Louis Dressner Selections Louis Dressner Selections Blog http://louisdressner.com/ Mon, 21 Apr 2014 8:33:26 GMT Jules Dressner <![CDATA[New Visit: Cristiano Guttarolo in Gioia del Colle!]]> http://louisdressner.com/date/2014/4/15/254/ http://louisdressner.com/date/2014/4/15/254/ Tue, 15 Apr 2014 21:43:45 GMT

Cristiano Guttarolo is a pure joy. The guy is humble, enthusiastic, generous, respectful of his land and others, always up for a good laugh and most importantly, constantly questioning his work in order to improve. Not to mention his wines are ON POINT.

Most of Cristiano's vines surround his house and cantina. We began by checking out some young Primitivo planted in 2005.











The vines around the house are all trained in Guyot. The soils consist of clay and limestone. Currently, Cristiano works 6.5 hectares of land, with the possibility of planting 13.





The white flowers you can spot in every picture grow wild, and are closely related to chicory. Cristiano only does one light tilling in the summer, which is why the vineyards were so dense in greenery.

Cristiano has been doing biodynamic treatments for the last two years, and is extremely satisfied with the results. Though it is still very early, he already feels a new, inspiring energy he'd never noticed prior to the conversion. And while fully convinced, he has no plans of asking for certification. None of the vineyards have irrigation systems. Cristiano only did one copper and sulfur treatment in 2013, and none in 2012!!!

Continuing our walk through the vines, the sun started hitting the landscape in a way that, in alignment with the white flowers and lush greenery, struck Eben and I as the perfect photo-op for the cover of a cheesy rock album.





Here is the cover of my debut album, Reaching for the Sky.



Alternate titles: A New Beginning or Shine Your Light.

A little further, Cristiano showed us a small plot of Negroamaro.



You can't see those little guys amongst the flowers, but trust me, they're there.

These were re-grafted 3 years ago on Primitivo rootstock. Many haven't matured correctly because it has been too cool. Not too far off, he's also planted some Chardonnay, mostly as an experiment to see how they will behave in his terroirs.

"Limestone grabs macro-elements from the soil, which takes the vines longer to properly express the terroir. But when it does, it's splendid. This is why so many vines and great wines of the world come from limestone soils."

Has also recently planted some very young Sussumaniello, as well as 1 ha of a white grape I didn't catch the name of.

The last part of the the vineyard that we visited was an experiment on Cristiano's part, intentionally re-training some Primitivo vines to Albarello.





He doesn't mind the results, but prefers the superior yield controls of Guyot.

As we were chatting, our little friend Lady Bug decided to say hi.



By the time we were done walking through the vines, the sun was setting.



More importantly the picture above will serve as the back-cover to Reaching for the Sky.

Before we knew it, it was cellar time!



Most of Cristiano's vinifications are in stainless steel.

Here's the top-of-bottle waxing station in all its exciting glory.



And of course, here are the beautiful amphoras that produce the unique and extremely limited wines that instantly sell out as soon as we get them.



Interestingly, Cristiano does 3 passes on average each harvest, and has no idea what wines he will make until the last minute.

"I need to bring in the the new material (grapes) first to decide what I want to do with it."

His reasoning is that having a set game plan every year would standardize the process and be pointless.

We got to taste 2013 Primitivo Rose, 13 Susumaniello, 13 Primitivo, Lamie della Vina 12, and Antello Antelo delle Murge 10 from barrel. Everything was ON POINT: Cristiano's wines have this transcendent quality, where you forget you're drinking wine from Puglia or Italy. They are infinitely complex yet incredibly drinkable, and I'll let Cristiano have the final word on what really matters:

"Es fondamentale que GLOU GLOU GLOU!"

]]>
<![CDATA[Clemens Busch Interview!]]> http://louisdressner.com/date/2014/4/7/253/ http://louisdressner.com/date/2014/4/7/253/ Mon, 07 Apr 2014 23:51:14 GMT

"By 1976 I had already stopped using herbicides, and this was the first step towards organic production. It was a simple observation on my part: "Why can't we live with the herbs?" It just felt completely normal to respect this, and after 3 or 4 years, I started to notice more and more humus in the vineyards, which encouraged me to not use fertilizers."

The legendary Clemens Busch drops all types of knowledge in his interview.

GO READ IT!!!!!!]]>
<![CDATA[New Visit: Natalino Del Prete in San Donaci!]]> http://louisdressner.com/date/2014/4/3/252/ http://louisdressner.com/date/2014/4/3/252/ Thu, 03 Apr 2014 20:00:16 GMT

Having never been to Puglia, I'd always visualized the landscapes to be dry and barren, like Mad Max minus the evil guys with dyed red mohawks shooting at you with bows from a motorcycle. And though our Perrini visit kind of fed into my dystopian post-punk fantasy, our stop at Natalino Del Prete's estate threw me off completely. The last thing I was expecting was lush, green scenery, and Natalino's vines are amongst some of the most beautiful I've had the pleasure of experiencing.



Just kidding. Those vines Natalino's neighbor who bombards them with herbicide year round. Directly across the street though, you get this:



BOOM!!!!!!



WOWZA!!!!!



HOLY MOLY!!!!



DDDAAAAMMMMMMNNNNN!!!!



Ok, you get the idea...

This first vineyard we visited consists of 2 hectares of Primitivo planted in massale 30 years ago by Natalino, as well as some 50+ Negroamaro.

Factoid: did you know Primitivo has very thin skins?

"When you don't use chemicals, it keeps the grapes tender."

Natalino was planning to start pruning a few weeks after our visit, followed by an annual plowing. The vines are trained in "half-gobelet", which makes for low yields. The soils are clay.

Before checking out more vines, we did a quick stop to a field of Natalino's olive trees.





A short drive then landed us in the Torre Nova vineyard.









Seriously, TOO BEAUTIFUL!

This 3 ha lieu-dit produces a bottling under the same name, and is planted in Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera. The soils consist of clay with rocky pebbles. Next to the older vines, Natalino recently replanted some Malvasia Nera in massale.

"Without fertilizing the soil, they will grow very slowly."

The end-game is for the vines to dig their roots deeper into the ground to feed themselves from the minerals of the subsoil, in turn leading to a greater concentration and minerality in the grapes. Not fertilizing means waiting a minimum of 3 vintages before these young vines start producing, but for Natalino it's totally worth the wait.

We ended our visit in the cellar to taste the 2013's.



The cellar used to belong to one of the area's biggest négociants, and it's huge. Natalino's total production takes up about a 20th of the space.

"All the big négociants around me keep claiming: "We have the best wine!". And then they close."









Besides those beautiful old-school concrete tanks, a lot of wine ferments and ages in these underground vats.





Natalino has so much room in his cellar that he bottles to order. So the later on in the vintage you're drinking the wine, the longer it has aged in concrete

The 2013's are stunning, and I know it sounds schnooky saying this, but this will be a blockbuster vintage for Puglia. I particularly liked the Torre Nova, a co-ferment of the the Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera mentioned above.

