Friday, 12 January 2018

Not the Salon des Vins des Vignerons Independants, Paris, 2017.....

Checking the exhibitors of the Salon des Vins des Vignerons Independants in advance for once we realised that we weren't going to have the opportunity of buying any Abouriou. This variety has been haunting us ever since we came across it at Wein Plus in March 2017.

We had also bought a bottle at a market in a town in Provence some time back but hadn't realised what a wonderful grape this is until much later. The producer of that bottle was Gaec du Haut Planty near Nantes and our contact Alain Couillaud, co-owner of the domaine was kind enough to leave a bottle with Jeanne Galinie, formerly of Versant Vins at the Marche aux enfants rouges in Paris for us to collect when we were there to visit the Salon.

Alain made us promise to take this bottle as well; a natural de-classified Muscadet called Gwin Evan which Alain told us is Breton for white wine.

Yes, we've been here before too. L'Indigene is an extreme white wine made from some varieties guaranteed to frighten horses never mind winelovers: Petit Meslier, Menu Pineau, Bacco (sic) and Gaillard. We had bought this from Jeanne Galinie who for a few good years ran a natural little wine bar come restaurant come wine shop in the Marche aux Enfants Rouge in Paris where we received our education in natural wine. She is moving to Bretagne to open a restaurant there. Should vaut le voyage.

Jeanne would only allow us to have this wine on the condition we didn't open it for 6 months. We obeyed and Hey Presto! Jeanne couldn't sell us any more of this extraordinary wine so she gave us 2 bottles from her collection.

Back in London we saw L'Indigene on the shelves of a new natural wine shop in London, One A wines, 1a Kempsford Road, SW11. Good news travels fast.

This is the Abouriou we had encountered at Wein Plus. It is from the Marmande this time which is more usual than Nantes for this grape. We ordered this over the internet and had it delivered to a kind friend in Paris also for collection on our visit. We realized that it would not have been available from the Salon since it is made by a co-operative.

We thought we were on a roll with these wines managing to be in the right place at the right time so our happiness was complete by a serendipidous discovery of a Tai Rosso at Le Repere de Bacchus, Rue de Bretagne.

Like Abouriou, Tai Rosso (formerly Tocai Rosso) is something Slotovino tends to bang on about but we hadn't heard from young Tai for a long time despite looking for it in vain whenever we were in Venice. Tai/Tocai Rosso is from the Colli Berici near Vicenza but doesn't roam even to Venezia so to find it here in a French chain was 'surreal' as the common parlance has it.

We used to peddle the idea that Tai was a separate variety but no one believes that now. The most interesting thing you could say about it is that it is a Grenache that has been so long in its adopted terroir that it has developed a character of its own.

We have claimed previously that Grenache in Italy always goes by another name* but a close reading of D'Agata's 'Native Wine Grapes of Italy' (highly recommended) informs us that some wines are labeled Granaccia or Guarnaccia in Ligura.

* Alicante, Cannonau, Cornetta, Gamay Perugino, Vernaccia di Cannara, Vernaccia Nera.

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