel through what is now called Montefurado ("perforated mountain"). The region’s steeply tiered slate bancales. in North-West Spain. and why this area has the potential to produce wines as great as those from anywhere in Spain. Ribeira Sacra growers still have to work like slaves to prune. All the vineyards have makeshift rails adapted from mining. 2010 2010 ALBARINO ABADIA DA COVA MENCIA ECOLOGICO ABADIA DA COVA W R BODEGA GODEVAL. This wine is named after a famed 5 ha parcel of prime vineyard which was considered one of the best vineyards in the time of Castilian kings (“Rei” is Galician for Rey meaning King) The D.s. The Mencia exhibits an intense raspberry colour. Peza is Galician dialect for Pieza or Trozo. where the mineral-rich loamy soils combine with a moderate climate. and Caiño tinto. and is dedicated to the quality of the Godella grape. have a great deal to do with why the wines of Ribeira Sacra can be so profoundly terroir-driven. It is a clear. The Godello has been reclaimed in Valdeorras as a noble indigenous variety. Soils are well-drained slates that both encourage deep root system whilst retaining the heat. and. Chemicals are virtually never used and harvest. to extract gold from the river valleys. 2010 GODEVAL W . There is prefermentation maceration for 12 hours followed by a 10 day alcoholic fermentation. mineral red. is manual. with slopes approaching 60% incline.. deeply expressed fragrances of top quality and some complexity. Bright attack with excellent acidity. and harvest grapes from these improbably situated vines. This wine carries all the aromatic lift of the vineyards whence it comes. Peza do Rei. Its aromatics are fruity (peach and ripe apple). Today. because the cosecheros (those who tend and harvest the vineyards) must also be capable of what is known as viticultura heroica. Light bodied. long finish and lingering persistence. A few sites. lovely balance between all components. very ripe aromas. This required prodigious engineering feats such as the diversion of the Sil River—accomplished with slave labour by digging a 1. It is low yielding and gives wines of tremendous personality. Eight acres of vertiginous. then a partial malo The wine is bottled without fining.D. It is one of only two areas in Spain (Catalunya’s Priorat is the other) that requires this "heroic viticulture". needless to say. brilliant. Godeval’s vines are planted in the 1970’s & 80s by the original founders of the winery on the steepest slopes and their south-facing aspect ensures maximum ripeness. they are lowered to boats waiting on the Sil River. intriguing. Ríbeira Sacra Beginning in the early 1990s. Ríbeira Sacra A land of extraordinary beauty and strong contrasts with deep river valleys. are so inaccessible that when the grapes are harvested. with mechanical lifts that are winched up and down. a few tools. during harvest. It is home to some of the most spectacular vineyards anywhere in the world. herbal Godello works extremely well in this case. Brancellao. Only two wines are made – a classic style and a richer old vines wine. The Albarino is blended with 15% of Godello. Combined with the inherent lactic character of the grape and you have wines that work on several levels. The combination of the aromatic Albarino and the more mineral. Vines in Valdeorras have an ancient heritage cultivated by the Romans who developed vineyards on the granitic and slate soils on the slopes bordering the River Sil. and delicious. 2010 PEZO DO REI TINTO R ADEGAS MOURE. Valdeorras Godeval Winery is situated in the beautiful monastery of 13th century monastery of Xagoaza. the DO Ribeira Sacra began to take form and the Enríquez family started the process of reclaiming their historic site. tend. bequeathing white and citrus fruit. and Viña A Ferreira. The wine is a blend of indigenous melange of Mencia. overlaid with a delicate floral scent. and finally hauled to the wineries.This is a primary style of Mencia without the balsamic. meaning “parcel”. JOSE MANUEL MOURE. brought to landings that can be reached by road. The Romans entered Ribeira Sacra as early as 24 A. a nice touch of bitterness. including Cividade.O. Grapes are manually harvested in small boxes.SPAIN Continued… ADEGA CACHIN. The Romans also used slave labour to plant terraced vineyards along the Sil and Minho riverbanks. . or terraces. containers of grapes. Unoaked.

It took us three expeditions to find our particular Txakoli and that’s a lot of sloshing and sluicing of crab-apple juice stomach-lined with piles of pinxtos. With a glass or ten of Txakoli. a non-vinous liquid that thumbed its nose at anything as pretentious as a wine glass. pears and tomatoes are planted. well. Verde viento. yet salty and curiously addictive – especially when you’re clenching a fistful of anchovies – a refreshing. 2010 2010 TXAKOLI DI GETARIA TXAKOLI DI GETARIA RUBENTIS ROSADO W Ro BASQUET CASE – A Tale of One Txakoli Verde que te quiero verde. Green branches. . Gird your loins with some Cantabrian anchovies. and when we returned to the region the following month it was inevitable that we would make the additional detour and drive up the coast along serpentine roads hugging the craggy cliffs pounded by the Biscayan waves in search of the green wine. Enchanted by its spritzy esprit we attempted to replicate the effervescent Txakoli experience wherever we went and with whatever white wine we drank. We sat and daintily munched fat white asparagus accompanied by puddles of aioli and ordered five bottles of Txakoli from different local producers. bits of foam and other general flummery. the vineyards are not weeded and no chemical sprays are used. surely mere water off a Biscayan duck’s back. First stop Akelare. One half-expected to meet a snorting bull a-strolling up the corrida. Federico García Lorca People ask why Txakoli is so expensive and difficult to obtain outside the Basque country. retaining a lively spritz. The cuisine matched the soulless décor. We stopped in the small town of Guetaria with its hump-backed foreland. it was dismissed rather than left the bottle as if the wine was saying “I don’t care. here truly was a democratic wine. As we reached the harbour the alley unfolded revealing an eating area of numerous tables. the English being the most difficult to interpret. consider the tiny size of the average farm-holding. Eschewing the inevitable “fish balls” we slavered and slobbered as we watched waiters periodically appearing in order to toss a sizzling slab of bloody red beef or a huge winking turbot onto one of the arrays of thick ribbed griddles set into the brickwork of the inner harbour wall. The menu was written in five languages. We sauntered through an alleyway hemmed in by dark shuttered houses past a table of twenty or so locals enjoying a feast. The Txakoli bug had bit. it can’t be tasted in a sip. The characteristic over-the-shoulder-pour hosed the fluid into the glass. Meanwhile gaily-coloured fishing boats drew up to the quay-side to offload their cargo of gleaming silvery-scaled denizens. but the overall effect was somewhat anaemic and in desperate need of enlivening. Green wind. and craved something as substantial as an anchovy. The green-tinted liquid turns chalkywhite. Most of the wines were pleasant but as insubstantial as the Atlantic-spumed air. stuffed pimentos or smoked fish and let the Txak attack! Recommended by one writer as the perfect accompaniment to wild rabbit because it is the only wine wherein the acidity can dissolve lead shot. Verde ramas Green I love you green. the heart of largest of the Txakoli Dos. Then the elusiveness of the producers: the fabled siesta is rigorously observed and the notion of a winery office is faintly risible. fragrantly floral (violets and irises) and typically effervescent.201 - . to quote Dick Swiveller in the Old Curiosity Shop. In the absence of Txakoli we ordered a bottle of Albariño. a two star Michelin joint perched on some cliffs. A big banner was tied between two balconies and massive bubbling tureens of stew sat on the table. is served in the pinxtos bars poured with great panache from a great height into small tumblers. It was effectively a blind tasting since the artery-hardening “Xpealladocious” producer names meant nothing to us. vivacious and aerial. However. cidery sea breeze. there are only a handful of producers who can lay claim to more than one hectare of vines and those vines teetering and straggling every which way on slopes. however. The best wines are produced around the fishing village of Getaria where the vineyards are cut into incredibly steep terraced slopes overlooking the Bay of Biscay. foams and eventually settles. The climate doesn’t help either being somewhat on the moist side.BODEGAS AMEZTOI. there were splits and splots on spoons. Txakoli di Getaria From Bilbao to San Sebastian Basque Txakoli (or Chacoli) made from the native Hondarrabi Zuri. Now Txak comes fetchingly in rose-tinted pink. It was a day to relax and toast the concept of mañana. but the Ameztoi had fruit and structural bite and that was the bottle we finished. waiting for that jolting appley sourness to kick in. in dells and hollows. The taste of Txakoli. as one serendipitously traipsed through these anfractuous cobbled streets. a few kilometres out of San Sebastian. I loved it. The chalky-hued Txakoli was tart. During the first exploratory trip we fetched up in San Sebastian where every request in every bar (and there were many) for white wine invariably brought out a plastic beaker and concomitant theatrics with the foaming apple-scented drizzle. It should be a back of the throat job. families. Here you have a polyculture: apples. I’m out of here”. shook it vigorously underneath the table till the latent carbon dioxide erupted merrily over the dreary grey shag-pile. cheek-by-tendril with orchard trees and flower nurseries. it had been El Bullied in a sanitised way. After all it is the greenest of green wines. peripatetic cats and a general flavour of human sunshine. and commenced our research by finding the best restaurant in town.

from the Alhambra and the Albaicin to the intimate corners of nineteenth century Romanticism. We tasted the wine again. one might counter with “Much Spain. For every Oddbins quip “No Spain No Gain”. split between Contraviesa-Alpujarra in the province of Granada and LaujarAlpujarra in the province of Almeria. Eric reversed the car and drove back up the hill. It was Txakoli after all.488 ft (1. successfully avoiding the old man of the sea on our peregrinations and met Ignacio Ameztoi. smiling and thanking him all at the same time. Garnacha. The soil is schist. . The next day we revisited the estate. And if. The Gran Reserva is a pure PX with over 25 years in solera. and Cabernet Sauvignon.” Antonio Gallego y Burin – Granada: An Artistic and Historical Guide to the City .” We drove away leaving the old man waving at us on the brow of the hill and delved through tiny little hedgerow-squeezed roads until we came back on ourselves on the outskirts of Guetaria. in a wine glass of all things. from the enchantment of Oriental art to the dawn of the Gothic. Eventually we happened on an old man making his way slowly up the hill and Eric got out of the car to ask directions. The Alternative Wine Glossary Wines from Granada/Almeria – Hola High Vineyards! Granada has everything to offer. but still waving… After numerous dead ends and multiple re-encounters with our old man whose omnipresence quite unnerved us we finally found the bodega. treacle. this rich diversity is overwhelming in its vitality without the dominance of one unilateral theme. Whilst one applauds enthusiasm and a proselytising zeal. here is a city neither of the mountain no of the plain. who showed us around his cellar. in other a delicacy full of half-tones. called out. From the foot of the mountains to their summit there is an ascent of more than three thousand metres and from the region of perpetual snow it is possible to descend. Black as Turkish coffee. Nature for her part provides analogous contrasts. The Sierra and the lowland intertwine in a strange arabesque and this gives the landscape both strength and extraordinary variety. with vineyards to 4. 482 m) and has the second-highest vineyards in Europe.. and the vines Eastern Andalucía is the most mountainous part of Spain (including Spain’s highest peak. One drawback – it’s very difficult to clean the glass afterwards! The Dulce de Pasas is made from sun dried PX. fermented for a slow six months and bottled immediately afterwards. thick and super-concentrated with fantastic savoury flavours of figs. “What did he say?” I asked “I have no idea. nothing was signposted..202 - . especially whites from the Vigiriega grape (extinct everywhere else on the mainland) and reds from Tempranillo. In some places there is ruggedness. Drink (or pour over) sticky toffee pudding. at 11. all spritz and spume. from the point of view of the Arts. It would be difficult to find a land richer in variety and contrasts or one evoking emotions of greater depth and diversity. The old man was jabbering away animatedly.424 ft (3. looking puzzled. evidently giving exhaustive instructions. a vast bear of a man. pointing first in one direction then another. molasses. walked round. from the flowering of the Renaissance to the exuberant brilliance of the Baroque. Eric was nodding furiously. in barely an hour. I couldn’t understand a single word.SPAIN BASQUET CASE – A Tale of One Txakoli Continued… After lunch we drove through deserted lanes. accompanied by five bouncing dogs of all shapes and sizes. whereupon we came upon the old man again. to a coast where every tropical fruit abounds. Montilla-Morales Dulce et decorum est Pedro Ximenez potare A hot region in southern Spain best known for its sherry style wines. but all was quiet except a one-eyed collie dog. everything in the garden of wine is not always blooming. Very Plain”. Amber in colour this is one exotic glass of liquid raisins! 2008 1985 DON PX VINO DULCE DE PASAS – ½ bottle DON PX DULCE GRAN RESERVA – ½ bottle Sh Sh Chirpy Chappiness / Punditry / Rosé-tinted Speculation – The Panglossian view of the Wine Trade espoused by those incessantly promulgating the virtues of supermarket wines. We found one vineyard seemingly abandoned other than a pair of grubby jeans drying on the wires. Mulhacen. BODEGAS TORO ALBALA. The combination of merciless sun all day and a massive temperature drop at night allows bodegas to make wines of quite astonishing quality. The Alpujarra mountains are a particularly high-quality area. This was evidently one extended siesta. and there are no insect pests and almost no cryptogams at these altitudes.368 m) making nearly mile-high wines of an extraordinary complexity.

It is made from Garnacha. a blend of Tempranillo. which only exists in Granada and the Canary Islands. This is a little valley full of vineyards. a real sipper. 2008 2008 2008 2003 BRUT NATURE BLANCAS NOBLES TRES UVES CERRO LAS MONJAS 1368 Sp W W R . pearskin. and Jaén. Merlot. The colour is dark with violet tints whilst the nose expresses ripe black and red fruits with minerals and a touch of “scorched earth”.203 - . Merlot. spicy and unbelievably moreish Cerro de Los Monjas is the literal and metaphorical peak of this winery. and traditional organic farming techniques are carried out.400 m (4. It has lovely dark fruit and expresses seemingly volcanic smoky-rubbery aromas from its low sulphur origins. Chardonnay and Macabeo making up the whites. But this has led them to rugged terrain and steep slopes in areas such as the Alpujarra (Granada/Almeria). where it is not unusual for summer temperatures to reach 40ºC (104ºF) in the shade. using organic methods. in the midst of the Alpujarras. The scent is tight and brooding and the wine is deeply tannic but refreshingly so and has savoury bright red fruit and acidity. which are gradually being planted again with vines.SPAIN Continued… Granada tierra soñada por mi. carob and wild olive trees. It is full in the mouth with plush chocolateand coffee-coated fruits held in check by discernible acidity and nicely integrated tannins. in a district called Costa-Albondón. yellow plum and some sherry notes. Merlot. the mountainous parts to the north of Seville and the Ronda mountains (Málaga). It spends three months in American oak barrels. Tempranillo. poor in organic matter. almost bruised apple fruit. The complex nose contributes to this impression being floral with ripe fruits. Cabernet Sauvignon. The surrounding hills are covered in thyme. His most representative wine is named after its altitude: Barranco Oscuro 1368. is to protect the vines from the ravages of the heat. some would say at great risk. such as the rare white Vigiriega. Vigiriega. The first three varieties are harvested at the beginning of September. and esparto grass. malt. sweet spices.593 ft). The wine’s rich golden colour seems to hold the light and hints at pelagic depths. Manuel Valenzuela was the first to establish vineyards at such heights. He tried out varieties that were reminiscent of times past. Mi cantar se vuelve gitano cuando es para ti. And most of these vines are red varieties. and dotted with pine. Rainfall is scarce in the region and occurs mostly in autumn and the climate is dry in the summer. His home and winery. with ripe. The straight Tinto. the Petit Verdot towards the end of the month. He tells us his small vineyard called Cerro de la Monjas is at an altitude of almost 1. This temperature range makes the wines strongly aromatic. As a result. hot ginger beer. It also keeps the vineyards optimally healthy. rosemary. He set out as a winemaker. baked apple. with concentrated colours and ripe tannins. 2008 2009 INIZA TINTO 4 CEPAS R R BARRANCO OSCURO. has aromas with hints of ripe black fruit with clean varietal expression as well as mineral and earthy hints. with hot days and cool nights. is in Cádiar. Syrah and Cabernet. Despite its weight it is intriguing and highly drinkable. Syrah and Petit Verdot. But he also tried his hand at some of the French and Italian stocks that are famous on the international wine-growing scene. an oak-aged split of Viognier. On the palate Tres Uvas is full bodied but not heavy. INIZA – Organic Cortijo de la Vieja is situated on the slopes of Sierra de Gador. The finish is spectacular with amontillado sherry mixed with lemon citrus and concentrated mineral salts – the manages to be dry. Iniza’s estate comprises some 25 hectares of vineyards with a range of varieties: Syrah. 4 Cepas is a blend of Tempranillo. and other peaks on the Sierra Nevada range. medlar. liquorice and intriguing curry spice (fenugreek and mustard seed). resigning themselves to making rough. the wine develops fresher citrus character. Growers had previously been reluctant to go so high. with magnificent views of the Mulhacen. On decanting. savoury. growers have sought out high lands where there are cooling breezes and the soils are acid and balanced. Augustin Lara BODEGA EL CORTIJO DE LA VIEJA. Merlot and Tempranillo. Sierra de la Contraviesa. warm. It is similar fino or manzanilla with its flor-like aromas except this has a touch of appley oxidativeness. where olive and almond trees also grow. Tres Uves. stony and full of slate in some places. Vermentino and Vigiriega is funky wine with strong oxidative and bruised apple aromas. MANUEL VALENZUELA – Organic The key to making red wine in Andalusia. Cortijo de la Vieja is in the municipal district of Alcolea. Spain’s highest mountain. at 800 metres above sea level. The wine undergoes sixteen day maceration with regular pumping over and is then aged in different American barrels for eight months. The soil is generally loamy. Cabernet (both Sauvignon and Franc). Petit Verdot and Garnacha and Tintorera for the red grapes. one of the highest in Continental Europe. cloudy wines. Cortijo Barranco Oscuro.

SPAIN Continued… BODEGA CAUZON. 2006 2006 PRISA MATA PINOT NEGRA R R . There is some smokiness in the background and a definable minerality as well as some firm tannins. Cauzon has a golden colour with slight cloudiness. north facing at 900 metres altitude. a hint of bitter chocolate finishing with fresh acidity. Wine was already in his blood – Manuel Valenzuela from Bodega Barranco Oscuro is his cousin – and having been influenced by the “natural” wine movement in France. No sulphur is used. Maceration is for 6-8 days. meshing soft dark fruits with fresh red ones. with ½ hectare in 2003. ANTONIO VILCHEZ. and during the growing season. the Chardonnay at a miniscule 600g per vine. Yields are around 2kg per vine (1. “we say what we do and we do what we say”. but is in fact. Prisa Mata is a blend of Tempranillo (45%). Half an hour in the fridge transforms the wine. Quite. Winemaking is artisanal. Merlot (10%). Pinot Noir (10%) and Garnacha (5%). The wines are not filtered or fined. a highly intelligent natural life form from Planet Granada. Granada – Organic Cauzon may sound like a race of inimical aliens from Star Trek: Voyager. Ramón’s philosophy is.000kg per hectare). RAMON SAAVEDRA. the wine is racked again and then bottled without filtration. 2010 2010 CAUZON BLANCO MOZUELO TINTO W R NARANJUEZ. using only wild yeasts and no sulphur. The vineyard area now comprises 5.5 hectares in total of north facing vineyards at 1. Organic viticulture is practiced using only natural compost and fertilisers. Ramón Saavedra is the young dynamic force behind Bodega Cauzón. a reference to Antonio’s (and most of Andalucía’s) philosophy on life. He has two hectares in the Pago del Naranjuez. Fermentation lasts for around a month and once fully dry the wines is racked and then again a month later. a wine without any additives whatsoever. but the gist was there.Harvest is early in the morning to avoid the excess daytime heat. in his own words.. peach and white pepper. followed by new 1 hectare vineyards in 2001. The juice is fermented using wild yeasts at no more than 20ºC to avoid volatile aromas. Ramón decided to study viticulture and oenology and gain work experience in various bodegas. alcoholic and malolactic fermentation is spontaneous with use of wild yeasts and no temperature control. alluvial and clay soils. 30% Chardonnay and 10% Torrontés. 30% Viognier. In 1995. Aromas of violets and wild cherries lead to pronounced roast meat flavours dusted with herbs and pepper. he decided to start making wine in Granada in the late 1990s. Beautifully fresh and gulpable despite the alcohol. Cabernet Franc (15%). No oak is used. They may not have phrased it quite so elegantly. “Prisa Mata” translates as “Haste Kills”. This would go well with paella.000 metres altitude and the terroir is sandy with large pebbles. Although the vines are young the wine has considerable depth. The winery is in the village of Marchal and the vineyards are at 900 m altitude on the banks of the Alhama river. Complex nose with the Viognier initially to the fore with fresh pear notes backed by honey with touches of sweet spice and ginger. The mouth is interesting conveying apple. The blend is 30% Sauvignon Blanc. temperatures can vary 25ºC between day and night. Naranjuez lies on the northern slopes of the Sierra Nevada – Spain’s highest mountain range – in the province of Granada in south-east Spain. white meats. The wines from Granada overlooking the Sierra Nevada are not generally well known. most shellfish and white fish as well as roasted vegetables Mozuelo is Ramon’s version of a joven wine made from a 50/50 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. At room temperature the Prisa Mata initially offers notes of warm butter and is plummy. The wine seems to attain its balance in the glass and ultimately possesses a beautiful natural quality that makes it so hard to resist. sulphur is only used in extremely wet vintages which is very rare for this dry region.204 - . Granada – Organic Someone once said that life is too short to drink crap wines. 2002 and 2004. Each variety is harvested and vinified separately. Once winter comes. Cabernet Sauvignon (15%). Antonio Vílchez is the spirit and soul of this tiny project. In 1999 he planted his first vineyard (1 hectare).. with nice acidity contributing to a long finish. after 15 years working in the Michelin * restaurant Big Rock (on the Costa Brava). Grapes are destemmed in the winery and then pressed using a manual wooden screw press which extracts the juice very softly. The continental climate has marked seasonal extremes.

