The summer holidays were not really wine holidays. My wife preferred to bake in the sun, instead of sipping wine in a cool wine cellar. I don’t understand why. My 6 year old son preferred to play in the swimming pool. If it had been filled with wine, I might have joined him. But it wasn’t.
Still, I managed to visit one winery in the region where we were in France recently. We were close to Bugey. That’s a region to the right of Beaujolais and just under the Jura. I don’t know it very well, and its wines are pretty hard to find. They make white, rosé, red and sparkling wine. The reds can be made of gamay, mondeuse and pinot noir. The whites of chardonnay, but also the local grapes altesse (also know as roussette) and jacquère. Certain subzones have specific rules, such as Manicle where the reds can only be made of pinot noir and the whites of chardonnay.
My wife must have felt sorry when she saw me whispering “My Precious” to an empty wine bottle, so she told me it was OK if I wanted to visit a winery or so… I grasped that opportunity with both hands and set off to the winery of Thierry Tissot and his wife Céline. They make whites, rosé, reds and a sparkling wine. I liked the whites of roussette, but it was the sparkling wine and the two reds of gamay and mondeuse that really caught my attention.
The Brut is made of altesse and chardonnay and spent a good three years sur lattes. That is pretty much if you know that the minimum for crémants and other sparklers outside Champagne is 9 months. The long time sur lattes was immediately noticeable in the nose with very fine aromas of white fruit and brioche. In the mouth the wine was very nervous with a strong but fine sparkle. A good appetizer!
Since I’m back home I’ve had the opportunity to re-taste the two reds. More than once. Well, what can I say… With a Gamay 2015 that’s sold at 5,80€, you really don’t hesitate to take a bottle out of the box. And the great thing is that this gamay is such a pleasure to drink. It’s light, no doubt about it, but it’s also intriguingly floral in the nose. This wine is a rope skipper on one leg. Fresh, fruity, light. All you need on a summer terrace!
The Mondeuse 2013 is something else, though. When I was tasting it over there, the wine evolved from very peppery to fruity, displaying nice red fruit. Nothing heavy in it. When I opened it at home, I couldn’t believe my mouth. Right after opening, the wine was incredibly sour, but most of all, its tannins were knocking out my teeth one by one and jerking at my taste buds. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced that, but it’s not fun! Think of Cahors. Times two. I started wondering if this was the same wine I tasted over there?
Luckily (here’s the happy ending), the wine underwent a transformation that could only be matched by transgenders. From totally appalling, the wine went to “hey, what’s this”. Beautiful red fruit, a bit of minerality and the black pepper that I had also noticed over there. Still no crowd pleaser, for sure, but an elegant, intriguing wine combining roundness in the mouth with a backbone to keep it interesting. Not an easy wine, but rewarding after all. I still have a few bottles of this one. I will hide them somewhere far, far away. Maybe I can open one with my son, once he realises that a swimming pool should be filled with wine, and not water.