Like every year at the same time, a tasting featuring organic and biodynamic wineries was organized on a barge in Paris, on the other side of the Seine from the Grande Bibliothèque. It had been a few years since the last time I attended and I found the time to go this year, thanks alo because I was tipped about it by the Saladin sisters who also participate every year.
This is more than a tasting, you can purchase wine and as the parking is easy along the river bank on this Quai de Bercy, both winery owners and potential buyers had no problem parking their vehicules in the immediate vicinity. I guess also that the renting cost for this barge is close from what would be asked for a similarly-sized brick-and-mortar space.
The event was organized by Verre Bouteille, a wine-event agency managed by Isabelle Jomain, a sommelière with a crush on real wines.
The entry fee was 6 € against which you get a nice glass that you could keep aftewards and allowed you an unlimited access to all these wines to taste generously.
There was enough room for every participating winery to have a reasonably-sized table, and although there were quite a few visitors we could go around smoothly without having to elbow our way to the tables. I saw 2 acquaintances there that afternoon, Alain Segelle and François Morel who both are men of eminence in wine tasting, writing and knowledge.
Year after year these are the same wineries that take part, with a newcomer occasionally joining. You can see the list of the participating wineries on this page, they were 22 in all.
__ Patrick Baudouin Les Coteaux d'Ardenay, red Anjou 2009. Bottled 2 years ago. Bend of cabernet franc (60%) and cabernet sauvignon (40%). From what I understand, Patrick Baudoin has a majority of white (Chenin) in his vineyards, and the reds make up only 2,5 hectares on a total of 14 hectares. The wine is quite concentrated in the mouth, like its color hints. Costs 13,10 € (the 2010 because te 2009 is sold out).
__ Patrick Baudouin Savennières 2009. Chenin of course. Fresh nose, a mineral type of freshness. Neat wine in the wine, straight. The vineyards here are 35 years old on ocher schists. Costs 19 €.
__ Patrick Baudouin Cornillard 2010, white Anjou. Vineyards on the Coteaux du Layon. Rich wine with higher alcohol feel. The vineyards are 50 to 60, exposed on south. Costs 21 €.
__ Patrick Baudouin Effusion 2011, white Anjou (chenin). Very neat, with aromas more mineral than flowery. Terroir on ryolits, volcanic rocks, with the shists underneath.
__ Patrick Baudouin, Glanées 2006, white demi-sec Anjou (sec-tendre, says Patrick). Still quite fresh in spite of the residual sugar, which aren't that high. Made grom particularly-ripe grapes picked here and there (glanées) among various parcels.
picture on left : among the crowd, an early wine education, or how the subtile wine scents will make the demanding wine lovers of the future...
__ Pierre Frick, Alsace Pinot Noir 2011. This is one of the cuvées without any SO2 adding, the label reads "Vin biologique, zero sulfites ajoutés". Very nice wine, Alsace pinot noir can really be so good. Maybe still young but already very enjoyable. The lack of any SO2 probably adds a vibrant life feel in this wine. Bottled end of march 2012. I didn't ask for the price but I saw it at 16 € here.
__ Pierre Frick Gewürztraminer 2011. Another "zero sulfites" wine. What a nose. Well-concentrated mouth with petrol aromas, very enjoyable and surprising, again because of the life feel I suppose. Candy aromas. Costs 13,5 € public price.
__ Pierre Frick Alsace Riesling 2009. More dry and more mineral
__ Pierre Frick Alsace Riesling Grand Cru Vorbourg (forgot to note the vintage). Richness. It's been 10 years that all their bottles at Frick are closed with crown caps. 15,5 €.
__ Pierre Frick Alsace Pinot Gris rot Murlé 2008. Honey side, wheat too. Nice substance in the mouth, glides well on the palate. Very nice wine. Costs 12,9 €.
