Sunday, November 20, 2011

La Vigne du Perron

Je ne comprends pas?

Lost? Pretty much.

We are in the area of Bugey and the village is Villebois. To be a little more specific we are here 150km south of Arbois, Jura and 60km northeast of Lyon. I know – you still haven’t got a clue were we are. We are in France – okay, and I have tasted 3 wines so far from La Vigne du Perron.

2010 Les Etapes

Blend: 100% Pinot Noir
Terroir: Silt and limestone scree
Yields: 28HL/Ha
Method: semi-carbonic maceration 12 days, tapered wooden vats
Aging: 12 months in 5-6 year old Burgundy barrels
Production: 1.500 bottles per year.
Other: Natural wine
Glass: Zalto Burgundy

First impression was a recognizable scent of what I would describe as typical for Pinot Noir, when crafted in the name of natural wine. But quickly the wine turns and you realize we are not in our local “backyard” anymore and the terroir is quite different. To give you an idea what we are dealing with - is a much more cooler tempered wine, which has very fragile breezes of raspberry skin, wet animal fur and a refined spice window. These spices are transported to the palate and overall brakes as white pepper scents, which initially made me fear the fruit would suffer in purity. This is however not the case as the wine is simply so breathtaking fresh, frisky and blessed with poised bite. In such a wrapping, the spices merely act as a complexity supplement. Beautiful wine.

2010 Les Ermitures

Blend: 100% Gamay
Terroir: Granite
Yields: 15 HL/HA
Method: semi-carbonic maceration 10 days, tapered wooden vats.
Aging: 12 months in 5-6 year old Burgundy barrels
Production: 1.500 bottles per year.
Other: Natural wine
Glass: Zalto Burgundy

Actually the same thing happened here. First scents.....ahaaaa!!!. Gamay, got it!!!...some of the usual suspects on the aromatic wheel, but just 5-10 minutes later, it turns. The transformation is quite amazing and I was about to witness one of the most refined Gamay wines I have ever tasted. It’s one of those annoying wines, which smells of something you think you know and you might even have that note right on the tip of your tongue. But then you begin to doubt, because it’s so unusual to see such an aromatic profile for Gamay. Anyway – this is my best attempt to describe the wine.

A really fresh wine filled with delicate, pure sweet new fruit and aromas which shapes like; pumpkin, green olives, figs, rubber, cumin (very subdued) and lacquer. The fruit is like a really closely tied knot and it provides so much tallness to the wine. The taste is so fine, with a cool, frisky and vibrant curl, which gives you a life confirmative journey. There are also darker phrasings underneath the palate, which feels like brushing of minerality and refined spices. Spectacular Gamay wine.

2010 Ars Antiqua (Pétillant Natural – let’s call them pet.nat. in future)

Blend: 60% Roussette (altesse), 40% Chardonnay
Terroir: Silt and limestone scree
Yields: 15 HL/HA (Rousette) and 30 HL/HA (Chardonnay)
Method: Direct pressing
Aging: Rousette, in vats fibreglass and for Chardonnay; Burgundy barrels.
Production: 2.000 bottles per year.
Other: Natural wine
Glass: Spiegelau Adina (Water Goblet)

This is different – very different in the sense of I imagined a pet.nat. with immediate appeal from fresh new fruit. To some extend it delivers just that – but it bends the wheel different to what I am used to and over the 3 days I tasted this wine, I found myself more in doubt than really convinced. It has very high pitches of flower water and lemon peel, which goes of towards zest from grape fruit. It’s however more complex than just a simple pet.nat., with a baseline of grassy tones, spices and soil bite. The acidity is high and I like high, but it becomes shrill, like the note of grape fruit from the nose. On day two I found some signs of subtleness, but it’s only when served really chilled. Upon reflection, which I found interesting was it’s ability to stay focused and clear on day 3 and with such a profile I couldn’t help to think whether it’s actually a pet.nat, which can age 1-2 years more?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Don’t forget “L’Artiste”

2006, David Léclapart “L’Artiste”

Blend: 100% Chardonnay
Dosage: 0 g/l
Other: L’Artiste is made from 30-50 year old vines and aged half in enameled steel and half in barrel
Glass: Spiegelau Adina Red wine (Water Goblet)

It’s common there is a sort of ranking order in a producer’s portfolio - from an entry-level wine to a cuvée prestige. With David Léclapart the spotlight is usually on “L’Apôtre”, which is definitely appropriate – yet I have discovered – especially with the 2004 vintage, that “L’Artiste” is a Champagne which shouldn’t be forgotten.

I have already had a sneak preview on this 2006 version of “L’Artiste”, in April this year @ Terres et vins de Champagne. I was seriously impressed and my expectations were high as poured my first glass.

Deadly young – yet majestic intense already from the opening bell. There is an uncompromising raw style to this Champagne, as it floats like an eruption of soil liquid. It’s extremely energetic to witness and the soil components have a warm intense slate feeling, bringing its purity to a mind-blowing level.

It’s not a coincidence, I haven’t yet touched upon the aromatic notes of this Champagne, as I am in fact more intrigued with it’s overall character. It happens, that it’s one of those specimens, which doesn’t just let you pick a note here and there on the aromatic wheel and voilá - we have an almost finished tasting note. This is one of those wines, which has it’s own dimension and such equations, are always love for me.

But for sure, we have tight, slim and utterly pure pear juice, flowers and lots of grassy notes. The taste offers a sensational electrical treat with a slim, crystal clear taste. On the finish line it’s bites back with this raw soil attack.

The last two glasses showed signs of a more reserved Champagne, which very well could prove to be the entrance of a nearby shy phase.

Overall – spectacular Champagne, with lots of cellar potential.