French wine punks and a lonely pioneer from Franken at the RAW wine fair

One of the educational highlights of the year (with regards to wine) is the RAW – one of two wine fairs in London fully dedicated to growers and producers of natural wine. As last year it was taking place in the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane so just around the corner where we used to live. 179 winemakers presented their good stuff on little tables – way too many to taste them all! So we decided to stick to French wines as we’ll be there for holiday. More than enough!

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And so many great wines that it would be rather boring to list all we tried. So let’s just look at a few pictures we took and add a few lines ok? Looking at an empty table with just this one nice bottle on it I couldn’t resist taking a little.

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Boy did it pay off! An almost perfect natural red. P’tite gâterie is the name of this wine and the name of the producers are Patrick Desplats & Sébastien Dervieux. I think they call their little winery (only 9ha) Les Griottes. Produced without any SO2 and foot- stamped this red wine was a good mouth full of smokeyness, Salami, subtle red fruits … I drew a heart next to it. Hard to believe he hasn’t found an importer yet.

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I came back later and tasted his white too which was very cloudy, sediments in the bottle but as rich, fresh and wonderful as I hoped it would be. Or to say it with the words of Bertrand Celce on wineterroirs.com:

Pat Desplats and Sébastien Dervieux are vignerons/winemakers who belong to the group of wildest rebelsof the natural-wine movement. […] Great rare wines, […] extraordinary drops of God.

Second French booth was particularly interesting with regards to our holiday plans as the winery is based in Béziers. The company is called La Sorga and Antony Tortul is the man behind.

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I tasted a couple of his wines and we’ll surely get a case in the trunk when we’re in the area in a few weeks. Antony has only 1 ha himself working with contractors (but overseeing the farming). The result is a relatively large 20 to 34 per year!) program of reds and whites but the quantities of each wine are rather small. Also currently not imported and very high on my wish list for stuff I’d like to sell in Germany.
What I was asking and looking for specifically was orange wines. We’re thinking about giving our Pinot Gris quite a bit of skin contact this autumn what could make it orange too (as the colour comes from the skins). But how many days should the skin contact last? Antony had a true orange one too (21 days skin contact) which was almost my favourite but annoyingly I don’t recall the name. I need to take better notes … Well, another reason to visit him in Béziers. Oh and he has fairly unusual labels and wine names. Have a look:

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Last but not least there was one single producer from Germany we of course had to say hi. Stefan Vetter is from Iphofen – that’s only 10 minutes away from Kitzingen where we’re going to live soon! Stefan is a great guy experimenting with natural Silvaner and Riesling grapes since 2010. The first natural Silvaner I’ve ever tasted, very exciting! So much richer and intense than the ones I know. Maybe a little too oaky but I’d be happy if my first white gets close to this.

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Really looking forward to visiting Stefan in summer and having a few glasses discussing natural wine making in Franken! He’s currently a relatively lonely pioneer, not only in Franken – as I said he was the only exhibitor from Germany and the last natural wine fair their was simply nobody.

We’re so aiming for coming back next year with out own wines!

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