2006 2003 2001 BRUT NATURE GRAN RESERVA “BRUT DE BRUT” BRUT NATURE GRAN RESERVA RESERVA PARTICULAR DE RECAREDO Sp Sp Sp . the grapes are analysed vine by vine. In 1878. MATA CASANOVAS. may be recessive by cool-climate standards: a hallmark of Mediterranean whites. the sons of its founder. professionalism and hard work. These vineyards yield high quality grapes giving wines of elegant expression and fine concentration. traditional racks.lo (46%). Torrelavit and Subirats. The blend is 36% Xarel. a gentle. Reserva Particular de Recaredo 2001 is 60% Macabeu and 40% Xarel·lo. based on know-how. Recaredo seek to ensure the natural balance of the vine. completely dry. the goal being to harvest the grapes at their optimum point of ripening. The secondary fermentation occurs in the bottle. and have been conserved retaining their original form. It stays at least six years and six months in contact with its own “lees” until the final removal of the sediment. Josep Mata Capellades created the Reserva Particular de Recaredo Cava with the idea of being able to convey the delicateness and subtle complexity that a cava that has undergone a very long ageing can achieve. 2006 Cava Brut Nature Gran Reserva comes from dry-farmed organic vineyards in the Alt Penedes zone and is made from a blend of Xarel. at the cellars’ natural temperature. aiming to achieve the best expression of every individual vintage. located around the villages of Sant Sadurní d’Anoia. sweet hay. All the “Xarel·lo” grapes are fermented in oak barrels for added complexity. The riddling process. the viticulture is based on dry farming with grapes harvested by hand. it is a cava that represents the Mediterranean in its purest form. The idea that cava could come from organically farmed vineyards and be crafted with the same care as champagne might surprise many people. allows the lees to descend to the bottle’s cork and prepares the bottle for the expulsion of the lees: the disgorging which consists in the expulsion of the lees accumulated during the ageing process. ambitious Cava gains almost everything from these processes. the Cavas Brut Nature. precisely because its intrinsic fruit notes – in contrast to its primary aromatics – are so muted. fennel. began to work in the world of cava and produce a few bottles for himself. since it is only in this way that proper care for the grape until pressing can be guaranteed and premature oxidation (a characteristic of so many cheap cavas) can be avoided. Some parts of the cellars are over 80 years old. Some of the base wine is aged in oak barrels for some months. It ain’t cheap. Neither chemical herbicides or insecticides are used. but fruit flavours. with the presence of some gravel. one of the few wines to buck the cava bargain bucket trend. 2003 “Brut de Brut” Brut Nature Gran Reserva is made with grapes from the old vineyards on moderately deep loamy and loamy-clay calcareous soils. without freezing the necks of the bottles. vinous. Cavas Recaredo is currently managed by Josep and Antoni Mata Casanovas.. this is carried out on an exclusively manual basis. He forged Recaredo’s identity. pure.lo and 64% Macabeu and the wine is aged for a minimum of 67 months in the bottles. There is a wonderful fleshy texture redolent of poached pears. He marked the way forward in his own style. Amazing length. It is flowery and languid. warm earth and green herbs.The special work begins in the vineyard. An extraordinary wine with aromas and flavours of the Mediterranean. with no added sugar. This is the story of Cava Recaredo. layers and refracts its primary aromatic profile. From World of Fine Wine.CAVA RECAREDO. quiescent Catalan fruits is what lends the best Cava its magnificence and its grandeur. it is a sparkling wine which is emphatically not structured by acidity – and hence doesn’t need dosage (though many great Cavas do have some dosage). The entire harvesting process is carried out by hand. The grape must is obtained by gently pressing the grapes. They prioritise respect for biodiversity and the environment: cultivating vines without using herbicides or insecticides and only employing natural organic fertilisers. structured. Far from ‘gaining nothing’ by time spent on yeast or in post-disgorgement ageing. Its informing beauties are those of fragrance and aroma. At Recaredo. the wine remains in contact with its finest lees. Therefore. Alt Penedes – Biodynamic When someone asks me whether we list a cava it is usually a not so coded demand for something light. and this complex aromatic weave laid gently on the downy. It is a archetypical Mediterranean white. thereby obtaining the highest-quality part of the must. The subsequent interaction of the yeasts or the lees and the wine during the in-bottle ageing will give more complex flavours and aromas. always carried out by hand in the classic. pioneering totally dry cavas. plot by plot. It has wonderful chalky minerality with notes of nutmeg and ginger. yet at the same time complex and mouthfilling. in the Alt Penedès region. In 1924. Think hawthorn. (After that eloquent panegyric even I might give cava a whirl. Time spent on yeast is what amplifies. long and rich with resonant acidity. When ripening begins. The palate is deep. Debourbage follows and then the first fermentation where the yeasts transform the sugars to produce the base wine. In 1962. The Xarel·lo was fermented in small “oak casks” to imbue the final cava with more structure and elegance. in the historic centre of Sant Sadurní d’Anoia. lifted and amplified by bubbles Not only is acidity relatively unimportant in its architecture. even those defenders of Spanish wines who write cava off a mediocre aberration. with the yeasts transforming the sugar to produce the cava’s bubbles and foam.205 - . carried out manually without freezing the bottle neck. precise daily movement. Macabeu (36%) and Parellada (18%). and working with oak barrels and longer-aged cavas. Josep built cellars in his house. Faithful to this idea. Josep Mata Capellades. almond-blossom. too. The wine is a Brut Nature. It is a completely dry Brut Nature. but then it ain’t your normal cava. Especially cheap. It glides and floats rather than slices and incises. Recaredo Mata Figueres was born in the town of Sant Sadurní d’Anoia. Andrew Jefford has some positive news. “At its best. giving it volume and body and becomes naturally clarified. his son. The grape juice from the oldest Xarel·lo vines ferment in oak barrels yielding structure and greater complexity for longer-aged cavas. All these vines are close to the cellars and transportation of the grapes is carried out using small trailers. interprets the calcareous lands of the Alt Penedès and shows the character of the oldest vines. effervescent and cheap. Over the winter. This wine will be used to add greater finesse and structure to the final blending. Well-upholstered wine with green plum and apple aromas. to obtain the most balanced musts and the very finest wines.

Long and complex and very pure. Fino Panesa is a generous dry wine. Don Emilio Hidalgo e Hidalgo had a thriving business with an office in London and a presence in many countries. The Pedro Ximenez is very sweet wine that takes its name from the variety of grape. at 650 metres altitude. nutmeg and clove). acquired during its development in oak casks under the ‘flor. Excellent with red meats. allspice. Endless finish. the buildings being of classical Andalucian construction with thick walls. A long oxidative development in the bodega in American oak barrels confers this old amontillado with supreme viscosity and extraordinary length on the palate. almost opaque colour. The blend of the Cava is 75% Macabeo and 25% Parellada. dry with tones of orange peel and dried figs. smoked ham. in the old part of the city of Jerez de la Frontera. as well as expand into the United States. elegant and very persistent it is also soft. DOMINIO DE THARSYS CAVA BRUT NATURE Sp BODEGA EMILIO HIDALGO. sweet figs and molasses.with a north-south orientation on a light slope. white fish. they are dried in the sun for several days to concentrate their level of sugar. pale yellow in colour with a distinctive and sharp bouquet.’ Full-flavoured with a satisfying aftertaste it should be served chilled with an array of tapas such as shrimp. with an almond aroma. game birds. Imagine notes of cooked walnuts. the aroma is of toasted nuts from old solera and hints of raisins and flavours reminiscent of dates. France and Belgium. The vineyards are on the high plateau. cured ham. toffee cream and warm wood and spice (cinnamon. as a result of its long maturation in oak casks and the harmonious passage of time. dry on the palate. N. cured cheeses. salted meats… This house has “soleras” of Palo Cortado dating back to 1860. It is mahogany in colour with a tawny hue (like a deep burnished brown) and has a fresh and elegant bouquet. The elegance of this wine is due partly to the fact that it developed under flor before its oxidative development. By the beginning of the 20th century. Currently the winery houses casks of the original wine used to found the company. The wine is fresh with fine bubbles. Even if you don’t know your soleras from your criaderas you will appreciate the amazing richness yet subtle balance of these great sherries. occupying a strong position in the mountainous region of Las Cabrillas The terroir is limey and sandy. Jerez This bodega was founded in the mid nineteenth century by Emilio Hidalgo Hidalgo so good they named him twice. Dutch. open beamed ceilings are ideal for the ageing and blending of wine. Bright mahogany. since its inception. After one year ageing the wine is disgorged without adding any expedition liquor. The company was incorporated in 1970 and began to expand its export business in the English. located on the left bank of the river Magro. poor in organic material and with good permeability. This wine has a very dark. roast pork… Marques de Rodil is a very special Palo Cortado. German and Austrian markets. and high.” All kneel before the El Tresillo Amontillado that comes from an 1874 solera blended and refreshed with amontillados with a younger character. Denmark. After the grapes are picked. This sherry is like polished antique furniture in a stately home glowing in warm late autumn sunshine. balanced. enormous windows. in the province of Valencia. Italy. The town was formerly a Moorish fortress. a legendary and mythic category of “vino de Jerez.V. Japan. stews. This wine is perfect served should be served at room temperature with pork dishes.206 - . Further notes of banana and citrus fruits are revealed and the finish is crunchy with balanced acidity. cheese… Gobernador Oloroso is an aromatic full-bodied sherry.SPAIN Continued… PAGO DE THARSYS. chicken. We are listing five wines which demonstrate the wonderful complexity that comes with the ageing process. the fruit of a long and extraordinary process of selection and a skilled combination of mixing in the traditional system of criaderas and soleras. The winery has been located. clean floral notes and nice grassy aromas. cheese. Requena Requena is a municipality in eastern Spain. selected from 20 years old vines The initial fermentation is in stainless steel tank at 14°C. Vibrant attack. NV NV NV NV NV LE PANESA FINO GOBERNADOR OLOROSO RODIL PALO CORTADO TRESILLO 1874 AMONTILLADO VIEJO PEDRO XIMENEZ Sh Sh Sh Sh Sh . which is carefully renewed and enriched by the fifth generation of the founding family dedicated to the wine industry. delicate and sharp and at the same time with tremendous body. The company is owned and operated by the fifth generation of his descendants.

private firms were forced to buy finished wine from ten co-operatives scattered throughout the region.207 - . 2010 2010 2008 AFROS LOUREIRO VINHO VERDE BRANCO AFROS VINHAO VINHO VERDE TINTO AFROS ESPUMANTE VINHAO VINHO VERDE TINTO W R Sp/R . The texture is part stalky and part bitter chocolate but it is the kinetic acidity that simultaneously drives the tannins over the gums and helps to alleviate their astringency. Deep. Located in the Dão region near Penalva de Castelo. Vinho Verde is the product of its micro-climate. on gentle slopes. does what it says on the label whilst staying sharp to the bottom of the glass. preferably in a carafe. bright red. Since then. plums and cherry skin. The red grapes. some chocolate-coated richness and touch of astringency on the finish. We begin with a Loureiro which displays a variety of pleasant citrus fruits on the palate such as lemon and tangerine. Sheltered by hills and forests from the north and west winds. appley qualities and very dry. More than 20 hectares of an ecologically sound territory. – Tanzer The Vinho Verde. flowers and minerality are the key notes within a delicate balance between sweetness and acidity. in the words of two famous adverts. the wine completes its second fermentation in the bottle and is disgorged after a further ten months. the result of the richness and purity of the land which is the legacy of centuries of agriculture. Dark as the inside of a coal mine at midnight the Afros Vinho Verde has impenetrable opacity. Really delicious wine with impressive lift and energy to the finish. Spicy. where the thrilling. as young winemakers and new property owners have been bringing top winemaking techniques to the native Portuguese varieties. plus food-friendly earthy and spicy notes. it’s as if the skins had been freshly ripped off the flesh and just finished fermenting in the glass.PORTUGAL CASA DE CELLO. granitic soil that endows the wines with a special acidity and minerality: these are the main features of the terroir. You can almost smell the colour of this distilled purple juice. to make Quinta da Vegia. This is a prime example where cultural context might provide the narrative necessary to appreciate the spirit of the wine. almost unreal intensity of the colour and the joyfully rasping rusticity would seem to laugh in the face of wine convention. twinned with the angular acidity. Porta Fronha is their unoaked cuvée. and. almost saline aromas of fresh red berries. which leaves a strong impression of pure. with a touch of floral and green notes. 1km north of the Lima river. after pressing and malo. 2009 2006 VINHO VERDE BRANCO QUINTA DE SANJOANNE DAO TINTO QUINTA DA VEGIA PORTA FRONHA W R AFROS. chestnuts orchards and a park of century old monumental trees. a winemaking revolution has occurred in Dão and throughout Portugal. where they go through a process of maceration in order to maximize the extraction of colour and polyphenolic elements. the red fruit qualities showing striking purity and focus. pithy lemon finish. star winemaker of Quinta do Ameal and others. A classic Teinturier grape (see Alicante Bouschet and Saperavi) Vinhão is one of the oddities in which the juice from the flesh is crimson not clear. after being destalked go directly into fermentation vats or the “lagares” together with their skins. in which we find. Served chilled with some slow cooked shoulder of pork or one of those artery-coating Asturian bean stews this wine’s snappy vitality would not only cut through. This system was finally changed in 1989 with Portugal’s entry into the EU. Quinta da Vegia has 20 ha of vineyard planted to Touriga Nacional. they receive welcome breezes from the south bringing the Atlantic influence that characterizes the freshness of the wines. Fruits. VASCO CROFT. with lots of lemon and dry. Entre-Douro e Minho and Dão For most of the 20th Century. Vinho Verde – Biodynamic With exceptional conditions of soil and solar exposition. a sandy. Lovely succulent fruit on the palate. forests with species of acacia. the vineyards lie on softly inclined hills looking over the Lima River. rich in bio-diversity. but dissolve. beech. the Dão region in northern Portugal never quite lived up to its potential. Lively and sweet. fresh strawberry and raspberry fruit. bursting with crunchy red berry fruit. besides the vines. Owner João Pedro Araujo of Casa de Cello has teamed up with Pedro Anselmo. fat. A blend of Avesso and Loureira it conveys the customary pear and apple fruit aromas. Made from 100% Vinhao this is utterly opaque with a velvety feel in the mouth. For the Espumante fermentation with maceration of the skins occurs in granite tanks and then. The tannins are chewy. pine and eucalyptus. oak. The vines of Casal do Paço are situated in a south facing amphitheatre. Aragonês (the local clone of Tempranillo) and Trincadeira Preta. Already drinking well. create a pucker-sour-sizzle combination which confronts the palate with plenty of difficult textural adjustments. Due to government regulation. agreeably abrasive. I can think of few better drinks to be supped al fresco. presents a slightly prickly sensation in the mouth and then bursts out smilingly with thick gobs of bramble jam and exotic black cherries and black raspberries.

After a long hunt we finally discovered two superb Brunellos: Poggio di Sotto and Il Paradiso di Manfredi. Imagine wallowing in a heated spa swimming pool toasting a snow-capped Mont Blanc with a glass of sparkling Blanc de Morgex. When you’re choosing Italian wine you don’t have to sacrifice yourself on the altar of orthodoxy. Signor Palmucci makes uncompromising wines at the former. In The Vineyard – The Biodynamic Clock We don’t set out deliberately to buy wines that are organic and biodynamic – these labels are practically irrelevant as many wine growers adapt elements of natural philosophy or vineyard practice in order to make better wines from healthier vines. distinctive flavours announced proudly that the wines could only come where they came from. Friuli. at our “Real Wine Tasting” we brought together growers from various regions of Italy – the link being that they all worked without chemicals in the vineyard (encouraging biodiversity) and without adjustments in the winery. and. or tasting 1961 Barolo in the Borgogno winery. Ditch the dishwater! How does unfiltered Prosecco. Thank goodness for diversity. its supreme elegance making up for the natural austerity of the wine. it can certainly be tasted time and again in the wines. This year. but. Another estate that prides itself on using no chemicals is Sottimano in Barbaresco. The 2004 Fausoni is destined to be a memorable vintage. unfortified traditional-style Marsala) from Marco de Bartoli and know that it would be still in perfect condition in several weeks time? From the communes of Valle d’Aosta. drinkable now and endlessly ageworthy. PG has for too long stood not for Parental Guidance but for vapid Pinot Grigio or Pappy Gruel. The link between organic/biodynamic farming and terroir (or typicity) is surely undeniable. for example. vive la difference. the more constructed amber efforts of Princic nodding and winking to Gravner. the strong. In Piedmont we are working successfully with Giacomo Borgogno. or eating almonds under the pergola vines in Sankt Magdalener… Much hithering and thithering has allowed us to probe the hidden corners of this amazing country. one of the oldest estates in Barolo. a quirky tradition or some delicious vinous ambuscado that keeps the most jaded palate on taste-bud tenterhooks. With no make up and no pretension the wines simply tasted of themselves. but it doesn’t have to be overtly interventionist. a spicy ramato (copper-hued) Pinot Grigio from Bellanotte. nestling on the Swiss border. made in the ancestral fashion from pre-phylloxera vines. as they don’t say in Rome. no kowtowing to the palates of certain American wine critics at this establishment whilst the authentic Brunellos from Manfredi magically capture the essential purity of the Sangiovese grape. to the baking volcanic plug of Pantelleria swept by hot winds off the Sahara.208 - . it so happens that about half of our Italian wineries are working to a consistent and rigorous programme of sustainable viticulture and minimal intervention. Of course. if it cannot be proven by lab technicians in the sterile conditions of a laboratory. and a dry Verduzzo and Schioppettino respectively from Bressan – to name but a few.ITALY – 2011 – STATE OF THE MANY NATIONS REPORT During the last few years we have enjoyed several sensuous epiphanies in Italy. a bonus and a relief in the face of global pressure to create styles to please the “common denominator palate (whatever that might be). cherry-bright Terrano). good winemaking exalts the expression of terroir. every corner of Italy throws up a grape variety. sound instead? Or Sicilian Cerasuolo – fermented in Georgian amphorae? Or perhaps you have an irrational hankering for a Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi from 1991? Or a dry Lacrima di Morro d’Alba? And wouldn’t you like to open a bottle of Vecchio Samperi (a dry. (consider salty-mineral Vitovska and sapid. abutting Slovenia. has provided perhaps the most varied and recondite taste sensations: the biodynamic wines of Benjamin Zidarich. . The wines are organic and delicious.

deter drinkers who are searching for “melonosity” in their wines. The fault is occasionally not in the wine. can evolve. and to accept the notion that a wine that is not clean must. but in the taster and contemporary arbiters of taste. Italy’s contrasts are manifold: the classic and the modern. . the north and the south. are full of challenging contrasts: tough yet delicate. lashings of new oak transformed them into the safe international style that we recognise and – ahem – applaud today. Some of the greatest wines are borderline mad and downright impertinent. and earthytruffly aromas. We have examples of rare traditional indigenous varieties such as Longanesi. ipso facto. full yet soft. Their colour. (Good goosebumps!) The great thing about Valentini’s wines (red. commercial wines. that peculiar astringency that makes perfect sense with food. In other words. Now when we taste rustic Chianti we think it somehow “incomplete”. to sell sherry any more – the brand recognition facilitates this – but try to suggest a solera-style Vernaccia di Oristano from Attilio Contini or Vecchio Samperi from Marco de Bartoli and you will startle a veritable herd of bewilderbeest. I suppose if people want absolute consistency they won’t venture beyond the tried and trusted. We tend to search for exactitude in wine that does not exist in nature and evaluate it by a pernickety sniff and a suspicious sip. Obduracy is a caricature of Italian reds and although we shouldn’t brush all reds with the same tar. therefore what’s tough for the palate –in this case – is definitely sauce for the goose. notions of correctness condition our palates & colour our critical judgement. Unfortunately. an orange-tile red. Monica. or change in context. Dedicated followers of fashion – journalists – often write for their audience and a common denominator of taste. for example. /Poetic fields encompass me around/And still I seem to tread on classic ground. Flattering wines rarely possess the edge and drive to challenge hearty food. Even the grape names romantically suggest the style of the wine: Sangiovese (the blood of Jove) or Negroamaro (bitter-black). No one drinks it”. in the guise of expert oenologists.Enotria Tellus For whereso’er I turn my ravished eyes/ Gay gilded scenes and shining prospects rise. as Voltaire observed: “The best is the enemy of the good”. there are enough denatured beauties and vacant models in the world of wine. shyly revealing then retreating into the shell.209 - . they are primarily interested in what is widely available and consequently what can be sold commercially. fruitfully fruity. All to the good. False or True Imperfection can be a kind of truth and variability is an intrinsic quality of so many interesting wines. cleansed the wines. inevitably very mineral. for example. with certain wines. always suggestive. It is patronising to assume that a wine that has been made for centuries in a particular old-fashioned style is an irrelevant frivolity. It is our intention to demonstrate the Italian wines can match the French for regional diversity and sensitivity to terroir. From the Alpine valleys of Valle d’Aosta to its baking southern Mediterranean coast Italy is many countries with a fascinating diversity of cultures. Mascarello’s Nebbiolos. And the truth can be hard to drink. and that it must be inevitably to manufacture perfectly balanced. cerasuolo and white) is that they are constantly changing in the glass. Mayolet and Petit Rouge and also the best expression of better-known grapes such as Sangiovese. Take Chianti – once upon a time in this country it was viewed as low-grade quaffjuice. Nebbiolo and Montepulciano. These wines don’t transcend the genre – they are the genre. typicity and individuality. individuality and purity. That Valentini’s wines from Abruzzo excite even more debate (amongst the privileged few who have sampled them) is a rare quality in itself: to some the wines are a testament to passion. There’s a charm in contrariness. The genius of the wine that does not surrender its secrets in the first aromatic puff is also often missed. in being capatosta. Better red than… dead boring No one ever said that tasting Italian red wines was a doddle. they exhibit intriguing and offbeat secondary and reductive aromas. be faulty. never obvious. to others they are “quasi-defective”. Our idea was to represent growers from both Italy’s classic and lesser-seen regions. One journalist told me that the Trebbiano gave her “goosebumps”. Modernity. but objectivity per se can be utterly conformist and lead to what Keats called a “pale contented sort of discontent”. Joseph Addison – Letter From Italy In the last couple of years we have assembled an agency portfolio of “Italian terroiristes”. their very identity nevertheless rests on a familiar sour bite. Californian Chianti Perceived convention is the curse of interesting wine. fruity yet mineral. In this respect. On the one hand critics claim to be utterly objective. Sometimes we need a leap of faith (or understanding) to appreciate recondite or reserved wine styles. a group of growers dedicated to producing wines of purity. to see if our initial judgement was correct. No wonder Marco says: “Marsala is dead. no more than rough-and-unready red wine. so to speak. clean-as-a-whistle. A bloody bitter wine with edges is a wine that challenges the palate. climates and wine styles. but… reconfiguring and overcomplicating wine in the winery suppresses any whiff of individualism or sniff of unorthodoxy and has had a knock-on effect. because they are released with bottle age. and we succumb to the great intentionalist fallacy of wine criticism by assuming that we know the grower’s purpose better than they do. certainly very strange – and. It is not so difficult. obsession. People are still fixated with labels and reputations and ignore what lies within the bottle. This view is an immaculate misconception. you can no more sip a wine and know its total character than look at one brushstroke of a painting or hear a single musical note in a symphony and understand the whole. however. the raw and the cooked. if they want to be touched by greatness they will risk drinking something that defies easy categorisation. we have to drink the bottle. who are not only perfectionists and passionate about their own wines but also fine ambassadors for their respective regions. Then Tuscany was given the kiss of money and the DOCG pulled itself by its bootstraps (or rootstocks) and multidimensional. relatively extractive and increasingly expensive wines were produced. a reconnection to terroir. complex. a fiasco in a fiasco. of course. Albana. Wines. the bitter and the sweet. We are inculcated to respect transparent cleanness.

Prince Metternich VALLE D’AOSTA LES CRETES.210 - . notably Fontina. Valle d’Aosta The vine has been cultivated in the Aosta Valley since the Roman period or perhaps even earlier. hawthorn. blueberries. elegant and refined aromas beginning with elder and pineapple followed by banana. perfumed. but nowadays is extremely rare. it is the pig that provides the poke in superb boudin. The only lasting setback was the disappearance of several vine varieties. and various types of sausage. the aromatic herb-seasoned Jambon de Bossed (from animals raised on the mountains). It pairs well with fresh. apple. destruction was not total. and finally allowed to cool. pleasing. In the second half of the 19th century. The taste is reminiscent of the aromatic herbs used for the seasoning. Donnaz was the valley’s first DOC wine. so that the family could use meat throughout the long. perhaps some wild rose. the Salassi. It must be cut and laid in custom-made containers called doils within 48 hours of the killing. blackberries. brought to the boil. such as Petite Rouge. however. saltier and richer with age. Costantino Charrère is the driving force in the region. clean. The Petite Arvine.ITALY Italy is a geographical expression. we start with a Chardonnay which unveils delightful pear. Lardo d’Arnad is considered a true delicacy. then covered completely with salted water. receiving that recognition in 1971. Drying the meat was a necessity. However.18 inches (3 cm. garlic and juniper berries. seeking out native grape varieties on the verge of extinction and preserving their peculiar qualities in a host of wonderful wines made at his family winery and the famous Les Crêtes venture that he runs in partnership with other well known figures from the region. thereby creating suitable microclimates in which grapes have flourished since the remotest times. Being an Alpine region gorgeous cheeses abound. the phylloxera epidemic devastated the Aosta Valley vineyards over a period of many years. It is excellent with black bread and honey and is quite sublime perched atop just roasted chestnuts. semi-sweet and very fragrant when young. it was the turn of Enfer d’Arvier. And they acquired something of a “sacral” character as well because. The final product has variable shape and is not less than 1. all further movement was halted until 1985 while a plan was worked out to place all regional wines of fine quality under the common denomination of Valle d’Aosta.) tall. freezing winter months. The ageing can last from one to twelve months. The Torrette is made from the fruit of autochthonous Petit Rouge vines (70%) with the remainder Mayolet. The wine displays a brilliant straw yellow colour. Although other wines were in line and qualified to receive the DOC designation. This goes beautifully with a crisp Chardonnay. The vineyards slowly revived and flourished anew. were already making wines from grapes grown in their own vineyards. Warm. provides here a lovely dry white with aromas of spring flowers. In the manner of Robert Plageoles he is the archivist and grape detective. consistent and smooth in the mouth. The physical layout of the valley favours the cultivation of vines because the mountains tend to block or turn aside the coldest winds. a mixture of cow’s and a little goat’s cheese. Firstly. According to those stories. soft wines with a good balance. The lard must mature inside the doils for at least three months. It was during the Middle Ages. although the devastation was enormous. or goat. broom. The following year. The colour is white with meaty highlights on the surface. however. the nose reveals intense. 2009 2009 2006 2005 VALLE D’AOSTA CHARDONNAY CUVEE FRISSONNIERE VALLE D’AOSTA PETITE ARVINE VIGNE CHAMPORETTE VALLE D’AOSTA TORRETTE VALLE D’AOSTA FUMIN VIGNE LA TOUR W W R R . COSTANTINO CHARRERE. The stylish intriguing Fumin displays good colour with sweet ripe fruit and would go well with the local motsetta. myrtle. It is known with certainty that in 23 BC the Roman legions crushed a rebellion by the valley’s inhabitants and celebrated their victory by looting all the cellars of their wine. the oldest on the property on various locations and exposures confer strong connotations of the territory upon the resulting wine. Fortunately. Once upon a time deer and wild goat’s meat was available as well. a dry meat from the thigh muscle of the cow. Aroma is fruity and floral expressing ripe raspberries. spicy warmth. while the inside has a continuous pink colour. too. Made exclusively with the back and shoulder of adult pork. alternating a layer of lard to one of salt and spices until the doils are almost full. according to numerous reports. These vines. surprisingly lush peppery. Toma di Grassoney (made in the meadows) and Fromadzo. they were used in the rite of exorcism. who lived in the region before the Romans conquered it because of its strategic value. AYMAVILLES. pear and peach. apple and vanilla aromas and a long finish with mineral notes. sheep. along with salt. if various legends can be believed. that the wines of the Aosta Valley established a widespread reputation. resident in Switzerland. Tinturier and Cornalin – grown on sandy moraines at an altitude of 550m close to the commune of Aymavilles in Valle d’Aosta.

and. in this case. Furthermore. The palate tracks the aromas. or low pergola. The Dora Baltea river is the region’s only sliver of non-mountainous terrain and is the life-blood of Valle d’Aosta’s viticulture. not dissimilar to a Tokaji. at the foot of Monte Bianco (or. Legend states that it was imported to Italy by Vallese share croppers who arrived in the Aosta Valley half way through the seventeenth century to repopulate the area after an epidemic. Low and supported by wooden poles. pear and peach jostle delicately on the nose. Its vineyards produce the self-styled “highest white wine in Europe” (there – told you I’d mention it again). while allowing them to benefit from heat accumulated in the ground during the daytime. Telloli explains that the stone walls surrounding individual plots and the enormous piles of rocks heaped in a seemingly haphazard manner among the terraces have a function beyond aesthetics. Straw-yellow in colour. 2010 2010 2009 VALLE D’AOSTA BLANC DE MORGEX ET DE LA SALLE “RAYON” VALLE D’AOSTA BLANC DE MORGEX ET DE LA SALLE “VINI ESTREMI” “CHAUDELUNE” VIN DE GLACE – 50cl W W Sw .VALLE D’AOSTA Continued… LA CAVE DU VIN BLANC DE MORGEX ET DE LA SALLE. Morgex and La Salle are united in celebration: the venue of the festivities alternates from year to year between first one town. Valle d’Aosta Vin de Morgex. nicely balanced with intense and agreeable flavours. “Centuries ago. in some cases.” An ice wine from Valle d’Aosta? From the Prié Blanc grape harvested in December when the vineyards are swathed in snow. This is the highest region from which wine is produced in all of Europe something which I may mention repeatedly in this discourse. accompanied by white vegetable sauces with radicchio or artichokes. “The low pergola has been used for centuries here because it protects the vines from wind and heavy snowfall. or drink it with a delicate first course dish. Hawthorn. among which the most famous is the fontina fonduta… Try also with raclette and Arnad lard. Throw a servant on the roaring log fire and sip this elixir with some hot roasted chestnuts whilst humming a few bars of “Edelweiss”. is cultivated at an altitude of 1300 metres. too. This wine has all the unexpected charm of an upturned apple-cheeked Heidi figure being pursued across a fragrant alpine meadow by a malevolent Renault Mégane. We’ve kept the ancient stone walls and rocks because they really help retain heat during the cool nights. lemon. Unusually. it is cultivated under the characteristic stone pergolas that are a legacy from Roman viticulture. where the vines are trained near the ground in trellised arbours with stone columns surrounded by stone walls. Blanc de Morgex is an extremely old grape species.” Yet the low pergola presents many difficulties. Chalk another one up to the grape detective! The sheer beauty of these soaring mountain vineyards is made even more arresting by a time-honoured system called pergola bassa. then the other. The grape variety is called Blanc de Morgex. in August. The vine owes its strength and extraordinary qualities to its resistance to cold temperatures and snow. Harvesters must pick the grapes on their knees and. although is more technically known as Prié Blanc (and in Switzerland’s Valais region as Bernarde). which is crucial for the grapes’ maturation. It has a delicious burnished apple flavour. MORGEX. it is the wine that is the vehicle for the wood rather than the other way round. while laying flat on their backs. with pale green nuances. According to La Cave’s winemaker Gianluca Telloli. The finish is persistent with lingering flavours of apple. Indeed. however. the gorge traps summer heat enabling the grapes to ripen.” a justifiable epithet given the vines precariously perched on steep terraces. They call it “heroic viticulture. Its flow keeps the air moving and the clouds away. What better occasion for tasting the “highest wine in Europe” as well as savouring other specialities typical of the valley. Mont Blanc – a mountain named after a fancy biro) in the heart of Valle d’Aosta. Even today. broom. pear and citrus. Each year. The tiny town of Morgex is only a few kilometres from the trendy alpine resort area of Courmayeur. apple. its bouquet evokes mountain herbs with notes of fresh hay. a crisp attack is. it is not unusual for the typically bright green grapes to be covered in snow and ice at harvesting time. between the areas of Morgex and La Salle. the pergolas scale the sides of the mountains just a few kilometres from Aosta. as the French call it.211 - . this capacity to adapt itself to the harshest of climates has protected it from the phylloxera epidemic. the peasants realized how important the heat conducting capabilities of the stones were. juniper and chestnut amongst others lend their subtle tones to the finished product. almond. cherry. also called Bianco dei ghiacciai (glacier wine).

and akin to Syrah in style. to pinpoint the pinprick on the map.212 - . Switzerland to the north and Piedmont to the south and east. Neblou. It is divided into 74 communes. Ruby red. It starts with the geography. a local white wine specialty prepared from the autochthone grape variety Petite Arvine in Valais. Fumin is a somewhat meatier grape. In the late 12th century Thomas of Savoy granted a charter of liberties that preserved the autonomy. and mellow. The Torrette Superiore has well-focused aromas and palate. the impact of thiol compounds on the wine aroma was demonstrated. This is the classic shortbread tin box scenery that you could just crunch forever. Indigenous yeast. ELVIRA STEFANIA RINI. The palate is full-bodied but nonetheless delightful and well-balanced. In gas chromatography-olfactometry and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analyses. the peculiarities of the micro-climate. All are grown with great respect for the environment in the municipality of Saint-Pierre at a height of between 650-850 metres above sea level. This would go well with the traditional Carbonade. The people who live in the region and have given their lives to viticulture are an essential part of the dynamic and it is not beyond fancy. The Torrette itself is made from 90 per cent Petit Rouge with Mayolet.000 is swelled in the winter by ski-folk who flock to the resorts and in the summer by hikers and other tourists. and though this was revoked centuries later that energy towards independence was never far from the surface. the training and trellising. The population measuring around 120. The valley was originally inhabited by Celts and Ligurians before being conquered by the Romans who founded Augusta Praetoria (from which derives the name Aosta) to secure the mountain passes and to fortify the region. the geology. however. it has a nose of blackberries and pencil lead.. Imagine Fleurie with a tad more grip. After the fall of Rome it was loosely held by a succession of Goths. 3-mercaptohexanol was identified as one of the key aroma compounds for the wine aroma. when you taste the wines. lingering tannins lift the finish. Hence “Touvien” is everything that comes (i. We stood on the south facing hill of Torrette from which the cru of Torrette is named.. that the wines of the Aosta Valley established a widespread reputation. Switzerland. The name is formed from the first syllables Barmaz and Rossan.etc the imperative of come is “viens”. Premetta. is described as intense in grapefruit and rhubarb flavours. then the Burgundian kings. darker in colour. to experience something of the personality of the growers. The grape varieties are Petit Rouge. 2010 2009 2008 PETIT ROUGE TORRETTE SUPERIORE “CLOS DE CHATEAU FEUILLET” FUMIN R R R 3-Mercaptohexanol: An Aroma Impact Compound of Petite Arvine Wine (could this be the most boring and unromantic piece of trivial research ever?) “The characteristic aroma of Petite Arvine. who grew wine in the family vineyards in Monte Torrette back in the 1960s. the health of the soil. Everything is destalked followed by a long maceration / fermentation period of in between 20 to 30 days according to the vintage. they were used in the rite of exorcism. no oak. it seems. VILLENEUVE. Lombards. all values being above the odour threshold value in aqueous ethanol solutions for this compound. classic use of sulphur (a little bit at harvest and at various stages during elevage) but restrained . is a tiny autonomous region bordered by France to the west. Valle d’Aosta. The vineyards are between 500m-900m (the Mayolet grape grows at the highest altitude). Valle d’Aosta – Organic In local dialect ‘di Barrò’ means ‘of the barrels’. First stop was Andrea and Elvira di Barrò’s tiny winery. Vien De Nus et Villermen. the soil.VALLE D’AOSTA Continued… CANTINA DI BARRO. It was during the Middle Ages. the plant diversity. Understanding wine. . Cornalin and Fumin making up the remainder. The concentration of 3mercaptohexanol in 11 Petite Arvine wines was in the range between 210 and 6100 ng/L. As usual when you are in Italy or France you receive a short historical lesson about the region. the sub-soil. Bottled early for drinking young.e. Scientists would scoff at these whimsical notions. because all wine flavours to them are about bottled molecular exchange and transformation. Cornalin. In French “tout” means everything and the verb “venir” means to come is conjugated as je viens (I come) tu viens (you come). is not about simply tasting the product (reductive word!) in the bottle. the insect life. the way the vineyards are laid out. Mayolet. Fumin.. And they acquired something of a “sacral” character as well because. The word Touvien is taken from the local French dialect. “ A MORNING WITH THE DI BARROS What you really want to wake up to is a refreshed blue sky and dazzling mountain vistas. according to numerous reports. the former owners as well as parents-in-law of the current owner. In sensory evaluation by a triangle-test. grows) in the vineyard. Vien de Nus. but was essentially a series of independent fiefs. Touvien is a cuvée where all the red grape varieties on the estate are included.

a mouth-watering drinkability that slakes thirst and gets the gastric juices bubbling. a little bit of bentonite for fining and a touch of sulphur at bottling”. Andrea told us the appellation of Torrette was effectively founded on this hill in 1837 and the wine made always comprised the indigenous grape varieties of Petite Rouge. I am reminded that complexity is a false god to admire and that purity or typicity of flavour is achieved with less intervention and less conscious extraction. According to Andrea the local almond harvest takes place here at the same time as in Sicily. extreme in the temperature variations and lack of rainfall. The wines. Extreme in the disposition of the vines. Andrea glanced at the row of tanks. Once again the vineyard was composed of numerous minuscule plots. Gros Rouge. highly wrought wines designed to win competitions and appeal to critics. He explained that this was an area of very little rainfall. We descended to the winery which was surrounded by lilac. And hide with ornaments their want of art . like the di Barròs themselves.000 per year for his wine (before tax!) That winery tours could all be so mercifully brief. extreme(ly) small in the size of the operations and extreme in the cherishing of traditions and local varieties. cherry-blossom and almond trees. The greatest wines will inevitably appeal both to our intellect and emotion. too far. he said. Some plunged straight into the valley towards the Dora Baltea river. this is essentially a Mediterranean climate with bells on. the grapes used to be harvested and left in small boxes for a few days to increase flavour concentration. We could make about 25. add to this the sandy soils and great heat and you have vines which are extremely stressed and resultant natural low yields (30-35hl/ha). Poets. are natural. on steep gradients. otherwise I will always favour the wines that appeal to my emotion. a row here a row there.VALLE D’AOSTA Continued… Back to the di Barròs. virtually impossible to tackle with machinery. generous and true to the locality. For all that people discuss airily extreme viticulture it really reaches its literal and metaphorical peak in Valle d’Aosta. thus unskilled to trace The naked nature and the living grace. No chemicals are used in the vineyard. Mayolet and Fumin. sorry.000. others clung to the mountain precariously further up the slopes held in check by stone walls and rock faces. carefully constructed. With gold and jewels cover every part. Back a bit… back a bit… back a bit… Oops. but we would rather accept the low yields and stick around 18.213 - . The sun beat down bouncing off the white rocks. “We don’t do much in here”. Originally. like painters. A tank is a tank is a tank for a’ that. “no filtration. The wines that attract me most have the quality of gratia placendia. that I feel “on the pulses” over the glitteringly insincere. A quick calculation suggested he would be earning all of £8. meretriciously vacuous.000 bottles.

