A Wine Writers View on the World of Wine. Formerly Magics Wine Guide and Reviews for Newbies
The UK’s Largest Dedicated Biodynamic Wine Tasting
The SIVCBD, or to give them their full title ‘Syndicat International des Vignerons en Culture Bio-Dynamique’ held their first tasting in London for six years at the Royal Horticultural Halls in London yesterday (10/11/11).
The purpose of the tasting was to promote the concept of bio-dynamic farming to the UK trade and press, Show that the people behind these wines aren’t ‘crazy’, they simply care about their soils, wines and customers.
To some, bio-dynamic winemaking may evoke an image of big bearded gentry running around naked in their vineyards, howling at the moon and paying homage to pagan gods. It’s not as amusing as that, shame, but it is about making wine using grapes, and a minimal amount of sulphites, in order to respect the character of the vineyard and vintage in an environment that provides the wine with all the energies necessary to express its potential.
The organisation was set up in 1975 with fifteen founding members, including Michel Chapoutier. To date there are now 75 producers registered and the numbers are growing. All members are 100% organic and bio-dynamic, fully certified by an official external control agency for both viticultural and oenological practises. The rigorous criteria for joining the group includes integrity, honesty, dedication and quality in the application of the bio-dynamics and help them to progress.
41 French producers made the trip over the channel plus Germany’s only member, Dr Burklin Wolf wines, Pfalz.
Domaines Barmes Buecher*
Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss
Domaine Valentin Zusslin*
Chateau la Grolet
Chateau Moulin du Cadet
Clos Puy Arnaud
Domaine Trapet Pere et Fils*
Champagne Francoise Bedel*
Domaine Olivier Pithon*
Domaine de l’Horizon
Chateau la Tour Grise
Domaine Francoise Chidaine*
Domaine De La Moussiere & Domaine Les Penitents**
Domaine Des Roches Nueves
Domiane Saint Nicolas
Domaine Vacheron Vignerons
Domaine de Juchepie
Domaine de Belliviere
Clos Saint Vincent
Domaine de La Tour des Vidaux*
Domaine du Coulet
Domaine Les Bruyeres
Domaine de Villeneuve**
Domaine Les Aphillanthes
Dr Burklin Wolf*
* Indicates the Domaines I tasted. ** Indicates one or more of the Domaines wines I thought exceptional.
The Sancerres from Domaine De La Moussiere & Domaine Les Penitents were superb. Special points go to the:
Les Romains 2010, Soft, subtle candied fruit on the nose, good citrus and acidity palate.
Satellite 2010, Remember the sweet ‘Chewits’ this is what I found on the nose. Really good, easy acids and soft citrus notes on the palate.
The Chateauneuf du Papes from Domaine de Villeneuve too deserve some recognition:
Les Vielles Vignes 2009, Grenache dominated nose, pure fruit juice with spice and pepper finish. Not over the top at all. Good tannin structure.
La Griffe 2010, Lovely soft red berry fruit on the nose and palate with an amazing, distinctive nutty finish. Kudos to the bottle designer too. Image not available.
I tasted around 40 wines and have to say the quality of wines were very good to exceptional. If I was to pick up one flaw it would be the overall cost of the wines. Off the shelf they aren’t cheap. The average retail bottle price would sit between £15-£25.
The big positive for me regarding these wines is that it would be very difficult to distinguish the differences between these and your everyday produced fare. Granted I did find in certain wines the ‘stewed apple’ taste which is a distinctive feature for me in organics but they were in the minority. On the whole a lot of clean, fresh, green, zippy wines.
The general public, in my opinion, are working past the stereotypical image of bio-dynamic wines and are beginning to ask more and more about them.
Producers and suppliers alike could be more upfront in their label designs to help the consumer understand or see these wines more clearly on the retailers shelves but baby steps I think.
The fact that this is the largest wine show of this type in the UK is testament to where the producers want to see their wines.
Well done. Try not to wait another 6 years for the next one.
Not all wines are currently available in the UK. Some are seeking a distributor.
Wine suppliers available on request.