Saturday, February 28, 2009

Didier Barral & Maxime Magnon

As you're beginning to see, on our January trip we had the pleasure of meeting many of our favorite winemakers, as well as discovering new ones. Here I'm pictured with Didier Barral on my right and Maxime Magnon on my left -- both true practitioners of natural winemaking.

Every year too little of Didier's wines are available. This year unfortunately there's even less than usual. Didier is a great champion of biodynamic farming and biodiversity. He firmly believes that his vineyards first and foremost must be diverse and healthy. His philosophy is that "all living things must be at home in my vineyards" -- and if
you go to his website you'll see the evidence. His wines are truly unique: stony schist, Mediterranean sun, no SO2. They have perfume, depth... Get them whenever you have the chance. We have a miniscule amount at the moment at Thirst of three of his cuvees.

Maxime is a winemaker I first came across when he was mentioned by Kermit Lynch in the profile Eric Asimov wrote about Kermit in the New York Times in November 2007. I immediately had to try his wines and, ever since, have had them in the store. He too farms organically and his wines are expressive and fruity -- truly Thirst wines. He started making his own wines about five years ago with no vines and no money, renting vineyards and an abandoned shed. His wines have a definite sense of a place -- Corbieres -- but infused with the spirit of cru Beaujolais (he apprenticed, he told me, with Yvon Metras).

Friday, February 27, 2009

One of My Favorite Young Winemakers

Christophe Buisson is one of my favorite young winemakers. I hadn't met him before this picture was taken. But from drinking his wines, learning his story, and selling his wines, I felt like I had. I was so excited finally to meet him! Most Burgundian winemakers inherit their vocation and their vineyards from their family. Christophe didn't, but from an early age KNEW he wanted to be a winemaker.

As you can sense, I'm very proud to represent his wines. His Sous le Chateau vineyard is on a slope that's super steep and faces east, which means morning sun covers the entire vineyard. The soil is chalky, which adds delicacy, pungency, character. He uses neither herbicides nor pesticides, and his approach is biodynamic. You must try his wines, which, because they come from a lesser known Burgundian appellation, St. Romain, are excellent values.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Meeting Marcel

I was particularly pleased to meet Marcel Lapierre and his son Matthieu. We've enjoyed Lapierre's Morgon for a long, long time, and have sold it from the moment we opened, along with all the other Gang of Four producers, and many other cru Beaujolais as well. These are wines that can be relished young but yield special rewards when aged for several years in a good cellar. Marcel is one of the leading figures in Beaujolais and a critical figure in the natural wine movement. It was refreshing to see his son Matthieu's enthusiasm to make wine and spread the gospel. One of the many items we picked up on this trip is their Vin de Pays des Gaules, which I think is going to be a big hit at Thirst this spring and summer.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Back in the saddle again

Since returning from our wine-buying trip in France I've been too busy to post. The trip was a super fantastic productive tasting marathon--and it felt exactly right. We learned a lot, tasted, tasted, tasted, tasted, tasted ... including many crazy older vintages, met some exceptional winemakers, and found some exciting new wines for the store. I will try to post more regularly and soon will put up pictures...