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…spontaneously fermenting

A Tasting Note: 2005 Maison Pierre Overnoy Arbois Pupillin

Located East of Burgundy approaching Switzerland, the Jura is perhaps more “known” for it’s white wines made with the Chardonnay and Savagnin grapes.  For example, the slightly oxidized, “flor-enhanced” Vin Jaune.  However the “reds” made with the Poulsard grape (as found in this bottle), are perhaps more interesting.. At least to me..

After Pierre Overnoy retired, the Houillon family took over the domain. They have continued in the same manner as Overnoy (from what I understand). That is, as close to natural viticulture as possible and the same goes for the wine making.  No added anything here, not even my least favorite friend, Sulfur Dioxide.  I have tasted both the reds and the whites of Overnoy and I have to say they are amongst my favorite wines… of all time, placing comfortably in my top 9 list (coming soon!) of all time favorites.

For many years, the only wines of the Jura I had tasted had been those of Tissot. Although the wines of Tissot are good, they don’t approach the quality of Overnoy’s wines in my opinion. Tissot’s wines can seem a bit “dirty” by comparison (again, my opinion).

Date tasted:  Sunday February 21, 2010 18:45 (6:45pm) – Decanted


and…… 1 hour and 15 minutes later @ 20:00 (8pm)


When I first opened this wine – it was exactly as I remembered it and expected it to be. A gorgeous, light red color not unlike what fresh squeezed raspberries or cranberries might look like. In fact, the similarities don’t stop here. The nose was of pure, fresh raspberries and cranberries with delicate spices.  Background aromas of cherries, stems and pits.  It had that typical “sponty” (spontaneous) nose and  was slightly volatile , in that way that we natural wine lovers really appreciate, helping those aromas float up to our noses.  Slight animal and mineral tones also noted on the very back. The same was found on the palate.

This wine was very alive and it was making me jump out of my chair with every smell and with every taste.

BUT, within a little over an hour, my friend and I were looking at each other and asking “huh??”. What the hell happened! The wine was almost completely dead.  I don’t normally decant a wine like this. So why the hell did I do it tonight? Was that the problem? First of all, I will never decant this wine again, just in case. Second, I will continue to drink the wines of Overnoy because they are so incredibly seductive. Finally, in the future I won’t take an hour to drink a bottle of Overnoy again!  Oh, I should mention that I had only brought the wine back with me from France two weeks prior – travel sickness??


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


Jacob's Bar & Kjøkken Wine List Updated for February 2010 – With Photo!

Here it is! The latest wine list updated for February.  Remember, I’m not just adding titles to an ever-growing wine list. Very often for every title I add, one has disappeared from the list. Since last fall, I have reduced the list by about 20 titles. I try to keep my list dynamic so that my guests (and I) don’t get bored!

As I have mentioned in a past entry, I am reducing the number of Champagne titles on my list and increasing the number of sparkling wines. I feel that there are so many interesting sparkling wines available at competitive prices and from interesting wine areas. I have added one sparkling wine to my list in February and I expect to add 3 or 4 more titles next month depending on availability.

New to the wine list this month:

  • André et Mireille Tissot Crémant Indigène Brut – Jura, France
  • Domaine Bott-Geyl Riesling Schlossberg Grand Cru 2008 – Alsace, France
  • Château de la Gravelle Muscadet Sèvre et Maine L’Ancestrale 2004 – Loire, France
  • Ciro Picariello Aglianico Zi Filicella 2007 – Campania, Italy (Single vineyard, planted in 1925 (see photo just below this description).  Spontaneous fermentation.  20-25 days skin maceration.  Only steel and cement for fermentation and storage (24 months in cement). Less than 40mg per liter SO2.  Bottled without filtration.)

Ciro Picariello Aglianico Zi Filicella Vineyard - Planted in 1925

Click here to see the wine list in its entirety!

