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…