After tasting in the cellar, we went upstairs to have a banging lunch prepared by Natalino's wife Anne. It was a good chance to re-taste the 2012's, but my favorite part of the meal was having thirds of the best Eggplant Parmigiana ever. I didn't realize, but the red-sauce cooking that has become a staple of Italian-American cuisine mainly originates from the south of Italy. While I stuffed my face with more eggplant, Anne inadvertently answered something I'd always wondered about but had never actually looked up: why is is called "Parmigiana" when the cheese used is mozzarella?

Well, as it turns out, Eggplant Parmigiana originates from Emilia-Romagna, where parmesan is from. And since everyone loves melted cheese on things, the dish was adopted by other regions, who then adapted it to their local production. Since Puglia is the home of mozzarella, this became the go-to cheese to use, and this is the version that made it stateside.

Louis/Dressner Blog: You don't only learn things about wine, but also the origins of delicious dishesu

At the end of the meal, Anne busted out these Moscato grapes infused in really, really strong booze.



I had one and was semi-wasted for a few hours. Thankfully, it wasn't my turn to drive.]]>
<![CDATA[Introducing Our First Ever Italian Cuvée Buster!]]> http://louisdressner.com/date/2014/3/31/251/ http://louisdressner.com/date/2014/3/31/251/ Mon, 31 Mar 2014 16:41:41 GMT

At this point, most people associate the Cuvée Buster - a wine named after Joe and Denyse's late dog and official Louis/Dressner mascot - with Thomas-Labaille's best barrels of Sancerre from the ultra-steep Monts Damnés vineyard. But the origins of the Cuvée Buster date back to 1998, and perhaps a history lesson is in order.

During a summer visit to Sancerre, Jean-Paul Labaille tasted Joe, Denyse and Kevin on a single barrel of 1997 (a legendary year throughout the Loire Valley). Up until that time, there were no burgundian barrels at the estate; everything was made in stainless steel, enamel-lined tanks or large, very old foudres. Jean-Paul wanted to bottle it as its own cuvée, and everyone agreed. However, when the time came to name the wine, names like eCuvée Prestigei or eVin Par Excellencei, accompanied by the obligatory imagery of gold crowns, or bottlings named after the winemakers children, grandparent, mentor, horse, etc..., seemed not only lacking, but also completely meaningless in the ocean of wines claiming the exact same thing. Keeping true to Louis/Dressneres contrarian spirit, Joe - who had long been disdainful of the wine industry's pomp and tendency to take itself way too seriously - Denyse and Kevin decided to find the most flippant, irreverent name possible for this truly exceptional bottling. The Cuvée Buster was born.

The rules of the Cuvée Buster are as follows:
1. The wine must begin with a daring, innovative or introspective fluke of the winemaker with regards to his/her terroir or the special character of a particular vintage.
2. There are not more than 50 cases.
3. The wine must be enjoyable to drink on release.

As a way to keep this inside-joke going, Jean-Paul Labaille has continued adding the Buster neck label to his Monts Damnés each vintage, but the original idea was to display a one-off, unique bottle of wine. The Cuvée Buster record is as follows:

1. Thomas-Labaillle Sancerre Monts Damnés 1997 (continued every year since then, and using that same barrel)

2. Clos Roche Blanche Touraine Sauvignon 1998 (this would go on to be the Nº5 version, which started being made in too large a quantity to continue the CB designation)

3. Filliatreau Saumur-Champigny Clos Candi 1997 (normally blended with the other vineyards)

4. Domaine de la Pépière Old Vines 1997 (from the old vines in the Pépière parcel now used in Clisson wine. It had been vinified separately because some bunches had been affected by an ultra rare phenomenon: noble rot on Melon de Bourgogne. Marc Ollivier, who had earlier sworn never to adorn one of his bottlings with the picture of the eugliest dog in the universei, ate his words to celebrate this most unorthodox of Muscadets, and it was released it in 2001)

5. Franck Peillot Altesse de Montagnieu 1999 (a single barrel vinification that merited a special bottling)

6. Mas des Chimères Grenache Vin de Pays 2000 (a particular vinification we tasted in the cellar and asked Guilhem to bottle for us)

7. Laurent Barth Pinot deeAlsace 2006 (Pinot Noir pressed as blanc because the vintage did not merit vinification as a red wine)

8. Somewhere in all this, there was another special bottling - Chuteau deOupia Minervois "Hommage à Poupette" 2004: an all-Grenache wine we tasted in Andrées cellar. The family dog, Poupette, a miniature poodle that was none-too-fond of Buster, had recently died and we therefore thought it proper to give props.

Today, we continue this tradition by announcing the 9th Cuvée Buster, the first in 8 years and even more exciting, the first from Italy! Introducing the 2000 La Stoppa Cuvée Buster!

The story of this Buster goes like this: when La Stoppa proprietor Gian-Carlo Ageno was faced with the post-devastation of phylloxera in the 1920's, he used this opportunity to replant many of Europe's noble grapes in his vineyards. Alongside the indigenous Bonarda and Barbera varieties, he began planting, amongst many others, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Tokay, Pinot Gris and Cabernet Sauvignon. The goal was, perhaps naively, to produce world class wines with world class grapes.

Fast forward 60 years later, with a young Giulio Armani hired as head vignaiolo of La Stoppa. For over fifteen years, he tried his best to produce wines up to par with Burgundy, Bordeaux and Alsace. But after years of trial and (mostly) error, Giulio realized that many of these early ripening varieties were simply too fragile to grow in the very warm climates of Emilia-Romagna. In such, the decision to rip a large percentage of these vines was made with new owner Elena Pantaleoni.

By 1996, Elena and Giulio had both agreed to replant the estate in the more suited and indigenous Bonarda and Barbera. Still, Giulio needed to conduct one more experiment for peace of mind. This involved sourcing out three grape varieties that were ideally suited for La Stoppa's terroir, to see if it was in fact possible to make a world class wine from another region's grapes. After much diligent research, he decided to plant a small amount of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre to see what would happen. The result is the 2000 Cuvée Buster.

eBut wait!i screams a probably non-existent La Stoppa nerd who knows everything about the estate, eDidn't they end up going through with the plan and replanting everything in Bonarda and Barbera, along with a little bit of Malvasia di Candia?i

They did, and that's what makes this wine so special: it's the very reason Giulio went through with the decision in the first place! Yes, this 2000 eGSMi blend is great; in fact, Giulio was shocked at how much he liked the wine's balance, purity of fruit and elegance. But what surprised him the most was that the wine tasted like a place: it tasted like La Stoppa. And by confirming his suspicions that great wine comes from terroir and not grapes, the estate began its final conversion in the direction we all know and love.

When we first tasted it last fall, Giulio poured it to us more as an afterthought than anything else; the wine was un-labelled, and had been sitting in the cellar for over a decade. Kevines Buster-Radar (trademark pending) instantly started beeping, and after a few back and forths with Elena and a bit of tug-of-war with Giulio (who considers this ehisi wine), we were able to secure some.

