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…spontaneously fermenting

A (very quick) tasting note: 2005 Jérôme Saurigny S – A Chenin Surmûris

I remember when I first met Jérôme Saurigny  back in 2009 when I was visiting Patrick Desplats (Griottes). Patrick took us to meet his friend Jérôme and taste his wines. I still remember being blown away by his (dry) Sauvignon Blanc.  A Sauvignon like none I can remember tasting before. Just ripe, juicy fruit without the “off” aromas we are familiar with in a Sauvignon. You don’t need to guess that Jérôme’s wines are made with no additives, including the industrial yeasts so often added to Sauvignon Blanc’s giving them their “characteristic” aromas. Of course he was a friend of Patrick’s, so no surprise there.

As we left his place he handed me a small 50cl bottle of his sweet wine and told me to enjoy it. Well, I finally did – 3 years later. On one hand I don’t know why the hell i waited 3 years to drink that wine, on the other hand I’m glad I did. It was worth the wait.

The “S” is made from Chenin Blanc grapes and is one of only a small handful of sweet wines that I know of that is made without any additions, including SO2. No easy feat for a sweet wine which is allowed to have up to 400 mg/liter (ppm) in the EU. This wine most likely clocks in at less than 25 mg/l. What the hell does this mean? Well it makes for  a much purer, cleaner wine.

Date tasted:  October 15th, 2012

Ooohhh fuck was my first impression on the nose. Slightly volatile (compounds, which I love) with hints of yeast. Quince apples.  Slight “flor” hints. “Fresh walnuts”

Oh Jesus on the palate. Extremely fresh. Not sticky. Acid is medium-low, but refreshing.

A very drinkable dessert wines, not for sipping. Enjoy quickly since there is only 50cl

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


No cat piss, please

The Sauvignon Blanc grape is quite easy to detect on the nose, very often showing aromas of green gooseberries, blackcurrant leaves and hints of what we call “cat piss”.  In other words, to some (including myself) the wines made with this popular grape can often be quite stinky and smell “green ” and under ripe (not all of course, but many).

But, what happens when you take a  Sauvignon Blanc vineyard in Sancerre that is farmed naturally (without pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers), where the  juice is made into wine without a single additive, including SO2?  The result is a  Sebastién Riffault Sancerre Auksinis, a very different Sancerre.


Sebastién is a 30 year-old who is passionate about the work he and his horse do in the vineyards, paying careful attention to the needs of the vines without introducing them to any additives including fertilizers.

His approach is organic with some biodynamic principals.  He plows with his horse, but only every third year or so because he considers the upheaval of the topsoil to be to some extent harmful for the vineyard and its harmonious life.*  He harvests late and with very low yields and allows his wines to ferment naturally with ambient yeasts in large old barrels with a full malolactic conversion.

The 40 year old Auksinis vineyard is located in Verdigny in the Sancerre appellation of the Loire Valley, about 5 km NW from the town of Sancerre.

(Terroir France – French Wine Guide)

The 1 HA vineyard is facing South East  & South with an average slope of about 35%.  The soil is mostly clay and limestone (Caillottes).  The vineyard produces 15 hl/ha, or about 2000 bottles of this wine.  Fermented in 8-15 year-old large wooden barrels for about 3 months, then left on the fine lees for about two years. Racking and bottling is done by gravity without fining or filtration.  The whole process from start to end is done without any additions, including SO2. Vintage 2009


Date tasted:  Monday April 23rd, 20:00

Appearance:  Ripe yellow plum color. Very slight brown reflexes, like old gold.  Slightly turbid.
Nose:  Initially very ripe yellow fruit and minerals. Surprising to also find some ripe gooseberries, but ripe and not green. A bit of smoke. Yellow apples. Hints of brown honey. Hints of pear. Hints of cooked balsamic, interesting.   Marzipan.
As it warmed up, dry grass and hay with white pepper begin to appear and the initial attack of very ripe fruit settled a bit.
Palate: Very open showing ripe yellow fruit with honey notes and a slight bitterness like a bitter almond. Looooong mineral finish. Food wine par none.  Bone dry with great acidity. Salty. Oily texture that I usually find on my favorite wines. Fennel hints. No hollow spots,  very very structured. Medium bodied wine. Marzipan
After an hour being open, the wine became extremely fresh and light, especially when the wine had reached room temperature. The wine became very drinkable, and as usual, I wished I’d had a magnum!


