The two main styles of wine in the world

Allergic to additives in wine and food (I can't eat a mac-do burger without having intestinal problems), I am a fan of wines that taste great in length called spiritual style (1) but also for some natural wines.

Sommelier since 1992 and living in Norway since 2012, author of several books...my latest one asks the question should we rethink tasting...


                          The two great styles of wine in the world


Take a comparative example of two wines. Try it at home don't forget to take some air - to splash around - during your tasting.

The same appellation, the same year, the same grape variety possible

Côtes de Provence 2014 rosé cooperative of the wine growers of Correns

The colour is pale salmon pink

The nose is open and aromatic.

The first nose is from pomegranate aroma

The second one is identical.

The attack is smooth, the palate is tasty, the Wine is pleasantly dry with a very short retro-olfaction 20 seconds. Two days after opening, the wine begins decreased in quality. This organic wine is pleasant to drink. He is vinified with synthetic yeasts and its retro-olfaction is short and no complex.

Coral 2014 Côtes de Provence Château de roquefort (Raimond de Villeneuve)

The color is more intense rosé.
Le nose is complex, difficult to determine the aromas on the first day. You have to decant it. On the second day, the wine is more open of spices with notes of pomegranate and minerality. The attack is smooth, the middle is straight, concentrated and powerful. Rétro-olfaction is very long, complex.with fruit and minerality aromas. This very complex organic rosé wine is made from the spontaneous fermentation. It will go very well with the meal. The wine becomes better every day....

The first is good but without retro-olfaction and without complexity. The second is lengthwise - as Hubert de Montille used to say - with a complex retro-olfaction complex. We can certainly even keep it.

Jean-Pierre Frick winemaker in Alsace, specialist of wines without sulfur

2The two main styles in France :

In mondovino Hubert de Montille, famous Bourgogne winemaker explains: "I like wines with long retro-olfaction....we (the world wine) make more width wine (the palete is full body but no retro-olfaction). They're bluffing us. These are the modern wines. You taste them, 3 minutes later you say it's not bad.... Damn, it's a little short. I like my tasting. The final is more long. The wine is not width but long ". For me : this is the difference between the Buccal and spiritual style  

For more than 15 years, I have been defending the idea that we have two different styles in the wine world

Buccal style: wine in width, with no difference in the first nose and the second, without long final (retro-olfaction). Wines made with synthetic yeast during vinification and conventional vines.

Spiritual style: long wine with a great length and a great difference between the first and second noses, and a great return of aroma after wine tasting. You have a mineral sensation that can remain 4 minutes in retro-olfaction. 

Vineyards of the Rapatel estate near Nîmes

3. the sad reality:

According to Nicolas Joly (pope of the biodynamic viticulture in Savennières) "the world of wine remains on the the first path: classic wines classic wines vinified with selected laboratory yeasts.

natural yeasts during vinification represent only 10% in the current wines. Indeed, like a banishment, they are often ignored by oenologists and professionals who have been educated with wines vinified in synthetic yeast

4. a great debate: for or against yeasting.

For yeasting:

"The risk of default and the appearance of bad taste (reduced, ethyl-phenols, ethanal) is superior with "natural "yeasts " than with synthetic yeasts. »

Extract from WSET level 3 - wine spirit education trust :

"to make a good sauvignon, you have to use synthetic yeast".

In the issue of 3 étoiles n°31 (Oct/Nov/Dec), Michel Bettane, a prominent wine journalist, wrote Yeasting ......To believe that they (the yeasts) are born on the terroir, that they belong to it and are the only that they belong to it and are the only ones capable of expressing its character is a vast joke.... ....The best Bordeaux wines of today, the majority of which use selected selected yeasts from Laboratoire have a regularity unknown in the past and unknown in the past and it would not occur to any serious taster to say that taster to say that Chateau Lafite resembles its cousin Mouton or that their that their current wines have lost the character of the old ones.

"Contrary to what we regularly read and hear, there is no yeast on the skin of yeast on the skin of the grapes. At least, not the type of yeast Saccaromyces Cerevisae, those that transform the sugar of the grape into alcohol. into alcohol.

André Fuster Oenologist :

"But, to make a nasty plagiarism, I am an oenologist who has worked for more than 10 years in the field of understanding and the selection of yeasts and then 3 more as a consulting oenologist I found that in the same winery entirely yeast with the same oenological yeast each vat was different, expressed its terroir, grape variety and vintage.

Philippe Gourdon retired winemaker near Saumur

My opinion:

I don't know if they are born on the soil but but they are on the grape bloom first and foremost, and you also find them in the cellar. My first experience with indigenous and exogenous yeasts was at the château de briacé (a viticultural college near Nantes) where the oenologist asked 14 winemakers from 14 winemakers from 14 different terroirs to give him grapes. Result 14 different noses with a more or less long retro-olfaction, on sands we felt a taste of exotic fruits, on complex terroirs we smelled butter. butter. And when the oenologist presented us with wines vinified with exogenous yeasts the noses were more aromatic and the aftertaste was very short. short.

