I’m here in France, I’m here in Paris, I will be here in La Remise, Millisime Bio. I am here in Valaire and I’m here with Amy Lillard. I’m here with Marc Ollivier and I’m here at the Renaissance, Dive and Salon. I’m here. I’m there. I was there at Coinstot Vino and Le Dauphin and I was just there, or here, at Verre Volé with boy wonder, José Pastor, solving the problems that still exists with the vin nature world: those who would rather eat their first born than add sulfur to their wine or even send wine off for analysis.
Conversation was terse over a very stable and structured, edgy, lush and oily black olive drenched with veins of lime lilt and 12% alcohol Jean Michel Stephan’s '07 Cote Rotie, Coteaux de Tupin, might have been the perfect wine for such discourse, I love his wines, and had the pleasure of being his dinner companion during a dramatic electric storm at Pey-Labrie in 2007. Drinking Cote Rotie, talking to Jean Michel as the storm wrecked the party was an epic experience, his wines are even more amazing coming from someone who was an assistant at Guigal. These are wines at the opposite end of the spectrum of the unstable and unfinished natural wines that still, yes, still show up and I can expect to see over the next few days, whether in barrel sample or not.
Boy Wonder and I talked about a problem that still exists with the vin nature world: those who would rather eat their first born than add sulfur to their wine or even send wine off for analysis.
I remembered the early days of the Loire's Pat Desplats (aka Pat de Griottes). The wines were pretty on the French side of the Atlantic, but once in New York City, they were fizzy and popping their cork. The problem wasn't only improper temperature control, but because some who wanted to rush their wines to market didn't actually do their chemistry analysis. Two strikes against them/him. One of the problems with Pat or others who hadn't learned from his early missteps was that bottle before malolactic fermentation and wines can start to referment and pop their corks at inopportune times. Working with no sulfur needs to be respected, the laws of care must be obeyed.
Dressner dropped him.
Pat did some soul searching,more analysis, did more elevage. He waited for stability before bottling. He is well regarded now in France and in Japan but in the United States there are those who still remember the issues of stability. Their loss, but a reputation must be rewon after its lost.
One bad bottle and the whole case gets thrown out by naysayers. Yet, allowing for stability takes time; money out of the winemaker’s pocket. But like writing, people don’t make wine to make a killing.
By 2:30, after half of the wine world we knew tried to lunch at VV (moral of the story, when in France reserve, when working with naturel be prudent.) we left, talking of the problems of the world alongside the Canal St. Martin on the way to the station. I kissed him on both his furry cheeks in front of Gare de l’Est. I headed to Gare de Nord and took my seat next to a large women who never seemed to stop huffing and puffing and sopping her beads of sweat (it was about 30 degrease outside) until I fell asleep and she started to emit strange and large noises. I woke from a drugged-like sleep, cows on either side I pulled out this seasons Art of Eating and plowed into Ed Behr’s article on cheese maker Soyong Scanlan. “Passion is cheap,” she told him. “There’s a lot of amateurism in the name of enthusiasm and passion.”
Synchronicity. Passion is a word that gets bandied about in the vin nature world, in fact, I’ve been responsible for playing fast and loose with the word as well. Words are poor replacements for facial nuance.
Passion is important. To work naturally, one has to be a bit crazy, devoted and persistent. But great wine does not get produced by intention alone. Art must meet nature must meet skill and talent.
I remember when I was a teenager and wrote poetry I thought my first draft came from God (even though I seemed to always have been an agnostic). When I learned structure and editing and , and only learning to rewrite endlessly, did I really grow into being a writer.
Tomorrow, La Remise. New crop, old crop, those who ride nature like a bronco and those who would rather ride a wave. Let the games begin.