The following domaines and winemakers were taking part :
Alsace : Le Vignoble du Rêveur Domaine Marcel Deiss Emmanuelle Milan & Mathieu Deiss, Achillée Pierre & Jean Dietrich, Domaine Fleith Brigitte & Vincent Fleith
Beaujolais : Domaine des Moriers, Arnaud Combier, Chiroubles Domaine Famille Renard, Olivier Renard Morgon
Bordeaux : Château Gombaude-Guillot, Olivier & Marine Techer Pomerol, Closerie des Moussis, Laurence Alias & Pascale Choime, Haut Médoc
Bourgogne : Domaine Jean-Yves Devevey
Champagne : Champagne Augustin Marc Augustin
Languedoc : Domaine Gardiès Victor Gardiès Côtes du Roussillon Villages Tautavel, Domaine le Clot de l’Oum Arthur & Eddy Bertrand Côtes du Roussillon Villages, Domaine des Amiel Aymeric Amiel Vin de France, Château Del Ranq Laure Barthelémy & Sébastien Freychet Pic-Saint-Loup
Provence : Château Revelette Peter Fischer Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, Domaine de La Réaltière Pierre Michelland Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, Domaine Milan Henri, Théophile & Nathalie Milan Vin de France
Rhône : Domaine des Maravilhas Jean-Frédéric Bistagne Châteauneuf du Pape, Lirac Rouge Garance Claudie & Bertrand Cortellini Côtes du Rhône Villages, Le Sang des Cailloux Frédéri Férigoule Vacqueyras Elodie Jaume Côtes du Rhône, La Ferme Saint Martin Thomas & Sophie Jullien Beaumes de Venise, Ventoux Domaine La Luminaille Julie Paolucci Rasteau, Le Vin de Blaise Stéphanie Rougnon Côtes du Rhône Villages Saint Cécile
Sud-ouest : Domaine Julien Auroux Bergerac, Domaine de Brin Damien Bonnet Gaillac, La Colombière Philippe & Diane Cauvin Fronton, Domaine Cosse-Maisonneuve Matthieu Cosse & Catherine Maisonneuve Cahors, Domaine Emilien Jean Côtes du Marmandais, Domaine Mouthes Le Bihan Jean-Marie & Catherine Le Bihan Côtes de Duras, Clos Troteligotte Emmanuel Rybinski Cahors
Spain : Bodega AESIR Òscar Reboredo
Georgia : Atelier Vinique Nika Endeladze
Négoce : Vignerons Pépin Pierre & Jean Deitrich, Les vins de Thomas Thomas & Sophie Jullien, Les Chais du Port de la Lune Annica Landais-Haapa & Laurent Bordes, Satellite Wines Olivier & Marine Techer.
Beer : Brasserie de Sulauze Guillaume David /cider Domaine Cidricole 5 Autels Thibaud Pitrou & Etienne Fournet
Spirits : Vivant David Mimoun
In spite of the reasonably-low number of domaines there was no way for me to taste them all, so here is a selection of a few vintners, which, I appreciate, were there in person. I visited the wine fair with Pascal Carole, a San Francisco-based winemaker who had recently been touring different wine regions in France (and visting winemakers we love) with a project in mind. He worked with Brent Mayeaux of Stagiaire Wine, whose wines I remember loving when I tasted them in Oakland a couple years ago (scroll down 14 pictures on this story).
We hadn’t begun tasting yet when I stumbled upon Franck Carré and his wife. I first met Franck long time ago when he was working with Pierre Terrasson‘s photo studio, which at the time was shooting portraits of Serge Gainsbourg, among other rock stars. Back at the time while for me this all was still below the radar, Franck was already connected with the early beginningsof natural wine in Paris, knowing the producers in the process, he’s a gold mine by the way for whoever tries to get a good picture of these years (1980s and 1990s). Whatever, Franck pointed me to this first domaine we tasted the wines of :
Domaine de la Colombière has very old roots (1470) in the area across successive owners, one of whom, Jean-René Chabanon, trained with Jules Chauvet in the 1970s. Today’s owners Diane and Philippe Cauvin farm 15 hectares organic & biodynamic with an emphasis on parcellaire Négrette, a red variety found in the south-west of France.
__ Coste Rouge 2016, Négrette. Very appealing wine, round, smooth and alive. Delicious ! Sweet spices. 12,5 % alc. 15 € tax included for individual buyers at the domaine, pro price 7,45 € without tax at the cellar.
__ Bellouguet (a lieu-dit) 2015, blend of Négrette, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, every year this is a different blend. More full-bodied but with nice freshness feel.
__ Le Grand B. 2019, bottled august 2021, a white made from Bouysselet, a rare local variety which they overgrafted on existing other vines (Négrette) after finding 30 forgotten vines of the variety in the village.I saw pictures of bunches, interesting color of the grapes, some being bordering blue, Diane says this variety can make inrteresting Botrytis in october. Nice ampleness, generous wine with good acidity. Good length in the mouth, a nicely structured white. Elevage in demi-muids. Diane says the first such white they made was in 2011 and it still tastes well now.
Article about this rebirth of the Bouysselet variety in La Dépèche, a local newspaper.
Natalie was a sommelière back in New York and that’s where she met Théo Milan, she’s now part of the family and of the biodynamic-farmed Domaine Henri Milan which I don’t have to present you. If I remember correctly, she said she didn’t speak French until she met Théo, but as of now I find that she managed pretty well her explaining of the wines and the domaine, and with a lovely accent…
__ Le Grand Blanc, Vin de France 2016, a white blend made with 5 varieties, Grenache Blanc, Rolle, Roussanne, Chardonnay and Muscat. Very aromatic and with some interesting tannin feel. 28 € retail if I’m right.
__ Cuvée sans soufre 2018, a white blend of Grenache Blanc, Vermentino, Roussanne, Marsanne. Nice chew. Unfiltered, like the rest of the cuvées.
__ La Carrée, Vin de France 2018, Roussanne. Enjoyable onctuous texture, and nice length ! 42 € tax included, quite expensive though…
__ Milan Nouveau 2021, one-week carbonic maceration, a nice mouth feel with light tannic touch. 16 € tax included. I recommend.
__ Le Vallon, a blend of Grenache Noir, Syrah and Nielluccio
__ SX 2017, a 100 % Grenache Noir (old vines). Complex nose with mushrooms, underwood notes. Mouth : inky aromas, beautiful when you swallow, I highly recommend this. 30 € tax included, certainly worth it.
__ Le Jardin 2018, Merlot 100 %. Lovely roundness/sugary feel.
__ Le Premier 2019, Pinot Noir. Subtle, feminine, delicious wine, 50 €.
Happy to taste the wines of Sébastien David as well :
__ Pet’ nat 2020, Chenin of course, 9 months sur lattes. Nice wheat note in the mouth. Sébastien says he was surprised by how fast the maturity of thye grapes accelerated at the time of thye harvest, went from 12 to 13,5 in the matter of 4 days, he had to rush the picking. Here 3 grams of residual sugar.
__ Hurluberlu 2020, 70 % carbo, 30 % traditional maceration. Enjoyable chew, easy drinking, and only 12 € tax included, I warmly recommend !
__ Kezako 2020, Cabernet Franc from the same parcels as the Hurluberlu. This wine is more borderline “brut de décoffrage” like we say in French, with rough edges, but not bad at all. Certainly too early to fully enjoy it, wait a year or 2.
__ Coëf 2018, vinified in 6 types of amphorae, manufactured in 6 different regions/countries… Lovely and delicious wine !
__ Vin d’Une Oreille 2016, Cabernet Franc again, picked in 100-year old parcels. 40-day maceration, élevage of 36 months in barrels. Bottled end 2019. Very beautiful as well, nice freshness, don’t miss that one either if the price is not a problem for you (40 €). He makes 2800 of this cuvée.
Sébastien told us about his négoce work in Armenia and Georgia, seems very exciting and it’s pretty rare to have a winemaker who works in both countries.
The Domaine Les Grandes Vignes is the domaine I like to tell about when people say that in order to vinify naturally and farm biodynamic you can’t but keep your surface small, like 5 hectares maximum. Here is a domaine which will surprise you, especially when you’ll have tasted their wines, because beyond the fact that they’re into biodynamic farming, the feel of their naturally-vinified cuvées is the one of a small artisan domaine, and wer have here at this day a family domaine managing 56 hectares and succeeding at keeping the magic hand of artisan vintners on their wines, which breath life and energy. And as you can check on this retailer page, the prices of many of the cuvées are pretty affordable.