__ Pierre Frick Alsace Gewürztraminer 2008. Dry. Very aromatic with the typical Riesling aromatic style.
__ Pierre Frick Alsace Sylvaner Bergweingarten 2004. Long élevage in bottles. Before the bottling, spent time in a large oval foudre typical of Alsace. Delicate nose.
__ Pierre Frick, a surprise wine : Pierre frick Auxerrois Carrière 2006. Iode on the nose. The mouth is quite pleasant. 100% Auxerrois variety. This wine stayed 5 years in its cask ! The reason is that the fermentarion would stumble now and then, stopping and starting again depending of the season or mood of the wine. Bottled in july 2011. Carrière means quarry, the 60-are parcel sits next to a yellow-sandstone quarry.
Auxerrois is a traditional variety in Alsace, but people and even growers don't differentiate the Pinot Auxerrois from the Pinot Blanc, that's why it's aknowledged. The Auxerrois brings more body and has less acidity. A gooD Auxerrois is close to a Pinot Gris. The Pinot Blanc has more acidity as it gets lower sugar. 15 €. Another wine worth trying.
__ Pierre Frick Alsace Gewürztraminer Grand Cru Eichberg 2007. Just one word : superb. 25 €.
Picture on right : wine education - the sequel.
__ Domaine Saladin Fan de Lune 2007, red Cotes du Rhone village. The last bottles of this vintage. 60% Mourvèdre, 20% Syrah and 20% Grenache. Costs 16 €. The 2008 will not be bottled yet, they're going to market the 2009 first. The mouth reveals some extraction and concentration. Vinified in cement vats.
__ Domaine Saladin Loï, red Cotes du Rhone 2011 (not sure of the vintage). Grenache and 10% of Carignan. More tannic. Parcel with pebble stones or galets roulés, possibly the ones I pictured on my story about the winery. Carbonic maceration.
__ Domaine Saladin Per El, white Cotes du Rhone 2011. Also from vineyards on pebble stones. Many white varieties in there among which Marsanne, Viognier, Bourboulenc, Clairette and Grenache Blanc. Marie-Laurence says that they recently changed their vinification method : they still use wild yeasts but they raise the temperature to 18°C after the débourbage, from 14°C. She gets this way much more nose. This wine is fresh with an easy-drinking feel.
__Domaine des 2 Ânes Les 2 Anes Gris 2011. As the cuvée name hints, this is Grenache Gris. Old vines, almost horizontal because of the wind. The parcel is complanted with a few vines of Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Muscat. Classy mouth, the wine is very dry and very elegant. Nice structure. 17 €. Raised in (old) casks, total of 2 casks for this cuvée. Dominique Terrier just recovered a parcel of Grenache Gris and he'll make more of this wine. He plans also to make a cuvée with 10 varieties because he is going to graft a pacel, it will be labelled as Corbières Blanc.
__Domaine des 2 Ânes, Premiers Pas Rouge, red Corbières. Generous nose, like with aromas of ripe and faded flowers. The mouth is the one of a true wine made without tricks, offers itself gently. Under-maturity Carignan, he says, vinified whole-clustered with a short (8-day) carbonic maceration, then pressed. Costs 6,8 € public price, superb value !
__Domaine des 2 Ânes, Fontanilles 2010. Red Corbières. Carignan, Syrah, Grenache. Picked more ripe. More astringency, tannic, but it begins to get in line I think. Costs 8,5 € and is also a good deal if you wait a bit. SO2 : a bit at bottling and sometimes during the malo if there'ss a problem, but 90 % of his wines reach the bottling stage without having come across SO2 before.
__Domaine des 2 Ânes, L'Enclos 2009. Pink label. Majority of Grenache with some Syrah, Carignan and Mourvèdre, vineyards on slopes. Majestic and powerful mouth. Spices notes. I think that you have to eat with this wine.
