My favourite wine bar in Copenhagen, Bar’Vin, had invited for a tasting of the wines of cult natural wine producer l’Anglore on 25 August 2012. The missus and I decided to make a night out of it, as Bar’Vin not only serves great wine, but also makes wonderful, heartwarming food.
First a bit of background about l’Anglore: This 8 hectare property in the Southern Rhône area near Tavel is owned by the Pfifferling family. The vineyards are managed naturally, without the use of herbicides, fungicides, pesticides etc., and with fairly low yields. The work is labour intensive, but viewed as essential for high quality. In the cellar, the Pfifferlings use carbonic maceration for their wines, in an effort to maintain high drinkability. Sulphur addition is minimized but not always completely avoided, as the Pfifferlings are very intent on making wines that are free of essential winemaking defects, thus to promote drinkability and immediate pleasure.
L’Anglore have vineyards in the Tavel and Nîmes areas, with the majority being concentrated around Tavel. The Tavel area has three basic soil types, chalk, sand and galets (gravelly/rocky top layer), but l’Anglore only have vineyards in the chalky and sandy subzones. Their vineyards are surrounded by garrigue, and much attention is lavished on ensuring a natural environment in the vineyard, to promote flora and fauna harmony and ensure the survival of indigenous yeasts which – according to Thibault Pfifferling – is the main and essential ingredient in terroir definition. Only the Tavel rosé wines are marketed under an AOC, the rest being marketed as Vins de France. The wines are very sought-after and in very short supply.
Thibault Pfifferling, son of current owner Eric Pfifferling, had travelled all the way to Copenhagen to present l’Anglore’s wines. The following wines were tasted (as usual with scant regard for colour):
Vin de France Terre d’Ombre 2011
This is made from 100% grenache, from vineyards near Nîmes. It is meant as a very light red wine for immediate drinking. Super-fresh and delicious berry-sweet nose with strawberries, spice, an appetising sweet/green perfume, slight hint of stalk and tar. Light, fresh, round and juicy in the mouth. OK length with strawberries, twig/stalk, a bit of tar, green perfume. Delicious, charming and highly drinkable wine.
Vin de France Les Traverses 2011
This is from vineyards near Tavel, and made from 70% syrah and 30% clairette rose. Juicy nose with dark berries, strawberries, coffee, stalk, green perfume and lavender. Very fresh and juicy, and quite light, in the mouth, round but with good acidity, merest hint of bitterness. Good length, strawberries, green perfume, stalk, coffee. Yet another delicious, charming and juicy wine.
Vin de France Pierre Chaude 2011
This is made from old gobelet- (bush-) trained vines near Tavel, and is made up of grenache with a bit of mourvedre and carignan. Round and broad but slightly closed nose with dark berries, perfume, iron/mineral, leather, quite juicy and fresh. Medium weight, round and juicy in the mouth, slight tannin, hint of alcohol. Good length with berries, lavender, slight alcohol, leather, minerals and liquorice. A slightly darker and more serious wine than the preceding ones, but still with high drinkability and charm.
Vin de France Comeyre 2011
This is from near Tavel, and is essentially a complex field blend dominated by carignan. Vines are some 85 years old and gobelet-trained. Dark berries and dark spices on the nose, with sweet meat, sar, minerals and a hint of tar. Light to medium weight in the mouth, managing to be both soft and firm at the same time, firm tannins, fairly low acidity. OK length with dark berries and spices, slightly flat, lavender/sar, touch of rose and the merest hint of volatility. This is an interesting wine, clearly slightly different from the other reds, and perhaps slightly marred by a touch of volatility.
Tavel (rosé) 2011
Dry/juicy, delicious nose with raspberries, strawberries, flowers and an almost salty minerality. Soft and juicy in the mouth, fairly low acidity, touch of alcohol and touch of tannin, quite dry. OK length, repeating the aromas from the nose, touch of alcohol, dry in a good way. A funky and interesting Tavel, just bordering on very light red wine.
Vin de France Chemin de la Brune (rosé) 2011
This is from vineyards at Tavel, and is another complex field blend, with a bit of everything in it, including the much-maligned aramon. Light raspberries and minerals on the nose, with a slightly reductive tar note, a bit of snail, and very charming. Fresh and light in the mouth, not very intense, hint of alcohol. Medium length with raspberries, light garrigue, light mineral, a hint of flowers (rose), musk and alcohol. A charming but fairly small wine.
