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Glou and the wines of Jean-Yves Péron at Hôtel Herman

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Since 2004, Jean-Yves Péron has been making wines using fruit from very old vines (some of them pre-phylloxera) on two hectares of terraced, high-altitude vineyards in Chevaline, near Albertville. After studying oenology in Bordeaux, he trained with natural winemakers Thierry Allemand and Jean-Louis Grippat in the Rhône valley and Bruno Schueller in Alsace. Organic farming, indigenous yeasts, non-interventionist wine-making, avoidance of filtering and fining and use of little or no sulphur make these natural wines of the first rank.

Montreal-based agency Glou, which represents the estate in Quebec, recently held a tasting of Péron wines at Hôtel Herman. The prices are high but these are rare wines (the Quebec allocation of the Grande journée is 18 bottles) on a different and arguably higher plane than their compatriots. All left me feeling that I’d like to spend more than a few minutes with them.

Vin de table français 2010, Cotillon des dames, Jean-Yves Péron ($42.50, 12 btls/case)
100% Jacquère aged sous voile, i.e. under a protective layer of veil-like yeast, similar to the Jura’s vin jaune, whence the name (“women’s petticoat”). 11.5% ABV.
Cloudy, pale bronze-orange. Oxidized apple and peach, minerals, straw, faint spice. A bit tight in the mouth. Acidic, not remarkably deep but offering an appealing range of cidery flavours and a hint of salted butter. Long tangy finish. Would probably have benefited from more “airtime.”

Vin de France 2010, Les Barrieux, Jean-Yves Péron ($56.25, 6 btls/case)
Jacquère and Roussanne left to macerate on the skins, like a red wine. Matured in third-vintage barrels. 12.5% ABV.
Hazy, pale bronze. Intriguing if hard to deconstruct nose: sandstone, straw and faint pear/peach? Softer and broader on the palate than the Cotillon. The fruit is understated, yet the wine has real presence. Good balance and a long, minerally finish.

Savoie 2010, La grande journée, Jean-Yves Péron ($74.50, 6 btls/case)
100% Altesse. 13% ABV.
Medium light bronze. Less hazy than the first two wines. A nose to get lost in: pear, oxidized apple, a floral note. Bone dry and quite extracted, yet fluid and fleet. All minerals and spice with the fruit definitely in the background. Strong acidic backbone. Long. Evolving. Multidimensional. A standout.

Savoie 2010, Vers la maison rouge, Jean-Yves Péron ($28.45, 12 btls/case)
100% Mondeuse Noire. Made from grapes from less easily ripened plots. Undergoes carbonic maceration for a few days before being transferred to old barrels. 11% ABV.
Very pale, oxidized ruby; could pass for one of the Jura’s corail reds. Wafting nose of spice, light red fruit, wood, lees and eventually a hint of red meat. Almost white-like in weight and taste, with only a suggestion of red fruit and then only on the lightly peppery finish. Minerally, acidic, barely tannic. A fascinating and aptly named, red-heading wine.

VDP d’Allobrogie 2009, Champ Levat, Jean-Yves Péron ($36.35, 12 btls/case)
100% Mondeuse Noire. Carbonic maceration and fermentation each last about one week, barrel aging about one year. 11% ABV.
Fairly clear medium burgundy. Nose of dusty plum skin, spice, wood, red fruit and violet. On the lighter side of medium-bodied. Astringent yet fluid. A tightly wound ball of fine tannins and bright acid. Lingers long. Refreshing and, I suspect, versatile at table.

Savoie 2009, Côte Pelée, Jean-Yves Péron (NLA)
100% Mondeuse Noire from ancient vines. One week’s carbonic maceration followed by ten days’ to three weeks’ fermentation, depending on the vintage, and one year’s barrel aging. 12.5% ABV.
Clear, medium burgundy. Rich and young-smelling: plum, stone, wood, kirsch. Richer, smoother and more extracted than the Champ Levat. Good balance: lots of tannins and acidity though they’re cushioned by the fruit. Lingering minerally finish. Delicious.

Savoie 2010, Côte Pelée, Jean-Yves Péron ($46.90, 12 btls/case)
100% Mondeuse Noire as immediately above. 12.5% ABV.
Tighter and more primary than the 2009 but every bit as pure. The tannins may be a shade lighter but the fruit and acid are just as vibrant. Stony finish. A beauty.

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Written by carswell

September 18, 2012 at 19:36

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  1. […] the tasting of Péron wines at Hôtel Herman wound down, business at the restaurant began picking up and, like several other tasters, I decided […]


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