Just a picture to show that the place is also a good spot to get your glass/bottle of Nouveau at the counter, and at a very affordable price indeed (this was early december and we were still in the Primeur/Nouveau weeks).
This is the 2nd vintage for the small Bugey domaine Les Mangeux D’Pierre (the name hints at a very rocky terroir), managed by Michaël Saux Picart and Emma Pomarel who started their thing in 2018 and now farm 4,5 hectares. They converted to organic farming right at the start, and with biodynamics as well.
__ Sébile, Clairette 2018. Purchased grapes because at the time they didn’t yet have their own parcels. 14 months in foudre, unfined, unfiltered, zero so2. Very onctuous wine, rare in single-variety wine.
__ Sentes, Chardonnay 2019. The first wine made from the domaine, one year in stainless steel. 2 grams so2 at bottling, vines from a terroir akin to the terroir of Jura. Very cristalline feel. Michaël says he worked 15 years in places like Jura (Overnoy), Loire, Languedoc among others, while she worked in the Rhone at Domaine Lattard and at Thierry Allemand.
__ Coal, Chardonnay 2019, 25 months in demi-muids.Very mineral, beautiful Chard, sharp and balanced.
__ Sarabande, Pinot Noir 2020, a blend of 3 parcels after separate vinifications. Stainless steel. All these wines are under the Bugey Appellation. They make quite concetrated wines, here nice Pinot, fruit entered. Young wine still, but promising. 1 gram so2 at bottling. Filtered because there was a worry at analysis.
__ Elzéard 2019, Pinot Noir from a parcel where the juice was more mature. 2 years in foudre. Applealing nose, happy feel in the mouth, makes me think to a Burgundy with a refined tannin, harmony and gentle openness. 2019 was a super vintage for them, I’m told. 14 € tax included at the domaine, seems a good deal for me. They sell in Paris through Vins Elements, they sell a lot in Lyon as well. Right now they export to Canada (Plan Vin) and Switzerland only.
__ Farka 2018, from purchased grapes, Syrah grown in Ardèche near the Rhône river. 12-15-day maceration whole-clustered. 15 months in foudres. Soil : granite alluvium on limestone. Deep nose aromas with underwood notes. No so2, nothing. Some astringency on the tongue.
Here is K’On Boit D’Ça, a line of fruit juices and fruit drinks made in the Creuse département by a fruit farm, Lo Gano des Combrailles. They also make fruit wines (named something like “boissons alcoolisées à base de fruits” in France).
__ Fraise (strawberry), fermented beverage sporting 0,5 % to 1 % alcohol. Turbid, light strawberry aromas, quite light, like if diluted. Zero so2. All is organic. 6 € tax included. The one from raspberry is darker.
__ Vin de Rhubarbe (rhubarb), this is the first year they make this, they wanted to make a pet’nat, the natural potential was 2,5 and they chaptalized so that the drink here reached 6 %. It was bottled with still some residual sugar (6 grams) to get the bubbles. In the mouth : super saline feel, very surprising and very enjoyable, with acidity and aromas of rhubarb bouncing back. They planted the rhubarb two years ago, it’s from their own plants. Sould be sold arounf 10-12 €/bottle.
Here are wines from the Aveyron, an area where vines were cultivated along narrow terraces along the centuries but were often abandoned after WW1 and the phylloxera. Nicolas Carmarans did a good job replanting and vinifying beautifully there but there are a few good producers as well like this one. Hugo Epinoux is 27 years old and started with 2 hectares, reaching now 3,5 hectares.
__ Chateau Beauregard, Aveyron 2018, blend, majority of Fer Servadou, Cabernet Sauvignon and Gamay. 7-day maceration, élevage in tank for 6 months. Nice nose, very nice mouth, refined with silky tannins, almost onctuous in spite of being still young ! So2 : 10 mg/L after malolactic and 10 mg/L at bottling.
__ Chateau Beauregard, Jus de Grappe 2019. Majority of Fer Servadou, whole-clusetered maceration for 15 days, then stomping, then maceration another 4 days before pressing. Zero so2. Inky notes on nose, exciting. Nice volume in the mouth, light astringency which is well integrated. Watch this guy !