with fennel seeds and chilli (called zenzero in Tuscany) being particularly popular. ubiquitous. sausages with chilli. venison. wild boar and hare. Salami. which is usually simply grilled. salty. As well as being grated over risotti and incorporated into pasta dishes. A lightly chilled Dolcetto (sometimes regarded – unfairly – as the Beaujolais of Piedmont) is the perfect partner to pasta and risotto dishes. Barolo combines a dry austere character with a wonderfully fragrant nose and a velvety softness. added to soups. Pasta dishes are not a Tuscan forte. Along the Tuscan coast the most traditional dishes are based on fish. Generally speaking the diet is healthy. it is the main character in the gastronomic scenario of the Tuscan table. the onions of Ivrea. Garlic is an important seasoning. cavolo nero. Another speciality of Tuscany are the cieche or ce’e (tiny baby eels) caught at the mouth of the Arno near Pisa. really). tomatoes. has the necessary rusticity to weave and bob amongst the myriad textures and flavours. Brunello di Montalcino has the requisite strength and structure. bagna caoda (served warm. veal shoulder. beef brisket. Sanato is the most prized Italian veal. of which the ones from the Crete Senesi and from Pienza are the most highly prized. carrots. made with ewe’s milk. It is often described as “cucina povera”. or even a shower of truffles. . a powerful tasting cow’s milk cheese. povera in this context meaning lacking elaboration and based on the quality of the ingredients. from wild boar. thick. for boar. cherry-bright aroma. especially in Piedmont. Morellino. and every vegetable is made tastier with a couple of teaspoons of it. local classics include ovuli funghi and white truffle salad and bruschetta of truffle cream and anchovy fillets layered with truffle. which traditionally contains chilli and should be made with at least five kinds of fish – one for each of the c’s in cacciucco. and for game stews and oxtail. would suffice admirably. come into their own in the best-known Piedmontese antipasti. These beans are stewed in a cone-shaped earthenware pot and served as an accompaniment to pork (Arista alla Fiorentina). The former will contain a mixture of cannellini beans. Also famous is the marzolino del Chianti which Caterina de’ Medici loved so much she had it sent regularly to France. Charcuterie is best accompanied by a fruity young red. the cardoons of Chieri and the bell peppers of Asti. herbs and olive oil it will be ladled over the local pan sciocco (unsalted bread). Vermentino or Trebbiano are options with seafood. Full of vegetables. For grilled steak (especially bistecca alla Fiorentina) try a Chianti Classico/Classico Riserva. it is also used raw. with Barolo and the rustic Paniscia (risotto with sausage beans and various vegetables). no sauces. a youthful Barbera. Tuscany offers splendid pecorino. The best wines to cope with oily.Piedmontese and Tuscan Cuisine… Anna del Conte. a cow’s milk cheese to which ewe’s milk is sometimes added. A youthful Chianti. Pork is cured to make the soppressata of Siena. and tajarin (thin tagliatelle). and others. As with Tuscany the big reds come into play with the denser red meats such as roast kid. Tuscan cuisine deserves a book to itself. meat and fish. Food is sautéed and fried in it. but pappardelle con lepre (thick ribbon noodles with a hare sauce) is a regional signature dish. thyme and pepper. The ribollita of Sienna and Florence rival in variety and quality the acquacotta of the Maremma. carrots. Meat and game dishes abound. fennel-flavoured finocchiona and all the prosciutti. The Tuscan olive oil is the ultimate signature of Tuscan cuisine. all made with local vegetables. Stinco al Forno con Patate and Brasato (beef) alla Lombarda (braised with vegetables and spices). can make this one of the great gastronomic experiences”. and perhaps. chillies. and. otherwise a Favorita. onions and seasonal roots. As well as the commonality of the primary ingredients certain herbs are widely used. is also common. and bowls of salsa verde and/or bagnet rosso and mostarda di Cremona. bitter nature of this dish are the native Freisa. They are thrown alive into hot olive oil flavoured with sage and garlic. or Rosso di Montepulciano would be the appropriate guzzle-partner. Tuscany is not renowned for its white wine. Pasta dishes are not prominent in this part of Italy. squid and octopus. in carne all’ albese. Piedmont is also one of the most important rice growing areas in Italy (apparently Thomas Jefferson smuggled a couple of bags out so that he could plant it in his estate in Virginia) and recipes for risotto abound: with cardoons. These include the tangy-flavoured bra (yes. potatoes. or with grilled chops and fegatelli (grilled liver wrapped in caul fat). chicken and pig are all superb – roasted on the spit or grilled – they are eaten as they are. The other major component of earthy Tuscan cooking is the bean (indeed Tuscans have been nicknamed mangia fagioli – bean eaters). whilst spices are also common. thinly cut. yet astounding toma. Fruity Barbera with its delicate. while further south the catch is grey mullet. originally from Livorno. which was the favourite of many kings from Charlemagne to Vittorio Emanuele II. and many of the top estates dabble in Chardonnay. Bollito misto is the classic boiled meat dish. in her excellent book “The Gastronomy of Italy” describes the cuisine of Piedmont as “both elegant and tied to the land”. These vegetables. Cheeses are excellent and are still mostly produced artisanally. The white truffles of Alba are legendary. beans. Traditional Tuscan meals often start with a soup. soups are benedette by it. which should contain at least five different cuts of meat (tongue. chicken. dressed with butter and truffles in season. meaning hot bath) a fondue-style garlic-anchovy dip. as well as cuttlefish. at a pinch. cherrybomb palate and tangy finish. Cacciucco. cotechino) served with boiled potatoes. Again a Sangiovese wine with a certain rasp would help this digest. a kind of cucina orghese. garlic. Various kinds of game are popular from boars to thrushes and skylarks and various kinds of deer. is a fish soup or rather a stew. It goes wonderfully with game such as Fagiano (pheasant) alla Milanese. and castelmagno. artichokes. leeks. As Anna Conte enthuses: “a sprinkling. onions. with its evocation of things Mediterranean. and the soft. Rather than a dressing. Meat. no trimmings. rice and vegetables are eaten in abundance: the asparagus of Santena. Triglie alla Livornese (red mullet) is also popular on the northern stretch of coast.214 - . pork or pigeon a medium-weight Vino Nobile. although original dishes may include agnolotti (a kind of meat ravioli whose delicate stuffing contains spinach). hence its name. rich and black.

and parma ham. with strawberries. home to Sandro Boido and some of Piemonte’s most sublime Moscato d’Asti. Vigna del Noce. torta di nocciole (hazelnut cake) and zabaione. Baccabianca is crazy Cortese. The baby Barbera is from 20 year-old vines with the grapes fermented in cement vats and matured in old wooden barrels for another twelve months before bottling. as the name implies. dried spice and minerals. Flavours of white peaches and pears melt on the tongue like cotton candy. Drink joyously as an aperitif. ferment on native yeasts. then. illuminated by a lovely silver-gold effervescence on the tongue. fruit pastries. at the beginning of the 1920s it was bought by the brothers Secondo and Serafino Trinchero. The nose here is instantly appealing. ahem. an ancient-hamlet including a peasant house and a church. I have always wanted to like Dolcetto – maybe it’s the name – but. Piemonte – Organic This old winery in Agliano Terme is situated in Vianoce.) In contrast to so many other mass-produced Moscato wines. “Lumine. unhappily. fresh Blenheim apricots and delicate nectarines come together on the palate. with fruit harvested entirely by hand and picked over ripe. as a sorbet-like palate-cleanser. Today it belongs to Renato and Ezio. mandarin oranges and rose petals. Vigna Vecchia. Moscato d’Asti is an effervescent elixir that lifts you up and slows time to a delicious crawl (and contains only 5% alcohol. Historical note: in 1952 the first bottles of Barbera d’Asti were produced and Trinchero was given position number one in the wine-producer registry of Asti. captures sunny notes of elderflower cordial. The vines are located on steep slopes on variable soils of limestone-clay and sand. fruitless and tannic. sage. The wines reflect the naturalness and the characteristics of the land. sour. oozing violets. liquorice. soulful rusticity. Most of the vines are over fifty years (some were planted in the 1920s) with resultant smaller yields giving structure and quality to the wines. This is a fresh and fruity Barbera. The fruit is great. A noble. black fruits. extremely limited use of sulphur and ageing in big barrels in order to provide stability and complexity to the wine before being bottled without filtration. enjoys a leisurely fermentation in 50-hl Slavonian oak barrels and is aged for a further minimum of 2-3 years in large botte. very intense. 2006 2006 2004 BACCABIANCA PRATOASCIUTTO PECORANERA W R R CA’ D’ GAL. 30 plus days of skin contact giving the amber colour and grippiness adding texture and complexity to a wine which is all about nuance – gentle orchards. deliciously complex. almost toasty nose reminds one of Champagne. Piemonte – Organic Hidden in the hills just outside the sleepy town of Neive near Santo Stefano Belbo is Ca’ d’ Gal. SANDRO BOIDO. MONFERRATO.PIEMONTE RENATO AND EZIO TRINCHERO.” the estate’s regular bottling from 30-35 year old vines. AGLIANO TERME. These Barberians are at your gates clamouring for entry. I am a convert – to this wine at least. Red with violet tints. scrupulous selection of the grapes. perfectly light and balanced. found most examples to be clumpy. Capturing laughter in every delicate bubble. Sandro also puts aside 1000 bottles of Vigna Vecchia to release after several years when the wine develops remarkable Riesling-like qualities. the tannins velvety and there is a bitter black cherry rasp to the finish that taps your taste buds on the shoulder and reminds them that absence of food is not a serious option. is from older vines (55+ years old) grown on very steep slopes. with rich white and yellow peach aromas. Pratoasciutto is Dolcetto which undergoes a long maceration of 30/40 days. Just a touch of fragrant bubbles cleanses the palate.215 - . Piemonte – Organic Owned by the Zampaglione clan Tenuta Grillo estate spreads over 32 hectares of which 17 are dedicated to the vineyard. this Barbera announces itself in the glass with deep. this is (as the Marks and Spencer voice intones) not just any Moscato this is Ca’ d’ Gal’s gently fizzy fruity pornucopia. Ca’ d’ Gal Moscato d’Asti is truly an artisanal nectar. herbs. savoury and tasty. respect for nature and traditions. The vineyards are organically farmed. 2007 2006 2004 GRIGNOLINO D’ASTI BARBERA D’ASTI SUPERIORE BARBERA D’ASTI SUPERIORE “VIGNA DEL NOCE” R R R TENUTA GRILLO. 2010 2008 MOSCATO D’ASTI “LUMINE” MOSCATO D’ASTI “VIGNA VECCHIA” Sp Sp . harvested by hand and vinified naturally in closed vat with extended lees contact. GUIDO & RITA ZAMPAGLIONE. It was built during the first half of the 19th century by the Visconti Barons of Ornavasso. This added attention is what gives these delightful wines their unique personality—and surprising ability to age. the vines and the year. Torn mint leaves. undergoes 45-day maceration on the skins. Yields from this one hectare vineyard are a mere 40hl/ha. The production is based on low yields. Abundantly juicy. complex and heady perfumes and a palate of pungent vitality and. Dolcetto et decorum est. the flagship wine of the estate from an eighty-year-old plot of vines.

insecticides and pesticides banned. peach skin. The temperatures are never too extreme. a blend that works to balance aroma. Parasites are successfully discouraged using copper sulphate and powdered sulphur. throat and attention. The wine production industry is strictly connected to the local economy and history. bubbly white wine. Azienda Bera produces wine from grapes ripened in the family vineyards situated in Sant’Antonio di Canelli. prickly. the heart of the most qualified. Easy to distinguish this Asti from your Elbling. It is frivolously serious with a charming bitter-sour contrariness guaranteed to offend the techno-squeakers. but not confusion. The Moscato offers more in terms of flesh and softness than effervescence. a churn of yeast.216 - . is true to type with varietal notes of mulberry. do not be surprised to get a Lambrusco-style tongue-prickling epiphany. The palate is alive. This unpredictable red is a party in glass. it brilliantly grips tongue.PIEMONTE Continued… VITTORIO BERA & FIGLI. the slightly sweet. orange peel and sage on the nose. originating from ancient sea-beds which surfaced five million years ago. almond blossom and smoky minerals. herbicides. Canelli is divided in two areas: the lower part in the valley. which is a symbol of Canelli and also of the whole province of Asti. chemical fertilisers. vinous space dust. Arneis and Cortese. then with an increase in technology reaching today’s rates. The ground is marmoreal and strongly calcareous. The vivid Ronco Malo is classic Barbera cherry-amour. combining melon. Azienda Agricola Bera Vittorio was the first family vineyard to start bottling and marketing its own Moscato d’Asti in Canelli. It is windy until summer. Bottling started in 1964. along the left bank of the Belbo stream. of three Piemontese indigenous white grape varieties: Favorita. and the most ancient area of production. CANELLI. The unfiltered Barbera “Le Verrane”. Climatic conditions are particularly favourable to the growing of Moscato: not too wet. texture and acidity to excellent effect. fermented in cement tank. with rain falling only in winter and in the spring months. the most prestigious. cidery and tangy – drinking it is like attaching electrodes to your taste buds. there are never late frosts and although summer storms with hail are frequent. In 1785 Giovanni Battista Bera bought land from the Community of the Sovereign Order of the Knights of Malta. it is moderately sweet and would complement richer desserts as well as being the dream partner for strawbs. The vineyards are facing towards the south-east on slopes of from 50 to 70%. The “Arcese” is a pleasant fusion. they are never violent enough to damage. Later purchases of land brought the total farm area to 10 hectares of vineyards. cherry-soda. Piemonte – Organic The little town of Canelli is situated at the entrance of Langhe hills. Extraordinary wild wine. In the mouth. The territory is covered in vineyards and a centre of production of the Asti Spumante. The vineyards are cultivated using organic production methods: only humus and compost are used. called “Borgo” and the upper part. The Dolcetto with its bitter raspberry flavours works best with food: polenta with mushrooms or pasta with a wild boar sauce. which are still farmed in the traditional family way. In the Azienda Bera vineyards the ecosystem is alive: an abundance of snails is proof of a harmonious environmental balance. called “Villanuova”. balsam and mint and faint traces of liquorice on a palate that drives all the way. initially in small quantities. nit-pickers and fault-fetishists. The wine undergoes its malolactic in the bottle. Regione Serra Masio. 2009 2010 2009 2009 VINO BIANCO DA TAVOLA “ARCESE” MOSCATO D’ASTI BARBERA “LE VERRANE” BARBERA D’ASTI “RONCO MALO” W Sp R R .

The Ottavio Rube Rosso is a blend of Dolcetto (80%) and Croatina (20%). “While each is different and has a unique personality – they all share the common characteristic of being ‘loyal and honest’”. He is technically organic as well in the cellars – although has decided not to go through the paperwork and extensive “red-tape” bureaucracy to be certified in the cellar.and the wine is aged in a mixture of new and second year French oak for sixteen months before being bottled without fining or filtration. and want them to be as natural as possible – reflecting the territory and nature of the grape. he believes the wine prepares itself in its own time to go into the bottle and his only job is to communicate (taste) with it along the way to find out where in its life line it is.217 - . It has that classic Piemontese bitter cherry-meets-chocolate-with-some-tannic-grip-for-food character. A simple everyday Pinot Noir that has the depth of a Burgundy.. Piemonte – Biodynamic The co-operative was born over thirty years ago. With an average of three three years ageing (some wines see less. with a vinous aroma. They were deeply attached to the work and to their own land. In addition to the mixed and poor soil type in the vineyards (which helps the strength and vigour of the vines). 2010 2010 OTTAVIO RUBE ROSSO DOLCETTO COLLI TORTONESI – 5-litre BIB R R . a vein of limestone that runs directly through the property – giving an amazing acidity and special character to the wines. three young men from local farming families got together to discuss the future of farming in this area. from the delicate red floral tones to the richer spicer notes. Viticulture is non-invasive. and can hold its own even with strong-tasting dishes.” He interferes as little as possible with the natural process of fermentation and ageing. and does not fine or filter the wines. “I know how I make my wines. a dry. Old-fashioned sickles are used to hoe the weeds. MONTALE CELLI. CERRINO MONFERRATO. Piemonte – Organic Iuli is located in a small little town called Montaldo in the somewhat undiscovered region of Monferrato in Piedmont. Like other Dolcettos of other Piedmont regions..“Nino” is a completely unique expression of Pinot Nero from the white calcareous-clay soils of the Monferrato vineyards These vines are still babies for Pinot Nero. The wine is fermented in stainless steel at 30C with indigenous yeasts. pleasantly bitter taste in which there are recurrent hints of dog roses and in which the fruitiness is successfully wedded to the tang of tannin. very slowly. At a time in which increasing numbers of people had moved to the cities and to factory work. this is a wine that goes with all sorts of food. 2009 MONFERRATO ROSSO “NINO” (PINOT NERO) R COOPERATIVA VALLI UNITE . the vines are fertilised with manures from their cattle as well as green fertilisers composed of clover and weeds. the wine is an intense ruby red. The old ways were combined with a very modern belief in organic farming as the way of the future. but they wanted to find new ways of using traditional methods. and do not need this piece of paper to prove that. There is a ten to twelve day maceration. but also the playfulness of a wine made with young vines. In the glass. involving reducing the human impact on the natural environment. there is. To begin with they merged their vineyards and built stalls for farm animals so they could use organic manure to fertilise their fields and vines. some more). and the land surrounding the town has always been cultivated without chemicals for as long as his father can remember. Cement vats are used to ferment the wines which are then transferred to old barrels to soften and mature. importantly. but the wine is starting to show a real complexity and elegance. The population of Montaldo is 110 people and counting.PIEMONTE Continued… CANTINA IULI. Fabrizio is still playing with the ageing period as he is looking to capture and develop the evolution of the aromas he personally experiences in the cellar while the wine ages in barriques. Fabrizio is certified organic in his vineyards. as part of the wider project known as ‘contraction’. malo occurs in barrel. Iuli uses natural yeasts. Born from Burgundy clones that Fabrizio selected and planted in 1999. Fabrizio says about his wines.

They are verdant with grass and weeds in abundance. you need to adjust your expectations and try to understand where the wine is coming from. seem alive.” A neat summary of the difference between real wines and branded products. Alessandra pointed towards her neighbour’s vineyards which looked like a dustbowl in comparison. Viticulture can be high maintenance. when you taste.218 - . I can imagine that for some people this might constitute a fault: supermarkets. The Bera farm wears its organic credentials proudly. Plus they can be consumed with a ham actor and a bottle of good Barolo (not Chianti as the film had it). especially the Barberas. the excess foliage is plucked. but that is part of the charm of being a natural product. We had dinner in the winery on a massive oak refectory table. Submitting a wine to analysis is like looking at a human being through a microscope. demand rigorous consistency. prickly and darting across the tongue. Alessandra says you can taste it in the wine and I do remember thinking that the Moscato and Barbera had this delicious fresh herbal inflection. The quality of the produce was exceptional: highlights included thick rounds of squidgy sausage and herbal goat’s cheese. I have experienced variance in so many of our best growers’ wines. It is breezy in the hills with refreshing wafts of wild mint from the fields (it grows freely amongst the vines). This is what I dreamed Italian food would be like – made with enormous care and love for the ingredients. The vineyards are beautiful: 10 hectares in total with five on steep south-facing slopes (these are the Moscato vines). With the dinner we had the full range of wines from Bera. If wine is truly a living thing we must allow for occasional variability. They don’t always taste exactly the same from day to day. you can see every flaw in the skin. We have always admired them for their naturalness and authenticity. . these are unfiltered wines with native yeasts. Everything is done painstakingly by hand. for example. We live in a pseudo-scientific culture wherein we dissect so precisely and demand so much that we lose sight of the essential truth: enjoyment! As Ralph Waldo Emerson says: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. the fruit selected and placed in small cagettes. but such flaws make up who and what we are.PIEMONTE Continued… They do what it says on the label An Evening in Asti With The Beras The drive through the Langhe hills reveals a rolling landscape of orchards and almond trees and green fields and copse-clustered slopes. To me that is a sterile philosophy. fava beans (beanz meanz wines) are sown between the rows as they absorb oxygen and pass it into the soil. being rasping. The reds. The soils are limestone-clay and deep and not compact. followed by pasta and bean broth of wondrous refined rusticity and an apple pie to go to bed in. yes. You can smell the air here. Nevertheless.

and the wines are bottled without filtration or fining. During the vinification no selected yeasts are employed. it will close down for a couple of years. in this way. like all strong wines. It is so small in fact. Piemonte – Organic The Sottimano family (Rino and his wife Anna with their three children) have worked hard to elevate their estate into the top echelon. refined and elegant aromas that start with hints of cherry. however balanced by alcohol. south west-facing vineyard of 1ha in Neive. The finish is persistent with flavours of plum and cherry. artificial fertilizers or weedkillers. In the winery the wine undergoes maceration on the skins in steel vats with temperature control for 6-7 days. Particular attention is given to the cultivation of the vineyards.” from 40-year old vines. The 2004 Fausoni is wonderfully harmonious.219 - . rarely has a Barbaresco of this ilk drunk so beautifully in its infancy. full bodied wines. currant and mint.PIEMONTE Continued… AZIENDA AGRICOLA SOTTIMANO. Since 1990. The Barbaresco “Fausoni. then. Brilliant ruby red colour and nuances of garnet red. menthol. clean. intense flavours and good tannins. which can be aged for several years. full body. through very low yields. the vines have undergone only natural treatments with no use of pesticides. pleasing. Of the four Barbarescos made at Sottimano we are just listing the one. and a firm core of vibrant acidity. tobacco. before waking up on the other side”. a tannic attack and pleasing crispness. cinnamon and mace. is the most floral of Sottimano’s offerings with aromas of cassis. it is possible to produce structured. In the vineyard plants were pruned several times to maintain the balance. The 2003 vintage was particularly difficult in Piedmont with very little rain and plenty of heat. NEIVE. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose. plum and violet followed by aromas of liquorice. I asked Andrea Sottimano how it would evolve: “Another two to three years with this type of expression. moderate transparency. that Sottimano is the only house making a Fausoni at this time. malolactic fermentation in barriques and ageing in French oak barriques for 22 months. 2004 BARBARESCO “FAUSONI” R Nebbiolo and Bollito Misto anyone? . chocolate. vanilla. whilst the grapes were left covered by the leaf canopy to prevent burning. The nose reveals intense. the traditional diseases that normally afflict the vineyards are treated using eco-friendly products. Fausoni is a very small.

