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Industry News - February 25, 2022

A Celebration of Craft Wine

Over 50 growers showcased their wines at “Haut les Vins!” in Paris

Written by

Aleks Zecevic

On February 13, Haut les Vins!, a fair for wine professionals featuring over 50 artisanal winegrowers from 6 different countries, took place in Paris for the 2nd time. The way Haut les Vins! speaks about the craft of winemaking is very very similar to our focus at Vintners, being a place dedicated to craft wine. Vintners staff have attended the event and have witnessed the strong sense of community amongst craft winemakers. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic still posing complications for travelers, the event saw high attendance and had safety measures in place.

Haut les Vins is first and foremost an organization of independent winegrowers that offers professional tastings. It was founded in 2007. Their goal is to connect artisanal, terroir-driven winemakers and celebrate their work. Their manifesto states that they only work with winemakers who make wine from grapes only, reveal the terroir faithfully and respect the people who keep the vineyards and the wine world alive. 

Indeed, the organization supports all growers who farm using biodynamic and/or organic principles, but most of all who make wine with passion. Their motto is best described in the quote by Jules Chavet: “Each winemaker must accept his wines as they are in reality and not as he/she imagines them to be.”

The event started at 11am local time and by 2pm, the hall was swarmed with attendees in the hip space of Maison des Métallos. The event attracted industry professionals, press, including foreign importers and journalists. The entry was free, but it is open for wine professionals only. For us, the fair was about the community as much as the wines.

There was a nice diversity of artisans at the event, some that are already famous and some that are developing their reputation. Some producers, such as Eric Texier, the godfather of Brézème, the southernmost vineyard area of the Northern Rhône, or Benoît and Mélanie Tarlant, of their eponymous Champagne house, are so popular that people gathered around them like bees to honey. However, even in these circumstances, winemakers took time to speak about their wines with everyone. 

Eric Texier’s son, Martin, exhibited the profile of younger vines from similar terroir as his father. Martin currently farms vineyards for both himself and the family winery. His wines are a little different, especially the Cinsault. Nevertheless, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, and the talent of winemaking remains strong in the family.

Apart from the aforementioned growers, we enjoyed drinks from a number of artisans at the fair. Some of our highlights included the vivacious wines of Camille & Mathieu Apffel from Savoie. The couple makes wonderful, elegant wines from local grapes, Altesse, Jacquere and Mondeuse. The veteran from Savennières, Patrick Baudouin also impressed with his pure expressions of Chenin Blanc from the Anjou Noir (schist, sandstone and volcanic soils) terroir. Another highlight from the Loire was Quentin Bourse of Le Sot de l’Ange, whose wines represent the more atypical style, but with the classic crisp whites at the core.

Two German producers, Koehler-Ruprecht and Immich-Batterieberg also shook up the scene with their incredibly precise and cellar-worthy Rieslings. To diverge from the norm, wines of GraWü from Alto Adige in Italy, showed the potential of skin-contact whites from the area, but more importantly, Dominic Würth who was presenting his family winery, displayed how good wines from hybrid grapes can be. Dominic is a firm believer that these varieties are the key to sustainable winemaking. And to sweeten up the experience, wines of Renardat-Fâche presenting the nearly forgotten region of Bugey and it’s remarkable sparkling, off-dry wines.

The fair also included cider, cognac and armagnac producers. Domaine Bordatto ciders from the Basque country unveil how terroir can be displayed through fermented apples. Particularly interesting was also the terroir approach to cognac production from Fanny Fougerat. The more classic armagnac from Florence Castarède rounded up the tasting.

On the whole, the fair was a great success and a must visit for any industry professional who wants to understand the craft of wine. These producers produce real wines, ciders and spirits and defend the farming based on living soils and presentation of terroir.

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