Wednesday, December 1, 2010

More on the Carbonic vs. Terroir Tasting

Okay, okay. My arm has been duly twisted. By popular demand, in response to yesterday's post on Chauvet, Néauport and the question of terroir, here is a list of the seventeen wines my seven jolly friends and I blind-tasted on Sunday. This is not the order in which they were tasted; rather, I've simply alphabetized them based on region and plunked them in however I saw fit beyond that. I'll be happy to answer questions about any of them to the best of my ability (and memory) but there will be no notes.

Originally, I'd intended, if asked, to post these in the comments to yesterday's post but it took me so damn long to type up the list and to make sure I came as close as possible to accurate appellation information, cuvée names, spelling, etc., that a top-level spot seemed only right.  That said, I can't promise I didn't muff a detail or two; if anyone happens to notice anything awry with the details, please do let me know.

  • Morgon "Les Clos de Lys," Domaine Joseph Chamonard 2007
  • Fleurie, Yvon Métras 2009
  • Fleurie "L'Ultime," Yvon Métras 2009
  • Beaujolais Nouveau, Marcel Lapierre 2010

  • Saint Emilion, Château Meylet 1998

  • Arbois Ploussard "Dorabella," Domaine de l'Octavin 2008

  • Vin de Table Français "Fou du Roi," Le Temps des Cerises (Axel Prüfer) 2008
  • Vin de Table Français "Un Pas de Côte," Le Temps des Cerises (Axel Prüfer) 2008
  • Vin de Table Français "Pitchounet," Mouressipe (Alain Allier) 2009

  • Anjou Rouge "Taberneaux," Benoit Courault 2007
  • Vin de Table Français "Les Pierres Noires," Jean Maupertuis 2009
  • Vin de Table Français "La Guillaume," Jean Maupertuis 2009
  • Vin de Pays d'Urfé "Cuvée 100%," Domaine du Picatier 2008
  • Vin de Table Français "Auver Nat Noir," Domaine du Picatier 2008
  • Côtes d'Auvergne VDQS, Domaine Peyra 2004

  • Côtes du Rhône "Cuvée des Traverses," L'Anglore 2009
  • Vin de Pays de l'Ardèche "Cuvée Briand," Le Mazel 2007

It was quite a wild lineup of wines, surprisingly few of which I'd previously been familiar with to any great extent.  It could also be said that there were some benchmark examples of the method in question missing from the table.

More importantly, I think it bears reiteration — and clarification — that the spirit of our tasting was not so much to delve into the scientific aspects of carbonic and semi-carbonic maceration, or to set up Chauvet and/or Néauport for any kind of a fall.  It was really the big picture method we were looking at, and the way in which it affects terroir expression.  As I alluded yesterday, we also didn't spend much time pondering the fairness of calling the vinification techniques in question the Chauvet method vs. the Néauport method.  It's since been pointed out to me, and quite rightly I believe, that while it may have been Jules Chauvet who laid the seeds for the method and understood its particular viability for Gamay grown in acid-rich, granitic soils, it was largely Jacques Néauport who was responsible for spreading the seeds, along with a dose of dogmatism some might argue, on a wider basis.

Plenty of food for thought....  Now if only my French were better, or if only someone would translate Chauvet's and Néauport's texts from French to English so that I (and others) could more fully digest said food.


Wicker Parker said...

Weird, I thought for sure that Benoit Courault avoided temperature control and carbonic maceration. Must be wrong. And how did your host get ahold of a bottle anyway? I thought Oregon was the only US state that had his marvelous wines. In any case, I find his very specific, terroir-driven wines necessary.

Anonymous said...

Lapierre Beaujolais Nouveau? Where did that come from?

How were the 09 Metras?


David McDuff said...

@WP - I'm really not sure who brought the Courault. Many of the wines in the tasting came from personal cellars, with a few provided by the importers. I'll try to find out....

@Mark - If my understanding was correct, the Lapierre Nouveau was brought back from France by one of the guests who had just returned from a trip to the Rhône and the Beaujolais.

Funny thing about the '09s from Métras... I really dug "L'Ultime" but the regular bottling not so much, as it swung into overripe, jammy territory. One of the wines that led the group, post-tasting, into a discussion of the freaky nature of '09 in Beaujolais. Bear in mind, though, that these are quick impressions from tasting an ounce or two of each wine. I'd be more than happy to sit down with them both over a meal to get a fuller sense of what they're about.

Wicker Parker said...

By the way, if said person also has Benoit Courault's "Gilbourg" (chenin), you'll want to invite yourself over for dinner... Really cool stuff.

Kevin said...

About the Vin de Pays de l'Ardèche "Cuvée Briand," Le Mazel 2007, is this being imported? I brought a bottle of the 2005 back from a trip to Paris, and know next to nothing about it.

Any thoughts on it?

David McDuff said...

@Kevin - Yes, Le Mazel is imported by Savio Soares, though I don't know if the wines make it to your part of the country.

Honestly, I wasn't too keen on it. My abbreviated notes go something like this: "Natty nose, spicy and gassy on the palate. Fritos. Nicer on nose than palate." It was one of the wackier wines of the night. Again, that's all based on a relatively brief impression from a small taste.

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