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


A tasting note: 2009 Jean-Pierre Robinot Concerto d'Oniss


Of the many many many wines I have tasted over the years, Jean-Pierre produces some of the most vinous wines I have ever had the satisfaction of tasting.  So, to summarize even before I begin this tasting note, this wine is super-vinous. What do I mean by that? When you pour the wine, there are two things you notice right away: the beautiful light pomegranate color and the way the wine pours from the bottle. It pours like you are pouring a light oil. Even when you swirl the glass, it seems as though you have a glass of pomegranate-colored oil. It appears thicker than other wines.  And nothing has been added to this wine to make it this way. It’s just great quality grapes that have been squeezed just right.  So, why this oily appearance and texture? That my friend is what we call structure and concentration that you can not only see, but that you can taste.

The labels? Well, Jean-Paul has either taken the photo or painted the picture himself to create his labels. All of his labels are unique and each wine and vintage has a different label. They are as unique as his wines.The Concerto d’Oniss is his base wine and is made from 100% Pinea d’Aunis grown in the Loire Valley (mostly around Tours, Anjou & Saumur) as naturally as possible, avoiding ALL treatments to the vines.  A grape dating back to the Medieval Times, not many producers grow this grape thanks to the ever-increasing demand for more well-known varieties. Thankfully, there are a small handful of producers who still work with this grape. I have tasted the wines from 4 or 5 different producers working with this grape and have noticed certain common characteristics: lightish red color, lowish alcohol, aromas and scents of grapefruit, light pepper & incense, & small red berries.

After manually harvesting these small, dark grapes, whole clusters were dropped into fiberglass tanks without any additions whatsoever, at any point.  No temperature control means partial carbonic maceration for the first few days.  Maceration went on for about 3 months then the wine was bottled without fining or filtering.

After tasting this wine many times and in various vintages, I’m finally writing about it.

Date tasted:  Sunday February 26th, 2012 18:30

Appearance:  viscous viscous viscous! See photo for color

Nose:  grapefruit, incense, pepper, little red berries, forrest floor with some faint reductive hints.  Hints of wild strawberries. Hints of cough syrup, the oily kind that leaves a slightly bitter smell and taste. Even looks like cough syrup

Palate:  grapefruit, smooth tannins, but more grippy than I remember. Great acidity, but smooth and absolutely drinkable. Red cranberries. Very rustic and again the oily exture like all of his wines. Slighty metallic, which I have not found on any previous bottles. Wild strawberries, but without the sugar. Pomegranate.

There is a certain weight to this wine that I find on all of Robinot’s wine’s. They seem particularly viscous, oily and heavy, but light on their feet at the same time (strange but true). The concentration and structure of this wine, of his wines, are among the best I have tasted in the natural wine world.   Texture is a bit like a dessert wine minus the sugar

Monday February 27th, 18:30

Yes, yes I did leave some in the bottle for tonight. Crazy, but I am super happy I did

Appearance:  Not much change that I could see, but perhaps a tad darker

Nose:  More aromas of incense and pepper.  Deeper fruit (still red).

Palate:  right when the wine hits the mouth, it’s that oily texture again. Impressive. A salty impact I didn’t get yesterday. Also a depth I didn’t get yesterday.  A certain sweet aftertaste I can only compare to sour fruit that ends on a sweet note giving them that perfect balance.  medium length and still as refreshing as yesterday. Softer tannins today.

I am reminded of why this has always been one of my favorite wines. it is unique, the texture is magnificent, it’s fresh, and it’s drinkable.  I just noticed that nowhere in this tasting note have I mentioned the alcohol, and that is because it so not noticeable that it isn’t even an issue. At 12% you wouldn’t expect it to be, but i have tasted many wines where even low alcohol can put a wine out of balance

Some final words to summarize the wine: structure, concentration, balance, drinkablity.