Fermentation takes place in tanks of reinforced cement. Cannubi Boschis. and. An attentive and constant control of its evolution allows for optimal selection. The duration of this phase is variable. More recently the wine appeared in one of the Godfather movies. fermentation on the skins with a long maceration that allows for best extraction of complex tannins and pigments that. Beauty is the beast. the wine is stored in other tanks and augmented with a light pressing of the grape skins. Following fermentation. BAROLO. at a controlled temperature of 20-25 degrees centigrade Secondly. took over from his father and signed a contract to provide wine to a boarding school for the sons of army officers (Esercito Sabaudo di Racconigi) in 1848. the youngest. and the various components tend to come together magically after about twenty years of snuggling in the cellar. Eugenio Giuseppe. There are two key phases: firstly. It remains in these tanks for about a week followed by a first decanting to remove the majority of lees that have formed. Giacomo. This eliminates the risk that the lees will have a negative effect on the wine if left too long. crushing and de-stemming. Brunate and S. Barolo Storico is produced from a little vineyard of 1.PIEMONTE Continued… GIACOMO BORGOGNO. pumped over twice daily. though only one. This was the first legal document in which the firm is cited. The wine is racked once a year while aging in casks of Slavonian oak and non-toasted barriques of French oak ranging in size and age (never new) for a period ranging from two to four years according to the characteristics of the vintage. In 1861 Borgogno Barolo was served at an official banquet presided over by Garibaldi celebrating the unification of Italy. the French Institute of Appellations filed a lawsuit filed seeking to block the further use of the name Borgogno because of its similarity to the French word Bourgogne. Pieter) exclusively from the Barolo district. together with alcohol and acidity. Tradition is the watchword here. after which a final decanting removes all the deposits and impurities of vinification. follows violent fermentation in oak with the grape skins immersed in the newly formed wine. A third transfer at the end of spring removes any deposits left by malolactic fermentation. for in 1955. often this fermentation is interrupted by the cold weather and starts again to complete its natural cycle with the milder spring weather. The house was in grave danger. Only 4000 bottles of this wine are made each year. during which the sugars are transformed into alcohol. and is not induced. persevered. Liste. a violent fermentation. A cap is formed and immersed. 2009 2004 2001 1995 1985 LANGHE FREISA BAROLO RISERVA BAROLO RISERVA BAROLO RISERVA BAROLO RISERVA ~ on allocation R R R R R . but the case was quashed thanks to Eugenio Giuseppe’s foresight. Piemonte – Organic Bartolomeo Borgogno founded his winery in 1761. The wines can be unyielding in their infancy. During this period the malolactic fermentation begins naturally. are fundamental factors for long aging. according to the structural characteristics of the wine. lasting anywhere from a week to a month. lasting about 15-20 days. upon his death in 1794 his three sons took over control of the business. Barolo Classico is a blend of five vineyards (Cannubi. The wine is then transferred for a second resting period of about a month. When he was little more than a boy. maceration with submerged cap. Those crazy French.220 - . it turned out to play a fundamental role in the company’s more recent history. born in 1827.5 ha called Liste. The vinification is of the traditional method.

1961 Barolo Riserva Medium ruby. the 1989 Barolo has a balanced. They are unremittingly old-fashioned – new oak lickers these wines are not for you. 2008-2025 1996 Barolo Liste Liste is the name of the vineyard. the 1974 Barolo has orange reflections in the glass. 1990 Barolo Riserva Ruby red Barolo displaying aromas of cherries. 2008-2025 2001 Barolo Liste Magnificently proportioned wine. massive yet ripe tannins. tobacco.PIEMONTE Some reflections. raspberries). Crushed raspberries. with fine tannins and silky finish. although elegant and eminently drinkable. violets and sweet rose jostle for attention on the nose. with a hint of brick at the rim but otherwise showing very little signs of its age. which begin to melt as the wine warms in the glass. 2010 – 2030 . Full-bodied with the warmth of fruits-in-alcohol (cherries. Still on the young side. The winemaking process is a tribute to the great Barolos of the past and uses an extended “submerged cap” maceration process in order to conjure up the special perfumes and tastes of this ancient tradition. silky finish. tobacco and smoke. it has a smooth. The grapes are the last to be harvested. thus the production is very small (4000 bottles) and is one-third of the potential production of the whole vineyard. the grainy tannins giving grip and definition. integrated tannins. balsam. nutmeg) and dried fruits (prunes. As it opens in the glass more subtle scents of dried mushrooms and tea are revealed. Dry and warm on the palate it has a velvety mouthfeel. elegant and structured. resin. and the palate doesn’t disappoint: plum-cake. this wine has a complex and fruit-forward nose layered with aromas of wood. fruitcake and vanilla with a whiff of earth. probably the first owned by Borgogno. long and fresh finish. The palate is vibrant and spicy with pruney fruit and fine. 2010 – 2030 1999 Barolo Classico Still youthful.221 - . The resultant wine has tremendous substance and is intended to age for many years to arrive at the ultimate goal of balance and harmony. almonds. and shows off the differences between vintages. These are not Baroli of extremes. earthy bouquet with aromas of wood. worn leather and a hint of goudron. and delicate. Savoury-tarry attack on the palate. orange rim. Now – 2020 1982 Barolo Riserva Garnet red in colour with a distinct. nutmeg. Its nose is a plentiful bouquet of spices and underbrush. The wine is very lively. On the palate it is pleasantly round and persistent. nor as brawny as others. Restrained nose of ground spice (cumin. forward savoury raspberry flavours bolstered by fresh acidity and powdered tannins. The acidity comes into play giving the wine a purer. Now – 2020 1978 Barolo Riserva Ruby red with a tint of orange this wine unveils big. Liquorice. 2008 – 2025 1989 Barolo Riserva Pale garnet red with mahogany tints. 2010 – 2035 2001 Barolo Classico Classic by name and classic in style. They are not as perfumed as some. with long length. Decant with prejudice or give another 5-10 years. A big wine with rich tannin structure. more linear composition and adding length to the finish. gamey aromas. The style is consistent. Continued… There is no doubt that these wines are beautifully preserved. finishing with tremendous freshness and a seamless. very well-balanced with great potential for bottle age. The palate has fat. Only the best vintages are selected for this wine. Powerful wine. Now – 2015 1974 Barolo Riserva Medium-brick red in colour. anise. dried leaves. dried flowers and leather and even a hint of beeswax. liquorice. The aromatic nose displays menthol. quite austere at the moment. raspberries and fruitcake. figs). sweet flavours of dried cherries. grainy tannins. Extraordinary Barolo – showing beautifully. and excellent acidity to keep the wine percolating around the mouth. prune and chocolate with a hint of tar. thanks to the site’s constant exposure to the sun and to the exceptional micro-climate. tanned leather.. A well-balanced wine. however.. berry and spices follow through to a full-bodied palate.

one which embodied for them the best expression of the territory. it is the essence of true Barolo and harvested during the second half of October and first two weeks in November. mainly composed of quartz. chlorite and feldspars alternated or blended with marl and lime. in an almost full cask. so that the autochthonous characteristics of this vine are extracted. When the plant is 40-50 years old green harvest is not necessary as the vine has attained a natural balance. wild rose. The wines are aged up to 8 or 10 years in large or medium capacity botti of French oak. one that gives the wines their complex and everlasting structure. spices. The best things in life can’t be rushed. Piemonte – Organic The Roagna family have been growers for over a century and a half. BARBARESCO. due to telluric movements of the earth’s crust.222 - . The root systems of the old vines can reach ten metres and more and utilise the microelements of the earth to create wines of this area even in difficult years. Grapes are hand-picked and undergo soft pressing with destemming. constantly searching the utmost quality. Giovanni Roagna and Maria Candida. At the same time maceration is also made and in the best vintages it can last up to a hundred days with the submerged cap. in contrast with the modern trend for rapid macerations and refining in barriques. Fermentation is in wood casks. then for a couple of years in bottle. Fermentation lasts 8-10 days. can live 50 years. Bet you’re glad you asked me that. and white flowers with a constantly-evolving bouquet. “It is crucial to respect the Nature. which. with wooden planks. something which still happens today. The grapes for the Barolo come from selections of vineyards with a southern/south-eastern exposure in the area of Rocche di Castiglione Falletto from the historical Cascina Pira. Vincenzo. developed in the Tertiary era. as well as a good harmony. This age-old art consists in blocking the skins (cap). The Roagna style may be described as traditional and innovative. Years later. The Riserva is a traditional wine from eighty plus year old vines produced in the greatest vintages only. shows a more sandy structure due to disintegration of the rocks. Castiglione Falletto. Garnet-red colour this Nebbiolo has a clear “goudron” (tarry) aroma s. The Barbaresco has unique aromas and olfactory elegance. yet they always seek to maintain the traditional methods and typical character of the wines. Techniques improve every year. tobacco. In a Roagna wine the autochthonous features (grape and terroir) play a key role with their strong structure and sensory richness. if kept properly. Roagna makes wine in the traditional style: the fermentation and maceration of the must takes place in big wooden casks for long time. then a part of the racked wine is poured again “bypassing this fencing”. If kept properly it can live 50 years or longer. the location of the Pajé vineyard. Aged for 510 years (or longer) in medium-sized French oak casks and then a further two in bottle it is a profound wine. so that the cask is completely full. The Roagna family has always made wine in the century-old method guaranteeing a significant extraction of tannins from the Nebbiolo grape. Full. Neither chemical nor organic fertilizers are used in the vineyards and grass is allowed to grow between the vines. The soil of all mentioned areas is very rich in microelements.PIEMONTE Continued… AA ROAGNA I PAGLIERI. Maceration for 70-90 days. 2009 2004 1998 2004 2004 1998 DOLCETTO D’ALA BAROLO LA ROCCA & LA PIRA BAROLO RISERVA LA ROCCA & LA PIRA – magnum BARBARESCO PAJE BARBARESCO ASILI BARBARESCO PAJE RISERVA R R R R R R . moved the winery to the hamlet of I Paglieri. mica. Only native yeasts (and a selection of the best of those) are used. austere and elegant taste with a great structure. Barbaresco can be distinguished by a fine granulometry. the grand-grandfather. Garnet-red colour leads into a rich nose with clear aromas of sweet tobacco.” The terrain is Tortonian soil. The Barolo is aged four to six years in medium-sized French oak casks. a village in the hearth of Barolo area. the mother of the grape that will give us a long-lasting and notable wine. spices and “goudron” (tar). The qualities of sandy-calcareous soil in this area give the wines its unique tannic quality with elegant olfactory sensations. Most of the vineyards were planted between 1937 and 1955. when the traditional wine-making style was started. owned the historical winery situated in the centre of the small Barbaresco village and after having harvested the grapes at the earliest foggy days (Nebbiolo comes from “nebbia” the Italian word for fog) he made wine in wooden vats.

the native grape variety of Alessandria in Piedmont. and introduced biodynamic methods in 1984. almost like lilies. Later. pulpy texture with vivid flavours of red plums and faded roses. the wine is smooth. 2010 2010 DEGLI ULIVI BELLOTTI BIANCO DEGLI ULIVI BELLOTTI ROSSO W R . quince. Gavi is drunk with a variety of Ligurian sea food dishes: stuffed squid. selfsufficient entities requiring little or no inputs from the outside. The grape has been so successful in Gavi (which is located in the south of Piedmont close to Liguria) that it is known locally as Cortese di Gavi. walnuts. Bellotti Bianco. river stones. Piemonte – Biodynamic In addition to grape growing. with air. with nut and citrus oils.223 - . The 2010 Bellotti Rosso is a “vino da tavola” blend of mostly Barbera and Dolcetto. Medium yellow in colour. NEVIGLIE. sparkling Nebbiolo (Visages de Canailles) and Voila’ (a beautiful champenoise method from Pinot Nero grapes). Piemonte Situated in the small village of Neviglie (Cuneo) Cascina Baricchi is a relatively young enterprise. and a crunchy. the estate was purchased in 1979 but the first vintage was as recent as 1996. seafood caponata or pagello in cartoccio (sea bream steamed in parchment). unobtrusive tannins and aromatic fruits (red fruits such as cranberry and wild strawberry) and a pleasant bitter twist at the end. The wine is really fresh and floral. In the mouth. TASSAROLO. and a touch of brown spices. STEFANO BELLOTTI. Stefano Bellotti began as an eighteen year old in 1977. round and fruity with a nicely balanced acid/tannin structure. The owner is an extrovert young chap called Natale Simonetta. NOVI LIGURE. hand harvested and fermented in large oak “botti” and bottles with minimal sulphur. The wine has a very good finish with an interesting bitter walnut and churned butter aftertaste. the wine is subsequently aged for eight months in stainless steel tank.PIEMONTE Continued… AZIENDA AGRICOLA CINZIA BERGAGLIO. Big nose of prunes. The wine is fresh and lively bursting with dark berry flavours. 2009 DOLCETTO D’ALBA R CASCINA DEGLI ULIVI. the estate has a diversified production of fruits. dark chocolate. Piemonte Located in Tassarolo (Alessandria) Bergaglio’s vineyard comprises five hectares of which only one is currently in production. clean with a pleasant aftertaste of toasted almond and hints of apple and sage. He began working organically from the beginning. tastes like a Jura wine that has gone to Italy and been naturalized. tends to perform best in the hills between Novi and Tortona in Piedmont. Beautiful ripe strawberry fruit on the tart finish. and keeps a variety of farm animals. salad of baby octopus. The wines of Degli Ulivi are pure and natural. revealing good acidity. After a skins maceration of 8-10 days (depending from the vintage). 2010 GAVI DI TASSAROLO “LA FORNACE” W CASCINA BARICCHI. with dry spice. and interesting Jura-like notes. Cortese. made without manipulations. It’s light on its feet – so many Dolcettos are astringent – and would be rather delicious served on the cool side with some good charcuterie or with osso buco. the wine has an amazing floral component. Very deep youthful purple/garnet colour. reclaiming the family farm where there was less than 1 hectare of vineyard in existing use. We start with a Dolcetto. for example. A solid and honest wine and if it doesn’t actually beg for food it certainly puts in a polite request for it. Their belief is that the art of winemaking is to accompany the wine through its natural transformation process. He likes experimentation… this is why he started to produce ice wine (the first in Italy). This biodiversity is an essential factor in biodynamic farming. which treats farms as self-contained. a lovely expression of that variety. blackberries. vegetables and cereals. the nose initially suggests a rich butter pound cake.

TRENTINO-ALTO-ADIGE Trentino cuisine maintains its traditional ingredients: sausages and salamis. In Alto Adige “speck” is eaten for breakfast. The cuisine of Alto-Adige has an Austrian influence and it’s hard to find the typical Italian flavours. oil. etc. The smoke grazes the meat only a few hours a day and the temperature must be low. candied fruit. Great value Pinot Grigio with typical ground almond flavour and a touch of spritz. There are few greens and soups. celery. ‘Zelten’. MEZZA CORONA W . Stuffed chicken is another favourite speciality of the area. and combinations unknown to the other regions are used here. bread doused in milk. and as an afternoon snack. eggs and boiled meat. The “gröstl” is another traditional peasant dish. then broiled. 2010 PINOT GRIGIO. large balls made with stale bread. There are only a few types of fish: salmon trout from the streams which is smoked and cooked in various fashions. butter. dipped in crumbs. typical of cold climates. or boiled and then served with goulash. for example. and the “salada” (salted) beef. the Christmas speciality is made with rye flour in Alto-Adige. made simply with coarsely cut up pieces of up meat sautéed in butter with chunks of boiled potatoes covered with finely chopped chives. giving the doughnuts a lighter touch. juniper. It can be served with various sauces. liver. but especially with the tasty fruit ‘mustard’ of mandarin oranges. Canederli are served as a soup. like the tradition of eating meat accompanied with fruit mustard (to take one of the most obvious examples). Ingredients. Baked dried cod made with potatoes. Trentino ‘krapfen’ can be baked instead of deep fried. This is a typical festival dish during the MardiGras Carnival. and eggs with liver.224 - . mashed and then covered with chopped parsley are also a typical Trentino style fare. Trentino has its roots in ‘canederli’ and ‘gnocchi’. They can also be prepared with dried prunes where the pitted prune is inserted in the canederli. the cheeses. sugar and walnuts. chanterelles. spices. boneless pork meat cut in small square pieces and placed in saltpetre with garlic. green plums) and the sort of weight that can handle most fish dishes. Wild mushrooms (ceps. and plenty of dried fruit. laurel. The ‘Fregoletti’ pie is made with white flour. plenty of onions. and boiled. The wine is more vinous than most with a suggestion of orchard fruits (apples. flour. when this area became part of the kingdom of Italy. Yum – or maybe not… MEZZA CORONA. Neri. the ‘canederli’ in all its variations. The “smacafam”. then mixed with fruit. garlic. a region dotted with medieval villages and castles of rare beauty. Among the richer dishes let’s not forget Lepre –Trentino style. from cattle used to spending long nights outdoes and grazing on fragrant grass in the fields at high altitude. all covered with split almonds. Eel Trentino style is cut up and sautéed in butter with onions and spices. Bread pudding pie is a typical Trentino dessert. an ancient dish known from the time of the Council of Trent. salame and even greens. chiodini and russole) are stewed and eaten with polenta. polenta. milk. that Trentino cuisine actually started adding to its diet dishes typical to the rest of Italy. made with stale bread soaked in milk. eggs. All of the vineyards are cultivated in accordance with “Integrated Farm Management”. flour. milk. onions. useful for recycling leftover meat. The “speck” is then hung in the smokehouse which must be well aerated. at noon as an antipasto. The hare meat is marinated it in wine and vinegar for at least twenty four hours with all sorts of spices. pine nuts. salt and pepper is another favourite dish served with polenta. The stuffing is prepared with walnuts. an accord for more environmentally friendly agricultural processes in the vineyards to achieve a more natural and healthy product. Tirolesi. boiled in water or broth and placed in a tureen with boiling broth. pepper and other herbs that vary according to secret family traditions handed down from one generation to another. The best “speck” is homemade and is ready in the autumn because the slaughter usually takes place in February. Despite tourism. that important historical period that saw the city of Trent as an important capital. Boiled potatoes sautéed in butter. rather than in homemade pasta. yeast. is a savoury torte filled with garlic and covered with fresh luganega pork sausage. butter. a sweet and sour ‘salmì’ recipe found only in this area. The cuisine from the Trentino is strongly characterized by its geographical position. but dishes such as canederli. the ‘pastasciutta’ (pasta dishes). its climate and its history. The Trentino desserts are very similar to those in Alto-Adige. it has remained deeply rooted to its origins. with one exception – the strudel is made with apples only. sugar and almonds. There’s nothing tastier than the local “speck”. Trentino The Mezza Corona co-operative makes first class wines from vineyards nestled amongst the foothills of the spectacular Dolomite mountains. sauerkraut. It wasn’t until the 20th century. bacon. Smoked meat reigns supreme in Alto-Adige. pork. pine nuts and sultanas. Each farmer has his secrets: the wood must be sweet and enriched with branches of fresh juniper. whereas in Trentino it is made with white flour. the name of the dish changes: Canederli di Fegato. Depending on the ingredients.

