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…spontaneously fermenting

Rough music

A French folk custom in which the community gave a noisy, discordant mock serenade , also pounding on pots and pans, at the home of newlyweds (usually for a wedding they regarded as questionable).*  They called it Charivari (“rough music”), and so did Loic Roare of Domaine du Possible in the Côtes du Roussillon (Lansac) for his Carignan.  And I can see why he would call his wine Charivari after tasting this triumphant wine.

Loic’s estate goes beyond organic and biodynamic principals.  He has only used the Bordeaux mixture (sulfur and copper) twice in the last 6 years, avoiding all treatments whenever possible, opting for herbal infusions instead.  He works with a variety of vines including the 52-105 year old Carignan vines used for making this wine.

This wine is carbonic with temperature control to keep the temperature low. No pumping, just gravity to help the process.  The fermentation occurs spontaneously with indigenous yeasts.  He uses little or no sulfur, depending on the vintage.  The average yield in 2009/2010 was 17/18 hl/ha, so rather low.

When I opened the bottle, it was rather reductive so I decided to decant it.

Sweet strawberries began to emerge along with some serious notes of minerals and licorice. Nice acidity with some sour raspberries as well. Tannins began to kick up quickly. Rather more serious than many other carbonic wines I have tasted. You can feel the warm fruit as it opens to reveal some dark plums and cherries.

This wine was purchased at Vivant in Paris last year and it’s a relative bargain at about €12.

 

*thank you Wikipedia & Looking at History

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, France, natural wine (100% living wine), Roussillon

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Jean Marc Brignot

Hell yes!!
🙂

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Category: natural wine (100% living wine)

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Forward People!

An East German making wine in the Languedoc, Axel Prüfer is right at home among the new generation of natural wine makers in France. His winery, Le Temps des Cerises, is located in the Orb Valley, just 16 km North and slightly West of Nimes.  Axel grows typically Southern Rhône varieties without the use of chemicals or herbicides.  His wines are fermented spontaneously and most are made without the addition of sulfur.
The 2009 Avanti Popolo is a pure Carignan grown on granitic quartz.
Date tasted: May 4th, 19:15
Appearance – light, slightly turbid raspberry red.
Nose – very ripe raspberries, a slight volatility helps lift the wine, making it very aromatic. Pomegranate, purple flowers, light mineral after taste. Cassis. Ripe watermelon.  I vividly remember an other time smelling watermelon on a wine – Gabrio Bini’s Carignan (which he no longer makes unfortunately because I loved that wine and although I tasted it only once, I still remember it!)
Palate – much more expressive than on the nose. Tannins emerge quickly. Carbonic maceration? At least partial. Initially I found the wine a bit short, but balanced, fresh, juicy and Glog Glog – drinkable! Hints of bricks or stones.
20:00
gooseberries, nettles and hints of mint begin to appear on the nose
Palate has become more serious and much longer with more gripping tannins. And, once again, I wished this wasn’t a half magnum!!

Category: 1 WINE, France, Haute vallée de l'Orb, Languedoc, natural wine (100% living wine)

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My favorite picks from RAW and Real Wine Fairs

I have personally never seen so many great producers (I think the number is in the neighborhood of 300!) gathered together anywhere before the RAW and Real Wine Fairs May 20th-22nd in London. For this I am very grateful for all the producers (the actual producers in most cases, not suited-up reps) that came over to participate in these fairs. Producers from all parts of Europe, Georgia, Australia, South Africa and even the US. Most of all I would like to thank Isabelle Legeron and Doug Wregg for organizing these two events, focusing on hands-on producers who practice minimal to no intervention viticulture and wine making.

Here are some producers that sent me home thinking and craving  their wines:

Domaine Saurigny (Anjou, Loire Valley) – Jérôme Saurigny makes a Sauvignon Blanc that I have to say really left me impressed. I first met Jérôme and tasted his wines at his place in Anjou about 3 years ago, but I swear I can’t remember how really good his Sauvignon Blanc was. It is my favorite Sauvignon Blanc to date, so refreshing and showing none of the characteristics that often come associated with the grape and which I dislike. His reds were also outstanding and his “accidental” sweet chenin blanc is also worth tasting!

