20 March, 2022

In the late evening Thomas and me go to the cellar and taste wine from the barrels that hold the 2021 vintage. We don’t taste all of them – seven will do this time. We start with #8, a 225l barrel containing ›my‹ wine, the wine which Feli, Julie, Roland, Sylvain, Thomas and me picked and hand-pressed on 19 September of last year. Thomas uses the pipette to extract wine and pour it into our glasses. The wine seems slightly troubled, we can make out particulate matter in the fluid. Does this mean it’s still fermenting? The nose seems slightly lactic (yoghurt-y), a pineapple is present, too. We can taste a lemon. The acidity is straightforward, not exactly aggressive but quite full-on. The aftertaste is long (and pleasant). Thomas takes another hit using the pipette and fills our glasses. This time the nose is slightly green, and we make out soft bubbles in the fluid. I can’t taste any sugar, unlike in early February when I last tasted it, but that doesn’t mean anything – it could mean that the balance is simply not right (yet), i.e. the acidity outweighing the sugar (taste). All in all: I’m happy, this will be a good wine.

We continue tasting barrels #6, #5, #7, #9, #12 and #15. #15 is a sweet wine from the year 2020. I’ve found it to be utterly gorgeous ever since I first tasted it (in September 2021, I think). It’s the essence of Chenin, if you ask me. It’s layered, tropical, round but then also acidic and convivial. It makes you want to have another glass which, when it comes to sweet wines, is quite something! We talk about yesterday’s visit to Domaine Huet and draw comparisons. Is it megalomaniac to compare it to the sweet »Clos du Bourg« from 2009 which I mentioned in the blog entry of yesterday? Mind you, the ›terroir‹ is exactly the same… Just for fun we mix it, simply in our glasses, with one of very acidic wines from the previous barrels we tasted. The result is »genial», my note says in German.

On Wednesday a sample of ›my‹ wine and a sample of another barrel will be picked up by a laboratory so we can find out whether the malolactic fermentation has taken place yet or not. I shall explain that specific kind of fermentation in another post.

Thomas asks me to take a 2021 Pet Nat with me (»Les Turbulents«) whilst leaving the cellar – a Pet Nat is a naturally sparkling wine, a pétillant naturel, a wine which is bottled prematurely and keeps on fermenting in the bottle. He opens it and the wine sprays all over the place – a sign showing that the second fermentation is actually taking place, inside the bottle! I get to taste it – superb, like its 2019 sibling. Our day ends with us tasting the Loire wines I bought yesterday – an Orbois Blanc, a Chenin, a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Pineau d’Aunis.

Thomas, using the pipette to extract wine from ›my‹ barrel

Thomas, using the pipette to extract wine from ›my‹ barrel

Barrels and notebooks

Barrels and notebooks

When extracting wine from a barrel (with a pipette) you always leave a few drops of wine on the barrel. Hence you clean it, afterwards. With hot water and a sponge

When extracting wine from a barrel (with a pipette) you always leave a few drops of wine on the barrel. Hence you clean it, afterwards. With hot water and a sponge

The air is warming up and so is the cellar: condensed water on Thomas's cellar's ceiling

The air is warming up and so is the cellar: condensed water on Thomas's cellar's ceiling

The Pet Nat – not degorged yet, that's why it's looking so murky

The Pet Nat – not degorged yet, that's why it's looking so murky

An antigoutte, as the French call it, something to put in the bottle whilst pouring wine. The brand making this is called »DropStop«

An antigoutte, as the French call it, something to put in the bottle whilst pouring wine. The brand making this is called »DropStop«