The find for me at the Loire wine Salon was Jerome Saurigny's Domaine Saurigny in the Anjou. His Ange au Demon, 2/3 cabernet franc and 1/3 cabernet sauvignon was exciting. Once again I amaze myself at my sloppy wine note. Can I even remember what the damned thing tasted like? No, but what I remember was being impressed by the man's talent and the 'lift off,' of all wines, an elegance and a silky texture. But life. Marked by life. The next morning I was to head back to Paris, but not before we stopped off to see the vines of Patrick Desplats. I remember when Joe Dressner brought in the Les Griottes. I can't remember the year, eight years ago? The wines were wildy erratic, Patrick was new, rambunctious, wildly creative. Sometimes the wines worked, sometimes they didn't. Volatile acidity loved these wines and the wines were often volatile in more than one way. I remember the first and only time they had a booth at the Salon, posed across the way from Marc Ollivier's Domaine le Pepiere where I would often see their perpetual party in their booth and too intimidated to go over to taste. Newly enamoured with biodynamics, there was a horn suspended over the barrel, like miseltoe--or as they call it in France, guy. I was reminded of new converts who sing louder and more clearly thank anyone else. Patrick showed me a different man. Life has weighed him down with lessons and he wears them at once with a heavines and then with an innocence and earnestness --as if he has seen a light bulb for the first time--that makes me wonder about his past lives. This was a very cold morning. The vines were coated in ice. I was covered in ice. Pat could have been in shorts and t-shirt as far as I was concerned as he wore no hat and no gloves. I didn't get it. He has parted ways with biodynamics and is now working with vine historian Michel Bouvier to find historical and non-chemical ways of farming. His newly plowed land was in frozen rivulets of earth. We went through them all, even though my toes were turning into ice cubes but it was well worth it. "If you see moss in the vineyard," he reminded me, "you know the land is dead." No moss here for sure. "People today plant for 30 years. I plant for 200." We went back to the winery. Pascaline had prepared me for a 'chicken coop,' and a coop it was indeed. It was impossible not to think Dostoevksy. "You see if it were not a palace but a chicken coop, and it started to rain, I might creep into the chicken coop to avoid getting wet, but all the same, would not take the chicken coop for a palace out of gratitude that it sheltered me from the rain. You laugh, you even say that, in such circumstances, a chicken coop and a mansion--it's all the same. Yes, I answer, if one has to live simply to avoid getting wet." Yes. It is impossible not to visit Pat without invoking the great master. And it was hard not to contrast this manic, crazed energy, with all of his impetuousness and naivete with the crystal palaces of expensive winemaking lands elsewhere. But here, at Pat's chicken coop, temperature control was not an issue here. THe windows broken. Inside was as frozen as outside. I was reminded of the old concentration trick, freezing the wine and removing the shards of ice. Pat's red wines were still under the cap, this, mind you, was six months after harvest. More and more long skin contact, wines on their skins, with their lees, is a technique being used by winemakers looking to reduce or eliminate sulfur as the lees seem to absorb the nitrogen and make the wine more stable. (happy to hear from winemakers who understand chemistry more than I do on this point.) Stable or not, when he tried to open the spigot on still on the skins cabernet franc, under the grape cap, it was frozen solid. After a little work, it poured into the glass. As yet, no VA, quite stable, lots of velvet, touch of animal and blackberry. A good wine in a difficult vintage of 2008. Worried about missing my train to Paris, we hurried off. I made it. And thought about all of that mad winemakers on the way into the city.