This story, like so many others, is what consistently inspires us to do what we do. Our growers are a truly curious bunch, and their undying dedication to making the best wine possible - in this case putting over a decadees hard work into question - validates everything we believe in as importers.

VIVA LE BUSTER!]]>
<![CDATA[New Visit: Perrini Organic in Taranto!]]> http://louisdressner.com/date/2014/3/24/250/ http://louisdressner.com/date/2014/3/24/250/ Mon, 24 Mar 2014 23:14:13 GMT

16 days without an update? Hang me from the rafters!

Actually, you need to cut me some slack, because we just wrapped up our False Prophets of Doom tour, which I will simply recap with this picture:



If you didn't notice the first time, look again.

Moving on the the Perrinis!

After driving around in circles for about 45 minutes, we finally found the Perrini family's main property. Mila Perrini happily greeted us, and took us into their tasting room to taste currently bottled stuff.





Her brother Vito, who is head viticulturist and winemaker at the estate, quickly joined us.



While chatting over some house-made olive oil and fennel crackers (made with Perrini olive oil, of course), we talked about 2013 being a nice vintage with a warm harvest. I also spotted this banner:



Breastfeeding: start em' young and organic they will become!

Mila and Vito farm a total of 50 ha of land, with 30 of those planted in Primitivo, Negroamaro and a little bit of Fiano. The rest mostly consists of orange groves and olive trees, but also includes livestock and all types of others fruits and vegetables. The land is extremely fragmented and spread out, and we spent the entirety of our visit in one of the biggest of these zones.

Walking out of the tasting room, we crossed a site of olive trees with salad and potatoes planted between rows. Vito explained that the trees provide natural shade for the crops, which helps avoid irrigation. Just a little further, we spotted this huge, heaping pile of shit.





This is lamb and cow manure from animals the Perrinis own, and is used as fertilizer throughout the farm.

Because one rarely if ever has an opportunity to take a group photo in front of a seemingly never ending pile of dung, we did just that.



Right next to the poop, we visited our first vineyard, mostly 60+ year old vines of Negroamaro and Primitivo.









The soils here consist of sand, red limestone and clay.

Vito explained that for various reasons, 5 to 8% of the estates' old vines are dying every year, forcing him to replant. It's a pity, because he is one of the few viticulturists in his area who still cherishes them:

"No one cares about old vines here. Everyone replants regularly to get the highest yields possible."

Irrigation systems are in place, and used only in cases of extreme heat.

"We don't want to use too much water, because this precipitates illness. But if it's way too hot, the plant completely shuts down. We therefore do what we see fit; if the plant needs refreshment, we will provide it."

Continuing our tour of the vineyard, we walked to another mixed parcel, this time with much sandier soils.









The Perrini's vineyards are very much characterized by shifts in the land's soil: when the elevation is slightly higher, they are more rocky, while the lower parts consisting of mostly sand. This highly affects the grapes' maturities, forcing Vito to be very diligent at harvest, which unsurprisingly is all done by hand.

After a nice trot through the vines, we tasted some 2013's in the cellar.





The vast majority of the wines ferment and age in the large stainless steel tanks pictured above, giving them a refreshing brightness often lacking in Puglian wine. We got to taste numerous tanks of Primitivo, Negroamaro and the co-fermented Salento bottling, all harvested at seperate times and awaiting their final destiny. 2013 will be a truly exceptional vintage in Puglia.

In the car ride to Natalino del Prete's, Kevin made a point that resonated with me: the Perrinis, who are after all one of the first Italian estates we started working with (2002), live apart from our little Louis/Dressner micro-universe of increasingly tight-knit vignerons: you don't see them at all the hip wine fairs, they don't have crazy late nights with Luca Roagna and are basically off the radar of natural wine aficionados. They are simply a family doing its own thing, and we just so happen to be totally into it. Thanks Mila and Vito!]]>
<![CDATA[New Visit: Cantina Giardino In Irpinia!]]> http://louisdressner.com/date/2014/3/8/249/ http://louisdressner.com/date/2014/3/8/249/ Sat, 08 Mar 2014 22:42:14 GMT

Before I start this recap, can we all agree that Antonio and Daniela di Gruttola's dogs look like they're up to no good in these pictures? I mean, seriously:



Look, they're even whispering evil things to each other!



They were actually super nice, but because they are hunting dogs, needed to be contained or they'd kill everything non human/dog in sight. Animal instincts, you know...

After getting a little lost, Daniela came to get us and we stepped into the lovely di Gruttola abode. The first thing Eben spotted was this original piece of art that later served as inspiration for the "Clown Oenologue" label.



I know 95% of people hate clowns, but even I have to admit that that is a seriously cool piece.

Antonio was teaching at his school (his full time job), and Daniela informed us he would get back at around 3. So we had a big ass lunch while we waited, which also permitted us to taste all of the currently bottled Giardino wines. Amongst them, new liter bottlings of both red and white were pretty awesome (and cheap!), but the favorite new guy was a Pet' Nat' Greco sourced from 80+ year old vines. Antonio and Daniela recently started renting this parcel from an 86 year old woman who has always made this wine with her "special technique", which as far as we could tell is méthode ancestrale, a style nary if ever produced in Italy.

Antonio eventually showed up, and because our daylight time was quickly dwindling, we all hurried into the di Gruttola's van to visit some vines.



This vineyard is 2,5 hectares. It's planted in Fiano and Coda di Volpe, the latter translating to "tail of the fox" because of the variety's very long, atypical bunches.

The vines themselves are extremely tall.






To give you a better idea just how big these are, here is 6'3 giant Eben Lillie standing next to one.



Antonio and Daniela bought this vineyard a few years ago. It totals 2,5 hectares of vines (the surrounding woods were also purchased to keep it a clos), was was planted in 1933, and the soils consist of a very compact, sculpt-able clay with limestone subsoil.



This clay is SO sculpt-able that Daniela now makes all of the estate's hand-made amphoras from it (more on that later). The di Grutolla's never work the soils of any of their vineyards.

As the sun was setting, we cracked open two more of those frizzantes to celebrate.





That's some dramatic imagery right there! Very majestic...

By the time we got back to the cellar, it was already pitch black.



The Cantina Giardino cellar is rather small, but still chock full of every wine aging vessel you could ever imagine.







In the cellar, we tasted a plethora of 2013 Fiano's and Greco's with varying amounts of skin contact, as well as a bunch of yet to be released Aglianicos. From what I could gather, it seems like the decisions are very instinctual and change each vintage, meaning that the juices ferment in different vessels each year, the skin contact varies from wine to wine, as do the blends.

The wines we didn't get to taste were in these sealed, home-made amphoras.





These are sealed in beeswax, and cracking them open to taste would expose the wine to a dangerous amount of oxydation. It's kind of like a pressure cooker: you just need to let the contents do their things until it's ready, and trust it'll be good.

Our final conversation revolved around the beautiful labels that people are always going apeshit about. Daniela explained that the first 3 (Le Fole, Drogone and Nude) were done by 3 different artist friends, who then put them in touch with others to do future labels. The name of each cuvée inspires the art or vice versa.

