at wine competitions, those absent are not always wrong

“Medals are out of date, and I use most guides to light my fireplace. “ If some winegrowers run after honors and rewards, it is an understatement to say that Bertrand Jousset disdains them. Installed in Montlouis-sur-Loire (Indre-et-Loire) since 2004, he and his wife, Lise Jousset, may produce some of the most exhilarating chenins of the Loire, these wine activists without inputs claim a course out of competition . Like the world of “natural” wines, reluctant to the principle of decorations.

“Humanly, this competitive spirit is not like us”, insists the former soldier, who became a wine worker, before creating his estate with his partner, a former sommelier. “Those who make truly free wines don’t care about these charms. “ For the Joussets, as for many natural winegrowers, the competitions convey the stereotypes of conventional viticulture that they reject as much as they have rejected them.

Read our survey: Article reserved for our subscribers All tastes are in natural wine

“Our wines rarely correspond to the canons in force in the competitions”, notes Jacques Carroget, president of the Union for the defense of natural wines. Just as he abandoned the appellations of origin to which the production of his domain La Paonnerie, in Vair-sur-Loire (Loire-Atlantique), could claim, he decided to no longer compete for medals. « I used to do this, but from the moment I went organic, I didn’t win a single one anymore. You might as well stop …, he assures, between spite and pride. The expression of the grape and the paw of the winegrower interest me more than the criteria of a jury. “

The credibility of the tasters questioned

An activist in natural wines since the end of the 1990s, journalist Sylvie Augereau, creator of the Dive Bouteille salon in Saumur in 2000, is now working on the seventh vintage of the estate she acquired, in the Anjou appellation. “The exclusion suffered by many winegrowers was both a discouragement and an encouragement. A way of emphasizing their desire to be different ”, she analyzes. The neo-winegrower notes all the same that “The cleavages are blurring”. In part thanks to a greater openness of the traditional prescribers. To the point that she sometimes risks presenting her wines to juries tasting blind: “It’s always gratifying to be recognized by professionals. ”

“Our wines are made to be drunk while eating, rather than to be tasted and spat out among hundreds of others. »Eloi Dürrbach, winemaker

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