The Domaine André Kleinknecht is located in Mittelbergheim in Alsace, its vineyard surface is 10 hectares, farmed biodynamicly. This is an old family domaine (7 genberations) with André at the wheel since 1991, and here Fanny was there pouring that day.
__ Fleur d’Or 2020, a white blend of Pinot Blanc, Sylvaner, Riesling. 3 grams of residual sugar, lightly perly on the tongue. Elevage in foudre. Zero so2, unfiltered. Feels whole, and foremost, feels alive, I love thart wine ! 7 € through Vins Elements.
__ Sylvaner 2019, élevage in foudre. Here again this enjoyable tension, minerality also, super mouth indeed, lovely. Knowing that this variety is considered 2nd grade, this shows the beautiful wines you can make with it when the farming is on the energy side and the cellar work hands off… Samely whole and alive, a happy wine ! 7,15 €
__ Riesling Terre de Granit 2019, from 100-year-old vines. Not on the market yet (when this tasting took place). Precise nose with lemon notes, feels very mineral as well. All here is nature, unfiltered and without added so2. They also add an élevage in bottles.
__ Pinot Gris Alsace Grand Cru Zotzenberg 2017 (they also have Sylvaner on that terroir). Untopped-up wine, will be more oxidative, 3 years in foudre. Dry wine, if 3 grams residual sugar. Smoky notes in the mouth, very inspiring, here is another very nice wine, try that ! Price about 13 €.
__ Orange is the New White 2020, orange wine of course, maceration of 21 days, several varieties (if I read correctly my notes). Super nose. Woaouh, that’s beautiful ! No tannic astringency here, good job, very-very enjoyable from the start !
__ Klandestino 2020, maceration of whole-clustered Pinot Noir & Pinot Gris 50/50. Redish color. Here more astringency and bubble grip, nonetheless quite tamed.
__ Pinot Noir Grand Cru Kirchberg 2019, magnum only, bottled at havest 2021 Elevage 2 years in barrels, no added so2, but they advise to keep one year more. Waouh, deep aromas, beautiful substance, delightful ! Already so exciting, but let’s listen to her and keep the bottle, like 2 years in your cellar to enjoy at its even better expression.
It’s been a while I visited Alexandre Bain in his domaine of Tracy-sur-Loire, it was his wife Caroline who was pouring and telling about one of her own wines that day. If my informations are up-to-date the vineyard surface of the domaine is 11 hectares. The wines are vinified naturallly and the farming is biodynamic. It must me reminded that a few years ago (around 2015) the INAO bureaucracy deprived Alexandre Bain from his right to label his wines as Pouilly-Fumé, officially because of a missed appointment (see the details in this article in French), but we can’t but suggest it could be some sort of retialation for a natural philosophy which isn’t very appreciated among the administrative circles.
__ ContreCoeur 2020. This parcel is located on Pouilly-Fumé terroir but the cuvée is labelled as a Vin de France. Soil here is sandy. White wine (Sauvignon Blanc) with structure and minerality. Asked why she kept this cuvée (her first vintage, 2020) under the table-wine label, she says she felt the administration was still in its old mindset anbd it was better not to as for the agreement. Very nice label.
Always a pleasure to chat with Georges Laval and sample his wines. In spite of its tiny surface (of 3 hectares), the domaines shines well abroad our borders regarding Georges’s respectful work in the vineyard, something hopefully that will be shared by an increasing number of growers. Otherwise speaking of 2021, Georges said he had everything, frost, hail, rain and coulure, and then the lack of wind when it was warm… not an easy year but happily like he says, in Champagne by tradition they all sit on reserves from the previous vintages to make their wines, so this will help in the matter. On some parcels they didn’t even try to pick while on others there was still something, and when there were grapes the quality was wonderful, they still had sun in august, he shows me pictures of nice bunches with gorgeous foliage in the background at harvest time, he says this parcel gave some 7000 kilograms of grapes per hectare, not bad at all. He says overall he made 1/4 of the normal volume but the wines are sumptuous, he adds.
