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…spontaneously fermenting

A tasting note: 2009 Gaëlle Berriau "Flon Flon"!

Finally! I have been tasting, drinking and enjoying this wine for a year now ever since Patrick Desplats (Domaine Griottes) and his girlfriend Gaëlle came up to Jacob’s Bar & Kjøkken for a visit. I must have helped consume 30 bottles, not to mention that it was the welcome drink for guests at my wedding.  Flon Flon and I are close friends by now

One of the most enjoyable sparklers I have ever tasted, and everyone else who has tasted it agrees.

A wine from the Anjou area of the Loire Valley made with organic Chenin Blanc grapes, spontaneously fermented without any additions. The wine was bottled (again without additions) before fermentation could finish it’s process of eliminating the grape sugar.  As fermentation continued in the bottle, sugar was slowly digested producing carbon dioxide (bubbles!) and perhaps a half a degree more of alcohol. This is the natural way to produce bubbles in a bottle. The resulting sediment was not removed. The wine was left as it was. I am happy about that 🙂

Over the last year the wine has improved. My first experiences with the wine suggested that there was still some residual sugar which today has diminished a bit. Mother nature at work. The wine today is one of the most expressive examples of Chenin Blanc  I have ever tasted. Proof that healthy ripe grapes, a lot of know how (thanks to Patrick’s help I’m sure), a lot of patience and hard work can pay off.

One thing I have to mention here is the label. Now, I personally love the labels found on the bottles of natural wine. They sort of represent the anti-label. Often poking  fun at conventional assumptions of what a wine label should look like.  Gaëlle uses the same label for all of her wines, and I love it! I also love Patrick’s Domaine Griottes labels (see label detail on the right). Now to the discerning eye, there is something else about the label(s) that I love.  There is no mention anywhere that the wine(s) contain sulfites, and you won’t find this on the back labels either because there are no back labels. This is because according to EU labeling laws, you don’t need to write that a wine contains sulfites on the label if the wine has less than 10 mg of sulfur at time of bottling. Something that is no easy feat. It takes years of hard work, dedication and sleepless night for sure.

Ok, say no more, time for my tasting notes on the Flon Flon. i don’t know how many bottles were produced of this wine, but I am sure they number less than 1,000

Date Tasted:  January 11th, 2012 19:30 (and many many times before this night)

Appearance:  Lot’s of sediment floating in the glass. Dark colored sediment. Yellowish. Click on the photo and see for yourself

Nose:  Sweet lemons and citrus aromas with some hints, and only hints, of mild caramel (like those milky caramels we used to chew on as a kid ). But without being overly sweet on the nose. Mineral undertones.

On the palate, there is some residual sugar, but it is much less sweet and/or seemingly sweet than it was the first time I tasted the wine a  year ago. Great, ripe acidity. Most would place the acid at only a mid level, but if you pay close attention, the acidity is noticeably high and refreshing,  never harsh or abrasive. Absolutely refreshing. The bubbles are firm enought to appease the sparkling wine drinker, but at the same time integrated and not overbearing. A nice long finish. Very balanced, very drinkable.

The only drawback I can think of about the Flon Flon is that I only have one bottle left.

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

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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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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.

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