Petnat or Petillant Naturel = naturally occurring bubbles that are a bi-product of fermentation finishing in the bottle. The bubbles tend to be lighter and may wear off, the grapes have been vinified with native yeasts and no sulfites added anytime, anywhere.
Poudre d’escampette = french saying that means “to clear out/run away as fast as you can”
Foutre = french slang for “semen”
Substitute Foutre for Poudre and you have a play on words that ends up meaning something like “Semen’s Escape” or “Jerk Off Wine”. As many French bio winemakers are doing these days, vulgar derivatives, slang, vaginas, political knocks and appellation fuck-yous are part of the culture of wine rebellion and revolution. This is mainly an attempt to call attention to the control the government has on regulating wine production and its various methods that prevent many smaller wine makers from producing and selling their wine (internationally or at all). It’s also calling attention to the need to reevaluate the use of chemicals and pesticides, and instead turning back towards natural and ancestral methods that are more in line with the earth’s cycles. It takes all elitism out of the equation too, which is too often the swamp most people get lost in with wine. Made by the people, for the people. Not only does each wine’s character reflect the character of the individual, it’s also an expression of the (here I go) terroir it comes from.
But seriously, try some…you can’t deny it.
Birthday Champagne. I was looking for something along the lines of Jacques Selosse (undeniably unique, intense, and particular) when a friend recommended La Closerie. Coincidentally, Jerome Prévost studied with Anselme Selosse before beginning his own project in his cellar in Avize, until he was able to work out of his own place in Gueux. His wines are pretty rare and don’t get passed around much.
This Champagne comes from 48 year old Pinot Meunier vines, fermented sur lie in barrel with natural yeasts, unfiltered and no dosage. Initially a bright character that quickly pulls further into a textured and savory space of incredible depth.
Very special heady bubbles, sharply aromatic and thirst quenching. So much personality it might as well be popping jokes and making Charlie Chaplin impressions. Damn good.
Legit. Delicate. Boyuant doesn’t even begin to cover it.
Pinot Noir (80%) and Chardonnay (20%)
The age gives this champagne such incredible structure and character, slightly “orangey” tasting with complex aromatics and impressive weight, only enhanced by it being 100% biodynamic. Held its own when paired with lamb ribs, mushrooms, watercress & lemon at Marta.
-35 year old vines (av.) grown in clay & limestone soil
-76 % Pinot Noir, 19 % Chardonnay, 5% Red wine
-A combination of direct press, saignée, and Bouzy Rouge
-Aged in bottle for 3 years before release
-Dosage: 10.8 g/l
Powerful, delicate, chalky minerality, effortless nuance of strawberry, one of the best sparkling rosés I’ve ever had. Photo taken at Marta, Roman pizzeria in Manhattan. Drank with smoked mackerel and scallop crudo.
-Soil: belemnite chalk (apparently filled with highly prized cuttlefish fossil deposits, said to add to the “terroir” of the champagne)
-Aged for 3 years in bottle, blend of 3 harvests
Tastes like a green apple injected with rocket fuel made of condensed, carbonated minerals, in a good way.
On a rainy night in Portland, OR I shuffled my way through the endless stretch of suburbia to land at Bar Vivant, a place rumored to have an incredible selection of champagne and sherry. It did not dissapoint. Using vaccum-sealed pumps and these individualized dome case things, my glass of Guy Charlemagne emerged from the dimly lit space like the enchanted rose in Beauty and the Beast. Originally an elementary school, this space had a weird, circular layout with everything spread closely far away. There were elements of Andalucia and a Paris cave: blood red fleur de lie textured wallpaper and high tops with candles, tapas, macarons and champagne. The wine list, as seems to be the case with most places that boast a thorough cellar, was extensive and disorganized, but impressive.
So I did what I do. Located myself in space and time, the weather, my mood, hunger level, the book I brought, taste cravings, etc. and discovered that blanc des blancs was (as always) an excellent idea.
See next post on Vin Jaune/de Paille tasting.