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Month: November 2022

Wine of the Week

Dumenge Calling

No, it’s not a cheap joke, but the name of the wine. I am told it was made for the Garage Bar of Barcelona, in a tiny quantity of 100 bottles. I bought it from the Bendito bar in Madrid. (Read a short article from Garage here and a review of Bendito here.)

Dumenge Calling is monovarietal xarel.lo produced by Celler Dumenge in a garage in Penedès, Catalunya. The winery calls it an “ancestral”, or a pét nat. All their wines are made with a deep respect for the vineyard, seeking the highest possible expression of the grape and the soil. They opt for natural agriculture, always with minimal intervention, which results in original and true wines.

This wine has been aged in amphora, which allows it to perfectly preserve the freshness of the varietal, and at the same time it adds to the complexity.

Dumenge Calling 2017 (Celler Dumenge)

Light yellow, slightly turbid. Fruity aromas of pears, white flowers and grapefruit. Fresh fruit on the palate, vibrant acidity, quite full and with a long finish.

Price: Medium

Food: Shellfish, white fish, tapas, and many Asian-style dishes

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Articles

Beaujolais twins

This is a followup to the Beaujolais article last Friday. Today I came across two wines made by Pierre Dupond. One of the twins showed freshness and elegance, while the other was more bold and ripe. We will come back to that, but first a look at the background.

The Dupond family has its roots in Burgundy and the Rhône Valley. It began with Antoine Dupond, who was originally from Beaujolais, but began commercializing his wines in Lyon and St. Etienne in the 1860s. His son Joanny expanded the family’s estates to the Rhône area. Hervé Dupond, fifth generation, is today leading the business. Hervé has expanded production, building partnerships with nearby winegrowers and neighboring families that the they have known for generations. Each year Hervé selects the best possible plots to make his wines. A traditional method of winemaking is practiced to ensure wines produced are reflective of the land. Ageing takes place in concrete vats that allow for ideal temperatures.

The gamay grapes were handpicked and underwent carbonic maceration with indigenous yeasts. These are natural wines, both with low sulphur (one with nothing added). One is with minimal filtration, one without. To sum up: Sans Soufre Ajouté is the most fresh/acidic of the twins, while Non Filtré is the most ripe and fullbodied wine. Both are highly recommended.

Beaujolais-Village Sans Soufre Ajouté 2022 (Pierre Dupond)

Dark red, blue hint. Cherry, raspberry. Medium body, fine-grained tannins, fresh acidity.

Beaujolais Nouveau Non Filtré 2022 (Pierre Dupond)

Dark red, blue hint, a touch more dense than the other wine. Blackberry, eucalyptus, chocolate/coffee earthy tones. Medium-bodied with ripe fruit, a bit structured (more than the other wine), rounded acidity.

Price: Low

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Wine of the Week

Thivin’s new Beaujolais

This year I haven’t tasted as many of the new Beaujolais as usual. It’s the first time I have tried Thivin‘s Nouveau, though I already knew several of their other wines.

Thivin is one of the top domaines in the Côte de Brouilly, Château Thivin is built on an ancient volcano back in the 15th century, thus one of the oldest. Claude and Evelyne, third generation of the Geoffray family, are now managing the estate with their son Claude-Edouard. They encourage biodiversity planting herbs and flowers between the rows of the more than 50 years old vines, plowing regularly and using natural composts to keep their vines healthy.

The vines for this cuvée are trained in goblet. The grapes are handpicked. Semi-carbonic maceration is used for extraction of the fruit, and the vats are handled by gravity to ensure gentle production.

Gamay Noir Vignes d’Ecussol 2022 (Thivin)

Red with blueish hint. Very much raspberry, plus some currant, fresh and young, with some structure and a nice acidity.

Price: Low

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Wine of the Week

Indigenous

Jura is a small, yet diverse wine region. Stéphane Tissot is one of its most dynamic and creative producers, and boasts a huge varieties of styles. Here he has made a sparkling wine with vin de paille in its dosage. And vin de paille? A traditional Jura thick and sweet dessert wine made of dried grapes.

Indigène ferments with indigenous yeasts, hence the name. Then the second fermentation is begun with vin de paille. This wine has the same grape composition as Tissot’s crémant Normale: 55% chardonnay, 35% pinot noir, the rest poulsard and trousseau. These two wines are separated after the first fermentation, when Indigène is dosed with vin de paille, added daily in tiny amounts. The second fermentation takes six months – and adds to the richness and complexity of the wine.

Indigène (S. Tissot)

Straw yellow. Aromas of clementine, yellow apple, spices, dried fruit, bread and nuts. Glyceric, smooth with good concentration, and a long salty finish.

Price: Medium

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Wine of the Week

Brilliant Loire red at Bellies

Last Thursday I had the pleasure to revisit Bellies, a 100% vegan restaurant in the eastern neighborhood of Stavanger, Norway. Here you are not served “vegan burgers” and such. The focus is on the tastes of the ingredients, and there is a high level of creativity in the presentation. Add to this a select wine list that mostly highlights natural wines and you have got the picture.

I had the “Full Bellies”, a ten servings presentation (dishes of various sizes), accompanied by a package of five wines, plus an elegant champagne, the Les Vignes de Montgueux blanc de blancs extra brut (J. Lassaigne). Among the wines were a stylish, slightly buttered, tropical fruit-scented Saint-Véran, Les Pommards 2020 by Jessica Litaud, a fresh Loire white, Saumur 2021 (B. Stater-West) and an interesting relatively full-bodied oak-treated beaujolais, Morgon Dynamite 2020 (A. & Y. Bertrand). All these were wines that I will keep an eye on, and good enough to be featured.

Our wine came with a dish that I have forgotten the name of, which contains jelly, blackberry, pepper with sea urchin, a.o.

This time I concentrate on a brilliant fruity, earthy, full-of-life red from the Loire valley. Nadège Lelandais can be found in Rochefort sur Loire, a few miles southwest of the city of Angers. There she cultivates 4.5 hectares of cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, and chenin blanc. She has been practicing organic and biodynamic viticulture since the start in 2005.

Our wine Vigneronne is made of cabernet franc, handpicked and fermented in fiberglass vats and aged several months in older barrels.

Vigneronne 2021 (Nadège Lelandais/ Les Vignes Herbel)

Dark purple. Fragrant with raw red fruits (cherry, red currant), blackberry, and with an earthy note. Juicy and fleshy in the mouth with fine tannic structure, herbaceous with fresh acidity. Simply delicious.

Price: Medium

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