Lessons from a Biodynamic Winemaker in France

I take a notes like a squirrel on the bird feeder – fast and and full, getting it all down before someone changes the subject. You’ll know me by my notebooks. More often than not, however, the stuff that really sticks with me doesn’t require a scribble. My memory serves in certain moments where everything just makes sense, when it links up with something in my genetic code and delivers clarity.  This happened last year when I met the SAUREL family at their fifth-generation domaine, Montirius in Sarrians, which is located near Gigondas in Provence, France. The name Montirius contains part of the surname of each of Christine and Eric Saurel’s children: MON (Manon) – TI (Justine) – RIUS (Marius).
Provence Wine, Rhone Wine, Biodynamic Wine
Erik SAUREL and his daughter Manon share the story of making biodynamic wine in Provence. Credit: Jill Barth
The Montirius Way
The SAUREL family runs a completely biodynamic shop. “Our ...
Mount Ventoux, Biodynamic Vineyards, Sarrians, Provence Wine
What is biodynamic? Biodynamic winemaking.
Montirius Biodynamic Vineyard, Vegan Wines, Organic Wines
Organic wine, biodynamic wine, France
Biodynamic domaine in Provence.
Barrel samples, wine Gigondas, Vacqueras

Wine of the Day, No. 282

Doubtless white Burgundies of more profound depth and dimension are produced in the great appellations of Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet in the Côte de Beaune, but you would be hard-pressed to find one that offers a more beautiful expression of the chardonnay grape than the Domaine Marc Roy “Les Champs Perdrix” Marsannay 2015. The interesting point here is that Marsannay is the northernmost of Burgundy’s appellations, lying only 6 to 8 kilometers southwest of the city of Dijon. This is primarily red wine — that is to say, pinot noir — territory, as is true of the Côte de Nuits down past the city of Beaune. Chardonnay is a distinct minority in Marsannay — interestingly, pinot blanc is allowed — which is also the only appellation in Burgundy with its own designation for rosé. Domaine Marc Roy owns only four hectares of vines, just under 10 acres, which is minuscule ...

Wine of the Day, No. 280

Of the 55,000 acres planted to the gamay grape in Beaujolais, 15,000 — a hair over 27 percent — are dedicated to the Beaujolais-Villages appellation. The idea is that the wines at the peak of the Beaujolais pyramid, the Cru wines louis-jadot-beaujolais-villages-combe-aux-jacques-beaujolais-france-10731842derived from 10 villages allowed to attach their names to the label, are the most exclusive and the smallest production. The vast areas devoted to the regular Beaujolais designation, the pyramid’s broad base, are the most common. Our wine of the day is the proprietary Louis Jadot “Combe aux Jacques” Beaujolais-Villages 2015. A portion of the grapes derive from a vineyard in Régnié, one of the 10 Cru villages; another portion is purchased wine; and the third portion is from purchased grapes, all in the spirit of making a balanced, dependable, enjoyable wine. The color is dark ruby shading to a lighter magenta rim; the bouquet delivers the signature ...

Périgord Wines: Bergerac and Duras

Bergerac Vineyards in Périgord Dordogne France
A view of the vineyards in Razac-de-Saussignac in the Bergerac wine district. Credit: Jill Barth
It was the roses – and the view – that made us pull the car over. Though everyone wanted to make good time, we were compelled to stop, even as other cars whizzed past while we weaseled into a spot across the street from the local cave. Cameras are made with the panorama setting for this purpose: stopping the car in Southwest France’s Périgord. We’d entered the village of Duras, naively thinking we’d quite literally stop and smell the roses, pop a few images and get back on the road to our hotel. We’d woken in Ventenac-en-Minervois and we would hit midnight in the city of Bordeaux. In between: Périgord. This is actually an apt realization of what this part of the country means to Americans – not the Languedoc and not Bordeaux. Yes, ...
The village of Duras in Sud-Ouest France
Vignerons Indépendants du Lot-et-Garonne, Périgord Wine, Dordogne Wine
Wine of Sud-Ouest France
Duras, Périgord Château
Sud-Ouest French vineyards
Organic Biodynamic Vegan French Wine
French country luxury hotel.
Sud-Ouest Wines, French Market, Périgord