Château Tour Grise, 2013 Update
To continue my short series of Saumur updates, tastings and new profiles, I come now to the wines of Philippe Gourdon. Sometimes, when I meet Philippe, I wonder why anybody should be interested in the likes of Pat Desplats or Nicolas Joly as potential poster boys for the ‘natural’ and biodynamic movements in wine. Because here, in Philippe, we have everything we need; not only does he have a swathe of biodynamically managed vineyards but also a doggedly non-interventional approach in the cellar, where he ferments in a variety of vessels including cement egg-shaped vats. Those additions that he does allow himself are made with a light hand, with sulphur dioxide treatment being particularly restrained. Wine drinkers trying to eschew all things chemical and industrial will be interested to know that when Philippe does add sulphur dioxide he dips into an ‘organic’, non-industrial source that he has discovered. He uses this exclusively, and he also supplies it to other interested vignerons, not least Frédéric Niger of Domaine de l’Ecu. And this is before we get to those other essential features of a ‘natural’ winemaker, an intense and impassioned gaze, and a mop of tumbling, curly hair (disappointingly, now cropped rather short). Philippe Gourdon ticks (or ticked) every box.
The first of Philippe’s wines I ever encountered was a sparkling Saumur Rosé which had seen out a decade sur lattes, and it was an impressive and interesting wine. Since then I have broadened my experience of his portfolio, still and sparkling, white, rosé and red, and it is often the sparkling wines, remarkable affairs left sur lattes for many years that show best of all. Other styles, the still white and red wines, often display a more oxidative character and although some of them possess an energy that to my palate lends them some appeal, I am certain these are wines that will not be universally acclaimed. It is true that, were I looking to drink from a portfolio such as this, I would be picking and choosing my way through it very carefully indeed.Please log in to continue reading: