Thierry Puzelat, 2016 Update

With the recent dividing up of his domaine, the Thierry Puzelat portfolio is now rather reduced. Many of the négociant cuvées have been taken on by Pierre-Olivier Bonhomme, leaving Thierry with a core of Puzelat classics, from the warm and hazy tones of Le Brin de Chèvre to the typically pale, flinty and acid-washed fruit of Rouillon.

Even with the new more compact and streamlined portfolio, Thierry (pictured below) remains one of the darlings of the ‘natural’ wine scene. There is no denying the energy and enthusiasm of the man, and he has inspired many over the years, including René Mosse, Olivier Lemasson of Les Vins Contés and Brendan Tracey, among others. As for his wines, I find them today more interesting than I did when I first encountered them more than a few years ago. Then they tended towards oxidation, with some wines more reminiscent of cloudy, cidery concoctions than wine. Others seemed funky and yeasty, or even plain acetic. They weren’t alone in this of course, as these are all common problems in the ‘natural’ wine scene in the Loire Valley, and it is all too easy to find wines matching one or several of these descriptions if you visit the region to taste (rather than from the ‘bubble’ of natural wine fairs such as RAW or the Real Wine Fair, where a highly selected subset of wines give, in my opinion, a falsely positive impression of the scene).

Thierry Puzelat, 2010 Update

In more recent years, however, Thierry’s wines feel less troubled, and are of more interest to me as potential ‘drinking material’, although they are certainly still distinctive. There are interesting styles, textures and flavours. They are generally wines in the vin de soif style, wines which – if you like the style – deserve drinking as soon as possible. They are not wines I would expect to perform in the cellar in a predictable or positive fashion.

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