MAY IS REAL WINE MONTH
After 2 years of absence, May 2022 will mark the return of Real Wine Month, the time we celebrate Organic, Biodynamic and Natural wine.
Look out for restaurants, wine bars, bars, cafés and wine shops around the Country who promote these wines. There will be many events organised and we will publish the list below.
WHAT IS REAL WINE?
‘Real wine’ is a term embracing wines that are made organically, biodynamically and naturally. By no means precise nor prescriptive it serves chiefly to highlight growers who work with minimal mediation, ideally to obtain the purest articulation of terroir, fruit and vintage.
All great wine begins in the vineyard and is ultimately the result of sensitive farming. It is important that growers farm sustainably and with a sense of environmental responsibility, ensuring the natural balance and health of the vineyard. The juice from the resultant grapes should then ideally, be guided to the bottle with the fewest manipulations in order to create a vital and singular – rather than an homogenous – product. This sympathetic interpretation and transformation of nature’s gifts lies at the heart of what makes a wine “real.”
Check for price, tickets, info with the venues
5th May: Jura Night
A unique opportunity to taste 'Unicorn wines' from Jura - Expect the rarest and finest: Kenjiro Kagami (Domaine des Miroirs), Overnoy-Houillon, Jean-Francois Ganevat, Domaine Saint-Pierre, Domaine Labet..
9th May: Bojo & Hotdogs
Beaujolais from superstars Foillard, Métras etc.. & Hotdogs (with Gubbeen sausages!)
Table Wine, Dublin
16th, 17th, 18th May: Vins de Copains Tastings
3 indie importers, specialising in Natural Wines join forces to pour 36 of their best, in an informal, fun and wine fair style!
16th May: Note Wine Bar, Dublin
17th May: L'Atitude 51, Cork
18th May: The Universal, Galway
22nd, 23rd May: Real Wine Fair, London
The World's most amazing Natural wine fair returns to Tobacco Docks, London
28th May: Natural Wine Masterclass
What is Natural Wine? What does it tastes like? How do you recognise it? Join this fun, interactive and educational Masterclass.
L'Atitude 51, Cork
Date TBA: Mentors of Natural Wine
Tasting the wines of Vignerons who have mentored/influenced the current wave of Natural wine producers.
Green Man Wines, Terenure, Dublin 6
PARTICIPANTS IN IRELAND:
This is it, Ennistymon
Ballymaloe House, Shanagarry
Crawford Gallery Café, Cork
The Blackpig, Kinsale
Da Mirco, Cork
Dunmore House, Clonakilty
Garden Shop at Ballymaloe Cookery School
Glass Curtain, Cork
Good Day Deli, Cork
Ichigo Ichie, Cork
L'Atitude 51, Cork
Levi's Bar, Ballydehob
Liss Ard Estate, Clonakilty
McCurtain Street Wine Cellar, Cork
Nash 19, Cork
Nell's Wine Bar, Cork
Pop up Wine Shop at the Grainstores, Shanagarry
Saint-Francis Provisions, Kinsale
Bridge Bar and Restaurant, Ramelton
Baggot Street Wines, Dublin 2
Bastible, Dublin 2
Commons Room, Trinity College, Dublin 2
Etto, Dublin 2
Fallon and Byrne, Dublin 2
Fish Shop, Dublin 7
Frank’s, Dublin 2
Fumbally, Dublin 8
Grano, Dublin 8
Green Man Wine, Terenure
King Sitric, Howth
Lilith Wines, Dublin 7
Loose Canon, Dublin 2
Martin's Off Licence, Fairview, Dublin 3
Note Wine Bar, Dublin 2
Table Wine, Dublin 2
Two Pups Café, Dublin 8
Uno Mas, Dublin 2
Ard Bia, Galway
Inis Meain Restaurant, Inis Meain
The Lamplight, Clifden
The Universal, Galway
Watchhouse, Valentia Island
Sheen Falls Lodge, Kenmare
Aran Bakery, Kilkenny
The Grapevine, Kilkenny
Le Caveau, Kilkenny
MacGuinness Wine Merchants, Dundalk
Dooks Fine Food, Fethard
Cass and Co, Dungarvan
World Wide Wines, Waterford
The sale of Domaine Jean-Francois Ganevat to Russian billionaire Alexander Pumpyansky, son of steel magnate Dmitri Pumpyansky in September 2021 has raised questions amongst natural wine lovers and the wine world in general.
On November 3rd, 2021, 2 months after the sale and 5 months before the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, Jean-Francois released a statement to clarify/explain his decision to sell his vineyard to Alexander Pumpyansky: (translated into English by Aaron Ayscough)
" Dear friends,
Suppositions on the subject of the sale of the estate have sprouted on the internet, via social networks and others, for several weeks.
Anne and myself are little attached to what’s said of us, but certain concerns voiced by lovely people encountered in the past at salons, at the estate, or elsewhere - always in the presence of good wine - haven’t left us entirely indifferent. It’s particularly for these close friends, these visiting friends, and these enthusiasts, always respectful of of our work, that I wish to present, in the name of Anne and myself, our project.
