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).