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


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)


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


A tasting note: 2006 Olivier Cousin Cabernet Franc Vieilles Vignes

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

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)


Clos Roche Blanche Part V – Cuvée Côt 2007

2009-08-01_1874Cuvée Côt 2007 12% Alcohol – authentic cork
Wine Information:
100% Côt (Malbec)
Average yield:  20hl/ha
Terroir: Clay, mixed with flint and hard sandstone, calcareous
sub-soil, located at 1ères Côtes du Cher
Manual harvest (100% destalking)
Indigenous yeast, no chaptalisation
Vinification:  10 weeks  maceration in stainless steel
with daily remontage.
Aging in old, large barrels.
4,400 bottles produced
Price in Norway is 150 NOK ($25)

Friday July 31st, 2009 16:45 (4:45pm)

First thing I noticed upon opening this bottle is that of the 4 Clos Roche Blanche cuvée’s, this is the only one with an authentic cork. It was also the only one of the 4 that was vintage 2007; the others were 2008.  I was told, however, that even in the 2008 an authentic cork was used for the Cuvée Côt.

Appearance: Not quite as dark as the Cuvée Pif..  Have I tasted these in the wrong order??  Medium red.  Medium intensity

Nose: Dirt, dark aromas of plums, dark cherries, with hints of reduction. Some mineral nuances.  Medium intense and not as complex as the Cuvée Pif.

Palate: Ripe, dark plums and dark cherries. Hints of raspberry, but only hints. More bitter on the back-end than the Pif. Mild tannins..strange they aren’t more firm. Needs food. The least fruity wine of  the 4 Clos Roche Blanche cuvée’s I’ve tasted. Tannins getting firmer after a few minutes in the glass. Really craving some beef now..Medium to medium full

Saturday August 1st, 14:21 (2:21pm)

Appearance: No change but definitely lighter than the Cuvée Pif

Nose: Still slight hints of reduction.. Red plums and minerals at first. Only medium intensity. Interesting nose – floral

Palate: slight hints of spice and a mild nuttiness. Plums and cherries. Mild, elegant tannins. Acidity is medium to medium plus. Hints of raspberry and a nice long, fresh finish. More fruity than yesterday. Tannins are sticking just a bit and seem to be getting a bit more aggressive and they don’t feel as clean as the Pif.

Sunday August 2nd 20:48 (8:48pm)

Appearance: Same, still lighter than the Pif

Nose: A little less reduction and a bit less expressive than yesterday. Floral.  Today the nose reminds me of the Baga grape (rose pedals). Red plums and mineral and not a very giving wine.. Perhaps this is the wine that needs the most aging of the bunch

Palate: Quite fresh, plums and minerals. Still quite serious and not saying as much to me as the others are. Tannins that are sticking a bit, but the wine is quite fresh anyway. Hints of dark cherries as well. Really long finish that is very tannic. Possibly the longest finish of the bunch?? Wild berries

Monday August 3rd, 2009 23:28 (11:28pm)

Appearance: No change

Nose: Still a bit closed and not very expressive. Floral, wild berries.

Palate: Wild berries, hints of spice and mild yet gripping tannins with a slightly bitter finish. Still the least expressive of the bunch. Yet, mysterious.

Tuesday August 4th, 2009 00:31 (12:31am)

Appearance: No change

Nose: again flowers and wild berries,  but not totally open.

Palate: Wild berries and mild to medium tannins with a bitter aftertaste. Doesn’t seem like this wine will totally open up to me. Slight oxidative notes on the finish


Wednesday August 5th, 2009 17:35 (5:35pm) this wine is at it’s peak today

Appearance: No change

Nose: Flowers and wild berries. A bit more open today??  Mineral and black currant undertones. No reductive aromas.

Palate: Ah..seems a bit more expressive and complex today. Elegant wild berries with medium minus tannins. Good acid and length. The most improved of the group. Fresh berries also on the finish. Very mild bitter tones. Nice

Thursday August 6th, 2009 23:54 (11:54pm)

Appearance: No change

Nose: Mineral with black currants and oxidized notes on the back end. Closed compared to last night.

Palate: Oxidized a bit with black currants and a bitter aftertaste.Tough wine tonight and not enjoying it.

In summary, the Cuvée Côt was the wine that took the most amount of days to open and reach it’s peak. While the other Clos Roche Blanche Cuvée’s reached their peak on Sunday August 2nd, this wine did not fully open and reach it’s peak until Wednesday, August 5th; 3 evenings after the other wines. It was also the wine that once having reached it’s peak, had the shortest “life span” – only 24 hours. The other cuvée’s reached their peak more quickly and stayed open and enjoyable over several days.

