jamie goode's wine blog: Rewind and natural wines

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Rewind and natural wines

Rewind: it's nice to catch up with old friends, visiting old haunts - but there's something about going back that stirs up emotions a little. We had a lovely time today visiting some friends who we knew very well when we were first married and living in Wallington, Surrey, but who we've lost touch with a bit since. But despite the fact that it was a nice time, I came away with a little sadness from visiting the old haunts. I don't know why.

I'm drinking Yann Chave's Crozes Hermitage 2004 tonight (Laithwaites, Majestic 9.99). You really don't want to have the name Chave and be making wines in the northern Rhone, unless you are JL Chave, of course. It's a bit like having studied at Oxford Brookes University here in the UK (which I am sure is an excellent educational establishment; it just isn't simply Oxford University). A deep coloured wine, it has a lot of flavour, with lots of green herb and black olive character. It's intensely savoury and meaty, but that northern Rhone olive and herb character is taken to an extreme here at the expense of the fruit. It's turning out to be a rather extreme and funky bottle, and it's a bit much even for me - and I like this northern Rhone style of Syrah.

I'm in the process of writing up an interesting tasting last week of natural wines with no added sulfur dioxide. As you might expect, these were a mixed bag, but there were a few gems.

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At 5:36 AM, Blogger Jan-Tore Egge said...

I bought this having read a review not unlike yours (although they didn't say it was too much). I drunk the wine over Christmas with some reindeer and was surprised how easy-drinking I found it, whereas I actually wanted it to be "wilder", a bit like Graillot's 2003. Guess I'll have to try another bottle now, with some other food, and see what I think of it. Thanks for reminding me, anyway.

At 8:00 AM, Anonymous Doug said...

Hi Jamie,

Read your tasting re natural wines with interest. A couple of points: I've noticed that low and no sulphur winemaking is often characterised by CO2/carbonic maceration. Is that correct? Secondly, is it not true that while quite a few growers use no sulphur during fermentation they do add a tiny dose at bottling: Sebastien Riffault, Metras and most of the Cru Beaujolais producers being examples. One of the mere handful of zero sulphur winemakers is Emmanuel Houillon who took over the reins from Pierre Overnoy in the Arbois. (He uses CO2 in the fermentation process).

Glad to see one of favourite Morgon producers - Jean Foillard - amongst your list.

At 9:32 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Jan-Tore, the next day it was showing more easy drinking, but still with a meaty/herby character

Doug, it's an interesting point - there's a difference between straight carbonic maceration and maceration beaujolaise, which is the one used by many of the Chauvet/Neauport school. It's a bit nerdy, but it makes a difference apparently. Many of the vins naturels guys use a little sulfur at bottling, but many do not. It's quite hard working out exactly which is the case with each wine.


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