TN Nicolas Joly Clos de la Coulée de Serrant

Nicolas Joly Clos de la Coulée de Serrant is the epitome of Chenin Blanc every wine enthusiast ought to try at least once in a lifetime.

Tasting Clos de la Coulée de Serrant is always a fascinating experience. This time I compared 2016 and 1999 vintages. I opened them two days prior to tasting.

Both wines manifest Chenin Blanc in pronounced escalating acidity.

2016 was a pale golden yellow color. It opened with aromas of peach compote and showed plenty of yellow fruits. 15% Alc. was well integrated. Bitter touch of botrytis and citrus finish.

1999 was amber gold. Inviting floral aromas, honey, crushed almonds and intoxicating rich bouquet leaving pleasant mouthfeel. Autumn wine with a signature botrytis accent. Full of grace in its early adulthood.


This is the extract from the latest article about Nicolas Joly on my website.

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Many years ago I went to a lecture and tasting given by the man himself in London. The lecture lasted about one hour. For the first 20 mins or so, I was with him, understanding the logic , but then when he jumped to cosmology and, for example, the influence that the position of Mars in relation to Jupiter can have on his grapes, he lost me completely. At the end of the lecture we were invited to taste a range of his wines of varying ages. He assured us that his methods resulted in wines that were extremely resistant to oxidation. I tasted them all and imho almost all of them were oxidised.
I remember telling this story to the much missed Anne-Claude Leflaive who was a fellow biodynamic winemaker. She smiled and just said with a rather sad tone, "Ah! Nicolas"
 
4 bottles of the 05 left. The one constant about the them is they feel like a hot vintage.

I remember seeing an article about the wine with a scene of the son in Paris wearing a tin foil wrap.
Having said that, as biodynamic wines, they're one of the more trustworthy.
 
Many years ago I went to a lecture and tasting given by the man himself in London. The lecture lasted about one hour. For the first 20 mins or so, I was with him, understanding the logic , but then when he jumped to cosmology and, for example, the influence that the position of Mars in relation to Jupiter can have on his grapes, he lost me completely. At the end of the lecture we were invited to taste a range of his wines of varying ages. He assured us that his methods resulted in wines that were extremely resistant to oxidation. I tasted them all and imho almost all of them were oxidised.
I remember telling this story to the much missed Anne-Claude Leflaive who was a fellow biodynamic winemaker. She smiled and just said with a rather sad tone, "Ah! Nicolas"
I tried to get him to come to Cambridge to do a tasting in 2004/2005 and recall being bombarded with pre-reading which almost exceeded that for my supervisions at the time. I met him at the LIWF shortly afterwards and concluded he was as mad as a hatter...
 
Having said that, as biodynamic wines, they're one of the more trustworthy.
I'd say 'consistent' rather than 'trustworthy', Sean — that way you cover almost everyone's opinion of the Joly style?

If only one could say the same of Climens, Clos de Tart, Latour, Palmer, Pontet-Canet, Romanée-Conti, Rossignol-Trapet and all the other amateurs who've shamelessly hitched themselves to the biodynamism bandwagon to compensate for substandard terroir and shoddy winemaking...
 
I have a pathological loathing for astrology but like a lot of bio-dynamic wines. I imagine most of them don't take the planetary stuff seriously but it does make me cringe at best.

I've only had Coulee de S once or twice but it has been good, including with a lot of age, but I gather it is a lottery of the most extreme kind.
 