Domaine Saurigny – Loire Valley

Read the rest of this entry »

Category: 1 WINE, natural wine (100% living wine)

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A tasting note: 2009 Davide Spillare Bianco Rugoli Selezione Vecchie Vigne

You might remember my brief mention of Davide Spillare in my VinNatur 2011 – producers to keep on eye on, blog entry. Davide’s Azienda Agricola covers about 2 ha in  Gambellara, in the province of Vicenza.  Davide works naturally both in the vineyards and in the winery, being shown the way by his teacher and mentor, Angiolino Maule.  He works mainly with the indigenous Garganega grape, and ferments all of his wines spontaneously without any additions, except a little sulfur in his whites.

The Bianco Rugoli is made up of 90% Garganega (grown on volcanic soil) and 10% Trebbiano. After manual harvest and crush, maceration with the skins lasts 18-24 hours giving this wine it’s gorgeous glow. It is then pressed and transferred to used barriques  for about 10 months for fermentation. It then spends some time in steel and is bottled without fining or filtering with just a bit of sulfur.

 

Date tasted: May 17th, 20:00

Appearance:  honey-toned orange

Nose: slightly jammy orange peel with hints of brown honey. very clear high intensity fruit. Some hints of herbs like sage and thyme. There are some aromas that could only be described as roasted lamb w rosemary. Ripe golden gooseberries. alcohol shows on the nose. With 15 minutes in the glass, a smoky minerality begins to emerge blending nicely with the fruit. Showing also some hints of very ripe fruit, perhaps some grapes being overripe – in a good way.

Palate: spicy, fruity and dry on the palate with good acid and tingling alcohol, which begins to integrate as the wine warms. Very mild tannins with a slight bitter aftertaste. As time passes, the wine seems to become increasingly refreshing, even though the alcohol is my only lament, as it very slightly stings the tongue. Not enough to put the wine way out of balance, however. Young..

Glug Glug wine at it’s finest!! Drink up or keep a few years to allow the alcohol to fully integrate.

 

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Gambellara, Italy, natural wine (100% living wine), orange wine, Veneto

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structure

Last night for my birthday, I celebrated with friends and a magnum of one of my favorite wines – Jean Pierre Robinot’s Concerto d’Oniss 2010. I am always so impressed by the structure of his wines. His wines have what I consider about the greatest structure I have seen. I am not talking massive structure and alcohol that make a wine difficult to consume an entire bottle of, I am talking a structure that even at only 12% alcohol, has no peers. It pours like oil, and in the mouth that oily texture is there as well.

Pink grapefruit and grapefruit skin (the white part under the skin actually) are the first aromas you get, followed by delicate notes of incense, pepper and spice.

The texture is surreal on the palate, it’s the first thing that you notice. Like a light oil, so balanced, alcohol barely noticeable. Grapefruit, spices and red berries. A wine to glug, glug, glug!

Pay close attention to the way this wine pours, especially as it fills the glass!

Jean Pierre Robinot Concerto d’Oniss Magnum – structure from vinosseur on Vimeo.

Category: 1 WINE, natural wine (100% living wine)

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No cat piss, please

The Sauvignon Blanc grape is quite easy to detect on the nose, very often showing aromas of green gooseberries, blackcurrant leaves and hints of what we call “cat piss”.  In other words, to some (including myself) the wines made with this popular grape can often be quite stinky and smell “green ” and under ripe (not all of course, but many).

But, what happens when you take a  Sauvignon Blanc vineyard in Sancerre that is farmed naturally (without pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers), where the  juice is made into wine without a single additive, including SO2?  The result is a  Sebastién Riffault Sancerre Auksinis, a very different Sancerre.

 

Sebastién is a 30 year-old who is passionate about the work he and his horse do in the vineyards, paying careful attention to the needs of the vines without introducing them to any additives including fertilizers.

His approach is organic with some biodynamic principals.  He plows with his horse, but only every third year or so because he considers the upheaval of the topsoil to be to some extent harmful for the vineyard and its harmonious life.*  He harvests late and with very low yields and allows his wines to ferment naturally with ambient yeasts in large old barrels with a full malolactic conversion.

The 40 year old Auksinis vineyard is located in Verdigny in the Sancerre appellation of the Loire Valley, about 5 km NW from the town of Sancerre.

