Rassegna Stampa

18 Luglio 2012

Who are you?

My first question and the one I continuously ask to anyone who tells me about their most recent great wine experience is this: who is the winemaker?
Who made the wine? Who tended the grapes and vines? Who made decisions that affected all the steps that led to the result in the glass I am pouring?
This person, overlooked too often in favour of the varietal, the appellation (AOC), the region, is, in fact, the true essence of any wine.
When I peer into a glass of wine whose producer I have never met nor heard of, I always try to imagine how they are. More often than not, the wine is a very accurate reflection of the person who deeply cared for it.
Among the many winemakers I have met and whose wines I love, I think firstly of Elisabetta Foradori and her 100% Teroldago Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT “Granato” 2002. The wine is 100% made with the indigenous Teroldago grape that is genetically related to Syrah and isn’t particularly easy and attractive in its youth. Rather, it is a wine that tends to be discreet on the nose, rather full and with firm tannin on the palate. But when vinified with love and aged patiently, it is a splendid and inspiring wine. The client for which I poured it a couple of nights ago is a fervent lover of discovery and always asks me to pick something he’s never had before. He described it as “classy and elegant, velvety and powerfully inspiring “. Without knowing it, he actually described Elisabetta. Everytime I have met this woman, it has been a blend of sheer pleasure, calm happiness and a strenght of character. Her estate, that lies in the Trentino Alto Adige, is farmed biodynamically and she has started experimenting with amphoraes.
WINE MADE FOR MEAT: I paired Elisabetta’s Granato with the duck breast, broccoli purée, zucchini and cherry dish at Frenchie.
Another notable winemaker that highly resembles his wines is Emmannuel Lassaigne. He makes bright, crisp, unique and tense wine in Montgueux, an area that is a little bit of a black sheep of Champagne. A little east of Troyes, Montgueux is isolated from the rest of the Champagne vineyard, but it is blessed with highly chalky soils ideal for Chardonnay. Manu welcomed me to his winery a lazy sunny Sunday afternoon and we tasted all his vins tranquilles straight from the cask. The wines were delicious: crisp, rich and mineral with bright notes of lemon, peach and honey. He is also experimenting aging his wines in cognac, vin jaune and burgundy casks to see what results the wine transpire. Like his wines, he is a multi-faceted man: he has a strong character, isn’t afraid to say what he thinks, but beneath is a wonderful, generous, hilarious and talented human being.
To say I love his wines as much as I love the person would be an understatement. We finished the tasting with a magnum of Colline Inspirée, a wine that I poured by the glass at Frenchie last year as he had yet to bottle it in 750ml. Now that he has, I am bound to order more.
THE WEDDING CHAMPAGNE: I picked Manu’s “La Colline Inspirée” as the Champagne to be served at chef Marchand’s wedding.
Of all the winemakers I have met, Valérie Guérin has struck me to be one of the most tenacious, smart and caring ones.
The wines are tense, smooth, concentrated and great. It was a friend and brilliant sommelier, Caroline Loiseleux, who introduced me to them. I was immediately smitten. Valérie’s Domaine des Mille Vignes is in the AOC of Fitou and Rivesaltes and its 12,5ha are farmed in “culture raisonnée” (interventions only when necessary. She produces all her wines with micro-yields (9 to 25hl/ha) on high density plantings. One goal is to maintain concentration so the wine can age well. My favorite wines she makes is her least pricey one: Vin de Pays de l’Aude “Chasse Filou” 2011 (100% Grenache Noir, vines 30 years old). With only a thousand or so bottles made per year, they litterally fly out of her cellars at the speed of light! The yields remain low and the work is as meticulous as her more pricey cuvées. It is a worthy and value-full discovery.
WINE BAR BEST-SELLER: ”Chasse-Filou” is one of Frenchie wine bar’s bestsellers and pairs great with the Speck from Alto Adige laced with old balsamic.


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