Sunday, June 28, 2009

Fucking natural wine

This post is part of 31 days of natural wine put together by Cory Cartwright. Sharon and I are posting together today in support of that occasion.

The funny thing is that people always put me in the Alice Feiring, Joe Dressner, Marc Angeli camp. While a number of wines that I love happen to be natural, I don’t love them because they are natural wines. I’m no fucking communist. More of a libertarian, really.

As my example, and a wine I had last night, take the 2003 Baudry Chinon Grezeaux. 2003 was a formidable challenge for many in the central Loire and producing balanced wines was a challenge. Mathieu and his father Bernard succeeded, as they often do, in producing excellent wines. This is a nice vintage to own now, because it is early maturing. Another remarkable thing about this wine is that it retains its Grezeaux-ness in the face of this erratic and very hot vintage. The vines are old and the roots deep. This terroir isn’t the best that the Baudry’s own and Matthieu seems to be bored by it (he’s much more interested in the potential of the Clos Guillot and his new vineyard). So by what means do the Baudry’s make great wines? They slide into natural by the definition outlined by Cory for this project, but Dard wouldn’t consider them to be (or even drink them, he refuses to drink wines that aren’t made like his, evidently. In addition, his wines do a lousy job of expressing terroir. What a douche-bag.)

So should it matter?

When the subject of natural wine comes up (or when I’m arguing with Guilhaume, Dagan or Luc)), I often think of a discussion I had with Eric Texier when he used Clos St. Hune as an example great terroir overcoming industrial winemaking. I think that the more closely you work with nature, the better that expression will be but the smartest people I know refuse to be dogmatic about it. In fact, if you are dogmatic it probably mea ns you don’t know what the fuck you are talking about.

The key to being a good vigneron is flexibility. Being dogmatic is more of a marketing ploy and being natural for its own sake is no better than hiring Rolland and making Rollandicated shit. The vignerons I respect most Baudry, Fourrier, Mugnier, Barthod, Mendez, Texier (don’t tell him though) are flexible in their approach and intellectual about the process. None subscribe to an approach that limits options, yet all stick as close to natural as possible and make wines of incredible clarity and often aching beauty.

So, should you give a shit about whether a wine is “natural” Only if you’re an idiot. I making natural wine a better way to express terroir, almost assuredly.

I also want to take the opportunity to confirm that Sharon and I are having an affair. It was her idea. I call her winegrrrlll in the sack.

6 comments:

Iuli said...

Here here.

Though i'm not sure about texier's opinion that clos st. hune is industrial made wine. Not every wine made in an industry is industrial. Jean Trimbach certainly doesn't think so.

Texier oaked his super cuvee of cdp for a couple of vintages. that isn't soul; that's industry.

Lyle Fass said...

Iuli,

Do you go from blog to blog to Facebook hating on Texier because he had an evolution as a winemaker?

Do you hate me because I used to drink De Grazia when I lived and worked in Boston. W are all constantly evolving.

Great post Nathan and something I will be exploring on my post of why there is not much German wine that that is labeled org//bio/nat.

Iuli said...

Lyle, no need to get upset. I'm one of the few guys who often agrees with you.

Just keepin' it real. If one guy goes modern its 'industrial or spoofed', and if another guy does it 'its evolution.'

To go one step further, I hate all the CDP super cuvees. I think they are the very definition of parkerized industrial spoof juice. That includes everything from Jacques Perrin to Cuvee da Capo to Cuvee de la Reine de Bois.

I love texier. his St. Gervais was my favorite CDR for a long time. He makes wine that are both distinct and specific. But his shit still stinks, and everyone shits occasionally.

VLM, Sorry for the hijack.

saignee said...

As long as you're not a Randian as well...

luc said...

fuck the fuck and fuck......the word is all over your post.... i don t remember arguing with you at any time. at the shop i don t talk with anyone about my views and opinoins regarding wine i leave that for the blog cocksuckers . i drink and don t talk . i don t care about intellectual debate on wine or anything of that sort. i don t trust sommelier or so called wine expert.
i trust winos and vigneron . i don t belong to the blog sphere world , so please NO need to mention my name. i have no pretention , except that we have the greatest wine list in the country,soon the world.....that how pretentious i am. i don t like communist they are way to soft for me . your daily life doesn t give you enough opportunities to express yourself? you need to go online , no friends around to discuss with. do you go on internet to find girls because you are to afraid to speak to them in public spaces?i am just joking with you fat bastard chimpo' but please leave me of your post.
thanks Ben Abdallah Luc Overnoy at Terroir

slaton said...

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