An evening at Ayse in Savoie

Belluard, Ayze, Savoie

Ayze? Ayse? Easy – it’s either!

We’d flown into Geneva from London and driven straight to one of the special regions of Savoie - Ayse - to meet up with Sophie Barrett of Chambers Street Wines, New York.

Sophie was completing a hectic week visiting Champagne and the Jura before ending in Savoie, The first visit was at Domaine Belluard, whose 10 hectares of vines nestle on steep slopes at 450 metres above sea level, in the heart of the valley of the Arve, between Geneva and Chamonix Mont-Blanc.  

Belluard, Ayze, Savoie

Seems like the right address for the main producer of Gringet in Ayse.

Since 1988 Dominique Belluard has made wine at his family’s estate, certified biodynamic in 2001. 95% of his vines are the very rare variety, Gringet. There are only 20 hectares of Gringet in the world, all grown in Ayse, of which half are lovingly cared for by Dominique. The other 5% are Altesse and Mondeuse.

Wink wrote an excellent article about Domaine Belluard and a previous visit we made to Ayse two years ago.

We visited his iconic vineyard, Le Feu, rising steeply above the village and requiring terrific manual labour – but whose vines are well worth the effort!

Concrete Egg, Belluard, Ayze, Savoie

Sophie listening to Dominique – note the biodynamic half moon in the door to the cellar!

We tasted egg-samples (sorry!) in the concrete egg cellar, with occasional gurgling of the still-fermenting wine.

And we had our own Easter egg hunt… Easter eggs, Belluard, Ayze, Savoie After a thorough tasting with Dominique we enjoyed a typical Savoie meal at the charming local restaurant, Chez Anais, Auberge d’Ayze.

Dinner, Chez Anais, Auberge d'Ayze, Dominique Belluard, Ayze, Savoie

Chez Anais, Auberge d’Ayze

Tartiflette, Chez Anais, Auberge d'Ayze, Belluard, Ayze

The classic Savoyard dish – tartiflette!

It was back to Chinaillon as the following day we will be visiting more regions of Savoie, our Savoyard appetite having been whetted in Ayse.

Real Wine Fair part two

Another lovely sunny day and another group of keen visitors eager to learn more and discover ‘real’ wines!

Here are some more photos of The Real Wine Fair at Tobacco Dock, East London, following my first day photos at the show.

 Real Wine Fair

 Real Wine Fair

Fabio Bartolomei, Vinos Ambiz provided a very colourful start to the day

Exhibitors

Real Wine Fair

Marie-Thérèse Barthelmé, Albert Mann, Alsace

Real Wine Fair

Villalobos, Colchagua, Chile

Real Wine Fair

Vasco Croft, Afros, Vinho Verde

Real Wine Fair

Roy Cook, Sedlescombe, East Sussex

Real Wine Fair

Sandi Škerk, Carso, Friuli with his importer Federico Bruschetta, Passione Vino

Real Wine Fair

Nino Barraco, Vignamare, Sicily

A few of the eager tasters

Real Wine Fair

Liz Gabay MW

Real Wine Fair

Wine drinker’s sling – a useful aid to tasting…

Real Wine Fair

Jim Budd enjoying a cheeky little wine – El Bandito Cortez, Testalonga, Swartland, South Africa

There was tiptop Sacred Gin - and vodka, and vermouth – all made in Highgate

Real Wine Fair

Hilary Whitney, Sacred Gin, London

Real Wine Fair

Ian Hart, Sacred Gin, London

I attended “The (Not So) Secret Australian Wine Revolution” seminar”.

Real Wine Fair

Daniel Honan, www.thewineidealist.com, with Iwo Jakimowicz, Si Vintners, Margaret River, Western Australia

As well as showing Wink Lorch’s Jura Wine Book, we shared another ‘intellectual’ table with the excellent quarterly magazine, Noble Rot.

Real Wine Fair

Porco Killin with his Jura Book!

Real Wine Fair

Dan Keeling, of Noble Rot, sharing the magazine

Real Wine Fair

Wink sharing her book

The food was as exciting, as healthy and as tasty as ever

Coffee wasn’t bad either, especially when so charmingly made by Workshop Coffee, Clerkenwell!

Real Wine Fair

It’ll soon be time to go home…

I was excited by what I tasted and what I learnt. There were some very good wines and some not so good; but I enjoyed meeting the winemakers, learning of their dedication and their enthusiasm.

Canary Wharf

Real Canary Wharf, Real River Thames and a Real Full Moon to round off our two days at the Real Wine Fair!

Real Wine Fair day one

On a beautiful sunny day – the day of the London Marathon – The Real Wine Fair opened its doors at Tobacco Dock, Wapping yesterday, offering a panoply of winey delights that intrigued and excited the many visitors.

Here are a few photos of Sunday’s tasters and winemakers.

Real Wine Fair

Real Wine Fair

Real Wine Fair

Real Wine Fair

Real Wine Fair

Real Wine Fair

Sounding the horn for Georgian Wines

Real Wine Fair

Pierre Frick, Alsace

 

Real Wine Fair

Stephanie Biondi, Etna

Real Wine Fair

Real Wine Fair

Real Wine Fair

Real Wine Fair

El Bandito aka Jim Budd

Real Wine Fair

Real Beer too…

 

… and Real, really delicious, Food!

Real Wine Fair

New electricity in the Jura

I’ve just learnt about a highly innovative and exciting electricity generation project in the Jura.

One of the most famous historical wine producers in the Jura, Henri Maire, is experimenting in harvesting the electrical power of thunderstorm clouds.

However they have refused to answer any questions about this unique project so all I can do is share the only photo of this project, connecting a power line to their electricity supply.

Henri Maire electricity Jura

Virgile’s Vineyard

Virgile's Vineyard

It was, as my old friend Michael used to say: “A happy chance” – Patrick Moon has had a couple of them, which encouraged him to write this book.

In 1997 Patrick, then in his mid 40s, decided to quit the legal profession, thinking that there ought to be time in life to achieve more than one thing. After spending a little time in India, in 2000 he inherited a run-down property in Saint-Saturnin, inland from Montpellier, in the heart of the Languedoc.

A lover of wine and good food he set about discovering the excellent and diverse local produce in his new home. He happened to meet a young winemaker who was also starting a new business in the Languedoc.

Virgile's Vineyard

Virgile Joly studied oenology at Montpellier University then worked for other winemakers locally and in Chile, before starting his own domaine, with just one hectare in 2000. Although Patrick had been taken in hand by various locals eager to show him around, it was Virgile who invited Patrick to learn all about viticulture and winemaking which was the other happy chance, encouraging him to write this fine book.

It is a delightful book that introduces you to the Languedoc – you don’t realise how much you are actually learning about the local wine, food and life as Patrick weaves the explanations and shares his discoveries in the warp and weft of his story telling.

Virgile's VineyardA decade has elapsed since Virgile’s Vineyard was first published, in which time Virgile has gone from strength to strength dramatically increased his vineyards, thus his production, all the time remaining staunchly organic. Indeed, he is very involved with local organic wine organisations and very supportive of his local wine region. Patrick has published this second edition with an extra chapter telling us about all the improvements that have been made.

Patrick has also written two more books – and he has even planted a few vines himself to make a teeny amount of his own wine. Another happy chance!

Virgile's Vineyard

Oh to be beside the seaside in the Languedoc!