That's the type of wine you're happy to come across, with a lovely fruitiness (plus the pepper side of Pineau d'Aunis) and an onctuous, chewy mouthfell providing a relishing pleasure when you swallow it. If you plan to have a bottle with more than two people, you better plan ahead with a spare bottle because there will be soon a feeling of deprivation among your guests.
This lightly-turbid table-wine cuvée which is named Poivre et Sel [Pepper & Salt] is a Pineau d'Aunis with a bit of Gamay, it was made in 2011 in the Loire by Olivier Lemasson. It's a carbonic maceration made the most natural way from organicly-farmed grapes. It is not only made without additives, but without SO2 either, and with 11,5 ° in alcohol, the wine is such an easy, enjoyable drink. Costs 10-12 € in wine shops and 8 € at the winery.
Time to watch again Mr Douche, folks, with his expert advice to a clueless girl who wants to know more about wine and at some point asks about natural wines, to which the expert sommelier answers : Natural wine does not exist, all wine is unnatural ... as soon as man picks those grapes the unnaturalness starts, don't ever forget that... Real-life debaters like Michel Bettane often have little more than this type of argument as line of defence, which is pretty weak in regard to the tasting AND DRINKING (the drinking side being often ignored by the industry advocates) experience that people love with these wines : many new consumers of these wines entered the natural-wine world not by reading enthusiastic agit-prop, but through the back door : going out with friends, being served such or such wine, which they find terrific and so easy to drink, and it's often only after the bottle is finished that they learn that the wine has been made without additives from an organic vineyard by a guy farming a handful of hectares by himself. As simple as that. The mounting success of these wines isn't the result of a marketing campaign but solely by either the word of mouth or the actual experience. Conventional wines may need marketing tricks like AOC or other prestigious estate imagery, these wines which are often vulgar table wines from obscure regions just need that youy taste them once. It's quite funny to read here and there conspiracy theories, like saying that the mounting success of these wines would be fueled by unfair and slandering comments against mainstream winemaking. The reality is just so simple, it's the wine, stupid ! More and more people try these __whatever you call them__ natural or artisan wines and feel by themselves that they're just so different, so enjoyable, and they just stick to these wines, who would blame them ? This may be what scares some in the mainstream wine industry, as more people are voting with their feet and begin to ask questions about what's in the wine.
One guy (Nick) summed up the whole issue quite well in the comments section on Keith's page :
I think minimalist wine is a terrible term for the wines I love. Natural wines to me are exuberant, alive, exciting, and mysterious. None of those words are evoked by the word minimalist.
I don’t really understand, from a PR perspective, what you are advocating. When you think of the term natural in a branding sense, it’s taken 30 years for it to get as far as it did. There a few lone winemakers working super-artisanally for a long time, the movement has spread and grown slowly, and now that it’s finally beginning to catch on and get some mainstream media attention, you want us to change the term? This is farcical.
The word describes the way the wines taste, and it’s not going anywhere. It’s even spreading into other languages now with vinos naturales in Spain and Vinnatur in Italy. How would you even orchestrate all these disparate organizations changing their names at the same time?
Yeah the term is vague, and almost every time I say it to someone who’s never had to hear it, I have to explain what it means. But wow, there we are having a conversation about how wine is made and what makes it taste the way it does. That’s a good thing! This term wasn’t cooked up in a marketing lab, tested with focus groups for maximum mass-appeal. And neither are the wines.
That's what some call an equally-natural winemaking....
Sexy wine labels surface here and there around the world, but they often adorn, to be frank, lesser-quality bottles, that is dirt-cheap wines. Poland, which has a small producing region, seems to have its own naked-labels wines. I'm afraid the wine here is a quick booze of the worst kind, but I'd certainly try it if I had the opportunity.
The mainstream media doesn't say a lot about it, but bars are increasibly under violent attack in Algeria. Proof that in the muslim world today, you don't need to have an arab spring followed by its islamofascist takeover to witness all the intolerance and violence that go with it. Following many muslim countries in the path to self destruction, Algeria has been doing its part eagerly and with great conviction. Like elsewhere in the region, a large share of the population endorses the islamist narrative, and salafists, who call regularly for the closing of all bars, control 30 % of the mosques there. The violent islamization moved up a gear recently with physical repression against bars and bar owners all over the country, initiated not only by islamist henchmen, but by the government itself (which probably thinks it will survive if it preempts the Taliban agenda), leading to the closing of most of them. Following attacks on bars, threats and other violence, some 2000 bars have been forced to close along the last 3 years. The linked articles says that for every closed bar, three illegal booze joints may probably open.