"There is no real rhyme or reason to it."]]>
<![CDATA[New Visit: Luciano Saetti in Soliara!]]> http://louisdressner.com/date/2014/2/26/248/ http://louisdressner.com/date/2014/2/26/248/ Wed, 26 Feb 2014 23:56:20 GMT

Luciano Saetti doesn't like sulfites. In fact, he owns a Sulfite-Free Mobile!



That translates to: "Wine Without Conservatives. Sulfur? No thanks."

Luciano bought his vineyards and house in 1988, after a successful first career as an egg distributor in the city of Modena. He made a good amount of money and originally planned on buying a nice apartment in the city, but the reality of spending the rest of his life there quickly lost its appeal.

We began our visit with a tour of the cellar, where the wines ferment and get bottled.



This is Luciano's completely home-made disgorgement station.



To give us a demonstration of the disgorging process (more on that later), Luciano grabbed some bottles and put them in this vat of ice cold water, which freezes the lees on the top.





As those bottle tops started to freeze, Luciano showed us the rest of the cellar.



At this point, he only works with stainless steel. Originally, everything was fermented and aged everything in cement tanks, but Luciano shifted to stainless after realizing that it was better for sulfur free winemaking, since it drastically reduces oxydation.

Since the vines are 10 km from the the cellar, Luciano brings the mini de-stemmer you can see below to work as quickly and efficiently as possible.



He also brings 3 of those little stainless vats to hold the grapes, which avoids them getting too hot on their way to the cellar.

"I came up with this simply because 3 vats is a day's work".

These smaller tanks are also used for fermentation, a full carbonic that lasts 4 to 5 days. Luciano usually leaves 13 or so grams of RS before racking. The wine then stays minimum 3 months in bottle before disgorgment, though it only takes about a month for the re-fermentation in bottle to occur.

Following our little chat on vinification, Luciano beckoned us over to the disgorgement station, where he showed us how he manually disgorges each bottle of his production ONE BY ONE.



In those two minutes, Luciano explains how he usually puts some wine in a separate vessel to top off the other bottles, that you have to avoid the frozen bits from when the wine sprays out, that the machine gives a blast of air which doesn't go in the bottle, and is just for dusting off any cork particles. He also points out that these bottles haven't frozen enough yet, and therefore won't disgorge correctly.

Because manually disgorging bottles one by one quickly becomes a tedious task, Luciano built this sweet homemade work chair from a horse saddle. I decided to check its comfort to make sure he wasn't putting too much strain on himself.



That chair is JULES APPROVED.

After our cellar time, we drove to Luciano's only vineyard, 3 ha planted in the local Salamino strain of Lambrusco.





The oldest vines here are 50+ and every other row; Luciano replanted the rest in 1997. The soils are limestone with a clay subsoil.

As you may have noticed, the vineyard is set up with an irrigation system, which Luciano uses 3 to 5 times a year, and only on the younger vines (usually with a very light 30L dose each time).
He doesn't use any fertilizers, composts or chemicals, just the remains of cut grass.

There is always the danger of frost in the Spring, but Salamino is a late variety, so this is rarely a problem.

The training system is called Spalliere, which is more typically used for fruit trees.



Here's some shriveled up second growth grapes to give you an idea what Salamino looks like.



Here's the church you can see on Luciano's labels.





Speaking of Luciano's labels, if you've ever seen or felt them, then you know they are made from a very cool fabric. Here again, the story is simple: his friend has factory that adds patched fabric to clothing for a few major brands. Luciano asked him if he could make a wine label, and he said it wouldn't be a problem. These are made to order based on Luciano's periodic disgorgements over the year.]]>
<![CDATA[New Visit: Domaine Le Briseau in Marçon!]]> http://louisdressner.com/date/2014/2/17/247/ http://louisdressner.com/date/2014/2/17/247/ Mon, 17 Feb 2014 24:59:38 GMT

6 months later, here is the final post from last summer! After that, expect recaps from Luciano Saetti, Cantina Giardino, Perrini Organic, Natalino Del Prete and Cristiano Guttarolo, as well as some interviews and other stuff.

Louis/Dressner: We've Got Internet Contentu

We began by visiting the parcel of Chenin Blanc that produces the Kharaktêr cuvée.









The soils here are composed of limestone and flint.



Recently, Natalie had to rip out some old vines that were in bad shape and dangerous to work with the tractor.

"If I replant, we will definitely make it parallel to the slope like the rest of the vines."

With those old timers gone, the vines now average 45 years old.

Just a little further up, we drove up to an unassuming path that is actually the geographical divide between Jasnières and Coteaux du Loir. On the CdL side, three 3 parcels of Pineau d'Aunis grow on the same limestone and flint soils as Kharaktêr. The vines here are 35, total .75 ha and interestingly were much taller and developed than the Chenin we'd just seen.

I didn't take any pictures of these for some reason, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

From there, we jumped back into the LDM Mobile to visit the lieu-dit Le Briseau, the site the estate takes its name from.











This was the first piece of land Christian and Natalie purchased after moving from Vouvray. The land represents about 4 ha, with 1.36 ha planted in Chenin Blanc. Le Briseau roughly translates to "the shatterer", as the subsoil consists of a solid layer of flint that is near impossible to penetrate.

"Tractors and teals always break here."

The superficial soils consist of heavy clay mixed with very rocky chunks of flint.





The oldest vines are 60+ years old and produce an insanely low 8hl/h. In really good years this produces the Briseau Blanc, otherwise, as was the case in 2012, the wine is called Patapon Blanc.

Le Briseau is a clos, and this peaceful atmosphere was where our late friend Christian Chaussard liked working the most. In bittersweet fashion, it was here that he had his fatal tractor accident last year. His ashes are buried at the foot of this shelter, just a few feet from the vines.



It's comforting (and admittedly poetic) that Christian would be one with the very soils he loved so much.

Heading back from Le Briseau, we drove back to Natalie's home to taste some currently bottled stuff. I could tell you all about how good everything tasted, but I'd much rather show you PICTURES OF NATALIE'S ADORABLE DOG GROVER!!!





Our final vineyard visit was a quick walk to Le Briseau's other major lieu-dit, Les Mortiers.









The soils here are heavy clay.



Les Mortiers roughly translates to "wet cement", because if it rains, the clay soils become impenetrable after drying up. A lot of impenetrable soils around these parts...

In total, 4 hectares of Pineau d'Aunis are planted here.

We ended our tasting in Natalie's cellar, where we got to taste some stuff, including Kharaktêr 09, 11 and 12, as well as Les Mortiers 11.



Before leaving, Grover made sure to mark his territory on the LDM mobile so other vigneron dogs wouldn't get it twisted.

]]>
<![CDATA[The Wrinkerman Report: February 5th, 2014.]]> http://louisdressner.com/date/2014/2/5/245/ http://louisdressner.com/date/2014/2/5/245/ Wed, 05 Feb 2014 24:34:50 GMT
by Eddie Wrinkerman.

