The Sorcerer and his assistant….

Friday, May 9th, 2014

For many, scepticism hangs over the quality of natural, biodynamic and to a lesser extent organic wines and until now I wasn’t too sure either. The protectionist in me loves the philosophy of organic but my business side says it’s too risky. The sceptic in me thinks biodynamics is too hocus-pocus to reap any decent results but the fairy-princess in me argues that magic must exist. As for natural wines well the mind boggles. So loose is the definition that the first of many questions asked is what does that make all other wines? Unnatural?

The fact however is that there is a growing movement in the wine world for ethically and environmentally aware wines made by winemakers whose livelihood depends on it, who are not peace-out hippies but are simply intelligent and thoughtful in the way they farm their grapes and produce their wines. Le Soula, from Roussillon’s highest altitude vineyards, 45km west of Perpignan, have shown me that and are proof that while magic may not exist in the purest form it is most certainly in the air.

Le Soula White 2010 is a blend of 59 % Macabeu, 18 % Sauvignon, 13 % Grenache blanc, 6 % Chardonnay, 3 % Malvoisie du Roussillon and 1 % Vermentino from high altitude vineyards (for France anyway). The bottle I tried was oxidised and the know-it-all in me grinned a knowing smile to say I told you so. But… La Soula Rouge 2010 was a whole different ball game which is why the white still deserves discovering so I urge you to visit RAW in London next week to taste them both for yourself. The red is less of a witches brew than the white and made of a blend of just three grapes: 71 % Carignan, 25 % Syrah and 4 % Grenache Noir, a recipe that has created a heady and intense red that you’ll want to linger and linger over. Fresh and ripe red and black fruits sing from the glass, rhubarb, plums, sweet spices and light gamey notes add depth and complexity and hints of new leather tannins give texture and length. Oh yes.

The Sorcerer and his assistant, aka winemaker/viticulturist Gérald Standley who runs the Le Soula biodynamic winery in partnership with wine merchant Mark Walford will both be at RAW next week but if you can’t make it pick up a bottle of either from Uncorked, Berry Bros and Fields Morris & Verdin, RRP £23.95.

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