The French Artists
The connection between wine and art is longstanding. The way we describe wine draws upon the metaphorical language of art.
We speak of harmony, depth, balance. Most importantly, we can say the experience of tasting (as also in art or music) is more than the sum of its parts. The experience of trying to glimpse the whole, the ‘work of art’, as it flickers in and out of focus in our mind’s eye, is unique. And our experience of this changes depending on our mood, the environment around us, our history.
Something similar can be said for the production of wine. It does require technical expertise of course, but the focus again is more than the sum of its parts. It is a unique expression of a time and a place through the lens of a particular producer. While producers make wine in vastly different environments, with different techniques and approaches that are sometimes wildly contrasting, each is an expression of a specific time and place.
The aim of the French Artists programme is to shed light onto a number of our excellent producers who embody exactly this. While they might go about their winemaking in different ways, they all produce something just a little bit ‘different’. That is, something especially artistic and uniquely connected to nature and their environment.
The wines of Didier Picq are some of the best in Chablis, understated but serious, pure and elegant, refined and textured. I can’t get enough of them. It’s wine like this that doesn’t shout for your attention; it quietly beckons you until, all of a sudden, it floods your senses leaving you all too ready for the next sip.
Getting to know each winemaker, occasionally they let slip small details that throw new light onto the story of each wine. None more so than veteran winemaker (and octogenarian) Pierre Dumazet. His wines from some of the oldest vines of the appellation are unashamedly classic in style, but he has been working in a biodynamic direction for decades. The wines are regal, confident and classical. His Côtes du Rhône Blanc must be one of the best kept secrets of the appellation – but no more! Incidentally, we’ve known Pierre and his family for well over 30 years.
Each producer in this series has a unique story we are proud to share. Some might be called modernists, some neo-classicists, some minimalists. All of them have a unique respect for terroir, for nature and for producing wine that is more than just the sum of its parts; wine that is art.