Andreas sharing a laugh with visitors in the towering Uhlen vineyard. Andreas von Canal is the grandson of the last Freiherr von Heddesdorff. His family has grown Riesling in Winningen since 1454, on steep, terraced vineyards near the confluence of the Mosel and the Rhine, just upriver from Koblenz. The estate includes two hectares of the Winninger Uhlen, one of the steepest vineyards in Germany, and small parcels in the Brückstück, Röttgen, and Domgarten (the Archbishop’s Garden). His four hectares of slate vineyards, all planted with the Riesling grape, located at the confluence of the Mosel and the Rhein always give well-extracted, spicy and bright wines.
I've got to hand it to my brother, Greg. He's very brave allowing his daughter Kate to film him as he drives a tractor for the first time. Jochen Ratzenberger Sr. was plowing a new vineyard site in Bacharach, and invited Greg to take the tractor home. Fortunately all have a good sense of humor…
Vincent Ricard in his tasting room We had forgotten how much young Vincent Ricard had irritated the local growers ten years earlier when he withdrew from the cooperative to bottle his own wine. Why the fuss? With Vincent’s startling, terrifically concentrated, mineral wines withheld for estate bottling in his own new winery, the local cooperative's blend became little more than simple, anemic piquette. So the jealous locals tried everything they could to shut him down. They even petitioned the I.N.A.O. to deny him the status of Appellation Controlée. Their whine? Vincent Ricard’s wines are “atypical of the region.” Right. They’re too good. Vincent Ricard now farms seventeen hectares planted mostly to Sauvignon Blanc, with parcels of Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and Gamay. The farming is organic, incorporating practices taken from the discipline of biodynamics, which Vincent encountered during his stages with Didier Dagueneau in Pouilly-sur-Loire, and François Chidaine in Montlouis.
Marie-Odile and Jean-Claude Janin Jean-Claude Janin worked for sixteen years as technical director and winemaker at the Cave de Viré, responsible for the production of thousands of hectoliters of Viré-Clessé, Mâcon-Villages, and Bourgogne Blanc. In 2006 he quit the cooperative, and working mostly alone over the course of the following year, built a tiny, immaculate winery, where he and his wife Marie-Odile produce brilliant, mineral Chardonnays from grapes they grow on the seven-hectare estate she inherited from her father. Most of the wine is sold en vrac to négociants, but a tiny quantity from the oldest vines is estate-bottled and sold directly, mostly to private customers. Here's Terry Moore leading a small tasting of the domaine’s wines:
Xavier Vignon Minerality is a “hot topic” in wine these days, but not many people involved in the discussion are as well grounded in the “facts,” as Xavier Vignon - one of the southern Rhône's most important oenologists. As a consultant to over three hundred producers in and around Châteauneuf-du-Pape, he's had a hand in hundreds of “90+ point-wines" from the area. Xavier's work as a physical chemist, geologist, agronomist, and oenologist, has given him an expert view on what drives “minerality” in wine, and how it works. His lab runs millions of samples on wine every year, measuring mineral content down to parts per million, where, as he says, “it's where the magic is.” This is over eight minutes, but well worth it, if you'd like to understand what “minerality” is all about.
Adam Tolmach The key to Ojai is that Adam Tolmach knows every row in every consequential vineyard in Santa Barbara County, and that he purchases his grapes by the acre, rather than by the ton. In some vintages, that can cost more than twice as much. But it gives him direct control of the vineyard work, and by extension, of the quality of the grapes he buys. In the winery, Adam prefers to intervene as little as possible, allowing each vineyard to express its unique character with detail and clarity. All of which has conferred a sort of cult status on The Ojai Vineyard (when it’s not flying under the radar because of the winery’s strictly limited distribution, or because of Adam’s modest, self-effacing personality).
Patrick and Béatrice Brunet The original family estate consisted of two hectares of weathered schist in “Javernières” on the Côte du Py, an undisputed Grand Cru (if the vineyards of Beaujolais had ever been classified). In 1970, Patrick’s father, Robert Brunet, purchased four more hectares of sandy granite, in a climat appropriately named “Champagne,” located in the heart of Fleurie. “Champagne” had been planted in 1930, and along with the tiny parcel of “Javernières” made Robert Brunet the proprietor of two of the finest vineyards in all of Beaujolais. Regrettably, Robert died suddenly when Patrick was only eighteen, so the choice Patrick faced was stark: let his mother rent out the vineyards so he could stay in school, or take over the estate at the age of eighteen. Naturally, he chose the latter, and never looked back.
Jean-François and Sylvain Brondel in the winery Jean-François, Sylvain, and Martine Brondel represent the third and fourth generations of their family to produce fine Beaujolais at Domaine des Crêtes. There are ten hectares of Gamay Noir, grown on a mix of yellow limestone, clay, and a little blue granite; and one hectare of Chardonnay for the Beaujolais Blanc and Crémant de Bourgogne. The “Cuvée des Varennes,” which is always one of the top wines of the Beaujolais appellation, comes from a parcel of seventy year-old organically farmed vines. In 1998, Domaine des Crêtes was a founding member of “Terra Vitis,” now an association of growers throughout France who practice sustainable viticulture. The farming is natural, with traceability checks carried out by an independent organization operating under the "Terra Vitis" guidelines which were established to protect groundwater and preserve the natural condition of the soils. It is a variation of "bio-dynamie" principals, and is en
Pascal Bozzi in his cellar There are five hectares of vines (along with seventy-five hectares of cereals, sunflowers, and pasturage) at this ancient working farm in Sainte Christie, in the heart of the Armagnac region. Pascal Bozzi renovated the original eighteenth-century cellar ten years ago, and with the help of his enologist friend Stéphane Beuret, grows about 2000 cases of the most elegant red wine in all of the Côtes de Gascogne. Stéphane Beuret is best known for his work at the University of Bordeaux, where he won the Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux Grand Prix in 1998. Today, his meticulous cellar work at Château Larroque (which includes aging the wine for twelve months in neutral barrels he buys from his clients in Bordeaux), along with Pascal’s impeccable organic farming (his Aubrac beef cattle enrich the compost), results in a unique wine that puts many more expensive Bordeaux to shame.