Perhaps this wine was not meant to be opened just yet. Even though I love young wines, I felt that this wine would have have been more interesting in 3-5 years.


Category: 1 WINE, 2 PRODUCER PROFILE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Clos Roche Blanche - Loire Valley, France, France, Loire, natural wine (just about), Touraine


Clos Roche Blanche Part IV – Cuvée Pif 2008

2009-08-01_1867Cuvée Pif 2008 12% Alcohol – synthetic cork
Wine information:
50% Côt (Malbec) 50% Cabernet Franc
Average yield:  10hl/ha
Terroir: Clay, mixed with flint and hard sandstone, calcareous
sub-soil, located at 1ères Côtes du Cher
Manual harvest (100% destalking)
Indigenous yeast, no chaptalisation
Vinification:  Traditional, 8-10 days maceration
with daily pigeage. Assemblage before the malolactic fermentation
Aging in Stainless steel
6,500 bottles produced
Price in Norway is 130 NOK ($21)

Friday July 31st, 2009 16:45 (4:45pm)

Appearance: Deeper color than the Gamay.  Leaning towards the color you might find in the S. Rhône. Darkish red purple.  Clean with a  medium intense glow

Nose: Ripe & juicy green bell pepper, blackberries with floral hints.  More complex than the Cuvée Gamay but not as intense dark plums and cherries at the back end.  The most interesting nose of the bunch so far. I am spending more time nosing this one than the previous wines.  Juicy

Palate: Again the juicy ripe green bell peppers and blackberries on the palate. Medium acid. Medium to medium plus tannins. Good concentration and depth. Of the three I have tasted to this point, this is the one that I feel has the greatest aging potential. The tannins, although only medium plus, are the dominant feature here with slight bitter hints on the finish. Quite young. Really getting the Cab Franc here…need something to eat. Medium to medium full

Saturday August 1st, 14:21

Appearance: None

Nose: Medium intense and still quite complex. Seems a bit tighter and more put together then yesterday. Still has hints of juicy green bell pepper, some blackberries with hints of black currants. Today reminds me a bit of a nice Bordeaux.  Hints of  worn leather and minerals.

Palate: Blackberries and green bell peppers immediately with black currants on the back end. Medium to medium plus tannins. Some cigar box and none of the bitter notes (only slight) I got yesterday.  Serious wine and for those who love  Bordeaux, you’ll love this. Long fresh finish. Real aging capability here in my opinion. A food wine. Fresh. Wow.

Today the main difference is that the wines have tightened up a bit and seem to be a tad more elegant. I suppose its still to soon to tell!


Sunday August 2nd, 20:48  this wine is at it’s peak today

Appearance: Still dark and serious

Nose: Still mostly dominated by black fruit and green bell peppers but today the fruit stands out more than the peppers. Quite elegant today..

Palate: Lots of black fruit and green peppers. Still quite tannic, but not overpowering. I have to say that  although the fruit is mostly black in character, the wine has a certain freshness you don’t often find in lets say, a Bordeaux.. a very clean wine. Long finish with solid tannins. Again, really focused and elegant today. The best day so far for this wine as well. If I had to complain about  anything, perhaps its the acidity.. could it be a tad higher`?? nah.

Monday August 3rd, 23:28

Appearance: No change

Nose: More floral than the previous days. The green peppers have mellowed to the background. Blackberries and black currants with an underlying lift of cool fresh fruit.

Palate: Green peppers still on the palate with really solid, lovely tannins carrying the wine to a really long, fresh, slightly bitter finish.. Still quite impressive. Really starting to love this wine’s complexity. It’s not common to  find a wine with this firm of a tannin structure, yet remain this fresh, light and low in alcohol..

Tuesday August 4th, 00:31

Appearance: No change

Nose: The green bell peppers have resurfaced. Blackberries and currants with floral undertones. Some red fruit lifting the wine

Palate: Tannins quite heavy today which coat the whole mouth. Green peppers and black fruit with a slightly bitter finish. Very Bordeaux like today, but the freshness slightly lacking today

Wednesday August 5th, 17:35

Appearance: No change

Nose: Still has the sweet green bell peppers and blackberries and black currants. Hints of red fruit, especially plums to help lift the wine.  No signs of oxidation.

