posted on December 13, 2016
One of the first principles of biodynamics is that the farm is a self-contained living entity, which means by extension that a biodynamic farmer may add no organic substance to a product of his farm if that substance did not itself grow within the boundaries of the same biodynamic farm.
So the “Champagne Method” isn’t an option at Domaine Barmès-Buecher, because it requires the addition of refined sugar to a tank of dry wine just before bottling (needless to say, beets and sugar cane don’t grow on pink sandstone in Alsace). Instead, François uses an adaptation of the abandoned méthode ancienne: bottling the wine just before the natural grape sugar completes its primary fermentation. It’s a process fraught with the peril of exploding bottles, but it preserves the biodynamic integrity of the wine: there is nothing in the bottle but good grapes, which, according to Maxime’s fiche technique, include about 40% Pinot Gris, 35% Pinot Auxerrois, 12% Chardonnay, and a bit of Pinot Blanc, Riesling, and Pinot Noir.
This Biodynamic Sparkling Wine: Cremant d’Alsace Domaine Barmès-Buecher 2014
This is a sparkling wine that you really want to smell and taste. So use a good wine glass, not a tall skinny flute. The color suggests the golden delicious apples and Bosc pears that emerge in the nose when the wine is first poured. Later, carambola, raw honeycomb and salted marcona almonds move in and out of the background, trading places with freshly shaved nutmeg, fresh sourdough, and a fleeting suggestion of dried chamomile as the nose develops in the glass. On the palate, the wine is rich and mouthfilling, with a fine-grained creamy texture, and a solid core of sapid, honeyed, pink sandstone-infused white fruit flavors, including lemon zest and nectarines, that continues to evolve and put on weight, even after the creamy mousse subsides. This is great wine the minute you pour it, and even better a half hour later. Drink now – 2020.
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