Category: 1 WINE, 9 WINE THOUGHTS, Jacobs Bar & Kjøkken Wine List Updates, natural wine (just about)

1 comment

The Complexity Question – Keeping it Simple

I have often asked myself how important complexity is in a wine.  I have also asked people around me this same question and the answers and opinions are mixed. Yes, I like complexity in a wine as much as the next person, and often speak of it when describing a wine in my tasting notes. However, when I think about some of my favorite wines, the wines I drink and enjoy most often, they are simply put – simple.  Does this make them inferior to their peers? Does this make them any less a quality wine?? (Much like my writing style – not very complex, extremely simple, and hopefully getting the point across quickly and easily)

In terms of quality, I don’t necessarily feel that complexity is a trait that a quality wine must possess.  A wine made from healthy grapes, spontaneously fermented, unfiltered and unfined,  then bottled provide me some of the greatest drinking pleasures I can remember. To pick up that glass, smell it’s (sometimes volatile) aromas, take that first sip and to find everything in so much harmony that the bottle of wine can disappear in 10 minutes – now that’s quality. Complexity didn’t even enter into the picture as that bottle of wine vanished within minutes.  I won’t sit here and list my favorite (simple) wines because it may offend those who don’t agree that the wines are simple, although I feel it’s a complement.

The same wine - glass on left is the final pour from the bottle

As I said at the start of this post, I also enjoy tremendously the complexities I find in wines that I can meditate over. A glass that can take me 30 minutes to consume as I discuss endlessly all the aromas and layers I am finding. Do I enjoy this more than than bottle of simple (but well made) wine that I can drink in 10 minutes flat? This depends on the moment I suppose, who I am with and why I am drinking the wine.

Now that I have stated my opinion on the complexity in wine, I will go on to state another opinion – simple wines often go best with food.  Especially natural wines (which often can be simple and very drinkable). I find that even simple (natural) red wines go with fish, simple “white” wines go with meat, simple “dry” wines go with dessert…

Sometimes I feel we read too much, analyze too much and think too much about wine. Sometimes it’s ok to read less, analyze less and think less and let the wine that’s in the glass speak to us.  This is my favorite way to understand and learn about wine.

Food for thought…..that’s all this post is!  What do you think?

Category: 1 WINE, 9 WINE THOUGHTS, natural wine (100% living wine), The Complexity Question - Keeping it Simple


Bio Millésime 2010 – Montpellier, France

I just returned from the Bio Millésime wine fair in Montpellier France, in the Languedoc.  With 490 exhibitors, there is a lot to see and taste. Overall, I thought the fair was well organized and although there were more than 2900 visitors, it never felt crowded (except for when it came time to eat lunch in the lunch hall – it was a challenge to find a free table and the buffet lines were quite long).  A fair catalog listing all of the producers and the table numbers you will find them at is available for sale for 10€ and is a good shop.  Be aware that producers are not grouped by country or region, rather they seemed placed at tables at random – this can get a bit complicated.

It was nice meeting people I have had internet relationships with up to this point – like Alice Feiring and Hans Dusselier Wijnfolie!  Of course it was great to also meet the faces behind many of the wines I sell and enjoy on a regular basis back home in Norway.

While you are in Montpellier, make sure you take a quick trip over to La Remise.  This smaller scale tasting about a 15 minute drive away focused on natural wine makers from around Europe. Here I tasted the wines of Le Mazel, Laureano Serres, La Stoppa, Arianna Occhipinti, Camillo Donati, Domaine du Possible, etc etc etc! The highlight at La Remise for me was Laureano Serres’ White – stunning wine quite similar in style to the Cornelissen Munjebel Bianco! Yum

Also while in Montpellier, don’t miss having a meal (or two) at Mesdames Messieurs. Located in the center, Mesdames Messieurs serves simple but good food and has an intriguing wine list focusing on natural wines.

Also check out the tapas bar El Picador. Also centrally located, this restuarant also offers an interesting selection of natural wines with decent food (you cannot order just wine here, you must also order food).

I am looking forward to my trip back to the charming Montpellier next year!

Category: 1 WINE, 9 WINE THOUGHTS, Bio Millésime 2010 - Montpellier, natural wine (100% living wine), organic wine