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A tasting note: 2009 Pierre Frick Crémant Zéro Sulfites ajoutés

I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a fan of Pierre Frick’s wines. I am sure the wines are good (in fact, positive they are good), and that they are made with quality, organically grown grapes, but they just don’t speak to me.  In fact, I have an issue with the wines of Alsace in general. Is it their flowery style I don’t like or their super-fruity expressions, some with residual sugar, that I find hard to gulp?  I have not tasted all the wines of Frick, have you seen how many different bottles of wine he produces?!

 

Anyway, on to this wine. A Crémant which is supposed to be one of the favorite of Frick’s wines according to many reliable sources – so I was looking forward to tasting it.  Made in the traditional Champenois method, then disgorged and dosed (upwards of Champagne Brut levels – I can only assume based on my tasting), this reasonably priced sparkler (about 55 Polish Zloty) is perhaps the most interesting sparkling wine available in Poland today.   That’s about all I can tell you about the wine because trying to find out any of the other details about it didn’t prove easy. i am not even 100% sure about the grape!  Pinot Auxerrois, Riesling, Pinot Blanc, or a combination of the three? One reliable source was confident that it was 100% Pinot Blanc. Ok, I’ll believe that.

Date Tasted:  November 18th, 22:00

Nose: Quince apple jam, semi-dried (not oxidized) yellow apples, persimmons, carrots (spiced, as in carrot cake),  and other sweet notes like melon, kiwi. Exotic but not tropical. Very complex indeed, very. I could have spent the whole night just smelling the wine, but I got thirsty 😉

Palate: Very fruity with some residual sugar, not sure how much, but enough to give this wine a semi-sweet edge.  Pecan pie (caramelized pecan’s for those who have not tasted the pie version). Great acid with a super long and complex finish. Would be great with not too sweet dessert cakes and some semi mature cheeses.

A very complex wine that has a lot going on and so many aromas and flavors. So much going on that some might even say the wine was unfocused. I would say, rather, that the wine was entertaining and kept me coming back to the glass to see what i would find next.  It would an interesting wine  to try again in 3-5 years. Or, the hell with it. Drink it now!

Who knows, perhaps I am becoming a believer….

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

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A tasting note: 2006 Le Mazel Cuvée Raoul

Ok, you can’t make a wine without the addition of sulfite’s right? I hear this over and over again.  If this comment came from your average everyday wine drinker, then okay, at least this person would probably be open to my opinion on this, and would very likely listen with interest. Unfortunately, this comment most often comes from “knowledgeable” wine persons. Wine persons who the minute you say that you can make wine without the addition of sulfur, get in your face and say that it “is impossible!”.  At this point they’re smirking and looking the other way and don’t even want to humor the discussion

The second comment I hear often is, wines made without the addition of sulfur cannot be stored and must be drunk up right away. Hmmmm. These two reasons are exactly why I have my blog. So that I can express myself about things I not only believe in, but have some experience with.  My more than 7 years experience working and selling wine.  My more than 4 years experience working and selling wines made without the addition of sulfur. Actually, without the addition of anything. Like I always say, nothing added, nothing taken.  So there…

The Cuvée Raoul is a wine I have tasted many many many times. In fact, about two years ago when i first started to sell this wine at Jacob’s, we sold lots of it.  And I mean lots of it.  100’s of bottles. Why?  Because it was good and we liked it.  In fact, our guests liked it and these are the reasons  we could not keep the wine on the shelves…

Cuvée Raoul is one of the most consistent and stable “natural” wine’s I have sold (Bressan being another). There was hardly any bottle variation and once opened, stayed drinkable (in fact improved) for up 18 days.   I once had a bottle opened for 21 days before I noticed any fade in the fruit. Of course I must disclose that the 21 days was deliberate. We drank a few glasses, put the cork back in and placed it in the wine cooler…..and waited..

