Tag Archives: Pheasant’s Tears

Natural wine fair back home

Sunday May 20 is a great day for wine lovers who are in London. Two wine fairs focused on “natural wine” at the same time; RAW and The Real Wine fair. Unfortunately, I am not among the lucky ones.

So, what to do? No reason to be depressed for that. Make something positive about having to stay at home. I have an idea. Why not organise a little wine fair on my own? Select some of my favourite organic or biodynamic producers. Perhaps season with some new acquaintances.

Of course, Alsace must be represented. Domaine Marcel Deiss will be my Alsatian choice. From Burgundy Domaine de la Vougeraie.  And from Beaujolais my new darling Jean-Paul Brun.

The charming Johan Reyneke from Stellenbosch in South Africa would be the first pick from the New World. The Reyneke biodynamic wines are so beautiful. And the ones from New Zealand’s Millton Vineyards & Winery as well. They will be the next entry.
From Georgia I will invite Pheasant’s Tears for their wonderful qvevri-wines.

I have not yet met the wines from Foradori in Italy, so that will be the first of the new acquaintances. Elisabetta Foradori, who uses clay amphoras in her winemaking. The Eyrie Vineyards from Oregon, USA, will be the second. Would be interesting to taste their Pinot Noir together with the ones from Domaine de la Vougeraie.

That was the wines. But a good fair also needs some seminars. We are many who always want to learn something new.

I like Alice Feiring and Jamie Goode. They will however both be in London to speak. Of course, there is a solution to this little problem too. Their books are here. I can choose some good parts to be read aloud. That will be a good enough seminar substitute.

The first one: Grape ripeness and alcohol. A very interesting topic, which Goode and Sam Harrop knowledgeable discuss in “Authentic Wine; toward natural and sustainable winemaking”. Too ripe grapes imply a loss of authenticity and grape characteristic and terroir are lost.

The second one I choose from Feirings “The Battle for wine and love”. As I am big fan of the Syrah from northern Rhône, a piece from that chapter will be an entertaining finish on the seminar part.

Now I am looking forward to Sunday. Just have to call my wine loving friends to join me.

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The orange encounter

“What is this?” I asked, totally confused. It was a white wine. The colour was like amber, but most surprising, there were loads of tannins. I had never tasted anything like it before.

Jennifer had dropped by. Accompanied by this mysterious bottle. But she refused to show it to me.  She insisted, “you must make a guess.”

It was something totally new. And not just something interesting. I liked the wine. The nice amber colour, almost a hint of salmon pink, not quite clear. The nose, a tone of medicine and so much smoke. It could have been a tough single-malt. The dry, concentrated palate. Medium-bodied, good acidity, and all those tannins together with a touch of oxidisation, just as from a forgotten, half-eaten apple or a sherry. Good length with sweet smokiness.

There was no guess and Jennifer dropped the answer. “I thought you’d like to try and not just read about it. You talk about history. This wine is history.” 

It was from Georgia. Made traditionally in qvevri. Qvevri, a large amphora, 2000-4000 litres, made of clay and lined with beeswax. Then buried in the soil, giving a natural temperature control. A method known for 8000 years.

The grape was Mtsvane, organically grown and then fermented with natural yeast. The grape skins and some fine stems included in the fermentation and then retained in the qvevri during the storage period of some months. No filtration.

So this was the explanation to the tannins. And to the colour. Amber I say, but some see it as orange. Hence the term orange wines. 

My first orange encounter was the Pheasant’s Tears Mtsvane 2009. I hope for many more encounters along this path. A new dimension to be explored.