I’m fifty-two years old, I’m at a period in my life when I wish to pass things on. I’m not old, but the metier of a peasant vigneron weighs upon a human. If something were to happen to me tomorrow, to sell the vineyards wouldn’t be a problem, but to find people capable of continuing the work we’ve done, for the négociant business as well as at the estate, would be one. A good succession is prepared well in advance. Through this project of succession, I’m also very vigilant to not disturb the wine market in the Jura.
For several years, I’ve often been approached to cede the estate, but I’ve never been convinced by the projects that were proposed to us. But yes, in September 2021, we sold our estate to Alexander Pumpiansky. I’ve heard it said here and there that he’s of Russian origin, sometimes as if it is something to be ashamed of! It’s true that he’s Russian, but insofar as it concerns me, that’s not how I define a human being. He lives near us and above all his human virtues, his knowledge of wine, and knowledge of vignerons convinced me. He became a friend thanks to his simplicity, his passion, and his humility.
Since 2008, Alexander is the owner of Domaine Prieuré Saint-Jean de Bébian in the Languedoc, where he enacted a titanic work in the vines and in the cellar. He knows the business, he worked to convert the estate to organics and biodynamics, and this, believe me, is not nothing.
What also appealed to me in Alexander is the project for the estate: he first asked me to above all not change anything, then together we put ourselves to planning it. We’re going to refurbish the buildings of the estate to offer better-adapted spaces. We’re going to concentrate ourselves on the improvement of our vinification methods through the pursuit of long aging periods and the integration of a supplementary patina. This is something that has danced in my head for a long time.
Through this project, the goal for me is to pursue this beautiful adventure. My attachments are here, in the vines. I will continue to be there everyday for the estate and the négociant business as they exist today. There are numerous micro-parcels and tiny cuvées, it’s indispensable that I transmit my savoir-faire: this will take several years. Concerning the life of the estate, the employees stay, as do my sister Anne and her daughter Clémence.
Dear friends, in practice nothing will change, the passion is intact. But at fifty-two years of age, it’s the occasion for me to concentrate on what I love to do: vinify! To free my spirit and, who knows, open myself up to other opportunities, such as that of vinifying in other regions. The project is above all for me the most beautiful way to assure the succession of our family’s work to someone in whom I have full confidence.
Five months later, the addition of Dmitri and Alexander Pumpyansky on the EU sanction list on March 9th 2022, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, has affected the situation at the estate.
Here is an article written and published by Aaron Ayscough on his blog 'Not drinking poison':
'Among the fourteen Russian businessmen added to the EU sanctions list yesterday, in response to Vladimir Putin’s war of aggression in Ukraine, was the billionaire Dmitry Pumpyansky, owner of the steel pipe manufacturer TMK. Pumpyansky, through investments run by his son, Alexander Pumpyansky, is also the owner, since September 2021, of the celebrated Jura natural wine estate Domaine Ganevat.
As wine lovers in general, and admirers of the Ganevats in particular, how complicit are we for supporting a business owned by a Russian oligarch?
As Branko Milanovic, a professor at the City University of New York's Graduate Center, writing for The Globalist in 2019, put it: “The Putin oligarchs are billionaires who serve at the discretion of the state.”
Anne Ganevat, reached by email yesterday, struck a note of perseverance, assuring me that the sanctions would not affect work at the estate.
“We have a sincere relationship with Alexander, and like him, we’re against this war. We’re heartbroken about this situation,” she says. “But after all, there are other estates that have sold to Russian investors, we’re not the only one.”
Indeed, many of the deep-pocketed Russian investors behind the purchase of EU wine estates in recent years are lately appearing on, or very near, sanctions lists.
FROM CHAMPAGNE TO BORDEAUX TO PROVENCE
The billionaire Russian wine tycoon Boris Titov made news in 2010 with a purchase of the champagne brand Château d’Avize from LVMH, along with 2.5 hectares in the Côte des Blancs. Four years later, the project was in a state of abandon - partly because Titov had newly expanded duties at home, as the Presidential Commissioner for Entrepreneur’s Rights, a position to which he was named by Putin himself. (Titov is also the official supplier of wine to the Kremlin.)
Last July, the Russian billionaire Andrey Filatov acquired a 9-hectare property in Saint Emilion, the Château La Grace Dieu des Prieurs. A noted patron of the arts and of chess, Filatov was awarded the Medal of the Order “For Merit to the Fatherland” by Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev in 2016.
And just eight days before Putin's forces invaded Ukraine, Brad Pitt sued Angelina Jolie for going behind his back to sell her stake in the former couple’s Provence rosé estate Château Mireval to Russian billionaire Yuri Shefler’s SPI Group.
For what it’s worth, Yuri Shefler is exiled and has been fighting the Russian government in courts for many years over rights to SPI group’s Stolichnaya vodka brand.
