Lyle Fass: Let Mikey Try It

Organic Wine Journal contributor Lyle Fass just posted his article for 32 Days of Natural Wine:

David taught me, most importantly, something that I think is the core concept of natural wine for me, which is the use of cultured vs. inoculated yeast. Every time we would taste with salespeople, no matter what wine, that was his first question. What’s the yeast situation? Soon it became my first question. The idea that an inoculated yeast could obscure terroir was for me, a profound concept that I had never quite thought about. The more I tasted with David, and figured out which wines were yeasted and which wines were not it really was something. I really noticed a difference. I was in. In deep. David had created a monster. The first bottle I took home on my first day, on David’s recommendation ,was the 2002 Domaine de la Belliviere Hommage a Louis Derre from the Coteaux de Loir. My first Pineau d’Aunis. An auspicious start as I did not like the wine. It was tannic as hell and I could not discern much else. I gave him a hard time the next day, and he told me, in classic David Lillie style, “Oh that wine takes three days to get going, try it tonight.” So I went home that night and, what do you know, this wine, made from some freakazoid grape I never even knew existed two days before was just slaying me. Freshness, purity along with a kind of mutant Pinot Noir flavors ad soaring freakish aromatics. The wine was just unbelievable. I never had anything like it. After that I was hooked. I chatted David up almost ad nauseum, spending half my paycheck each week on his recommendations. I discovered Clos Roche Blanche, Domaine de Peyra (R.I.P), Breton, Foillard, Jean-Paul Brun and many others. It was the definitive part of my wine evolution.

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