This is the time of the year (early february) when Angers turns intos some sort of wine capital of the world. It all began with the Salon des Vins de Loire, short-named here as the Salon d'Angers. Created in 1987, this major wine tasting event began at the turn of the century (1998-1999) to be surrounded by parrallel, more counter-cultural tasting events, mostly centered on natural wines and organic, biodynamic wines from the Loire and beyond. The first was La Dive Bouteille if I'm right, then Renaissance (the biodynamic group headed by Nicolas Joly), then Vins Bio de Loire and others. And others are indeed appearing, there seems almost to be a new such tasting event every other year. These are small or medium-size tasting events, all of them professional and all all them courted by the wine enthusiasts, importers and restaurateurs of much of the wine-wise world, who jump at the opportunity to double up their scouting and tasting trip by adding in their schedule these side fairs on top of the mighty Salon d'Angers.
Les Vins Anonymes is one such new tasting event, it has been set up by Babass (alias Sébastien Dervieux) and Jean-Christophe Garnier (both from Anjou, Loire) with the goal to provide professional tasters the oportunity to meet (and taste the wines from) a small group of mostly-unknown vintners, or anonymous vintners if you prefer, that's why the name of the event. All these winemakers/growers share the love for real products made from organic grapes and vinified with indigenous yeast and little or no sulfites.
The other unusual trait of this wine tasting event was that it took place in a church, namely the Collégiale Saint Martin in the heart of Angers. Tasting wine in a church is quite unusual, I must recognize that there's something more profound in such a setting compared to tasting on a barge, even though I don't want to disparage the latter. The church went through the upheavals of History and ended up being acquired by the Maine-et-Loire département in 1986 and it was turned into a museum / concert-hall /special-events room in 2006.
Wine always held a particular place in the church rituals, and I find it is a welcome if unexpected return that vintners that are not at all into religious things somehow raise their glass in such a pious monument loaded with History...
It reminds me of Bordeaux which was samely turned into an upscale outdoor shopping mall with period architecture as a decor. I read that Robert Parker said he loved the new Bordeaux, saying "I remember the old days and the rotten, abandoned buildings on the waterfront, now a ravishing destination." (source, on the Gleaming City on the Garonne). I tend to think that real cities can stand some mess, abandonned buildings and, yes, private vehicules, and I am not sure that my ideal city is a gleaming city with sleek tramcars of the sort Bordeaux has become, but like wine, that's all a question of taste I guess, we may not always like the same wines isn't it ? This said, Robert Parker may have just been diplomatic and said just what Bordeaux people wanted to hear. I'm afraid most people over there wouldn't understand someone who would point to this issue of real towns versus these real-estate-flyer fancy urban landscapes...
This was a professional tasting but there wasn't really a filter in that regard, and most of the visitors seemed to be from the trade, including quite a number of foreigners. It must be said that at that time of the year (at the turn of january and february) hundreds of wine pros from all over France and the world gather in Angers and every other person met in the street must be a wine geek of some kind...
Speaking of the wines, here is the list of the participating vintners. Most, like you can see, are unknown, they're part of the next wave of young blood in artisan winemaking. There seems to be more and more growers who take up small surfaces and vinify without corrections across France, thanks to the multitude of neglected parcels in several wine regions which happen to be planted in well-suited soils. there was also artisanal beer from Anjou as well as cider.
Baptiste Cousin (Anjou); Jean-Christophe Garnier (Anjou); Damien Bureau (Anjou); Le Coulée D'Ambrosia (Anjou); Jérôme Lambert (Anjou); Cave Beclair (Anjou); Cédric Garreau (Anjou); Jérome Saurigny (Anjou); Thomas Boutin (Anjou); Les vignes de Babass (Anjou); Pierre Borel (Bourgueil); Domaine du Mortier (Bourgueil); Xavier Courant (Bourgueil); Joel Courtault (Touraine); La Lunotte (Touraine); Jacky Ripoche (Saumur); Mathieu L'Hotelier (Coteaux de la Loire); Sylvain Bock (Ardèche); Didier Grappe (Jura); Pechigo (Languedoc Roussillon); Le Pelut (Languedoc Roussillon); Delphine Roibet (Languedoc Roussillon); Alexandre Coulange (Languedoc Roussillon); Remi Poujol (Languedoc); Fita Maria (Languedoc); Julien Peyras (Languedoc); Yvo Ferreira (Languedoc); Mathias Marquet (Bergerac); Julie Balagnie (Beaujolais); Pierre Boyat (Beaujolais); Lilian Bauchet (Beaujolais); La Sorga (Multi-Sud); Benoit Piolet (Cider & limonade); Brasserie Angel (Anjou beer).