HOSTAGES OR HOSTAGE-TAKERS?
Similarly, before pouring any Côtes du Jura down the drain, we should acknowledge that the subject of sanctions is rather foggy.
Significant parts of the list of Russian oligarchs sanctioned in Donald Trump's 2017 Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (in which Pumpyansky figured) turned out to have been copied from a Forbes magazine list. Criticizing the haphazard nature of that round of sanctions in Bloomberg, the Russian editor Leonid Bershidsky wrote, “The hostages are on the list along with those who keep them hostage.”
Notably, in response to the increased sanctions announced yesterday, the Swedish economist Anders Åslund, author of Russia’s Crony Capitalism, tweeted: “I am not happy to see the Pumpyansky family [and two others] sanctioned. These are real self-made Russian businessmen in the private sector. They should not be sanctioned just because they have to attend Putin’s annual oligarch meetings.”
As New Yorker journalist and Putin biographer Masha Gessen observed, in a 2014 New York Times column entitled “The Myth of the Russian Oligarchs”: for oligarchs in Russia, “Giving up any pretense of independent political action has remained a condition for staying wealthy and safe.”
In the face of humanitarian catastrophe in Ukraine, can we forgive the complicity of the Russian oligarchy on account of their paradoxical political powerlessness?
THE SCALE OF EXPOSURE
Last week, before sanctions on the Pumpyansky family were announced, I noted that Dmitry Pumpyansky had figured among the Russian businessmen (including twelve other billionaires) summoned by Putin for briefing at the Kremlin on February 24th at the outset of the Ukraine invasion.
Seeking perspective on the issue, I got in touch with his son, thirty-five-year-old Alexander Pumpyansky. (Subscribers can read the full interview here.)
Pumpyansky fils was born in Yekaterinburg, and moved at age sixteen to Switzerland, where he studied business management and economics. He has resided in Switzerland ever since, managing his family’s investment portfolio outside Russia, which also includes the Languedoc estate Prieuré Saint Jean de Bébian, which he and his father purchased in 2008.
Reached by phone in Geneva last week - before yesterday’s round of sanctions - Pumpyansky acknowledged that the sanctions had already been “impactful in terms of public relations.”
“Unfortunately, we hear a lot of criticism,” he said. “And I can understand, what with the present situation. The geopolitical climate is not easy.”
Pumpyansky confirmed that Domaine Ganevat was a family purchase in conjunction with his father. He explained his father’s presence at the February 24th Kremlin briefing as a business necessity. The family’s group employs 85’000 people in Russia. It is ineluctably exposed to the consequences of the war.
“I have a lot of Ukrainian friends, who live still there. And we have lots of Ukrainians who work in our company in Russia. It’s unavoidable that we’ll be together, and we must work together, especially now, when there are political conflicts, because if there’s hatred created on a human level, it’s much more complicated,” said Pumpyansky. “We’re doing everything we can to prevent that.”
Throughout the 2010s, many in the Jura wine scene used to make good-natured jokes about Jean-François Ganevat’s sizable platoon of interns, who, it was rumored, he’d employ to do things like de-stem trousseau with nail scissors. The Pumpyanskys responsibilities as an employer are on a different scale. Domaine Ganevat is among the least of their liabilities, when it comes to exposure to Putin’s war of aggression in Ukraine.
But Pumpyansky is sensitive to the concerns of fellow natural wine lovers.
“All of Ganevat’s professional clients can be reassured,” he says. “I adore what they do, I adore Fan-Fan, and I'll do everything I can perpetuate the spirit of the estate - and to prevent the present events from impacting the estate.”
Aaron Ayscough, Not Drinking Poison
On March 12th 2022, we heard the news, reported by local newspaper Le Progrès, that the Pumpyansky family are selling their shares in Ganevat estate (and the ones in Prieuré St-Jean de Bébian)
here is the article from Le Progrès, published on March 12th 2022:
Translated as best as I could:
The Pumpyansky family has been added on the EU sanction list. Six months after purchasing the famous Rotalier-based Estate, they now need to sell it. A massive set-back for Jean-Francois Ganevat, who is still closely linked to the estate.
On March 9th, the EU commission extended their black list of businessmen and oligarch involved in key sector of the Russian economy, freezing their assets on the continent. In this list, aimed at sanctioning Moscow, can be found Russian billionaire Dmitri Pumpyansky, as well as his son, Alexander. Both are the new owners, since September 2021, of celebrated Domaine Ganevat in Rotalier, Jura. This announcement has raised questions about the future and viability of Domaine Ganevat, a family estate, passed on from generations of the same family since 1650, until Jean-Francois agreed on the sale less than 6 months ago.
We contacted Alexander Pumpyansky at his office in Geneva, where he resides with his family for the last 20 years. He announced that he was selling his assets in the French vineyards he purchased. Domaine Ganevat and also Domaine Prieure de St-Jean de Bebian in Languedoc, bought in 2008.
