Thursday, February 11, 2010

Good nature: gamay

After several days in the Loire Valley tasting natural wines, I find myself back in Paris. Natural wines hold pride of place hereabouts, as well; so it was that I stopped in to a local store — Naturalia, an organic food store, for those curious — and picked up a bottle of 2008 Clos Roche Blanche Cuvée Gamay.

What can I say about this wine but that it gives vins nature a good name? It burnishes those tarnished images of sanctimonious flops: VA-riddled, Brettanomyces-laced catastrophes poured forth by certain natural winemakers with all of the earnestness of Moonies, proclaiming that inadvertent secondary fermentation is just the voice of the grapes coming out. Damn it: teach those grapes to sing properly.

Which is what they do, at Clos Roche Blanche. This wine is a joy. It is clean and balanced; the fruit is unabashed in its forthcoming freshness; the texture is silken; the whole has masterful transparency of its grape and earth. It avoids funkiness as a disgracedly tattered flag. This is a wine, like others of the domaine I have had the luck to taste and drink, that is Platonically simple, and ridiculously good.

It's a shame the Touraine appellation is almost a mar for producers who are doing such astounding work. As I've written here before, I would rather drink their Sauvignon Blanc than many, many a Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé, supposedly of nobler extraction.


elodie said...

Thank u another beautiful post !

The Wine Mule said...

Three cheers for Catherine Roussel and Didier Barrouillet, who have indeed taught the grapes to sing in harmony. They also make a marvelous rosé from gamay, pale, limpid, and and filled with berry perfume. (For once this is something we can actually get in the U.S., thanks to Uncle Joe.)

Joe Manekin said...

Hear, hear!