__ Garennes Extra Brut, the only cuvée made with vin de reserve. Super bright expression in the mouth.
__ Les Hautes Chêvres 2016, a lieu-dit on Cummières, made with Pinot Meunier. Asked by Aaron how he manages his prise de mouse, Geoges says that while he vinifies his base wines relying on indigenous yeast, for the mousse he doesn’t try, he uses a mix of three different yeast he buys. He has previously experimented the prise de mousse on the same wines with three different type of yeast and at the tasting he and others noticed that the yeast indeed leave their mark even when they’re not considered “aromatic” (it is a very subtle difference a trained taster will notice). So his choice was to mix three different yeast so that none can impose its style on the mousse.
Here is a domaine from Alsace (near Colmar) working 100 % natural and no sulfites (after a first try on a Pinot Noir in 2003), Jean-François Ginglinger took over the family domaine in 1999 (the old family farm can be traced to the year 1610), it small surface of around 7 hectares today is farmed on biodynamie.
__ Stein, Vin de France 2020, blend of Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir (50/50), macerated 4 weeks apart, whole clustered, blended afterwards. Nice wine with chalky tannins and aromatic complexity, very feminine wine. In my opinion, wait another 2 years and you’ll have a great wine here, I feel the potential because the wine is alive and in the becoming, it’ll just move there by itself. Unfiltered and zero so2. Second sip already a notch above, love it !
__ Riesling Mettla 2020,
__ Riesling Bihl 2020, vines on limestone. Very aerial and subtle, elegant.
__ Steiner 2016, Gewürztraminer. Limestone. Nose : feel of maturity. Light sweetness feel, wholeness, Umami with a nice energy. The wine is non-topped-up, he says they never top up the barrels or foudre, it brings stability to the wines
Clos des B is a 3-hectare domaine that was created in 2019 by Jean-Jacques Branger and Gwendolyn Berger as the first domaine Nature of the Gulf of Saint-Tropez. Gwendolyn who was pouring the wines says that she plants 2 hectares in 2022.
__ Rosé du Clos, a rosé made from 80 % Grenache and 20 % Cinsault. Overall the domaine makes 50 % of rosé.The mouth here is quite vinous with a good length. Turbid, unfined, unfiltered, no so2. Nice labels designed by Tolmer. The rosé is almost white, she says it was pink at the beginning but lost its color naturally. Nice substance with wheat notes.
__ Les Poupettes, Vin Nouveau 2020, Grenache. Dark pink. All what we taste here are brut de cuve, vat samples. Here made through a 20-day carbo. A bit astringent at this stage.
__ Lou di Loun 2020, a red made from Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvèdre. Also brut de cuve, was supposed to be bottled december 15. Nice depth in the mouth, alcohol feel on the tongue but maybe due to its youth.
Bastian Wolber is the man who runs the Volnay-based négoce Laisse Tomber (Means “Let it go” in French). Bastian worked with Jean-Marc Dreyer at some point, from what I understand. He made 4 cuvées in 2020 plus a few in 2021. What we tasted here had no labels, possibly vat samples.
__ Riesling 2020, grapes purchased to Régis Barth shist terroir, 10-month élevage in barrels. Super vividness feel on the tongue. This year he made 6000 bottles and in 2020, 3000 (altogether, if I’m right). Bastian says he found parcels in Burgundy from which he’ll make wine, but he’ll keep buying grapes for his négoce. He is German and his brother works in the Black Forest near Freiburg.
__ Gamay 2020, grapes from southern Beaujolais, a carbonic maceration. Old vines on granite. He says he tries to vinify without sulfites. Unfiltered wine. Still closed at this stage.
Julien Guillot of the Clos des Vignes du Maynes was there as well with quite a few delicious cuvées, another treat in this jewel of professional tasting.
__ Mâcon Villages 2017, a cuvée he just put on the market after having put it on the side for two years.
__ Au Quin Chateau, Mâcon Cruzille 2019, a blend of Chardonnay and Melon à Queue Rouge, Juilien Guillot got these parcels recently. White wine with concentration in the mouth, powerful as well, good to pair with gastronomy.