(Terroir France – French Wine Guide)

The 1 HA vineyard is facing South East  & South with an average slope of about 35%.  The soil is mostly clay and limestone (Caillottes).  The vineyard produces 15 hl/ha, or about 2000 bottles of this wine.  Fermented in 8-15 year-old large wooden barrels for about 3 months, then left on the fine lees for about two years. Racking and bottling is done by gravity without fining or filtration.  The whole process from start to end is done without any additions, including SO2. Vintage 2009

 

Date tasted:  Monday April 23rd, 20:00

Appearance:  Ripe yellow plum color. Very slight brown reflexes, like old gold.  Slightly turbid.
Nose:  Initially very ripe yellow fruit and minerals. Surprising to also find some ripe gooseberries, but ripe and not green. A bit of smoke. Yellow apples. Hints of brown honey. Hints of pear. Hints of cooked balsamic, interesting.   Marzipan.
As it warmed up, dry grass and hay with white pepper begin to appear and the initial attack of very ripe fruit settled a bit.
Palate: Very open showing ripe yellow fruit with honey notes and a slight bitterness like a bitter almond. Looooong mineral finish. Food wine par none.  Bone dry with great acidity. Salty. Oily texture that I usually find on my favorite wines. Fennel hints. No hollow spots,  very very structured. Medium bodied wine. Marzipan
After an hour being open, the wine became extremely fresh and light, especially when the wine had reached room temperature. The wine became very drinkable, and as usual, I wished I’d had a magnum!

 


Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, France, Loire, natural wine (100% living wine), Sancerre

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Blind taste that wine again please

I recently had a guest at Jacob’s Bar & Kjøkken. This guest was somewhat of a wine person. This means for the sake of this story that this guest was very wine interested and belonged to a sophisticated wine-tasting group that regularly meets and tastes some pretty darn good, and valuable, wines. They do this in the comfort of their home(s) and are  not often seen out and about at the well-known wine spots in the city.

I poured a small taste of something, blind. I had never met this guest, and I am always interested to hear their analysis because it helps me to gauge their knowledge and palate.  I returned after a few minutes to hear this guest’s impressions about the splash of wine I had poured. This is always interesting for me, especially with “knowledgeable” people. After the analysis, I poured another small glass… and then another, and then another.  One thing struck me about this guest’s comments. On each and every wine, the comment “well, the wine has these balsamic notes, so I assume it’s natural.  And these balsamic notes cover the fruit, so it’s very difficult to get the fruit, and therefore analyze the wine correctly to come to any kind of  conclusion. ” Of course he knew where he was and also knew the wines would be natural, so no points there.

No, it wasn’t the first time (and it won’t be the last) that I heard such comments. I  often hear that it is hard to blind taste natural wines cause they all kind of smell and taste the same. Remember when you first started to taste wines and try to distinguish the difference? They pretty much all tasted similar, right? Until 100’s of wines later, you started to get it…

IMHO, blind tasting natural wines is all about retraining the senses and the brain. Those of us who have studied wine or have been tasting it for years, were very likely taught to blind taste “conventional wines”. I am not making a judgement here about the quality of these wines, just an observation, and actually a fact when it came to my education.  And, just like having to train that brain to blind taste that first time, you have to do it again. With some training, you can also begin to blind taste (correctly I might add) natural wines, as I often do.

So, when you are starting to blind taste natural wines, please give it some time and stop saying that you are not able to because it’s natural and it smell like the others. This is nonsense and you know it.

Category: 1 WINE, Blind taste that wine again please, natural wine (100% living wine)

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A tasting note: 2009 Hatzidakis Assyrtiko Cuvée No.15

 

I wanna start off by saying that I am no Greek geek, that is, i know very little about Greece and it’s viticulture and wines. In fact, I have never even been to Greece and the number of times I can remember tasting a Greek wine can be counted on less than the 10 fingers of my two hands, and maybe even on less than 5 fingers. This isn’t because I have chosen not to taste the wines of Greece, it is merely  due to the fact that in Norway, fewer than 10 examples are available (that i am aware of). Now that i am in Krakow, it seems that Greece may get a little more attention from me, or at least the wines of Hatzidakis.

Haridimos Hatzidakis founded the winery on the island of Santorini in 1996 and made his first wine in the following year. He has been organic right from the start, no doubt helped by the heat and the winds of the island.   A unique bush training system (koulara) is used on Santorini to help protect the growing grapes from the fierce winds and heat that are native here. The vines are woven into “baskets” with the grapes facing towards the inside, thus providing shelter.  Fortunately, Santorini is immune to phylloxera due to it’s volcanic soils which contain no clay, which is necessary for the parasite to survive. Therefore, many of the vine roots growing on Santorini are 100’s of years old, allowing them to grow deep into the soils where they can find nutrients and water.