The first written document in which Teroldego is mentioned by name is dated 1383. The vines are cultivated on different terroirs (varying quantities of pebbles and gravel). Soft yet penetrating its sweetness is backed by a supporting acidity that weaves elegantly amongst the fruit. This is where the Teroldego. After the narrow Salorno Gorge. Its vines need rigorous pruning. amounting to only about 400 hectares. Elsewhere its use has waned. The Teroldego grape is medium-sized and deep in colour. 73 per cent of which yields DOC wines. VIGNETI DELLE DOLOMITI ROSSO IGT GRANATO. marked by the purity. one of the country’s best grapes. baked bread. Longobards. Near San Michele all’Adige.TRENTINO-ALTO-ADIGE Continued… FORADORI. it reveals itself as the aromas come into focus: wild berries and candied fruit make way for roasted hazelnuts. with different exposures and with differing quality potential. Always exceptional. she started with the careful selection and multiplication of the plant specimens that had the required quality features. Depending on the year and the weather. No one with a sensitive soul can cross this land without being touched by its beauty. In 1985 Elisabetta Foradori started her work to recover the variety’s diversity. its rough waters become a whirlpool of green and blue. It has even proven its robustness to oidium (1890) and phylloxera (1912). a ‘tun’ (around 250 gallons) of Teroldego by way of interest. called ‘Granato’ is a wine of greater strength. The result is that today almost all of the vineyards are cultivated with only this variety of Teroldego. The river too changes its mood as the weather changes: when there is bad weather. a wide plain unfolds beneath the mountains: its name is Campo Rotaliano. Celts. Franks. VIGNETI DELLE DOLOMITI ROSSO IGT – magnum W R R R R . Foradori has selected 15 Teroldego biotypes that she uses for replanting. This is the idea behind all of the work that follows in the vineyard. and enchanting when the sun shines on them. Vineyards and orchards are scattered among these rocky outcrops. Another element that distinguishes these two wines is the age of the vines. Campo Rotaliano offers a great variety of soils at a distance of just a few hundreds of metres. Deep. Teroldego was grown between Campo Rotaliano and Rovereto. Whether conquerors or settlers. when one Nicolò da Povo undertook to give a certain Agnes. Despite the area being quite small. while the work of man can lead to deep changes in the grapevine. who lent him money. then the full robust palate shows plenty of temptingly chewy flesh. Of course. thrives. dignity and intensity of the fruit. Between the 14th and 17th centuries. The climate and soil are elements that cannot be modified. Ensuring a vineyard’s utmost diversity is the best possible guarantee of obtaining great qualitative results. Time and again the “great potential” of this wine is cited. the planting density and the grape yield per vine. aimed at reaching the variety’s perfect balance thus allowing it to express itself in full and exalt its whole potential and uniqueness. Tyroleans. Bavarians and Italians. The Campo Rotaliano vineyard has been divided up in the course of time into many small plots. It is no coincidence that this striking landscape marks the linguistic and cultural boundary between the Tyrol and Trentino. the grapes ripen relatively early. while on calm evenings they become a sparkling silver ribbon. 2010 2008 2010 2006 2003/4 FONTANASANTA NOSIOLA VIGNETI DELLE DOLOMITI BIANCO – amphora – available 2012 FORADORI TEROLDEGO ROTALIANO DOC SGARZON IGT – amphora – available 2012 GRANATO. MEZZOLOMBARDO. Trentino – Biodynamic The cliffs of the Adige Valley change their appearance as the light shifts across them: awe inspiring when they are veiled by shade or darkened by a heavy sky. The limited area cultivated with Teroldego grapes (about 400 ha in Campo Rotaliano) was soon covered completely with the clonal material. all have left their mark at this crossroads where valleys. any attempt at forcing this process and any imbalance in the vineyard leads to a breach in the bond linking a grape variety to a territory. has seen tribes and rulers come and go – Rhaeto-Etruscan settlers. Their monitoring over the years led to a further selection and it was followed by others reaching up to this day. These are words used to describe it by a 19th-century wine connoisseur. The Noce valley. on the right bank of the Adige River. Today’s area of cultivation is quite small. The grapes are vinified separately. all of which are cultivated with great care. harmony. Teroldego has for long been considered a grape of unique character giving wines with “the body and robustness of a Bordeaux”. There are two distinct levels of quality that Elisabetta Foradori has aimed at producing from Teroldego: the first is the ‘Foradori’. Easy and seemingly effective “technologies” increase the distance between the vineyard and hence the wine from its identity and its originality. yet nevertheless a border. eucalyptus and pomegranate. After identifying the estate’s oldest vineyard. Campo Rotaliano with the towns of Mezzolombardo and Mezzocorona. leather. CAMPO ROTALIANO. the Romans. These are the inspiring principles of Elisabetta Foradori’s work in her vineyards. Campo Rotaliano offers the opportunity of discovering a grape variety that has been cultivated for centuries in a context rich in contrasts and history. Austrians. It is spoken of in 16thcentury Mezzolombardo when it gained a foothold in Campo Rotaliano. Clonal selection in the 1970s led to the homogenisation of the Teroldego grape variety and hence to its genetic impoverishment: very few clones aimed exclusively at increasing the yield were developed. between north and south – an invisible border. being “somewhat rougher” and possessing “strong varietal attributes” and “a little acidity”. since the land was scarce and hence precious. traders or mercenaries. almost shy on the first nose. rivers and mountain ranges converge and diverge. as they are tinted with delicate shades of pink. The second. plot by plot. depth and nobility. visitors travelling from the north are welcomed by the marvellous sight of a wide valley.225 - . and only after ageing in wood are the wines from different parcels of vines blended to obtain an ideal balance. They are the qualitative “backbone” of her wines.

Alto-Adige – Organic Naturns (Naturno) is a delightful little market town which is blessed by receiving approximately 315 days of sun a year and less rainfall than anywhere else in the eastern Alps. The wine has a lovely bouquet of dried fruits.TRENTINO-ALTO-ADIGE I’m getting oak with plummy overtones I’m getting screwed on alimony Frasier Continued… TENUTA FALKENSTEIN. FRANZ PRATZNER. complex wine can tame most dishes. This wine regularly sees three glasses in the Gambero Rosso. No Müllerlite white this! Try with deep-fried oysters or whitebait. Figs and kiwis ripen in the gardens. 2010 2009 2010 2010 2010 SYLVANER VELTLINER MULLER-THURGAU GEWURZTRAMINER KERNER W W W W W . the tell-tale distinctions of Riesling are backed by the strong mineral and nutty textures of cool-climate Italian whites. CHIUSA. This rich. actually it is a blend of Grüner and Frühröter Veltliners. A Riesling that will lighten the most inspissated of glooms. The climate and topography bequeaths the wines their unique and distinctive character. The Müller-Thurgau reaches its literal and qualitative peak in AltoAdige – it’s an intensely aromatic dry wine redolent of grapefruit and angelica. This example is simply extraordinary with aromas of green apples. 2009 2006 VAL VENOSTA RIESLING VAL VENOSTA PINOT NERO W R CANTINA PRODUTTORI VALLE ISARCO. grown on south east facing slopes up to 700m conversely. Veltliner is related to the terminally trendy Gruner Veltliner from Austria (a variety that has been trumpeted both as the new Chardonnay and the new Riesling).226 - . melons and cream. NATURNO. Gewürztraminer originates supposedly from the village of Tramin in the South Tirol. before a soft curtain of delicious acidity opens into a full-bodied white wine full of peaches and apples and citrus fruits. The Pinot Bianco is another fine example of this variety that flourishes so well here. The combination of ripeness and minerality lifts this wine above the ordinary. is broader and mouth-filling. This light yellow wine has delicate floral notes and is dry. tautness and complexity. yet bungful of minerals. It will match a wide range of food: from lobster and crayfish to foie gras. White grapes flourish in particular because of the nutrient-rich (yet porous) soil. The Kerner grape is a disease-resistant cross between Riesling and the red grape Trollinger (also known as Schiava Gentile or Edelvernatsch). spicy. vines flourish up to 900m on the Sonnenberg slopes and apple orchards are ubiquitous. Home-cured Speck. gratin dishes and smoked cheese. The Pinot Nero reveals enchanting rosehip and cherry fruit. The locals are passionate about their produce: go to a Törggele party with hot roasted chestnuts and sweet new harvest wine with hot roasted chestnuts. nutmeg and sweet spice and is rich and viscous. fruity and crisp. Franz Pratzner is primarily known for his Riesling which has unmistakable character. This would pair well with asparagus or steamed white fish. the number of sunny days and even distribution of rainfall. Alto-Adige Even as the youngest winery in the Süd Tirol the Cantina Produttori Valle Isarco has already become synonymous with fine white wines. a refreshing alternative to the prevalent jammier styles. like surfing a stony river bed with your tongue. sauerkraut or red cabbage. Good with soft cheeses and chicken fricassees. we had it with pot-roasted partridge with spinach and an array of root veg. Some of the vines grow at 800-900 metres altitude. The inclination and height of slopes (called Leitn) helps. The Sylvaner. The grape prefers hilly terrain in cooler sites which have to be sunny and well-ventilated. delicious home-made sausages. the apricot and apple flavours are ripe and delicious. and krapfen – deep-fried pastries filled with poppy seeds and honey or apricot jam. The citrus and mineral aromas lead the tastebuds a merry dance. Star of this range is the Kerner.

but there is a backbone that keeps you returning to it.TRENTINO-ALTO-ADIGE Continued… WEINGUT UNTERMOSERHOF.. a winery located in the village of Mazzon. Alto-Adige Bruno Gottardi is known in Austria as a great wine expert and wine merchant with shops in Innsbruck and Vienna. reminiscent of sweet plums and blackberries. Made in limited quantities this aromatic wine goes well with the robust game dishes of the Alps. San Genesio and Renon. he has also acquired a reputation as an excellent wine producer. The fruit is heady and jammy. It was reported in the 19th century that it was the only wine capable of properly accompanying the succulent delicacy of “bear’s paw”(Exit stage left pursued by bear with bottle of Santa Magdalener). These are impressively grown-up Pinots. A light wine worth serving on the fresh side. The wine is produced from Schiava grapes. and in 1995 produced his first vintage. BOLZANO. Having replanted the vineyard. The location is tranquil surrounded by vineyards with a wonderful view of the Dolomites. Recently.. 2009 2009 SUDTIROL ST MAGDALENER KLASSISCH SUDTIROLER LAGREIN R R WEINGUT NIKLAS. then tuck into venison with red cabbage or ham and sauerkraut. The big rich palate offers big sweet tannins and charming mineral touches. red and black cherries) and the secondary whiffs of tobacco and truffle. MAZZON. 2008 2009 PINOT BIANCO SUDTIROLER LAGREIN W R BRUNO GOTTARDI. pencil box and berry-skin fruit. GEORG RAMOSER. grass and sweet violets. Terlano. KALTERN. especially the Riserva. The reserve version is glorious. Before you pour it into your glass let it tarry briefly in a decanter or a jug. The Lagrein is vivid ruby red with intense aromas of red berries. training the vines on wires. 2008 SUDTIROL BLAUBURGUNDER R . The Lagrein is what Ramoser is renowned for. Alto-Adige The Niklaserhof winery is located in the St Nikolaus region 570m above sea level at the foot of the Mendel mountain range. Its name derives from that of a hamlet in Bolzano. A dense ruby red leads into a nose of coffee. Georg Ramoser’s Santa Magdalener estate is tiny with only two and a half hectares and another couple that are rented. the upper Etsch river valley and Lake Kaltern. he built a new winery.227 - . in the wine-growing region of Unterland. In 1986 he bought Sarnheimhof. Alto-Adige The Santa Magdalener wine is produced in some districts of the communes of Bolzano. The “basic” Blauburgunder is very much the expression of vintage. the heart of Sud-Tirol’s best Blauburgunder area or Blauburgunder-Himmel as they say locally. that ineffable Pinot mixture of enticing primary fruit (violets.

Pergolas ‘n’ poppies The generous pergola vines seem so much more real than the stunted twigs that are trained up wires. but their extensive canopies offer shade and respite from the battering sun. As Andrew Marvell wrote: “Annihilating all that’s made/To green thoughts/In a green shade. Falkenstein means falcon’s rock by the way.228 - . We discovered more almond trees which had shed their bounty on the path and whilst Georg was talking some of us were cracking nuts with rocks. to the north the snow capped Dolomites and all around us a sea of wild green foliage. behind us a massive ridge covered in forest and vines. we were really that hard up for a mid morning snack. A huge unkempt hound met us. The vineyards (mostly organic) were spectacular. lush with grass with the vines trained in the old pergola fashion. From our vantage point we had the most amazing views.” Back at the winery we sat down at two large refectory tables and tasted the small range of wines that Ramoser makes.TRENTINO-ALTO-ADIGE Up and Down In the Adige – Blauburgunder Himmel Continued… First stop was Georg Ramoser’s Untermosenhof winery. Georg led us up the hill towards the Sankt Magdalener church which gives its name to the wine made from the Schiava grape. Most of the growers in the region have abandoned them in favour of more modern trellising systems. carpeted with poppies. The baking stones and the drip-drip of the irrigation hose were testament to the heat and sun of the climate. Looking down the hill from Santa Maddalena . Yes. By this time we had been joined by the winemaker from Tenuta Falkenstein (or Frankenstein as we predictably called the winery). At our feet was Bolzano. his intentions were friendly despite a notice on the door of the winery which announced that he was hungry and likely to devour unwary strangers. but not as amazing as the cable car that traversed from one side of the mountains to the other.

Needs food. Dark red. Jay McInerney Untermosenhof Lagrein 2005 Leather and tobacco on the nose.e. Martin Luther drank it according to a report of the papal legate Alexander around 1520. For these reasons this small zone has acquired the sobriquet “Blauburgunder-Himmel”. plum-cake. After lunch it was off to Mazzon on the other side of the valley to meet Bruno Gottardi who carted us up the narrow. lively. The aim is to capture the delicacy. . “Thanks to artisanal producers like Hofstätter and Georg Ramoser. dark red cherries and bitter chocolate on the finish. Ask for it if you want to impress your wine store owner or your sommelier”. The breezes keep the moisture off the vines which also means that fewer treatments are needed in the vineyard. in 1941. I’m even becoming masochistically fond of Lagrein. lashings of pepper and dried spice. abundance of tannin. is Gottardi’s passion and the micro-climate in the part of the Adige valley assists the cultivation of that temperamental variety with cool dry air cascading off Lake Garda and funnelling through the mountains before rising. extractive bitter flavours of coffee. Schiava is a relatively pale-skinned and its high acidity gives the Sankt Magdalener a biting bitter cherry freshness. Gottardi reminds us that we are on the same latitude as the Côte d’Or and one can certainly see where he draws his inspiration.TRENTINO-ALTO-ADIGE Continued… Untermosenhof Sankt Magdalener Klassisch (or Santa Maddalena) 2005 (97% Schiava. Unsuspecting tourists about to be gravity fed into vats to give the Blauburgunder a meatier flavour As usual only thimblefuls of wine are made and everything is on allocation. It probably reached the southern regions of Germany during Roman times. Lagrein is an altogether bigger beast although it can be produced in a lighter style and make aromatic rosés. it infuriates us. preferably a grilled steak. The Gottardi Riserva wines with their extra maturity and secondary aromatics were beginning to ease towards notes of leather. gentle and even. Pinot Nero. This is limpid primary Pinot. plumskin and toasty oak.229 - . its stewed or weedy fruit let us down. Not sure whether any Meistersingers have written deathless folk songs about it. truffle and raspberry leaf. this represents a jarring change in taste. its evanescent musky charms seduce us. balanced and extremely tasty. scent-laden blossom trees (some of which were planted during Napoleon’s era). perfume and heady essence of Pinot and to this end Gottardi looks for minimal extraction in the vinification. We were captivated by his palatial residence perched above the vineyards like an eyrie and surrounded by exotic. The beautifully designed winery works on gravity-fed principles. This would be fun served chilled with a plate of chunky blood sausage. winding mountain road in relays to his winery. 3% Lagrein) Schiava or Trollinger originated in the South Tyrol. the idiosyncratic indigenous red grape that looks as dark as Petite Sirah in the glass and tastes kind of like bitter zinfandel. Considering the high esteem that the latter two wines generally enjoy. It enchants us. gratification aplenty. During Mussolini’s time. bursting with wild strawberry and rhubarb fruit rounded off with a savoury mint-and-liquorice finish. so as not to acquire any bitterness or derive colour for the sake of colour. The straight Blauburgunder is exhilarating. and the relative obscurity of Santa Maddalena today. for example. they placed Santa Maddalena in the front rank alongside Barolo and Barbaresco. (Pinot Noir) locally known as Blauburgunder. How often does Pinot Noir let us down (he asks rhetorically)? As often as not. but in their lightness of style (and colour) and gentle expressiveness they reminded me of a good Chambolle-Musigny. dark Lagrein). The variety is first mentioned under that name in fourteenth century documents. Untermosenhof Lagrein Riserva 2004 This style is known as Lagrein Dunkel or Scuro (i. Pressing is pneumatic. a commission was appointed to judge the country’s best wines and.

sappy yet very smooth. The Sylvaner is bone-dry and beautifully crisp with a whiff of grassiness and surprising persistence on the palate. The Sylvaner is pale gold with appealing floral scents on the nose. As with all Pliger’s wines this wine will age superbly. The other “young lions” in the area universally admire and respect Pliger’s methods and his desire to allow the vineyard’s expressions to become manifest in the wines he carefully nurtures. has a medium to full-bodied texture and refreshing acidity in the finish. the wine offers the very essence of freshly cut apple. The sweet entry reveals white peach and a medley of avocado and sweet baby peas. there is a wonderful sapidity to this wine. although there are older plantings – and more experience – of Veltliner in that region. it is fruity on the nose. Finally. The Kerner smells of tangerine and lychee and tastes of peach. the last two in particular are striking wines. and attention to detail is paramount in this limited production winery. with notes of peach and tropical fruit. It’s a rare white wine that manages to achieve plenty of flavour. proprietor and winemaker at this tiny property (only about 2. Very rich and fat. perhaps reflecting Pliger’s admiration for Rieslings of the Mosel and Veltliners of the Wachau in Austria (where they are called Grüner Veltliner). those from Kuenhof are equally compelling. no malolactic fermentation) to produce what Gambero Rosso deems “[wines of] amazing minerality and complexity. Pliger and the rest of the area’s growers employ similar winemaking methods (i. concentrated and well-balanced wines. as well as an excellent structure and strong finish.e. stainless steel and acacia vats with no barrique. sharply focused and delineated. On the palate. the variation in temperatures from day to night is ideal. In 1995. good texture and complexity without the aid of oak. is considered to be a pace-setter for the Valle Isarco region. Gewürztraminer. for over 850 years. BRESSANONE. His organically cultivated vines exhibit an aromatic profile and stony minerality that differ from those grown just north or south of his property and are expressive of a unique terroir. He grows only Sylvaner. high-density vineyards yield intensely fragrant. An undercurrent of chalk and woodsmoke lingers on the palate. At this high altitude.230 - . Köfererhof’s tiny 5 hectares of vines are located at the base of the Dolomite mountains between 700 and 800 metres above sea level. climate and soil are quite similar to those of the Wachau and. The Gewürztraminer is vinified to be very dry and is atypical of the ones generally found in Südtirol. the Riesling is vinified entirely in stainless steel. 2006 2007 2006 VALLE ISARCO SYLVANER VALLE ISARCO GEWURZTRAMINER VALLE ISARCO RIESLING W W W . though. An extraordinary Gruner Veltliner from the Valle Isarco.500 cases are produced annually). the Köfererhof estate has existed in southern Tyrol. and the carefully tended. the pioneer who first drew attention to Valle Isarco’s wines is Peter Pliger. apricots and honey with plenty of complex nuances.” Peter Pliger. 2009 2009 2008 2009 VELTLINER GEWURZTRAMINER SYLVANER RIESLING RENANO KAITON W W W W KOFERERHOF. Pliger asserts. and fresh on the palate. which also conveys nuances of candied ginger and quince. to the Veltliner with its exuberant honeysuckle aromas. a region that is as Austrian in spirit as it is Italian. The quality of these wines raises the bar for all whites from Alto-Adige. with an almost unctuous level of glycerol. The glorious Riesling is gold with greenish highlights. which is located in the normally cooler northern portion of Südtirol. showing noteworthy verve. Riesling and Veltliner. Biologically responsible farming is essential. Somewhat muted floral and herbal scents on the nose but in the mouth one finds intense flavours of white peach. In particular. Bottled in June following the harvest. Now farmed by a passionate group of young winemakers.TRENTINO-ALTO-ADIGE Continued… PETER PLIGER. Alto-Adige Acquired and managed by the Kerschbaumer family since 1940. and complemented by layers of citrus and topical fruits. if the microflora in the soil are to properly convert the various mineral elements into the soluble form needed by the vines. All grapes are harvested by hand. They need long aging before expressing themselves with depth and fascinating luminosity. aromatic. the winery started to bottle its own wines after having sold its fruit to local wineries for years. With a greenish-golden yellow hue. Alto-Adige – Biodynamic The Brenner Pass contains the Valle Isarco (‘Eisacktal’ in German). A strong sense of minerality underlies the honeyed finish. giving this elegant wine an added sense of structure. a “sweet spot” of 238 hectares of prime winegrowing land between the town of Castelrotto northeast of Bolzano and Novacella north of Bressanone. orange peel and apricot. the wine exhibits wonderful freshness and clarity that offset any sense of heaviness. Elegant. organic farming. VARNER. At the same time.

