A lot has been written about Nicolas Joly, and perhaps even more has been said about Nicolas Joly, Biodynamics, and the Coulée de Serrant wines by Nicolas himself.  He is an outspoken and controversial figure who has pioneered biodyanmic viticulture in France and has been it’s most vocal proponent.  It becomes hard to separate the man from the wines in some way, but that is exactly what we did when a group of wine peeps sat down over a very fine dinner at Rouge Tomate.  I tried to not have too many preconceived notions about the wines, but if you watch any videos of Nicolas or read about the admirers and detractors of the wines, you realize that they can be polarizing.  And I can see why.  The wines are different.  Perhaps not too different for those well acquainted natural wine, or with a broad knowledge of wine, but to the average drinker the wines would seem very different.  And by different I mean, they often carry an oxidative profile to varying degrees, and they are quite different from vintage to vintage.  There is no clear character to the wines as they are each unique personalities from season to season, and I am totally fine with that.  There was not a bad wine amongst the bunch, and though all very different a few favorites emerged.  I guess the final thought I have for anyone wanting to experience the wines of Nicolas Joly and Coulée de Serrant would be that to try one would really not necessarily give one the complete picture due to their strikingly different characters from vintage to vintage.  If I was going to pick a place to start, however, the 2005 Les Clos Sacre might be a good place as it seemed the most accessible; the one I would most likely choose to sit down to dinner with and be easily enjoyed.

2010 Les Vieux Clos

Sharp nuttiness, good acidity, and a marked oxidative style.  A good first start.

2010 Coulee de Serrant

Lite nuttiness and flowers and less oxidative than Les Vieux Clos 2010.

2009 Les Vieux Clos

Sweet nuttiness, with notes of smoke and salt.

2009 Coulee de Serrant

Floral and nutty with a good length on the finish.

2007 Les Clos Sacres

The nose is tight at first, but opens in the glass.  There is a touch of lemon nectar and the acidity is sharp.

2006 Les Clos Sacres

Nuttiness and flowers with some lite oxidative notes and good acidity.

2005 Les Clos Sacres

Light sweet nutiness with flowers and smoke and salt and a nice finish.  The 2005 was the prettiest and most accessible of all the wines.  Lovely stuff and one of the favorite wines of the entire group.

2004 Les Clos Sacres

Nuts and bark and matchstick with a splash of sweet floral notes.

2002 Les Clos Sacres

The 2002 Les Clos Sacres veers into a mature Riesling sort of nose with petrol and rubber and sweet nutty fruits.  I loved the nose and it was drinking quite harmoniously and was another group standout.

2008 Coulee de Serrant

Some sulphur and weeds, and wildflowers.  The acid and cut are quite strong here, and it was like very well by some.

2007 Coulee de Serrant

Baked apricot and burnt tart.

2003 Coulee de Serrant

The 2003 exhibited a more oily quality with a balance of salinity and sweet tropical fruit.  A bit more one dimensional but I liked them none the less.

2003 Coulee de Serrant (decanted 48 hours)

Open two days, the 2003 was softened a bit, though I don’t think this vintage need that with its sweet apricot fruits.  It was a bit rubbery in the mouth, but I thought it paired well with our fish entree.

1996 Coulee de Serrant

Maybe the wine of the night, certainly tied with the 2002 for that Riesling like petrol rubber nose.  Lots of pretty sweet love in this one, a great wine.