amarchinthevines

Learning about wine, vines and vignerons whilst living in the Languedoc


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Full steam ahead

En français

There was something of the nautical in these two photographs hence the title.

The preparations for the vendanges are in full swing, the hail has speeded up the start date as damaged grapes, especially, the Grenache in Sainte Suzanne, need to be picked earlier than foreseen. A tour of the vineyards on Wednesday morning with Jeff was an opportunity for him to taste the grapes and use the refractometer to measure the sugar and potential alcohol in them.

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Picking will require even more care than usual in some parcels as the bunches will need to be checked thoroughly for any damage due to mildew, hail, vers de la grappe or any other issue. Many grapes will be left on the ground. The rest will be sorted back in the cave and Jeff has invested in a new sorting table to ensure scrutiny can be absolute. No chances will be taken as always, only healthy fruit will go into the wine. That is the how natural wines have to be, made from the healthiest fruit as nothing will be added to it to disguise faults, unripe grapes or unhealthy grapes.

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Karcher washer has been well used

In similar vein everything has been cleaned down, washing equipment is a time consuming but vital part of ensuring healthy grapes. Harmful bacteria are the enemy, with no SO2 antiseptics we have to make sure that everything is spotless.

And there have been plenty of other changes in the cellar to ensure that the winemaking will be top quality. Out has gone the old press and some big tanks (cuves) as I have mentioned before. In has arrived new stainless steel cuves, temperature controlled. There is more room, a new resin covered floor to make cleaning easier.

Steel gantries have been erected to make it easier to access the cuves from above. This will make it easier for any whole bunch winemaking as the grapes can be put in tank much more simply and with more checks on quality. It will also be easier to carry out pigeage (punching the grape skins, pips etc down into the juice) and remontage (where the juice is pumped over the top of the cap of grape skins etc). A new staircase to the gantry makes life a lot easier and safer too.

Some of the big cement cuves have been divided to enable Jeff to make smaller quantity wines which will offer more options at the time of assemblage.

 

So, Monday. We are ready. The grapes will be ready. Let the vendanges begin.


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Hail

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En français

2016 has provided one problem after another. On Wednesday August 17th a hail storm hit Puimisson and the surrounding area. It was very violent and very localised, seeming to have taken a path from east to west across La Garrigue, Sainte Suzanne /Metaierie (worst hit) and on to Segrairals.

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The damage is obvious when you look at the vines: holes in the leaves like bullet holes; stalks bruised making the bunch unstable on the vine; grapes flailed, beaten and emptied or dashed to the ground.

The amount of damage depended often on the direction of the vine row. Those planted east to west were damaged on the end but the hail fell mainly down the rows. However, those planted north to south faced directly into the hail and suffered damage especially those facing east, the direction from which the storm came. Thus if you look at the rows vegetation on one side looks thrashed, the other side looks normal.

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Damaged easterly facing (right), undamaged facing west (left)

The damage means that the vendanges will start a few days earlier than expected as the grapes need to be harvested. Jeff sprayed the affected vines with a tisane of wild rosemary, arnica, propolis and tea tree. All of these are used to treat bruises and cuts in humans as well as plants. The idea was to help to heal the grapes and it seems to have worked well.

After a year of no frost, drought, snails, mildew and vers de la grappe 2016 kept this surprise until late in the day.

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Mildew damages bunch, the black stalk will break soon

However, as Jeff said as we toured the vines, compared to others around Pic St Loup he got off lightly. Vineyards there were ruined by hail the same afternoon. The photos below show the horrific damage done at Mas Thélème in Pic St Loup.

Indeed there was one benefit to the storm. 70mm of rain fell in an hour and the rain was much needed. The grapes have swollen with juice as a consequence and the amount of extra wine gained by the rain will more than compensate for the losses due to hail.

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Healthy Cinsault grapes


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Mas Coutelou 2015 (Part 2)

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En français

Thursday, August 11th was the last day before Jeff shut up shop for a few days as he does every year to celebrate the Béziers Féria. A few days of rest and recuperation before the preparations really start for the vendanges. As he had received a number of requests for visits Jeff decided to group them all together and have a tour of the vines and tasting with lunch.

