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…spontaneously fermenting

Jacob's Christmas Menu with Biodynamic and Natural Wines


2009-11-23_26472009-11-23_2648While many restaurants in Norway feature traditional Norwegian Christmas food, at Jacob’s Bar & Kjøkken we do things differently.  Our concept for the Christmas menu is the same as usual – simple, fresh and creative food.  The wines I have selected to pair with these dishes also don’t steer away from my usual focus on Biodynamic and Natural wines.  Please note that since we only use the freshest of ingredients and small wine producers, the courses and the wines (and vintages) can change slightly.  So, without further ado, here’s the Christmas menu and the wines: (click on thumbnails to enlarge photos and make yourself hungry and!) Read the rest of this entry »

Category: 1 Appetizer/Starter, 1 WINE, 2 Main Course, 3 Dessert, 6 FOOD & WINE PAIRING, biodynamic wine, natural wine (100% living wine)


Natural Wine Making in Piemonte Part IX – "Time to Press!"

Here you will find a transcript from my phone call to Jørgen in Italy (the leader of this project). I apologize in advance for this really looking like an exact transcript of our conversation (warning, this post gets a bit technical):

Igino Garberoglio next to the press

Igino Garberoglio next to the press

Friday & Saturday, November 13th & 14th 2009

“Analysis was done to check if fermentation was complete. Checked the skins. Not much flavor left nor color, so we decided to press and remove the good wine and free run juice. Only the free run juice will become the wine in our bottle. The last 150 liters from each tank will not be used nor will the wine from the press be used, approx 500 liters. The skin was quite dry after the free run juice was removed. The free run juice was placed in one cement tank of 4000 liters (this decision was made after speaking with natural and non natural wine producers). No pump-overs nor “racking” since the very beginning (except removing the free run juice). No “botti grandi” will be used because the tannins are very mature, not aggressive AND THEREFORE WE DON’T WANT TO EXPOSE THE WINE TO ANY UN-NECESSARY AIR. Because of good grape maturation, the tannins are sweet and good.”


“The alcoholic fermentation is not totally complete yet, about 4 grams of sugar left and the wine is still fermenting . The lactic acid is at zero (the Malo is at 1.46, THIS IS QUITE LOW), so the malolactic conversion has not yet begun. The VA (Volatile Acidity) is at 0.26 which is very low and good.”

“The natural sulfur from the fermentation was analyzed (the analysis was done by hand in the lab to be totally accurate). If sulfur had been added during the wine-making process, you would be able to check this by machine, but since we didn’t add any, it must be analyzed by hand. The result was 26mg per liter where 12mg is free SO2”

“The wine has a very high extraction equal to 30.97 grams per liter. A good Barolo, for example, would be between 29-33 grams per liter. Remember that this wine will be bottled as a Vino da Tavola, not a Barolo!  Jørgen also visited Mr. Aldo Vajra (of Azienda Agricola G.D Vajra).  Aldo Vajra used to be a teacher at La Scuola di Enologia in Alba (The School of Enology in Alba, Italy). The analysis was brought to him because the PH and the total acidity levels were a bit low (PH 337 and total acidity is 6.3). Aldo explained that these readings were because of the very high measures of potassium (a salt, which lowers the total acidity level). When the cellar gets cold, the potassium with the tartaric acid form crystals which will fall to the bottom of the tank. When this happens, the acidity level will rise again as the level of potassium decreases. Since this is our first wine, we are analyzing more often then we will when we make wine next year. We are nervous about our first baby! Aldo also said “Sei appostissimo! Non ti preoccupare!” – translated means “Things are perfect!  Don’t worry!”

Irma Garberoglio tasting our wine

Irma Garberoglio tasting our wine

Tasting (drinking) of the wine: “it’s balanced and leaves the mouth very clean and fresh. High and mature tannins. A liter of wine was consumed this evening by Jørgen and the “Carussin” family  and the wine was fantastic!! The “Carussin” family were surprised that the wine was so clean. Even the color was deeper than expected.”

“The plan now is to (the tank is closed and still fermenting)  leave the wine alone until the malo acid converts over to lactic acid which could happen this week or in early spring as the air warms a bit.”

We have decided to bottle the wine (hopefully next year) using the same system as used for Moscato d’asti so as not to expose the wine to any air when bottling.”

Category: 1 WINE, 9 WINE THOUGHTS, natural wine (100% living wine), Natural Wine Making in Piemonte

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Natural Wine Makers in France – Part I – Domaine Griottes

On my recent trip to France, I dove head first into the natural wine world, meeting with some of the greatest wine makers making wine today.  Between tasting the wines of these “hero’s” of natural wine at the various natural wine bars in Paris, to visiting them at their “domains”, I got to better understand their wines and the people behind them. I would like to apologize in advance for the quality of these photos!


