I've probably written something similar already before but I'll say it again : natural-wine tastings are often great, friendly events, not the square, efficient review of dozens of wines by busy and hurried professionals in a bland stereotyped hotel lounge. They are usually smaller, convivial gatherings with a relaxed atmosphere, closer in style to the cocktails & spirits tastings where I had the chance to go in a few occasions. Real wines enjoyed in a real place, sort of, this sounds well but that's actually what many of these tastings are about, and this one fits in the frame. In short, I haven't been to Vinexpo but I'm glad I went to a couple of such tastings recently.
This tasting, which took place in may was organized in a restaurant named Le Septime, which you can guess is one of these casual venues where good food goes with artisan, natural wines from the French provinces. A dozen vignerons were there to pour their wines, most from France but there was also Frank Cornelissen who makes wine on the Etna.
The tasting was for professionals, amateurs and you didn't need a formal invitation to come in. This was a free tasting of course. Kudos to the organizers Philippe Pinoteau (of Le Baratin, another wine restaurant), François Morel of the independant wine magazine Le Rouge Et Le Blanc, and to the people of Septime.
__ L'Anglore Tavel 2010. Rosé. A rosé with a toasted side and lightly tannic. Fruity, like a strawberry feel.
__ L'Anglore Chemin de la Brune 2010, Rosé, Vin de Table. Nice powerful feel and expression, with a tip of bitterness. The wine is almost white, this is a direct-press rosé.
__ L'Anglore Tavel 209 (rosé). With some élevage. Nose : very flowery and opulent. Mouth : that's what I call a gastronomy wine, you want to eat with this wine.
__ L'Anglore Sels D'Argent 2010, Vacqueyras. White made from Grenache Blanc. Powerful. 14 °.
__ L'Anglore Pierre Chaude, Vin de Table (2010). Grenache. Same terroir as the Grenache Blanc, and in Tavel. 3 weeks maceration. Beautiful nose with pepper notes, breathing freshness. Eric Pfiferling says that the chai is temperature-controlled but not the vats. He thinks that it's a good way to work, he just cools down the grapes after the harvest before the maceration. He checks the time but he doesn't intervene, except for the temperature of the chai (no cooling coils in ther vats).
The Pierre Chaude is a cuvée you must absolutely buy if you stumble on a bottle in a shop (but I would say this for most of L'Anglore wines), I got a Pierre Chaude 2009 (scroll down on the linked page) for lunch last year in le Baratin, it was just so beautiful... It costs 16 € usually in the shop if I'm right.
__ L'Anglore Traverses 2010. Syrah-Grenache. what a nose ! Fruit, tannins, the whole thing beautifully integrated and harmonious. Relatively light color. Nice drinkability. Again, buy on the spot without second thoughts when you come across this wine. Should be about 16 € too (in France). Don't try to buy at the winery, everything is usually either sold out or reserved in advance.
__Frederic Cossard Puligny-Montrachet 2009. A bit woody and powerful, but the serving temperature was a bit too high.
__ Frederic Cossard Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Abbaye de Morgeot 2009. In the mouth : refined and precise. Nice structure. Man, that is a good Burgundy white.
__ Frederic Cossard Meursault 1er Cru Genevrières 2009. Beautiful minerality. Bright mouth, neat. Excellent. Citrus peel notes.
__ Frederic Cossard Beaune 1er Cru 2009. A red, still from Cossard's négoce. Turbidity. Discreet nose. The mouth is very pleasant with pronounced tannins but also peppery notes and fruit. Obviously still in its early youth. The wine will keep feeding on the turbidity and wait a couple of years to enjoy a feast (my feeling).
__ Frederic Cossard Volnay 2009. Voluptuous nose compared to the previous wine, already more open. That is beautiful, even though it's probably very early also. The tannins are already thin and subdued. All these wines are unfiltered and unfined.
__ Fredric Cossard Pommard 2009. Carafed. That is nice ! here is a wine that gets you high beautifully, the alcohol and the rest being very well integrated.
__ Fred Cossard Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru 2008 Clos des Argillières. Light colored. Nose : intensely fruity and fresh. Lots of pleasure ahead when you breathe that. And what a mouth and swallowing ! because you must swallow this to really enjoy the alchemy of this wine. You have the impression to drink something full of life and health. My top choice for this table. 13,5 °. Asked about the price, Laure says expensive, like 3 digits in Euros, because they don't have this (contracted) vineyard anymore. If you see the bottle and have the money, buy, buy, buy ! Now, Laure says, they have contracted grapes from Les Damodes (2009, 2010), another fine terroir of Nuits Saint Georges.