__ Pin’Eau de la Loire 2020. Nice.
__ La Varenne du Poirier 2019, Chenin on schist.
__ Les Mailles 2020. Chenin. Turbid wine, in the mouth, vividness and energy.
__ La Varenne de Combre 2017, Chenin from vines growing on shallow soil with surfacing rock.
__ Le Malabé sec, Chenin on schist and quartz, phtanites (a Bonnezeaux terroir). Demi-muids and then amphorae. Nice length and beautiful substance.
__ Bulle Nature 2020, a pet’nat made from Chenin, Grolleau Gris (they write “Groslot”), Chardonnay (10 %) and Cab Franc. I like that one, and the blend is uncommon. Low alcohol at 11.65 %.
__ Bulles Nature rosé, from Groslot and Cab Franc. Short mouth.
__ Le P’tit Vaillant 2020, Cabernet Franc and Groslot, 4-day carbo and élevage in tank.
__ Aunis 2021, will be bottled end of november 2021. Didn’t suffer too much from the frost because of late pruning. I like the tannic chew, you feel it’s of course too young but very promising wine. 15 days of semi-carbonic maceration. No added sulfites. Pro price 8,5 €.
__ Groslot 2020. Candy style in the mouth.
__ L’Aubinaie 2019, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, 10 months in barrels plus 10 months in cement tanks. Nice going down, delicious wine !
__ L’Ancrie 2017, Bonnezeaux. Cabernet Franc on degraded schist, 5-week maceration with destemmed grapes in semi-underground cement tanks. Very nice wine !
__ Les Mailles à l’Envers 2018, Cabernet Franc. Vat sample at the time of this tasting, and prior to that this wine stayed 36 months in barrels. Very powerful with an oxidative edge, still very enjoyable.
I Was tipped by Natalie of Domaine Henri Milan to go taste Emmanuelle’s wines on the other side of the alley, I didn’t go right away because the stand was overcrowded but here we go now as it was more quiet, and i understand their relation : here is Emmanuelle Milan who is the partner of Mathieu Deiss for this Alsace domaine named Le Vignoble du Rêveur. Of course Mathieu’s father Jean-Michel Deiss is a reference in Alsace (by the way, the top picture on this link shows father and son in the cellar back then) but it’s always exciting to make one’s own wines, whatever irreplaceable input you may have received from your elders, and I got the proof here that they’re on the right track.
The domaine which was created by Mathieu in 2013 from family parcels from his mother’s side makes about 10 hectares in surface now (farmed biodynamic) and is located in Bennwihr, just north of Colmar (ant 10 km by road from Domaine Marcel Deiss).
__ Vibrations 2020, the only single-variety wine of the domaine, which is unusual for Alsace. 100 % Riesling. Nice tension here, and energy !
__ Singulier [2020 I believe], blend of Riesling and Pinot Gris, short maceration (10 days), unfiltered. Pink color, super nice wine, exciting feel. Because of the maceration, there are tannins, but they’re still discreet.
__Artisan 2020, blend of Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer. Color : pink, and turbidity. Maceration of 10/14 days. Super mouth, candy style.
__ Un Instant sur Terre 2020, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer & Riesling whioch each spent time in respectively different tytpes of amphorae. Oxidative side, and power feel down the throat, love that one too ! Very atypical, try that if you see a bottle. No adfded sulfites if I’m right, like most of the rest.
__ Pierres Sauvages 2019. Wheat color. Dry. Found on thez web that it’s a blend of Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir.
__ Imagine 2019, a demi-sec white (15 or 17 grams of residual sugar here), blend of Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Muscat and Pinot Gris.
__ Domaine Marcel Deiss Ribeauvillé 2019, complanted parcels on the terroirs of Gruenspiel, Hagueneau, Weinbaum (soils with marnes or marls). Exciting wine on the palate
__ Domaine Marcel Deiss Riquewihr [didn’t note the year], from a terroir on brown marls and gibbs. 7 grams of residual sugar because if it had been finished dry it would have been too hard, too rough.
__ Domaine Marcel Deiss Berkem 2017, from a parcel with trees in the vineyard, also with residual sugar, at least 15 grams.
