The very first time I had a well made wine from carbonic maceration, (whole cluster, fill the tank with C02, cover up, let the grapes start to ferment from the inside out. Add dry ice or outside temperature control for, well, temperature control.) from 100% grapes and low in the SO2, I was pretty charmed. The wine was, as they say, gulpable, vin de soif stuff. There are times (and were times) when these mostly easy drinker were just what I wanted to suck down, because they were so refreshing and surprising. Easy in wine is not so bad, not forever, but sometimes they are just sociable wines.
But.....after drinking a lot of them, I realized I sometimes got a little antsy and craved some pushback. I wondered if carbonic didn't actually obscure terroir for me as much as new wood and yeasts do.
The vinoscientist Jules Chauvet, advocated CCM on granite soils only for gamay (and maybe grenache) but somehow it spread to the Jura (where I can make a case for it, after all, look at what Ploussard does in Overnoy's hand.), and then it took over the whole vin naturel-ized pays de France. There are various ways of handling the fermentation (pigeage, no pigeage, and how partial if you do partial carbonic, temperature control or not, drain off or not. It's a complete chapter. I can't condense here...) but some people started to take the method as a religion.
The more I understood the wines and the more I discussed them, the more I kept hearing Marie Lapierre's voice in my head when she said. “People believe that if you make a natural wine, it has to be made in the method. People carry out traditions without knowing where they come from, and exchange tradition for dogma.”
Which, by the way, was a motivation for me writing Naked Wine. Whether in wine or in Morris Dancing, it helps to understand the roots of traditions so smart choices can be made. As far as last Sunday night, I just wanted to taste the wines and cull opinions.
I rounded some drinkers to help me see if there was truth the sameness. +For me, the cinnamon is always a tell tale sign. +The gamay always seems true to itself. +Syrah is hard to disguise. And after that, all I can say, I've been wanting wines with a spine all week. The moral of the story for me is; too much of one thing makes Alice a dull girl.
Here's what we drunk. (along with that Selosse)
*1998 Chateau Meylet St. Emilion (gravel, limestone)
Not sure if this was really carbonic, but as a St. E, it was meaty, pencil and angle while still retaining elegance. Josh detected new wood, I couldn't find the suspected vanilla. @ $48 @ Chamber's Street, a bargain.
*Benoit Courault Anjou Rouge Taberneaux (I love Ben's wines, but this one seemed very inexpressive and watery)
* 2009 Maupertuis Les Pierres Noires (gamay--basalt)
*2009 Maupertuis La Guihaume (gamay on marne-calcaire, 50 yo vines)
(both Maupertuis were just lovely, well made)
’04 Domaine Peyra (gamay) controversial wine of the night. I find the stems weedy and woody, still compelling. A lot of punch for something lighter than water. But this is what Chauvet was looking for, perfume, strong aromatics. But, it has indeed started to fall apart.
*2008 Domaine du Picatier Le Picatier Cuvee 100% (gamay, granite)
*VdT (’08) Domaine du Picatier Auver Nat-Noir (pinot, granit) a nice new name in this forgotten area.
* '08 Axel Prüfer'sLe Temps des Cerises /Fou du roi (30% of each of Gren Noir, Cin and Carig + 10% of CS on granite. Limestone.clay) Always a winner, charm, never as much reduction as on the grenache.
* '08 Axel Prüfer's Le Temps des Cerises/ Un pas de Cote (grenache on granite)
*VdT Alain Allier's Mouressipe, Pitchounet (cinsault) initially charming, ends with puppy breath.
*’09 L’anglore Les Traveres (70% Syrah and 30% Grenache) syrah horsiness came through. well made, vin de soif.
*’07 Le Mazel Cuvee Briand, (grenache) insipid, gassy.
Jura (clay & limestone_
*04 Overnoy Plouss (sigh, corked!)
*’08 Octavin Dorabella Plouss (charming, and did show place as well as some structure in its etherality)
*’07 Chamonard Morgon "Les Clos de Lys" (beet and radish a nd cedar.not showing well)
*’09 Metras , Fleurie L'Ultime ( a freak of nature. Dense)
'09 Metras Fleurie (oh those '09's are so clunky!)
*’10 Marcel Lapierre Nouveau (fun, carefree)