Alexandre Bain, 2016 Update

In an appellation that apparently features only three organic domaines, only Alexandre Bain (pictured below) has gone the extra mile to convert his vineyards to biodynamics. This is, I suppose, an important distinguishing feature of the domaine, but for me it is not this that makes his wines stand out from the crowd. Rather it is his tendency to pick late, just as botrytis begins to take hold in the vineyard, that really defines the Bain style. These wines are as a result idiosyncratic examples of Pouilly-Fumé, rich and textured, filled with the flavours of ripe, almost botrytised fruit, in particular plum jam, apricots and mirabelles.

Alexandre Bain

It might come as no surprise, then, to learn that in the 2014 vintage these wines don’t wear the Pouilly-Fumé appellation. This latest trip into Vin de France territory is not, however, because his wines were judged to be atypical. In fact, the reason for his exclusion from the appellation seems rather more banal, an over-reaction on the part of the INAO to a missed appointment. Inspectors were due to visit the vineyards during August 2015, but they cancelled and made a new appointment in early September. Alexandre protested, making clear he couldn’t see them at that time, citing the proximity of the harvest, but it was to no avail. In mid-September Alexandre received a letter stating the wines would be excluded from the appellation. As you might imagine Alexandre, who values having the appellation, is more than a touch aggrieved.

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