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Visitors from Grenoble, Orléans and Nanterre assembled at the cave along with my friend and sommelier Sandra Martinez and we set off around some of the vineyards. Jeff explained his philosophy and vineyard work and it’s worth repeating a couple of points of note. I mentioned the problem of vers de la grappe a few weeks ago which Jeff treated with a spraying of clay to discourage the moth from laying its eggs. We found a bunch in La Garrigue which was affected and Jeff opened it up to reveal the cocoon of the larvae.

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Vers de la grappe cocoon

He also explained how bats are the ideal solution and why he provides shelters, each bat would eat around 2,000 insects a day including the moths responsible for vers de la grappe.

We also looked around at the majority of vineyards and their dark green colour at a time when the vine is putting its resources into the grapes to get them to maturity, as that is how they reproduce. So, in a natural state the leaves start to look pale and tired as the vine is not channelling energy into the leaves. The dark green, attractive vines are so coloured because of the nitrogen feeds and, in some cases, irrigation.

We returned to the domaine where we were joined by a group of wine professionals. In the garden we tasted a range of Mas Coutelou wines as well as some lovely salads and (for the carnivores) some charcuterie.

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Jeff leads the tasting accompanied by his sister and niece

The list of wines shared, all from 2015 except the last, was: Bibonade (rosé and white), Peilhan Blanc, Maccabeu, OW1, 5SO Simple, Sauvé De La Citerne, On Peut Pas Vraiment Dire Que, Classe, La Buvette À Paulette, Flower Power, Flambadou, L’Oublié, Devigne Qui Vient Diner, 5J

I missed the Bibonades and Peilhan as I was getting the Maccabeu from tank. I had a bottle of Peilhan at home recently though and it was lovely, really strong evidence of the quality of 2015. All apples and pears and fresh acidity with a long finish. Even by Coutelou standards it is an exceptional wine.

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Maccabeu

The Maccabeu is, if anything, even better. Cooked apple and cinnamon flavours, fresh acidity, almost smoky. There is so much going on here and, as the jug I collected the wine in was in front of me, I kept being drawn back to it through lunch. The wine changed and opened out with more fruit and spice. This will develop beautifully when it is bottled, a stunner, my new favourite.

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OW1 is Jeff’s first skin contact wine. He was reluctant to join the trend and didn’t want an orange wine but this spent plenty of time on skins, I remember Cameron and I carrying out a manual pigeage. Now bottled the wine has texture and tannins from that skin contact but there is plenty of fruit and remains balanced and fresh. Very good.

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Manual pigeage of OW1

5SO was on good form. The boisterous, chatty group became quiet for the first time, captured by its fruit profile and drinkability on a hot summer’s day, which essentially is what it was designed to do.

Citerne was one I didn’t have last week and it had been some time since I had tasted it. It showed well, the Mourvedre adding a real plummy depth. Another wine which will emerge in coming months, another to look forward to. OPPVDQ was on great form, another to quieten the crowd. It confirmed my opinion that this is a wine which will really benefit from some time in bottle, hang on to some if you have them. La Buvette À Paulette was last week’s big surprise and another bottle confirmed the pleasure, really showing its quality.

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Flower Power not yet properly labelled. What a colour!

Flower Power took some time to come around but now that it has done so I can confirm that this will strengthen the reputation which it earned in its first vintage in 2014. The vineyard is still young and will continue to improve the wine it delivers, if the snails leave it alone. The ten grape varieties give a complex story of light and shade, red and dark fruits, floral and sappy.

Flambadou was once again a star, showing the lightness of touch in this Carignan. Jeff describes it as like a Pinot Noir. There is depth and character packed into quite a light structure. The vineyard has a light layer of limestone beneath the fine clay and it is this limestone which adds the complexity to the wine. A grand cru of Carignan.

L’Oublié and its story once again captured the imagination of everyone, its secondary flavours beguiling the tastebuds. Devigne Qui Vient Diner is the wine which Jeff made in partnership with Christian Venier from the Loire, Gamay added to some Languedoc grapes such as Cinsault. My, this has improved with a few months in bottle (magnum), really delivering a rounder more harmonious blend with zappy fruit and lovely sweet fruit.

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Finally 5J the Grenache Gris from 2012 aged in barrel made to reflect a Spanish fino to accompany the best hams. Oxidised notes, barrique notes and a flash of clean fruit, quince and apple.

A great day, much longer than most were expecting but nobody showed any signs of fatigue or willingness to depart. Many joined us in the cave des soleras to taste some of the old wines there. And poignantly, some wine of Jean-Claude on what would have been his 80th birthday. His legacy will live on.

I enjoyed reading the Facebook post of one of the visitors Benoit who described Jeff as a magician and an artist. The day was a success.

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Top ten tasting (Mas Coutelou)

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En français

Friends Ceredig and Lesley were staying with us in Margon and our neighbours Martin and May had relatives and guests staying too so I thought it was a good time to organise a Mas Coutelou tasting.

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Carignan during the tour with Cora and Brian

Brian and Cora had shown an interest in the vines and we had made a tour of the vineyards and cellar on Tuesday 2nd. Jeff kindly invited us to take a few bottles from the cave and I made up a series of ten bottles. They were served in the following order, nine from 2015, one from 2014 to show vintage difference:

2015: Carignan Blanc / Grenache Gris; PM Rosé; 5SO Simple; Buvette A Paulette; On Peut Pas Vraiment Dire Que; Le Vin Des Amis; Classe; Flambadou; Flambadou 2014; L’Oublié.

Martin initiated a scoring system and at the end of the evening the results showed some agreement about the top wines but some differences too. Wine is personal and that is one reason why I am becoming more sceptical about scores generally. However, this was in fun and here were the results of the Anglo-Irish jury.

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At number 10, the Carignan Blanc / Grenache Gris. My fault this, I had a bottle from the first six off the bottling line and it contained a little water so came across dilute. However, there were some lovely apple and pear characteristics and it was a hit with one guest who doesn’t usually like white wines. I know from other bottles that this is a lovely wine which wasn’t done justice on the night.

8=  PM Rosé An interesting result, perhaps showing that rosé finds it hard to be taken seriously (or just that people loved the reds). PM is so much more aromatic and punchy than most rosés that perhaps it confounded expectations. For me it is a cracking wine, with real character and heft as well as being bone dry and perfect on a summer’s evening.

8= 5SO Simple Another surprise for me as 5SO is really hitting its stride. I served it slightly chilled and everyone liked it though some found it too light for a red. I love the cherry bright fruits and clean finish, it is a great alternative to summer rosés.

7 On Peut Pas Vraiment Dire Que Liked by all, loved by some, a little austere for a couple of people. My opinion is changing on this wine. I thought it was a light Syrah which was for short term drinking but the last couple of bottles seem to suggest it is entering a phase of taking on weight and a serious side. Certainly I shall be keeping the rest of my bottles for a few years to see how it develops, I think it will become something special. It may not be La Vigne Haute but it is a serious Syrah of real quality.

6 Flambadou 15 Well liked though suffered by comparison with the 2014 which was more developed. There is an elegance to this, perhaps the best cuvée from Mas Coutelou in the last several vintages. Jeff likens it to Pinot Noir at time, there is a limestone layer beneath the fine clay soils of the vineyard and this seems to add the lightness and elegance. Red fruit aromas and flavours with a streak of tannins. This is very youthful and will develop with time, complexity is already there. A great wine from a great vintage.

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5 La Buvette À Paulette Round, blackcurranty, juicy, very enjoyable. This was popular because of its sheer drinkability though some found it a little green. No doubt the Cabernet Sauvignon will develop further but this was on song already. It won’t be released until January 2017 and it is definitely one to wait for, a cuvée I hadn’t realised could be so good.

4 Flambadou 14 The extra year added more roundness to the wine making it more enjoyable in the short term. The extra complexity appealed to many of us as well as the red fruits. It is lovely though I do think the 15 will become better, being such a good vintage.

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3 L’Oublié Another recently bottled wine which we assembled a few weeks ago. The aromas were immediately a sign of complexity, hints of tobacco, coffee, dark fruits, there are notes from the barrel and you can tell there is some older wine in here but there is also a freshness from the 2013 Cinsault. The story of the wine and its assemblage I wrote about recently and the air of mystery about L’Oublié added to its appeal at the tasting.

2 Classe No label on as this was another bottle recently put together and has not yet been prepared for sale. As soon as it was opened the exuberant fruits, blackcurrant and raspberry, almost leaped from the glass. There is a depth, richness and a darker profile in there too, this is one of the very best cuvées of Classe. Not hard to see why it appealed so strongly on the night with everybody.20160802_224234

1 Le Vin Des Amis Ever popular, ever first choice. When I serve Coutelou wines to friends it is almost always Vin Des Amis which is the most appreciated. The open, fruity nature makes it immediate and the complexity gives it a sense of being special. Which, of course, it is. It really was on good form here and a clear winner on the night.