Then for the Bordeaux, I will leave room for my laziness and laziness and your common sense and I would therefore take up the sentences of Pierre-Marie Pierre-Marie Doutrelant (a great wine writer who passed away too soon) in good wines and the others" of 1976 pages 8 and 9 published by Editions du seuil

"Progress has leveled the qualities at the intermediate. When the oenologist supplanted the cellar master, technicality killed the genius killed the genius......Philippe de Rothschild often confides that nowadays you can't miss a harvest at Mouton a harvest at Mouton....but it will probably never again produce a vintage like vintage like 29 ".

Opinions for the native yeast :

Henri Jayer (a great Burgundian winemaker), "as soon as you introduce a yeast foreign to the place, you start to leave the terroir!"

Luc Charlier is a winemaker and decides to but wrote this on his blog:

"We've been making wine, and sometimes good wine, without yeast for probably 8,000 years."

Patrick Baudoin's blog : winemaker in Anjou

"Indeed, the abandonment of old terroirs and of certain types of wines, the switch to all chemical in the vineyards (phytos and fertilizers, surface rooting by abandoning ploughing... degradation of the relationship with the terroir), clones, the very important increase in yields, etc.; in the cellar, the use of standard yeasts, systematic yeasts, systematic chaptalization, similar oenological practices (sensitive but practices (sensitive but similar modifications of the original fermented grape juice) are the the original fermented grape juice) are the actual "technical itineraries" that have "reduced heterogeneity" of the wines, replacing the old "production practices". production".

In an article that appeared in the 5 du vin, the journalist from Quebec Marc André Gagnon: " Isn't the typical taste of the grape variety due to the use of typical yeasts, yeasts intended to accentuate the varietal aromas. to accentuate the varietal aromas. There are more and more winemakers who are going back to return to the indigenous yeasts, the yeasts present in their environment environment, not adding purchased exogenous yeasts. This may result in to have wines that are more original than typical. And that's good.! "

Domaine de Rapatel without sulfur 2006 tested in January 2019

Here's another opinion on: " Spontaneous fermentation is not, of course, responsible for all the problems that may arise, but it is a risk that should be carefully calculated and taken with knowledge."

Jean-Pierre Robinot natural winemaker near Le Mans in the Loire

5.the taste of the land :

In the documentary: "French wines, Donatien Lemaître's hangover", the director invites himself and a sommelier to a wine tasting. All the winemakers have one word in their mouths: "terroir".

But what is the terroir or rather the taste of the terroir in a wine. In Burgundy, all the wine professionals explain to you that the explain that the plots are different thanks to the geology of the soil.

So, if I understand, we have to find the taste of terroir, earth and soil in wine..the "Knife sharpening stone", minerality.

Vineyards of Jean-Pierre Robinot

An overused word:

David Cobbold master of wine about minerality: " So we are in a world of fantasy, certainly romantic and perhaps "selling" (the link with the earth and all that), but purely imaginary.

Henri Jayer " minerality cannot be felt, but it can be appreciated gustatively, by the sensation of sapidity and salinity that all great terroir wines naturally reveal ".

"In the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, the vast majority of wines produced on the planet no longer gave those sensations of sapidity and minerality cherished by Henri Jayer because they were the result of chemical viticultural practices that provided inputs that disrupted the natural minerality of the soils and interventionist oenological practices that provided biochemical inputs that masked the sensation of minerality. Fortunately for the triumphant wine industry, sensory analysis imposed the primacy of the nose, into which critics, sommeliers, oenologists, consumers and others quickly fell.


"The purist chemist may consider it heresy to attribute mineral expression to aromas. For these are of organic origin. But organic chemistry and mineral chemistry are two different disciplines. And the sulfur compounds that our expert tasters often refer to as "mineral expression" are nothing more than organic compounds that have absolutely nothing to do with minerals. David Lefèbre oenologist

My opinion:

In short, there is often confusion between sulfur and mineral retro-olfaction, but also no clear definition for terroir aromas and how they are obtained.

The "minerality" word that does not exist (Thanks to david Cobbold), it is neither present on the nose nor in wines made from syntehistic yeasts.

It is present in retro-olfaction with various aromas often diverse fruit spices for white wines, liquorice fruits for red wines. This retro-olfaction can last for 5 minutes and is only present in wines from "organic" vines and vinified with natural yeasts...



Rethink tasting (define the aromas of inputs chemical and define the difference between buccal and stylistic wines spiritual) is necessary to preserve our heritage: wines with natural yeasts or without inputs. I suppose we're dealing with a a major turning point in our business. The world of wine is changing in the good way.

  1. In Oslo, I tasted Australian wines (no added sulfur for Luke Lambert from Yarra Valley and others too), American wines (Ambyth estate in California, Johannes in Oregon) made organically and with indigenous yeast. In Raw Berlin, Polish wines, checks, Slovenian with the same principle.
  2. Sommeliers such as Philippe Faure-Brac or Gérard Basset (who left us too soon), both with the prestigious world title, are not against natural wines. The first one made a food and wine pairing a few months ago in his restaurant with Floréal Roméro, a winegrower without sulfur in the Gers. The latter had bought all my books and on the last one had even written a preface.
  3. According to the world, more and more sommeliers are switching to natural wine. Me, I don't find.....Perhaps for the new generation. To my knowledge, we are 7: Mickael Groud and Guillaume duprès in Paris, Pascaline Lepeltier from New york (best sommelier of France 2018, and best worker of France), Laura Vidal (La Mercerie in Marseille) and Vanessa Massé in Nice, finally my humble self in Oslo. Out of 70 references, 95% of my menu is organic and in indigenous yeasts. I currently have 10 natural wines with no added sulfur. It goes very well with the customers.....
  4. The second teacher, Fanny Darrieussecq, during my WSET was really perfect. She knew how to recognize acidification, yeast and sulfur aromas. So, it's just a matter of education.
  5. Isabelle Legereron is the latest French Master of Wine. She likes natural wine.
  6. You currently have oenologists who understand the importance of no-input agriculture and winemaking such as Stéphane Lucas of the Domaine des Champs d'Orphée, Julien Guillot of the Domaine des Vignes du Mayne and the Duo Oenologie in Alsace.
Domaine Barmès-Bucher in Biodynamie in Alsace

That's right, I do. I'm not an oenologist. But I have been a professional taster for 25 years, with a big defect: I'm allergic to additives in beverages. My sensitivity is very developed thanks to my lifestyle: I don't smoke, I don't drink coca and I don't drink milk.

I am not saying that natural or organic wine made with indigenous yeasts is the best wine. No, I am simply saying that they are our heritage. We must absolutely create a school of natural wine making with winemakers such as Jacques Caroget or Philippe Gourdon. The latter has created a volcanic sulfur machine (4) in order to reduce the doses. The era of conventional winemaking is behind us, with the worries of poisoning children (2) and employees, the door to the world of organic farming and healthier winemaking is opening. Will the consciences be stronger than the lobbyngs and the greed of some who corrupt Brussels and the politicians as Philippe De Villiers (3) explains in his book and a video on youtube.

 On the other hand, if the pro natural wine professionals give education on the recognition of chemical flavors, it would be a good start. I understand that many professionals are not educated to recognize chemical flavors. Additive oenology represents billions of euros of budget. But more and more consumers have reactions to headache. The first thought about natural wine is: "never a headache the next day". In short, for some time now, manufacturers such as Gérard Bertrand or François Lurton have been offering more digestible wines, even if they are not my style. This is the revival of the industrialists....I don't mind, on the contrary, I encourage them. But, it would be smart to put the techniques and components on the wine as an association wants

Finally, if we want want the wine world to evolve, like obtaining the recognition of the appellation natural wine and the recognition of the two great styles of the world by the major wine authorities. It will not be in France but in It will not be in France but in England at the headquarters of WSET that it will be necessary to strike. They are not closed according to my sources. In the WSET book we can read this: "There is no difference in vintage in Australia difference in vintage in Australia" but for Mark Davidson of Wine Australia, who Australia, who made me taste Luke Lambert's sulphur free wine, confirmed "but there are differences in but there are differences in vintages in Australia. And his idea, would be to call WSET on its differences in vintages. So why not do it also on the differences in the differences in wine styles around the world and the recognition of chemical aromas. chemical aromas.

You have the right to disagree with me. Wine tasting education must evolve. Chemical and synthetic flavourings must be recognised . I believe in total change......Whoever lives..... will see........

 1: extract from the movie Mondovino : Jonathan Nossiter 2006.

2 http://www.sudouest.fr/2014/05/14/malaise-a-l-ecole-1553833-2780.php

3: the author denies having a political or religious religious opinion. But he was captivated by the video of Mr. de Villiers who does not appreciate it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ppiqbjix7JA

4: https: //www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zqyJ-F5BBU


Jean Charles Botte

"Life has been given to us, our duty is to respect this gift and to be aware that we have responsibilities: not to poison ourselves, not to poison others and to respect all living things. JCzen Living in Norway, trained as a sommelier and cook, my philosophy is to love life. I have been writing about wine for 20 years, about life, about wellness. I am very happy when I receive messages of thanks like this one "Your site helps me a lot". My site does not make me money but if it helps people: I am very happy. I can tell you that daily meditation has changed my life; why not you?

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