Monday, April 10, 2017

Lucy Margaux Wines

Lucy Margaux is one of the new breed of natural wine producers. Nothing gets added, no fining, no filtration. If wines were scored on the old 20 point scale, where 3 points are reserved for colour, these wines would not get out of the starting blocks. The colour of the wines is cloudy. Is this a fault? Not necessarily. The proof is really in the drinking.

The first wine I taste is the 2016 Lucy Margaux Vino Rosso Sangiovese Pinot Gris. You now know already that conventions do not count for much here. This wine is a 50/50 blend. Maybe the Pinot Gris is supposed to do to the Sangiovese the same as the Viognier to Shiraz. But do you need 50%? The wine is very fruity and sweet and bares little resemblance to the kind of wines I normally drink (82 points).

The main game is Pinot Noir. The first of four is the 2016 Village of Tiers Pinot Noir. This is quite an accomplished effort. Forest berries dominate on the palate, before some elegant tannins kick in (89 points). Then come the single vineyard wines. The 2016 Little Creek Pinot Noir is much darker, with black cherry fruit and fresh acidity - a well structured wine (92 points). The 2016 Monomeith Pinot Noir is quite different. It is red fruited and very feminine with an open and gentle texture (91 points). The 2016 Estate Pinot Noir is from the home vineyard. Its profile sits in the middle between the last two. It is the most complex wine with quite an intriguing fruit mix on the palate (92 points).

The Pinot Noirs are certainly an interesting set of wines. I have been worried about the age-ability of natural wines, but apparently a six year old Monomeith was drinking well, according to a friend. One concern is that Anton van Klopper, the winemaker has now stopped to add any sulphur. He added a small amount in the past.

The types of wines tasted here find an enthusiastic following with young wine drinkers. I am still a little puzzled: normally, what you look for in wine is intensity and/or elegance, freshness or finesse. I am not sure what I am supposed to look for in natural wines, because they are not particularly strong on those dimensions. There is a strong philosophical bend in these wines, not to be a 'chemist', but an artist, says Anton van Klopper. Hmm.

If you look for something funky and different, and a natural wine made with some skill, then these Pinot Noirs could be for you.

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