A great evening. Lovely people around a series of great bottles, how could it not be? And wow those wines are great, hopefully more people converted to natural wines and to Jeff’s in particular.

A word to for the 2015 vintage. I am, of course biased as this was my first full vintage, but it is proving to be top class, everything is drinking well and the bottles still to come will highlight its class still further.

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In  order of preference from right to left

For what it’s worth my own order read:

  1. L’Oublié
  2. Classe
  3. Flambadou 15
  4. La Buvette A Paulette
  5. Flambadou 14
  6. On Peut Pas Vraiment Dire Que
  7. PM Rosé
  8. Le Vin Des Amis
  9. 5So Simple
  10. Carignan Blanc / Grenache Gris

 


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Neighbours

En français

“Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours”. So went the theme tune to a very popular Australian Television show. Well, it seems the message has not reached Puimisson.

Back in the spring I reported that the Carignan vineyard, Rec D’Oulette (also known as Chemin De Pailhès), had been vandalised. Jeff had planted lots of trees and flowers to create biodiversity in an area of grapevine monoculture. A neighbour decided to mow the flower patch one night.  And he has struck again.

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In happier days

On Monday evening Jeff messaged me to say that two trees had been destroyed. He planted the trees (a pomegranate and a hazelnut) five years ago, watered them, looked after them. Now his money, his time and his care lie in crushed and broken wood on the ground. His neighbour had taken a crushing machine to them, a girobroyeur.

What sort of neighbour would do such a thing? Certainly not the co-operative sort which he would claim to be (if you understand what I am saying). Rather, a neighbour driven by jealousy, suspicion, anger. A neighbour whose own vines are pumped high and deeply coloured with chemicals and irrigation. A neighbour who cannot understand that somebody else might think and act differently. A man with no respect for his neighbour, his colleague nor for the land and nature which gives him his living. What sort of vigneron is that? But let us leave that wretched individual and turn to Mas Coutelou and its future.

Jeff was understandably upset, angry and disheartened by his neighbour’s actions. He wondered whether he should just give up, tired of providing the lone oasis of sustainability in a desert of land damaged by chemicals, erosion and overworking.

Happily, the support of many, via Facebook for example, has heartened him and he has a plan in place which will help to fight back with your help. I shall leave him to announce that plan. Meanwhile I urge you to read Jeff’s words, published on August 4th which explains his determination and motivation in fighting for nature.

Ode To Biodiversity

“Thank you all for your messages of support for the testing time I have just come through.

I do not proselytize about my way of working and I do not demand that my colleagues should join me but I feel I have the right to do what I want on my land. When in 1987 my father took the decision to join Nature and Progress, he was considered as some kind of extraterrestrial. The department of Hérault at that time had less than 200 hectares of vines grown organically, there are more than 20,000 today. (500 acres / 50,000 acres)

I do not think that we can correct nature because it is always stronger than man and in the end will  win every time. Just consider the viticulture textbooks from the start of the 20thC which suggested that with two treatments of sulfur and one of copper would see you through to harvest. By trying to produce more, by using increasingly powerful products, we have created such resistance to them in the vines that today some need more than 15 chemical treatments to achieve the same result.

We cannot blame the previous generation, they did not know. Modern agriculture has brought social progress for farmers. The replacement of the horse by the tractor, weed killers to replace the pick and hoe, chemical fertilizers to produce more at a lower cost, modern agriculture has helped to soften drudgery.

But now everyone knows. Groundwater is increasingly polluted and you have to go further and further to find barely drinkable water which must go through ever more costly treatments to just about meet the required safety standards. The land is less and less fertile and requires ever increasing amounts of fertilizer to be able to produce the same quantities.

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Vincent staking the olives in Rec D’Oulette

Since we cannot change nature, we must try to adapt to climate change and seek solutions to continue making wine as naturally as possible. Planting trees, shrubs, flowers, increasing plant life is part of a considered approach for the future.

