Jean Pierre Robinot - 2019 Fetembulles
Jean-Pierre Robinot is one of the most famed peoples of the wine world, and rightly so. He’s in his early 70s with the energy and enthusiasm of a teenager. He had one of the first natural wine bars in Paris, called l’Ange Vin, and, while living in Paris also was one of the founders of Rouge et Blanc, still one of France’s most influential wine magazines. But he eventually sold the bar and in 2000 bought a vineyard, just out of the village of Chahaignes, where he now lives. It’s also where he grew up.
All his wines are fermented naturally (often very slowly over more than a year) and his still wines in old barrels in humid cellars cut directly into the hills many years ago, some so old that it’s hard to believe that they stay together. He is patient, holding wines in barrel until he believes they are ready, which can sometimes be more than 5 years.
Jean-Pierre has two domaines that he releases his wines under. The first in Les Vignes de l’Ange Vin where the wines are made from plots of vines that he owns and manages organically and biodynamically. His other wines are released under the L’Opera des Vins label. Here he buys the grapes from friends who also manage their vineyards in the same way as Jean-Pierre. He has always had the patience to wait until the wine is ready to release rather than rushing it to the market. And the results show the wisdom of that approach. That being said, if you cellar the wines you'll be immensely rewarded - the sparklings included.
This Petillant Naturel is made from Chenin Blanc. The grapes are sourced from vineyards in the Jasnieres appellation but they do not seek endorsement from the appellation committee, preferring to label the wine as Vin de France. It is spectacular; refreshing, warming, full of meadow, fresh air and wildflowers. It is the peak of petillant and shows that the style can produce wines that rival the complexities of the most prestigious grower Champagnes.
Varietal Chenin Blanc || Region Loire Valley, France || ABV 11% || Vol 750mL