The â€œReturn to Terroirâ€ tasting came to Washington this week,
courtesy of the French Wine Society. It wasnâ€™t as big a tasting as in
New York the day before, but I only had to find parking along Reservoir
Rd., not shlep to the Big Apple and back in one day.
I also had
the opportunity to have an extended conversation with three leading
apostles of biodynamic viticulture: Nicolas Joly of CoulĂ©e de Serrant;
Christophe Erhart of Domaine Josmeyer; and Mathieu Deiss, the newest
generation of winemaking at Domaine Marcel Deiss.
about forty wineries at the tasting, mostly from France, but also from
Spain, Austria, Australia, Italy, Chile and of course the United States.
I wonâ€™t bore you with tasting notes. One does not take notes at a
tasting like this â€“ one shmoozes, one kisses up and hopes to be
kissed, one tries to get an impression of wines to be explored later,
all the while keeping a vigilant eye out for a familiar face or an
uncrowded spit bucket.
But I can give some impressions:
Biodynamics is a fascinating and somewhat controversial farming
philosophy â€“ some call it a religion â€“ and the wines are not by
definition good. Many of them are, but there is still the possibility of
too much alcohol or heavy-handed oak. The idea of biodynamics is to
express a particular terroir, and some of these terroirs do not match
our preconceptions of what wine should taste like â€“ they are
challenging wines; often delicious, sometimes not, never boring.
biodynamics, I feel a bit like Fox Mulder on The X-Files: I want to
believe. It makes sense that taking care of the earth will produce
better wines. To be honest, though, Iâ€™m not at all certain that I
could pick an organic or biodynamic wine from a blind tasting lineup.
I need to explore these more.
More on this tasting and my conversations with the winemakers to come â€¦