Soon a believer?


“All the biodynamic wines are more floral.” The statement comes from Perez Palacios at the Palacios family’s Bierzo project in Spain.*  

I couldn’t agree more and this summer has – on several red wine occasions – proven Mr. Palacio’s claim to be spot on. In a good to great Pinot Noir I often write down floral. In a biodynamic or organic ditto’s I have noticed it’s the first scent I detect. Especially when it comes to Pinot.

The Barmès Buecher was no exception. Winemaker François Barmès produces Alsace Pinot entirely biodynamical from the estate in Wettolsheim. The grape represents almost 10% of the cultivation in Alsace but few are the wines really closing in on great Burgundy. But one of the most skillful and dedicated are François Barmès. I don’t know if it’s just his talent, use of biodynamical cultivation – or a mix of the two mentioned – but this is good Pinot. Really good.
Either I am becoming one of the biodynamical followers or have just been lucky in my bio choices. However, I can’t believe it’s just a hoax as some would argue – I mean, the proof is in the end….in the glass.
The 2004 Pinot Noir Vieilles Vignes from Barmès Buecher is one of those wines you just love to sniff! For a 2004 Pinot Noir it’s still quite intensely red and not as transparent as I would have thought before popping. Although showing signs of maturing it evolves well during those hours we have it in our glasses. It’s, yes, floral – just the way I like my Pinot, but also shows scents of compost, sweet strawberries, barnyard, herbs and wet earth. Nicely integrated oak.
The floral notes remind me of roses – during the evening they become more like dried roses. A classic bio scent shows up after some hours. Some like, others hate it – liver. Chicken liver. I’ve noted it before – especially in the Faugères wines of Leon Barral and hasn’t really felt okay with it previously. But I guess it’s like smoking – you have to get used to it before you’re hooked. Now I am.
On the palate the alcohol isn’t in balance on the first sip – when checking the wine after popping. But an hour of decanting gives a totally different wine with fine balance, floral notes, meat, compost and dark cherries. It has just a touch of sweetness, not that dissimilar to a German Spätburgunder, and fine acidity. Unusually concentrated and finishing with a long and mineral driven aftertaste.
My new found favorite, Christoph Röper at Biovinum, retails the Vieilles Vignes at EUR 20,75 making it a great buy for all the Pinot cognoscente’s out there. Oh, and those who likes to drink wines with some age.
Am I starting to believe?
(2004 Pinot Noir Vieilles Vignes, Barmès Buecher, Alsace, 91 poins)
* For the full length story on Palacios amongst others, click here.


P.S. It went well with the weather…
  • Ingvar Johansson

    >Niklas, Great post and some very interesting thoughts. I just read the chapter on biodynamics in Jamie Goodes "Science of Wine" and while he argues that there is some evidence that biodynamic agriculture affects the micobiological acitivity. But in the end I think it is like you put it in the posts headline. You have to belive in it. I do belive that it is good for people to have something to belive in. I also think this is something that provokes non-belivers.

  • Niklas Jörgensen

    >Hi Ingvar! That it affects I am convinced of. Then if you settle with organic or go for the full monty is another issue – but the trend amongst winemakers to get demeter certified is a great development for the wine industry!



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