__Domaine des 2 Ânes, Les Cabrioles 2008. Very extracted wine, at least that's the way I feel it. This is Mourvèdre vinified in tronconic wooden vat to avoid having harsch tannins. Fermented 5 weeks at low temperature (23-24 °C) with cooling coils.
__ Domaine Henri Milan, Papillon Rouge 2012. Vin de France (table wine, like most cuvées in this estate). Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre. Whole-clustered semi-carbonic maceration for 4-5 days, without CO2 saturation and without lid on the vat. Turbid wine. The wines here are not filtered. 12 € tax included now, as a Primeur (new wine). Will cost 16 € in a few months. A large part of this cuvée is still in vats. 3000 bottles. I spot "Vin de France Libre" on the label, a proud slogan for a usually humble labelling (table wine is looked upon as a minor if not vulgar wine category).
__ Domaine Henri Milan, Baux de Provence cuvée Domaine 2003. The last year they got the AOC was 2006. Now this cuvée is named Le Vallon (this is the name of the parcel). Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault & Mourvèdre.
__ Domaine Henri Milan, Le Clos (not sure of the vintage). As such a name (Clos) is forbidden for a table wine (too qualitative !), the four letters of the word are split at the corners of a square on the label. In 2005 this was still in AOC and later they had to find this trick to keep their customer know where the wine was coming from. The wine is a bit astringeant, but not bad at all. This cuvée makes an average of 8000 a year. THe last vintage was 2009, after which they uprooted the parcel and replanted.
__ Domaine Henri Milan, Le Grand Blanc., white vin de France 2010. Heady white, this is the south. 5 varieties here : Grenache Blanc, Rolle, Roussanne, Muscat & Chardonnay. Vinified in vats without SO2, just a bit of it at bottling. 6 to 8 months in casks after the vat time. 2nd mouth : quite fesh after all. 22 €.
__ Domaine Henri Milan, La Carrée 2010, vin de France. 100% Roussanne. Very vivid and expressive nose. Soil : clay/limestones. Beautiful mouth, neat and mineral. Excellent wine. The mouth is very longue and radiates for a while, this is impressing. But a bit expensive for me : 50 €.
Paul Barre is still active in the anti-CVO movement (link to the Bordeaux group), a rebel group of vignerons across France who have decided to unite and appeal the European instances so that they can stpo paying the compulsory tax funding the regional appellation body. CVO is the acronym for Cotisation Volontaire Obligatoire, ae Kafkaian name that only the French bureaucracy could invent and which means "Voluntary Compulsory Subscription". They argue that these syndicats d'appellation (like the CIVB in Bordeaux) funded by these compulsory substriptions levied on EVERY wineries aren't of any use except for the wealth of these wine fonctionnaires and their glitzy buildings.
The Interprofession of Bordeaux as the tax-funded body is named in France threatens the rebels with prosecution if they refuse to pay the voluntary-compulsory-subscription. A few months ago in october, judges ordered the rebels to pay but there's still hope on the part of the rebellion that the European courts give them nod
I tasted the wines with Paul Barre's daughter Chloe commenting (pic on left), and I was impressed of her knowledge of the wines and the vinification, she was clearly involved and not just helping her father.
__ Paul Barre Leeloo 2011, vin de France. Chloe says that in 2005 they hired a guy who was extremely knowledgeable in terms of the pruning, he helped revamp the pruning on the estate, and this cuvée is named from the friendly dog of this person.The wine : 50% Cabernet Franc, plus Merlot, Malbec and something else. They stop here the maceration after 3 days, then press a few hectoliters of every other cuvées and put it into this wine, so that you have the whole Domaine here. Bottled a month ago. A wine purposedly on the fruit.
__ Paul Barre, Chateau la Fleur Cailleau, Canon Fronsac 2006. Merlot 80%, Cabernet Franc 17 %, Malbec 3 %. Low yields that year. Nice tannic chew, the wine coats pleasantly the palate, same when swallowed. Nice wine. Bottled in 2008. Costs 17 €.