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Honouring our planet

“This we know: the earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.”

I sincerely hope that those nations meeting in Scotland currently are cognisant of the historic and wise words of Chief Seattle of the Suquamish people.

As I mentioned two weeks ago, there are winery owners that do not go through all the bureaucracy and paperwork to be officially registered as organic, but in many cases, they obey, or even improve on the rules.

I gave Shafer in Napa Valley as an example, and here is another one, my old friend Pascal Jolivet who I have spent time with in North America and France and even flown with him to our island.

He says: “I started winemaking doing the opposite of what I was supposed to do, using no sulphur or a very low level before fermentation and no additional cultured yeast to activate the fermentation. We use mechanical intervention with cold temperatures instead of chemical intervention to keep the juices very natural.

“After having this natural philosophy of winemaking during more than 20 years, it was logical to think about organic viticulture. We did experiment with the first sancerre wine, Sauvage, in 2006 and it was a revelation and we decided to go further with no filtration. In 2016, we decided to move to 100 per cent organic vineyard asking the Dauny family, pioneers of organic viticulture in Sancerre 50 years ago, to take care of our 50 hectares in sancerre and pouilly-fumé.“

Pascal continued: “Crafting a wine is a great outlet to become creative, a kind of art that asks us to listen to Mother Nature to better perceive and understand her messages. Magic happens while grapes are transformed into juice, then into wine and gives back to the territory its nobility.”

He employs biodynamic principles and eschews the use of any pumps to move the juice or wine as he believes that this action may cause damage. Everything flows by gravity, and I should point out the importance of only using naturally occurring yeasts. There are many thousands of strains and each one gives character and a sense of place to a wine. Some are even unique to a particular vineyard – store-bought yeasts lack this.

Decanter gives the 2020 Jolivet Sancerre 92/100 and writes: “The 2020 vintage is the best for a decade, according to Pascal Jolivet – early picked, with a good generosity and ripeness of fruit. In this vintage, Jolivet decided to make less single-vineyard wine in order to further improve the quality of the sancerre blanc. The blend is made from vines grown on limestone, clay and flint, with parcels vinified separately before blending. Textured, almost chalky. Fresh and mineral, this is a gastronomic interpretation of sauvignon blanc that would be delicious with shellfish, sushi or white fish.” $36 (Stock #7801).

There may be some 2019 in our shops, and this is also lovely. If you want to experience what I would simply call a “mind-blowing sauvignon blanc” then pick up a bottle of 2018 Le Roc Jolivet Sancerre. This is from a five-acre section of a single vineyard that Pascal owns. $49 (Stock #7806).

Then there are wineries like Domaine Tempier in Bandol that farm organically but say nothing on their label. If you check out their website they tell you that, “to overcome questions the certification process has been launched”. This takes a few years, but please trust me that their wines are pure and natural, even if it does not say so on their bottles – yet.

Critic Robert Parker has called Domaine Tempier Rosé “the greatest rosé in the world”. The 2020 vintage is crystal clear with a salmon pink colour. The grapes used come from selected parcels where the vines are on average 20 years old. The yields are low, which explains the intense concentration and distinct expression of each varietal in this wine. The presence of mourvedre gives this wine its strong character, balance and complexity. Intense fruit and floral nose make this an attractive rosé. The palate is rounded and full with fruity aromas of peach and pomegranate, followed by delicate spice notes and a pleasant freshness created by acidic balance. A blend of mourvedre, grenache and cinsault. $36.55 (Stock #7076).

Still want to see proof on the label? Then try any of the glorious organic/biodynamic wines from the highest hill in Tuscany. I refer to the almost 1,000 acres of forest, olive groves and vineyards that surround the ancient Roman hamlet known as Castello di Volpaia. A most charming place to visit for a meal, tasting or even for a few days stay.

Here are two fine examples of chianti. Our 2019 Volpaia Chianti Classico garnered this from The Global Wine Journal: “Sweet, floral, liqueur-like cherry and plum fruit on the nose: really inviting. Such elegance on the palate with pure red cherry and berry fruits. It’s almost pinot noir-like with beautiful purity and elegance to the fruit. Such a pretty expression of sangiovese.” $29.45 (Stock #8965).

Our 2018 Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico Riserva gets 93/100 from Antonio Galloni, who writes: “The 2018 Chianti Classico Riserva is fabulous. There are more 'important' wines in the range, but the riserva delivers superb quality for the money. Succulent dark cherry, plum, mocha, spice and cloves show a darker side of sangiovese that is quite attractive. Ample and virile in feel, the 2018 has the stuffing to develop well for many years to come.” $39.90 (Stock #8966).

The topics that I could address – from vegan friendly to tractors that smell like French fries as they burn used cooking oils – are numerous, but for now I must touch on other subjects for the next few weeks as we approach winter and the “holiday season”.

Before you all swear off dried fruit, I should mention that somehow my text sent to this newspaper last week managed to change parts per million of sulphite in dried fruit from 1,000 to 11,000. The extra “1” should not be there.

This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. Contact Michael Robinson at mrobinson@bll.bm. Burrows Lightbourn have stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554) and Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355). Visit www.wineonline.bm

Mowing the grass at Domaine Tempier (Photograph supplied)

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Published November 05, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated November 04, 2021 at 4:18 pm)

Honouring our planet

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