Nicolas Joly, 2017 Update

I come now to my annual trek into the world of Nicolas Joly, a world where biodynamics rules in the vineyard and non-interventionism rules in the cellar. Nicolas is occasionally referred to, rightly or wrongly, as the ‘Godfather’ of biodynamics, a title bestowed afresh each time a journalist needs a strapline to accompany the latest Joly interview. I think it a little sad that François Bouchet, who was tending his vines in Saumur according to biodynamic philosophies as far back as the 1960s, is so persistently overlooked when it comes to applying the Corleone tag. Although, to be fair, nobody can deny that Nicolas has been a most vocal and public protagonist of this particular way of working, so perhaps the title is appropriate.

Nicolas Joly & Clos de la Coulée de Serrant

Interviews with Nicolas Joly (pictured above) tend to follow the same rather rigid format. Nicolas worked in finance. Nicolas returned home to the family wine estate. Nicolas uses herbicides after his arrival, but subsequently regretted it. Nicolas ‘discovers’ biodynamics and radically changes his way of working. Nicolas becomes the ‘Godfather’. Nicolas eventually takes the Savennières Coulée de Serrant appellation (of which he is the sole member, which must make voting at the syndicat meetings straightforward) out of the regional body, InterLoire. Such interviews are often backed up by third-party opinion on the quality of the wines, from respected wine critics who tasted the wines (probably squeezed between two hundred samples from Burgundy and two hundred recent releases from Chianti and Montepulciano) and declared them to be great wines.

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