Posts Categorized: Uncategorized

Jenny Holzer, White Shoes, and Old Lovers

I started getting into Jenny Holzer because my work-in-progress is a novel whose protagonist is an artist – specifically, a female artiste. Immersing myself in the careers of artists who identify as women, I came upon Holzer’s “truisms” — a collection of short phrases printed on posters and originally distributed around New York City in random public places, in the late 70s. Later, the truisms became part of an installation at the Guggenheim which included a LED text loop that spiralled around the inside of the museum as if it were traveling along a snail’s background. Holzer’s whirlwind of words, lights, and objects designed to make us consider the weight of language has once again taken over the Guggenheim, with some very timely updates. It’s a powerful use of space and absolutely unmissable if you’re in New York this summer.

Summer 2024 Natural Wine Salons

From right: Belgian importer Marc Hellemans, Jean-Marc Dreyer, Jean-Louis Pinto, Louis Fleuriot of Le Cadoret, and Babass, at Loire Alien in Anjou in July 2023. In the past week, I’ve driven from the Loiret to Burgundy to the Haut Languedoc to Gaillac to Cahors to Burgundy and back to the Loiret. I caught a glimmer of sun one day in the Haut Languedoc, where I was bottling wine, but otherwise have been pursued by rain and clouds wherever I go. Editorial tradition nonetheless obliges me to announce the imminent arrival of summer with this calendar of SUMMER 2024 NATURAL WINE SALONS. New and notable additions this season include NOUVELLE MOSELLE, a new salon organized by venerable natural Mosel vigneron Rudolf Trossen on June 16th in Traben-Trarbach.

Le Mazel: The Most Important Thing Is to Be Honest

Siblings Gérald and Jocelyne Oustric are the proprietors of Le Mazel, a 22ha organic estate based in the village of Valvignières. The Outrics took over the estate from their father, a cooperateur, in 1982, and continued to grow grapes for the local coop (of which Gérald was vice president) until the 1997 vintage. That year, inspired by the work of Marce… Read more.

Life on Mars

I arrived in Marseille after a week-long writing retreat in rural, central France as well as a few days in rainy, chilly Paris, and I basically wanted to do two things: I wanted to swim in the Mediterranean, and I wanted to dance. My closest friend has moved to Marseille and she was more than happy to meet my wishes, bringing me immediately to the Valon des Aufles district to enjoy Campari spritzes while watching a gorgeous sunset over the Med. The next day we met at the Vieux Port to board the “beach bus,” which took us only fifteen minutes along the coast to absolutely gorgeous beaches and rocky swimming spots. Being at the Vieux Port and riding on that bus, my mind flickered with scenes from the 2016 Netflix series Marseille, in which Gerard Depardieu plays the left-wing mayor of the city, up against anti-immigration and gang-fueled coalitions. The series portrays Marseille as a rough, fervent city whose stunning hills and rocky coastlines are shadowed by corrupt politicians.

DROPLETS: The Week in Natural Wine

Cody Putman’s stirring and tonic 2023 pinot blanc-riesling blend. One of the more surprising and delightful California wines I’ve tasted in recent years. Merci Cody!DROPLETS is a bi-weekly round-up of quick takes, clapbacks, shout-outs, and other miscellany related to natural wine, wine-at-large, and the restaurant scene in Paris and beyond. It’s a smorgasbord of natural wine counter-propaganda to the Anglophone and French wine media. The first three topics in a given week are free, with access to the full deluge of ten topics limited to paid subscribers.

Ep. 26: Martin Ho of Pompette

Flaws become flaws when they start masking the qualities of the wine. As long as they don’t mask the qualities of the wine, I always think acceptable amounts of volatile acidity, or a noble reduction, a good reduction, it benefits the wines. It makes the wine more complex and more alive. – Martin HoOf Taiwanese background, born and raised in Denmark, so… Read more.

Ep. 24: Sune Rosforth of Rosforth & Rosforth

Sune Rosforth in the Kulturtårnet, November 2021. Photo: Jade Quintin. I think once you say yes [to a wine estate] and you [start importing its wines], you’re also obliged to continue. I think that’s how you really build up a good relationship, though it can be very hard. – Sune RosforthSune Rosforth is the head of influential Denmark wine importer Rosfo… Read more.

MORE Natural Wine – Exclusive Interview

Chris and Anika Foster talk about how they built a game changing online wine store. An intense story of Covid, sudden success, jealousy and haters.

The Week in Natural Wine

Back when I first began writing about wine, I made a habit of responding at length to curious or risible items in the wine media. I only stopped because I amassed an immense backlog of what seemed like more substantial vineyard visits and vigneron interviews to churn through. (Much of backlog is still there, log-jammed. I work through it whenever I can identify relevant contexts in which to place the pieces. ) The downside to this high-minded approach is it risks giving the impression I am indifferent to, or unaware of, the broader conversation surrounding wine in general, and natural wine in particular.

