Monday, November 1, 2010

Patrice Lescarret’s Dencon

Dencon sounds a bit like a DIY product - not the most appealing name for a wine but it’s named for a reason. The producer Patrice Lescarret of Domaine Causse Marines isn’t allowed to call this wine Gaillac because it’s made solely with the local grape Ondenc which isn’t officially recognised in the appellation. He therefore had to call it a vin de table but couldn’t put the vintage on the bottle so had to number it 7002. The hoops natural winemakers have to go through . . .

It’s unsulphured, unfiltered, unfined, made with natural yeasts and without insecticides or herbicides - in other words uncompromisingly ‘natural’

We picked it up a couple of years ago when we were in Cahors just as we started to get into natural wine and it’s been down to the Languedoc and back to England, finally sitting in our cupboard for about 15 months. Not ideal, we now realise though it’s survived remarkably well as we discovered when we opened it on Saturday night.

It has the typical richness of an artisanal Gaillac white (quince seemed to me the predominant fruit) with the minerality that is characteristic of many natural wines - a lovely wine to drink at this time of year. I seem to remember an extra lushness when we tasted it in Cahors though. I suspect it would have been better if we’d drunk it sooner after we brought it back however it didn’t need to be decanted.

In the UK Green and Blue sell the 2006 vintage for £20. In France it is stocked by and Vin Etonnants and in Australia by Terroir Wines. In London you can drink it at La Trouvaille.

Suggested food matches include foie gras (inevitably in that part of the world, though it hardly seems very natural) tagines, curry (which I think would have to be quite mild) and matured goats cheese. I like the idea of trying it with skate - or other fish - with brown butter . . .


  1. Ondenc is a lovely cultivar.
    Apart from Plageoles, who does his “appellation” credit, it might be a good thing for this winemaker NOT to claim Gaillac AOC.
    And as of 2009, he is allowed to mention the vintage of a “Vin de Table”. Even better, starting in 2010, you have now the “Vin de France” category at your disposal, much more appealing, I think, with its variety and vintage stated, if you so wish.

    By the way, Fiona, do you preserve foie gras with or without sulfites? And which code then (ranges from E220 to E228: pick your own)?

  2. I didn't know about those changes to the rules (and should have done) Luc so thankyou.

    Shall ignore your jibe about foie gras ;-) I just have 'issues' with its production which seems to be very unnatural indeed

  3. Did not know « gibe » could spell « jibe » as well. Actually, it can.
    Thought it was only a figure in funboard. Thank you for improving my English, “en passant”.

    Yes, foie gras. My grandmother brought me up (doesn’t mean she actually EDUCATED me). She was an outstanding cook, but always prepared huge quantities. When I couldn’t eat anymore, as a wee kid, I had to skip on both feet next to my chair, willy-nilly, till the food had found its way down. Geese and ducks must feel about the same.

    As for the rules: the French are wonderful at changing them all of the time. The advantage of the recent ones is that you don’t hesitate to “down-grade” an excellent wine, ‘cause now the essential info to the consumer is allowed (vintage and composition if needed). And you spare yourself the indecent jury for the “agrément” (idiots, most of them) and the cost of an extra pointless chemical analysis. Finally, you can bottle as soon as you wish, clearly an improvement for the fruitiest wines. You see, Brussels does make sense, now and again.

  4. Yup, these do sound more sensible than most!