Gérald & Jocelyne Oustric’s Domaine Le Mazel is located just south of Ardeche in the Southern Rhône (in France, of course).  They have been making wine without the addition of sulfur since 1998. This might explain why their Cuvée Raoul was so stable, so alive.  They don’t add anything to their grapes after hand-harvesting the grapes. No yeast. No enzymes. No acid. No sugar. Nada

The 2006 Cuvée Raoul is made up of about 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah grapes from soil dominated by calcarious clay (vineyards are in Valvigneres). Spontaneously fermented in steel where it stayed on the skins (maceration) for 40-60 days before being pressed and transferred into cement where it matured before being bottled without fining or filtering.

Date tasted:  Saturday May 28th, 2011  17:45

(I will preface this by saying I hadn’t tasted the wine since my birthday over a year ago and wasn’t sure what to expect when i opened the cork)

color: still a perfect medium bluish-red, no real development showing. Medium intense and clean. No visible sediment.

Nose: Very intense and very, very aromatic. Floral – Violets.  Sweet cherries and “amarena” cherries. Hints of farm and cough syrup-like notes. Some gorgeous volatile aromas to help carry those aromas out of the glass and into my nose without being sour or vinegary.  Cherry cough drops. No development noted and no oxidized aromas. Very fresh.

Palate: Fine focused fruit showing no development on the palate either. Very sweet fruit. Very, very slight hints of cured meats (think prosciutto here), which I remember also being there the last time I drank the wine. Medium high acidity with medium, sexy (fruit) tannins that gripped nicely. Very long finish. Alcohol is hardly noticeable at all at 12.5%, only helping give this wine some weight.

We were pleasantly surprised at how well this wine was drinking going on 5 years and the only ingredient besides passion and love was healthy, ripe grapes.  Listen up…. not only was this wine made without the addition of sulfite’s, I was lucky enough to have not drunk it up “right away”.  These two facts brought us a half hour of great pleasure a few days ago..

 

 

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

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A tasting note: 2004 Thierry Allemand Cornas Reynard Sans Soufre

A local boy who didn’t have the fortune of being born into a wine making family, nor did he inherit any vineyards, Thierry’s interest was self-inflicted. He was a young,  “angry teenager” when he created his first vineyard in 1982, a tiny 0,26HA (0,16HA of this were vines planted in 1961), next to Auguste Clape (La Côte), slowly thereafter adding two more tiny, well-located plots, Chaillot & Tézier. For the most part the vines were young, but to these babies he added some vineyards dated 1905-1908 and shortly thereafter, the addition of some Reynards that dated back to 1934. He now has a total of 4,15HA.

Today, Thierry produces three wines. Chaillot (approx 6000 bottles) from vines of less than 40 years of age, the older vine Reynard (approx 6000 bottles), and his sulfur-free version of Reynard (simply called “Cornas”, approx 2000 bottles), the wine discussed here.

Thierry has always worked on his own without an agricultural diploma, and without paying attention to what his neighbors were doing.   He does his own rootstock grafting and pruning of the vineyards to get his yields down to about 25-30 HL/HA.  He typically harvests later than his neighbors taking on more risk, yet allowing him to avoid chapatilization (the adding of sugar to unfermented grape must to increase alcohol).

In the cellar, he has practiced very low sulfur dosages in his vats since 1992. In 1996 & 1997, he used no sulfur. He has been making his Sans Soufre “Cornas” (from the Reynards vineyard) since 1998. He is known to use some other unorthodox techniques in Cornas like Macération Carbonique (carbonic maceration) for some of his grapes to extract fruit and to secure finesse. The Syrah grape is a grape that often requires aeration to eliminate the threat of reduction. Thierry’s answer this is simple: “I don’t add sulfur. Then you can leave the wine alone”, he goes on to say.

Date tasted:  June 2, 2010 23:30

Appearance: Very deep red with little or no visible development. I must disclose, however, that the room was very dimly lit and it was very difficult to gage any visible development.

Nose: Young & tight, extremely balanced nose of dark fruit with a bright fruit background. Super young black olives with fresh pepper. Very focused indeed.  A very expressive Syrah and a very typical Allemand.

