Wednesday 7 June 2017

'Arbois Pupillin' 2014, Adeline Houillion and Renaud Bruyere

The parties were last week, they told us. You should have been here.

‘Here,’ then, was Arbois; a village in the Jura but as I’d never heard of the Jura, more importantly the place in France where they make Comté and where we were going to have a holiday. At the time we had no idea it was a ‘thing’ in the wine world, much less a thing in the natural wine world — the only time we’d heard about either was in the context of, ‘Try this. It’s a Ploussard from Arbois and it’s natural,’ in other words, no context, just a string of words we didn’t know the meaning of. But it was tried and it was w o w and this causally herbaceous, vivacious, pink like punch, rose-on-the-nose, perfectly chilled Ploussard was, in a word: redefining. Was in six more words: 

drink — ever

But like I said, at the time it was still really about us having a holiday.

The idea was to set up our tent, walk, cook outside and drink wine during the day and maybe do a few tastings because I think we vaguely knew you could, this being France. So when we saw the signs hanging pretty much everywhere that said you can, welcome to the home of the Ploussard (also Poulsard) we thought great! and that we’d start with this Bruyère guy because it was his Ploussard (a 2013) we’d drunk that night months before.

And that’s when we heard about the parties or rather, that they were over.

No one could believe that we were here to taste wine maintenant a week after the rest of the world and didn’t you know about the harvest? The old wine had been drunk, the new stuff was in tanks and everyone had things to do; the mood, sober. Evidently we were the only souls who didn’t know that the 'non-stop dégustation' had, in fact, all, this week, stopped; that they’d just left out the signs. 

And we didn’t know. So, safe in our ignorance, we went ahead knock-knock knocking on barn doors, open doors, front doors and cellar doors, meeting many a winemaker, their mothers / wives / dogs in the pursuit of something to drink during the day before retiring to Bistro des Claquettes each night to read our books because it had wine and light and our tent didn’t. The next day we’d start in Bruyere’s cellar.

Here's what I remember. 

Renaud was making bread or maybe his wife Adeline was, and there was a roll of those happy little crescent moons lying on top of the microwave and a kid in a highchair. We’d dropped in unannounced and were told to come back later. We killed time on a bench. It’s later: we’re led down under the house to the cellar to go through the wine-thief hullabaloo drop-drop, swish-swish, smell, taste, spit (we didn't spit), repeat-thing because that’s what the Danish guy who'd joined our tasting was doing (spitting) and he made it clear he knew what he was doing everything about wine you needed to know, ever.

We climbed the ladder to look into the tanks and he told us about the guy who blacked out from the CO2, fell in and died. How you should always do it in twos. I remember being surprised when he told us he made only a thousand odd bottles of the Ploussard a year, that we could only buy six — both figures sounded incredibly little. And obviously we’d thought ‘harvest’ meant something different to ‘call in family and friends’ because we couldn’t believe it when he said that’s what he does. But what did we know? We’d never been in a wine cellar before. Anyway, the indigenous yeasts sounded cute and we left and we didn’t even know he was a big deal.

On Sunday we invited Jan to come drink to the Jura with us. He brought some bottles for the cause and we ate leftover potato salad and listened to Nirvana with the doors open. At the time of writing we have two bottles left. 

Tasting notes:

Smells like barn with fluoro pinky / peach glossy tears streaming down the sides of your glass. Delicate while prickly, rose-floral patterns on your dress, funky. Fresh hay but also vegetal. Morning grapefruit juice. Spicy. Still a helluva lot of energy: racy, incredibly fresh and snappy. Ethereal, and I’ve already said energy. Candy. Fast moving lights, pale like a rosé but structured like a Burgundy. Fermenting strawberries, punchy and I can’t believe I’ve not yet said juicy so, juicy, juicy, juicy.


"Arbois-Pupillin" 2014
Renaud Bruyere, Adeline Houillion
Puppillin, Jura

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