__I began with the whites of Alice & Olivier De Moor. Alice poured me their Aligoté 2010, a nice wine that glides in the mouth with ampleness and none of the acidic feel that you'd expect from an Aligoté.
__The next wine was her Chablis Humeur du Temps 2010, with a white pepper nose, lemon. Very well balanced and with a good presence in the mouth even after swallowing. And this, even if the wine was a bit above its ideal serving temperature, it passes the test without any problem.
__Then Chablis Bel Air et Chardy 2010 : minerality, intensity. On the nose, I feel some wet stone, and the mouth is superb, with length. Nice work. Lightly perly feel on the tongue. I don't begin my tasting correctly : can't spit all these wines....These wines were poured from magnums that they had filled from the casks.
__Chablis Bel Air et Chardy 2009, from a bottling, this time. Very nice too, but different. Alice says that 2009 is a solar vintage and 2010 made wines more tendus, tensed, and more pronounced on the mineral side. That was quite some time that I didn't taste some wines from the Do Moor and this was a real pleasure and excitement.
Fred Cossard was next to Alice's stand so I jumped to his whites.
__Cossard les Bigottes 2010. Nose with fruit and maturity. Mouth : nice drinkability.
__ Cossard Saint Romain Combe Bazin 2010. A turbid wine with fruit and menthol side or eucalyptus leaves, something of this nature. Classy mouth, almost like an austere beauty, but I exagerate, as this is very enjoyable to swallow. Nice wine indeed.
__Meursault 1er Cru Les Genevrières 2009. Very, very nice mouth, straight and neat. The back label reads "Frederic et Laure Cossard". Laure had such a nice maiden name... Here again, I don't spit these wines and I'll be obliged to pass several stands (actually casks) in this tasting because of that.
Cossard's reds now :
__Cossard Le Bedeau 2010, Bourgogne Rouge. What a drinkability. I think that this is one of the most affordable cuvées of Cossard, and you must try this one at least if you never had some Cossard (27 € at Caves Auge).
__ Cossard Saint Romain Sous Roche 2010. Superb. My type of wine, really. Red fruits, some meat juice, and what a chewy feel... 36 € I think, at Caves Auge.
__ Cossard, Savigny-les-Beaune Les Gollardes 2010. Noticeable tannicity, but like a thin silk paper. The wine reverberates on the mouth sides and palate, very beautiful.
__ Cossard Volnay 1er Cru les Roncerets 2010. Opulent nose of red fruits and also some meaty aromas. Very, very neat wine where I also feel a striking minerality. Love this one too.
__ Cossard Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Damodes 2010. More concentrated, or more extracted maybe. At least one that I'll spit.
__ Cossard Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru Les Monts Luisants 2010. Light sucrosity, balance, here also with a good intensity and length in the mouth.
__ Philippe Jambon Le Jambon Blan...Chard. A white table wine with no variety name. Philippe tells me that the grapes were harvested at Guy Blanchard, that's why the name of the cuvée. But since I visited Olivier Cousin and became aware of his troubles with the administration, I look to wine labels differently, and I'm quick to detect the possibility of rebel code language here. Of course, le Jambon Blanchard is because the grapes come from Guy Blanchard and were vinified by Jambon, but isn't there a grossly-concealed allusion to Chardonnay here, by writing it this way (Jambon Blan....Chard) ? Let's remind that according to the French appellation rules, you're not supposed to print the variety on a table wine label. Philippe smiles and says he doesn't care what you-know-whom could think about this odd labelling. Of course everybody reading this keeps it for himself...;-) Pleasant wine anyway (no detailed notes, too busy listening to his story), still on its élevage in casks and bottled in 2012.
