Dudley & de Fleury Wines
Above all Dudley and de Fleury’s mantra is quality. We seek out the very finest wines from small family producers around Europe and although we have a particular love of the wines of the beautiful Sud de France we are not blind to the charms of other regions, both great and small. Neither are we dogmatic about certification or adherence to formulas of wine production, we respect the individuality of the fantastic wine-makers with whom we have a relationship. Each understands his or her own domain better than anyone else and we are proud to represent their remarkable, unique wines.
Our philosophy could be summed up in the following few words:
Organic - Natural - Biodynamic - Independent - Artisan
While not every term can be used for every wine there is one additional word which resonates with every quality focussed winemaker wishing to make fine and characterful wine: Terroir. A word that puzzles many and has been oft dismissed by the more industrial winemakers of the New World as a pretentious nonsense. However no one who has spent time travelling through the old vineyards of Europe can remain inured to its significance. The soil, the underlying geology, the microclimate, the surrounding vegetation and wildlife, even the generations of family connections; all of these things and more go into the definition of Terroir. It is a term that we have come to respect and which underlies the thinking of all of the winemakers that we represent.
Organics and Biodynamics
Most of us are familiar with the term organic for our fruit and vegetables and there is little to expand on this in relation to wine but how does biodynamic differ? We do not intend to go into great detail about the biodynamic process here but there is some great information here: http://www.wineanorak.com for those of you who want to delve deeper.
Fundamentally we like to think of biodynamics as a return to the traditional understanding of the symbiotic relationship between all elements in the natural environment. The modern movement owes much of its momentum to the teachings of Rudolph Steiner in the 1930’s (yes he of the schools) and has been carried on by Maria and Matthias Thun.
While some of its prescriptions may seem to take winemaking into a spiritual realm which it ill deserves it seems harder and harder to deny the superiority of the final products. One might argue that any wine maker prepared to fill cow horns with dung, bury them for six months and then “dynamise” water with the resulting super concentrated manure to use as a spray for the vines (known as preparation 500) has clearly lost his or her marbles. We would say however that any person so committed to their craft is going to make the very best wine that it is possible to make.
If you’re not convinced just try a bottle of Thierry Michon's astonishing Domaine Saint Nicolas Fiefs Vendéens Cuvee Jacques Rouge! You will be amazed what this oenological artist has managed to create out of an old plot of Pinot Noir with a small addition of some lively Cabernet Franc.
The greater one’s love of interesting and individual wines grows the harder it becomes to ignore the growing Natural Wine movement. Harder to define than both organic and biodynamics but incorporating elements of both, you can find more information here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_wineWhile the other terms focus on the vine growing element of the winemaking process Natural Wine takes this further into the winery. Perhaps the easiest way of understanding it is to think of it as anti-intervention; rather than doing and adding stuff to the lovely natural grape juice that comes out of your nice organic grapes, basically just leave it alone! OK it’s not quite as simple as that but fundamentally stop messing around with the wine, no commercial yeasts just those that form naturally in the vineyard and the winery, no fining and filtration, no enzymes, no sulphur except possibly a small amount at bottling. Basically none of the stuff the big industrial winemakers don’t want you to know is in there wine.
Once again, the proof is in the tasting; try a bottle of the wonderful Fanny Sabre’s Pommard Vieille Vigne. Truly Burgundy as it is meant to be; ethereal, even profound and a world away from the mass market negociants wine that we so often pay far too much for.
Ready to escape the drudgery of mass produced, mass market wine?
Welcome to Dudley & de Fleury.