Skip to content

Michel Chapoutier: In the world of natural wine, “the danger of the ayatollah scares me”

The following article appeared today on the Drinks Business website.

Speaking at the annual Mentzendorff trade tasting in London this week on the subject of “Authenticity, Individuality & Quality”, Chapoutier, who has farmed biodynamically since 1991, argued that the evolution away from chemical treatments “is sometimes going too far.”

“If you do put out a wine with high VA [volatile acidity] or too much Brettanomyces, don’t lie and say that it is the goût de terroir,” he remarked. “That’s how they made wine 200 years ago.”

Complaining that the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée system had become “like a marketing gimmick,” he argued that as its profile grew, “too many people began to use the name as a brand, but with no sense of respecting the terroir.”

Instead, Chapoutier insisted: “To be called AOC, the wine has to be representative of the AOC – they can’t make wines with defects. We should guarantee that what we offer not only guarantees the place, but represents the place.”

Praising the work and quality recognition achieved by high profile biodynamic pioneers such as Lalou Bize-Leroy and Domaine de la Romanée Conti, Chapoutier acknowledged: “Today thanks to the work of biodynamic and organic farming we have never seen so much diversity.”

However, he criticised the “dreamers” whom he believes have pushed biodynamic principles too far, remarking: “If you have a horse smell in the wine that is a defect. If you have Brett, the same horse character will be in Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Rhône – you lose the authenticity.”

Michel Chapoutier addresses his audience at the annual Mentzendorff tasting in London
In reference to the vocal advocates for natural wine, Chapoutier commented: “The danger of the ayatollah scares me.”

Click here to continue reading…

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: