House Pour: Your Guide to Beaujolais

As 2018 slowly comes to an end, the internet becomes flooded with predictions about “fresh” wine trends in the upcoming year. Usually, these forecasts are based on the revival of well-known or underappreciated regions and/or grapes. Such is Beaujolais, a mid-sized AOC in eastern France known for wines made of Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc (or simply, Gamay). Now, without cheating, write down three things you know about Beaujolais (you can leave a comment below or just write it on a piece of paper). Done? Ok.

I’m guessing you scribbled down – Beaujolais Nouveau, light, fruity. I don’t blame you, because that’s Beaujolais. Well, sort of. Like all underdogs, Gamay was severely underappreciated and overshadowed by Pinot Noir for decades. How dare it want to share the glorious slopes of Cote d’Or with the king?! As it goes, the prices of prestigious wines grew, so more and more people turned to the bistro for comfort. Here, Beaujolais got its spotlight, not just as a quaffable, inexpensive wine, but also as an exquisite expression of the countryside it was produced in. With the birth of France’s appellation system in 1936, things started to pick up and crus appeared. It was obvious that Beaujolais was heading towards significance, which set the scene for the godfather – Georges Dubœuf. In the 1970s, he commercialized the region with his new venture, Beaujolais Nouveau. Was this a good move? Well, yes and no. Yes, because more people started giving one or two fucks about Beaujolais, especially the Americans, who were at the time massively jumping on the French wine bandwagon. No, because Nouveau was heavily degrading the true quality of wines produced here (more on the whys below). Not wanting their beloved region to get lost in the sea of forgotten hopes and dreams, the pillars of natural winemaking assembled. Following mad scientist Jules Chavet, vignerons such as Marcel Lapierre, Jean-Paul Thévenet and Jean Foillard turned to organic farming, high-quality winemaking and most importantly, to sense of place or terroir. They refurbished the image of Beaujolais, setting crus (Morgon, Fleurie, Moulin-a-Vent – to name a few) as foundations of quality. Continue reading “House Pour: Your Guide to Beaujolais”

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Eight Inspirational Winemakers of 2018

As we go through this life, we meet people that inspire us to do greater things. When listening to them talk or observing their work, we’re being given a glimpse of ourselves from a distance – what we perhaps haven’t obtained yet or what we’re capable of grasping in the future. We are humbled by even the briefest chats with our motivators (I don’t use the word “idols” as I don’t find much meaning to it), because they provide us with a form of intense mindfulness. The joy of such encounters roots from having the balls to go into the darkness of ignorance and realize that wine is not about who has the rarest bottle in their cellar or who can utter the poshest descriptor. It’s not about egos or styles or trends. It’s about creativity, soul-searching, expression, questioning, intention, emotion. It’s escape, transformation, outreach and the endless search for perfection. Simply, it’s about art. Continue reading “Eight Inspirational Winemakers of 2018”

An Ode to Forgotten Grapes

Coming from a part of Europe which is filled with indigenous varieties such as Blatina, Tribidrag, Prokupac, Pecorino, Xinomavro, Vranac and many, many more, I understand and truly enjoy the biodiversity they create in their habitats. These grapes were cultivated for centuries, through various political and religious reigns, winemaking styles and climatic changes. Planting the same old grapes, doing the same old generic winemaking is all fine and dandy, but how much that will matter 20 years from now is highly questionable. Sure, the classics will always be there, nobody is doubting that, but with the wine world expanding by the hour and new grapes being (re)discovered, I find that classic will be considered solely a safe zone to fall back to when things get too crazy or weird. New frontiers will be challenged and getting the best out of unknown varietals will be inspirational for generations to come. You can thank artisanal producers for that. Continue reading “An Ode to Forgotten Grapes”

House Pour: Your Guide to Pet-Nat

Pet-nat. The first time I tried this fizzy beverage I was under the impression that somebody poured me a glass of faulty wine that was still fermenting in the bottle. I wasn’t wrong. Well, at least for the fermentation part. On the other hand, it did smell like wet socks and horrendously rancid fruit, but the somm told me “that’s how it’s supposed to be”. Needless to say, I didn’t come back to drinking this for a while. But everything in life deserves a second chance. Turns out that that was just some overly enthusiastic hippie producing undrinkable rubbish. Today’s the day where shit gets serious. Welcome to House Pour, a guide that breaks down (not so) famous grapes and gets to the bottom of things by drinking (fo’ real). Continue reading “House Pour: Your Guide to Pet-Nat”