__ Mâcon Cruzille Aragonite 2019, a white, just bottled. Nice bitterness edge, something like if oxidative.
__ Bourgogne Rouge Les Crays, Pinot Noir (2019 I presume), 2-year élevage. Vines on chalk-type limestone. Waouh, that’s something ! Another of these Pinot-Noir wines which you feel are at the very beginning of a promising cycle, this will rock your glasses in two years from now ! Still closed at this time.
__ Chenas, Les Petites Pieerres Gandelins 2018. Carbonic maceration of whole-clustered grapes, at 18-20 C (64.4-68 F). Another valeur süre, you’ll not take risk with this ! Don’t miss !
Jonathan Purcell is an American from California who worked several years with prominent natural-wine vignerons here (since 9 years) and ended up founding a négoce in Auxey-Duresses, named Vin Noé. He speaks about the friendships he develops here, he says of course he’s not from a historic family owning parcels in Burgundy but there a community here nonetheless of people like him, outsiders who still do something. The number of people making natural wine in Burgundy is still limited and so he’s connected to all those who work along this philosophy. Until 2020 he managed to make 25 barrels a year while keeping his day job on the tractor for De Montille (this was close to his cellar), but he quit in june 2021 and will be more at ease to produce 35 or 40 barrels a year.
__ Gueule d’Amour, Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2020, bottled june 2021, unfiltered and without sulfur. Carbo at the beginning and a bit of foulage at the end, before pressing. Nice chew, you feel the wine is getting in place, should be very nice in another year or two. Jonathan says that he rents 80 ares of vineyard in fermage and he buys grapes for the equivalent of 2 hectares, all organic, prioritizing his choice on older vines when possible. His relation with the vignerons are more on the friendship side than on a regular contract scheme, visiting them several times a year to see the vineyard, share a lunch and so on.
__ Rêve Américain, Pommard 2020. All is under AOC labels, except the Juliénas that will be a Vin de France. he says that oddly in Beaujolais they’re getting tough on wines that aren’t “square”, are felt as wildly natural, it’s kind of political he says. He says that in France in general you can have up to almost a gram of volatile (0.95)in the wine and pass through, but in Beaujolais they put the limit at 0.75 and enforce it, it’s probably because the natural wines had a great success in Beaujolais and the rest of the trade asked for a backlash. The Pommard feels closed at this stage, with alcohol up front and astringency. Pommards are known to need much more time than other Burdundy reds.
__ Juliènas 2020, will be a Vin de France as said. Nice drinkability already. Suite powerful.
__ Alibi, Aligoté Bouzeron, a variety hard to find but he found some on a nice slope in Bouzeron. Vibrant wine, lovely ! 11 € without tax. He exports to the United States through Terrestrial Wines.
__ Chenin 2020. Grows in the plain on the lower part of Meursault, it was the first year he made Chenin. Dense color. Evolution feel with a tannic edge. 5-week maceration. Drying feel in the mouth at this stage.
Thierry Alexandre runs a micro domaine in Northern Rhône (Saint Joseph), his vineyard surface is between 1,5 and 2 hectares and he also grows fruit trees on an additional 2 hectares. He makes wine since 2001, today on the range of 50 hectoliters yearly, with 4/5 cuvées a year. Here he brought 3 whites and a red, plus a sparkling.
__ Cul Sec, vin de France, a white blend made of Viognier (30 %) and Marsanne (70 %). Nice viscosity in the mouth, pretty vivid also. Structured white, serious stuff !
__ Crozes-Hermitage 2020, Roussanne/Marsanne. Creamy feel on the nose (in the positive sens of the word). Vinified in stainless steel like the former. Quite powerful wine, you get to eat with that wine. He filtered it this year. SO2 : less than 20 ppm.
__ Saint Joseph Blanc 2020, Marsanne 100 %. Turbid, this is unfiltered. 12 month élevage in barrels. Nice volume in the mouth, quite powerful, good to eat with as well. Eucalyptus notes.
__ Saint Joseph 2019, Syrah. Barrels. Mouth : a bit tight still, and drying feel at this stage. So2 : 2 grams before bottling.