The ‘Gallina Padovana’ or Padovan Chicken has a legendary history all of its own. Giant shrimps with white asparagus is an interesting combination. TAMELLINI. The other basic food of Venice and the lagoon is fish. There are two types of radicchio from Veneto: the ‘rosso di Treviso’ and the ‘variegato’ from Castelfranco Veneto. The beautiful white asparagus from Bassana del Grappa is boiled and eaten with a sauce made of eggs. Filetto di S. The property embraces some 15 hectares of vineyards and all the grapes used to make the various Soaves. aromatic herbs and citrus flavours with a pure mineral edge. butter. Gnocchi Sbatut is made with flour. More substantial main course dishes include Fegato alla Veneziana. the rice owes its distinctiveness to the calcium rocks and the natural way of cultivation with only the minimum amount of chemicals used. where the lively sweetness is kept in line by a striking vein of acidity that veers between lime. carnation ‘chiodi di garofano’ and others. Although it was first grown in Lombardy it was the Venetians with their voyages to the Middle East who first saw its potential. a near Eastern dish in which the rice is cooked in a meat sauce flavoured with the above spices. The former comes in the form of spear-shaped red leaves with a white crunchy stem while the latter is similar to a large flower sometimes known as the ‘fiore che si mangia’. They are surprisingly versatile as a vegetable and can be cooked in a number of ways. The basic Soave is marked by seductive honey and nutty almond aromas added to a typical Garganega floral dimension with a textured palate. cheese. fish or game dishes. there are vast plains where rice is cultivated. meat stock. Left to roam free on his estate. onion and finished with Grana Padano cheese and parsley) or fried mountain cheese from Monte Veronese. this is deeply impressive. saddle of rabbit ‘al Bardolino’ and the aforementioned Padovana chicken with asparagus. It was Ulisse Aldrovandi (a Bolognese monk. Not only salt and pepper but cinnamon ‘canella’. The old gold in the glass introduces sweet dried fruit and cake aromas that are perfectly reflected on the palate. extra virgin olive oil and vinegar. It starts with the Marchese Giovanni Dondi who brought a strange looking bird back to Italy following a trip to Poland in the 1300’s. The quality of the ‘vialone nano veronese’ rice produced is very high and the product is even certified as DOP or IGP by the Consorzio per la Tutela del Riso Vialone Nano Veronese. The first sentence dedicated to the bird leaves no doubt as to the effect the chicken had on the popular imagination of the time: Gallina Padovana: ‘una razza tra mito e realta’. egg. cottage cheese. grapefruit and tangerine. Only the finest. the arborio variety of the crop is highly prized for risottos. hazelnut. roast duck and celery with fresh rosemary and sage. white stone fruit. Pietro ai Carciofi is John Dory with ‘moretti’ artichokes. Grana Padano cheese. Le Bine is the single vineyard version from pergola grown vines around 40-50 years old. Belgium and northern France. including the Recioto. Pairs well with asparagus. particularly shellfish. Away from the coast recipes using stoccafisso (salt cod) abound such as Baccala alla Vincentino and Polenta e Baccala Mantecato. It would be impossible for the cuisine of Venice not be affected by the great maritime tradition and the links the Republic had with the East hence the presence of spices in a range of dishes from the area. The grapes are picked in September and dried until March before pressing and fermentation. doctor and naturalist) who eventually recorded the chicken formally in his Historia Animalium published between 1599 and 1613. either side of provincial capital.VENETO Cuisine of Veneto… In Lower Veronese near the border of Lombardia towards Mantova. grilled or fried is the staple accompaniment to meat. Its cultivation is made possible thanks to the many water springs in the area and. With richer fruit and strength of flavour. are aged in stainless steel. have paired it with fish and vegetables. The result is an amazing sweet wine whose complexity and grandeur make it reminiscent of great Sauternes. Only in Italy! The Gallina Padovana. and maize flour. it combines lively apple fruit with notes of plumskin and almond butter and would go well with a mild goat’s cheese or griddled spatch-cocked chicken with tarragon butter. mountain butter. planted in a mix of gravel and rich calcareous rock. parsley and olive oil. ever since. Of course. Such was their fame they attracted the interest of Venetian merchants who were soon exporting them to other European countries such as Holland. The centre of this industry is the small town of Isola della Scala. Select clusters of grapes are harvested towards the end of October. one of the more unusual risottos is the rice of cavroman. most intense grapes are destined for the Recioto. Veneto Although the Tamellini winery was only established in 1998 the family has been making wine in the region for over one hundred years. hop tops and Asiago cheese. The best eel dishes are cooked in the south of Treviso province. In fact. SOAVE. A meal in Veneto might kick off with kumo risotto (rice cooked with kumo herb. and. Polenta also originated in the Veneto and migrated throughout Italy. often smallest. For something less evolved the Venetian version of pasta e fagioli (pasta and beans) is a particular speciality due to the excellent quality of the local beans. 2010 2008 2007 SOAVE SUPERIORE SOAVE SUPERIORE “LE BINE DE COSTIOLO” RECIOTO DI SOAVE “VIGNA MAROGNE” – 50cl W W Sw . the bird soon produced a series of cross breeds never seen before. In other words ‘a race caught between myth and reality’.231 - . according to the experts. Very fine with a silk texture and exquisite balance. Some restaurants have even created whole menus based on the radicchio.

O. passion fruit and citrus. Inama’s wines exemplify the alliance of a traditional local grape (Garganega) with a wonderful terroir. The Vulcaia Sauvignon Fumé is a big wine for ageing. full-bodied and velvety bouquet.VENETO Recioto di Soave is the first wine from Veneto to have obtained the D. Filtration. through a coarse filter (without fining) occurs prior to bottling. pineapple. SAN BONIFACIO. In many respects it is similar to great Chablis. voluptuous even. The volcanic black basalt soils contribute towards this wine’s smoky character. The result is so different from the blanched mealy-mouthed sulphurous soup that masquerades under the Soave label. According to his description.C. batonnage is carried out every 6 weeks for about 9 months. batonnage is carried out every 6 weeks for about 8 months. clear white wine that looks as if it were obtained from lilies.” which is the upper part of the bunch of Garganega grapes – the part that is most exposed to the sun. The Vulcaia Sauvignon is fermented in stainless steel and there is subsequent malolactic fermentation. Recioto di Soave is yellow-gold in colour with a complex aroma reminiscent of acacia honey with a flowery scent and a well-balanced.G. Cassiodorus. and time in the decanter will soften the toasty oak overtones. after which it was vinified into a “beautiful. It has fine citrus notes underpinned by chalky minerality.” Recioto is a word in the dialect of Verona. The finish is powerfully mineral with recurrent stabs of crystalline fruit. before being pressed. It is instructive to taste these wines against the other brand leaders – and we do. All the Soaves would go well with local dishes such as Fegato alla Venezie (calf’s liver with onions) and Pollo Arrosto. the learned minister of Theodoric. pull into this taste station. The vines are 20-30 years old and the grapes are harvested by hand with fermentation in stainless steel followed by malolactic fermentation. describes a sweet white wine from Verona that is very similar to Recioto Soave. It is best served with Pandoro from Verona and all sorts of biscuits and dry pastries. The Foscarino hill is the centrepoint of Soave. After the grapes are pressed and settling of the must an alcoholic fermentation is followed by malolactic fermentation which takes place in new barriques made from heavy toasted wood. appellation. density and ripeness than one would normally associate with this region. filling the mouth with perfumed apricot fruit and layer upon layer of mineral-salty flavours. But it is also very good served with ripe cheese. The wine is rich. The Fumé has an intense nose of roasted coffee with hints of oak and tropical fruits and on the palate there is great fruit concentration with grapefruit. Continued… Recioto is a very ancient wine. Harvesting is done by hand and after a rigorous selection the grapes are transferred to the winery where destalking and crushing are followed by skin contact for about 3 hours. With a light yellow colour. It derives from “recia. a characteristic mildew is formed on the grapes conveying a typical aroma to the wine. Veneto If you’re cruising on auto-palate. Stefano Inama’s wines are characterised by late-picking and extended maceration on the skins. STEFANO INAMA. Prior to racking. not the peely-wally stuff that rots your gaskins. A little before the harvest. during which the grapes are carefully tended and cleaned. like Monte Veronese. Prior to racking. This is serious Soave. In a letter written in the 5th century. elderflower and iris. this wine had to be made from grapes grown on “domestic pergolas” and hung in sheltered rooms during the winter months. The grapes for the Lot are destalked and crushed with subsequent skin contact for 4-8 hours. The two Sauvignons also come from the Foscarino hillside. the best grapes are selected for drying on racks.232 - . After the grapes are pressed the must is allowed to settle for 24-36 hours at 5°C. Recioto di Soave is a great wine for special occasions. 2009 2008 2009 SOAVE CLASSICO SUPERIORE SOAVE CLASSICO SUPERIORE “VIGNETI DI FOSCARINO” SAUVIGNON DEL VENETO “VULCAIA” W W W . this Soave is very attractive on the palate with a back taste of sweet almond. an elegant nose of meadow flowers: camomile. They are then dried for a period of four to six months. The Foscarino is superb. The vines are closely planted and the yields are comparatively low. While drying. The basic Soave Classico merits the “Superiore” tag and is 100% Garganega grown in the areas Monteforte d’Alpone and Soave. Alcoholic and malolactic fermentation take place in new barriques (50% Allier 50% Never). thereby achieving more colour.

the vineyards of Monte dall’Ora are planted on a base of limestone soil and form a natural amphitheatre facing southeast towards the city. Jack the Ripasso for a momento and gear your gums for the slightly porty Amarone made from half-shrivelled grapes. this is beauty and the beast rolled into one: chewy plums. A wine which falls firmly into the “impegnativo” category. Ruby red colour with purplish reflections. for the rituals and traditions that has been handed down from generation to generation”. their daily work governed by the nature'srhythms. Corvinone. cherry-fruited elegance. Rondinella. who gave value to each plant to recognize and know the qualities as a remedy for commons ills. allows for excellent drainage and deep penetration of the vines. On the palate. the long period of fermentation on the skins (over a month) and the use of wood during vinification encourage the development of the wine’s unique aromas. in which fossils and petrified shells can be found. This brittle stone. The Venturinis approach biodynamic agriculture with becoming modesty and curiosity. eventually pressed towards the end of February. they were excited and challenged by the hard work it was going to take to restore these ancient vineyards. The best young Valpolicella is put into tanks or barrels that still contain the lees of the wine for which they were previously used. As such.The Superiore Camporenzo has four months in oak. mocha coffee and what Oz Clarke describes rather well as “bruised sourness”. sage. Please advise. bitter cherries. in the ways they were affectionately called. Molinara and Oseleta. there is a touch more weight with notes of hay and richer bitter fruit with supporting spice character and minerality. Also for the vineyards there are some helping herbs which we use to prepare tea with flowers and dried leaves (nettle. in the hills outside of Verona. active yeast cells in this sediment precipitate a second fermentation increasing the alcoholic content and giving the wine a bitter-sweet character as well as a smooth chocolatey texture. and scents of red fruits such as cherries and juicy red plums with a hint of bitterness. Ripasso wine has been traditional in the Veneto for a long time. a design in which large stones form the exterior support structure and smaller stones form a spit of land in the interior. Veneto – Biodynamic Just arrived in Venice. For us biodiversity is knowledge and tradition. Streets full of water. with a suggestion of dewcovered grass. The minerality of the estate’s limestone soil is evident in this wine and the finish tasty and fresh. mixed boiled meats and other staples of Veronese cuisine or even Baccala alla Vicentina (salt cod or stockfish cooked in milk and eaten with polenta). SAN PIETRO IN CARIANO.VENETO Continued… MONTE DALL’ ORA. peppermint) and that during the summer are spayed on leaves and bunches. The cold winter temperatures. the Alessandra and Carlo have emphasized traditional and native grape varieties wherever possible to give originality and typical wines. The Valpol Saseti is fermented in stainless with natural yeasts and is unfiltered and unfined. or mature Monte Veronese cheese are your supping partners with this supernaculum.233 - . Lepri in Salmi. the fruit is vinous. whose fragrant blooms are attractive to bees. In fact. The grapes are sourced from various sites with an average altitude of 300 metres and dried in a south-facing breeze-cooled drying loft in small wooden crates. We want to restore value to native vines. Try with cotechino sausage. When mixed with the young wine. Located in Castellroto. yarrow. Robert Benchley When Alessandra and Carlo Venturini first discovered Monte dall’Ora it was love at first sight. portions of their vineyards are planted on ancient dry stone terraces called marogna. In addition. Braised beef in Amarone. old varieties forgotten because poor “We try to preserve the knowledge and traditions of our grandparents. 2010 2008 2007 2006 VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO “SASETI” VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO SUPERIORE “CAMPORENZO” VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO RIPASSO “SAUSTO” AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO R R R R . “Knowledge and respect for natural cycles help us to find the balance that give us a state of well being and that will benefit our whole microcosm (soil-vine-wine-man)”. which means that the roots of plants find useful materials in the soil to resist disease and parasitic attack. The grapes that make this wine come from southerly exposed 30 year old vines. Traditional vinification techniques and the use of 308 gallon cherry wood oak barrels. whose roots move and aerate the soil. they encourage the growth of biodiversity by planting herbs such as rosemary and lavender in the summer. The Venturinis are firm adherents to biodynamic principles. They adopt measures in the vineyard to help preserve the fertility of the land and the developments of micro-organisms. rabbit. Fermentation is spontaneous with indigenous yeasts and extraction is gentle giving wines of gentle. All the wines are blends of Corvina. it is expressed in love for small weeds and no domesticated plants. confer intense ripe morello cherry flavours and plummy mouthfeel. CARLO VENTURINI & ALESANDRA ZANTEDESHI. and sowing cereals in the winter. As children of farmers. in which the wine ages for 24 months. dandelion.

2010 PROSECCO DI CONEGLIANO-VALDOBBIADENE SPUMANTE “SAN FERMO” Sp CANTINA BERNARDI. There is no clarification or filtration.234 - . Veneto – Organic AA Gatti Lorenzo is a small estate in Ponte di Piave (Treviso) making intensely pure Prosecco from organically grown grapes which are harvest around the 3rd week of September and crushed within 2 hours of the harvest with light maceration on the skins and soft pressing. The process of “disgorgement” is not practised. After a gentle pressing the wine stays tanks before being bottled without clarification or filtration. Veneto On the hills surrounding Conegliano. mineral-laden lemon flavours seem designed with shrimp scampi in mind. SANTA STEFANO. persistent bubbles that enhance its subtle almondy fruit. SERGIO COSMO. They have a passion for making wine which marries tradition and innovation for the production of truly outstanding wines. planting 80% of the grapes now used for Prosecco and other sparkling wines with the rest used for still wines. The Cosmo family also re-designed the layout of the vineyard. Refermentation in the bottle is with indigenous yeasts and residual sugar left from the first fermentation. PONTE DI PIAVE. This fine Prosecco is clean. NV NV PROSECCO DI VALDOBBIADENE (2010) PROSECCO DI VALDOBBIADENE (2010) – magnum Sp Sp AZIENDA AGRICOLA GATTI LORENZO. lies the beautiful estate of Bellenda. mineral with crackling citrus notes.” enthused Wine and Spirit magazine. easy-drinking and at the same time complex. easy drinking lightly sparkling style of Prosecco with a mischievous sapidity as an Italian might say. The wine weighs in at a slimline 11% and is enormous fun to drink. Veneto – Organic Casa Coste Piane is a small estate (a piffling 5ha and only 30. heart of the Valdobbiadene area. The vines are on average 60 years old (some are pre-phylloxera!!) and their roots can grow up to 30-40 metres long. “Definitive Prosecco. NV PROSECCO FRIZZANTE COLLI TREVIGIANI – crown cap Sp CASA COSTE PIANE DI LORIS FOLLADOR. This wine is a far cry from the normal tank-fermented Prosecco that one sees so often. REFRONTOLO. the palate is soft and clean with apple and quince fruit flavours with a naturally off-dry finish.VENETO Continued… AZIENDA AGRICOLA BELLENDA. In 1987. In April the wine is bottled without the addition of yeast and sugar. CONEGLIANO. For generations their wine had been sold in bulk but since 1983 they decided to bottle the production themselves. The nose suggests blanched almonds. pure and elegant. The wine is vinified in stainless steel and then by charmat method for two months. subsequently the indigenous yeast contained in the wine starts a second spontaneous fermentation that lasts for approximately four weeks. Bellenda is clean. as chiselled as a piece of pink Verona marble. it is one of the few made in the champenoise method wherein the second fermentation takes place in the bottle. After this the wine spends a further four weeks sur lie. Harvest is usually between the last week of September and the first week of October. with delicate. Veneto A delicious. NV NV PROSECCO MARCA TREVIGIANA SUR LIE (2010) – crown cap RABOSO MARCA TREVIGIANA (2008) Sp R . about 50 miles north of Venice.000 bottles) in Santo Stefano. Today. Its sharp. therefore the yeasts are still present in the bottle… any haziness is entirely natural. This Prosecco is a gem. white flowers and pearskin. The gum-tingling Raboso is fermented on the skins for at least 10 days with frequent manual remuage in cement tank with indigenous yeasts and without temperature control. Bellenda’s Brut doesn’t make even a nod to Champagne. Sergioo Cosmo started this winery located in the very heart of the Prosecco producing region while also completely replacing the vine varieties on land he already owned. Fermentation is in cement tank with indigenous yeasts and without temperature control. Umberto and Luigi Cosmo run the family business. The vineyards lie on slopes close to the cellar. fresh and elegant.

a touch of skin contact.VENETO Continued… PROSECCO Local fans of the wine like to say that Prosecco’s ancestor was the Pucinum wine that was much praised by the chroniclers of ancient Rome and that was much discussed because it seemed to be the preferred beverage of the Empress Livia. brings forth fools. Emasculated. Prosecco as it is today cannot be regarded with all the best will in the world as resembling Pucinum. in 1606. Veneto Pinot Grigio Rosato – well might ye blush. richly nutty style from Alto-Adige or Collio. CANTINE VOLPI. The Trefili is decent. And it’ll cost you now. however. marrowless. basing their argument on a description of Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia. who apparently drank large quantities of it. Therefore. 2010 PINOT GRIGIO TREFILI W . So what have we here? Cool fermentation. One of the elements that has guaranteed the Prosecco di Conegliano a constantly high level of quality throughout the present century has been the presence in its production area of the School of Viticulture and Enology of Conegliano. wrote Goya. And. which was founded in 1876. a report sent by the Podestà of Conegliano to the Senate mentions the first international demand for the wines with buyers hurrying in from as far away as Germany and Poland and not hesitating to offer exorbitant bids to assure themselves of the finest output. and regard Pucinum as the remote ancestor of Refosco. The paradigm of good Pinot Grigio is the savoury. It is a red berry slushie. milquetoast wines. in which he referred to the ancient variety as “omnium nigerrima” (entirely black-or-red). Veneto The sleep of reason. but not enough to get your teeth into. the school has served as a point of reference for scientific and technological research by the whole of modern Italian oenology. a little wine to play with. 2010 2010 ROSA BIANCO PINOT GRIGIO / GARGANEGA BIANCO ROSA BIANCO PINOT GRIGIO ROSATO W P CANTINA SAN MARZIANO.235 - . Since its establishment. fruity and does the job. As far as much Pinot Grigio is concerned the seep of raisins brings forth gruel. The historians do not accept that thesis. Formula? Pinot Grigio + Merlot = Tick The Box. Conegliano’s reputation as a land of excellent wines is cited in documents going back to the 10th century.