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Erosion in a neighbouring parcel

It is about recreating areas of biodiversity … By continually removing hedges, fruit trees, paths, streams, to create larger and larger parcels, we create areas of vine monoculture which only make them more vulnerable, requiring more and more interventions and more exposed to erosion. We have removed balanced spaces where everything had its place in order to create spaces shaped by man which certainly made it possible to work more efficiently but, also, where man is obliged to act, to correct. For example, a bat can eat 2,000 insects per night, if we had only maintained their habitat we would not have to spray and to fight against vers de la grappe. (A disease caused by those insects)

It is about fighting against global warming … You have all at some time, when the summer sun is hot, enjoyed taking shelter in the shade of a tree. It is the same for the parcels of vines. By planting trees around the vines, we protect them from the drying summer winds. Moreover, passing through the trees, the wind naturally cools down. This is an alternative, sustainable approach to that of putting in place a system of irrigation, which may well effective in the short term but one day may well be limited or banned, as the water table is polluted by this water which comes from the Rhône.

It is about restoring beauty to the landscape …. Work in vineyards is certainly mechanized but is also done on foot. The person who works in a parcel needs to have something which marks the horizon, which allows them to see the end … As plots have become larger, they are no longer on a human scale and the work becomes mechanical, automatic, without love … To look up and see a bird land on a tree, to cool off under an olive tree at the end of a row of vines, to see butterflies and bees in the spring coming to rest on patches of flowers; these are the small pleasures which allow those who work there to feel better and to give more love to their work.

It is about an investment in the future …. In the digital age where everything is about the immediate, it is almost a militant act to plant trees that we will not see fully grown. There was a saying not so long ago, “the olive tree of your grandfather, the mulberry tree of your father, the grapevine of yourself.” Today we see a fashion for displacing ancient olive trees from where they first grew to decorate city roundabouts. We live so much in the now, demanding quick results, that we want to apply the same to nature … To plant a tree involves work, care, money but, especially, a lot of fun. To watch it grow, to attach it to a stake, to prune it to give it shape, to look after it so that it grows, to imagine it fully mature after we have gone; it’s so many things that may seem trivial for some (certainly for the bastard who this week destroyed the trees I had planted 5 years ago), but which mean so much to me.

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Apple tree in Rec D’Oulette

So, what to do? Give up? Surely not …. I said when they crushed my flowers in spring, that in the next year we would plant kilometres of flower patches … Well , though some might not like to hear it, we will continue in the Autumn (Fall) to plant more trees around the vineyards. We will continue to look after them. We will continue to imagine them when they are fully grown. And it will be with great pleasure that we will share this love of nature with you when you come to visit us.”


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Between a rock and a hard place

En français

Back in the Languedoc and, the first morning, I went over to see the vines. Jeff had sent me a message that they were in real stress because of the lack of rainfall. Ironically we had driven south through France under leaden skies and through fairly steady rain, until we reached the Languedoc where the skies turned blue and the temperatures rose. It has been very hot here throughout the three weeks I was away and, following a very dry autumn last year and not much rainfall in 2016, the vines are definitely in need of a good drink.

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Stressed vines

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Clear signs of drought

I have written many times this year about the vine stress due to very unusual seasons, the warm winter, cool spring. Sadly, summer has also added to their difficulties. Sure enough the vines look dry. The apex of the vine is often a good way to tell their health and they look tired and bare, almost burned.

To safeguard the health of the young, newly planted or grafted vines Jeff and Julien were busy watering them in the Flower Power vineyard, Font D’Oulette. This is allowed as they are not grape producing this year. Straw was then placed around them to keep the moisture inside. Julien showed his dedication by doing more of this work at night time.

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Even Icare was feeling the heat despite his haircut, he kept hold of the stick when it was thrown as if to say I’m not chasing after this anymore.

Jeff also informed me of yet another problem, ver de la grappe. This is the larvae of a moth which feeds on the grape. I took a photo of an affected grape last year.

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There are chemical treatments available to prevent and to treat the problem, no use to an organic producer of course and these chemicals are especially harmful, you can’t use the grapes until 21 days after spraying.

So, for Jeff the treatment involved spraying clay onto the vines to try to make the grape skins less attractive to the moth so it will lay the eggs elsewhere. This was only the second time in twenty years that he had sprayed against ver de la grappe. Also in the spray was fern and seaweed, the fern is a natural insecticide and the seaweed gives a health boost to the vine. However, having sprayed this morning (July 31st) Jeff was hoping that the much needed rain would hold off for a couple of days to allow the spray to work.

You can guess what happened next. A storm, heavy rain, much of the spray washed off the grapes. It is that sort of year, nothing seems to be going right. The rain which did fall was minimal and only undid the good work. The worst of all worlds. To spray or not to spray? To rain or not to rain? Caught between a rock and a hard place.