__ Philippe Jambon Baltaille 2005. Vin de Table, will be on the market in 2012. will cost about 40€ at the winery. Not cheap, but if you can afford, don't miss that one too. The nose of this wine is very joyous, I would say, full of promises. Red wine. Aromas like incense, dry aromatic herbs. Very enjoyable wine, something you swallow with ease and pleasure, so alive. Very beautiful. This Gamay was bottled in august 2010 after a 6 years wait : It spent first 3 years in vats, then another 3 years in casks, as the fermentation was very slow and long, it actually never stopped, he says. There was never a hint of deviant behaviour in the fermentation, just it was so slow. He was beginning to get despaired but it finally reached quietly its destination and here it is. No So2 at all of course like all of his wines. I'm confident that no commercial/formatted recipe can ever reproduce this. It also shows what reward a winemaker can get when he just trusts his wine-in-the-making even if it means renouncing for a while to get a quick return on the investment. Bravo Philippe.
__ Philippe Jambon Une Tranche, Vin de France (table wine). Mostly 2010. Fresh, nice and easy swallow. Not a great wine, but not bad.
__Pacalet Chassagne-Montrachet 2009. Acidulous nose. Freshness, almost lemon like. Bottled in june 2010.
__ Pacalet Gevrey-Chambertin 2009. Pepper on the nose, intense feel. I like that a lot. Monica says that it's still closed, though. Makes me wonder how good it'll be when opened...
__Pacalet Pommard 1er Cru 2009. I recognize the elegant austerity of this terroir, but with a beautiful reward when you swallow this wine. Elegance, rigor and beautiful structure. Bottled february 2011. I usually have trouble with Pommards, they're often too serious and austere in the early years, needing maybe more élevage time in bottles than other terroirs.
I also tasted Pavelot's wines, and I liked particularly the Aloxe Corton 2009 (in spite of the small size of the pour), a nicely complex wine.
Pic on right : Kevin's dog Armel and his incredibly-wise eyes. Philippe Pacalet in the far left.
Further, I tasted several Roblet Monnot wines.
first, Roblet Monnot Volnay Saint François 2009, a beautiful unfiltered Pinot Noir. Excellent wine. I didn't note more, sorry.
__ Roblet Monnot Volnay Santenots 1er Cru 2009. Lightly animal in the first nose. Delicious mouth. While tasting, I spot Kuki, the Japanese sommelier who seems to be back at Caves Augé.
__ Roblet Monnot Chambolle Musigny 2008. Another delicious and feminine Pinot Noir. Chambolle is always such a secure value among Burgundies.
__ Roblet Monnot Volnay Brouillards 1er Cru. The nose is very alive and fresh, give you the urge to drink the wine. Very very beautiful, could be my best choice among Roblet Monnot wines this day. Very long mouth.
When I arrived at his stand (I went there after work) all his bottles were already empty, he sure had a lot of people wanting to taste his wines. When I showed up he was chatting with Kevin Blackwell and Vicky, of Autour d'un Verre. This California native is a demanding connoisseur on natural wines and I often stumble on him and Vicky in these tastings (he was also present at the Caves Augé tasting).
__ Scarabée Nina, Vin de France (table wine) Primeur (2011). Superb vivid and translucent color, a luminous wine. Beautiful chewy mouth of cherries and small red fruits. Eucalyptus leaves too. Cherry pie. It's made with Syrah plus some Grenache Noir. Carbonic maceration. She made 2500 bottles of this. Costs 7 € only, great deal.
__ Scarabée Volubile, Vin de France (table wine) 2010. Syrah with a bit of Carignan. More structure here, quite god length, with a good fruit comùing back on the palate. Less than 10 € at the winery, excellent deal.
__Scarabée Murmures, Vin de France (table wine) 2010. Carignan from 85-year-old vines. Intense nose with fruit and freshness. More like Languedoc wines, you feel more the alcohol here maybe. Bottled in june. Price : something like 14 or 15 €.
She now pours me a wine made by a colleegue vigneron who passed away recently in his own vineyard, Fabien Moreno, from the estate named Le Grain de Raison (also in the Languedoc).