__ Domaine Marcel Deiss Burlenberg 2017, Pinot Noir with a bit of Pinot Beurot and Pinot Meunier. Gorgeous ! 40 €. I’m repeating myself but Pinot Noir from Alsace is a pure treat, often underrated.
That’s when I met Franck again and took the opportunity to make a group picture with Sylvain Leest, whom I had seen a few weeks before at his wine farm, just before he was about to start picking. Here Sylvain holds his delicious cuvée Feuilles Rouges. By the way if you venture outside Paris to Nogent-le-Rotrou (that might be a stop on you way to Anjou) make sure to stop at Franck’s bistrot (or cave à manger) managed by himself and his wife Cécile, Comptoir Sully, appropriately located 42 rue de Sully in the town. Nice selection of natural wines of course with homemade tapas style dishes. And you might learn from a unique source regarding the early years of the natural wine community in France. I always tell Franck, you should put that all on paper !
__ Feuilles Blanches Vin de France 2018. Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Rose (Fié Gris)
__ Feuilles Blanches Vin de France 2016-2017 (blend of two vintages). Super good, with vibes ! He put once 1 gram of SO2 and again one month later 2 grams because he had to.
__ Orbois Blanc 2018, a white.
__ Feuille de Rose 2018, Pineau d’Aunis, Grolleau and Gamay. Rosé wine. Lovely. 6,5 € pro price.
__ Feuilles Rouges 2017, 100 % Gamay, 12 % in alcohol. So easy drinking, I love that and you’d love certainly. 6,5 € pro price.
__ Feuilles Rouges 2018, 13,5 % alcohol, obviously different vintage. More solar and powerful.
__ Grapille 2018, Côt & Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon. 13,5 %. Tannic but not bad. 8 € pro (the most expensive of his cuvées).
Thje domaine Catherine & Pierre Breton was represented by son Paul Breton (who has changed a lot since I pictured him with his father in this story). Catherine and Pierre whom you can see in their facility in this story have delegated some of the work to their children France and Paul.
__ Pierres Rousses, Vouvray 2019. A Chenin with a nice ripeness in the mouth.
__ Pet’ nat Elle est pas Bulle, la Vie ?
__ La Dilettante red 2020, Cabernet Franc of course. Meaty, hearty wine, delicious ! Too late in the day (and swallowed too much) to explain more… Bottled april 2021. 14 € tax included.
__ Les Perrières 2018, a long élevage red, Cab Franc again. Wouaou… That’s serious wine, entering its optimum years now.
__ Nuits d’Ivresse 2019. Blend of old vines. Still young, you feel the tannins, but promising.
Happy to taste a few wines from Domaine Grosbois which is located in Panzoult (Loire valley).
__ La Cousine de ma Mère 2019, made with grapes purchased in the Gaillac region. I told a few years ago about the first such cuvée they made from Gaillac grapes (scroll down 32 pics in this story), it was a vibrant wine found then in supermarkets (Super U) for a mere 5,5 € at the time… Here is another such cuvée obviously. Lovely, nice radiating feel in the mouth. Vinified in Gaillac proper. Pro price 5,5 € (retail : 9,5-10 €, super good value).
__ Chinon 2020. Cabernet Franc.
__ Chinon Gabare 2019, estate grapes. Very aromatic on the nose. Inky in the mouth, and oddly, somehow acidulous.
__ Clos du Noyer 2019, Chinon.
__ Chinon Clôture 2018, a solar vintage. Old vines of Cabernet Franc (planted 1910). Nice wine. 25 € pro price.
__ Chinon Montel 2018
Here is Damien Bonnet of Domaine de Brin, I taste his wines regularly but failed to visit his domaine, I know it’s been so long since my last visits in Languedoc and south-west where there are so many exciting vintners…
__ Anthocyanes 2020, a blend of Braucol and Syrah, vinified in stainless steel, then cement tanks & foudres. Bottled end of august 2021. Nice concentration, and with acidity.
__ Amphore 2019, blend of Braucol and Duras. Maceration in tanks and afterthen élevage in amphora.
__ Brin de Temps, same parcel with Braucol and Duras, same vinification, élevage in barrels.
__ Braucol 2019, Gaillac. Appealing nose. Delicious wine ! Rejoices the palate, vibrant freshness. 10,5 € prp price at the cellar (retail 18 €).