__ La Lunotte, Trio, Vin de France 2011. White wine. Blend of Menu Pineau and Sauvignon, 50 % each. Costs 6,5 € without tax. Refined nose with English candy aromas, honey candies. Very clear color, but not filtered. Christophe Foucher doesn't use a pump, the wine is bottled by gravity. His wines are never filtered nor fined. In this wine, he says, the menu pineau is more forward than the sauvignon, as I was telling him that this was not very sauvignon style. He adds that he kept some of the menu pineau of that vintage in casks, and he may bottle it separately.
__ La Lunotte, les Rossignoux, Vin de France 2011 (table wine). 100% sauvignon. Elevage in casks. Ripe nose. No sugar left : his wines are dry and he doesn't like to let residual sugar in the wines. No SO2 adding, at any stage including bottling. There may be 5 mg SO2 total here, as the wine makes its own sulfites. The mouth has a nice intensity with pleasure and power. Balanced. 13 ° in alcohol on the label, but 14 ° in reality, he says.
2011 was a nice vintage he says for the late summer part and this was a high-volume harvest. 2011 is the year he picked the biggest load of grapes while 2012 was the one he picked the lowest... He's a bit worried by the humidity problems in Touraine, even this february seems very humid. It seems that there's hasn't been real summers recently and he hopes it's not a long-term climate trend.
__ La Lunotte, Le Printemps, Vin de France 2010. Rosé wine from Cabernet Franc. A nice vinous rosé, to eat with, powerful, well balanced. 2 year élevage in casks and after that in vats. Costs 3,5 € wholesale (without tax).
__ Joel Courtault Péridote, Vin de France. Sauvignon (I didn't write down the vintage). Vines planted in the sandy soils of Sologne. The mouth is quite acidic with the aromatic energy typical of sandy terroirs.
__ Joel Courtault Epidote Vin de France 2009, again a sauvignon. Costs 5,8 without tax. 2 years in casks and then in vats. I like the mouth here, with its lightly-perly side and a nice viscosity. Soils : clay limestone on slopes. The mout is generous and powerful.
__ Joel Courtault, Beryl Rouge 2008, 100 % Gamay. Short maceration (15 days) with whole-clustered grapes. Pigeage & remontage (pumping over) after 2 or 3 days and everyday then. Casks and vats afterthen. The nose is floral, some complexity, the mouth is fruity with a good acidity. Costs 5 € without tax. No SO2. The last time there was a hint of SO2 in his wines was in 2008 when he still used a sulfur wick on his casks before filling them.
According to this page [in French] from La Pipette aux Quatre Vins (lower-mid scroll), Cédric was initiated to the organic farming during the wedding trip for a friend in New Zealand and he farms a vineyard surface of about 3 hectares split between Beaulieu-sur-Layon, Rochefort and Saint-Lambert-du-Lattay.
__ Gar' O' Vin Anjou Rouge 2011. Cabernet Franc. Nice nose of tiny red fruits. Old vines with yields of 20 or 25 ho/ha but good-quality grapes. No pumping-over here, just some pigeage with the feet. Vinified in fiber vats. 4000 bottles in total for this cuvée, priced 5 € without tax. This is his 2nd vintage. There are only reds on his table but he also makes a white (Chenin I guess) but it's sold out. He says that in addition to his present surface of 3 hectares, he just takes over 2 additional hectares with vineyards located on Chanzeaux and Rabelais, the vineyards beinFor this Anjou red he used a destemmer and added a bit of SO2. Fermentation in casks, 10-month élevage. Oddly, there's less SO2 in this wine than in the carbonic-maceration one (Lulu Berlue) which didn't get any, he explains that after a while the added SO2 in the first wine vanished while the SO2-less wine remained with its own "indigenous" SO2 which was slightly more detectable.