Palate: Dark berries with sour red fruit to balance out the wine. Gripping acids and elegant tannins and a finish that “sticks around” for seemingly forever. A very sexy wine that can remind of a top Burgundy in its youth. Very elegant, tight and fresh. Very focused, tight, balanced and sexy! The alcohol is barely perceptible.  A statement in elegance, finesse and freshness.

00:36

Still an amazing and open wine, but very, very slight oxidation was showing at this point.. Then the wine disappeared into our bellies 

I have had the extreme fortune of tasting Allemand’s wines on numerous occasions and although my palate has evolved, his wines never cease to impress me.  I’ll raise a glass in his honor any time.

(Thank you to John Livingstone-Learmonth and  “The Wines of the Northern Rhône” for the useful Thierry Allemand information)


 

Category: 3 TASTING NOTES, Cornas, France, natural wine (100% living wine), Northern Rhône

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Red, white and something in between. Rayure

Jean-Marc Brignot is not a new name to me. I have met him on  a couple occasions and I have tasted his wines numerous times. I have also mentioned him here a few times.  If I was asked to name one of my favorite wine makers, I wouldn’t hesitate.  The wine that I am writing about here even landed on my top 9 list after only tasting it twice.  And now, thanks to Thomas and Synnøve, I had the chance to taste one of my all-time favorites. The Rayure… a legendary wine in the natural wine world.

We enjoyed this wine with Patrick Desplats (Griottes) and his girlfriend Gaëlle Berriau who happened to be visiting me at Jacob’s for the weekend. I don’t know much about the wine, but here is what I do know.  It’s from the Jura, a blend of Savagnin (white) and Poulsard (red) with no treatments in the vineyards, spontaneously fermented of course, carbonic maceration (at least semi), long maceration, no temperature control, no enzymes, no treatments, no clarification, no filtration or sulfur. 2008 vintage and 12.5.5 % alcohol

One thing we all agreed on (since the 6 of us had tasted this wine more than once, in fact, I was the “virgin” in the group having only tasted it two times before), was that this was a “good” bottle and drinking beautifully.

Date tasted:  Saturday March 5th, 2011 around 22:30
Appearance: wow… what can i say? Red, white and something in between.

 

arbutus fruit

Nose: What can I say?!  The sort of aromas that not only jump out of the glass, but never fail to make me jump out of my seat with excitement!  Aromas that can only come from the very best spontaneously fermented grapes.. It’s a smell that a group of friends and I have always called that “sponty smell”.  This wine had it, and I love it..Very high intensity, even though slightly reductive at first. Pink grapefruit, sweet tomato juice (clear), slightly spicy, arbutus fruit (see photo), blood orange (and peel), brie de meux.

Palate: A slight tingle on the tongue on entry. Very mineral, with fresh blood orange-like fruit. Also blood orange peel bitterness on the finish, but very slight and very pleasant. Texture like oil (same sort of texture in Robinot’s Concerto d’Oniss). High acidity, but mature, juicy and very (too) drinkable. Medium, feminine tannins. Very long finish.  A stunner

Now to get my hands on another bottle…hmmmm..

Wanna read more about the Jura, Molamboz and Jean-Marc Brignot?

And if my words aren’t enough, here is a short video I shot of Patrick Desplats as he tastes the wine! The video is in English and in French. Even if you don’t understand French, his expressions say it all!

Patrick Desplats of Domaine Griottes from vinosseur on Vimeo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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A tasting note: 2004 Clos de l'Origine Fan de Voile


I’ve written about Marc Barriot and his Clos de l’Origine before, so if you wanna refresh your memory, click here. The wine i wrote about was one of his whites, but this is something completely different. It’s not red, that’s for sure, but it’s not really white either. Rather, this wine glows much like radiator anti-freeze fluid.. What? yup.. it does, check it out:

Date tasted:  January 26th, 2011 21:00

Appearance: Orange, brown, greenish color. Much like radiator fluid?? The grenache gris is a light red colored grape which with some skin contact should give the wine a pinkish-orange hue.. Judging by the look of this wine (the color), it does suggest some oxidative wine making techniques.

