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…spontaneously fermenting

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


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!


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


The Wine Garage – Heaven Underground?

In a country where disposable income seems to be increasing rapidly, the world of wine is only at it’s infancy with hopefully only one direction to go and that’s up.  This will be of course an “uphill”  battle in a country that consumes loads of Vodka (which is very cheap) and beer (also cheap).  They also have a vast variety of  “wines” from central Europe which on average can cost half as much as the wines from what I call the “Old World”.   Still, people seem to be talking about wine and wine shops seem to be opening up as fast as you can imagine.  Yet, in Krakow (Poland’s second most populous city with a population of just over 750,000), there is a serious lack of wine bars.  I can count them on one hand and still have some fingers left over.  Just to give you some perspective, in Bergen where I currently reside, there are at least 5 wine bars. Bergen is a city with one third the population of Krakow and is in a country that doesn’t (yet) produce wine (Poland does, by the way).  Despite this, one wine bar is surviving and even growing.  Welcome to the Wine Garage.

Wine Garage (the bar) got their start about 18 months ago.  Not only is Wine Garage a nice, cozy spot to drink some good wines, but the owners Mariusz and Agnieszka have also been importing and distributing their wines throughout Krakow for the last 5 years.  They focus on organic and biodynamic products (they also have a small selection of coffees and teas) from mostly small producers from Italy, France, Hungary and even Moravia (Czech Republic).  Wine Garage is located underground (that is,  one floor below street level) on a small residential street about a 5 minute tram ride from the historic city center.  The vibe is very informal and easy going, making you feel welcome and relaxed from the minute you enter  and come down the stairs.  Sit and enjoy a glass of wine with some cheese, or buy a bottle to take with you. It’s up to you.

In countries where a new economy is booming, many people with these new found riches like to show others  by proudly displaying recognizable labels from not only marks like Mercedes Benz and Prada, but also wine labels like Möet & Chandon and top Bordeaux’s.  This makes Mariusz and Agnieszka’s job even tougher trying to sell items with little known, non-conventional labels.  But it seems to be working out for them because as I write this, they are preparing to open a second location right smack in the city senter.

Ok, now on to some wine! Last night I had the privilege to get to together with Mariusz, Agnieszka and a few other wine enthusiasts to taste some wine.  The first wine we started with was a bottle I brought with me, a 2007 Dario Prinčič Pinot Grigio.  Seven days of skin contact gives this Pinot Grigio an unfamiliar hue that most wine drinkers wouldn’t expect.  This pinkish-skinned grape is usually made into a white wine, which I feel is a shame since my two favorite Pinot Grigio’s are made with the skins, like red wine.  Dario’s Pinot Grigio is made with grapes grown in a very natural way, only spraying sulfur if he really needs to and nothing more.  His philosophy is carried over into his wine making where, you guessed it, nothing is added, not even the yeast.  He checks his free sulfur levels before bottling (he adds none during the wine making process), and sometimes adds a little just to get the number up to about 20mg/liter.  I love this wine, and the others seemed to enjoy it as well.  Aromas of orange peel and tea, spices and herbs.  On the palate the wine is simply delicious.  Fruity, mildly tannic and even at 14% alcohol, extremely refreshing and easy to drink. Perhaps the best Pinot Grigio I have tasted (or should I say – perhaps my favorite Pinot Grigio thus far).

The second two wines were sponsored by wine enthusiast Kuba.  The first of the two was a “mature” Burgundy.  A 1995 Domaine Chaumont Pere et Fils Mercury that he found at a very reasonable price (about 100 Polish złoty – or about $34). Kuba had drank a bottle just the night before and was pleasantly surprised by it, so he decided to pick up another for this tasting.  I don’t know much about this producer except that the grapes are his own, not purchased.  The wine appeared more youthful in the glass than the age would suggest. The same held true on the nose.  No dominant oak here, just fresh red fruit, some herbs and hints of characteristic farmyard.  The nose made me eager to taste, but I nosed the wine at least 5 more minutes because the nose made me so eager with anticipation that I wanted to delay the pleasure a bit.  When I did finally take a sip, I have to admit that I was disappointed.  The wine still had it’s tannins and acidity in place, but the fruit was no where to be found. Have I just found my favorite H2O?  We laughed a bit at the comment made by Kuba that the wine tasted like Pinot Noir-flavored water.  The bottle he consumed the night before was still alive and fruity according to him.. Oh well… on to the next wine.

The next wine was a surprise.  A 2008 Vinařství Baloun Merlot from Moravia.  A very light, fruity and peppery wine carrying a modest 11.5% alcohol.  When I first nosed the glass, the first aroma that hit my nostrils was pepper, and lots of it!  Followed by very sweet, almost candied, red fruit.  These two aromas I would never have expected to find together.  Most of the “peppery” wines I have come across carried more earthy, less sweet aromas.  This was strange.  But, the more I aired the wine, the less candy-like the aromas became.  The pepper stayed and now red cranberries were the dominant red fruit.. Now the wine was getting interesting to me.  On the palate the wine was light, fresh and peppery with red fruit shoulders.  Low acidity and no tannins make this the perfect quaffing wine on a hot summer’s day.  I enjoyed the wine, but I felt it carried a rather hefty price tag of 43 Polish złoty (about $11.50).

We then moved on to a Spanish wine from Jerez de la Frontera provided by Carlos, a distributor for the wine.  A 2009 Viña Greduela Coupage Joven.  A bold blend of organically grown Merlot (40%), Syrah (30%), Cabernet Sauvignon (20%) and Tempranillo (only 10%).  First aromas to hit my nose were quite intense.  Ripe fruit, even some over ripe fruit characteristics, with mostly dark berries, plums and stewed plums.  Hints of the yeast with a mild volatility suggested to me spontaneous fermentation.  Very nice structure on the palate, refreshing acidity and medium plus tannins suggest that this Joven was young and could be possibly enjoyed for the next 5 years.  A good wine, a drinkable wine.  Not yet available in Poland.

And the last wine that made an appearance last night was actually a wine provided to us by Mariusz and Agnieszka from the Wine Garage selection of wines. A new Piemontese producer for them (and for me as well).  A 2007 Olek Bondonio Langhe Nebbiolo.  An organic producer of Polish decent.  This wine was a modern Nebbiolo made in the slightly oxidative style.  On the nose, the delicate aromas of the nebbiolo grape were hard to pick up at first whiff, but as the wine aired (and aeration it does need), the wine became a bit more characteristic.  Structure on the palate was immense and the tannins were very round (rounded out by the storage in small oak barrels).  This for some may not be an easy to understand nebbiolo, and for others may not be their style.  Whatever the verdict, it’s a pricey nebbiolo at around 120 Polish złoty (around $41). Despite this hefty price tag, and the average person’s propensity to spend little money on wine in Poland, the wine is selling well says Agnieszka.  That’s good news.

All this wine made us hungry, so we were fed some homemade Bigos, a traditional Polish hunter’s stew.  This Polish “national dish” is made with cabbage, sauerkraut, various cuts of meats and sausages and a few other ingredients.  I’m told the longer you take to make the dish, the better it is!  And, it’s supposed to get better the longer you keep it for.  This was by far the best Bigos I have tasted in Poland. Thank you Agnieszka!

Category: 1 WINE, 9 WINE THOUGHTS, organic wine, The Wine Garage