The "Wine List" at Racines, Paris

The "Wine List" at Racines natural wine bar & restaurant, Paris

Monday, November 2nd 2009

2009-11-02_120097222009-11-02_12009723After having lunch with Jean-Marc Brignot (Jura) at Racines in Paris, where we consumed a 2002 skin-macerated Riesling from Alsace produced by Gérard Schueller with a gorgeous plate of pork, we headed for the Loire Valley. Our destination was Domaine Griottes, an approximate 5 hour drive south and West of Paris.  Since their wine “P’tite Gâterie” (here’s a tasting note for this wine) had been on my wine list for the past 6 months, this was a visit I was looking forward to.

Domaine des Griottes label detail with logo

Domaine des Griottes label detail with logo

Domaine Griottes is located in the small village of Saint Lambert du Lattay. Located in the Loire Valley (within the Anjou appellation) about 26km south of Angers, 175km from the West Coast. Patrick Desplats & Sébastien Dervieux are growing and making delicious wines from an almost unheard of local variety called Pineau d’Aunis.  A grape that made wines consumed by the nobility between the 13th and 15th centuries, it has almost completely disappeared from the Loire Valley save for some brave & passionate wine makers like Patrick and Sébastien. The grape produces some of the most exciting spicy red wines with aromas of grapefruit and pencil shavings. In my opinion, Domaine Griottes make some of the best examples in the Loire Valley from this grape. (Griottes also produces whites from the Chenin Blanc grape). All work in the vineyards and harvesting is done by hand with the help of Patrick’s ageing horse, Caroline.  Grapes are subsequently fermented in fiberglass. The P’tite Gâterie is then bottled, while the rest of the red cuvée’s and the whites spend some time in oak after fermentation. Although the use of oak is moderate and these wines are great, the oak is detectable and not entirely to my palate.


Patrick Desplats

We arrived around 2100 (9pm) and were quickly greeted by a very outgoing Patrick Desplats, a table full of things to eat

naturally fermenting apple sauce

naturally fermenting apple sauce

and of course wine by the magnum pouring.

We tasted all of the wines from previous vintages. Stunning wines all the way through the gamma, even the oak-influenced wines had stunning fruit qualities that could have only come from extremely healthy grapes that were subsequently spontaneously fermented, aged and bottled without even a milligram of sulfur! My kind of wines.

Drinking wine from a bull's horn!

Drinking wine from a bull's horn!


Tuesday, November 3rd 2009

Homemade herbal and flower teas

After a good night’s rest at Patrick’s house, we came down for a nice breakfast where we got to sample some of his home-dried natural teas made from various flowers and herbs growing in his yard.  Very inspirational!  We then headed over to the vineyards to see where his Pinea d’Aunis and Chenin Blanc was growing. In some of  their vineyards, the two grapes were growing together, side by side.  We shared a glass of wine with Patrick as we looked over the Loire Valley and talked about the nature and how passionate he was about what he was doing and the nature around him.  He and Sébastien had actually purchased a piece of forest separating his vineyards from the vineyards on the other side of the river. He wanted to keep the conventionally farmed vineyards as far away from his as possible.


As the sun began to set, we headed over to his winery and sampled his 2009’s directly from the fiberglass tanks. The fermentation was just finished. At this time, his 2009’s seem to be stunning. Fantastically concentrated wines with incredible amounts of structure while they were still light and fresh.  His P’tite Gâterie (which is a blend of Pinea d’Aunis, Gamay and Grouillot, the amounts, and grapes, varying from vintage to vintage) will be bottled directly from the fiberglass tank it was fermented in. His other cuvées like La Griotte, will spend some time in oak before being bottled. After tasting the current vintage and as we headed towards the door to leave, we noticed a tank of SO2 hanging from the ceiling where Patrick had placed it to express his dislike of sulfur!

Sulfur tank hanging from the ceiling!

Category: 1 WINE, 2 PRODUCER PROFILE, 9 WINE THOUGHTS, Domaine Griottes - Loire Valley, France, Events, natural wine (100% living wine), Natural Wine Makers in France


Jacob’s Bar & Kjøkken Wine List Updated for November

I have uploaded the November updated wine list which can now be viewed here.

New titles on the list:

  • Domaine Moreau-Naudet Chablis “Les Pargues Vieilles Vignes”  2006 – Burgundy, cialis France
  • Pierre Frick Gewurztraminer Steinert Grand Cru 2003 – Alsace, here France
  • Domaine Le Mazel Cuvée Raoul 2007- new vintage! – Rhône, France
  • Erbaluna Rosso VdT (no added sulfur) 2007 – Piemonte, Italy
  • Podere le Boncie “Le Boncie 5” 2007 – Toscana, Italy


Category: 1 WINE, 9 WINE THOUGHTS, Events, Jacobs Bar & Kjøkken Wine List Updates


Off to France

I’m off to France in a few hours to meet with some known and unknown producers! I won’t update this site while I am gone because I don’t know how my internet access will be!
See you all in a week!

Category: Events