The heft of interest in this particular tasting demonstrates the momentum of Joly's far-reaching influence. He passionately preaches the importance and need for biodynamic farming. The talk he gave highlighted the "urgent need" to change to biodynamic farming methods and to return to terroir. The rallying call "Return to Terroir" indicates a fundamental acknowledgement at the core of the group's mission statement that something important has been lost, that somehow, the growers of the world have lost a previous connection to terroir that once was. This tasting and others like it around the world are meant to refresh winemaker and consumer interest in grape vines that connect to and express the land (the main vehicle for accomplishing this, they suggest, is biodynamic farming), and that are then processed with minimal cellar intervention.
Sometimes tastings can seem laborious and sales-pitchy. But the vibe in the room was different-- yes, each pourer was, of course, pouring to sell; but there was a palpable ulterior motive, a larger issue in the room that bonded the producers. They weren't just pitching: they were there for a cause, to make a point. This environment heightened the tasting experience-- I tasted each individual wine, but did so in an effort to make sense of the whole-- to see how the founding dogma emerges in the sum of all the parts.
There is a lot to say about biodynamic farming-- impassioned arguments for and against. There is plenty to hash out: I can't cover it all in one post, so let me just say that this is a reoccurring theme that I plan to touch on again and again.
Here are a few wines that I really enjoyed at the tables:
Ngeringa Syrah, "J&E", Pinot Noir, Chardonnay
Ngeringa Chardonnay- a great rich texture with brilliant acidity and peachy apple fruits
La Cuvee Rochette 2009- an amazing coper-gold color, honey and crunchy fresh melon, tart & bright acidity.
La Cuvee Traditions Graves 2010- a very classic cabernet franc done in cement.
The label photos to the left are Beatrice Lambert's wines, Silice and Achillee. She makes them from a neighboring parcel.
Tissot Cremant du Jura, Extra Brut Nature 2010- no dosage here!
Tissot Arbois Chardonnay "Classique" 2010- an interesting aroma that reminded me of fresh corn
Tissot Arbois Chardonnay "Les Graviers" 2010- a blend of 4 different parcels chosen for their similar soil types. delish
An incredible dessert wine from Mas Estela called "Just 2009" took me by surprise. This is a late-harvest black garnacha that macerates for 60 days and then spends one year outside in demijohns aging in the hot summer and the cold winter-- a technique reminiscent of some wines from Mas Amiel produced just across the French border in Roussillon. The Mas Estela "Just 2009" dessert wine is in perfect balance and tastes like chocolate covered dried cherries. I can't get this wine out of my head!
Read more about Mas Estela here: http://schiller-wine.blogspot.com/2011/03/meeting-didier-soto-and-tasting-his.html