Nose: at first whiff, reminds of an oloroso sherry, or better yet, a Marsala. It is an oxidized style wine. It does have a bit sharper aromas with some citrus, orange peels. Almonds, raw. Dusty, wet stones. Hints of caramelized nuts as well on the back. Hints of espresso. Strange wine. Sherry-like tones are what I keep coming back to. Pecan pie? I should also say that the aromas jump out of the glass and you can smell it from feet away.

Palate: Bone dry. Slightly nutty at first with some citrus peel and mineral. Nuts come back after swallowing. A bit of an alcohol sting, but not too much warmth. Very, very slight hints of rancio, with the dried, spiced fruit. Oxidative style really dominates. Fresh and rather light with a pretty good structure. It’s actually quite drinkable for this style of wine, but i still think I’d rather share the bottle. Semi-long, semi-sweet finish.

I wonder what Marc eats with this wine? Cheese? Charcuterie?? Or is it just as an aperitif?  I don’t love it. I don’t hate it…hmmmm, I’ll have to try it again tomorrow.

January 27th, 2011 17:15

Nose: sweeter aromas today and more spicy notes. I swear i can smell dried apricots and more candied nuts. Much less noticeable alcohol on the nose today as well. I have to say that i am a bit surprised at how this has changed overnight for the better. Some of those oxidized notes that were so dominant yesterday have sort of «oxygenated» and burn off… an oxygenated oxidized wine?

Hmmm. My mouth is watering as I nose this glass…

Palate: Much «sweeter» on the palate today as well. Again, those apricots and candied nuts that I found on the nose. Alcohol also less noticeable than yesterday. A slight, very pleasant bitter almond finish appears today, and i love it. This is a great aperitif. Something about this also reminds me a bit of a vermouth, like Martini Rosso (minus the sugar). Know what I mean?

The finish is also longer and sits on the middle of the tongue, and the roof of the mouth. Like sucking on a candy.

I am enjoying this wine much more today than i did yesterday. Has this wine opened up and improved since yesterday? Am I more relaxed today? Is it a «better drinking day»? Or is it just because the wine is a few degrees cooler today giving it all these positive attributes? I don’t know. I know only that this is damn good right now. There is something about this wine that makes it much more quaffable than yesterday.

On January 30th, a few days after i started writing this tasting note, I got this message from Marc describing this wine:

“The Vin de voile is a mistake. he came from the quilles Libres 2004 grenache gris. i harvest the grenache gris the 20/08/2004, fermentation in big barrel for 30 days, then aging in barrels outside, bottling direct from the cask, only 13 % alcohol, a dry and fine rancio!!.

the color was a big rosé, so i put it outside in used barrels for 365 days. after sun, rain and wind it became a nice ‘ptit Vin Jaune” …

i decided to bottle it (600 bottles). i have 192 bottles left. pretty hard to sell in France when it is not a vin jaune !!

it is very good with cheese and foie gras or such spicy meals, but French are very chauvinistic so i keep drinking it slowly and give for special tasting…”

In a separate message, he confirms that this was his first vintage with this grape variety:

“the famous grenache gris which skin color is red, so at harvest when i press a bit too much, i extract too much color… and so it became a nice rosé!!

it takes time to like it, try whit a manchego, anchovies and pizza or foie gras (half cooked) if you still have some…”

January 31th 2220

Appearance: Slightly more brownish in color as you see from this photo. This was to be expected as this wine is oxidized to begin with.

Nose: Aromas still jumping out of the glass as I pour the wine. Very «sticky». Marsala-like. Rancio more than on the previous days – these are my initial impressions as i am pouring the wine. I have yet to nose the glass. As I nose the glass I get very intense, nutty aromas today. Less fruity than on previous days. Walnuts. Nocino (walnut liquor). Worn leather.

Palate: Definitely more oxidized on the palate with some persistent bitter-sweet tones. Alcohol again more integrated. Long finish. Very marasala like and still very savory. I would definitely like this wine as an aperitif or with some nuts and cheese. .

I have tasted most of Marc Barriot’s wines. I like them all, but I have to say that my favorite is still the 2008 P’Tit Barriot which he has bottled in 2 lots.  The first bottling/Lot 1 –  “a very small parcel of old syrah on gneiss soil in Latour. i kept it for 4 years , very old and very low yield.”   Marc is currently bottling Lot 2 of this wine and here is the difference – “the second petit B is produced on the new terroir of Caudies far at the end of the department of 66, altitude quite high 360 m, limestone and schiste soil, lot’s of bird, bees, grass so a big Life over there!! no neighbour, very quite and lovely name: L’amourouse in catalan mean the lover.  It is a carbonic maceration aged in barrel(6 months) and tank until now to loose the technologic aromas and get the terroirs taste of these very “green region” which is the fenouilledes compare to the moon of “Maury” ??

For me, the P’Tit Barriot is full of personality and should be tasted if you have the chance.  I find it very quaffable and easy to like.  And who can resist the label..


Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, France, Maury, natural wine (just about), orange wine, Roussillon

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A tasting note – 2005 Reynald Héaulé Rive Droite – thank you Pierre!

So I don’t update as often as I should (whatever that means). So, since I spontaneously write, as it should be, I decided to do a “live” tasting note.. That is, I am writing this as I taste the wine.. This opens me up to some critique perhaps?

Anyway, the goal here is few words, less education, and just to post

I got this wine from Pierre at La Verre Volé (Paris) the last time he was here in Bergen. I decided to crack the bottle tonight cause I felt like it and I thought it would be nice with this (wild soul on a bed of organic capers from the island of Pantelleria, fennel and potatoes..and a few other things):

Here are my quick tasting notes just to make it official:

Appearance: golden yellow – see photo

Nose: Medium intense, youthful and rich nose. When I nose this sort of wine, I feel right away that it is an organic/biodynamic wine with spontaneous fermentation (ok, Pierre gave this to me, so what else could it be?!) There is something about the expression of the wine that signals this for me right away. Hints of lees and yellow fruit, citrus and yellow stone fruit with a mineral lift giving the wine a fresh edge. Hints of alcohol on the nose. Jumps out of the glass at first.. I love wines that are alive!

Palate: A rather rich, dry palate with good acidity and a slightly bitter/mineral finish. Sits well long after swallowing. Again yellow fruit. Yellow berries and ripe citrus fruits. Hints of passion fruit? Nice food wine, not necessarily vin de soif. Well balanced. Well intrigated alcohol overall with just a hint of warmth at the end and at the back of the throat.

After just 15 minutes open the wine is tightening and becoming more citrusy and mineral on the nose and palate. The sweet, very ripe fruit I first nosed is burning off – and that’s good for me

I get sort of a Chenin Blanc feel with the wine even before researching what the hell it was I was drinking..

Ok. doing a bit of reasearch right.. At least I got the terroir correct (Loire). Wrong grape though, Chardonnay.

Be right back, gotta pop that fish in the oven!

Ok, here I am… So, I guessed chenin blanc. not sure why, just felt like it. But, apparently, it’s a whacky Chardonnay.  Oh well.. follow these links if you want to read more about this small bio producer from a small northern appellation in the Loire just outside of Orléans.

Mmmm…ton vin!

EATER

Ok, the wine has been open for half hour now… vin de soif!! Et voilà!

This must be the fastest post I have written…. until next time, drink wine that you like.