__ Gar' O' Vin Anjou Villages 2011. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The nose is more generous here. Cooked red fruits. 10-month élevage in casks too. 40-year old vines. These vines are quite tall because of the frost risk on this slope along the Layon river (Coteau du Layon). Soil : Clay and shists. So2 added after destemming, in the vat, but none after that, not even at bottling. The bottling was made by a service company with a light filtration. This Cabernet Sauvignon makes a very good impression on me, very good potential, still very young wine, will get even better. Costs 7 € wo tax. 2000 bottles for this cuvée.
Didier Grappe began to farm his own vineyard in 2001 after studying in the wine school in Beaune. He now farms organicly 4 hectares around Saint-Lothain after he stopped the conventional sprayings in 2007.
__ Didier Grappe, Cotes du Jura, Savagnin 2011. Topped up savagnin (not veil wine). Here is a savagnin which has not this "savagnin" feel... Light wine. Vinified and élevage in vats. Zero SO2 here. Costs 6,68 € wo tax.
__ Didier Grappe Cotes du Jura 2007. 3-year under veil. 15-year old Savagnin vines, bottled august 2010. 10 € without tax.
__ Didier Grappe, Vin Jaune 2005. Same parcel as the previous wine. 20 mg SO2 at bottling. Smoky side on the 2nd or 3rd sip. Aromas of incense and dry aromatic leaves.Didier says that in 2012 the grapes were beautiful but the weather was heavy and humid. 2011 in comparison was a beautiful and healthy vintage. In 2012, there was 30% less volume in Jura, and for both the organic and the conventional growers. He had to spray 9 times in 2012 compared to 3 in 2011. Costs 18,5 € wo tax.
__ Didier Grappe Cotes du Jura Chardonnay 2010. 10 month élevage in topped-up casks. 20mg SO2 at bottling. Right now less than 20mg total SO2. Costs 5 € wo tax.
__ Didier Grappe, Cotes du Jura, Les Insouciants 2011. Blend of Pinot Noir, Poulsard and Trousseau, no SO2. Vinified in vat. Clear color. 15-day, semi-carbonic maceration with partly-destemmed grapes. He presses in a way he gets refineness and fruit. Nice fruit in the mouth indeed. I like this one. There's a peppery feel also here. Light tannicity on the sides of the mouth. Costs 6,1 € wo tax.
__ Jerome Lambert Coule de Source, Vin de France (table wine) 2011. Chenin. Vinified in stainless-steel vat. Nice powerful mouth. Roasted-almond notes in the mouth. Nice wine ! Costs 10 € tax included.
Jerome isn't obliged to add a VAT on his wines, as he chose the special tax regime of farmers working on very small surfaces. Due to the unbearable costs of the compulsory health insurance imposed by the MSA on French farmers, many of aspiring vignerons prefer to stay small and not grow beyond the 3 hectares after which they'd be obliged to pay much more in various compulsory health-insurance costs. The cost pressure in terms of taxes/health-fees tend to push winegrowers to let down the real-wine approach and make commercial wines.
This wine has got Zero So2 and is unfiltered. Jerome says that all the grapes must be in perfect condition, healthy. His work ethic in this regard is so straight that he does all the picking basically alone (his small surface helps). He picks up the equivalent of 30 liters of grapes 2 weeks before the harvest to get a pied de cuve (a fermentation starter) which ferments on its indigenous yeast, then it's easy to get the fermentation on at harvest.
I didn't taste the other wine on the picture because it was a moelleux (sweet) but I regret not to have.
Next year he will have some red : a blend of cabernet franc and grolleau, from vines respectively aged 40 and 55. I can't wait.
