Sunday, October 6, 2013

Our last bottle of Stephane Cossais Le Volagré

Trevor pays tribute to one of his favourite winemakers.

"We said goodbye to an old friend last night. We drank our last bottle of the stellar chenin "Le Volagré" 2006. We had friends over  for supper including Chris Wicks, late of Bell's Diner in Bristol (in my opinion the finest chef in Britain never to be awarded a Michelin star) and his wife Marti.

We started with a very good organic chenin (from Johan Reyneke) then went on to the Volagré, which I didn't introduce or big up in any way. It was just  "another chenin, from the Loire this time".  Chris, who as well as being a fine chef is one of the few who really gets wine, sipped and raised his eyebrows quizzically as if saying "my God what is this?"

I told them all what it was, and how poor Stéphane died of a heart attack in july 2009. A heart attack that many believe was brought on by the stress of relentless and unending persecution by the authorities throughout his oh-so-brief five vintages. He made "natural" wines you see!! Shock, horror . . .

Chris said simply that he found the wine in his glass to be the equal of the finest burgundies of Puligny or Chassagne and that at the first sip he was convinced he was drinking something from Annie Leflaive.

Apart from this being chenin and not chardonnay, he was also amazed to hear that this wine wasn't aged in a barrique, but only vinified in Stephane's beloved 400 litre foudres.

It's always satisfying when someone whose taste you respect and who has sampled so much good wine in their day agrees with your own long-held opinions. I first drank Le Volagré in 2006, and have ever since held it to be one of the very finest wines I have ever had the pleasure of drinking.

I defy all the natural wine-haters and the carping mean-spirited and closed-minded antis of this world to drink that wine blind and find it anything but exquisite.

Thank you Stephane. Thank you very, very much for your brief but utterly meteoric blaze across the natural wine sphere."

PS If any of you know where we can buy some more Le Volagré, I'm sure Trevor would be ecstatic! FB. And an update. We have now managed to get our hands on a case of the 2008!

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