Christian Vache is the man behind an iconic winery in the southern Rhone region of Vacqueyras : la Monardière.
__ La Monardière, Vin de Pays 2011 (red). Grenache. Nice acidity & balance, with an animal side and reduction, which is not worrying for me.
__ La Monardière Vacqueyras les Calades 2011 (red). Very, very nice freshness, the mouth is splendidly bright. Balanced.
__ La Monardière Vacqueyras les 2 Monardes 2011 (red). Straight from the vat (not bottled yet, is was to be bottled in november). Surprising acidity on the tongue. Rather elegant and nice chew with somme astringency on the sides of the mouth. 70 % Grenache vinified in vats and 30 % Syrah vinified in casks, the whole being later blended in 1/2 muids where it spent a while. Unfiltered (no wine is filtered here). Very nice, this cuvée makes a volume of 250 hectoliters, that's the biggest cuvée in the estate. The vines are older than 50.
__ La Monardière Cuvée Vieilles Vignes 2010. 60 % Grenache (80 years old), 20 % Syrah (40 years) and 20 % Mourvèdre (20 years), each vinified separately. The mouth here is just outstanding by its freshness and the quality of its tannins. Here again, a beautiful balance which is so hard to achieve in the Rhone.
__ Domaine Jean David Côtes du Rhone (generic) 2011, with a red label. Unfiltered red wine. Nose with aromas of garrigue in the heat of summer, eucalyptus. Mouth : outstanding balance, not burning although high in alcohol. A pleasure to drink.
__ Domaine Jean David Côtes du Rhone Seguret 2011. With a new green label, he says. The mouth here is exceptional for its freshness . There's a mineral side in this freshness here, it's like if you were drinking stones. Refined and intense wine.
__ Domaine Jean David Côtes du Rhone Seguret 2010. The previous vintage, with a smaller label. Less pleasant after the 2011, the tannins are more forward, more present in the mouthfeel.
__ Domaine Jean David le Beau Nez 2010. Another red Côtes du Rhone. This estate has been farmed organic for 35 years. Wines are vinified without SO2 until bottling (a bit added then). Very beautiful wine, powerful and majestic, with a good length and refineness. That's good ! Lots of pleasure because in addition to all this there is an obvious life feel in this wine.
__ Domaine Jean David Côtes du Rhone les Levants 2010. This red also offers a good freshness in the mouth, a bot of volatile too maybe but that's fine.
__ Domaine Jean David Côtes du Rhone Seguret les Couchants 2010. This red has a roasted aroma on the nose with eucalyptus notes. Exotic wood too. Feels quite high i alcohol but if you can hold it there's a nice aromatic concentration in the mouth here.
I got this bottle of Tandem when I visited Christophe foucher's La Lunotte a few years ago and I shamelessly let it aside for years. I fell upon this humble vin de table in my wine stock in the Loire and decided that I couldn't wait more, this table wine being probably made without added sulfites and the cellar temperature where I keep part of my wines in the Loire not being very stable, I might risk to loose the wine if I waited more. This was a beautiful suprise, a lightly perly candy with aromas of grenadine and raspberry and the immediate feel at the first sip that you're drinking something alive with its gentle energy. Don't underestimate the capability of sulfur-free wines to stand years in not-so-cool temperature conditions, they'll surprise you.
You will meet there Bruno Allion, Béatrice et Michel Augé, Mikaël Bouges, Alain Courtault & Simon Tardieux, Joël Courtault, Christophe Foucher, Nathalie Gaubicher [recent posts], Renaud Guettier, Emile Heredia, Olivier Lemasson, Noëlla Morantin, Pascal Potaire et Moses Gadouche--Les Capriades, Jean Marie et Thierry Puzelat--Clos du Thierry Puzelat & Pierre-Olivier Bonhomme, Michel & Sylviane Quenioux, Jean-Pierre Robinot, Anne-Cécile Roy, Jérôme & Dominique Sauvèteauv, Laura Semeria, Cyrille Sevin, Pascal Simonutti, Jean-Luc Tessier, Philippe Tessier, Hervé Villemade...
Location : 25 rue Jean-Baptiste Charcot, Blois - december 1 & 2 - Entry fee : 4 €
Beyond the Russian administration's reluctance to give the aspiring new winemakers access to the market, the artisanal winemakers are indeed handicapped by the lack of winemaking-tools distribution, and I remember that Yanis Karakezidi, the most iconic artisanal winemaker in Russia today, pinpointed the issue as one of the big difficulties in setting up a garage winery. But the Russian and slavic inventiveness can hopefully get around these hassles.
Russian blogs on wine are blossoming and this one (Wineturist or Винный турист in Russian) is very informative and enjoyable. While the wine public including bloggers like this one is gatherting steam, there is still way to go for a large part of the Russian public. On the issue of wine tastes and aknowledgment of the vinous quality or the lackthereof of wines, read (translate) this story with the video (watch it, you don't need to understand Russian) showing how passerbys and visitors in a wine fair voted a medal to a fake wine (you'll see on the video how they made this wine). The blog post says incidently that many cheap wines on the shelves in the shops are no better than this Mélange Infernal or "hellish mix (en Français dans le texte)... We may laugh at this fake wine getting good notes but we have probably our share of wines doctored with all sort of correcting additives which we occasionally mistook for real wines...
There's a guest story on the blog, about a visit at the Uppa winery in Crimea, Ukraine, where the vineyards are farmed on biodynamie. Pavel Shvets who runs the Uppa winery is fully into the organic/biodynamic farming along principles set up by Rudolf Steiner and encouraged by Nicolas Joly's group, but on the winemaking side he's also aiming at a fully-natural winemaking without forced interference.