Lucas completed his training (BTS) in the Carcassonne wine school in Languedoc. He was lucky enough to have the opportunity to work afterwards for Julie, part time as he shares his work time with a couple other wineries near there in the Beaujolais. I guess that he will learn other skills than in the wine schools there. He worked in the vineyards and in the cellar as well, and I got news from about the farm animals as well...
Jule Balagny Fleurie La Carioca 2011. Gamay of course. Carbonic maceration. Nice chew, a more simple wine compared to Julie's other wines (previous vintages). Usually, she vinifies her parcels separately but in 2012 considering the difficult and meager vintage in terms of volume, she decided to make a single cuvée.
The bright side is that you will be able to afford the purchase as instead of 25 or 28 euros, this cuvée will cost about 8 € withoput tax. As you guess with the difficult weather conditions of 2012, there has been very low yields because of mildew, something like 10 or 15 hectoliters/hectare. The whole output was for example 6000 bottles instead of 10 000.
As usual, Julie's labels are lovely, they're almost collector's items and offer a visual continuity which I like to find among the wines I like. They're designed by Stéphanie Jabir.
His total vineyard surface is 2 hectares (more exactly : 1,7 hectare).
__ Pierre Boyat Les Rennes, Vin de France (table wine) 2011. Chardonnay. Nice tension in the mouth, nice wine with a powerful feel when swallowed. Nice viscosity in the mouth too. vinified in old casks (aged 5 to 10). Costs 7,3 € without tax, or 10 € tax included.
From vineyards planted on terres à rouges (red-wine soils), that is sand and stones. The rows are planted at 1,5 meter from each other, which means that the only way to work there is using the motor-powered cable plow or a horse. The Chardonnay plot here makes 2000 square meters (20 ares). If not labelled as table wine, it could be a Beaujolais Blanc [white], but being vinified without SO2 addings, it's hard to pass the agrément (the appellation tasting control) and he's usually obliged to pass the test (which is manned by conventional vintners) several times, and you have to pay each time. This cuvée is a 300-bottle batch only (a cask). And he adds that the cost to present the wine at the agrément (the appellation control) is the same whatever the volume of your cuvée, be it a single cask or a line of stainless-steel vats...
__ Pierre Boyat Saint Véran 2011. From a lieu dit [cadastral name] named Les Cornillaux, planted on clay/limestone soils, exposed on the west (no sun in the morning but lots of it in the evening). He's doing plowing for the weeds management. Zero SO2 since 2009, since (he says) he met Philippe Jambon. It is interesting to learn that in his former life he was a conventional grower/winemaker, working on 8 hectares, he says that at the time the négociant who was buying his wine was dictating him the type of wine he wanted, and one day he realized that he couldn't drink anymore his own wine... Once he happened to have to work on Philippe Jambon vineyards for a side job, replanting young vines there, and he discovered what the soil's life could look like for real. Shortly after he let down his 8 hectares of conventionally-farmed vineyards (it was a fermage, a rent actually) and he started from scratch again, using abandonned vineyards which were in a much better shape speaking of the undersoil, and he replanted vines there.
__ Pierre Boyat, Bois de Leynes 2011. Gamay on a 400m altitude. Light soil, he says, sand with grey stones. Yields : 20/25 ho/ha. Vineyard planted in 1985. Withput SO2 (including on the incoming grapes), like the rest. Unfiltered. Racked by gravity, bottled with a 4-spout gravity bottler with the help of Philippe Jambon. I love the mouth of this wine ! That's nice indeed. He made 10 hectoliters here from 1/2 hectare. Costs 6,5 € without tax. He still had 500 bottles left when I tasted this wine. Very good deal.
__ Pierre Boyat, Bois de Leynes 2010. One year older. The color shows more maturity already. Oh yes, in the mouth you feel a wine that got more maturity, a very nice wine too. The vintage was relatively similar in terms of weather and conditions. Sold out. Pierre Boyat says that given the replantings he's doing now, 3 years from now he'll get 3 hectares of producing vineyards.
__ Pierre Boyat, Noir de Rouge. 300-meter altitude. A heavier soil, here, he says. The harvest date was 8 days earlier compared to the previous cuvée. He makes one hectoliter in all for this cuvée on a normal year. Nice chew, enjoyable wine. 7,35 € without tax.
__ Jean-Christophe Garnier, Brut Nature 2011. Sparkling rosé. Blend of Grolleau/Gamay/Pineau d'Aunis. Light filtration on earth. Feel of neat bubbles. Nose : flowers at the end of a summer afternoon. Dry wine (Brut) but not that dry in the feel.
__ Jean-Chistophe Garnier La Roche Bezigon 2011. Vin de France, like all his wines. Chenin, in foudres (the first year of the foudre). Come from 2 parcels, "La Roche" & "Bezigon". The wine is aromatic, with a nice fullness in the mouth. Jean-Christophe Garnier uses a vertical press, which yields juices with are more limpid. No lab yeast of course. He avoids also this way to get thick lees.
__ Jean-Christophe Garnier La Roche (a clos actually) 2009. Chenin. Soil : shist. Zero SO2 added. Vinified in casks. The nose is riper compared with the previous wine. Darker color, like if it was oxidized. Lightly perly on the tongue. Freshness, nice balance.
__ Jean-Christophe Garnier Les Tailles 2011. a red Vin de France : Cabernet Franc (2/3) & Cabernet Sauvignon (1/3). Vines aged 25 to 30. Zero SO2 added, again. From a bottled he just opened in front of me. 1,5/2-month carbonic maceration. He moistens the cap on the top of the fiberglass vat with a bucket of juice from time to time. Very fruity feel. In the mouth and swallowed, very pleasurable wine indeed. 50 hectoliter for this cuvée. Costs 6 € without tax. Very good deal, believe me.
__ Les Noades, Clos Degas Saumur 2010. 100% Chenin. One year in casks. Fresh wine.
__ Les Noades 2011. Bottled very recently, before this wine event. Some SO2 added at bottling, like 20/30 mg/liter. He doesn' add any SO2 during the fermentation and the élevage, and this for both the white and the red. One notch above the previous wine.
__ Les Noades Clos Défilles 2010. Red wine. Cabernet Franc. Appealing nose, you want to drink that. 15/18-day maceration and fermentation in vat, along with the malolactic fermentation, and afterwards, one year in casks. Nice mouth feel and swallowing, very neat and elegant wine. There's a dust feel on the sides of the mouth which I like, it's related to the tannin texture I think. Costs 6 € without tax or 8 € tax included. Very good value indeed. This wine is made from a small, 0,5-hectare parcel. Jacky Ripoche uses a draft horse to plow his vineyard : a cross-breed between a Trait du Nord and an Ardennais.
__ Domaine de L'Oubliée, Chenin, Vin de France (table wine) 2011. From a one-hectare vineyard, 8-year-old vines on clay/flint stones (silex). These are ideal soils for Chenin and Grolleau, he says. There's only 1 meter in the inter-row, like it was the norm until well into the 1950s'. Nice thin-paper feel on the palate. Not bad. Costs 10 € tax included. He says the wine is labelled as table wine because in Touraine Chenin will soon be outlawed by the appellation body.
__ Domaine de L'Oubliée, Merci La Vie, Bourgueil 2012. Cabernet Franc of course. Short maceration, like 2 weeks, in cement vat. Light astringency on the sides of the mouth. Soil : sand and gravel. Costs 9 € tax included. The wine was filtered because it was very turbid, he says. Otherwise he doesn't usually filter his wines. Vinified without SO2, and only 2 grams/hectoliter added at bottling. He checks first the data for Ph, alcohol and oxygen and he decides then the SO2 dosage for the bottling stage. In 2012 he picked 17 hectoliters/hectare compared to 20 ho/ha on a normal vintage. When picking on a parcel without missing vines, he can reach yields of 25 ho/ha. This year he prefered to bottle earlier and do some filtration because the wines were more fragile.