__Le Grain de Raison, Petit Kluk, Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes. Didn't ask the vintage. Superb red color too here. Nice wine with charakter. This is a Grenache vinified partly on carbonic maceration, partly destemmed.
Rudolf Steiner's biodynamy taught it long ago, the farmers and winemakers knew a few rules empirically for ages, but here it's with an almost scientific precision that you learn which are the best moon phases to do this or that task, regarding the garden, your body care, or winemaking. You even have a diary at the end of the book to help you plan precisely your tasks with the perfectt schedule according to the moon.
The vineyards, wine, distillation and cider chapter is particularly interesting, and if you happen to bottle bulk wine like me, you may tilt the balance in your favor by choosing the right day to turn your kitchen into a bottling line. I even learned here that dates vary depending of the region of origin of the wine. This book is of course adapted for the moon situation in France, and all the parameters must be recalculated for other latitudes I guess. But there are so many charts and graphics on ascending/descending moon phases sthat you should understand your ideal schedule for whatever task you plan.
Here is an interesting interview (in French) of Michel Gros and his co-writer (of the previous issues) on the subject of lunar calendar.
Today, this wine fares surprisingly well in a tasting, it has of course more maturity than in 2007 I guess, but it tastes like a honest wine, supple and fruity. Awful label design though. Monoprix isn't partnering with Gault & Millau for a Beaujolais-Nouveau home cuvée today.
The sketch on the label features an unidentified fellow being crushed by a rolling barrel of wine. The guy bought the domain name rkozy.com so that he could make up this loaded email address and avoid legal problems (if any). The author of the sketch is Luz, who works for the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.
The wine is made by Pierre Pitiot, and it tastes quite good. A bit peppery with a tannins texture in the mouth, this is a Gamay Nouveau like I'd like to see more. It's a sulfur free wine and otherwise also additives free. He is working on a small vineyard surface (1,5 ha, down from a previous surface of 6 ha) trying to minimize even the use of copper & sulfur in the sprayings so as not to damage his soil. Most of his wines are sulfur free now and if needed, he'll use some SO2 but at very small doses. Pierre Pitiot was until recently almost closing down his winery activity and he hopes that this cuvée will attract new customers and create a rebound. Read this interview of Pierre Pitiot (in French). You can find the wine at Le Vin au Vert (here is the wine list, I hadn't spotted the wine last time I visited). I think it costs about 8 €.
Tip by Antonin at Vindicateur.fr
I met Jean-Marie Vergé and a few other vignerons at another small tasting event : Buvons Nature, where only wines having got no additives at all take part. Jean-Marie is the son of Gilles & Catherine Vergé, who were also taking part to the tasting with their wines. He works on 2,5 hectares of his own.
From his parents Gilles and Catherine Vergé, I tasted a few wines :
__ Gilles & Catherine Vergé Viré Clessé, Le Haut de Boulaize 2008. Chardonnay with a lightly oxydative side. Classy and long mouthfeel. Nice wine. 15 €.
__ Gilles & Catherine Vergé Viré Clessé Coteaux des Quarts. 87-year-old Chardonnay vines, 15ho/ha yields. Very concentrated, and fresh wine at the same time, very surprising. In the good sense of the word.
__ Le Grand Cléré Sauvignon 2010.Classy mouth with minerality feel. 14,5 ° Nice length and reverberating in the mouth. Aromas of automnal fruits like chestnuts, says François, he is right, there is something of this nature. 13,5 €.
__ Le Grand Cléré Sauvignon Barriques (casks). Table wine. Turbid chard. Refined, powerful and a nice acidity. 14,5 °. An intense wine and a very enjoyable one to drink. Lightly oxydative feel which may be overmaturity notes. This was chronologically his last Sauvignon picked that year.
