Monday, 13 April 2020

Andrea Calek

I call this dish,
Would you like more cream?
On my plate, meat.


Monday, 6 April 2020

Undocumented moments in the vines | Liage

Liage, not 'pliage' which is what I keep calling it thanks or rather no thanks to my memory bridge to bend > ballet > plié is one of those things no one writes about, is just another of those uncelebrated, undocumented moments in wine where 8 hours a day turn into 40 hour weeks bent down head down i.e.: labour, the manner in which basically I spend all my time so why don't write about it? and so I did and here it is: 545 more words to go on the thankless task of attaching the baguette to the wire with wire.

Liage happens after pruning and after you’ve pulled the wood which is simply the act of pulling the wood you've cut while pruning off the wires and which I'll write about later. It is, as I said, the name for the act of attaching your baguette (this is the honest to god technical term for the wood upon which one day very far away the grapes will grow) and it is this, as I said, that you must attach; assuming you have vines on wires. I’ll explain why now and this is to ensure everything grows evenly and not too densely in one direction and not everywhere like corruption and lonely people and plastic headed to the ocean because of two reasons and these are one: if you work with a horse or a quad-bike or a tractor you will break their arms, and two: to prevent acrotony.

Acrotony is a property of vines by which she will zap her sap down the baguette >>> to the last bud which will grow first, blowing all the vine's fruit-power and energy so out go people paid to spend their days ideally in the rain (this so it only cracks but doesn't snap) cajoling wood into long twists or bending them into arcs which is called 'l'arcure' the point of all this is to stop the flow or rather re-direct the sap with each crack to each of the buds which means FRUIT which is what we do this for but which, I must admit, can be hard to remember hence all the times I've 'quit' like when three weeks of liage in we were told 'There’s only 20 hectares to go' which for context I would like you to know means what was left was four times more than the biggest domaines I’ve worked for and we’d already done 15. Size, friends, is everything.

Liage also hurts. It hurts your back like all tasks head down bent over for days worth of hours do, my middle finger is four weeks later still swollen from feeding the wire and gripping the wood and quite blue, and it hurts your face when it whips you and my advice is don't do this when hungover or in a bad mood. On my first day maybe minute five it whipped me in my eye and it flashed through my mind that while I’m still being grateful I can walk again, how would I tell mom this time what’s happened is I’ve gone blind? But when I say it's thankless work don’t think I don't know it's Just Work that Needs to be Done that I think life's a peach or at least all harvest because there are more of these as of yet undocumented tasks I find gratifying like ébourgeonnage which isn't so bad and la taille which I like when you take the time for each vine because it’s the first time you see her again after you’ve rushed out hot with all her fruit rushed into the cold cellar in a rush of friends and drinking and people and drinking and late nights listening to the drip drip of the press rather than sleeping the whole crazy mad rush of everything at once necessary to transfer a year’s worth of energy into all that we celebrate in wine which is what we do it for, remember! and with all this going on it’s easy to forget to look back and say thank you, goodbye.


Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Etienne Thibaud | Domaine des Cavarodes

Savagnin merman:
dreads, oh sage jurasienne. 
Lune noeud donc on boit.

— Visit 10 March 2020. Cramans, Jura

(Photo and merman credit to Christina Rasmussen)


Sunday, 8 March 2020

Alice Bouvot | Domaine de l'Octavin

A gnome is a gnome is a gnome though hers are rainbow-minded not mould-hided, living their best lives in technicolour rather than forgotten somewhere at the bottom of the garden. If black-hats means home-grown: pizza-Ploussards and opera-curtain soft Trousseaus; this white-topped chorus represents team négoce, a colour-by-number medley of compass points singing in voices of sweet gravity Grenache and pithy Alsatian suns but also honeydew drops of far-south Muscat and pistachio-shades of Sylvaner in an orchestra that Alice, chieftess of insane harvest logistics and curl-haired cuve conductoresse, leads in whispers. 

— Visit 7 March 2020. Arbois, Jura


Thursday, 15 August 2019

Consider the sieve

Consider the importance of the sieve 
silver guardian at unapologetic gates restraining humble pasta and floaty bits in wine 
or don't—
and re-consider feet grape-deep in buckets


Monday, 24 June 2019

Vincent Marie | No Control

Vincent Marie is not Vincent and Marie who are the Tricots and who I wrote about here but a gentle riot.
No compromise ni control, makes snapped guitar-string wines that crawl out of mosh pits bleeding magma and two black eyes in Volvic chai painted millennial conch shell pink.

