Helen’s blog

Thoughts and tastings from Helen Savage, wine writer.

Organic musings (2)

Well, well, the Egyptian wine was really rather good – at least some of it. ‘Jardin du Nil’, grown on ancient terraces of sandy soil is a mixed bag if ever there was one: a surprisingly fresh, citrus white (Vermentino/Chardonnay) – picked on the 15 July (!) and a 2008 red that is better forgotten – though not the 09: they are learning, possibly because Denis Dubordieu’s team in giving advice. Tolerated rather than accepted by the locals, they provide a steady stream of easy drinking wine to tourists. Their rosé is terrific. ‘Take a little wine for the sake of your tummy’, as St Paul said. Look out for it on your next package tour.

Many wines here prove beyond doubt that organic is light years from the still popular perception of ‘good for you but horrible’, even if some producers are happy to be barbed about the things they don’t do: ‘Natural Wine? Half way between horrible and incomprehensible!’ For example.

Thierry Daulhiac at Chateau le Payral in Bergerac has crafted some beauties including ‘natural’ unsulphited reds, but his more conventional Sauvignon Gris/Sauvignon Blanc ‘Petite Fugue’ hit my spot big time : an explosion of fresh green plum flavours with a hint of honey and quince. Monty’s Tuscan Red 2009 is very good too, a more hands-off effort than the stuff he made in Roussillon (i.e. he seems to have turned consultant rather than winemaker – the rewards of success). Adnams will have it, and the guy who actually made it told me it ought not be too expensive.

Best of all is Montirius. Eric and Christine Saurel are not only very nice people, they make superlative wine – certainly as good as anyone in Vacqueras and Gigondas. Their reds are fabulous, but I was knocked almost sideways (and I’d been listening to speeches rather than tasting) by their Vacqueras Blanc, a blend of Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and around 50% Bourboulenc. I tasted five vintages from 06 to 10 and was struck how delicious the young wine is and then how it re-emerged like the greatest of white Chateauneuf du Pape to show an unexpected richness and depth. I could have sworn that the 06 contained Viognier. I’ll publish full notes very soon.

Millesime Bio grows on you. The friendliest of big fairs, with small tables – all the same – and lots of happy encounters. I now know why so many folk keep coming back. Thierry Daulhiac put his finger on it. To paraphrase: ‘it’s basically a lot of fun.’

Comments are closed.