'Our 2 French vineyards won't be concerned by these sanctions because we are selling our interests and shares in them. I purchased Domaine Ganevat because I fell in love with the work conducted there by Jean-Francois. We had a shared goal to develop it further. Unfortunately, I could have never imagined we would find ourselves in such a situation. As a mark of friendship with Jean-Francois, I prefer to protect the future of the Domaine, by selling my shares and cutting all ties with it.' said Alexander Pumpyansky, shocked by the EU sanctions.
Jean-Francois Ganevat is also saddened and shocked to say the least, six months after selling his 'baby' to ensure and preserve its future, the 52 year-old vigneron wasn't expecting such a poisoned chalice.
' We were so happy to have found the right person. And now, we are totally surprised by this announcement. We didn't decide to sell the estate to Alexander out of the blue, we picked him because he is truly passionate, there was a real connection. Now, we have to wait and see how the situation evolves. It is all so sudden. I will not let the estate nor our employees down, I have entire trust in them. I will do everything in my power to ensure Domaine Ganevat continues to exist.' concedes a shaken JF Ganevat.
Following the publication of an article on social media by free-lance blogger Aaron Ayscough of 'Not drinking poison', few calls to boycott the wines of Ganevat have started to appear.
'We are entering a very delicate period; all of this will more than likely affect sales, but the situation is well-above my head, I am vigneron and don't do politics.' concedes Jean-Francois Ganevat
We expect an official announcement from the estate in the next few days, in the meantime, the future of this very famous Jura Domaine seems suspended.
A.B, Le Progrès
And here is the original article in French:
Domaine Ganevat : le nouveau propriétaire russe va devoir vendre
Par Arnaud BASTION - 12 mars 2022 à 06:15 - Le Progrès
La famille Pumpyansky figure sur la liste noire de l’Union européenne visant à sanctionner la Russie pour l’invasion de l’Ukraine. Six mois après avoir fait l’acquisition du célèbre domaine situé à Rotalier, elle est contrainte de s’en défaire. Un énorme coup dur pour Jean-François Ganevat qui restait étroitement associé à l’exploitation.
L’invasion de l’ Ukraine par la Russie de Vladimir Poutine aura des conséquences jusque dans notre paisible département.
Le 9 mars, la Commission européenne a élargi sa liste noire d’hommes d’affaires et oligarques impliqués dans des secteurs clé de l’économie russe, dont les avoirs sur le continent sont gelés. Dans cette liste, visant à sanctionner Moscou, on retrouve le milliardaire Dmitry Pumpyansky, ainsi que son fils Alexander, propriétaires depuis septembre 2021 du célèbre domaine Ganevat à Rotalier. Une annonce qui soulève bon nombre de questions quant à la pérennité d’un domaine familial, qui s’est transmis de père en fils depuis 1650, jusqu’à ce que Jean-François Ganevat ne le cède il y a moins de six mois.
Contacté à son bureau situé à Genève, ville où il réside depuis 20 ans, Alexander Pumpyansky, a annoncé au Progrès qu’il allait se désolidariser des domaines viticoles français dont il a fait l’acquisition. Le domaine Ganevat, donc, mais aussi celui du Prieuré Saint-Jean de Bébian, à Pézenas dans le Languedoc, acheté en 2008.
« Céder les parts pour protéger le domaine »
« Les domaines français ne seront pas concernés par ces sanctions puisque notre famille est en train de céder les parts. J’ai acheté le domaine Ganevat car j’étais amoureux du travail fourni par Jean-François. Nous avions une volonté commune de le développer encore davantage. Malheureusement, je n’ai jamais pensé que nous nous retrouverions dans une telle situation. Donc en preuve de mon amitié avec Jean-François, je préfère protéger l’avenir du domaine en cédant les parts pour ne plus être lié à celui-ci », lâche Alexander Pumpyansky, qui se dit abattu par ces sanctions européennes.
Jean-François Ganevat sous le choc
Abattu, Jean-François Ganevat l’est tout autant. Voire plus. À peine six mois après avoir vendu son « bébé » pour en assurer l’avenir , le vigneron de 52 ans ne s’attendait certainement pas à un tel cadeau empoisonné. « On était content d’avoir trouvé la bonne personne. Mais là, avec cette annonce, nous sommes tombés des nues. Cela nous rend malade. Mais nous n’avions pas choisi cet homme par hasard. C’est un vrai passionné. Il correspondait à mon état d’esprit. Là, on attend de voir comment tout cela va évoluer. Car c’est assez soudain. Mais je ne laisserai pas tomber le domaine et les salariés en qui j’ai toute confiance. Je vais faire tout ce qui est possible pour que le domaine Ganevat continue d’exister », relate un Jean-François Ganevat encore sous le choc de la nouvelle.
Sur les réseaux sociaux, notamment suite à la publication Twitter d’un rédacteur free-lance, Aaron Ayscough, qui tient le blog Not drinking poison, on peut déjà lire plusieurs posts qui appellent au boycott des vins estampillés Ganevat.