At this stage, I left my glass on the table to shoot a video across the tasting beginning with a short interview of François Morel. When I came back a few minutes later my empty glass smelled just sublime...
Nicolas Vauthier was previously the founder of a vibrant wine bar in Troyes. The contact with many great wines undoubtly made him want join the adventure of natural wine, especially that the Yonne region is much cheaper in terms of vineyards and contracted grapes than the other Burgundy terroirs.
__ Vini Viti Vinci Bourgogne Grand Ordinaire. Red. Pinot Noir - Gamay. No label, sample from the vat.
__ Vni Viti Vinci Bourgogne Tonnerre 2010. Also without label, from the vat. Turbid. Notes of meat juice with an animal side. Tannicity.
__ Vini Viti Vinci Irancy 2010. From a new plot he got the grapes of. The nose is a promise of good things. Turbidity. In the mouth and swallowed : very pleasant and balanced. You want some more. Fruity, lightly peppery. Lightly perly. Vinified in casks of different sizes. The wines get either no SO2 or very little. The harvest (2010) date was october 12. It'll be bottled this july. Will cost 10 € without tax.
__ Vini Viti Vinci Irancy 2009. This is like the previous wine's elder : more evolved, more mature. Bottled (with its label now). Natural wine, he says, nothing added, no SO2.
__ Les Jardins Esméraldins Genèse Blanc 2002 (white wine, Chenin Blanc). Vin de Table. Superb nose. Mouth : neat and long. Striking minerality. The wine keeps reverberating deep in the mouth and the throat while you swallow it. This wine went through 6 years of élevage. Philippe Pinoteau of Le Baratin says that he's been buying the wines for 3 years.
__ Les Jardins Esméraldins Genèse Blanc 2001. Chenin again. Xavier Caillard makes two cuvées only, but he presents here several vintages. For this wine he says, he had a light refermentation in bottles, after which he left the bottles 6 additional years in the cellar. The color here is markedly gold. As he's pouring the wine, I see what looks like tiny bubbles. The wine is perly indeed. But man, what intensity and life in this wine, this is properly astounding, I understand the craze around the table... That's what I call a beautiful wine. The wine spent its élevage in 400-liter barrels. The first barrels he bought, he got them in 1999 and they were 2 years old.
__ Les Jardins Esméraldins Genèse Blanc 2000. This Chenin is more opulent but it keeps the elegance of the previous wines. I can't believe how often we come across young winemakers vinifying without additives and whose wines stand out. It seems that there are more and more such guys who are ready to work patiently with the wines and who do it right.
These Chenin are labelled as table wine because at the beginning he faced a refusal by the commission d'agrément (the appellation body which gives the green light for the Appellation status) : they said the wine lacked "typicité"... For sure the wine must have been different from the commercial wines to which they give the stampel automaticly... So he decided not to present again his wines in front of the commision d'agrément and just label them as Vin de Table, now Vin de France under the new labelling rules. When you taste these wines and think to the fact that the Appellation bureaucrats refused them, you understand that the Appellation system is going beserk.
__ Les Jardins Esméraldins Genèse Rouge 2004. Red. Cabernet Franc. This nose... Meat juice with also Morello Cherry clafoutis...
__ Les Jardins Esméraldins Genèse Rouge 2003. C. F. The aromas are so lively that I can't put a name on them (a good excuse to evade my duty to describe the wine, but there's reality in this exploding life). Exotic flowers, yes, sugary scents typical of opulent flowers. Mouth : so pleasant and drinkable for a 2003. Xavier Caillard says that it's in 2003 that he changed his vinification style and worked more toward refineness.
__ Les Jardins Esméraldins Genèse Rouge 2002. Less interesting wine. The bottles are waxed. Nice wax color, unusual.
__ Les Jardins Esméraldins Genèse Rouge 2001. The first vintage for this Cabernet Franc. He has 1 hectare of Cabernet Franc, the other hectare being Chenin. Nose : makes you want to eat what you smell here. What about the price ? 30 €, he says. I forgot to ask but I think that his reds go also through a very long élevage (6 years or more) before being bottled.