Wine Tasting – French 2012

Organic Wine Tasting: Loire Whites & Rhone Reds

Organic Wine Tasting – Friday 20th July 2012, 7.30pm £12.00

french wine july 2012

France is a land of deep-set gastronomic tradition. Each region is proud, even protective, of its provenance, and the uninitiated can feel overawed and constricted, afraid of appearing ignorant, of getting it wrong.

Wine is key to French culinary tradition – it features in many classic dishes as an ingredient, and a meal is dry, lacking sauce, without it. France is customarily the world’s leading exporter of wine, and yet many consumers feel that they lack knowledge to buy French with confidence. Grape varieties are often opaque and can be misleading, as different regions produce very different wines, depending on their soil type and their particular climatic conditions. These geographical factors are known as terroir.

The Greenhouse will be exploring two broad types of terroir at its next organic wine evening, Loire Whites and Rhone Reds. We will feature a Sancerre from Christian Dauny and a Muscadet from Alexis Sauvion. Then, having refreshed and invigorated you with crisp, mineral whites, we will move on to the Rhone reds. Starting with a last chance to try the lauded 2007 vintage of Domaine Mas Theo’s Coteaux Du Tricastin, with its clean red fruit flavours, we will progress to a commended biodynamic red entitled Le Cadet, a gift of considerable finesse from the Montirius Estate. We will round off the wines with the award-winning full-bodied and peppery Valreas from La Grande Bellane.

To honour that Gallic symbiosis between food and wine, ticket prices include nibbles designed to complement the wines – including goats’ cheese, mushroom pate and onion tarts made by Carole Munro, the Greenhouse’s chef, who hails from Valence, in the Rhone Valley. All the wines are suitable for vegans, and vegan nibbles will be available – please specify your requirements when booking.

To adopt organic viticulture is a bold expression of difference. Only 4% of French wine sales are organic, in keeping with global trends. France is the world’s third largest user of pesticides, spending over two billion Euros on them each year. 20% of these chemicals are used on vines, though vines account for only 5% of French farmed land.

As consumers, the key to creating change is to support the producers committed to difference. You can do so by spending the evening of Friday July 20th at the Greenhouse, tasting good wine, sampling good food and enjoying good company. Doesn’t sound too onerous, does it?

A place at Loire Whites and Rhone Reds costs £12.00. You can reserve yours by paying in advance in the Greenhouse café.


1) Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine, La Petite Fessardière, Alexis Sauvion 2009
(Biodynamic, 12% vol, £10. Grape variety: Melon de Bourgogne)

2) Sancerre, ‘Les Caillottes’, Christian Dauny, 2010
(12.5% vol, £14. Grape variety: Sauvignon Blanc)

3) Coteaux de Tricastin, Domaine mas Theo 2007
(13% vol, £8.50. Grape varieties: Grenache/Syrah)

4) ‘Le Cadet’, Montirius, 2008
(Certified Biodynamic, 12.5% vol, £11.25. Grape varieties: Grenache/Syrah/Cinsault)

5) Valréas, Domaine de la Grande Bellane 2009
(14% vol, £10.50. Grape varieties: Syrah/Grenache )

‘Feedback from Aglianico, Malmantico, Magnifico!, our recent Italian wine tasting:

“Excellent, as usual.”

“Made all the more interesting by the informative introductions, which don’t prejudice you to the taste”

“Compere was brilliant! We learnt a lot.”

And remember!
‘When I hear people say ‘this one has a hint of green pepper’, I think “For heaven’s sake, stop it!” The important matter is: Is the wine alive?’
(Nicolas Joly, French winemaker and pioneer of biodynamic wine movement, from his speech at the RAW wine festival, May 2012)