Palate: Still quite Bordeaux like. Still has the green bell peppers dominating with blackberries. Tannins a bit more settled today.  Still drinking quite well.  Slightly bitter on the finish.

Thursday August 6th, 23:54

Appearance: No change

Nose: Slightly oxidized sweet green peppers. This is the most oxidized wine so far. Some black currants.  Not very expressive tonight.

Palate: A little volatile tonight. Still has the Bordeaux thing going on. Blackberries and green peppers with medium plus tannins. Slightly oxidized. Not very exciting tonight. Done.


Even though this wine didn’t hold up as well as the Pineau d’Aunis or Gamay, it was a great wine and a great substitute for those of you who are craving a Bordeaux-like wine.

I realize that I mentioned Bordeaux over and over again in my tasting notes. The reason I did this is perhaps because I have been in discussions lately with some close friends and fellow wine enthusiasts about why I don’t have a single Bordeaux title on my restaurant wine list.  Although I won’t go into all the reasons why I don’t, I will just say that I feel the “average” Bordeaux drinker will enjoy this wine.  🙂

Category: 1 WINE, 2 PRODUCER PROFILE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Clos Roche Blanche - Loire Valley, France, France, Loire, natural wine (just about), Touraine


Clos Roche Blanche Part III – Cuvée Gamay 2008

2009-08-01_1861Cuvée Gamay 2008 12% Alcohol – synthetic cork
Wine information:
100% Gamay
Average yield:  22hl/ha
Terroir:  Clay, mixed with flint & hard sandstone, calcareous sub soil,
located at 1ères Côtes du Cher
Manual harvest (100% destalking)
Indigenous yeast, no chaptalisation
Vinification:  Traditional, one week maceration
with daily pigeage or remontages (crushing & pumping over)
Aging in Stainless steel or concrete
10,400 bottles produced
Price in Norway is 130 NOK ($21)

Friday July 31st, 2009 16:45 (4:45pm)

Appearance: Darker then expected color for a Gamay.  Just barely see-through, almost opaque.   Red with purple highlights. Medium intense glow. Clean

Nose: Jumped out of the glass. High intensity. Pepper, black and red berries with hints of leather. Some dark stone fruit like plums. Hints of cocoa powder. Very fruity

Palate: Typically correct Gamay with spice, pepper, black and red berries also on the palate.   Great structure and mild tannins with medium plus acidity. Quite fresh. Although the alcohol is barely noticeable, the structure is that of a wine with higher alcohol.  Long, serious finish.. Have I found a replacement for L’Ancien??  Just 2 minutes in the glass and the tannins are becoming tighter which I personally love. Nice.

Saturday August 1st, 2009 14:21 (2:21pm)

Appearance: No change

Nose: A bit more mellow than yesterday, intensity medium plus. Classic Gamay nose with spice and red berries dominating today with hints of blackberry in the background. The leather and cocoa powder were there but to a lesser degree. Sweet cranberry and red licorice

Palate: Leaning more to the red berries today, raspberries and cranberries with pepper notes in the background. More serious and more elegant than yesterday. Although I enjoyed all the aromas yesterday, today they felt more united. Tannins were still mild, but gripped and held elegantly for at least 10 seconds or more. Nice long finish.  Very fresh. Don’t feel the alcohol.


Sunday August 2nd, 2009 20:48 (8:48pm) – This wine is at it’s peak today

Appearance: No change

Nose: still quite intense and peppery.  Same aromas as the previous days with the raspberries and cranberries with hints of darker fruit giving this wine some depth while remaining fresh. Pepper still dominates, but not overpowering

Palate: Very sweet fruit today. Sweet red licorice at first with ripe raspberries and pepper on the finish.  Mineral. Really drinking well today . Very typical (good) Gamay and fast becoming one of my top red grapes. Mild but gripping tannins with a ripe fruit finish. Very focused.   Just like the (Pineau d’Aunis) Rosé, the noticeable improvement on this wine tonight is the  focused fruit.. wow.

