Domaine Mastrio – Elegant 2007, 100% old vines carignan from a pop-up winery

        Pop up bars. Pop up restaurants. Pop up shops. Ho-hum. How about something a bit more interesting? Like a pop-up winery, perhaps? Michael Paetzold has done just that in the hills of Roussillon.     I found myself slogging up a hill on a rather gray and chilly day in the Roussillon last week to visit Michael’s “hobby” as he calls it in the Cotes du Roussillon. Michael’s day job is in Bordeaux where he is based and has a very successful wine treatment services company. He has literally thousands of wine clients in France who use his company for their “physical treatment of wines”. Translation, they’re experts in oenotechnical processes. Much too complicated for me but something to do with clarifying, stabilizing, nano-oxigenation, winemaking equipment, etc. An enologist by training, Michael is German and has been working in the French wine trade for many years. When he decided to make wine, he was drawn to the dynamism and terroir of the Roussillon. He originally bought 2 hectares 4 years ago but since then he’s acquired more and now has 15 hectares scattered around the region. He has old vines (average age 70 years old) as is quite common for the region, of syrah, carignan and grenache. The old vines produce wine of great complexity and depth and Michael has been very pleased with the results of his wine making efforts.     Since Michael is based in Bordeaux he couldn’t just ruck up and start making wine. He had to have somewhere to make it. He could have bought a winery but there are not many for sale in the area so he did the next best thing and came up with is “pop-up” or mobile winery. And why not? Seems everybody is doing it, all you need is the technology and Michael has plenty of that. All his equipment comes in on flat bed trucks, from the crusher to the sorting table and even the Range Rover he...

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“Terroirs” – a natural winebar in Central London

                  I was out Christmas shopping the other day in Central London and what a scrum! Even though it was Monday afternooon, everyone and their grandma was out frantically snapping up the best deals they could get and the shops seemed to be more than happy to accommodate. I hate crowds and got my shopping done as quickly as possible. I have to admit, I did have an ulterior motive. I had heard about a new organic wine bar, Terroirs, that’s opened up just off the Strand and since my bus stop was on the  Strand, well, there really was no reason why I couldn’t pop in for a quick look around. There is a growing movement in Europe to produce “natural” wines. The natural winemakers hail mostly from Italy and France but there are also German winemakers in the mix. Many of the wines come from old vines, wild yeasts are used where possible, the wines are unfiltered, unfined and some are even made without sulphur dioxide. According to the winelist notes, the objective of the bar is… …to present wines that reflect the origins of the place, the  nature of the vintage and the personality of the grower – wines that encapsulate the notion of terroir… I had the chance to grab a few words from Vincent, the very charming Frenchman in charge. In between seatings he told me the philosophy of the bar is focused on the person behind the wine, not all the accompanying PR and rigamaroll that seems to go with modern winemaking. In his words, “wine shouldn’t be a product.” The wine list was quite extensive but I had just popped in for a quick drink and to suss the place out for future visits. I didn’t take many notes but do recall that the prices by the glass were quite reasonable, ranging from £4 to £8. I took a seat at the bar and asked the friendly bartender to pour me something interesting. He chose a...

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