On this video you can see a few scenes of a tasting organized by L-Wine, including an interview of French sommelier Olivier Poussier. L-Wine is the arm of the Luding Group, a powerful Russian company which is a major player in the wine-import business. Have a look at the wine portfolio for France at Luding.
Look at the devatting of Cabernet Franc at Clos Roche Blanche.
This mushroom season started kind of late as the underwoods were very dry until the autumn, then the rain came and the mushrooms blossomed. Just a few days ago it was gorgeous even if some mushrooms (boletos) were pretty ripe, but the late-season hedgehog mushrooms (called pieds de mouton here in France) were for their part in very good condition and sizes (you can find them until deep into december). I do like these discreet mushrooms hiding in groups under the fallen leaves, they're not as tasty as the boletos but they keep almost crunchy even after been cooked in the pan.
All pictures shot this autumn.
Here are news that may upset hysteric crowds in the Middle East, but the science Academia is probably infiltrated by greasy infidels plotting to unnerve them... An experiment on pigs has shown that red wine has better cardiovascular benefits than vodka (how come we haven't seen deadly riots in Russia yet for this blatantly-anti--Russian research ?!). Too bad also for the Bordeaux reds that seemed until now the sole beneficiaries of the polyphenols craze and its pursuit of miracle cure against all sort of ailments, beginning with the cardiovascular ones. All red wines are heroes now on the heart-health issue. Maybe Bordeaux should riot over there to have these scientists imprisoned for blasphemy...
Extract of the research.
Science Daily on the issue.
Note to the wine-gadget companies out there, telling about this one doesn't mean I'll do it for yours : I love to do that when I'm not compelled or asked to...
Plus, PlattyPreserve flat containers are sold at REI, the maker of the proud Novara Safari bikes, which fitted with fenders, racks and panniers are the right heavy-duty bikes that will help you cycle across the continents or explore the North-West landscapes (If someone reads me at REI, please ship me a Novara Safari)...
This report also gives incidently a comical insight into the Pavlovian French response to the issue : devising news taxes on chemical products, with of course redistribution in mind in the direction of organic wineries to help the gullible public swallow it (hiding behind the fight against pollution deters any possible resistance to a new tax, so it's the big trend these days). Speaking of redistribution, these fools should know that organic wineries would just love that the State and its overstaffed administration just let them alone for a change, they're not the ones looking for subsidies, they sell all their wine, stupid...
I loved their "Effets, au prix de 2006, d'un système de taxation avec redistribution uniforme et subvention à l'agriculture biologique", it sounds almost like a political program. There's some obscure fonctionnaire over there in Paris who must have been thinking that his long-arm tax scheme was going to save the planet (and incidently help hire a few more of his likes)...
The video above shows two parcels bearing the stigma of heavy use of herbicides. The first few rows display the typical yellowish grass while the last rows have a moon-like soil, bare and desolate. This was shot in an undisclosed location in Touraine (Loire). Too bad, because the woods behind could offer lots of life and insects which would benefit the vines, the soil and ultimately the wine.
The same research report in Pdf.
Source for France's wine-regions map
The back label just said : Porto Santos Junior 1982 Vintage, Mis en bouteille au Portugal, A. Pinto Dos Santos Junior & C.a L.da - Vila Nova De Gaia - Produce of Portugal.
An appartment with view in Paris is usually associated with more conventional landscapes like the Eiffel tower or Paris' roofs, the Seine or the Champs Elysées. But there's a place where you can almost have it both ways in Paris, the wine country and old-Paris streets, the vineyard and the cobble-stone streets. This is what I discovered through friends who rented this appartment with unusual views, a little-known cemetary on one side and the vineyard of Montmartre on the other side in addition to the famed building of the Lapin Agile. Unfortunately I missed the picking last october, the weather was awful that season and they managed to pick before I shot this video. My friends rented this place for three weeks but it rained on most days of the wine festival of Montmartre.
Reservation page (I am not commissioned for this link)
In one of the most idiotic moves in their doomed obsession to pretend to save the planet, the Paris council plans to ban old vehicules like this cutie and any vehicule older than 17 years as early as 2014 in the Paris streets. The poor mayor, who is probably not a bad guy if not very smart, is the hostage of a stubbornly-ideological strain of self-proclaimed ecologists (the French greens) who in fact relish in all forms of compulsive repression related to various society issues, not all related with ecology (but ALL having to do with repression, enforcement, taxes or fines). I'm almost sure that Steiner would have considered them as the reincarnation of the 19th-century Puritans as a group, landing here today to haunt us and enjoy their repressive skills against clueless real people. Yesterday in a different context they were fighting the heretics, or the booze; here in the 21st century they have slightly extended their field of operations and there's plenty of leverage dealing with guilt-rooted issues to exert their nefarious skills on a mentally-paralyzed public. No doubt my cutie would give this Paris administration the finger if she could, enjoying her pristine Loire forest where real vehicules like her are still allowed to exist...
Motorcycles built before 2004 would be also banned, which adds another layer of idiocy to this autocratic diktat. My own motorcycle which is from a make known to last for ever would be banned, although it runs fine and has a catalytic muffer. Let's try to see the positive side of these hassles, every new weird move of these fools increases the chance people open their eyes and vote them out like it happened in London years ago with Ken Livingstone (I try hard but I'm not very optimistic, to be frank)...
Read the artile about the issue from the Telegraph.
Musée des Arts Forains : 53 Avenue des Terroirs de France 75012 Paris
Metro : Cour Saint-Emilion (line 14 -- south-east of Gare de Lyon)