Eddie Wrinkerman here. I've just returned from a two week trip with the entire Louis/Dressner team, and over the course of many lovely visits, delicious meals and occasional late-nights, LDM's Head of Social Media and Viral Marketing (H.S.M.&.V.M) Jules Dressner and I hatched a plan so that you, the American public, can be kept in the loop of the exciting going-ons in the Louis/Dressner universe. Therefore, I've agreed to write these periodical updates on a semi-regular basis. As a true journalist dedicated to my craft, I promise to stay completely OBJECTIVE in my observations, without ANY BIAS WHATSOEVER in regards to my personal opinions. Unless I get paid handsomely by a foreign government.


Gwénaëlle Croix is now an Official Partner at Domaine de la Pépière!



Marc Ollivier has found a second partner to continue the legacy of the beloved Domaine de la Pépière in Gwénaëlle Croix, a young and enthusiastic second-career vigneronne. Marc envisions retiring in 5 years or so, and told us that the estate is in good hands. Along with fellow partner Rémi Branger, who joined Marc in 2011, the two newcomers are planning some exciting projects, most notably an active and diligent search for new Cru vineyards in the Gorges appellation. Not to mention a couple of cement eggs we found lurking in the cellar...


Thierry Puzelat's Long Time Négociant Project Puzelat-Bonhomme is now Domaine Pierre-Olivier Bonhomme!



Young gun Pierre-Olivier "Pierre-O" Bonhomme is now fully at the helm of the négociant project Thierry Puzelat founded in the late 90es. This decision has been in the works for quite some time, as Jean-Marie Puzelat's forthcoming retirement has incited Thierry to dedicate himself to his familyes estate, Clos du Tue-Boeuf.

It will be strange calling fan favorites like Le Telquel, Rouge est Mis and Tesnière Pineau deAunis anything other than a "Puzelat" wine, but Pierre-O was responsible for vinifying the 2011, 2012 and 2013 vintages on his own, so there is no doubt that he knows what he is doing. The names of the wines will stay the same for the time being. Pierre-O also owns 7 hectares of vines of vines, which mainly produce the Touraine Blanc and Rouge cuvées.

Michel "Yoda" Augé has Retired, and Handed Over Les Maisons Brûlées to Young Couple Paul and Corinne Gillet!



Continuing our breaking coverage of passing on the torch, Michel Augé has sold his vineyards to young couple Paul and Corinne Gillet. Paul and Corinne are originally from Alsace, and come from restaurant backgrounds. The couple eventually landed in Algeria, were they continued focusing on restaurant work until an opportunity to take over some vineyards seemed like the right change of pace. Paul decided to return to France to study viticulture and oenology, and while his initial intentions were to bring his knowledge back to Algeria, he ended up staying in France and working all over the place.

For the last two years, the two have discreetly been working full-time at les Maisons Brûlées, and the shift is official as of the 2013 vintage, which was entirely vinified by Paul and Corinne. The vines will still be worked biodynamically and the L'Art de L'Eau, L'Erèbe and Poussière de Lune cuvées will continue to be produced. As far as definite changes, the two Alterité PET NAT's will now be called Maisons Bullées and two new, yet to be named reds will additionally be produced from the estatees 8.5 hectares of vines. Some aspects, however, are still up-in-the-air: the young vine Silènes might change names, the whites might see a tiny bit of sulfur at bottling (the reds will remain unsulfured) and Paul is still up in the air about sealing his wines with crown caps or changing to cork.

"I understand why Michel made this decision, but there is there is an ingrained nostalgia and pleasure in opening a bottle of wine with a cork that I may not be able to let go."

Kevin McKenna was quick to applaud Paul and Corinne, stating that the wines were showing well, that the estate is on a good path and that Louis/Dressner will fully support the transition.

Kevin Descombes Officially Takes Brother Damien Coquelet's Title of "Youngest Vigneron Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections"!



Kevin "Ké Ké" Descombes just wrapped up his first vintage at the tender age of 21. His 2013es are showing beautifully, and Louis/Dressner Selections looks forward to sharing these wines with the American public. Working off of 4 hectares of vines inherited from his father Georges, Ké Kées first vintage resulted in three wines: an A.O.C Beaujolais, already bottled and called Cuvée de Ké Ké, along with a Morgon and Morgon V.V. that will be bottled in the coming months. Because the barrels he recently acquired are newer than the ones used by his father and brother, Kevin plans to age the V.V wine less than six months in order not to overly mark the wine.

Robert Parker Accuses Louis/Dressner Selections and Others of Swindling and Terrorism.



Recent accusations by wine advocate of 35+ years Robert Parker have claimed that companies such as Louis/Dressner, who champion wines made by down to earth people who are in tune with nature and their land, attached to the traditions of their region, care about the environment and who prefer to make wine with grape juice, native yeasts, lees, the occasional stem and slight addition of sulphur (if any) are "Kim Jong Un-ists" perpetrating the biggest consumer fraud in wine history, bigger ever than Rudy Kurniawan.

Louis/Dressner's enjoyment of un-chaptalised wines that may not reach the alcohol levels of a vintage like 2003, coupled with the fact that they like Ploussard from the Jura and other lesser known grapes and regions proved as further evidence that they are no good crooks who should be thrown behind bars.

When asked about the controversial Anything But Chardonnay movement, Jules Dressner told me that the entire Louis/Dressner team has always loved this grape.

"But only from the Jura."

Louis-Dressner to Hire Social-Media Guru Lance Federrer to Expand Brand Visibility With Millenials.



Lance is excited to join the LDM team and has been hard at work tweeting and instagramming the fact that he and others are drinking Louis/Dressner wines ALL THE TIME. Hashtags #glouglou, #unicorn and #sexinaglass have been "trending like crazy."

Luneau-Papin Le L d'Or now available at Play, the bar in NYCes Museum of Sex!



If you happen to be visiting the Museum of Sex in Manhattanes Flatiron district, make sure to swing by their bar Play for a refreshing glass of Muscadet!

That's it for now. Please check in on louisdressner.com for all future LDM coverage.]]>
<![CDATA[NEW ESTATE: L'ACINO IN SAN MARCO ARGENTANO, CALABRIA!!!!!!!! PROFILE+VISIT RECAP!]]> http://louisdressner.com/date/2014/1/22/244/ http://louisdressner.com/date/2014/1/22/244/ Wed, 22 Jan 2014 22:36:48 GMT

We are happy to announce our newest Calabrian estate, L'Acino! Go read all about them on their BRAND SPANKING NEW PROFILE!

We first tasted L'Acino on a late night at Tabarro, the bar in Parma I'm always ranting and raving about. After requesting a "Beaujolais style" red, the owner Diego laughed and quickly brought out a bottle of Calabrian wine called Chora Rosso, made from a grape we'd never heard of. Everyone LOVED IT, and was very excited since it turned out the guys were participating in Vini di Vignaioli and that meant tasting the entire lineup the following day. The other three wines (for a total of 2 whites and 2 reds) were so good that Kevin instantly decided to modify our trip to visit the estate.