Algeria's altitude Plateaus offers ideal conditions for vine growing, and Algerian wine has been until 1962 a booming commodity, helping develop the local economy. After 1962, following the independance and the violent ethnic cleansing that followed, the wine production dwindled year after year, althouth there was still a steady consumption of wine and other alcoholic beverage by locals. The Kabyles, or Berbers, who were the indigenous population living in the area before the arab invasion starting in the 7th century, resist the move and try to keep supply lines open, but not with much hope in the long term. The linked article (in French), which was found on a kabyle website, says that Algerians drink 1,1 million hectoliters of beer, 500 000 hectoliters of wine and 90 000 hectoliters of spirits a year. You can also learn about the black-market improvised bars along the road and elsewhere.
Read this Algerian visit report (in French) by an indigenous Kabyle living in France : he saw a country where islamofascism is thriving, with intolerance and crime rising.
In the southern city of Clapiers, in the Hérault département, a public library named from the French writer Albert Camus had on its facade a giant portrait of Albert Camus by photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, where Camus is seen on this picture smoking a cigarette, like he was most of the time in real life then (who didn't smoke anyway at that time ?). Whatever, a local regional elected politician from the Green Party asked that the picture be removed and sued the library... because of the shocking cigarette. This enlightened individual going under the name of Thierry Teulade said that there was a public park and a stadium right near with lots of youth and mothers who could be unsettled by the view of the picture [my dear...], and there was also a pharmacy, and, the guy continued, "what would a person in the middle of a chemotherapy would feel, looking at this picture" ? The censorship attempt and lawsuit was reported by the local newspapers and the judge has yet to give his judgement----- What can we do, my friend, in the face of this ? I'm afraid nothing, just look at the human comedy and try to build up on positive things.... The French greens are sometimes puzzling, they're an offshoot from the urban extreme left and are known to have a pavlovian tendency toward censorship and thought police, but taking down giant pictures is strange, it makes them look so Talibanesque. This by the way could explain some of their bizarre bed sharing these last years.
Here's the linked article in French.
Our supposedly traveller from Kazakhstan is visiting a supermarket in the middle of the country and asks the store manager for a visit (I guess he told him that there were no such plentiful supermakets in Kazakhstan). He walks to the processed-cheese aisle and points his finger to every each of the displayed cheese, row after row, asking with his faked foreign accent what it is, to which the store manager indefatigably answers "Cheese".... To be frank, when I first saw this scene, I couldn't but think immediately to the wine aisles of the supermarkets, be it in France or elsewhere, because we have the same dichotomy : all these labels on one side with different appellations or estates making you believe you're looking at a diverse production, and actually you have often a product inside which is uniformly processed and loaded with corrective additives, nullifying the terroir character of the product. Interesting scene to ask ourselves questions about what the food-and-drink business is making us buy everyday.
The Borat guy is preparing another outrageous movie about an arab dictator coming for a visit in America. Be ready for more bad-taste scenes...
[Edit] Kazakhstan where the Borat film was perceived as an insult is slowly considering that the until-now-hated "mockumentary" may turn to be a blessing for tourism, as visas demands has soared tenfold (See this article from the New York Post).
Also : During an official championship ceremony in Kuwait, the "Borat Kazakhstan anthem" was played in the place of the real Kazakhstan anthem, a staff of the sport event having made a rapid search and download of the anthems on the internet without double checks. The Kazakh government slammed Kuwait for this blunder (listen to the anthems through this latter linked page)
Full article on Pamela Druckerman in the Wall Street Journal.
You can see in the video above interviews of the French winemaker Frank Duseigneur (Le Grand Vostock), of Semigorie's Guenadi Oparin (along the vineyard of whom the reporter shows the value of the rock-thick soil) and of Denis Kuznetsov (Gai Kodzor).
Source : www.winekuban.ru
While this is not very recent news, Depardieu also made last year a short movie on a vigneron story in 2011, named Grenouille d'Hiver (Winter Frog) where he plays the role of a winemaker who just lost his wife and is saved from suicide by a visiting Japanese wine amateur (played by Eriko Takeda). I think that he gave probably a personnal touch in this wine-related story shot between the frost-blanketed vines and the cellar. I don't know if it can be viewed on TV, the Internet or elsewhere, but keep an eye open for it.
Also in the news recently : Depardieu showed clearly his support for Nicolas Sarkozy in the election campaign (video), coming in person to a political meeting for Sarkozy (picture)
A Depardieu interview on Decanter.
Trailer of Depardieu's short movie on a vigneron.
Street View of his restaurant Le Bien Décidé (formerly Les Caves du Cherche Midi).
Fleury is among the few Champagne Houses working fully organic (in biodynamy since 1989) and producing terroir-driven Champagne wines. I found the picture on the website of Fleury's Paris venue, where you can drink not only Fleury Champagne by the glass but also natural wines from other regions, as well as buy bottles to go (wine list). Morgane Fleury who manages the place is also a comedian and there's often music events at her venue (see map for directions and Google street view).