— Visit 1 April 2019. Volvic, Auvergne


Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Charles Dufour

Charles is energy to the power of 7: Epicure, Enthusiast, quietly cultivating vines and transmuting their spirit into wines that sun on ocean-ripples dance and shimmer as opposed to sun on fresh-waxed Maserati b*l*i*n*g from which you shield your eyes. Here, can I offer you another rice cracker? A cold shower? A perpetual reserve of forest asparagus we foraged together then turned into a salad we’ll blend with veg and seeds and other things and eat for the next three days? Welcome to Landreville, an alternative Champagne. 

What more can I say than most days being mostly lunch with crunch? On the Only Living Boy in Champagne I have: Inherited responsibility, buh-bye biodynamics cus 'I don't want to wake up so early’, no more single-parcel cuvées, pale hands blue pick-up big time generosity and a legally grey-area orange spritz. Further on our visit there's Aux Crueyrs de Vin, a Troyes institution, a '09 Puzelat, Julien Guillot's '17 Cuvée 910 drunk fast and blind which made all three of us scratch our heads and sing; an andouillette initiation, a pintade prince and a standout Coteaux Champenois star-fire wine (capers, sandalwood, Arizona desert dust) on fiercely pithy skins. Then there was more fowl for lunch and a '98 to end but before all this the once in a lifetime time I can say a Le Carton wine was drunk in Champagne (!) ditto that I took an unsupervised spin (!!) on a Soviet octopus mission to Mars vine sprayer and in conclusion bear with my five word monologue by way of answer to your question, 'But tell me, how did you find Champagne?'

Charles: disgorges my birth year. 
Me: Can we drink something red soon? 

— Visit 6-10 June 2019. Landreville, Champagne


Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Harvest 2018: Aurélien Lefort

(very good)

— Auvergne, 14 October 2 0 1 8



Friday, 19 April 2019

Jan van Roekel

Jan or Jean nobody knows and nobody cares, it is what it is which I'll tell you is one hell of an explosive glacial melon pét nat of the finest china bubbles in Johnson’s² baby powder pink. What else? Well, what has always been is that Jan plays hard for the Jura team, believes in hip hop and that a better life is possible in France. One of the only Amsterdammers who doesn’t bike, the only one to visit us here twice and the person to look at my grapes and say “press” so the next day I did (thanks Jan). Furthermore director of tours from the swamplands North to Bojo's bastard salon Bojalien where, chez Romain, he’s been making Gamay since 15 in his cult-merch hoody softly beseeching #free(Olivier)cousin and is no joke big in Japan.

— Jan visited 11 April. Alba-la-Romaine, Ardèche


Monday, 15 April 2019

Catherine Dumora and Manuel Duveau

"Barrel wine is for the head", Manuel Duveau said,
and we’re in the biz. of firework spritzers and volcanic elixirs and getting mescaline crazed butterflies dancing in bellies.

— Visit 1 April 2019. Blanzat, Auvergne.


Thursday, 11 April 2019

Aurélien Lefort

There are two things I want to say about Aurélien Lefort and here they are in no particular order.

The first concerns his labels, each as if drawn by a genius doodling fine-lined the unwinding of the labyrinth of the mind in paper margins with spacecraft precision its runaway monsters and underground suns. Hieronymous Bosch sky burials event horizon heavy falcon full engines blast through black hole energy. Insane messages scratched out by ravaged wingtip with ketamine clarity, NDE-lucidity. Francis Bacon rib cages and dino-boned claws arranged methodically, algebraically, madly; urgent warnings left in black quill tip hint at the wine's liquid intensity. Cryptic script left by those before the known cosmic order in machine language and jester diamonds, traces of minotaur mazes filled with frightened winged things captured in scratchy lithograph Expressionist madness and the second thing is: his sound system is amazing.

— Visit April 2 2019. Madriat, Auvergne.


Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Vincent Tricot

Vincent is a Sunday afternoon beaten Creuset cooking all day slow on a Saturday quiet kitchen deep eyes heavy lidded talking slow like a metronome tick tick about the different Gamays. Silver stubbled old western smoking steady radio voice tones invites us post tasting 18s in late sun gilded cellar after pickup truck safari tour of sandy Auvernat hilltop soiled parcels of old and also newly planted vines to stay and drink at kitchen table cracking almonds and later eat risotto with François Dhumes and Francien their friends and neighbours for dinner. All we did otherwise today is eat lunch: six oysters with London beer and a Mediterranean rosé (Castex) with a breadcrumbed cassoulet and a liver nourishing broth that's pot au feu in French and afterwards I fell asleep in the back of the car.

— Visit 30 March 2019. Orcet, Auvergne

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