Monday August 3rd, 2009 23:28 (11:28pm)

Appearance: No Change

Nose: Again sweeter fruit. Red fruit dominating with less pepper than on previous days. Some underlying dark fruit like  blackberries. Sweet red licorice with hints of cranberries.  Some hints of watermelon emerging

Palate: Really red fruit driven with cranberries dominating and the tannins also stepping up. The wine is still very fresh and the acidity is really driving the wine today, but not overpowering it. Really intensely ripe fruit. Still very nice today.. Yummy.  Hints of bitterness on the finish with some minerals.

Tuesday August 4th, 2009 00:31 (12:31am)

Appearance: No change

Nose: pepper stepping up with underlying red fruit.  Hints of blackberries. Wild berries.  Floral hints as well.  Still has quite a pretty nose.

Palate: Like the Pinea d’Aunis Rosé, alcohol a tad more noticeable today. Good structure with mostly red fruits and pepper with hints of oxidation starting to show, although very slight. A tad bitter on the finish

Wednesday August 5th, 2009 17:35 (5:35pm)

Appearance: No change

Nose: Still pretty. Today the flowers are dominating.  Red and wild berries.  Pepper overtones.

Palate: Still very drinkable. Seems a bit more focused again today. A bit better than yesterday. Barely noticeable oxidation. Mostly red fruits on the palate and hints of pepper and mineral. Bitter finish. Still very drinkable.

Thursday August 6th, 2009 23:54 (11:54pm)

Appearance: No change

Nose: A bit darker tonight. Spicy blackberries. Tanbark (or pencil shavings) showing tonight.  Hints of Cocoa. No volatility

Palate: Nice. Cocoa and tannins taking the show. Blackberries on the finish with a hint of spice. Still has great length and freshness. Very, very slight oxidation on the palate, but still very drinkable. Really enjoying this wine tonight.


In summary, if you like fresh and light wines with hints of spice and dominating red fruit, this is a great wine. Well made and can go with many foods ranging from cheeses to fish and chicken. Another very stable and well-made wine from the Clos Roche Blanche Domaine.

Category: 1 WINE, 2 PRODUCER PROFILE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Clos Roche Blanche - Loire Valley, France, France, Loire, natural wine (just about), Touraine

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Clos Roche Blanche Part II – Pineau d'Aunis Rosé 2008

2009-07-31_1847In Part I of Clos Roche Blanche the producer profile, I talked about the Loire Valley and this Domaine.  In this entry, Clos Roche Blanche Part II – “The Wines”, I give detailed tasting notes for 4 wines that I was able to find here in Norway.  I was unfortunately unable to get a bottle of the acclaimed Cuvée Sauvignon Blanc nor was I able to get the other Cuvées.  When I do, I will be sure to write about them here on my site.

For this entry, the wines were all opened at the same time, Friday July 31st, 2009 at 16:45 (4:45pm) and tasted over the course of one week. Once opened they were simply stored with their original closures and kept in the refrigerator.  I did not pump the air out of the bottles. The first thing that struck me was that three of the four bottles used artificial plastic corks. Only the Cuvée Côt used a real cork. I am not sure how I feel about this as it’s not unusual to use an artificial cork to seal a wine bottle.  However I have to admit that I do find it strange that winemakers who make wines as close to natural as possible are using anything other than real cork.  Please comment on your feelings regarding  this matter.

Here are the wines:

Pineau d’Aunis Rosé 2008 – 12% Alcohol – Synthetic Cork


Wine information:
100 % Pineau d’Aunis (Chenin Noir)
Average yield:  18hl/ha
Terroir:  Clay-Siliceous
Manual harvest
Indigenous yeast, no chaptalisation
Vinification:  direct pressing, vinification as “vin gris”
(vin gris is white wine made from red grapes)
12 hours skin maceration
Alcoholic fermentation:  4 months
1700 bottles produced
Price in Norway is 130 NOK ($21)

Friday July 31st, 2009 16:45 (4:45pm)

Appearance: what’s there not to like?!  A beautiful light pink grapefruit color. Absolutely lovely color. Clean with a medium intense glow.

Nose: The first aromas I note can only be described as “vitamin C”, the smell you get when you first open a bottle of vitamin C chewable tablets. Aromas of pink grapefruit, hints of under ripe raspberries (red), hints of yeast  (the first bottle I sampled a few weeks ago had much more dominant yeast aromas which I did not like).  Medium intensity and medium complexity.

