Tom Lubbe, a biodynamic vigneron in Roussillon who hails originally from South Africa, writes in responding to the statement, “We’ll see who are the real biodynamic producers this year. If they’re really biodynamic, this year they won’t have any wine.” I tasted Tom’s excellent old-vine Grenache called Matassa earlier this year. To his email:
This is the kind of lunatic (no positive connection to lunar cycles) assertion that the Bordelais, or those who spend too much time in the environs, are prone to making. A difficult vintage should have no bearing on the basis of your cultural method in the vineyard. The assumption that no “truly” biodyamic (and organic?) vigneron could make wine in 2007 shows a paucity of comprehension for what biodynamics (and organics?) actually entails and the multiple benefits that issue from a more holistic, natural approach to viticulture. A naturally farmed vineyard’s ability to resist pathogens is dependent on the condition of the soil. If the soil is alive with a rich diversity of microbial activity (and the oft forgotten earthworm) the vineyard’s resistance to disease is naturally stronger , much like the bacteria we need in our gut . In fact, the real grape when fighting off pathogens such as oidium or downy mildew without the interference of systemic chemicals produces increased levels of polyphenols, which as we now know affect not just taste but our health and nutrition as well. In real wine I like to think these three elements (taste, nutrition and health) are as intimately linked as they are in real food.
Indeed, if a vigneron labours through the years to regenerate a living soil and still cannot take in a reasonable harvest this would be a sure sign that they are working a mediocre terroir for grapes and they should either relocate their viticultural efforts or plant rice. That Bordeaux was originally a swamp developed by the English and Dutch, two essentially mercantile/military nations with insatiable thirsts for cheap booze, does come to mind when regarding the nature and frequency of bad vintages in Bordeaux. (Does M. Rolland do sake?) Kampai, Tom