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, biodynamic wine, France, Loire, Orléans

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A Tasting Note: Clos de l'Origine Trouble Fait 2008

Clos de l’Origine – Marc Barriot
1 Route de Lesquerde
66460 Maury
Tél. 09 52 15 03 17
Fax : 04 68 53 10 38
Mobile : 06 75 03 71 71
www.vin-de-l-origine.com

Marc Barriot, originally from Bandol, obtained his BTS in Viticulture-Oenology in 1995.  After obtaining his degree, Marc chose to travel the world to  hone in his skills and to gain experience.  He finally settled in Maury in 2004 where he now cultivates 10.5 hectares of vines spread across several communities: Estagel, Montner, Latour, Maury and Caudies.  He discovered slopes with magnificent old vines (min 65 yrs, except for the Syrah).  Marc maintains low yields in the vineyards and he works them with love with his mule.  He has been farming organically and biodynamically since the very beginning.   Most of Marc’s vineyards are certified organic from the 2009 crop. Marc vinifies his whites in tank and old barrels and the grapes are harvested “green” to promote acidity, and subsequently bottled the following year with minimal use of sulfur. Read the rest of this entry »

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, biodynamic wine, France, Maury, natural wine (just about), Roussillon

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A Tasting Note: 1999 J.L. Chave Selection Saint-Joseph Offerus

This wine is from the négociant business of Jean-Louis Chave, considered by many to be the top Hermitage producer.  The Saint-Joseph is called “Offerus” and the Côtes du Rhône “Mon Coeur”.  We are quite lucky in Norway to also receive small quantities of red Crozes-Hermitage thanks to the importer Christopher Moestue who’s an old friend and harvester.  There can be up to 9 suppliers of grapes for the “Offerus”, with each of the wines vinified separately in each grower’s cellar.  The wine is stored in 3-6 year old casks for 12-14 months. Only 50,000 bottles are made.  Oh yeah, and of course this is 100% (mature) Syrah  🙂   12.5% Alcohol Read the rest of this entry »

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, France, Northern Rhône, Saint-Joseph

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A tasting note: 2006 Olivier Cousin Cabernet Franc Vieilles Vignes

Domaine Cousin-Leduc
7 Rue du Colonel Panaget
49540 Martigné-Briand
France

By now, you know the story. Biodynamic, plowing with horses, hand harvesting, spontaneous fermentation, long maceration and no SO2. A good friend of Patrick Desplats & Sébastien Dervieux at Domaine Griottes, Olivier follows basically the same methods (or lack of).  Domaine Cousin-Leduc is in Martigné-Briand which lies in the Anjou appellation of The Loire Valley (see map). Although The Loire Valley’s white wines reach a broader audience (think Sancerre), the reds are my favorite.


Date tasted: May 23, 2010 decanted at 1800  (I chose to decant this wine because the last time I tasted it about 6 months ago, initial aromas were dominated by oak and they took a few hours to burn off)

Appearance: Dark cherry red. Not much development showing if any at all.  Clear

Nose: Sponty, floral (light rose pedals), dark plums, blueberry juice with hint of raspberry and other red fruits. Not much development (I have not tasted a younger version of this wine, so there may be some development from that point of view)

Palate: Quite salty (& mineral) on the initial impression followed by under ripe cherries.  Very structured wine withdark fruit and hints of red fruit. Very light and fresh. Hints of leather and oak (just hints) and a slight bitterness on the finish.  Slight green notes (but not under ripe). Medium, ripe and juicy acidity and medium tannins.  Not much development on the palate either.

As we consumed the bottle, the salty, mineral notes stayed with the wine which I considered a positive characteristic of the wine and enjoyed it very much.

I last tasted this wine in November of 2009 and remembered the oak being a bit more dominant (although judicial by most standards). Today I found the oak to be quite well integrated and overall I found the wine to be very refreshing and drinkable.

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

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A tasting note: 1995 Champagne Fleury Extra Brut

Champagne Fleury S.A.
43 Grande Rue
10250 Courteron – France
tel:  (+33) 03.25.38.20.28

The Fleury family used to grow grapes to sell to other Champagne houses.  They stopped doing this in 1929 due to the financial crisis and produced their first vintage that year.  In 1989 they converted to Biodynamic viticulture – the first house in Champagne to do so – the first plot to convert being a small 3ha plot.  They were officially certified in 1992 and they had their first certified biodynamic vintage in 1995.  Today, they own about 15ha and purchase another 12ha of biodynamically farmed grapes. They have an annual production of approx 200,000 bottles. Read the rest of this entry »

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Aube, biodynamic wine, Champagne

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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