__ Le Grand Cléré Gewürtztraminer with a little bit of Chard. 2 casks only and it sells like crazy, he says, all his customers want it. That's a nose ! Can't put names on all these things I'm smelling avidly. Amber color, ripe nose. 40-year old vines. His grandfather had planted for experiments 200 varieties on his land and the Gewürztraminer felt like at home... 25 €.
__ Le Grand Cléré Rouge (red) 2010. Almost neutral red color. Turbid. Cabernet Franc + Cabernet Sauvignon. Destemmed and foot stomped. Maceration in cement vat. Long draining (10 days) and press juice kept separate (this wine is the press juice only). Very chewy mouth, a pleasure. 10 €. He made 500 bottles of this.
__ Le Grand Cléré The free run juice wine. More concentrated, elegant nose. Tannins in the mouth. Quite classy. Long keep wine, he says that ideally it should be carafed. 16 €.
Robinot (estate or négoce, whatever) Les Années Folles 2010, Pineau d'Aunis. Actually a white wine almost rosé (but more white than rosé). Nice wine, and even when the glass is empty, smells great. 12 €.
__ Robinot, Bistrologie 2009. White. Golden color. Ripe nose. Quite an exceptional mouth. This is Chenin, with a 20-month élevage. Aromas of caramel candy. the cask was topped up, he says when I ask, but not regularly. That's what I call the artist's intuition, just look at the result... This 2009 begins to taste well, he says, but he hasn't much of it left... 16 €.
__ Robinot Charme du Loir 2008. Chenin. 30 month élevage. Rich and ample but a welcome bitterness too.
__ Robinot L'Iris du Soir 2008 (Chenin). Color : clear and yellow, not turbid (although certainly unfiltered). Quite good, nice length. 32 €.
__ Robinot Concerto d'Aunis 2010 (Pineau d'Aunis). Vin de France (table wine). Nose : peony, pepper too. I like this one, but at 16 € it's a bit expensive for me. It's what I'd call a top Pineau d'Aunis.
__ Robinot Regard du Loir 2010, young vines of Pineau d'Aunis (10 years). Another top Pineau d'Aunis for me, very enjoyable and an easy drink. Empty glass : a delight too. 16 € also.
__ Le Raisin et L'Ange Cuvée "R" 2010. 100 % Roussanne. Honey notes, a silk paper feel with a good acidity. He made 1400 bottles of this. 8 €. He doesn't make this cuvée every year but in 2010 he felt he could because of the vintage conditions.
__ Le Raisin et L'Ange Bran 2010. Merlot 40 %, Cabernet Sauvignon 20 % Grenache 30 %. the nose is fresh with pepper. A very alive wine indeed, and so fresh, a real pleasure. Price : only 6 €, it's hard to believe... And totally additives-free including SO2 like all the wines in this tasting event (Buvons Nature). There's the book of Pierre Jancou on the table (Vin Vivant, another christmas gift idea) and I find the page where Jancou writes a few lines about Azzoni wines, their purity, their freshness and extreme affordability, I agree so much. Gilles Azzoni made 10 000 bottles of this cuvée.
__ Domaine Saurigny Rosé Pet'Nat. Natural Sparkling. Very clear color.
__ Domaine Saurigny Prem's, Primeur 2011. A red made from 2/3 Gamay and 1/3 Grolleau, a turbid wine with a pleasant mouth and swallow. The tannic part of the Grolleau is well tempered by the Gamay. Costs 5 € a bottle, incredible value here too. He made 800 bottles of this.
__ Domaine Saurigny Vin de France (table wine) Cabernet Franc & Cabernet Sauvignon. Reduction on the nose. Turbid, 12 ° in alcohol. Nice intensity in the mouth, with tannins but with a nice structure. 7 €.
__ Domaine Saurigny La Pache 2009. Nose : very appealing. Turbid wine. Grolleau/Gamay. Nice wine with a good balance and the feel that you can keep the wines long in the cellar knowing it will get even better, because it has the right fundamentals and because it's alive. 6 € only, again, a great value.
