Last month there was a major Wine Fair in Dublin titled, ‘The Real Wine Fair‘. It was held at the Chocolate Factory – a shared creative space in the heart of Dublin city. We were told that The Fair, organised by le Caveau and les Caves de Pyrenes, was an, ‘independent festival of natural growers and winemakers comprising those who work organically and/or biodynamically and with few or zero interventions in the winery‘.
The tasting book described ‘real wine’ as –
Real wines tend to be made in small quantities by artisan or independent producers who work without chemicals (which means no artificial fertilisers, pesticides or herbicides) in low yielding vineyards and then vinify without artificial yeasts or enzymes or recourse to acidification or other adjustments.
It’s a great title – ‘Real Wine‘. It suggests that there may be wines out there masquerading as wine. Not Real Wine? Fake Wine? It’s catchy but even the organisers described it as a relative rather than as an absolute term!
This was an excellent wine fair with many very fine wines. There was no feeling of ‘us against them’ or ‘We Make Real Wine and They do Not’. There was a genuine conviviality across the large room. It was all positive, healthy and very friendly. There was, however, a definite ‘lets all dress down because we don’t want to be confused with anyone who wears a suit now do we’. I don’t get that attitude because it inevitably leads to a lot of downright sloppiness, lack of professionalism and a crappy sense of what not to wear! …. Back to the wine….
Italy (lots) Spain, Austria, France (lots) Georgia, Australia and the US were all represented. Very few of the wines could be described as ‘funky’ or so natural that they might be difficult to drink and so truly memorable for all the wrong reasons. I say this because I have come across many so called ‘natural’ wines that are simply alcoholic, out of condition fruit products. Different is good. Poor quality is not good – no matter how different the wine actually is!!
Have a look at ClosdeCaveau.com Vacqueras wines: Vibrant, alert, smooth, well-structured, good value, ‘Our maceration, without oxygen, after fermentation, are very long and last up to 2 months. This adds length and roundness, ie a mouth watering smoothness. Some of our wines have been compared to sumo wrestlers, both strong and soft…‘ Love their sense of geology!!
Very unusual for any wine fair (anywhere) was Clos Fantine from the Faugeres. At the table stood winemaker sisters Corrine and Carole Andrieu with only one wine! They were so welcoming! and the wine, Clos Fantine Faugere Tradition 2017, is a simply brilliant, gutsy, biodynamic, low sulphur, herbal blend of Mourvedre, Carignan Grenache and Syrah .
Travelling a bit further afield really interesting and quite brilliant was the Cabernet Franc based Ampeleia Costa Toscana from Italy, as is the Campana Rouge from Corbieres, or how about the fresh light pear effect from the Adele Blanc made with the ‘Mauzac Rose’ grape Maison Laurent Cazottes works with 7 different Mauzac’s! Mind you they also showed a Prunelart – that’s the grape!! – and a stunning Goutte de Poire Williams Passerille – they are also big distillers.
What’s the message? Very clearly it goes like this. Don’t be fooled that just because its organic it’s either better for us and for the environment. That doesn’t always follow. That said it does follow that if its not organic it may not be helping the world to survive! As a minimum look for sustainable farming and minimal intervention. Equally important is the message that we must broaden our understanding of flavours, style and ideas. The wines at the REAL Wine Fair were fabulous, clean, appetising and inspiring. They were in many cases very different to what we find in our supermarket aisles. And that’s good.
Look up the le Caveau web site to find recommended stockists of these ‘off centre’ organic/biodynamic wines. Drop into their store in Kilkenny or ask at your own local wine store. These wines are now ours to discover and they are more available than ever before