This november Nouveau tasting at Caves Augé in Paris was like the vintage 2009 : exceptionnal, with a perfect weather, unusually mild for this time of the year (november has been thoroughly mild until now, a welcome change when I think to the previous years where we had bursts of very cold temperatures at this season). It was cool but not cold, sunny enough to make the public cheer if the wines weren't already good enough for that. When I'm around, I rarely miss a tasting at Augé. This old wine shop (created in 1850) organizes some of the most entertaining wine tastings in town : small enough to let you taste all the wines and spend time with the winemakers and also it's a lot of fun because the artisan vignerons who come here are more real people who like to share a glass with visitors than efficient salesmen (or women) with a ready-made marketing discourse. This is Caves Augé, so of course all these vintners make their wines without lab yeasts or industrial additives, sometimes these wines don't have even been in contact with sulphur.
This tasting of Nouveau wines was also an artisanal bottling and corking line exercise : the vignerons had brought a full cask each and when they weren't pouring generously for the visitors, they filled bottles and corked them manually (several of them actually bottle their wines this way at their winery, I'm thinking to Philippe Pacalet for example who wasn't there today but who participates sometimes). The passerbys and Caves Augé's regulars could fill their glasses (clean glasses were at the disposal and easy reach on a cask on the sidewalk) at will. These 5 casks lined along the shop on the sidewalk with people working around gave people a bit of a feel of being in the chai and watching these vignerons doing these simple and ancient tasks help understands that these wines are indeed real wines, and not lab-tech designed.
The guy bottling the wine with a red label [pic on left] is Jean-François Nick (Les Foulards Rouges).
As soon as I arrived, I recognized our friend 堀 晶代 (Akiyo Hori), a Japanese wine writer who shares her time between Japan and France. She is the author of a book on Burgundy wines and she is also the author of La Mer du Vin, a website with lots of info about Burgundy vintners and estates. This tasting was a very Japanese one, by the way, as you will see later.
Eric Pfifferling's Nouveau (picture on top] was particularly pleasant, with aromas of acidulous candy, but also of rose with a bit of pepper as someone remarked. A bit perly in the mouth, this wine is unctuous and has a nice substance, that was goood.... The blend here is actually Grenache, Carignan and Clairette. The wine is in casks for a month (he made 22 hectoliters of this wine) and it will stay in there until march. It will be unfiltered at bottling and will not receive any additionnal SO2 (the only SO2 that went into this wine was a 1,5 gram dosage for the first racking). The bottle price for individual customers will be something between 10 and 12 Euro. Eric Pfifferling's L'anglore is a southern Rhone estate located in Tavel.
The guests were not from Beaujolais alone, the theme chosen by Caves Augé's Marc Sibard [on the left on this pic on left] was Nouveau, not Beaujolais Nouveau, but when I read the list on Caves Augé's newsletter, I thought I'd better not miss that :
__ Eric Pfifferling (Mas de l'Anglore) Grenache 10,30 Euro
__Fred Cossard (Domaine de Chassorney) 15,40 Euro
__ Jean-François Nick (les Foulards Rouges) Syrah 10,30 Euro
__ Jean Foillard Bojo Nouveau 9,25 Euro
__ Thierry Puzelat (Clos de tue Boeuf) Sauvignon 10,30 Euro
The prices weren't displayed in the newsletter but were clearly marked in white on the shopwindow so that the tasters could figure out (stating also that a 5% rebate was offered for a 6-bottle case). That's also an answer to the economic crisis : display the rates, especially when they are this reasonnable.
Speaking of Fred Cossard's Pinot Noir that I tasted in the second, the wine has still the austerity of a newborn wine, not really pleasant to drink at this stage, but let the right time pass and this wine will show so much. The wine, which is still turbid, will stay in casks for a year. The fruit is very forward and notwithstanding the arduous mouth today, this wine will turn to be a top-pleasure wine in a few months from now.
Thierry Puzelat tells me that Pierre-Olivier Bonhomme who is a long-time worker at Puzelat is in the process of taking up the management of the Negoce part of the estate, the reason being that Thierry's brother Jean-Marie will retire in the next years and that Thierry needs to scale down his own part. Pierre-Olivier is bright and fits with their work philosophy, which makes him the ideal manager.
Jean-François Nick's Les Foulards Rouge was a blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache.Soon to be bottled. The nose has notes of cherries and red fruits. Strawberry too. Nice wine.
Here this particular Caves-Augé bottle catches the attention of the young sommelière because the fine print on the label reads in French "bottled by DRC at F-21700" which for knowledgeable connoisseurs like her means that the wine isn't an ordinary Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes-de- Nuits but comes actually from the Domaine de la Romanée Conti. As she says thoughtfully [image on left], "it is not labelled under the DRC label, so, few people know"... Caves Augé has indeed some interesting cuvées or selections under its own name, think for example to this very nice Sibardise which was made by Fred Cossard in Burgundy (It was a cask selected by Marc Sibard at Domaine de Chassorney and bottled separately).
Foillard's Bojo Nouveau as it is named is of course a Gamay, bright red colored with aromas of small red fruits, Elisabeth adds that she feels strawberries and a hint of banana (this girl has a palate, I tell you...).