Category Archives: Savagnin

Savagnin blanc (not sauvignon blanc) is a white flesh, green skin grape that ripens late with low yields. It is grown mostly in the Jura (Eastern France) for vin jaune (table) and vin de paille (dessert). Germany, Austria and Switzerland grow it, as do the Australians (unwittingly thinking it was albarino). The grape is from the Traminer family of vitis vinifera, probably originating in what is now Bolzano, Italy.

Tasting Chateau Chalon, Vin Jaune (yellow wine) and Marc (brandy) by Bourdy Jura, France

A few months back Wayward Wine reviewed Biodynamic wines by Bourdy from France’s smallest, most extreme region: Jura, France (click here for that post). From 2010 to 1967, the wines ranged wildly from taught and acidic to spiced and honeyed. … Continue reading

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Serendipity: Biodynamics -vs- Wines from Jura #MWWC13

Serendipity provides the lucky theme for this 13th Monthly Wine Writing Challenge. So, what role does fortuitous chance play in wine? Well, one theory thinks we can control nature’s chaos: biodynamics.

Logo DemeterImagine organic wine-making on astrological steroids, based, weirdly, on lectures given by Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner in the 1920s. I won’t bore you, but biodynamics looks at a vineyard as a whole ecosystem tied to celestial phenomenon and proscribes rituals to better enhance sustainability and produce. Intriguing…

However, bio-ists also latch their lunar planting calendar to a wine tasting calender (no really). 1st century Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder said the moon “replenishes the earth; when she approaches it, she fills all bodies, while, when she recedes, she empties them.” In theory, wine lives, and moon phases effect it just like living plants. Now wine certainly evolves and changes chemically with time and oxygen exposure, but to consider it “living” is like believing in zombies: those grapes aren’t growing anytime soon.

But can this (pseudo) science really predict chance? If we can calculate and plan our pleasure: “today is a leaf day, I shall avoid wine for maximum delight!” does it rob us the joy of surprise? Can we control serendipity?

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Savagnin: vin jaune, Domaine de Montbourgeau, L’étoile, Jura 2000

The grapes are harvested late in the season, by hand, quickly crushed and pneumatic pressed. Then the wine rests for six months, before being transferred into 230 liter, old barrels to ferment. It is taste-checked a few times annually for … Continue reading

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