£3.T (Business Outlook Retail Audit Tracker). orders a bottle of house label crusty claret with his well-done steak and a glass of Ten Year Manky (port) with the Stilton. And the ultimate objective of all these endeavours? “Upsegmentation of all underindexed drinking categories”. the intelligence services. Every time a nominated gatekeeper (otherwise known as bar or restaurant manager) uses the card to order online. who remarked “Iz nice!” The system. a Red Bull. operated by a management drone in head office. in her spare time. Ultimately. for example. a Red Bull. one on-trade wine company is trialling B. uploads all sales data. a cocktail. that Australian wine is physically louder than French wine and Château Latour would sell far more bottles off supermarket shelves if it were varietally labelled Posh Frog Cabernet Merlot and sported a day-glow back label explaining that the wine could be drunk with red meat or poultry or quaffed as an aperitif. a vodka.. £5. she’s a genuine bottle blonde and takes eight weeks hen night holiday in Ibiza every year. Meanwhile another survey which proudly announced that consumers could be profiled into several fine discrete socio-economic segments (Calais hypermarket.*Brandma is aged 70 and upwards and spends all her time comparative shopping in supermarkets. They’ve also introduced a new loyalty card and launched an advertising campaign called “Chip. that haughty French sommeliers tend to buy Bordeaux and Burgundy for their lists and that cheap Chinese restaurants are still under the impression that Piesporter Michelsberg is a wine.O.A. we’d surely have to invent it.99ers. Incontrovertible research demonstrates that people living below the poverty line tended to spend less on a bottle of wine than plutocrats. The huge advantage of this system is that we can instantaneously download the data into the microchips installed in the heads of our sales managers and scramble their brains”. £4. She comes from Essex.” Pinot Grigio for all! .236 - . And what is that in real English? “More less choice.. She always drinks own label and the cheapest brands and. It was further discovered that drinks advertising aimed at babies and people in a vegetative state tended to be less effective than that targeted at impressionable twenty somethings and alcoholics. He is a living compendium of Parker points and riveting trivia. Pin & Chin-Chin”. A spokesperson for Global Brands Incorporated hailed the importance of the results: “If we didn’t find this information out. Other extraordinary revelations include the fact that all women drink Pinot Grigio to a man. reward points will be given by the particular brands (who are sponsoring the card) as long as only the brands are ordered. Meanwhile. Viktor Hotelier. appears in Tesco adverts. She has accumulated so many reward points that she could fly to the moon and half way back. Etc.*Wine Nerd has not only tasted the wine.*Red Bull Bint drinks a glass of Chardonnay. we can envisage a situation wherein there will be as many demographic categories as there are drinkers which will enable us to continue with our “twin track upside down business to business ground control to Major Tom” approach: demythologising wine whilst simultaneously proselytising the consumer to explore the wonderful wide world of our brands or.99ers and rich as Croesus) has been trumped by the new brilliant ground breaking and entirely inoffensive categorization by Wine Omniscience:*Old Fart always goes to the Mouldy Cheese Wine Bar in Fleet Street.MORE USEFUL WINE SURVEYS A revolutionary wine survey about wine surveys has once again exposed the vast chasm in our knowledge about the drinking habits of Joe and Joanna public and thereby pointed out the irrefutable need for more wine surveys. wine.99ers. her name is Sharon Tracy. This is known as “golden brandcuffing” and is said to breed positive brand awareness. recalibrating the brands to fit the customers and recalibrating the customers to fit the brands. The system is totally secure and information collated will only be shared with future employers. but visited the vineyard and arranged for his ashes to be scattered there. more simply. is like… sort of pretentious (like) and it’s “cool not to be interested in anything interesting”. credit rating companies and dating agencies. Russian oligarchs and Andrew Lloyd Webber. analyses it scrupulously and within a mere six months gives an authoritative breakdown of the information: “Already we’ve learned incredibly quickly.*Ironist – buys Californian blush wines and bog standard labels because… like um. that Italian trattorias and pizzerias sell Italian wine. a Red Bull. *Trend Junkie – One who rides the hobby horses of journalists off in all directions etc.R. The value of this system was neatly summarised by account director. throws up in the men’s toilet and passes out.

lungs. in an area protected by the tops of the Jof Fuart and the Jof Montasio.” The one made in the valleys of Natisone is different from that of Cividale. “Muset” is a small sausage flavoured with spices. This is a typical preparation of ricotta. giblets and fat of the pig. they found the cheese rinds melted. ‘prosciutto di San Daniele’. or warm. porcini mushrooms.” a speciality of Friuli. corn and pigs this might be described as cuisine of the poor. which requires a long preparation using the following ingredients: a white potato large enough to hold a young pigeon. When they are used they are shredded with the appropriate grater. and then covered with Montasio cheese. the liver and giblets of the pigeon. and the “putizza” which is prepared in a similar way and is made only in the area of Trieste. A sauce is prepared with the wine from the marinade. capers. It is served hot. above all in the towns of Pradis di Sopra and Malborghetto. it is boiled until the casing breaks and the meat comes out and starts to crumble. Today it is prepared in two ways: a few spoonfuls of grated Montasio cheese are poured over melted butter and browned. This cheese takes its name from Altopiano di Montasia. with its characteristic violin shape. Rose-coloured and sweet. obtained from cow’s milk. The “brovade. The cream is allowed to rise from the evening milking and the milk is mixed with the milk from the morning milking. It should be finished with the sauce and served with potato dumplings sautéed in the refined sauce of the roebuck itself.” which lends itself to many variations. small and speckled with red. “Jota” can be enriched with meat or pork rind (it then becomes a single. da tavola (table cheese) is ready after a month and a half. nuts and candied fruit). sometimes sugar is used as a sweetener and sometimes honey is used. has survived. is of international renown. encased in the natural. the Easter period tradition of cooking prosciutto in bread. knowledgeable workmanship. It is baked in the oven of an artisan’s shop. from the “Sacher” to the “Dobos. like cotechino. The beans. The ricotta. lard. In terms of meats other than pork. At the end of this first phase. transformed into a sort of golden fritter. There are meals without much inspiration. preferably a wood-burning oven. with grated radish on top. parsley and garlic. Residues of salt are left on the surface of the prosciutto. very substantial dish) or with vegetables and barley. “jota. The basic recipe calls for beans and sauerkraut with the addition of cornmeal. onion. are shaped like little cushions and flavoured with lard and various herbs. soups for every taste and every occasion. the most typical of all the cheeses of Friuli. The next step is salting. liver. There are soups.FRIULI Cuisine of Friuli… Friuli is a small region on the border of Austria and Slovenia where the influences of neighbouring countries have been assimilated into the local cooking. protected by the DOP (Denomination of Protected Origin) label. then served with a plate of pasta or an omelette. They are white turnips harvested after the first frost of the year. simple to reproduce and are often. After six months it becomes mezzano (medium) and after a year it becomes mprovi (mature). made from cow’s milk whey after the processing of Montasio. aged intestine of the pig. and in Trieste the “putizza” has been absorbed into the “presnitz” (sweet pastry roll with raisins. pickled cucumbers and anchovies. the two areas are united by a series of more or less similar biscuits. The people of Friuli and the people of Venezia Giulia could seriously debate the differences between the “gubana”. Piglicious as Homer (Simpson) might droolingly say.” . “Capriolo in salmì” (roebuck marinated in herbs and wine) is another local specialty. The truth is that there is more than one kind of “gubana. is comparable to the “mazzafegati” of the Marches and the Abruzzi and with other common salamis from other regions of Italy. parsley. To complicate matters.” a mixture of chopped lard. which are then exposed to humid winds that come from the mountains and help the natural penetration of the salt into the meat. The cylindrical form Ricotta affumicata (smoked ricotta cheese) is also produced. The “muset co le brovade” is a classic local pork dish. the curd is deposited in the appropriate hoops. Fresh Montasio. green chilli peppers. With principal raw materials including potatoes. cut into slices including the crust. surprising. would leave a pan with leftover cheese rinds on the hot ashes of the hearth. Friuli boasts traditional recipes for farmyard animals and game. The cheeses of Friuli also boast ancient traditions. The most distinctive is perhaps. similar to cotechino (fresh pork sausage) and. with very little fat. heart. sage. sweet soups. spleen. before passing to the ageing period. both of them over 2700 metres (9000 feet). all of which is dressed with the “pestat. delicate soups such as paparot. The sausage is cut into slices and fried in butter. of lean prosciutto crudo (cured ham). probably of Czech origin. The cheese is straw yellow and crumbly. an isolated area on the north eastern border among the Alpine peaks. smoked ricotta is also used to accompany typical local first courses such as gnocchi di patate (potato dumplings) and “cialzons” (stuffed pasta). The farmers. And among the high-ranking cakes there are the great cakes of Viennese tradition. or pieces of potato are first added and then flattened when they are tender. is compressed into brick-shapes and smoked with beech wood aromatised with juniper and herbs. A tasty table cheese. When they returned.237 - . first in brine and then dry. minestrone (vegetable soup). Perhaps the height of heartiness is reached with “minestra di fagioli” (bean soup). hearty soups. two or three pickled cucumbers. to the Mediterranean palate. sage and rosemary. a focaccia cake typical of Friuli. During the course of the operations the moulds are turned frequently.” a typical sausage of Friuli. It is a cooked cheese. “Marcundela. which comes from the particular salting and the climatic and environmental conditions. It should be served very hot with a garnish of black verjuice grapes. A typical Friuli meal would begin with a steaming bowl of soup. One of these is “piccione in scrigno” (pigeon in a casket).“Frico Friulano” (melted cheese fritters) is dish whose origins are tied to the poverty of this land. With regard to pork. it has a delicate flesh and a mild flavour. very typical of Val Canale in the area crossed by the Udine-Tarvisio motorway. Sweets may be last but are certainly not least. the meat scraps. Their decisive flavour combines wonderfully with pork. barley. before bringing the herds to pasture. turnips. minestrine (broth with small pasta). which is of Hungarian origin. As mentioned already pig is king and the entire king is used. require long. and it is removed when the crust of the bread has reached a proper golden colour. Apart from this small complication. The mixture is made with the kidneys. Today it is a compulsory starter in traditional meals in Friuli. but natural and free of sophistication. In the area around Gorizia. The soups are the most interesting part of the local cuisine being flavoursome. common in various cheese factories in the mountains of Friuli. where it is kept under pressure for several hours. The most important among them is Montasio. but its origins are humble.

The nose is understated – apricot kernels. relentless focus.238 - . The wine is smooth and marrow-like in the mouth edged with wild herbs. and inoculate yourself. The Pinot Grigio has a dark pink-amber colour. ‘At a dose of 22. trattare la vite con zolfo e verderame. potare. Son lis tassis di pajà e un sol nùl al fàs tremà. Dyspepsia was Burgundy (coincidentally high in antioxidants). port for anaemia and old sherry for typhoid. Not just a great Pinot Grigio. It’s very understated. Trebez is a triumphant triumvirate of Sauvignon. sojletà. Let’s shock it. wrote a detailed treatise in the 19th century about which illnesses should be treated with which wines. 1868-1940) PRINCIC DARIO. The Sauvignon is actually veering towards amber. with exotic and ripe fruits. 2007 2007 2009 2009 2006 2000 VINO BIANCO TREBEZ VINO BIANCO RIBOLLA GIALLA VINO BIANCO JAKOT VINO BIANCO PINOT GRIGIO VINO BIANCO PINOT GRIGIO – magnum VINO ROSSO CABERNET SAUVIGNON W W W W W R I was reading Jamie Goode’s excellent wine blog when I noticed he had written about resveratrol aka the molecule that made red wine sexy to drink.FRIULI IL VIN NOSTRAN Prin: sapà. He talks to an expert in the food and health field called Professor Corder. mandarin and ginger surge across the tongue and there’s a touch of astringency to remind you of the original grape. It can dissolve anything – even the oak in an Australian Chardonnay.4 mg/kg per day (used in the recent mouse study reported in Nature) and typical resveratrol levels of 1–2 mg/litre in wine. netà. Try the whites with braised veal shank. mutating all the time. Jakot? Tocai – forgivable persiflage. The whites are yellower than ripe corn. a wine reeking (in the classiest sense) of individuality. so put your preconceptions into neutral and your taste buds into overdrive and experience a wine with minerality. ‘The resveratol story has become a bit of a publicity stunt for those lacking knowledge in the field’. If the typhoid doesn’t get you. Pasteur described it as “healthful and hygienic” and an English doctor. So if our Victorian sewers finally buckle under the weight of infrastructural neglect. It’s funny how wine has always been viewed as having therapeutic qualities. Purely for medicinal reasons. bitter bite and guts. Prima zappare. it is so full of procyanidol that in the Carso/Karst region they prescribe it over the chemist’s counter for digestive and liver problems. The Cabernet Sauvignon is delightfully fresh and fragrant with the trademark Friuli herbaceous notes of peppermint and menthol backed by some lovely medicinal clove-tinctured wild berry fruit. Friuli – Biodynamic Your palate is bored. Continued… Ermete Zardini (Cormòns. uaià. of Westminster Hospital. Your palate needs a sock in the gills. Francis Anstie. of rock salts and bitter stony fruits. verderamà. Punch downs and twenty day skin maceration account for the delicate amber colour of the Jakot. of course! Apparently. And there I was so looking forward to my bottle of Teran (Refosco) from Friuli. Two years ageing on the lees in vat completes the process. butternut and warm spice (ginger). This may not be everyone’s cup of tea (or Sauvignon). cloudier than just-fermented cider. maintains Corder. in other words edgily natural. strangeness and charm. Princic’s wines have the same feel as those of La Stoppa and Valentini: totally unfiltered and minimally sulphured. the cure will! . but thank goodness in an era of branding and conformity that we have the opportunity to dance on the wilder shores of winemaking. This orange-rosé (the result of extended skin maceration) wine is bone-dry with a hint of dried grape-skin and suggestion of butterscotch. they taste of the earth. Although resveratrol may indeed have a wealth of beneficial health properties red wine may not be the best way to get it. purer than the driven grape skin. It lives! They live. beautifully fugitive. Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay if not quark. Ci sono le tasse da pagare e un solo nuvolone ti fa tremare. a wine that you have to meet more than halfway. fish out that bottle of Bristol Cream from the cupboard that you’ve been hoarding on the offchance of a maiden aunt popping over. GORIZIA. the dose in human terms for wine would have to be around 1568 mg/day or 780–1560 litres per day’… … which is a trifle above my normal consumption. pulire. The French Paradox is nothing new. Apricot skin.

delicate. The Terrano is made with a variant of the Refosco grape (known as Refosco Istriano or Refoscone) grown in characteristic red soil. Ameztoi – fermented sea spray Blanc de Morgex Vini Estremi – on the rocks. Slavic-andAustrian-inflected food further inland (you’d be surprised how good a tart. The Vitovska is part macerated on the skins for twelve to fifteen days.239 - . a firm acidic backbone and mouth-watering minerality. It has a fine. 2007 2007 2007 CARSO VITOVSKA CARSO VITOVSKA – magnum CARSO TERRANO W W R The Bearable Lightness of Drinking – Tipples at 12% and under Txakoli. this is Italy. fruity nose suggestive of plums. and other fishing towns along Friuli’s Adriatic basin. Carso is a limestone-rich plateau that extends out from the city of Trieste and reaches toward the Julian Alps to the north. because its acidity is thought to be beneficial. Zidarich – maximum minerals Freisa. near Duino Aurisina. and it lends the wines. Muggia. and its trio of peculiar local grapes – the whites Vitovska and Malvasia and a strain of the red Refosco known as Terrano – are uniquely Slavic contributions to the “Italian” viticultural whole. Jagged chalky rock is the keynote of Carso viticulture. the wine culture transcends national boundaries. Donnhoff – magisterial and ethereal Mauvais Temps. L’Enfant Terrible. The vegetation of the environment is very different and enhances the peculiarity of this territory dedicated to viticulture. we give you the Carso – the thin slice of land connecting Trieste to the main mass of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia. tongue-piercing red like Terrano can be as a contrast to the richness of Stinco di Vitello). The landscape is extremely varied and stimulating. bridally blushing. iron-rich soil that have been reclaimed from the woodland. This lends the wines the characteristic acidity and mineral notes. while the red Terrano is a high-acid companion to the heartier. CARSO. DUINO AURISINA. Borgogno – (has not left the building) – electrifying acidity Poulsard.FRIULI Continued… AZIENDA AGRICOLA ZIDARICH. Ganevat– palely loitering. which is carried out on small terraces of red. Winegrowing Carso extends well beyond the border into Slovenia (as does winegrowing Collio further north). both white and red. which is a small and characteristic village of the Carso area. Officially speaking. Friuli – Biodynamic As further evidence that there is more viticultural diversity in Italy than perhaps anywhere else on the planet. Carmarans – naturally nerveux . yellow cherries and poire william. fragrant accompaniments to fresh seafood in Trieste. low alcohol Terrano. but. The peculiar quality of the sun and soil of the Carso area contribute to the wine’s particular characteristics. it is sometimes prescribed by doctors to cure digestive problems as well as to patients who need iron. as is the case all along Italy’s border with Slovenia. followed by a palate with an upfront entry as you might expect from a variety that shares its environment with the bora gales that batter the coast. naughtily nice Riesling. high altitude. Low in alcohol. this means flinty. The Azienda Zidarich is located in Prepotto. On the white side. The heavy limestone content of the soils likely gave the zone its name (Carso is thought to be derived from a Celtic word meaning “land of rock”).



LE DUE TERRE, PREPOTTO, Friuli – Organic Silvana Forte and Flavio Basilicata established the estate in 1984 with the idea of producing wines with both tradition and sense of terroir. They are a team that is committed to wines that flout traditional canons. Flavio started as a consultant winemaker in the late seventies, working mainly in the Colli Orientali del Friuli appellation and having a lot of experiences with both international and local grapes. Since the beginning, their main focus was to grow Refosco, Schioppettino and Tocai, classic varietals from the area and particularly well performing in the village of Prepotto where the estate is located. Le due terre means two soils: the two soils in question are marl and clay plots divided by the road in Prepotto. Flavio is a sort of avant-garde traditionalist. He wants to keep alive the varietals and the ancient methods but he’s perfectly aware of the necessity of refinement and complexity required by today’s wine drinkers. For him originality and terroir are a real challenge and his winemaking approach is simply, ’less is better’. That’s why he prefers not to rack the wines if unnecessary, preferring the action of the lees and oxygen to any intrusive manipulation. He doesn’t want to produce monsters, but human and natural wines that reflect the site, the vintage, the history and the ambition of a long ageing potential. This red blend from barrel is made entirely from regional grapes – 60 percent Schioppettino and the rest Refosco fermented together. Dark ruby in colour, it’s a bit sappy and herbaceous, but pleasantly so, full and ripe with a high-aromatic ripecherry flavour that Silvana rightly likens to kirsch. The Pinot Nero is truly Burgundian in style, with lovely scents of red fruit, rose petals and potpourri spice. Both velvety and steely it is balanced, clean and long – Pinot with poise and concentration. Sacrisassi Bianco (the sacred stones) is blend of Friulano “Tocai” (70%) and Ribolla Gialla (30%) It enjoys ten days of maceration on the skins, is fermented on the wild yeasts and matures for twenty months in used barrels (450 lt) and stainless steel tanks before being bottled. The Sacrisassi Bianco offers a pungent unctuous nose aromatic followed by a strong attack and great length. The palate is rich, fruity, herby and complex. Striking and intense this is dry with layered fruit flavours and smoky minerality.

Egregious Pinot? No, this is the real thing…

AZIENDA AGRICOLA BELLANOTTE, FARRA D’ISONZO, GORIZIA, Friuli Bellanotte is an eight-hectare farm in the variegated terroirs of the Isonzo valley and Collio hills. The soil is mainly calcareous with the presence of red gravels and a layer of ferrous stone. The harvest is manual with careful bunch selection. A pre-fermentation cold maceration helps to extract the aromatic components of the grapes and an extended period in contact with the lees lends the wine its eventual softness and equilibrium. This is the true ramato Pinot Grigio with a light amber colour and a pearly sheen in the glass. The nose suggests hay, elderflower and tea rose, followed by red apple, with light tones of dried fruits, white chocolate, chestnut honey and almonds. The fine acidity gives the wine sapidity and persistence. The voluble Paolo Benassi waxes lyrical about wine and the wines of Bellanotte:” A great wine does not exist without a vein of poetry; without poetry wines become flat and meaningless” by which we infer that great wines have an inexplicable internal beauty that defines them and that to appreciate them you need a certain amount of poetry in your soul..


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BRESSAN, FARRA D’ISONZO, GORIZIA, Friuli – Organic The Bressan Mastri Vinai winery, located within the town of Mariano del Friuli in the Gorizia province, dates back to the 1600’s. Their vineyards are drenched in rich Celtic history in the form of the strategic landscape of Farra d’Isonzo and the winemaking philosophy is founded on family values and a respect for the land and the ancient culture, where limpid horizons seem to capture sensations, colours, scents and flavours most effectively. Where the slopes of the Collio region fade gently and open up on to the Isonzo river valley these vineyards are located on a segment of land shielded to the north by the Julian Alps and open to the hot winds of the Adriatic Sea from the south, where a rare mixture of natural elements (geographic, geological and climatic) have combined to create a unique and inimitable “terroir.” With this natural protection extreme climatic conditions are avoided, and moderate weather permits early development of the entire growing cycle by several days with respect to vineyards that are farther from the river, thus granting grapes with excellent levels of maturation. Fulvio Luca Bressan, a classically trained Bordeaux winemaker and descended from a family long dedicated to the vines, cuts no corners when it comes to making wine. Like many in Friuli, he’s of the opinion that varietals such as Pinot Nero and Cabernet Sauvignon do not “belong” to the French, since those varietals have been cultivated by their ancestors since the early nineteenth century. He believes that these grapes have not only a home in Friuli, but can reflect in their quality and terroir that long history, and be among the finest in the world. For him, the fruit and its pips dictate readiness for harvest, and wood treatment should always reflect subtly in the finished juice. That means big 2,000 litre barrels. “I want to drink the wine, not eat the door to t