We were left with the impression of a serious yet light-hearted operation that produces charming, natural and eminently drinkable wines. I would not fear drinking copious volumes of these healthy wines.
A bit of background on Bar’Vin:
This rustic, simple and charming wine bar cum wine shop cum bistro in the centre of Copenhagen was started in 2011 by my old friend Nils Thyge and partners René Warn and Sergio Costa, all of them old hands from the Danish capital’s restaurant scene. I have known Nils for at least 25 years, since he started out as a young and promising waiter at Café Bee Cee/Kyllesbech & Thalund. Since those days, Nils has become a highly knowledgeable sommelier and restaurateur, by now with the experience and self-confidence to set up a highly laid-back and informal wine-centric venue such as Bar’Vin, which does not aspire to Michelin stars, but nonetheless – at astonishingly reasonable prices – manages to serve up great dishes and a truly wonderful list of wines.
In short order, this has become my favourite place to go for a good meal and some inspirational wines in Copenhagen. My highest recommendations. On the evening, we were treated as follows:
We arrived a bit early for the tasting, so started out with a bit of fantastic Jamón Iberico de Bellota and a glass of Champagne:
J. Charpentier Champagne Brut
Quite broad and intense nose with apple, hay, autolysis, slightly resinous. Dry in the mouth, with good extract, lovely acidity, quite intense, and with a fine, sharp mousse. Long, with apple and quince, mineral, slight resin, autolysis and hay. A handsome, dry, “masculine” Champagne.
After the tasting we started out with a plate of charcuterie, consisting of three types of Italian salami, goose rillettes, more Bellota ham and a plate of brandade with cauliflower, capers and grillled lemon. Classic, with slightly inventive touches, and absolutely scrumptious. Nils served the following with this:
Nicolas Renaud Le Clos des Grillons Mille Neuf Cent Un 2010
This is white wine from a Southern Rhône vineyard planted in 1901, made almost exclusively from bourboulenc. Very interesting nose with quince, resin, quite fresh, but fat, hint of peach. Intense, dry but soft in the mouth. Good length with resin, minerals, quince, peach, light flowers and a hint of bitterness.
We moved on to the main course, which was fried plaice served with braised new vegetables, brown butter and new Danish asparagus potatoes. Wonderful combination of the freshness of the sea, the sweetness of the vegetables, the earthiness of the potatoes and the caramelly brown flavours of the butter. Nils served two wines with this:
The first wine was served blind (the colour information is important here):
Copper/onionskin colour. Light strawberries, redcurrants and walnut on the nose, savoury but sweet, quite deep and interesting. Dry, somewhat tannic, yet fresh in the mouth. Long, interesting mixture of slight oxidation (walnut) and reduction (rubber), very minerally, bruised apple, hint of oriental spice, walnut skin. I guessed at an Italian “orange” wine, i.e. white wine fermented on the skins, with some age, possibly Gravner. The wine: Gravner Ribolla Gialla Anfora 2004.
The second wine was served open:
Sébastien Riffault Sancerre Skeveldra 2009
This is also a natural/orange wine, partially fermented with the skins. Nose with apple leather, orange zest, walnut skin, honey, elderflower, with time a bit of caramel. Light and fresh in the mouth, then light touch of tannin, good acidity. Good length, acacia honey, quince, flowers, then minerals and a lightly bitter volatile touch.
Nils proceeded to put some chunks of Gruyére and Comté cheese before us. Another two wines followed:
The first wine was served open:
Buronfosse Côtes du Jura Chardonnay Le Pré du Bief 2010
Bruised apple on the nose, with minerals, iron, potpourri, slight oxidation/flor, peach skin, Medium weight in the mouth, juicy, skin tannins, slight volatile acidity. Good length with iron, borage, slightly bitter honey, bruised apple, peach skin, lavender, walnut skin.
The second wine, red, was served blind:
Complex nose with forest floor, slight Bovril, mushrooms, truffles, dried cherries, minerals/iron and dried flowers. Medium weight in the mouth, good acidity, finely grained tannnins, quite austere. Very-very long, with cherries, iron, mushrooms, flowers, minerals. Really classy wine. I mucked about in Italy for a while before Nils gently eased me in the direction of Burgundy. Sigh. In my defence I must say, though, that the wine was unusually tannic and austere for a red Burgundy. The wine: Marquis d’Angerville Volnay Premier Cru 2002. This has many years of glory ahead of it.
And that concluded another lovely evening at Bar’Vin.