Your Guide to Organic, Biodynamic and Natural Wine


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Jenny & François Selections is pleased to announce the 2014 Natural Winemakers’ Week, March 1-6!

Set your tweets to hashtag #nww14!

Natural, Organic, and Biodynamic Winemakers from France, Italy, Spain, and the USA are coming to NYC for a week of wine dinners, classes, and free tastings. Set your tweets to #nww14!

SATURDAY, MARCH 1

11a-5pm: Astor Center Grand Tasting 399 Lafayette St, 4th St, NYC, (212) 674-7501

Tickets $29 at www.astorcenternyc.com – this event sells out quickly!

SUNDAY, MARCH 2

4-7pm: Appellation Wine & Spirits 156 Tenth Ave, NYC (212) 741-9474

Free Tasting

8pm: The Farm on Adderley 1108 Cortelyou Road, Brooklyn (718) 287-3101

Winemaker dinner with Christian Binner, Clement Cousin, and Hardy Wallace (Dirty and Rowdy Family Winery).

Featuring a seasonal, hearty meal to compliment the natural wine. $75/person

Reservations required – thefarmonadderleyevents@gmail.com

MONDAY, MARCH 3

10am-5pm: Jenny & Francois Portfolio Tasting 287 Spring Street between Hudson and Varick St

Trade and press only

Please RSVP – call 646-775-6400 or info@jennyandfrancois.com

TUESDAY, MARCH 4

5-7pm: Fermented Grapes 651 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn (718) 230-3216

Free Tasting

8pm: The Ides Bar – Wythe Hotel 80 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn (718) 460-8000

Party featuring all the winemakers, wines by the glass.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 5

5-7pm: Chambers Street Wines Tasting 148 Chambers Street, NYC (212) 227-1434

Free Tasting

8pm: Aska Restaurant 90 Wythe Avenue Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718) 388-2969

Winemaker dinner with Dirty and Rowdy Family Winery. $150/person (including tax + gratuity)

Reservations required – reservations@askanyc.com

More Events to be announced! Please visit www.jennyandfrancois.com/nww14 for updates and tastings throughout the city.


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The 200-year-old Wine Cave at Domaine Bernard Baudry.

The 200-year-old Wine Cave at Domaine Bernard Baudry.

The wine cellar at Baudry is an impressive sight; a 200-year-old cave carved into the side of the hill in Cravant-les-Côteaux, just west of Chinon. Hailing from a family of winemakers, Bernard Baudry studied in Beaune and worked as a wine consultant in Tours before launching his own winery in 1975. His son Matthieu joined him in 2000 and today they oversee 30 hectares, all farmed organically with no irrigation. When I ask Matthieu about being organic, he says simply that his father didn’t have the money to buy chemicals and so they never started.

Matthieu Baudry

Matthieu Baudry

Their grapes are hand-picked and aren’t pressed. Grapes are vinified separately, expressing the terroir of the plot they grow on. This being Chinon, reds dominate. Their Cabernet Franc on the gravel soil of the La Vienne River Valley becomes fruity and soft, but is richer with more tannins on the hillsides above the winery.

Baudry vineyards

The wines run from light bodied, Les Granges, to full bodied ones like Les Clos Guillot. Le Domaine 2011 may not have been from great terroir, according to Matthieu, but it had a nice minerality and will benefit from aging a few years. Les Grezeaux 2011 comes from the best vineyard site, a mix of gravel and clay, with a resulting power that sets it up for cellaring. The 2010 Les Clos Guillot ratcheted up the intensity with an aromatic nose, high acidity and long finish, and already refined though just a few years old.

By turns, the 2011 La Croix Boissée revealed itself to be chalky from the limestone soil, acidic with a hint of salinity. Try this one in five years to fully appreciate it. Or just seek out a 2003 – surprisingly fresh for that infamously hot vintage.

Learn more about Domaine Bernard Baudry.


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Obituary at The Press Democrat.


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From Wine-Searcher:

Patrick Guiraud, president of Sudvinbio, claims there isn’t much support among European vintners to eliminate sulfites from organic wines. The EU will revisit organic wine regulations next year, to discuss whether to continue to allow sugar to be added (chaptalization) and whether to allow new wine additives that have come on the market since 2012. But sulfites are not currently on the agenda.

“In the U.S. that issue was dropped into the activist community, which had a knee-jerk response,” says Paul Chartrand, who imports organic wines from Europe to the U.S. “In Europe the winemaking community is a much bigger part of society. You find some producers in Europe making no-sulfite wines, but very few want to make all their wines that way. They don’t want to change the world of organic wine.”

But many Europeans would like to change the U.S. definition of organic wine. Guiraud said the influx of newly certified organic producers in France has created a situation where the country has more organic wine to sell than it has buyers.


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From Bon Appetit:

Eventually, she landed at Louis/Dressner, the importer that helped introduce natural wine to the U.S., with Tarlow as a top client. She and he got along, and often ended up going to the same tastings and fairs on both sides of the Atlantic, so when Tarlow decided to open Reynard—a restaurant as big as all his previous places combined—he asked her to helm the wine program. According to Campbell, the transition was easy, and not just because she and Tarlow had similar drinking habits.

“There’s the idea [with Tarlow] that everyone should be rising together. At other restaurant groups you feel like it’s much clearer that somebody needs to get rich here, instead of like, How can we keep this whole thing going for a while for everybody?”

