__ I first tasted a Côtes du Jura Chardonnay 2009 Terroir du Bry, a non topped-up wine, Savagnin style. 30 months without topping up made about 30 liters disappear. Malolactic made in vats before going into the casks Nice color, green reflections. Nice mouth feel with a bright, neat expression. Costs 8 € tax included at the winery. 5000 bottles (total production at his winery : 25 000 bottles).
__ Côtes du Jura, Cuvée Charles Baudelaire 2009 Savagnin-Chardonnay blend. Same vinification, non topped-up in barrels for 30 months. Color : even greener. On the nose, more intensity. Mouth more intensity and length, with again this typical oxidative mouthfeel. Costs 9 € tax included at the domaine. Claude Buchot says that he adds 3 grams of SO2 at the press, then nothing after that. He filters the wine.
__ Poulsard 2011, no added sulfites here, but it is filtrated. Claude Buchot says that he is working on stopping adding sulfites but he is a supporter of filtration for different reasons, including because he considers that filtration makes more refined wines. Because of the filtration he has very long élevage in bottles so that the wine recovers properly (this one got a 15-month-élevage in bottles). Claude says that this small parcel of Poulsard (50 ares) is plowed with a draft horse (not his but the one of a friend). The poulsard grapes were cooled down for a few days before letting the fermentation start with indigenous yeasts. The wine, which is carafed, has a vivid and bright color, very pleasant and lively. I can't but imagine the same wine in its unfiltered version though, it's already nice here but I'd expect more with the full version.
I also loved his Vin de Paille 2008 made with 65 % Chardonnay and the rest in Poulsard & Savagnin. Claude Bruchot sells mostly in the region and also a bit in in Belgium.
A few images of the Percée du Vin Jaune 2008 of which Claude Buchot was the president.
__ Chardonnay 2007, vinified on wild yeast and no sulfur added. He sells his wine after a minimum of 2 years of élevage. Very nice wine. 9 € tax included at the domaine.
__ Savagnin 2009, non-topped-up. Very nice wine, ample and with an elegant structure. 12 % in alcohol. Feels a bit more. 17 €.
__ Trousseau 2010. The color is evolved, onion peel. I like this one too, hard to believe these are young vines. Costs 14 €.
__ Trousseau 2011. the color is more vivid here, different vintage. It's a bit more tannic, he says, which is rare.
Jean-François Ryon has a total production of about 10 000 bottles, he sells in France and a bit in Switzerland.
A recent study by the consumer magazine Que Choisir raised the interest of wine consumers (and probably of wineries and dealers too) : It had a specialized laboratory, Excell, analyze 92 wines found in French retailers, looking for pesticide residues and listing both the number of different molecules and the amount of the residues (Read the interesting article about this affair on Wine Spectator.). The results of this lab analysis show a very wide difference in the amounts of residues in the wines as well as in the number of different pesticides found in a given wine, some being even forbidden in France. I can't but recall what a winegrower from Gaillac told me, that winemakers of the region routinely travelled to Spain to buy pesticide concentrates in Spain... And as I'm giving the last touch to this news page, I'm tipped by a reader that a Languedoc vigneron has just been caught smuggling banned pesticides from Spain. For one caught, how many went through, especially that a pesticide-concentrate container can make quite a long time of use.
The wines that have been analyzed by the magazine cost between 1,6 € and 15 € (the Champagne wines) which proves that we have here the lower-bracket wines mostly found in supermarkets or at retailers like Nicolas.
What is surprising in this lab test is the number of different pesticides found in individual wines, an average of 4 (fongicides mosty), but sometimes up to 14 different molecules in the same wine. Unsuprisingly, the highest incidence of pesticides can be found in wines from (guess ?) Champagne and Bordeaux. But only 4 Champagne wines were tested, and these are low-prices supermarket brands, not really interesting (Veuve Emile, Meiter, Pol Carson and Charles Vincent, sporting between 197 μg and 328 μg per kg). We all know anyway it's better to buy a Crémant de Loire than pay 15 € for these mass-bottling Champagnes.
Go check yourself the results of the tests as for some reason a southern-France department of Que Choisir has put it online (I wouldn't have posted it myself for copyright reasons, you'd have had to order it online). Save this pdf file right away for yourself because it may not stay online for long.
Check on this Excell lab page all the different pesticides it can search in a given wine (scroll mid-page), the list is quite long...
I decided to buy the wine that had the highest concentration of pesticides, namely a Bordeaux white, a Graves 2012 by Chateau Roquetaillade Le Bernet, made by B. D. & P Guignard in Mazères. It was found to have 1682 μg per kg from 7 different pesticides (a μg or micro-gram = 10−6 gram). For comparison, the wine found at Caves Augé, a Bordeaux Chateau Le Puy 2010 had traces of 2 molecules but an amount of 0 μg per kg (too low to be quantified).
