At yesterday’s Fall Tasting we uncorked some 50+ bottles of wine along with a number of spirits, and though this bottle of Les Vins de Vienne “Sotanum” Syrah 2008 was near the end of the line, it easily refreshed most any palate with its vibrant waves of undulating complexities and definitive deliciousness. Read more
Posts from the ‘France’ Category
Luc & Catherine Tardy of Domaine du Murinais
A seventh generation grower, Luc Tardy of Domaine du Murinais lives with his wife Catherine in a house that has been family occupied since it was constructed in 1774. Attached to the house and built around a courtyard in 1683, the currant cellar was once rented by his ancestors to a convent, where the nuns would gather and exchange goods with the monks who lived in an abby in the Alps a few miles away. In another section where barrels now reside, a stable once held horses. Farming organically since 2003, Luc is the first of these seven generations to make and bottle wines from select estate parcels, which for many years had instead supplied fruit to the local co-op (most recently Cave de Tain) in Crozes Hermitage.
Hailing from the village of Fleury, in Languedoc’s AOP La Clape, Château de la Negly “La Falaise” 2010, is a blend of 55% Syrah, 40% Grenache and 5% Mourvedre. A 50ha estate, Negly overlooks the Mediterranean, which sits past the rows of old-vine Mourvedre that reside in front of the 18th century Château. At the base of the hill La Clape, which was once an island during the Gallo-Roman era, there are rocky soils of sandy loam and decomposing sandstone with alluvial deposits. Home to winemakers since Roman times, Château de la Negly has gone through a few incarnations, owned by the Rosset family for several decades, until Jean Paux-Rosset took the place of his then recently deceased father in 1992.
Investing in the cellars and vineyards, Jean reduced yields and increased the quality of fruit selection, which led to the estate’s production of three high-profile red wines, including ”La Falaise” in 1996.
When operating at the tip of any frontier there’s power in numbers. Would Kerouac have had the same impact without his accompanying Beats? Rauschenberg without Warhol? Matthiasson without Petroski? Winogrand without Arbus? Parker without Gillespie?
In Vacqueyras resides Cécile Dusserre of Domaine de Montvac, a one-woman operation sandwiched between Chateauneuf du Pape and Gigondas, in an AOC that received its status in 1990 with the help of Dusserre’s father who was instrumental in gaining its classification. Long before buyers and consumers came to seek family-run producers from unknown and upcoming regions, Domaine de Montvac was operating as just that. Silently farming and fermenting wines of elegance in a region that stands on the cusp on neighboring Old World regions that have operated across time, Dusserre has persisted in making natural wines that speak to the palate.
Cécile Dusserre of Domaine de Montvac
With the 2012 vintage, the year that Ecocert began to require organic practices in the cellar as well as in the vineyard, Domaine de Montvac yielded half of its normal harvest. The fact that Cécile Dusserre works annually with the same team of harvesters who know the property and her preferences well was no match for the weather, where January was very cold, and the preceding months were mild. The frigid temperatures at the beginning of the year ended up arresting the sap’s descension through the trunks, which caused most all of her 1.1ha of 90-year-old Grenache vines to explode, and forced Cécile to tear them up from the ground. And though the Mistral generally helps keep the vines free of disease, in this particular vintage, the winds appeared during flowering and blew a lot of flowers from the vines, meaning that there likely won’t be a 2012 “Variation”, which is made from 100% old-vine Grenache in only the best of vintages, but luckily we’re stocked with reserves of the wine’s last great vintage–2010.
What are the main ingredients in an Organic Fine Wine?
Potassium bicarbonate, to deacidify a wine?
Egg white albumin?
We happen to believe that terroir is the most important ingredient here, an ingredient that our winemakers do everything to protect and foster, even if Ecocert’s new regulations happen to neglect it.
From Pascal Pibaleau‘s Demeter certified estate in Azay-le-Rideau, comes one of our most recent additions, the Pascal Pibaleau 2012 Gamay. Originated in 1886 when his great-grandfather purchased 3ha, the estate now totals 15ha under vine, including 1.7ha of Gamay vines that were planted to soils of clay with flint in 1964. Practicing organic since 2005 and certified biodynamic since 2011, the property here is overseen by Pascal and his wife Christine, who have sustained a chemical-free household for over 20 years.
From Cru Chignin, at the base of La Savoyarde in the Bauges mountain range in Savoie, comes Domaine Les Cantatas Cru Chignin Jacquère 2012. From 30-100 year old Jacquère vines, that until 2008 had been owned and farmed by the family of Rene Quenard for over 300 years, comes this light and refreshing white, just in time for peak heat summer-time drinking. With 4 of their 18ha planted to Jacquère, one of the most important varietals to Savoie, Claire Taittinger, who’s a native of Savoie, along with her husband Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger of Champagne, purchased this property in 2008.
Visible from the vineyards, the Mediterranean shimmered in the distance while Cedric Gravier pointed to the terraced vineyards located at the top of the hill — “Les Lauves” — with its 1ha of 50- year-old Mourvedre vines planted to calcaraeous soils, from which only a single parcel is vinified to produce Domaine la Suffrene ‘Les Lauves’. A little later in the cellar at Domaine la Suffrene, as Cedric uncorked a sea of vintages ranging from 2011 to 1996, he said, “Everyone knows to age Chateauneuf du Pape and Bordeaux, but these wines are equally ageable.” And while Bandol is known for it’s age-worthy red wines that are also accessible in their youth, there are certainly very few small-plot, old-vintage bottlings that are as generous on the palate as they are on the pocket, like Domaine la Suffrene ‘Les Lauves’.
Joe & Patrick in the vineyard with Cedric Gravier
“We used to say that rosé wasn’t a real wine, but now it is,” said Cedric Gravier, the winegrower and proprietor at Domaine la Suffrene. In 2003/2004, the production of rosé wines in Bandol surpassed that of red, and currently rosé now totals 70% of all wine produced in Bandol, “But we hope it’ll go down to 50%,” added Cedric, “so we can make more red.” And though most everyone knows that best red wines in Provence come from Bandol, after having the opportunity to taste through a number of vintages of the Domaine la Suffrene Bandol “Les Lauves”, including Cedric’s first vintage in 1996, we can most certainly attest to his desire or need to make more red.