That ethos permeates pretty much every undertaking at the Tarlow restaurants, Pollyannaish as it may sound (and with the caveat that meals there are hardly cheap). In the wine department, this means that when the Wythe Hotel, Reynard’s mothership, hosts weddings, Campbell has to go to bat for natural wine—and if a bride can’t find anything in her price range that she likes, Campbell’s willing to pour a fancier natural wine, charge less, and take a hit on the difference.


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Jacky Blot – Loire

Winemaker Jacky Blot

Winemaker Jacky Blot

Michael Tulipan did a recent tour of the Loire, visiting a number of wineries that were all small, family-owned and practicing organics or biodynamics. Here’s the first is the series in the series.

You cannot taste wines with Jacky Blot until you know exactly where they came from. So you clamber into his vintage – what shall we call it? Jeep? Jitney? Let’s go with jalopy – the kind of vehicle low and heavy enough not to get caught in the vineyard muck, but where you feel every rut in the seat of your pants.

On a sunny day, after a period of ceaseless rain in Montlouis, he takes us for a loop around the most recent vineyard acquisition, Clos de Mosny, a prized plot surrounded by imposing stone walls. Jacky stops occasionally along the way at various plots, always pointing out nearby rows of vines that have been sprayed, where the soil looks hard and dead. His plots, by comparison, are bristling with life – the tell-tale grasses and vegetation of the organic way.

Clos de Mosny

Clos de Mosny

Some of these vineyards are up to 100 years old and still yield excellent grapes. Jacky is proud of all this, but we really must taste some wines. For starters, if you can find his sparkling Triple Zero – triple as no chaptalization, no sugar added, no dosage used in making it – it’s a must try. The 2011 is bone dry, a true palate memory eraser. With this, the marathon commences, starting with whites from Domaine De La Taille Aux Loups. The 2011 Remus proves very dry and full bodied while the 2011 Remus Plus takes that body and ups the dryness to desert bone dry. From the new vineyard, the 2011 Clos de Mosny (the first vintage and monopole) is already very good with a wonderful elegance. Alas, only 30 barrels of it exist.

Jacky Blot Wine Barrels

Suddenly, we are in Vouvray and drinking a racy 2011 Clos de la Bretonniere from old vines. For fun, we compare a 2008 Remus with a 1996, which is termed ‘entry level.’ If this is entry level, everyone else doesn’t stand a chance. Seventeen years brings the nose of a demi-sec but with a dry finish. It’s a big, vibrant wine and proof well-made wine, no matter what the supposed quality level, can live on and on.

Then we move on to the reds from Blot’s other label, Domaine de Butte. Highlights are the* 2011 Mi Pente, a dense red with supple tannins, and the 2011 Perrieres, grown on clay, big and robust. We end with the sweet wines. The 2009 Moelleux* is fresh and well-balanced with 50 grams of residual sugar. The 2009 Cuvee Romulus floors us, a richly delicious wine, sweet, balanced and lush.

Visit the Jacky Blot website.

See more of Michael Tulipan’s writing at The Savvy Explorer.


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Eric Asimov discusses his love for Savennières – though admits you might not like it yourself. And who makes some famous Savennières? Biodynamic master Nicolas Joly:

Hovering over the appellation is the best known, most expensive and most baffling domaine, Nicolas Joly, among whose holdings is Savennières’s most hallowed terroir, the Clos de la Coulée de Serrant. Mr. Joly may be best known nowadays as the guru of biodynamic viticulture. Biodynamics has come to be widely accepted (though fervently dismissed as well), but Mr. Joly holds other beliefs that may be equally or even more controversial.

For example, while all wine producers wish to harvest ripe grapes, what constitutes ripe is subjective. Mr. Joly seeks grapes that have begun to shrivel and, he hopes, develop botrytis, the noble rot that is an essential component of wonderful sweet wines but not always desirable in dry wines. Fermented until dry, the Joly wines are typically high in alcohol, 15 percent or more as against the more typical 13 to 14.5 percent. Mr. Joly also recommends the extreme measure of decanting his wines two days in advance.


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Over at Palate Press Remy Charest has written an interesting piece on Clark Smith:

This is a writer who extolls the virtue of biodynamics “because of its impenetrability to conventional scientific investigatory practices”, but then goes on, on the very next page, to denounce “natural wine nonsense” and criticize the proponents of natural wine (notably Alice Feiring) for not providing a clear definition of what natural wine is.

He also insists that “a complex natural ecology” is essential in providing “distinctive and soulful character” to wine (and other foods), yet will advocate that bringing a wine’s alcohol content down by 3% or using cultured yeasts and other additives is a way to create a wine that better expresses terroir.

One example of this is the “Faux Chablis” he makes under his own Winesmith label. To create this Napa Valley chardonnay, Smith takes Napa chardonnay grapes at what he deems to be optimal maturity… and then takes out a significant amount of alcohol to bring out the “lemon oil” character that, he claims, is the true signature of Napa terroir in chardonnay grapes.

To me – and many others – this kind of statement is an obvious contradiction. If chardonnay grown in Napa results in high alcohol at maturity, then high alcohol is a signature of terroir. If that results in an unbalanced wine, then doesn’t that mean that the grape is simply not suited to the place? Wouldn’t it make more sense to plant fiano or roussanne in Napa Valley, grapes that would likely yield a better balance of acid and alcohol and flavour at maturity, in the valley’s climate?


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