Palate: Very dry, with medium to medium plus intensity. Grapefruit and under ripe raspberries also on the palate. Medium body, great concentration and great length with yeast and mineral undertones. Very mild tannins.   Medium to medium plus acid.  Well integrated alcohol.  Wow, much better tasting experience today versus the last time I tasted this wine a few weeks ago.

Saturday August 1st, 2009 14:21 (2:21pm)

Appearance: Not much change, perhaps just a shade darker

Nose: Still pink grapefruit but today the yeasty/leesy smell is a bit more dominant.  Hints of pepper which weren’t there yesterday.

Palate: still the pink grapefruit, put now the hints of pepper were also on the palate.  The yeasty feeling was  less noticeable than on the nose. Acidity is now medium plus (an increase from yesterday). There is a slight CO2 tingle at the front of the tongue. Hints of under ripe raspberry. Definitely more open then yesterday and a bit more serious

Sunday August 2nd, 2009 20:48 (8:48pm) – The wine is at it’s peak today.

Appearance: No change

Nose: A little bit sweeter nose today. Red raspberries, but not too ripe. Still hints of yeast, but it’s more of a peppery yeasty smell today. Citrus, pink grapefruit. Definitely more fruity today. Smells really nice

Palate: Very fruity initially with the raspberries and grapefruit really dominating. Less of the yeast today on the palate and a finish that is very long, fruity with hints of pepper and mineral. Very balanced, fruity and fresh. I am actually loving this wine today. Today is definitely the best it’s been with the biggest improvement being on the fruit – its much more focused today than it has been and seems almost “sweet”, though the wine is bone dry.    To sum up – sour red raspberries, fruity pink grapefruit with surrounding pepper notes and hints of yeast and mineral on the finish.. Wow… Looking forward to tasting it with my two types of Zucchini and red onion pasta.


Monday August 3rd, 2009 23:28 (11:28pm)

Appearance: No change

Nose: the berries are going more towards wild berries today instead of under ripe raspberries. sweet pink grapefruit, red apples today – weren’t there on the previous days. Overlaying pepper aromas. Hints of yeast, but mellowing with each passing day.  A fruitier “sweeter” nose today.  Although it may sound that the nose is more open today than yesterday, it was actually less appealing to me.

Palate: Acidity seems to have kicked up a notch today, but the fruit at the same time seems “sweeter”. Red apples and raspberries, with a mineral finish with hints of bitterness, like the white part of the grapefruit. Still fresh and drinking well, but perhaps it was a bit more enticing yesterday. The bitterness is dominating a bit on the finish.

Tuesday August 4th, 2009 00:31 (12:31am)

Appearance: No change

Nose: pepper dominates with pink grapefruit. Hints of yeast.  Not volatile. Still smells fine

Palate: sweet pink grapefruit and red raspberries with a peppered finish. The alcohol is bit more noticeable today and the fruit a bit more subdued. It has lost a bit of the fruity edge today. Not as exciting.

Wednesday August 5th, 2009 17:35 (5:35pm)

Appearance: No change

Nose: Still driven by the pink grapefruit and pepper notes. Still no signs of volatility on the nose. Still fresh. Still has hints of yeast..

Palate: Still fresh, but that fruit edge it had on the third day seems to have diminished a bit.  Alcohol a bit  noticeable like it was yesterday. However, still very drinkable, but slipping a bit.

Thursday August 6th, 2009 23:54 (11:54pm) – Possibly peaking, again?

Appearance: No Change

Nose: Very fruity tonight with hints of pencil lead. Very ripe red berries.  Strawberries also showing tonight which I have not seen in the previous nights. No volatile aromas

Palate: Strange wine tonight. Very relaxed, fruity and fun. Ripe red fruit, namely raspberries with hints of strawberries. Also getting the hints of pencil lead on the palate. Hints of red apple, especially the skin.  Very fresh. Long, slightly bitter finish.

This is a wine that I don’t particular enjoy when first opened. It did become enjoyable from Sunday night on with the most exciting nights being Sunday (3rd night open) and Thursday(7th night open).


Category: 1 WINE, 2 PRODUCER PROFILE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Clos Roche Blanche - Loire Valley, France, France, Loire, natural wine (just about), Touraine