__ Domaine de L'Oubliée, Notre Histoire, Bourgueil 2011. That's a more serious wine, you feel it immediately. Cabernet Franc from 20-year-old vines on lower slopes and clay/limestone soils. Nose : meat juice. Very pleasurable wine. Costs 12 € tax included. Excellent value. This wine tells you stories as you swallow, a pleasure in its very early years. Silky with an already tamed tannicity. Smelling the empty glass, you ask for more.
__ Domaine de L'Oubliée, Tenue de Soirée 2011. You may recognize that the cuvées have movie names, and Xavier Courant is a fan of Bertrand Blier, one of the best French directors around. 30 to 50-year-old Vines on clay/flint-stone soils, on slopes with sand (no limestone here), 200 meters away from the Notre Histoire parcel. Vinified in 450-liter casks, plus 225-liter casks purchased from Clos Rougeard. Nice pleasure to drink. 2900 bottle for this cuvée. Because of the sandy soil, the maturity of the grapes came earlier, same for the blossoming. Costs 16 € tax included.
This tasting had its own "winemakers' diner" the folowing evening, and Manu Chavassieux was the maître de cérémonie behind the treat. 150 people were lucky enough to enjoy this diner in such an unusual setting. Imagine the treat of such a dinner with all these wines, and in such a decor, until 1am... I had to leave alas and I didn't attend.
__ Thomas Boutin La Quillette, Vin de France (table wine) 2011. Tomas Boutin makes everything in table wine. This is a claret made from 3/4 of Gamay rosé (direct pressing) and 1/4 of cabernet franc having gone through a week of whole-clustered maceration. Blended along the fermentation stage. Bottled in june 2012. Light wine to drink with friends. 20mg SO2 added at bottling. The first vintage of this cuvée. Costs 4,65 € tax included or 3,9 € without tax. Thomas Boutin set up his wine farm in 2008, still a recent story. His father grew flower bulbs for a living.
__ Thomas Boutin Celsiane, Vin de France 2011. Chenin. Since 2009 you can put the variety name and the vintage on table wines. 300-bottle cuvée... Fiber-glass vat with floating lid. A wine with a nice energy and a pleasurable mouthfeel. 40 mg SO2 added in two times. The wine is a bit perly, it seems to me. The wine was not de-gazed, he says, and his cellar is very cold, like 5°C in winter and 15°C in spring. Costs 6,55 € tax included and 5,82 € without tax.
__ Thomas Boutin demi-sec perlant. White, lightly-sparkling wine. Stayed 2 years in a vat because it couldn't eat its residual sugar. The wine is somewhere between a still wine and a bubbly. Bottled august 2011. Nose : apple juice, cider. Easy drink, good for thirst. 10,5 ° in alcohol. 60 mg SO2 in total in two additions. 7,75 € tax included.
__ Thomas Boutin Celsiane, Vin de France 2008; a sort of experiment, he says, the wine got oxidized with a very low malolactic fermentation, partly because as the year was a reconversion year (to organic farming), there was not enough bacterian life in the vineyard. Surprising feel in the mouth, this vividness, and also the perly side. 13,5 °. He had only 12 bottles left that day.
Pierre Borel is another of these new vintners, he is also an unrepentant non-interventionist. He works on a total surface of 1,5 hectare, a clos.
__ Pierre Borel, Chenin de Brézé, Vin de France (table wine). M%ade from grapes purchased to a friend (because this parcel was far apart his other parcels). Bottled in april or may. Stayed 9 months in a (single) cask. Quite powerful wine, and fresh too. He says that the acidity was very high at the beginning, and the élevage in bottles helps on this matter.
__ Pierre Borel, Bourgueil Clos de Pavée 2009. Cabernet Franc, from 60 to 100-old vines. Destemmed grapes and maceration in fiber-glass vat. Then put into casks (entonné), the casks being brought to the cellar in the hill (former quarry, I guess) where it's 10°C year around. He says that the yeasts work well in this cellar. 2 gr of SO2 added, the wine is unfiltered and unfined. He says that with the long élevage, the wine can handle that. The mouth is a bit harsh, the wine will benefit from another couple of years of élevage in bottles? I think.
