photo source: Justerinis
"The other parallel I draw to Bordeaux (in Burgundy) is the fact that estates are getting bigger and more disconnected with the land and even the very essence of being a vigneron. You've got people hired to work the vines, people hired to work in the cellar, to sell the wines, etc... Where is the vigneron who knows how to do it all, and even if he isn't isn't the best in one task he makes up for it with another? In the end, he may not be perfect at every task, but the wine you taste will be unique for those very reasons! You'll taste the vigneron's character in the wines."
Sylvie Esmonin is not someone who puts herself in the limelight, but if you get the chance to talk to her you'll quickly learn that she is an incredibly sharp, talented and fascinating woman with great insight and opinions. One of my favorite interviews ever.
Go read it!!!
Julie Balagny has a new house!
And a new cellar!
There is no temperature control in here, but there is foosball:
More importantly, she was able to transfer her beautiful old manual press and concrete tanks from the previous space she was renting.
In what used to be a stable, a small enclave is reserved for Julie's barrel aging.
This is for the 100+ year old vines only.
For some reason, Julie has a 3 month old sheep called George living in her backyard.
George thinks he's a dog. More on that later.
On a totally unrelated note, did you know that for some reason, Converse sneakers apparently don't have the trademark™ Red-Stripe® in Europe? And cost like 60 euro? That's why I bring all our vignerons mint pairs upon request:
After checking out the new house and bribing Julie with shoes, we sat down to
drink taste the 2014 Chavot.
Loving that label. Plus it was going down like Grenadine.
Oh wait, that's actually Grenadine...
Hey, at least it's organic... Ok, ok, this is what Chavot actually looks like:
Chavot, for those who have been following Julie's past releases, is a blend of 30 year old vines on basalt that occasionally produce Cayenne and 40-70 year old vines on decomposed and solid granite that occasionally produce En Simone. For a reminder of what Julie's magnificent Fleurie parcel looks like, reread my recap from three years ago.
The wine needed a moment to open up, but when it did it had deep and subtle berry tones on the nose and palate, with spicy structure and a long finish. It was so good it made Zaggy get the crazy eyes.
Chavot is named after the village drunk, Bruno Chavot. He would always be hammered and making a fool of himself, so it became insider slang to use his last name as a verb after a big night of drinking.
"You were so Chavot last night"
"I love getting Chavoed while tailgating at the Giants game."
For the record, no one at LDM wines has ever been to a tailgate. EVER. Also, Bruno Chavot just moved back in with his mom at 55 years old.
The big news for Julie is that she has acquired an hectare of 40 year old AOC Beaujolais between Fleurie and Bornard, as well as 70 ares of Moulin-a-Vent! And we visited both!
We started at the Moulin-à-Vent parcel.
As you can see, it's quite steep. The soils here are decomposed granite with fat chunks to go around as well:
The vines here are pretty old, all over 50:
A North-West exposition and constant winds are, according to Julie, favorable to elegant, fresh wines. Though she is surrounded by conventional farming, the parcel borders a large ravine so it's not too bad for second hand chemical residue.
France went through a serious heat wave in 2015. Check out how dried all of this looks:
By now, we know that after almost three months of no rain, August showers saved the day for most of France. OUUFF!
Next we visited the Beaujolais parcel:
The hill you can spot in the back is Juliénas. The soil here consists of clay, pebbles and sand. As we walked around, Julie started ripping out these big plants from the ground:
"When you stop using herbicides, the plants that inevitably come back are erigerons and morelle noire."
They two plants are hyper-invasive because they produce a ton of seeds.
Upon returning to the vines, we sat down to
drink taste a Cayenne 2013, a wine that never made it stateside. All of a sudden, George decided to show up!
I guess George thinks he's a dog, because started sniffing all the other dogs' butts (as dogs do) and playing with them.
Our dog Zaggy is terrified of everything, including sheep. She scurried away into the house while Denyse distracted George and Harrison.
When we sat down to finish the wine, George came under the table with the rest of the gang.