So, Latour, DRC etc. are a bunch of amateurs, are they Chris??
It was indeed an attempt at irony, Howard. Irrespective of how one may view the more quirky tenets of biodynamism, the growing list of eminent producers either certified as biodynamic or openly following biodynamic practice clearly suggest that the basic equation 'healthy soil and healthy vines make healthy wine' more than holds water – I just wish that I could afford more extensive research... :)
 
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Chris,
I remember, in my burgundy importing days, Jean-Pierre de Smet, who was the wine maker at Domaine de l'Arlot, telling me that he was very suspicious of the claims of biodynamic wine making.
However he decided to experiment . He divided a part of one of his vineyards into two areas, treating one side biodynamically and the other just as he usually did. He told me that even before he could taste the results, that he could literally see that the biodynamicly treated side looked so much healthier . His conclusion was that it worked but had nothing to do with cosmology and everything to do with maintaining a healthy vineyard full of a multitude of different bacteria. Perhaps it is not a coincidence that we humans are also much healthier with our guts filled with a multitude of bacteria which contribute so much to a healthy immune system. And, no, I am not attempting to be ironic here :)
 
Chris,
I remember, in my burgundy importing days, Jean-Pierre de Smet, who was the wine maker at Domaine de l'Arlot, telling me that he was very suspicious of the claims of biodynamic wine making.
However he decided to experiment . He divided a part of one of his vineyards into two areas, treating one side biodynamically and the other just as he usually did. He told me that even before he could taste the results, that he could literally see that the biodynamicly treated side looked so much healthier . His conclusion was that it worked but had nothing to do with cosmology and everything to do with maintaining a healthy vineyard full of a multitude of different bacteria. Perhaps it is not a coincidence that we humans are also much healthier with our guts filled with a multitude of bacteria which contribute so much to a healthy immune system. And, no, I am not attempting to be ironic here :)
Howard, you'll no doubt be delighted that this afternoon my dentist gave me a discourse on how important the bacteria in our guts are to our health.

Prior to the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti's conversion completely to biodynamics, it had been run half organically, half biodynamically. Aubert de Villaine repeatedly told me that he thought the big change for estates was conversion to organic, and that there wasn't much difference between biodynamic and organic (the Domaine converted eventually to all biodynamic because, he told me, it was too much trouble to run separate regimes). That said, over the years, I have regularly tasted at many estates that eventually converted to biodynamics, and I can't think of a single one where there wasn't a noticeable improvement in the wines after the conversion (good as they may have been prior to that).

Clemens Busch likewise was organic for some time before he converted to biodynamics but thinks that the conversion to organic is the significant one.
 

Tom Cannavan

Administrator
A big 'biodynamic growers only' tour of Alsace may years ago convinced me that biodynamics is a state of mind. I firmly believe that if they didn't bury cow horns and stag bladders, and used other organic treatments instead of valerian and quartz, that good biodynamic producers' wines would be just as good. It's the mindfulness and concentration on soil health, environment, etc., married to their fastidious approach on yields, fruit selection, etc. That makes their wines great, not the preparations and lunar calendar.

I went on the trip with some scepticism but an open mind, and of the 14 estates visited, the arguments for biodynamics from some convinced me more than others, but the conclusion above is the one I reached. Biodynamics seems to be a very good thing and produces some of the world's greatest wines, but not necessarily because of biodynamics.
 
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Hi Claude, Your dentist is spot on! Conversely, while a range of diverse bacteria is great for your gut, the place where you definitely don't want them, is your gums! Bacterial infection of your gums is linked to many diseases including heart, dementia and even Alzheimer's
What's all this got to do with wine and biodynamics ? Absolutely nothing!
To finish with a wine snipet connected to Aubert,( who you were talking about), the greatest white burg I have ever drunk was a DRC Montrachet 1979, a couple of glasses of which were given to me by Aubert at a paullé in Beaune organised by Drouhin. It was truly fabulous! I still have the bottle as a cherished momento.
 
A big 'biodynamic growers only' tour of Alsace may years ago convinced me that biodynamics is a state of mind. I firmly believe that if they didn't bury cow horns and stag bladders, and used other organic treatments instead of valerian and quartz, that good biodynamic producers' wines would be just as good. It's the mindfulness and concentration on soil health, environment, etc., married to their fastidious approach on yields, fruit selection, etc. That makes their wines great, not the preparations and lunar calendar.
Agree, although there could well be something to the preparations inoculating the vineyard with favourable bacteria.
 
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