For your information, I paid around 8,5 € for this bottle which I'm not really sure to drink. The fact that the wine got this undesired and unexpected "medal" by Que Choisir didn't apparently move the retailer (maybe they don't read the wine media and blogs) and my bottle was swiftly wrapped with a nice paper tissue and put in a bottle bag...
There's another wine which I could have bought instead of the Graves, it was the Bordeaux Mouton Cadet 2010, it had "only" 450 μg per kg, but a record 14 different pesticide molecules... This wine is listed at 10,44 € here, frankly for this type of price, I know places in Paris where I'm sure to find wines that have zero pesticides, are made naturally and taste great.
I don't want to imply that Nicolas (the retail chain) is to blame particularly, and most of the wines selected by the consumer magazine were found in supermarket chains and basic wine retailers like Nicolas, but there's at least a bottle which was purchased in a natural-wine caviste (Caves Augé in Paris) and if there are traces of 2 molecules, the amount is zero because it's too low to count. And on the whole organic wines have very little if any traces of pesticides.
Wine from the Rhone and from Provence fare pretty well, proving that with the weather conditions there they can do with less pesticides, even for conventional wineries. But anyway, we now know that even in Champagne and Bordeaux, there are growers that don't use these pesticides and make great wines every year...
I heard that the cost of doing those tests is very high, that's why they're not so common, but we'd need more testing like this, and organized in a different way : I suggest choosing 30 different wines in each of the different major supermarket chains (Auchan, Carrefour, Super U, Leclerc, Monoprix, Les Mousquetaires) and chain retailers like Nicolas, because that's where most French buy their wines, and also make these 30-bottle tests in a handful of these new cavistes selling natural wine that have appeared everywhere in France (mostly in Paris but also in major cities). This way, we'd have a picture of where to go for when looking for fewer residues (considering we'll have some retailers with less overall pesticides in their wines, which I think we'll see). If some really rich tycoon reads these lines, he could make a great difference in the world of wine by footing the bill...
Bloomberg story on this issue.
During our visit at the winery earlier this year I noted a price of 7 € at the winery. Not to miss if you come across this cuvée.
To celebrate this first picking, I took out one of my last bottles of Touraine Gamay 2009 by Clos Roche Blanche. The wine has well standed the years even though its storage conditions in the Loire are not perfect, and it came up to my expectations, with a substance that had a good exchange with the pan-cooked mushrooms.
The wine has this surprising turbidity and this dense golden color, but I swear I wasn't influenced by these details. In the mouth, it's the natural gentleness and the mouthfeel, with this pleasurable substance, which makes you ask for more. It's surprising that you can find such deals, next time I visit Alsace, I'll stock some.
Jean-Marc Quarin organizes the Salon des Outsiders in Paris, where taste goes beyond what is displayed on the label. In short, you should get there wines that are well made, good value and yet not the most reknowed. You can see the wineries taking part on this page (click on the red buttons).
November 23 2013 - 10 am - 7:30 pm
Location : 8 Rue de Valois 75001 Paris
Entry fee : 25 €
I'm almost jealous, I visited Noëlla Morantin this weekend and I discovered this gem in her vatroom : she just bought a vintage 2CV Citroën fourgonnette (this last word sort of meaning station wagon in the 60s' or 70s') from a neighboor winegrower. The car happens to be exactly of the same age than my own Citroën Ami 8 (also some sort of station wagon).
Noëlla happened to be chatting with the winegrower about the Renault she used to drive in the vineyard and she said half-joking that she'd better drive his old Citroën 2CV (which she has spotted in his facility), to which the guy answered that he was selling it ! Lesson 1 : always say what you wish, you never know, the person you're speaking to may have the answer you dream of...
This 2CV is not only a cutie but it's the perfect car to drive on the grass roads and the vineyard, it's very light and works almost like a 4-wheel drive (it was designed at the origin as an all-purpose farmer's car).
You can notice the sticker on the right which reads "To fight pollution, drink wine". Very well-timed, even though the sticker is also a few years old probably, this original pollution-fighting method could be suggested to the French greens who plan to forbid such vintage vehicules from Paris and who happen to have been the main originators of a planned road tax that is currently provoking a nation-wide furor and revolt, with demonstrators burning tax-collection fixtures here and there.
This Citroën car is know to last forever and it is also known to be easy to fix. Here is the Revue Technique to fix and finetune this car if you own one or plan to.
If not for the French and European norms, this car could be manufactured again for very cheap and I'm sure that there would be a market for it, we're many enough to long for a cool car without computerized systems and that that doesn't go fast.
Again, that's odd to enjoy more rosé from outside regions when you're in Provence, supposedly the home of summer rosé. Last year I similarly had a better time with a cheap rosé from the Loire.