« Nous entrons dans une période qui risque d’être délicate pour nous. Tout cela va probablement se ressentir sur les ventes. Mais la situation me dépasse complètement. Je suis vigneron et je ne fais pas de politique », concède Jean-François Ganevat.
Une annonce officielle, de la part du domaine, devrait être faite dans les prochains jours. Pour l’heure, l’avenir de ce fameux vignoble jurassien reste en suspens.
A.B, Le Progrès "
On March 16th, French TV channel - France 3 Bourgogne- Franche-Comté - reported that Jean-François Ganevat and Benoit Pontenier had jointly purchased back both Domaine Ganevat and Prieuré de Saint-Jean de Bébian, the other French vineyard owned by Alexander Pumpyansky.
Both estates are now back in the hands of their original owners, Jean-François Ganevat is once again the owner of Domaine Ganevat and Benoit Pontenier the one of Prieuré de Saint-Jean de Bébian.
* * *
Visit, tasting and dinner at Domaine Ganevat, Saturday 19th March 2022:
Visiting Jean-Francois and his sister Anne Ganevat is always a highlight of the year for me; My last visit there was in 2019 so I was really looking forward to seeing them again, especially after their recent roller coaster of emotions due to the above.
This trip (as my previous 4) had been organised by long-time friend Eric Narioo of Les Caves de Pyrene and Vino di Anna fame, our travelling pals were Soif London Head Chef Simon Barnett and Manager Riccardo Parvoli. And a joyous travelling quatuor it proved to be.
Around 60 happy punters from the 4 corners of the World were there and already half way through the tasting when we arrived, importers, cavistes, restaurant / wine bar owners, winemakers etc.. but we did manage to catch up.
The 2020 reds we tasted showcased the generosity of the vintage, ripe, fruit-filled, super pleasant for the Negoce side, all of this plus a tense mineral streak and added structure for the Domaine ones. Overall some super stars in the making.
The whites were mostly 2018, they had just been bottled, after 4 years spent in their respective Vats / Barrels / Foudres. The reason for this very long elevage is 2018 was a rich, solar year and Ganevat felt the extra time spent in vats have given the wine a chance to re-gain in minerality, tension and acidity.
It was astonishing to taste the resulting wines, while all have that backbone of richness and ripeness, characteristic of the vintage, they are monuments of balance, tension and focus. More precision and intensity will come with age in bottle, but drinking them now was sheer pleasure.
So far only 2 ‘Domaine’ whites have been bottled, Varrons, a newly purchased vineyard and Chamois du Paradis, JF will keep the others in vats for another few months/ to a year, until whenever he is happy with the final result.
As he mentioned ‘if I had bottled them in 2019/2020, I would have made rich, unbalanced whites' (on a side note, the next day we visited Christian Binner another giant in the Natural Wine World, in Alsace, who applied the same long elevage to his recent hot vintages, for a very similar result)
Rare are the vignerons working in this way today, with so much commitment and true dedication to make the best possible wine, whatever it takes and at whatever cost to them. I see them as true artisans, craftsmen, they see themselves as simply doing the right thing.
The implications in terms of space, investment and cashflow are huge, just try to imagine the labyrinth that is Ganevat’s cuverie, countless vats, barrels, amphoraes and foudres of every shape and form, full of wine from different vintages, waiting for bottling time, for their final assemblage, waiting till they're ready.
About the man himself, I think the best way to describe Jean-Francois Ganevat, beside being one of the most gifted winemaker of his generation, is a man larger than life and generous. Generosity with all his visitors, serving gargantuesque meals, opening countless amount of bottles, magnums, jeroboams of his most precious wines. Jean-Francois and Anne have been doing this for years, and certainly did last Saturday,
Generosity also with his peers, helping a lot of young vignerons to set up or make the switch to biodynamic farming and natural winemaking – Kenjiro Kagami amongst the most famous of his protégé.
Yep, visiting Ganevat is always a special moment.
We are delighted to announce the dates for our 2022 Portfolio Tastings, it feels really good to be back!
You will have the opportunity to taste from a selection of 120 wines, they represent a snapshot of our 600+ strong and counting wine list.
We have created strong links with Artisan winegrowers the World over (200+ and growing!) many of whom have become dear friends.
All practice sustainable viticulture and low-intervention winemaking. Many are reverting to age-old traditions, techniques and values in an effort to capture the uniqueness of their terroir.
No doubt the past two years have been so tough for so many in our industry, it is incredible to see how you all have weathered the storm and adapted.
We hope to see you in Dublin or Cork and share a glass!
Venue: Allta Winter House, Trinity Street Car park, Level 5, Dublin 2 - D02 C588
When: Tuesday 1st March 2022 - 10.30 to 17.30
Venue: L'Atitude 51, 1 Union Quay, Cork City - T12DY75
When: Thursday 3rd March 2022 - 10.30 to 17.30
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to receive your invite!
