amarchinthevines

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

Why wines appeal, or how Jeff Coutelou has changed my taste!

4 Comments

 

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Pinot Noir in Nelson

 

En francais

Reflecting still on my trip down under, my thoughts turned to the question of taste. It is personal of course, a wine which appeals to me may not be to your palate and vice versa. I was delighted to receive an email from Peter Gorley about his recent trip to New Zealand and specifically his tastings of Pinot Noir. Peter is someone whose wine knowledge and appreciation I have great respect for and trust in. His book on the Languedoc is a must buy based on his experience of living there for many years.

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It was clear that Peter was much more enthusiastic about the Pinots he tasted than I was. There were a few we tasted in common though Peter’s tastings were far more extensive especially in the North Island and Marlborough. I honestly trust Peter’s judgements, so why was I less convinced?

 

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The Surveyor Thomson was one we  both tasted

 

I think it is fair to say that Jeff Coutelou has changed my taste in wine. And I am very happy that he has done so  before anyone thinks that sounds like a complaint. Before I really got to know Jeff 10 years ago my taste in wine was very conventional and I rated most highly the wines which garnered praise and were ‘typical’ of their type, variety and place. After sharing so much with Jeff, his own fabulous wines and wines from many other natural producers, I know that my taste has altered.

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I rate enjoyment and excitement much more highly than other factors these days. Does the wine taste good? Is it fruity, clean? Does it make me want to try another glass? Is there a vibrancy about the wine?

I taste wines, both natural and conventional, that can give me positive answers to those questions and much more besides. I taste wines, both natural and conventional, which unfortunately do not. These days it is natural wines which form the majority of wines which fall into the first category. In New Zealand I found too many Pinot wines trying to be aged Burgundy rather than a genuine expression of their place. There is a convention of how good wine tastes and many producers, not just Kiwis, seem to want to be included in that convention. I get more excitement from those who let the grapes speak and produce wine where they are not manipulated to meet a convention.

 

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Kindeli, one of the NZ producers I enjoyed most. I have bought some since returning to the UK

 

That is not to criticise Peter in any way. He included Jeff in his book, has an open mind about wine and I share many of his favourites. We are different. I have spent so much time with Jeff that my palate is inevitably the one which has changed to prefer the natural style. That doesn’t make me right or wrong. We are different, taste is different. Chacun à son gout.

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An excellent article to read from The Guardian

Author: amarch34

I'm a recently retired (early!) teacher from County Durham in North east England. I am going to be spending most of the next year in the Languedoc leaarning about wines, vineyards and the people who care for both.

4 thoughts on “Why wines appeal, or how Jeff Coutelou has changed my taste!

  1. You are not alone, Alan. The subject is a long one, potentially complex and often gets a confrontational reaction from the older arbiters of taste who feel threatened by the “fad” of natural wines, less overtly overripe wines, wines where the acidity dances on the tongue (to steal from a friendly winemaker). But the band of brothers is now significant enough to signal a shift even in the mainstream.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes indeed. The article is very good and highlights how Ch. Palmer would qualify now for RAW. Things are changing, but there are many in thrall to the big, traditional styles and, understandably, commercialism.

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  3. I agree with dcrossley. I think what must be most important to the punter is to trust their own palate. Forget the label just taste the wine and say to oneself “is this delicious?” That is all that’s important and that is the common goal amongst all winemakers and if it isn’t then it should be. Alan, I totally believe that our palates have been forever augmented to appreciate true natural styles of wine. For the better thanks to Jeff and others pushing the natural movement for the people!

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