__ Pierre Borel, Brindezingue 2009. Red. Made from a part of the Clos and another parcel. There's cabernet franc here, plus other varieties like Baco, Noah and hybrids... Zero SO2 here, just grape juice, and no volatile. Quite a good substance in the mouth, the wine fare well
__ Cave Béclair, La Bête à Bon Dieu, "Vin de Table de France" [I'm not familiar with this labelling] 2012. 100% Gamay. Carbonic maceration. Costs 5 € without tax.
__ Cave Béclair Rebus, Vin de Table de France 2012. Cabernet Franc, destemmed and maceration. If I understand my notes, he asked for the appellation 20 years ago but passing the agrément was too much of a problem so he doesn't ask anymore. Zero SO2 in the wine, anytime including at bottling, and this, since the last 7 or 8 years. This wine has an appealing meat-juice nose. The chew is nice, with a light astringency, and the freshness atop of it. Costs 5,5 € without tax. Good deal I think. There's been a light filtration here, because he wanted to avoid the reduction.
__ Cave Béclair, La Rosoire (rosé) 2011. Cabernet Sauvignon. Very neat and straightforward wine, a rosé to eat with. Surprising candy aroma. 15,6 ° in alcohol. Costs 5 € wo tax.
__ Cave Béclair La Bulle AAA (the last A seems to fall down) 2011. Bulle meens bubble in French, this is a sparkling white. 45 % Chenin, 45 % Chard and 10% Grolleau. Nice thin bubbles. Light sugary feel, very bearable. Costs 7,5 € wo tax.
__ Cave Béclair 2011, La Rosoire 2011. Vin de Table de France. From my notes I understand that this wine is a bubbly, the previous "La Rosoire" being just a rosé. Some bitterness with a bit of residual sugar, the whole thing being fine when swallowed. I mistook the bitterness for a peppery mouthfeel but this is about the same type of experience. Costs 7,5 € wo tax.
__ Damien Bureau, Saperlipopet, Pet'nat 2011.Vin Pétillant de France (the equivalent of Vin de France -- table wine). Thin bubbles with ananas aromas. Batch of 2000 bottles. Damien says that he plans to fintune his work on the wines without going over a surface of 3 hectares.
__ Damien Bureau, Tournicoti , Vin de France (table wine) 2011. Dry white wine. In 2011 they got hailstorms, so less chenin grapes and he vinified a single vat to get at the end this dry still white. There's a light perly feel, with a bitterness with this peppery aroma again. Costs 8 € tax included
__ Damien Bureau, Saperlipopet 2010, Vin de France, natural sparkling. Other type of maturity. 13 ° in alcohol. 2200 bottles for this cuvée. More vinous in style.
__ Damien Bureau, Mille Sabords. Chenin, dry wine. From an old massale-selection vineyard (aged 80) that he bought back from Les Griottes. Citrus, fruits notes on this wine. Very nice in the mouth, very neat. Nice length and good intensity in the mouth. There's no more bottle for sale. Damien Bureau's wines are all SO2-free, unfiltered and unfined.
He didn't make this Mille-Sabords cuvée in 2011 and for 2012 the wine is still in casks with lots of residual sugar and it will need quite a lot of time (the wine was at 1020, he said, when we spoke together). The wines have always taken a long time to ferment, for him.
__ Damien Bureau, a magnum without label, a red bottled in march 2012. 100% Pineau d'Aunis. That's quite a delicious wine, a candy or grenadine style of aroma. Old vines where the grapes tend to rot very quickly, so he picks them at 10 or 10,5 every year to make a thirst wine. Light and fruity Pineau d'Aunis, very pleasant to drink. This wine will make 10 or 10,5 ° in alcohol maximum. From a 25-are parcel, with a production of 10 hectoliters. There was no SO2 adding in there but the wine is not perly or fizzy at all. This wine will be priced 7 € tax included, a must buy for sure.
Pic on right : charcuterie plate going around the tables, a holy welcome when you taste wine...
__ Les Bachelards, Les Chemins de Traverse, Vin de France (table wine) 2010. Wax topping on the bottle. Blend of 2 or 3 plots on Moulin à Vent and Fleurie. A small vat made from a Moulin vineyard veered somehow, with a veil appearing on the surface, but that was not that bad, so he decided to blend it with something else for a try. The nose is somehow earthy, in a way that I like. He bottled the wine with a service company, and 2gr/hectoliter of SO2 was added in the process. Lightly sugary in the mouth, with a fruity style, gourmand wine.
__ Les Bachelards, Fleurie, Les Vaches 2011. A parcel where during long years, cows were grassing here and thus they have loaded the soil with organic compost. But underneath, there's lots of sand. Vinified in beer foudres which he bought second hand. Aromas of coffee, mokka. Nice substance in the mouth, the wine fills beautifully the mouth. Costs 14 € tax included. Vinified whole-clustered, with a CO2 cover, no pigeage, just a bit of pumping over here and there.
__ Les Bachelards, Moulin à Vent 2011. Superb nose. The mouthfeel is well in line with the nose. Nice substance. Nice wine. Costs 14 € tax included too.
__ Les Bachelards, Fleurie, Clos de Bachelards 2011. Very nice drinkability, a bit tannic but it's a 2011 and it's still very young. Nice wine too.
Pic on left : angels making drawings...
Asked about why he came here (Arbois is not next door to Angers to say the least), he replied that a good reason was the large number of interesting vignerons and good wines. He likes the human size of such events like Les Vins Anonymes, he doesn't visit all the wine events in Angers by the way. A few days before, he says, he visited the wine-tasting event of Glaine Montaigut, another little-known wine fair centered on natural wines which took place in Auvergne. He says that this event was centered on the private buyer, in the sense that visitors could buy wine on the spot, plus the spirit was more adapted to the general public, with less hype and professionalism compared to many of these niche tasting events.
Asked about his own purchases here, he nods that if the vignerons have available wine, he'll bring back some wine. Here on the picture, he holds a bottle of Jerome Saurigny, a wine he was tasting when I popped up...
Note that again, I couldn't taste every table in spite of the relatively small size of the tasting. I passed many wines that were probably very nice, wines from Ardèche and Languedoc particularly, as I wanted to look closely the ones from the Loire.
I learned later from Babass that this tasting event got about 400 visitors, which was a success for a first time and with the competition of other similar wine events that same day.
This brewery, which is located in Mozé sur Louet a few kilometers south of Angers, is a new player on the market and it produces several types of beer, all made on strict requirements of quality and purity. The water used for the beer is purified with 0,2 micron filters, then goes through charcoal, salts and volcanic rocks (if i read my notes correctly). The young woman on the picture is the founder of the brewery, her name is Angélique Parpaillon (understand now why this name for the brewery ?) uses French-sourced malts which they prepare themselves at the brewery. She buys barley and has it fermented in her place. The beers are unfilltered, unpasteurized and can be turbid. They're made from organic-grown products. The retail price is something like 2,3 € tax included for a 33cl bottle and 4,5 € tax included for a 75cl bottle. I tasted a few of these beers :
__ Angel La Fraiche. White color, nose on the banana side. Very refreshing indeed. Some sort of Hefe Weiss beer I guess.
__ Angel La Puissante (8° in alcohol). Here the nose is on the honey, warm wheat side. Nice beers indeed, if I didn't taste the other beers that's because this was the end of the tasting (and swallowing) day... This brewery is a very new things, the first bottles were sold on the market in mid-december 2012...
Contact : brasserie [dot] angel [at] gmail [dot] com
phone +33 7 61 51 22 32
List of beers (Pdf)
Presentation of the Angel brewery (in French - Pdf)
I used car sharing (covoiturage.fr) for this trip and one way cost me 18 € one way (plus about a 2 € fee for the online reservation) compared to 43€ or 49 € (also one way) for the train.