I have written a little bit about the idea of ‘Natural Wine‘ in the past after a visit and tasting at Artisan & Vine. The concept is intriguing, but not without its complications and controversies (argued with his usual passion by my good friend Ricard).
There is, however, something quite distinctive and ‘alive’ about these wines which marks them out as quite different, and in truth you often have no idea what you are going to get. There can also be something unusually ‘rustic’ about them too!
The point of an adventure is not to have guaranteed ‘fun’ at every turn, .. but … that each discovery makes the journey more worthwhile and memorable.
Following my recent post about FindWine, I met up with Mike Howes at Terroirs (I was late, so missed lunch but took some lovely photos** of what he had ordered) to talk about their future plans*.
However, what I wanted to write about was Mike’s choice of wine. Like many in the wine business, we are doing this because we have a passion for wine. Not usually A wine, but the idea of wine and all the many ways that it can be created. I was very happy to see that he had ordered this wine:
Le Cousin, Rouge, (2007, we think) Grolleau Vieilles Vignes, VdT, Domaine Cousin-Leduc
“That rustic character that marks out ‘natural’ wines with low/no sulphur. Dark brambles, earthy, dark fruit not overripe and kept under wraps by … something else (vegetal? herbal? not sure). There is even a slight effervesence in the mouth, odd for an older wine. Interesting wine though not something I’ll race to try again.”
I forgot to take a picture of the back label, but this was a biodynamic, ‘natural’ wine. It probably broke all the local appellation rules as to how wine is supposed to be made, so it was designated a “Vin de Table” – not usually a mark of great quality.
Except that in truth, in this case, it demonstrates that the winemaker was more concerned about how the wine was MADE than how it was labelled. It goes to show that packaging alone is not a fail-safe guide! Sometimes, the motto should be the reverse – the worse the label & information, the better the wine has to be to be on this list!
I can’t speak for Mike, but I found the wine more intriguing than amazing, but by the same token, I am very happy to have had the chance to try it. The point of an adventure is not to have guaranteed ‘fun’ at every turn, this is not Disneyland, but rather that each discovery makes the journey more worthwhile and memorable.
That’s what I like about wine. What about you?
Thank you Terroirs for making these wines available to us in London.
For those who are interested, this is the description of the wine from Terroir’s great, and extensive, wine list:
Dne Cousin-Leduc, Olivier Cousin
Who’s the Daddy long legs? Olivier Cousin is – aka the wild man of Anjou. If you only drink one biodynamic old vines Grolleau then we heartily recommend this . Striking aromas of violets, cherries and earth. Lively and refreshing on the palate with extraordinary flavours of apples and medlars and return of the earthy notes. Serve cool or chilled for maximum deliciousness.
*If you read that post, I suggest you get in touch with them through their site and let them know what you think and what else you’d like to learn from them. They are working on a blog where they hope to share some of their knowledge and ideas on wine, so if you have suggestions or questions, I’m sure they’d love to hear from you.
** Here are those photos: