While Thierry Puzelat may have stopped “going to church,” as he put it when we visited him, he never gave up on all of his biodynamic beliefs and the insights he gained by working his Loire vineyards at Clos du Tue-Boeuf. Instead, as a “mad scientist” might, he experiments and uses what works on the land his family has worked for centuries (literally since the 15th his family has been in wine!)
When he joined his brother in the 90s in the family business, they began their move to organic and biodynamic wine grape growing.
Along with his brother Jean-Marie at Clos du Tue-Boeuf, Thierry led the way toward a natural wine movement in mid-90’s Paris, and spread it in the Loire, the “Garden of France” where many wineries now are devoted to natural wine making, biodynamic principles and organic growing.
His brother Jean-Marie moved on; today Thierry makes the wine and the decisions, and his daughter (pictured above) is well involved with the business.
Hervé Villemade, a member of the second wave of natural winemakers in the late 90’s, says: “What really made me start to believe I could make wines in this style were Thierry Puzelat’s. Marcel Lapierre’s were the spark, but he lived 450 kilometers away from me and was working with very different terroirs; having a neighbor pull it off right next door was the inspiration and motivation to follow in his footsteps.” (Source)
Another way that Thierry is famous for being a rebel is that he grows the grapes he wants to grow– whether they are “allowed” or not. For example, the wine we write about below is a VDF Vin Rouge, simply a wine of France.
In April, for Earth Month, Sue and I are hosting the French Winophiles as we explore “Organic Loire, the Garden of France.”
Want to join us? Directions on how to participate follow!
We want the Winophiles to find wines that are made organically, biodynamicially, sustainably, naturally from anywhere in the Loire from Muscadet on the west near the Atlantic to Anjou to Chinon to Vouvray to Touraine to Sancerre to the east and anywhere in between! Wines can be red, white, sparkling or dessert. They can even be a VDF — Vin de France– if you know the grapes were grown sustainably in the Loire.
The wines don’t have to be certified, but it’s sure easier for consumers to know how they are made if they are!
However, not everyone “goes to church” as Thierry put it.
His wines, for example, are grown organically but you may not find any information about certification on the labels — you just have to know him and his commitment to make a certain type of wine as well as his commitment to the vines, the vineyard, and the ecosystem where his grapes are grown.
Other wines we’ll be writing about in April from our visit in 2019 to the Loire include Guillaume Reynouard of Manoir de la Tête Rouge and organic Domaine Vincent Careme.
When we were in the Loire, we also visited Xavier Amirault but we are all out of his wines!
2018 Clos du Tue-Boeuf “Vin Rouge” Gamay VDF
If you like your fine wines farm-barn funky, you will be in horse heaven with this cloudy, rosy, fruity, gamey Gamay in your glass!
Color: Cherry red, blood red, kind of rosey, very cloudy, unfined and unfiltered, not very deeply hued but lots of texture.
Nose: Eating cherries while in a hot spring, fruit and earthen funk. Very pleasant and complex with cherries, rhubarb, mossy stone, river moss, rich earth, herbs de Provence.
Palate: Smooth yet tart, nicely mouthwatering, rich soil, slate, saline, rhubarb, cherry, raspberry, clean and light yet rich in flavor, violet pastelles. We both found this to be a fantastic wine.
Pairing: Loves the truffle brie, the smell of the mushrooms cooking is so enticing and enhances the fruit on the nose and then put the truffle brie in your mouth –bam. The sautéed chard brings out such sweetness in the wine. It loves the earthy richness. It is revitalizing. invigorating. So fantastic together. Beef bourgnogne was a spectacular wine with this meal. It makes the meat so rich and brings out such heady cloves and baking spices in the wine. It loves the earthy mushrooms that were mixed with the chard. It loves the rich earthiness of the meal. I have done this meal with a Pinot Noir, and this is so much more interesting. WOW it is so good.
Pairings for a gamey Gamay:
- truffle brie makes the wines so fruity and delicious
- pate with the wine brings out the rich liver quality
- combo of truffle brie and pate on garlic bread works really well
- toast the bread first!
- fantastic with goat cheese topped with cognac fig jam on a cracker
- think pinot noir– if you like it with PN, you’ll likely like it with Gamay — at half the price!
How to Join the Fun:
- Post in the Facebook event, comment below, and/or send an email to tell me you’re in: Include blog url, Twitter handle, and any other social media details: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Find a wine from the Garden of France, The Loire Valley, and tell us the story about how and why it’s organic, sustainable, biodynamic. Wines can be red, white, sparkling or dessert!
- Send your post title to me by Tuesday, April 13 to be included in the preview post; include in title “#Winophiles”
- Publish your post between 8am April 16 and April 17 8:00 a.m.; you can always schedule your post in advance.
- Include links to the other #Winophiles participants in your post, and a description of what the event is about. I’ll provide the HTML code that you can easily put in your initial post — which will link to people’s general blog url
- Participate in the Saturday Winophiles twitter chat; 8am Pacific. I’ll post the questions here and in the Facebook event.
- Once all the posts are live, I’ll send updated code so you can update the permanent links to everyone’s #Winophiles posts.
- Get social! After the posts go live, please visit your fellow bloggers posts’ to comment and share. We have a Facebook group for participating bloggers to connect and share, too.
- Sponsored posts are OK if clearly disclosed. Please be sure to disclose if your post is sponsored or if you are describing wine or other products for which you have received a free sample.
For a bit of more fun– especially if you speak French!
Join the Winophiles in 2021! Here are our themes and hosts:
- April: Organic Loire, The Garden of France | Hosted by Sue and I!
(Facebook event: https://fb.me/e/3IUW7hyUA)
- May: Chablis | Hosted by Jill Barth
(Facebook event: https://fb.me/e/3LJkpQxJU)
- June: Maury | Hosted by Lynn Gowdy
- July: Alsace | hosted by Rupal Desai Shankar
- August: Jura | Hosted by Payal Vora
- September: TBD | Hosted by Christy Majors
- October: Julia Child meals + French wine | Hosted by Cindy Lowe Rynning
- November: Affordable Bordeaux for the Holidays (maybe Cru Bourgeois) | Hosted by Linda Whipple (Facebook event: https://fb.me/e/1upk9dV8P)
- December: Crémant from All Around France | Hosted by Susannah Gold