Our opening times and delivery arrangements for Christmas 2021 and New Year are as follow:
1/ KILKENNY SHOP
1st December – 6th December
Normal opening hours (Wed – Sat 11.00 to 3.30pm)
Tuesday 7th December 11.00 to 3.30 pm
Wednesday 8th December 11.00 to 3.30 pm
Thursday 9th December 11.00 to 3.30 pm
Friday 10th December 11.00 to 3.30 pm
Saturday 11th December 11.00 to 3.30 pm
Sunday 12th December Closed
Monday 13th December 10.30 to 3.30 pm
Tuesday 14th December 10.30 to 3.30 pm
Wednesday 15th December 10.30 to 6.00 pm
Thursday 16th December 10.30 to 6.00 pm
Friday 17th December 10.30 to 6.00 pm
Saturday 18th December 10.30 to 5.30 pm
Sunday 19th December 12.30 to 5.30 pm
Monday 20th December 10.30 to 6.00 pm
Tuesday 21st December 10.30 to 6.00 pm
Wednesday 22nd December 10.30 to 6.00 pm
Thursday 23rd December 10.30 to 6.00 pm
Friday 24th December 10.30 to 3.00 pm
Saturday 25th December Closed
Sunday 26th December Closed
Monday 27th December Closed
Tuesday 28th December Closed
Wednesday 29th December Closed
Thursday 30th December Closed
Friday 31st January 2021 Closed
Le Caveau (wine shop) will close for Annual Holidays on Christmas Day
and will re-open on Wednesday 12th January 2022.
Last order for guaranteed delivery before Christmas must be placed before 11 AM on Friday 17th December
Orders placed after this time will be processed, and while some might be delivered before Christmas, others will be delivered on January 6th / 7th 20223/ TRADE ORDERS - Christmas / New Year Cut Off Times
Last orders for Dublin Deliveries
Last Orders Received Delivered on
Before 2.30 PM December 22nd December 23rd
Before 12 Midday December 30th December 31st
Last orders for Country Deliveries
Last Orders Received Delivered on
Before 11 AM December 21st December 22nd / 23rd
No Country delivery service between Christmas and New Year
Normal delivery service will resume on January 4th 2022
- - - - - - - - - -We would like to thank you all, our Customers and friends, for your support over the years,
Wishing you a peaceful and relaxing Christmas and a very Happy New Year 2022.
Pascal and Le Caveau Team
Some Jura winegrowers are producing such phenomenal wines, in such tiny quantities that they tend to capture the imagination. The Labet family in Rotalier (same village as Jean-Francois Ganevat!) are a good example. We were really excited to have secured our first allocation for Ireland late last year, after more than 4 years on their 'waiting list'.
Luke Byrne, a customer and friend of ours, who works with the wonderful Green Man Wines in Terenure, got his hands on a few bottles. This is the resulting Instagram post:
'Julius Caesar the Roman geezer, squashed his wife with a lemon squeezer.
Great to see Labet over here, always a treat to drink, like huffing gas and licking batteries.
. Les Varrons - Effortless. Weightless Watermelons held down by a thick lactic pear casing and a charred confectionery peach core.
. Metis - A wild wine, reigned in by some leather straps. A cowboy rides this wine, hes covered in shit and he smokes Pall Mall but boy does he look good. Larry Lambic.
. Lias - Blend up some apple pie and chase it with some Greek yogurt. Eat nettles and stay focused. The longer it's open the more focused it becomes. Bottle dipped in toffee wax and covered in sour orange peel, I'm enveloped in autumn fruits. I'm slipping on hot wet stones.
Like a shooting star these wines came and left. I'm not one to hold onto anything so I drank them all in quick succession, I regret nothing. They would have aged beautifully.'
Luke Byrne - @luekbrungis
Two high priests of the natural wine movement visited Ireland recently. Both paid homage to “the Pope”, the late Marcel Lapierre, a producer in Morgon who started it all back in early 1990s. Jean Foillard owns vineyards in Morgon in Beaujolais and Thierry Puzelat in the Loire valley. Inspired by Lapierre, they began to take wine back to its roots.
“We did not invent anything, we simply returned to what our grandfathers did,” says Puzelat.
Corinna Hardgrave, Irish Independent 18.04.2020
Italian vineyards are going back to their roots to create these palate-pleasing artisan wines...Wine of the week: Ribolla Gialla Dario Princic 2016 Dario Princic’s 10-hectare farm is located in the Collio hills, just 1km west of the Slovenian border, and six hectares are planted as vineyards. He believes that the soils, in particular the schist sandstone marl (known as ponca), is particularly suited to the Ribolla Gialla grape, being rich in minerals, but not particularly fertile, which limits the yield of the grape, and ensures that the berries stay small and thick-skinned. Fermented with 30 days’ skin contact and aged in acacia and chestnut barrels, this is slightly spicy, with dried apricot and ripe pear melding with a creamy, almond character. Calcarius Puglia Orange 2018 In a larger one-litre bottle, this skin-contact wine, made from 100pc Fallanghina, is what is often referred to as ‘glou glou’, a deliciously drinkable wine. Fresh and summery with flavours of confited orange and a touch of spice.
