Beyond wine

After this busy Green living show in Toronto las week-end, the least I could do was to come to the country side for a bit and enjoy the fresh air that it provides. Everytime I’m coming to a city it’s like tuning up a musical instrument with the particular wave lenght this city possesses. It takes a lot of energy out of one’s self to live in a vibrant and never sleeping place like Toronto. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this cosmopolitan surrounding which reminds me in a way London in the UK. We can find every corner of the world represented in here from China town to little Italy or from little India to the Jamaican area.

This international atmosphere, I found it again with the Biovino winetasting. It has been of a great help to get in touch with the North American wine trade at this show and hear what is going on in the organic and biodynamic movements around the world. But this is only one side of what is happening right now in the business, the other side – the core of it – is happening in the field obviously . To understand a wine, we have to understand the place where it is coming from and the people who made it. My focus being biodynamics, that means I want to get a bigger picture of farms and to see them as true living organisms – according to Rudolf Steiner words, the founder of Biodynamic in 1924. That’s why Saugeen River CSA, the biodynamic mixed farm where I’ll be staying now, just 2 hours away from Toronto, is the perfect place to go beyond wine and understand a complete farm system with animals, vegetables, cereals, fruits trees and other crops. Because a good wine cannot be made without healthy vine plants grown on living soil, I’ll observe a bit closer here how minerals, vegetals, animals, and humans interact with one an other, a vine plant being only a plant amongst other plants with the only particularity to produce a fruit – when pressed and the juice fermented – able to fill your heart with joy, open up you mind and let you be closer to the heavens.

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Published in: on April 30, 2010 at 12:39 am  Leave a Comment  

“Biovino wine tasting” in Toronto

Here it is at last a big breath in the buzzing city of Toronto this week-end.  I was down to Niagara-on-the-lake region recently doing some research for biodynamic wineries I’m planning to visit soon.  So great were the different meetings that I could already fix some approximate dates for a  future longer stay with the  wine makers I could talk with (Southbrook vineyard and Feast of fields).  We chatted a lot about the  techniques they were using on their vineyards but what retained my attention  the most was the upcoming organic and biodynamic wine tasting event inside the Green living show in Toronto the week-end to come.   A good opportunity to meet great wine-makers from all over the world following these principles. 

They were around forty wine-makers programmed at this Biovino wine tasting. The Green living show is about all the alternatives from eco-building  to  technologies using   wind or  solar energies. It is promoting also organic food and sustainable way of living.  Thanks to Southbrook vineyards,  I could get in touch with the organiser of Biovino wine-tasting  Mark Cuff and enter the  tasting at the  last minute.  There, I could meet Virginie Joly who I hadn’t  seen for more than a year. Great to see her here in Toronto. Last time we met,  it was in France in February 2009 at La Coulée de Serrant vineyards in Loire  region. Exhausted from  the jet-lag,  she told me that her father Nicolas couldn’t make it to Toronto.   All together, twelve of the wine-makers couldn’t come to this event for different reasons, but mainly because of the cloud of volcano ashes floating in the air beside europe.

My priorities there were to make contacts with the wineries I’m planning to visit in Canada and USA in the next coming months.  So I could meet either the representant or the wine-makers themselves from Ceago and Robert Sinskey wineries from  California, and Tawes, Southbrook, Clos Jordanne, Frog pond farm, and Stratus vineyards from  Canada. Some interesting visits ahead in perspectives.

I was so glad to taste again at Biovino the wines from this exemplary domain in Austria Nikolaihof, a Demeter biodynamic certified vineyard using a 2000 years old dug cellar to craft their wines. Their location in the Wachau region 100 kms west of Vienna, is like a fairy tale beside the Donau river. They are using an old 300 years old press made of a single oak tree 12m long and 1m diameter to press the grapes slowly by gravity,  straight away from the vineyard. I visited them  in 2006 when I was starting my journey from France to Asia overland. I recall the meeting with Nicholas, the son,  and the tasting we had together. Wines from this domain are always of an oustanding purity,  sharp, with a great complexity and a depth you can’t forget.  Try them out when you’ll have the occasion (it is not so  often!)

It was also the opportunity for me to unpack my bags and to let try some of the wines I brought from France from  Les Griottes (Anjou, Loire). This domain I’ve talked about in the french version of the blog doesn’t use any added sulfur in their wines.  Everything is made by hand: from the harvest to the bottling. Pat and Babass are as incredibles as their wines. This is the purest expression you can get from the grapes:  indigenous yeasts, slow fermentations, no filtrations,  no added sulfur. This gives you true living wines with an amazing heart-filling capacity.  Joyful, talkative and nutritous, these wines are not for the too serious (should I say boring?) taster  who is after the perfect wine without life within and so little things to say. These wines really talk to you,  as they are an expression of the winemakers and the soil  who made them come alive .  The different cuvées La p’tite Gâterie (pineau d’Aunis, grolleau, and gamay),  La Griotte (cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc), and Moussaillon (a sparkling méthode ancestrale made of chenin, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc) have made  Mark from The Living Vine and his colleagues from Le sommelier Inc more curiuous about them .  Authenticity is the word which could fit well for this tasting.

After one week in Canada,  the satisfaction to have been at the rightplace at the right time is there. There will be more on  the biodynamic wine world to come soon when I’ll be in the Niagara region again.  But for now, I’m heading next to SaugeenriverCSA, a biodynamic mixed farm situated in the Grey Bruce county of South Ontario, to deepen my knowledge by practicing biodynamy beside Cory Eichman.

Published in: on April 25, 2010 at 9:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

“Holy Terroir” english version

Hey, this is time to start a new blog in english! After all, in Canada where french and english are the two official languages, it is a good place to get the inspiration to do so. You can read the french version of  Holy Terroir already for almost 3 weeks now. Just follow the link on the side.  After a lot of hours spent in front of the computer trying to figure out how to include both languages on the blog, finally this is the  creation of  a new blog which seemed to be the most appropriate.  I’m just keeping on searching the options available on it. This is really amazing the possibilities we can find on a blog to express ourself…No publisher, no editor, no journalist, so  easy to publish on the web.   It is never to late to discover new things!Toronto over the lake Ontario

In this blog you’ll read posts about wine, travels, farming…and many more subjects. If you don’t read french ( which is absolutly understandable, that’s why this blog is for ! ) and you haven’t seen the french version of Holy Terroir, I’m now in Toronto starting a 5 months journey accross  Canada and USA.  The car is already bought thanks to my friend Lena, and the Black beauty (the car’s nick name) is ready to hit the road!

Published in: on April 21, 2010 at 8:37 pm  Comments (1)