Two days later, we were smack-dab in the middle of San Marco Argentano waiting for head vignaiolo Antonello Canonico to show us some vineyards.





Though I much prefer driving stick-shift, the old town's extremely narrow, curvy and seemingly uphill only roads made me grateful that we had an automatic for once. While we were waiting, Eben and I made sure to buy some RumJungle jeans for all our cool American friends.



Antonello scooped us up and we drove over the 5 hectare site that produces both Chora Bianco and Chora Rosso cuvées.









The vines here are very young, and were planted by the L'Acino team 6 years ago. As you can see, the soils had been heavily plowed; the guys are doing this every year following harvest, and adding legumes, straw and many other good, biodynamic things to promote mineral richness and depth to the soils, which have never had anything planted in them.

Antonello explained that their are 5 distinct soil compositions within the vineyard, which are essentially varying amounts of sands. In the sandiest parts of this double-sided hill, the guys have planted in franc de pied. The sands go for 1.5 meters until they hit a solid, very hard to penetrate sheet of rock.



That's Antonello in the picture above. His partner Dino pointed out that this layer of rock will always keep yields very low. Furthermore:

"Because we are working organically from the start, the vines are taking a long time to find themselves in the soil."

As far as the grapes planted, the vineyard features the indigenous Magliocco (red) and Mantonico (white), as well as some Grenache Noir and Grenache Blanc. Everything is planted in massale.

By the time we were ready to see another piece of land, the sun was almost gone.



Even though it quickly became too dark to take any good landscape pictures, the second site that Antonello, Dino and Emilio brought us to was a recently acquired plot of land that they will start planting in 2014. The iron infused sand and clay had a red intensity I've only seen at Mas des Chimères.





They are extremely excited about planting here, because this is a completely different terroir than their other vineyards.

We then drove to the cellar to taste the 2013's as well as some bottled stuff. The first thing I spotted was this TOTALLY BODACIOUS poster.



This is their cellar.



Stainless steel tanks take up the majority of the space, but there are some old French oak barrels hiding in the back.



Here are what the labels for the whites look like.



I don't really want to try describing how these taste since that's not really my forte, but they are really fucking good and the Mantonico whites are like nothing I've ever tried before.

Dinner was upon on, and the guys pulled out all the stops: the antipasti was about two meals worth of food on its own, the pasta was banging and the baby lamb slaughtered the night before did not die in vain. More importantly, it was a chance to get to know Antonello, Dino and Emilio, who are super nice guys. Chatting them up, it was obvious how enthusiastic and dedicated they are to the L'Acino project, and I can only imagine great things in the future for them.

The following morning, we set out for the 30 minute drive into the mountains to visit Mantonico vineyard, which produces the Mantonicoz bottling and totals just about 1 hectare.



These vineyards are right on the border of the Pollino National Park, which you can see in the photo above.







Antonello explained that these are very hard to work. The soils feature a little bit of clay, but are mostly comprised of very compact sand. These cool looking rocks can also be spotted throughout the vineyard.





The vineyard is 650 meters above sea level, and exposed North. This gives the area a uniquely cool microclimate that is very rare in the area.

"This microclimate really sets it apart."

The vines are 15 years old. Here's what second growth Mantonico looks like.



The 20 year old Magliocco vines are just a short walk away.









This represents about 1.5 hectares.

"When we took over, it was worked more than conventionally."

This is what second growth Magliocco looks like.

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<![CDATA[New Visit: Monte dall' Ora in Valpolicella!!!!!!!!]]> http://louisdressner.com/date/2014/1/17/243/ http://louisdressner.com/date/2014/1/17/243/ Fri, 17 Jan 2014 22:51:50 GMT

For this coming round of Italian visits, I am very happy that Eben Lillie of Chambers Street Wines was around to take so many great pictures. Thanks Eben!

For our annual fall tour of Italy, we got things started by visiting Carlo Venturini and Alessandra Zantedeschi of Monte dall' Ora!

They have a pretty sweet backyard.





Yes, that's their mail box. They also have an awesome dog named Vladimir who loves playing with this old soccer ball.



Before setting off to see a newly acquired vineyard, these stacks on stacks on stacks of drying Amarone grapes caught everyone's attention.





These are left in open without temperature control. Carlo does have a big fan constantly blowing on them though, so maybe that counts as temperature control. You tell me.

Carlo was really excited to show us his newly acquired land just above the mountain commune of San Giorgio, which is located on the Northern-most edge of Valpolicella.



The vineyard is completely enclosed by woods, with no neighbors. It is mostly planted in Guyot. The soils consist of limestone rich in iron. Throw in a complimentary full South exposition, and you have all the factors for great terroir.













The vines are 7 years old and planted in Corvina, Corvinone, and Teroldego. Unbeknownst to the group, Teroldego is permitted in Valpolicella vineyards, up to 15%. The vines were being worked chemically and Carlo is converting them to biodynamics. In total this represents 2 hectares.

He is not sure where the grapes from this land will end up for the time being, as this will require experimentation. The eventual goal, once the vines are older, is to make a site specific bottling from this terroir.

Part of the acquisition included a tiny parcel of whites planted in Pergola.



Cortese, Garganega, Chardonnay and a mystery grape are planted here.

"I'll try making a little white this year. I've only tried this once before, and it was the worst thing ever!"

As we were contemplating the beautiful view, a strange sound started galloping towards us. Everyone got freaked out, but we were quickly relieved to know that it was just a horse running freely through the mountain.



I then unsuccessfully tried to convince the group that this was all staged and that we at Louis/Dressner intentionally set up beautiful acts of nature to impress our customers.

Because it was on our way down, Carlo had us stop by San Giorgo, which was built in Roman-Pagan times. Here's the village's beautiful Church.



And here's a beautiful mountain sunset.



The sun was setting fast, but we still had a bit of time to rush over to the Camporenzo vineyard, which produces the Valpolicella cuvée of the same name.





Camporenzo totals 3 hectares and faces east. Everything is grown in Pergola, which is normal for the region. It's also right next to Brad Pitt and Angolina Jolie's villa, a converted old monastery. No word yet if they plan to produce a Valpolicella after the huge success of their first wine, Miraval Rosé.

The soils here are sand with a loose clay subsoil.



By the time we were done with Camporenzo it was pitch black outside, so the natural transition was to head to the cellar.







We started by tasting the base for the 2013 Sasetti (local dialect for "little rock"), but with the late harvest it was so young (we were there in mid-November) that it was hard to taste much more than fresh grape juice.

The Superiore, which macerates in the wood vats you can see above, needs to be foot-trodden once a day. Since we all happened to be there, Carlo figured he'd give us a demonstration.



"Right now the grapes are very soft. With the Amarone, the grapes are much harder and it's much less fun.".

Speaking of the Amarone, drying time is variable. Carlo waits at least until the 1st of January of the next year, and will be February for this year's harvest. It usually takes 10 to 15 days to start the fermentation. In the first few days, Carlo does very little foot treading. After that, he does 3 treadings a day (about 5 hours apart) for 10 days. In the vats, you have approximately 70% skins and 30% juice, which was the opposite of what he was stomping on with the Superiore in the video. The wine then ages 3 years in barrel and one year in bottle before release.

Dinner WAS INSANE, and featured never-ending polenta with anchovies, Valpolicella ravioli (the pasta was made with wine), pork stuffed with pork and Italian Cronuts. It was also a good time to hear Carlo talk of his early experiences in the area. When he first took over what would become Monte dall' Ora, he made a point to chat up all the old timers and ask them how they used to work. The thing that resonated most with him was that:

"When everything was still done by hand, there were way less treatments simply because it meant so much more work (spraying row by row with a heavy backpack). That's also why people started building bigger barrels. 1000 hl at a time is the way to do it!". ]]>
<![CDATA[2013 Harvest Reports from Domaine Renardat-Fuche and Fernand Girard!]]> http://louisdressner.com/date/2014/1/10/242/ http://louisdressner.com/date/2014/1/10/242/ Fri, 10 Jan 2014 21:53:07 GMT

Get the skinny!

DOMAINE RENARDAT-FYCHE 2013 HARVEST REPORT

DOMAINE FERNAND GIRARD 2013 HARVEST REPORT]]>
<![CDATA[New Visit and Interview: Jean Maupertuis in Auvergne!]]> http://louisdressner.com/date/2014/1/3/241/ http://louisdressner.com/date/2014/1/3/241/ Fri, 03 Jan 2014 23:12:29 GMT

First thing's first: go read the BRAND SPANKING NEW interview with Jean Maupertuis on his profile. If you're unfamiliar with Auvergne's viticultural history, you will definitely learn a thing or two.

ON TO THE RECAP:

Two years ago, Jean Maupertuis purchased some vines in the commune of Riom. These are 45 minutes away from his village of Saint-Georges-sur-Allier, so we met him at at edge of an autoroute toll-booth (which admittedly was a bit confusing) to visit these first. Our first stop was a 1,5 hectare plot of Gamay d'Auvergne (a local strain that distinguishes itself by its later maturities and more rustic, peppery flavors) planted right after WW2.



The vineyard directly faces the town of Clermont-Ferrand, which you can see in the background of the above picture. These vines are planted on what was once one of Auvergne's most celebrated coteaux: designated as the Madargues cru, this was reportedly one of Louis XVI's favorite wines and was extremely popular in 17th century Paris. Today, only 12 h still remain in the cru (now a sub-appellation of the Auvergne AOC) and this is the only parcel left on this coteau.

The plot is wedged between expensive suburban houses.



"I don't know how long vineyards like this can last in the long run. This land is worth 5000 euros as a vineyard, and 1 million euros as a building site for housing."

The soils consist of white sands.



Grapes from this parcel go into the La Plage cuvée, which translates to "the beach". Get it?

The next plot of land we visited was a short drive away, all Gamay planted in even sandier soils.



It's this parcel that inspired the name La Plage, as the sands are the exact same you'd find on, well, a beach.

"Even the herbs that grow here look like the beach!"







The last parcel we visited from Riom is home to the Pinot Noir that produces Neyrou.



I immediately noticed a training system for the vines that I'd never seen before, which Jean defined as "En Lyre" training:



Essentially, "En Lyre" is a double palissage with nothing in the middle, permitting both sides to get optimal aeration and sun.







It quickly went out of fashion because this training system is impossible to work mechanically, and has therefore all but disappeared. According to Jean, it takes about 7 years to properly shape one. The vines here are 25 years old.

Another reason it became unpopular is due to the fact that you're getting grapes on both sides of each row, which automatically translates to low yields since one root is essentially sharing the work of two vines. Jean says that his Gamay and Pinot Noir planted in En Lyre produce teeny-tiny grapes, but that they are unbelievably full of concentration.

The vines here are exposed full South, and planted on clay heavy soils.



Jean has yet to work these soils, but plans to do so in the coming year. When he acquired these in 2011, they were abandoned and completely surrounded with extremely high thorns.

"It took a crew of 5 an entire month to clean everything up!"

The next morning, we set off to vineyards just a few minutes from Jean's home.



This 1.2 h parcel of Gamay was almost on some Clos Roche Blanche levels of flower-power!









All of these are wild flowers. The vines themselves were planted in the 60's and the soils are limestone.



The final parcel Denyse and I checked out produces the Pierres Noires cuvée. Zaggy was loving all the open space to run around in.



The soils here are all volcanic ash and debris.







Clermond-Ferrand can once again be spotted in the background.



The vines here are 60-70 years old and average 25 to 30 hl/h yields.



After a beautiful morning, we stepped into yet another contender for "smallest cellar in the universe".



Yup. That's all of it.

One thing that was sweet was this home-made spit bucket with a gutted bowl going placed on top of a vase.



Clever, clever!

Jean had already bottled all of his 2012's, which we gleefully re-tasted before setting off. They were quite nice.]]>
<![CDATA[Loire Harvest Reports: Agnès and René Mosse, Domaine Bernard Baudry!]]> http://louisdressner.com/date/2013/12/26/240/ http://louisdressner.com/date/2013/12/26/240/ Thu, 26 Dec 2013 20:33:15 GMT

"You need nerves of steel to not give up when the weather is so unfavorable; this is the burden of the vigneron, who we sometimes forget are completely "climate-dependant"... In hindsight, however, this enticed renewed modesty and humility to the fascinating work we do every year."
-Matthieu Baudry

READ AGNÈS AND RENÉ MOSSE'S 2013 HARVEST REPORT.

READ DOMAINE BERNARD BAUDRY'S HARVEST REPORT.
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<![CDATA[New Visit: Domaine de La Pépière, Again!]]> http://louisdressner.com/date/2013/12/23/239/ http://louisdressner.com/date/2013/12/23/239/ Mon, 23 Dec 2013 23:07:06 GMT

You'd think that by this point, we'd have run out of things to say about Domaine de la Pépière. WRONG!

We started the visit by driving to the lieu-dit Gras Moutons, a terroir Marc started vinifying in 2007.



Soil wise, Gras Moutons distinguishes itself by being very clay heavy and rocky.







The microclimate is also unique, characterized by its constant winds.

"This helps aerate the vines, and keeps them clean of illness."

Sadly, the constant winds also mean that shitty chemicals being used by neighbors occasionally float over to the Pépière vines. Here's a leaf suffering from herbicide burn:



Lame.

The Gras Moutons vines are spread over two parcels for a total of 1.7 hectares. They are 15, 40 and 65 years old. Rémi's father grandfather owned 9h of these at one point.

Here's a picture of a weird bug I'd never seen before.



After hopping back into the Marc Mobile, we drove over to Pépière's newest Cru, Chuteau-Thébaud.



The soils here are rich granite and sand.



1.5 h are spread over two parcels. The first is planted in extremely vigorous young vines, so much so that in some vintages Marc and Rémi feel obligated to green harvest in order to LOWER yields. Melon de Bourgogne vines tend to produce very high yields even without chemical fertilizers, and to assure optimal concentrations, the Pépière crew intentionally keeps things at a very low 35 to 40 hl/h.

The lower yielding, older vines are over 60 years old.





Marc and Rémi love working here because the exposition is more South, and the "hotter soils" means more advanced, homogeneous flowering and maturing.

Our final and longest vineyard visit was a long stroll through the Pépière vineyard, the 10 hectare clos that produce the base Pépière and Clos des Briords cuvées.



The soils here are composed of super-light, sandy granite.



Upon further inspection, Marc pointed out the slender, silver micha-schist chunks that can be spotted all over the vineyard.



While they don't add anything to the soil's complexity, Marc theorizes that their constant reflection of the sun affects grape maturities. Upon even the slightest bit of friction, these flake into paper thin morsels.

In the late 90's, Marc decided to plant some reds here. At the time, he used what was available to him and planted, amongst others, Côt from clonal selections. Years later, he was able to acquire some massales from Clos Roche Blanche's 100+ year old vines. The difference in vigor and quality has amused Marc for a long time, so he decided to give us a side by side comparison.



The massale is the one on the right: a third less vigorous, but two thirds more concentrated. If it hasn't already been made clear, Marc is a fan of quality over quantity.

We also saw the oldest vines on the estate, which are over 100 years old.





Marc says these are productive as ever.]]>
<![CDATA[New Visit: Bouncing back at Bellivière!]]> http://louisdressner.com/date/2013/12/9/238/ http://louisdressner.com/date/2013/12/9/238/ Mon, 09 Dec 2013 24:30:07 GMT

Eric and Christine Nicholas live on a side road in the tiny village of Lhomme. When we arrived, Eric was busy spraying a biodynamic treatment on some Pineau d'Aunis, so Christine decided to give us a tour of some other vineyards before heading over to see him.

The Nicholas' 14 hectares are spread over A LOT of parcels throughout the Jasnières and Coteaux du Loir AOC's. The first we visited was a 70 year old Chenin Blanc vineyard that goes into Calligramme.







The soils here are composed of clay and flint mixed with loose clay.



A little further up, Eric recently purchased 14 beautiful rows of 100+ year old Pineau D'Aunis.







These grapes go into to Hommage a Louis Derré, a wine dedicated to the now deceased vigneron who mentored Eric in his beginnings. As you can see from the photos, these are trained with no palissage. Christine pointed out that these old guys are still very productive. Prior to their reacquisition, they were being worked chemically.

From there, we drove over to meet up with Eric, who was right in the middle of his treatment.



2012 was a disastrous vintage for Bellivière, so it wasn't much of a surprise when Christine explained that Eric was trying his best to be as meticulously cautious as possible.

"When you work organically, you get hit with all possible climate problems. We're more prone to frost and in rainy years, we can't go into the vines as easily since we don't use herbicides."

Eric was too busy to stop and chat, so instead we drove to another nearby area. Here, a younger parcel planted in 1996 goes into Les Rosiers.



Just a bit higher, older vines planted on very rocky soils go into Calligrame.







Our final vineyard visit was the lieu-dit "Le Panorama", which ironically is the least photogenic of the bunch.



The site gets its name because it because it overlooks every piece of land in the Jasnières AOC. Gazing into the distance, Christine shook her head in resigned equanimity.

"When nature is so calm, it's hard to believe how violent it can be."

By the time we'd returned to the house, Eric had returned and was hosing down the tractor.

"I hate treating. But when I see how hard we got hit [in 2012], I need to be extra vigilant."

Did you know it takes about 5 hours to do a treatment, not counting traveling time and refilling the tanks? That's a full day of work, my friends.

After hanging for a bit while Eric showered and changed, we stepped into the Nicholas's beautiful tuffeau cellar to taste the very little wine made in 2012 vintage.



Out of the their 4 cellars, only half of one had full barriques. From what we tasted (barrels that will go into Calligramme, Les Rosiers, Rouge Gorge and Hommage a Louis Derré), everything is up to snuff with what you'd usually expect from Bellivière. The only problem is there will be 80% less than usual.

We also tasted some bottled stuff, including this very rare 2009 Franc de Pied.



The whole process bored Zaggy to tears.

]]>
<![CDATA[Montesecondo and Clos Roche Blanche Harvest Reports!]]> http://louisdressner.com/date/2013/12/6/237/ http://louisdressner.com/date/2013/12/6/237/ Fri, 06 Dec 2013 24:37:19 GMT

EXTRA, EXTRA: READ ALL ABOUT IT!

MONTESECONDO IN 2013!

2013 AT CLOS ROCHE BLANCHE!]]>
<![CDATA[In-Depth Harvest Reports from Eric Texier and Domaine de Bellivière!]]> http://louisdressner.com/date/2013/12/3/236/ http://louisdressner.com/date/2013/12/3/236/ Tue, 03 Dec 2013 24:03:17 GMT

Still a lot of harvest reports coming in. Domaine de Souch still hasn't harvested their late harvest Petit Manseng! DAYUM!

Anyway, the very wordy Eric Texier and Eric Nicholas give you the rundown on their 2013's.

ERIC TEXIER 2013!

BELLIVIÈRE 2013!
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<![CDATA[INTRODUCING THE BRAND SPANKING NEW VISITS SECTION!!!]]> http://louisdressner.com/date/2013/11/26/235/ http://louisdressner.com/date/2013/11/26/235/ Tue, 26 Nov 2013 21:23:50 GMT

Here at the Louis/Dressner internet headquarters, we are constantly searching for ways to make your browsing experience better. One thing our uber-complex computer algorithms quickly realized was that with the wealth of INCREDIBLE information and CONSTANT blog posts being added at a SHOCKINGLY CONSISTENT rate, a lot of the older visit recaps were being lost in the fold. Sure, you could use the INCREDIBLY HANDY search tab on the upper right side of your screen, but wouldn't it make way more sense if you had instant access to these NEXT-LEVEL recaps as part of a producer's profile?

It did make more sense, and now that's what's happened. All 50+ visit recaps I've written over the last 2 years are now included in their respective producer's profiles. These can be read online, on the mobile site or printed out as PDFS just like any other section of a producer's profile. And to celebrate, I've written up A BRAND SPANKING NEW VISIT RECAP for our newest producer, Vittorio Graziano!

GO TO HIS PROFILE AND CHECK IT OUT!]]>
<![CDATA[Harvest Reports from Cà de Noci, Michel Tête, Luneau-Papin and François Cazin!]]> http://louisdressner.com/date/2013/11/20/234/ http://louisdressner.com/date/2013/11/20/234/ Wed, 20 Nov 2013 18:22:31 GMT

It's looking like most viticultural areas are having drastically different 2013's. From extremely challenging to terrific, it seems like this last year will have run the gamut and pushed our growers to the limit. Globally though, things are looking good.

CÀ DE NOCI!!!

MICHEL TÊTE!!!


DOMAINE LUNEAU-PAPIN!!!

FRANÇOIS CAZIN!!!

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