This October: My Writing Workshop In Italy

A few months back, I announced that I’m offering a writing workshop in Italy this coming October. This workshop is something I envisioned back in 2022, when I realized how much I love teaching writing online and how much more satisfying it could be to connect with other writers in-person. The one thing missing was a good location. I wanted to offer the workshop in Italy, I knew that much: Where the incredible food and ever-growing natural wine scene inspire and nourish me. Where the language fills me with passion.

Meet Sonia Gambino of Gustinella

In the inaugural episode of the LA MESCITA podcast, I’m keeping it pretty simple: I’m reading a profile of Sicily winemaker Sonia Gambino of Gustinella, whose incredible story is shared in Honey Spencer’s new book, Natural Wine No Drama. I’ve also interviewed Honey for the newsletter, so check that out either before or after you’ve listened to this reading. ShareHope you like this! I definitely plan to work on more podcast episodes soon. What would you like to hear on future episodes?xRachelSubscribe now(P. S.

Can Natural Wine Be No Drama?

Ten years ago, the main debate in natural wine was sulfites. Did they add them? How much? When? Did they want to stop adding them? Were they the first in their region to not add them? Never since MSG had a chemical substance (which, to be fair, does occur in nature) provoked so much debate, grist, and at times, petty arguments. I’ll never forget the time I watched an Oregon winemaker dose her barrel with sulfur. She sniffed the wine through the bung hole and didn’t like what went up her nose. Quickly, she procured a white tablet, threw it in, and watched as the liquid inside foamed.

Waste Not, Want Not

If I had a cat, I would name her Agnes Varda, and hope that she helps me see the world in the way the late French filmmaker did. I watched The Gleaners and I (Les glaneures et la glaneuse) on Mubi, and it felt like this film made 24 years ago was so precisely describing the major problems of society—waste, specifically food waste, and the way we look the other way in general toward overproduction or imperfect products. I don’t know why it made me so emotional but perhaps it was the random moments of beauty that Varda finds, such as when she forgets to turn off the camera after filming some gleaners taking the remains of the grape harvest and the lens cap “dances” in a vineyard. Varda sees grace and elegance in the accidental scenes that other directors would throw onto the cutting floor: waste. Or my emotion may have been due to the fact that Gaza is on the brink of famine and its captors are murdering the people trying to feed its innocent civilians.

What Comes After Carbo?

Devatting a carbonic maceration at Domaine de la Grand’Cour in September 2016. From right: Yvon Métras, Ophélie Dutraive, Justin Dutraive, Sylvain Chanudet, and Jean-Louis Dutraive. Here we are on the eve of the Beaujolais natural wine salons of early April, which collectively comprise a sort of Glastonbury of Gamay. It’s been a few years since I’ve had the liberty (and the constitution) to attend them all. This year’s preparations were enlivened by a mild aftershock of Sylvie Augereau’s “Additives versus Intruders” controversy, when natural Beaujolais institution Domaine Lapierre accompanied a March 7th Facebook post of the La Beaujoloise poster with the following text (my translation): Des vins natures des vins bios et surtout des vins droits à la Beaujoloise; on y sera.

Ep. 23: Mathieu Lapierre of Domaine Lapierre

Mathieu Lapierre in his kitchen with a draft of the new poster in January. I was thinking of when I was really young, five to ten years old, at primary school, [of posters that were] just to explain to us the cycle of a tree, or a flower. I wanted to take that kind of academic way of presentation to explain carbonic maceration to people.

Eloi Gros: An Homage to Vanishing Beaujolais-Villages

Eloi Gros at the entryway to the cellar he shares with his father, Ludovic Gros of Domaine des Terres Vivantes. Eloi Gros is the young vineyard manager and cellar master at Domaine Lapierre. In his spare time, he is converting 0. 90ha of Beaujolais-Villages vineyards to organics, split between two sites in Vaux and Le Perréon, respectively. Gros’ first vintage of unsulfited unfiltered natural wine, which he has yet to commercialize, is 2022 (just 1200 bottles).

Renewal in Leynes: Les Vignes de Paulette

Few zones of Beaujolais-Villages have the sheer personality of Leynes, at the northern frontier of the Beaujolais, where gamay often takes on a blackness and concentration reminiscent of gamay d’Auvergne. Here, too, a significant history of natural winemaking, spearheaded in the late 1990s by Philippe Jambon and taken up by several neighbors since, has … Read more.

First Quarter Reflections

Looking back on my first three months as a substacker, a thank you and a request for your feedback.

Why is Friuli Typecast for White Wine?

There are mind-blowing reds to be had in this north-easterly Italian, and Pignolo is perhaps the most extraordinary red grape variety. My report on World Pignolo Day 2024, held in Udine and organised by Ben Little and the Association of FVG Pignolo producers.