Skip to content

One Brilliant Bottle

organic/biodynamic/natural wines in Vinland

Coulée de Serrant

France (Loire)

chenin blanc

Last spring I drove the long-lived Mazda to Cape Spear, twenty minutes from where I live in St. John’s, Newfoundland. You can’t go any further east in North America. Start your breast stroke here, and you’ll strike nothing until you beach in France.

A terrific place to recharge the imagination. Oxygen here is as fresh as it gets.

I revelled in it – the teeming millions of North America at my back, Europe across a mere ocean in front of me – and felt myself pivot in history.

The day was otherwise calm. (Rogue waves have been known to pluck naive daredevils off the shoreline rocks without mercy.) Calm enough that my eyes drifted to a tidal pool. A foreign object snatched my attention. bottle? Washed ashore, half-submerged between lichen-covered rocks and a tender bed of young mussels. A wine bottle? I nudged it gently with my foot, its white label caught in the glare of the sun.

Any message inside appeared to be liquid. An unopened wine bottle it was, its label intact.

I asked no questions. I stood the bottle on a shelf of rock, remnants of the icebergs that had drifted south from Greenland in the background. Then quickly and stealthily slipped the bottle in my pack, and drove it home.

What a find, what a treasure the North Atlantic had hove my way!

I was desperately anxious to uncork it. And in that I was no longer alone. My wife, sons, and son’s girlfriend appeared, wine glasses nestled against their chests, anticipation on wetted lips. Lobster lay nervously nearby.

Coulée de Serrant 2005

A wine for lovers of life. Linger over it. Sink into its depths. Wow, this is an amazing wine. Nectar, alfalfa honey. Alfalfa honey? Herbal, only slight mineral edge.  New house construction, pine, spruce, hint of 2×4. C’mon. Honey dew melon, cantaloupe, green apple, apricot. Sauternes-inclined. Love it! Love the light liquid gold, how it collapses down the side of the glass, like a shrinking continent. Finish lingers, and lingers. Oh, but lesser wines would be long gone. A true beauty!  $$$

Nicolas Joly, proprietor of Clos de la Coulée de Serrant. Winemaker extraordinaire. Bon vivant. World’s foremost promoter of biodynamic winemaking. Man on a mission.

When not holding the reins, or travelling the world to promote biodynamics, Nicolas Joly can be seen with a cow horn.

A cow horn containing fermenting sheep manure or ground silica mixed with rain water. Whoa. The horn-packed sheep leavings are buried in the vineyards in the fall and dug up in the spring. The alternate horn is buried in the spring and dug up in the fall.

Other preparations are brewed in other animal parts. Pruning is scheduled by lunar cycles. Search Nicolas Joly and his writings. He has plenty to say. (Like I shouldn’t be drinking his wine so young. Like I should have decanted it for 12 hours.)

Biodynamic vignerons take their work very seriously. Not so seriously that they don’t laugh and drink and have a good time. (Otherwise, what would be the point of making le vin.)

And that, my friends, is what I am looking for — passion and commitment to healthy, terroir-driven methods of growing grapes and turning them into wine. Assertive wine by adventurous winemakers. Intrepid, fun-loving wine.

One brilliant bottle at a time.


Tags: , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: