2013 or the Philosophers’ Wine
It goes the same for both vines and wines: there are two different ways of growing vines, as well as two different approaches to winemaking.
The first approach, whereby vines are put in chains and taken out of their natural environment through chemistry, is usually followed suit by a technological winemaking process during which wines, regarded as analytically quantifiable matter, are formatted like any manufactured products; and then, enriched with a full range of oenological additives.
This approach resembles more a legalized mass-illusion rather than the expression of the original terroir!
The second one focuses on taking good care of vines and helping them be part of their ecosystem -you set them free by making them self-contained-, by the way aka Terroir.
This alternative, that is, organic and biodynamic farming, is also extended in the cellar thanks to a “natural” approach diametrically opposed to the industrial one.
Making wines turns here into a watchful wait-and-see attitude; and, as René Lafon put it, “Il faut savoir ne rien faire.” – i.e. “we have to learn to keep our hands off.”
Far from laissez-faire winemaking, this is rather an invitation not to act in a hurry, so as to patiently leave the wines take shape.
In fact, savoir ne rien faire comes down to being able to keep our fears in check and trust our wines.
By doing so, winemaking becomes a true spiritual act, since the necessary work on ourselves is such a prerequisite to the work on wines.
And if we acknowledge vines can absorb the earth and sky energies that make the terroir’s identity, shall we then ignore the vintner’s spiritual impact on his/her wines, knowing that thoughts are another form of energy wine is receptive to ?
So it is important to enter -in a way- a state of awareness with our wines, in order not to have them under control but rather to get to know them, as well as to notify them of our intentions.
Making wines means talking to them to help them grow up and fulfil themselves. This is the true meaning of the word “élever” – i.e. nurture ; is it? Nous élevons nos vins just the way we nurture our children.
That being said, we shall bear in mind wines are a drink with the gift of feeding our bodies, minds and souls; this is digestible art, sort of!
And the quality of a foodstuff, like that of a work of art, is assessed on what each of them brings to their respective recipient.
Now we are a long way from the technical approach that reduces wines to a mere chemical equation; by paying them full spiritual attention, we breathe them that precious life they need to grow up.
The 2013 vintage has perfectly epitomised a winemaking approach enhanced through inner work on ourselves.
Indeed, first we were on a razor’s edge during harvest, so we had to keep our heads cool and our nerves of steel; then, to trust native yeasts in spite of hard fermenting conditions; and, finally, to keep patience while fermentations were going on and on forever!
Nevermind. Since we had good faith in our grapes, of which wines are after all just the outcome or, should we say, transmutation, we were able to overcome our existential anguish and let wines get ready at their own pace.
And the effort did pay off since the 2013 vintage will almost be the alter ego of amazing 2012.
They already shared the same dark side as a result of a challenging flowering period, now there is also the same bright side.
Alcohol levels are down by 0.8% by vol. on average compared to 2012, which makes the wines a bit less powerful, but tell me, who will dare complain about this nowadays!
On the other hand, they have the same velvety toucher de bouche – i.e. mouthfeel, full of grace, and a little more acidity to them, so they look more tonic, with strong and incredibly fine noses.
This is how 2013 is shaping up to be 2012’s younger brother, since our spring bottlings are now showing such an obvious kinship between these two vintages, both in terms of structure and tantalising taste.