__ Domaine Saurigny Coteaux du Layon, Liquoreux. Very nice wine, and when you're swallowing it, you savor the fact that a SO2-free Coteaux-du-Layon is a rarity. the mouth is intense and delicious, with a caramel side. 20 €.
__ Domaine Saurigny Maceration of Sauvignon, a bottle which he brought along his other cuvées. Nose of straw and stable, very pleasant wine, as strange as it may seem with these tasting notes. Not on the market, he just sold a few bottles to a demanding restaurant in Paris (Agapé Substance, which is a top address in terms of wine list).
__ Les Joues Rouges 2010, table wine. Cabernet Franc. He had wines refused at the appellation agreement commission the first year, so he decided to bottle everything in table wine from then on. The name of the cuvée sounds like Anjou Rouge, I hope the wine police doesn't show up. Nose : fruity and fresh, lightly perly in the mouth. Nice wine, 8 €.
__ Le Villageois, Anjou Villages 2005. Mouth more austere. 2nd mouth opens the way to the feel about what this wine will yield in the next years. 11 €.
__ Panier de Fruits 2008. White (Chenin, I guess). Oxydative nose with a bright freshness. Color : amber, almost like a rosé. Mouth with character. Nice length. Vinified 2 years in a vat. 8 €.
__An amber-color white, carafed. Caramel color. Nose very exciting, oxydative mouth. Fermented and raised 30 months in casks. No topping up on this wine, which developped a veil at the surface in the cask. Tobacco notes, very tender and neat in the mouth. 14 €.
__ Pedro Rabernet 2005. Cabernet Franc. Incredible color, exquisite mouth. The cuvée name is a tribute to Pedro Ximenez, a white variety found in Spain. Made through direct press, the grapes having been dessicated on the vines and later on straw (passerillés). The nose is indeed incredible. Spent 36 months in casks.
Here are a few of the duty-free rates at Fasola/Narita (as of today, 1000 Y makes 9,8 € or 12,8 USD) :
__ Royal 12years : 2600 Y
__ Hakusyuu 12 years : 4500 Y
__ Hakusyuu 18 years : 15 000 Y
__ Hibiki 12 years : 3500 Y
__ Hibiki 17 years : 6500 Y
__ Hibiki 21 years : 15,000
__ Hibiki 30 years : 75 000 Y
__ Yamazaki 10 years : 3300 Y
__ Yamazaki 12 years : 4500 Y
__ Yamazaki 18 years : 15 000 Y
__ Yoichi 12 years : 3900 Y
__ Yoichi 15 years : 5500 Y
__ Yoichi 20 years : 16 000 Y
__ Taketsuru 21 years : 6000 Y
__ Taketsuru 17 years : 3500 Y
__ Gold and Gold (Kabuto set) : 3300 Y
__Chateau Cheval Blanc St Emilion 1er Grand Cru Classé 2004 : 35 € (bottle at 665 €)
__Chateau Ausone St Emilion 1er Grand Cru Classé 1999 : 45 € (bottle at 870 €)
__Chateau Latour Pauillac 1er Grand Cru Classé 2004 : 45 € (bottle at 1020 €)
__ Chateau Margaux 1er Grand Cru Classé 2004 : 35 € (bottle at 865 €)
__ Cos D'Estournel Saint Estèphe 2ème Grand Cru Classé 1996 : 15 € (bottle at 295 €)
__ Chateau Haut-Brion Blanc 2007 (Pessac Leognan) : 45 € (bottle at 825 €)
__ Chateau Laville Haut Brion 2006 (Pessac Leognan) : 30 € (bottle at 665 €)
__ Gaja Sori San Lorenzo 2005 : 20 € (bottle at 400 €)
__ Ridge, California, Montebello 2000 : 10 € (bottle at 206 €)
Just a few picks, you can see more on this Lavinia page listing the wines at the enomatic machines (although they're not all listed, it seems).