Adieu Basel

It has been quiet on here for quite a while – the reason being that my wife and I have now moved back to the UK. After 17 years living and working in the Basel area, I am currently going through some sort of ‘expat re-entry shock’. However, we have landed in a half-decent place, so I have no reason to complain.

That’IMG_2133s enough personal stuff. Time to get this blog started again.

There is a small wine shop situated not far from our new abode that specialises in what it refers to ‘craft wine’. I had never seen the term before visiting their website, though I suppose the people who coined it logically had the craft beer trend in mind. In practice, what they sell are ‘organic, biodynamic and natural wines’. The store, located in a former railway station, really is tiny. Actually, it’s more like a stand than a store. Bottles with labels ranging from the quirky to the wacky dominate what little shelf space there is.

They sell a Riesling priced normally at around 9.50 euros in Germany. Thanks to UK duty and the abysmal exchange rate into pound sterling, the wine’s retail price here is a whopping £17. Even the price in Switzerland is cheaper in comparison. I’ll let you make your own conclusions about that.

Nevertheless, I still wanted to purchase at least one bottle. However, it had sold out by the time I visited the store a second time with exactly this intention in mind. Instead, I left with a bottle of this similarly priced substitute.

Domaine de la Sénéchalière (Marc Pesnot), La Bohème 2015, Vin de France, Bretagne sud (pays nantais)
This is something completely different. Made from the Melon de Bourgogne varietal that is commonly grown in the Muscadet appellation, to which Marc Pesnot’s property belongs geographically, if not legally.

Golden or almost pale amber in appearance. Initially almost like Christmas on the nose, with honeyed orange peel reminding me of Basler Läckerli, as well as hints of ginger and Seville marmelade. This is an evolving aroma … soon I get Sherry-like notes along with raspberry jam. Similar characteristics on a dry palate, but then a cidery element emerges. This is reminiscent of the meady flavours of Pierre Frick’s ‘natural wines’. Certainly an acquired taste, and certainly very vin nature. The texture is slightly chewy. The wine does not offer much to me in acidity, but yeasty secondary notes offset this to a certain extent, providing some complexity.

Fast-forward to the next day. “Do all ‘natural wines’ taste of apple mead?” I ask myself as I start sipping again. Yet, these cidery notes start to recede all of a sudden. Now we have pear and something more tropical on the nose. Melony on the palate, then a minerally sensation takes over. Acidity – almost non-existent yesterday – has come belatedly to the party. Admittedly, a meady suggestion continues to linger in the background, but I’m starting to get it now. The finish lingers for a good minute. Ultimately, this is a very interesting find. A no-brainer really, but this wine evidently needs a lot of air.IMG_2134

 

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