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MWG September 11th tasting: The perfect excuse to guzzle

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Nicolas Vauthier entered the wine scene as the owner of Aux crieurs de vins, one of the first bars to specialize in natural wines. In 2008, he founded a négociant firm, Vini Viti Vinci, based in Avallon, near Auxerre, in northern Burgundy and dedicated to making unmanipulated, terroir-driven wines with no added sulphur. He learned the basics by working with Philippe Pacalet in Beaune, who continues to advise him. While Vauthier doesn’t see himself as a winegrower – he says he’ll never own any vineyards – he does have a talent for sniffing out parcels with great potential. And while he’s happy when the winegrowers he contracts with farm organically, he doesn’t insist they do: the quality of the grapes and their expression of terroir are what matter most.

He buys the grapes à pied, on the vine, harvests them with his own pickers and transports them to his winemaking facilities. Fermentation, with native yeasts, is in old wooden foudres. Some of the reds undergo semi-carbonic maceration to bring out their fruitiness.

Though his first two vintages included AOC wines, Vauthier has decided to buck the appellation system and now labels his wines as vins de France. And speaking of the labels, their whimsical line drawings of men and women in various states of undress so alarmed the SAQ that it refused to accept responsibility for the bottles in case scandalized buyers returned them. [Insert eye-roll emoticon here.]

Vin de France 2012, L’Adroit, Vini Viti Vinci ($30.95, private import, 12 bottles/case)
100% Pinot Noir from northern Burgundy. And look at that: 11.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Glou.
Exuberantly Pinot nose (ça pinote, as the French say): wild strawberry, cedar and dried leaves, some of which a distant neighbour is burning. Medium-bodied and fluid yet richly flavoured. The silky ripe fruit is carried on a stream of lively acidity, light but raspy tannins and coloured with spice overtones and shaded with a slatey ground base. Pure, clean, fresh, long and so very drinkable. Generated a real buzz around the table. A downside: Glou says the wine flatlines about four hours after opening. The upside? You now have the perfect excuse to guzzle. (Buy again? In multiples.)

(Flight: 4/9)

Written by carswell

September 21, 2014 at 15:20

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