For 15 years, natural wine has been a contentious time bomb that has divided many in the wine community, creating conflicts fought with the sort of anger that stems only from extreme defensiveness.
Since 2003, when I first encountered what has come to be called natural wine at the seminal restaurant 360 in Red Hook, Brooklyn, I have been a fan, though a cleareyed one, I hope.
I believe in the promise and beauty of natural wines, while acknowledging that many examples are not good, as is true with all genres of wine. The truth is that natural wines have made all of wine better.
Natural wines could not have offered a more luminous contrast to the industrial practices of the wine industry, a business that marketed itself as pastoral. Many mainstream wines are made from chemically farmed grapes, then produced like processed foods, with the help of technological manipulations and artificial ingredients, to achieve a preconceived aroma-and-flavor profile.
Natural wines, made from organic grapes or the equivalent, and fermented and aged without additions, are unpredictable but alive, energetic, vibrant and surprising. It’s like comparing fresh cherries picked off a tree to red Life Savers.
The winemaking spectrum offers many shades and degrees. Not all conventional wines are processed wines. Not all wines called natural adhere to a strict “nothing added, nothing taken away” protocol.
But the appearance around 20 years ago of natural wines as a group challenged an industry dominated by a postwar promise of better living through chemistry and technology.
Back then, the prevailing wine culture was marked by increasing homogeneity. Wine was elevated to a luxury good, and grapes were placed in a caste system and ranked by their “nobility.”
Natural wine, on the other hand, promoted a diversity of styles. It resurrected and celebrated indigenous grapes and local traditions that had been forgotten or dismissed by wine authorities. It sought to knock wine off its pedestal with irreverence, presenting it as a delicious, fun drink that nonetheless packed emotional and cultural power.
Most of all, it reconnected wine to classic farming as it had been practiced for centuries before the rise of industry and technology. Wine as a product of the earth resonated with young people concerned with the environment, with health and with wellness in its full, and now fashionable, sense.
I’ve seen the audience for natural wines evolve from the nerdy inhabitants of a small, secret parallel universe to a curious, eager, ever-growing crowd. In the last few years, natural wine has been anointed the next big thing, the new “it” wine and all the other tiresome labels issued by professional trend spotters.
In this time, natural wines have stepped out of the underground into the sunshine. Natural wine bars are common in almost every big city, while even some high-end restaurants have devoted entire lists to natural wines.
This new popularity has forced the sort of reckoning that natural wine producers have for so long successfully avoided — namely, what exactly is natural wine and who is permitted to use the term?
In the past, it was the wine mainstream demanding a definition for natural wine, an entreaty that most producers blithely ignored. Definitions smacked of authority, orthodoxy and bureaucracy, exactly the binding forces that many natural wine producers have long viewed as inhibiting their freedom.
I always saw this refusal to be pinned down as a strength. Allowing natural wine to be strictly defined would set it up to be co-opted, the way many organic food companies are now largely profit-making subdivisions of Big Ag.
But the notion of natural wine producers as independent bohemian artisans is tough to maintain when the genre’s popular breakthrough radiates dollar signs, not only to corporate bean counters but also to small-business poseurs.
In a recent pandemic-era Zoom discussion of natural wine, Alice Feiring, a longtime proponent of natural wine and the author of the 2019 guide “Natural Wine for the People,” said she had changed her thinking on an official definition of natural wine.
“I haven’t seen the need for legislation, but that was before it became worthy of imitation,” she said.
In an Opinion article she wrote for The New York Times in December, Ms. Feiring warned that big wine companies were creating ersatz cuvées disguised as natural wines in order to capitalize on their growing popularity. But a threat comes from the small business side as well.
Jacques Carroget, of Domaine de la Paonnerie in the Loire Valley, led a group of natural wine producers that after a decade of work won approval last year for an official, though voluntary, certification of natural wine in France. Wines that join the approved trade syndicate and follow its rules governing viticulture and winemaking will be able to label their wines Vin Méthode Nature.
Mr. Carroget, who joined in the Zoom discussion, said the group was motivated by the discovery that some small producers who were purporting to make natural wines had in fact used grapes sprayed with chemical pesticides.
“We analyzed 34 natural wines and found two had residues, including a wine which came from a famous natural winemaker,” he said in an email from the Loire. “We do not want synthetic chemistry in natural wines.”
As long as natural wines were the province of a small number of producers, he said, he saw no reason for an official definition. “Alas, the business, the greed — when we see natural wine emerge from its niche, we find unacceptable abuses,” he said.
The Vin Méthode Nature charter requires its members to use only grapes that have been certified organic and harvested by hand. They must be spontaneously fermented with yeast found naturally in vineyards and wine cellars, and made without what the charter calls “brutal” technologies like reverse osmosis, thermovinification or cross-flow filtration.
Only small amounts of sulfur dioxide, an antioxidant and preservative, may be used, and two different labels will distinguish between wines made with or without even this low level of sulfites.
The use of sulfur dioxide has been a difficult issue in the natural wine world. Some producers and consumers adamantly oppose any additions, while others are more tolerant of minimal use. The effort to accept both points of view is unlikely to satisfy everybody.
Neither will the requirement that grapes be certified organic at a minimum. Many producers work organically, biodynamically or the equivalent, but avoid certification because of the expense and the paperwork. That is unlikely to change.
“I understand people’s concerns around stifling creativity and freedom by applying rules,” she wrote in an email from England, “but from my personal perspective I don’t think this is something to worry about as a definition won’t kill the spirit of natural wine.”
But she added that practical hurdles, like the difficulty of determining what sort of yeast was used for fermentation, might make it difficult to enforce a definition. In addition, she said, big companies might be able to make wines that conform to the letter of the law even if they do not reflect the spirit of natural wine.
“Will it actually result in a natural wine with the small imperfections that make it unique and the palpable energy from the men and women who made it?” she said. “Of course not. I hope that consumers will not be fooled either and they will continue to understand the difference between ‘establishment natural’ and ‘small, artisan-farming natural.’ ”
That, I think, is a crucial point and perhaps indicates that regulations will not change much of anything. Natural wine is as much defined by the intention of the producer as it is by adherence to a set of rules. Most consumers of natural wines have either educated themselves to know the difference, or put their trust in retailers, sommeliers and wine journalists to point them in the right direction.
Relying on a label to guide curious consumers shopping for wine is a halfway measure, just as produce labeled organic in a supermarket is a far cry from the carefully grown produce sold by farmers at the greenmarket.
I’ve always thought the best way to enlighten consumers is to require bottles to carry labels identifying the ingredients and processes used in producing the wine. Only then can they make educated decisions.
Aaron Ayscough, a blogger who is also the wine director at Tablerestaurant in Paris and is writing a book on natural wine, argues that labeling like “Vin Méthode Nature” asks a lot of small producers and nothing of large industrial producers.
“It’s fundamentally regressive, because it puts the financial and administrative burden of proof on small-scale, artisanal natural winemakers rather than on industrial wine producers,” he wrote in an email. “It would be way more effective to mandate that all wine producers, natural and conventional, list the ingredients and processes used in their winemaking, and let consumers make the verdict about what’s natural enough for them.”
He and I share that ideal, but Ms. Legeron rightly pointed out that wine labeling is little more than a dream right now.
“We are far off this being a reality, not least because some of the biggest players in our industry have no incentive for it to be otherwise,” she said. “So given this, I am definitely not averse to a certification system for natural wine, mainly because it will set basic minimums and help avoid abuse of the category and of the term.”
Ultimately, nothing is wrong with the French label, which is voluntary and available only to producers in France. But for people who have not educated themselves, it may merely provide the illusion of discernment. They may be buying wines that are made naturally according to a set of rules, but that are not in the end natural wines.
Masterclass: 'The Veneto Renaissance'
Tuesday 12th September 2017 - 3pm to 5pm
Ely Wine Bar, Ely Place, Dublin 2
Trade & Press only, places limited
Veneto Renaissance with Francesco Maule, Filippo Filippi & Dario Poddana
What a start of the New Year, We were delighted to receive a very touching accolade from John and Sally McKenna on New Year's Eve: 'Wine Person of the Year' in their Megabytes Yearly Awards: Wine person of the Year - Pascal Rossignol Ten years ago, when Pascal Rossignol first began to introduce natural wines, via his shop and wine company Le Caveau, people scoffed. No one’s scoffing now. Thanks to the patient advocacy of Mr Rossignol and his partner, Colm McCan, we are well on the way to creating a wine world where natural is normal, and where industrialised wines are seen as the over-chemicalised concoctions that they are. The Le Caveau wines are superb, and there is no better advocate for the cause than Pascal. lecaveau.ie http://www.guides.ie/megabites/wine-person-pub-and-drink-year Then, on New Year's day, Tomas Clancy published his Sunday Business Post Wine Awards, in which we retained our 'Fine Wine Merchants Nationwide of the Year' as well as 'Burgundy Specialist of the Year' 'Meanwhile fending off the annual competition from powerhouse Greenacres in Wexford, the other regular winner of the national award is Pascal Rossignol of Le Caveau, now ably abetted by Colm McCan and the rest of Le Caveau Crew. Here the hugely strong base of French wines is now joined by the very best of the cutting edge natural and orange wine world. Le Caveau's influence as a wine shop and as an importer continues to be profoundly influential on the Irish Market and open-hearted wine consumers.' Tomas Clancy, Sunday Business Post Wine Awards
Happy New Year 2017 to all our Customers and Friends from a very happy crew at Le Caveau!