By the way, the huge wine event of the Porte de Versailles in Paris is coming soon (november 28 to december 2), with its 1000 + wineries offering their wines to taste, you just pay an entry fee of maybe 7 € and can taste all the wines you want, including Champagne and Cognac, all the wine regions being here. Here is a story I wrote long time ago about this wine-tasting event where you can buy wine at the same price you'd pay at the the winery.
Check which wineries will be present, using the website of the event. The Salon des Vignerons Indépendants website is not very user-friendly and is quite amateurish, you have to first choose an appellation (click on the right, then mark the appellation box) before finding the domaines.
Here is the opening hours page.
The website designer doesn't seem to know Google Maps, so here is the map location, and you can use the Metro line 12 and street car line T 2.
according to Jim, Although the police were called, they are apparently taking no action as J-P wasn't incapacitated for more than three days. Had J-P been incapacitated for eight days or more then the police would have taken the assault further! So J-P has had to lodge a civil complaint.
The police officer could have said as easily "Had Jean-Pierre Chevalier been killed by the blows, then we could have envisioned some kind of action"... The worse thing in this story is that the French judges would anyway have been even softer on the crime, the guy would have been summoned in about 2 years and given a formal reprimand...
But be sure that our judges will take swift action when it comes to the subversive crimes by winegrowers who print forbidden words on table-wine labels...
The ingredients list on the bottle is short (in French) : eau, réglisse, arôme naturel d'anis étoilé, arômes naturels, extrait de gentiane. Sans sucre ni édulcorant, sans alcool, sans colorant, sans conservateur (no sugar, no sweetener, no alcohol, no color agent, no preservatives).
They now make several versions like mint, lemon etc, but I prefer the original, the Réglisse Anis (licorice anise). I was surprise while writing this item to find that Antésite is available on Amazon (a bit more expensive than in the French retail where it's about 4 € a bottle if I remember).
If we stay on the viticulture question, the thing is, these growers don't even make good wine by dumping fertilizers on their vineyard, and they create by their additional behaviour a long-term problem for the community.
On the same line, a huge pollution happened in the UK recently after just two teaspoons of insecticide were poured down a kitchen sink, "wiping out insect life on a 10-mile stretch of one of the country's prime fishing rivers". It speaks length about the potency of all these chemical products that are thought for short-term efficiency.
I wrote a small post a few months ago about a Frenchman (Sylvain Tesson) who chose to live as an ermit along the Lake Baikal to walk in the steps of a sizable number of Russian men who take to the forests to feel one with the vast expanses of forest and nature (Russian video report on Sylvain). This adventure was outstanding and inspiring but recently a very young ermit has emerged from the woods in the Altaï region of Siberia and who lived basically all his life there with his ermit-parents who abandonned him in the wilderness recently. Almost like the Kaspar Hauser character described in Rudolf Steiner's book, this young fellow never saw anything except the forest and the natural environment, he is said to have no knowledge of the rest of the world and its cities, no social skills and no education as we know it.
From a first glance on this picture, the young guy doesn't seem particularly traumatised by missing the school, TV and Facebook, and it draws more questions about what is really important in life, is the education system really good for children and so on. Schools today are not as necessary as they were in early 20th century, I think even that in some way they do harm by formatting children's minds and also exposing them to bullying. While not going all the way to encourage an ermit life, I think that homeschooling is a good option which leaves more room for the natural growing up of young minds.
The Siberian Mowgli refuses to try a Big Mac on 1st visit to city and asks to visit art gallery.
Take a seat, her work was discovered by accident in 2007 at a local thrift auction house on Chicago’s Northwest Side by someone named John Maloof who purchased casually these boxes of negatives for a project. The stash of pictures had landed there following the auctionning of one of her storage lockers due to delinquent payments (she was still living in 2007). John Maloof didn't find what he was looking for at first glance in these negatives but looked again sometime later and realized this was gold.
This is a stunning story, mysterious in many angles, the pictures are superb, we can't but think to Diane Arbus but the pictures here express something different from Arbus who was obviously obsessed with the fringe characters of the American society. Diane Arbus is for me utterly interesting but as much for the writings in her notebooks, which give insights on her personality. And here with Vivian Maier there was no Harper's Bazaar or other prestigious magazines to work for, but just an anonymous creation with no reward and no expected public. Astounding.
The website set up in her honour is a must-see, and if an exhibition comes near your block, don't miss it.
The life of Vivian Maier
Actually it's already here, watch this video on what happened to an American student in London who had just been drinking casually a beer in the street and was viciously beaten by muslim vigilantes enforcing sharia in their neighborhood (something which has now become routine in parts of London, the UK authorities looking the other way).
Who would have said just a few years ago that drinking could be an act of resistance ? I think we should admire these Berbers and remember that freedom doesn't come for free, even here in the West.
Link to an interesting article by a Berber writer about this act of resistance (in French)
Link to a story about the demonstration (in English)
Huffington Post on the story
Page about Lounès Matoub, the Berber singer and hero who symbolizes the resistance against the islamization and the arab rule on his home country of Kabylie. He was assassinated in 1998 by islamists or the Algerian government who both hated him.
Whatever, this evening was centered around Bowmore whiskies, and a very knowledgeable and experience guest was there to tell us all the important things about these whiskies : Gordon Dundas (pictured on right here).The whiskies were presented through a handful of different cocktails to show that you could have them this way too. I need to learn more about whisky, and listening to Gordon's words was very enriching. I still preferred the whisky straight here than under its cocktail versions, the sugar cane being in my taste too forward there.
I took note of three prices : Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara 2008 21,99 $ Wine Advocate 91 PTS - Stags Leap Cellars Artemis Cabernet 2010 39,99 $ (with rebate) no rating listed - Wild Horse Merlot Paso Robles 9,49 $ Rating for the 2009 (Wine Enthusiast) 87 PTS.
also says that they offer complete systems including fertilizer injectors, which mean that a dose of fertilizer can be added to the water or dripping, making it much more easy than having to come with a tractor and spray the given product.
We drove by several signs advertising chemical additives for irrigation systems, and I only managed to stop near one to take a shot (picture on left), this was Watson Ag irrigation chemicals. To be frank, I had never thought that irrigation could be paired with chemicals, but it makes sense, so to say, as if you want to spray certain chemicals and if they can be mixed with the water that you'll deliver anyway, it saves the use of tractors. Plus you possibly dose your fertilizers or whatver additive is a more precise way. Don't think that I condone this type of viticulture, but I just try to understand the logic. Watsin AG Chemicals is a discreet company, no website but still, there's a Facebook account. According to this info page, they're dealing with insecticides...
Using the irrigation system to deliver chemicals to the plants, trees or vineyard is called chemigation, and you can find a very detailed page about how chemigation works.
Elsewhere, I shot a picture of a container connected to the irrigation system, and there was this paper (pic on right) hinting that fertilizers were mixed to the dripping system, Calcium Ammonium Nitrate being a fertilizer chemical and this one being made by Yara. The particular system was serving an orchard in central California, but there are good chances that vineyards get a similar treatment here and there.
Page about how a dripping system works.
Irrigation systems are used on very different frequencies depending of the growers, but many of them are tempted to use them not only to prevent the vineyard from dying, but to get comfortable yields. I guess the winemakers will then take care of the possible imbalances in the grapes and will correct what needs to be corrected, using the wide range of additives available on the market.
This government has already a long record (if predictable) of failures on managing the economy, but it was not initially thinkable that it would also consider going against wine. But they did it, seriously giving credit to these twisted hygienist ideas. International analysts are puzzled about this last move, wine still being here an important asset both culturally and economically.
The wine trade has reacted with setting up a website denouncing the counterproductive and self-punishing measures.
The website Vin et Société which was set up a few years ago by 28 major actors of the trade to defend wine, also issued a detailed article to fight off the threat.
A recent article in English by Anne-Elisabeth Moutet in the Telegraph speaks about the French who are leaving the country in droves in the face of the avalanche of new taxes set up to sustain the obese public sector and welfare. Her article which stands out compared with what the average foreign correspondant writes about France is a good sum-up of all the wrongs that have intensified recently. Anne-Elisabeth's clever analysis prompted an angry reaction in France, the mainstream French media calling it British propaganda, and she answered with another very bright article on the issue. At least I'll know where to go if I have to go into hiding one day for my wine writing, but I'm not sure there are enough wineries for me to wander around over there, I'll rather go to California or Oregon...
France has been keeping sliding lower in the world rankings of countries measuring the favorable business environment, mostly because of layers of new taxes added on almost a daily basis, the country reached the 38th place in 2013 (The United States stands No 4), but there's progress in view, as with going against wine & wineries, we could slip easily to the 50th place...
I didn't have any intention to bash Swiss wines, there are obviously people who do a great job on both the vineyard side and the winemaking but that was a first impression while driving through the Swiss Rhone valley.
The best wine of the 7 was certainly this Clos de Los Siete 2010 "by Michel Rolland" as the label boasts. But the credit to Michel Rolland is really deserved, whatever he said or advised here, he did it well, this wine was simply beautiful, and at a very correct price for the quality and the distance, 17 € if I remember (I didn't take notes). The Siete in the domaine name refers to the seven partners who are behind this venture (they are listed in this page in French).
The wine is a blend of Malbec (48 %), Merlot (28 %), Cab Sauvignon (12 %) and Syrah (12 %).
the domaine is managed by Michel Rolland and his team is clearly looking for making the best of the terroir and conditions. the yields are said to be kept at 30 ho/ha.