The Assyrtiko Cuvée no. 15 is 100% Assyrtiko, an indigenous grape of Greece, and is known for it’s minerality and acidity (even if the grape is very ripe).   The wine is made from a mixture of (very) old and young vines, where the upper part of the vine is about 15 years old, but the underground root system can be anywhere between 100-400 years of age.  The grape skins are quickly separated from the juice and the wine is allowed to ferment with its native yeasts. It’s then matured on the lees in tank  for 4 months.  Very little SO2 is added, with the total at bottling being between 12 & 20 mg/l.  This wine is quite rare and is not made in every vintage. In 2009, about 200 cases were made.

Date tasted:  March 25th, 2012 (and another bottle a few days later)

Appearance:  Deep yellow hay-like color. Very vibrant and a bit turbid.

Nose: like crushed vitamin c, or aspirin. Under ripe mango, but not green. Honey and mineral notes lift the wine nicely.

Palate: Mineral and very salty. Under ripe mango again on the palate with a slight bitter after-taste. An extremely long finish and very concentrated. Alcohol sticks a bit, but i credit this to the wine’s youth.

If all Greek wines tasted like this, than I have been missing out.  But I know that they don’t and that  this is something special because the few Greek wines I have tasted were nothing like this. A wine to enjoy today or store (but why do that)

 

 

* I would like to thank Tomasz Kurzeja and Konstantinos Lazarakis MW for their very helpful information.

*This post was written especially for Winicjatywa and translated to Polish language here

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Greece, natural wine (100% living wine), Santorini

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Rosantico

The Moscato Rosa vine has an ancient  history dating back to the  Austro-Hungarian Empire here in Friuli, hence the clever name on the label. Fulvio Bressan’s family have always had this small (1 HA) vineyard, and Fulvio’s father used to make a sweet wine from the vine, the traditional vinification method for this grape.  A rather rich history for this rather difficult little vineyard.

The vineyard had an extremely low yield of about 1500 liters in 2009 for the 1 HA, that’s about 2000 bottles. And that was in a good year.  Bressan picks the grapes late to insure ripeness, which is tricky since this grape has a high level of “colatura” or risk of falling off the vine when ripe. But still he waits to pick the grapes late so that they are dry like sultana’s, adding to the risk that botrytis cinerea (noble rot) will set in, which is not desired here.  Add these risks together and you  have the elements of total vintage loss, which is what happened  in the previous 7 vintages! Also no wine was made in 2010 and the 2011 is still in tank fermenting

After the manual harvest, the grapes were pressed and de-stalked. Maceration was for 3 days, fermentation was spontaneous thanks to the ambient yeasts present on the bunches. Alcoholic fermentation lasted for about 4 weeks, followed by an induced (by a small increase in temperature) malolactic fermentation.  The wine was then racked and left on the fine lees in stainless steel for two years, giving the grape the chance to show its elegance and personality. The wine was then bottled without filtration. The wine then continued for a bit longer for some bottle maturation.  Total alcohol is 13.20% and total acidity is a fresh 6,38 g/l.

Click here for some nerdy information for those who care.

Date tasted: March 3rd, 2012 18:30

Appearance:  Normally I would say “see the photos”, but since the photos i took were in a dimly-lit place, I will try and describe the color. It has more of a light-reddish-copperish color, than of a pure rosé like we might see from southern France. Like a pure extraction of fruit juice. Intriguing for sure. See photo 😉

Nose:  Wild fruits (berries) and rose pedals, very intense. Hints of floral soap, yes soap.

Palate:  Dry. Important to emphasize dry, as in none or very little residual sugar. Texture of a liquor, with the alcohol a bit noticeable but not enough to throw the wine out of balance. I think this aspect of the wine will integrate nicely in the coming years adding to its complexity. Super length and acidity giving this syrupy wine lots of freshness. Really very liquor-like in the texture. Like a syrup made of fresh berries.  The after taste had mild yeasty hints, which I liked.

Although enjoyable now, will be enjoyable for years to come for sure. Goodbye today’s rosé and hello rosé for tomorrow!

 

Category: 1 WINE, 2 PRODUCER PROFILE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Bressan Mastri Vinai- Friuili-Venezia Giulia, Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy, natural wine (100% living wine)

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About

About
Vinosseur is the company name of sommelier Joseph R. Di Blasi. Vinosseur.com is his web page where he writes about wine, food, restaurants and other gastronomic experiences.

Joseph has a special place in his heart for quality wines from the old world, especially France & Italy, with a strong focus on Organic, Biodynamic and Natural wines.

Joseph grew up in Italy and California, but left The States in 2002 and now resides in Poland.

Get in touch

Joseph would love to hear from you! You can contact him by email at vinosseur@gmail.com