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Colour and life remains

 

As I made my way around the vineyards there were plenty of good grapes to see, véraison (the changing colour of red grapes) has begun especially amongst the Syrah and Grenache of La Garrigue.

And I spent some time in Rome, a very parched looking vineyard but the ideal place to reflect upon its creator, Jean-Claude. There are some things to be thankful for even in this difficult year.

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Natural terroir

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En français

The choice of my recent wine of the week, Olivier Leflaive’s Burgundy Oncle Vincent 2012, made me think about how wines change. When I used to regularly visit Leflaive and Burgundy in the 1990s the style of wine was very oak influenced, a response to the New World oaked wines and to the influence of Parker / Rolland in Bordeaux. The wines smelled of vanilla and tasted of wood. Subtlety was often lost, especially on the lower ranked wines. Happily those days are in the past (though I still come across some very heavily oaked wines even in the Languedoc) and this bottle was zesty and fresh with a little oak adding creaminess.

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Similarly if I choose to drink a Riesling from Alsace I can find two wines from grapes grown side by side in the same vineyard which will taste very different. One producer might prefer a lean, dry style of wine whilst his/her neighbour makes wine in a rounder style with more residual sugar. The same can be said of wines from any region of course. So where does that leave the notion of terroir?

Terroir is that elusive term which describes soil, micro-climate, slope etc. Effectively it means the location, the ‘in situ’ of the wine. However, some will also add the influence of the local culture upon the winemaking in the concept of terroir, Alsace with its traditional residual sweetness for example. However, different winemakers choose different methods and styles according to not just local tradition but outside influences, wines tasted, travels etc.

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Amongst those influences has been the growth of the natural wine movement. I have read and heard numerous accounts by natural winemakers of how they came to choose this philosophy for their métier. Most include their discovery of a natural wine which made them tear up the rulebook and decide that this was the style of wine which they wanted to make because of their freshness, drinkability and flavours. A typical account can be found here.

Yet those who still find fault with natural wines are wont to declare that natural wines mask the flavour of grape and place because they often taste of natural wine and nothing else. Take this remark by Rosemary George*, English wine journalist and Languedoc resident, “if there is one thing that I reproach natural wines, it is that they all, irrespective of provenance, have a tendency to a similarity of style.  The best have that delicious mouth-watering freshness, but that somehow seems to mask their origins.”

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You will not be surprised to read that I disagree. I do accept that some, less well made natural wines do have aromas and flavours which resemble each other regardless of origin. However, I think in the vast majority of cases that natural winemaking has progressed and reflect their terroir and grape(s) much better than most conventional wines. How can it be otherwise? If a winemaker adds enzymes, artificial yeasts and SO2 how can than not be adding an extraneous element to the flavour of the wine which is nothing to do with the place? If you add oak chips or staves does that make the wine more Burgundy, Bordeaux or Barossa? Or does it simple meet the established concept of what a wine from those areas ought to taste like?

Winemakers will often aim for a flavour, they want their wine to be the same year after year. That is how the big companies retail Yellow Tail, Blossom Hill etc, the customer expects a certain flavour if wine and that is what they will be given. Like Coca Cola. This does not reflect terroir or vintage at all and, to be fair, the big companies would not claim otherwise. However, I do get the impression that many smaller winemakers follow a similar recipe.

A recent visit to a wine fair in Vouvray was a very disheartening experience. I tasted wine after wine which lacked character but did taste very much like the next sec or demi-sec from the next producer. The conformity was alarming. There was a Vouvray style common to most producers but it was bland and dull. There were one or two exceptions where a winemaker had taken deliberate steps to change their winemaking and vineyards, D’Orfeuilles for example.

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Healthy wines come from healthy soils including microbial life as here at Mas Coutelou’s Rome vineyard

So give me a wine of character. Give me a wine with nothing added where the vineyards’ health is reflected in the grape juice which makes the wine. Give me that grape juice with nothing extraneous added,  natural yeasts for example. Let that wine be carefully nurtured and not messed around with, no added flavourings. If it is aged in barrel then I would expect it to reflect that influence but not be dominated by it. I want to drink wines which reflect the vitality of healthy grapes in healthy vineyards. The wines will alter from year to year because nature alters from year to year. That is terroir and why natural wine reflects terroir in as pure a state as possible.

*(To be fair to Rosemary she does like some natural wines and it was her writing that first introduced me to Jeff Coutelou so I have much to thank her for.)

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