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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

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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Wine of the Week

A two pinots Champagne

The Olivier Horiot domaine is located in Les Riceys, a commune in Côte des Bar. We are in the southern part of Champagne, and it’s an area that has once belonged to Bourgogne. Here in the Aube département the vineyards are more scarce than in central parts of Champagne, and interspersed with forests, waters and farms.

The Horiot family continues to produce wonderful natural wines from biodynamic viticulture, and has by the way also done a great job to recover the region’s indigenous grape varieties, like arbane.

Credit: O. Horiot

Maybe inspired by nearby Bourgogne, the domain separats its different terroirs into distinct cuvées. The result is champagnes with strong individual character.

The name Métisse refers to the fact that this cuvée is made from several different terroirs in the village of Les Riceys. It’s a non vintage, made from pinot noir and pinot blanc. It has a minimal addition of sulphites and undergoes neither fining nor filtering.

Métisse Pinots Noirs et Blancs Extra Brut (O. Horiot)

Pale yellow, small, delicate bubbles. Aromas of apples, pears, citrus, flowers, brioche and spicy notes. It’s fresh and lively on the palate, with a fine-tuned interplay between the autolysis and the fruit. Completely dry, good length.

Price: Medium

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Wine of the Week

Smooth wine ‘de Soif’

Domaine du Bel Air is a producer of fine, age-worthy wines from cabernet franc. Jour de Soif (Day of Thirst) is their entry-level wine, made from younger vines of 20 years.

The Gauthier family is found in Benais, in the Bourgueil appellation since 1600. Today Pierre Gauthier and his son Rodolphe run the estate. It covers more some 18 hectares. Pierre Gauthier begins his winemaking work with a real philosophy. In 2000, the farm converted into organic viticulture.

The wine is a 100% cabernet franc. Manual harvest. The grapes are destemmed and then sorted on the table before being put into vats. Maceration was gentle and lasted 8 days with pumping over and a temperature not exceeding 25% to preserve as much fruit as possible. Ageing was 6 months on fine lees.

Jour de Soif 2020 (Dom. du Bel Air)

Purple colour. Aroma of dark and red fruits (blueberry, cranberry), flowers. Mouthfilling with smooth tannin, medium acidity and long fruity aftertaste. Quaffable.

Price: Low

Food: Thirstquenching, but can also be drunk with light meat, Caesar and other salads and charcuterie

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Wine of the Week

L’orangeade

Philippe Formentin had worked 10 years at Domaine Chabanon in Lagamas, near Montpellier, before he became a “flying winemaker”, consulting at vineyards around the world. Then he found a small winery in the south of France, just outside Clermont l’Hérault. Here in the foothills of the Larzac, Philippe has brought life to his dream of making his own natural artisan wine.

His wines are made from grapes grown organically and according to biodynamic principles. They grow in different plots with clay-limestone soils and various exposures.

The grapes are manually harvested in the cool, early mornings, then stored in a cool environment 24 hours to slow start fermentation. They ferment naturally, with indigenous yeast and without sulfites.

A manual vertical press is used to gently extract the juice. The wines are then aged in containers, decanted, and bottled without filtration. L’orangeade 2020 is a varietal grenache blanc.

L’orangeade 2020 (Opi d’Aquí)

Light orange. Fresh aroma with apricot, orange peel, eucalyptus, a touch of honey. Medium full, light tannin structure, good length.

Price: Medium

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Wine of the Week

Tradition from Jura

As the rain set in on the rugged coast we wanted a bold wine for the cheeseboard. Luckily this Côtes du Jura was offered by the local store.

Domaine Maire is one of the largest producers of Jura covering 234 hectares of vines, and they sell their wines at affordable prices. The word tradition on the label here refers to a typical blend of the local white grapes varieties ahardonnay and savagnin. Maire’s cuvée comprises around 80% chardonnay and 20% savagnin.

Chardonnay, originating from Burgundy but cultivated in Jura since the 10th Century, has become a native, and is especially well suited on limestone and light soils. The savagnin is typical to Jura and matures slowly on grey marl soils. It’s the ideal grape variety for an oxydative maturing process under a veil of “flor”, referred to locally as “sous voile”. Most of the chardonnay was aged in stainless steel tanks for 2-3 months, the rest on fine lees in wooden vats for the same period of time. A part of the savagnin juices were matured in oak barrels under flor for 8 to 12 months.

Grand Héritage Tradition 2017 (Dom. Maire)

Yellow with green hints; apples and flowers (from chardonnay), flor, butter, roasted almonds and nuts (from the savagnin ageing); full in the mouth, good and persistent acidity, meaty.

Price: Medium

Food: Comté or blue cheeses, tapas, shellfish, paté, charcuterie

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Wine of the Week

Dangerously drinkable samsó

This wine can be said jo be dangerously drinkable. It’ contains “only” 11% alcohol, but it’s hard to stop once poured, with all its inviting fruit and low acidity (5g, the 2021 has only 3, by the way).

Domaine Cazes has been producing wine since 1895 in Rivesaltes, south of France. Cazes is operated according to biodynamic principles. Cazes is France’s largest certified producer of organic and biodynamic wines with 220 hectares of vineyards. (Read about a vin doux naturel here.)

This wine is made with traditional maceration, and fermented without yeasts for 6 days at low temperature (between 19 and 22°C). It was pressed with integrated presses. The end of alcoholic fermentation took place in in wooden vats before racking, then malolactic fermentation. The appellation is IGT Côtes Catalanes.

Finally a piece of ampelography (“grapeology”) here: Samsó is a synonym for cinsault in this part of Catalunya, also spelled sinsó. Samsó can also refer to carignan (a much more thick-skinned variety).

Samsó 2020 (Dom. Cazes)

Light red, violet rim. Fresh and fruit-driven with raspberries, wild strawberries, hints of licorice. Medium full, rounded, some spices at the end.

Price: Low

Food: Delicious on its own, with charcuterie, patatas bravas, pasta…

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Wine of the Week

Bourdy’s Château-Chalon

Château-Chalon is, despite the name, an appellation in Jura. The only grape variety used to make it is the savagnin, just like the other vins jaunes, wines matured under a veil of yeast. This producer owns 10 hectares and farms them biodynamically. This includes a half hectare in Château-Chalon AOC. Caves Jean Bourdy uses barrels up to 80 years old for fermentation and aging of the wines. They are known for their extensive back-catalogue of old wines, with château-chalon back to1865.

Château-Chalon 2012 (J. Bourdy)

Yellow with greenish hints. Complex aroma with walnuts, honey and mature cheese. Smooth, nice acidity, long and dry aftertaste.

Price: High

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Wine of the Week

Fanny Sabre in Pommard

Fanny Sabre has in short time, and at a young age, become a respected producer in Bourgogne. After her father passed away in 2000, she and her mother have run the family domain in a magnificent way. (Read about another wine here, also with an introduction.)

Today she manages the 5-hectare domain from her cellar in the heart of Pommard. And the grapes for this week’s wine are sourced from plots in that commune. We enjoyed the wine at “the wine office”, Vinkontoret, in Stavanger, Norway.

Like for all her reds she has here used 100% whole clusters and matured the wine in mainly 400 liters and mostly used and partly some new barrels.

Sabre’s Pommard at Vinkontoret

Pommard 2016 (Fanny Sabre)

Light cherry red. Aroma of red (cherry) and dark berries, touch underwood. Juicy in the mouth with fine-grained tannins, concentration in flavours, good acidity and length. Very delicate. Will keep.

Price: Medium/high

Food: Game, fowl, other light meat

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