Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Didier Barrouillet and a cure for esca? – Wine Terroirs

Following on from the end of my last post with some small, high-quality Loire producers deserting appellation contrôlée because of its perceived failure to incorporate environmental concerns within its rules, Bertrand Celce has another excellent article on his blog – Wine Terroirs. It's an interview with Didier Barrouillet of the Clos Roche Blanche. Didier explains how he uses plants to build micro-diversity in his vineyards and micro-bacteria in his soils. He claims success against esca, which is a grave threat to the Sauvignon Blanc vines. Didier is convinced that there is a link between esca and the widespread use of Roundup that in time leaches down to a vine's roots killing the micro-bacterial life that can protect a vine. Typically the INRA (France's vine research institute) considers Didier to be a 'lunatic'!

... and this is sane!?

I was aware, and Bertrand's article confirms this, that Didier, like Claude Papin and others, has grave doubts about turning the soil over and thus destroying its profile.

Didier is nearing retirement – he and Catherine Roussel have reduced the size of Le Clos Roche Blanche to nine hectares – and he intends to concentrate on his work in the vineyard. It would be good to see Didier set up a website or a blog to spread his ideas and findings to a wider audience.

See also here comments on Bertrand's article on the Clos du Porteau blog – Aynard is very concerned by the threat that esca poses to his Sauvignon Blanc.

Also a very brief report here on the Porteau blog on Esprit Vif held yesterday at Château des Couldraies in Saint-Georges-sur-Cher. It appears to have been a success.

(This post was originally tacked onto the my previous post but I think it makes more sense to post this separately.)


ned said...

Of course, nuanced, intuitive, holistic solutions are lacking in scientific validity, because after all, chemicals can fix anything and everything, right?

Aynard said...

You miss us in our presentation in St Georges .... But some of your blog readers were there.... Concerning the Esca Post and Didier Barillet... I found this way so exciting that I am going to visit him and talk about these phenomenal discovery. I t will an other stone in the garden of the organic world.
I really really believe that we should enlarge the field of experiemtnation in this direction.
Thank you for relaying this info.
Have a good time with our lusitanian friends...

Jim's Loire said...

Completely right Ned.... and where's the profit for the chemical companies in planting wild leeks?

Jim's Loire said...

Aynard. Was sorry to miss yesterday's Esprit – hope it went well. Glad to hear that my posting helped swell the attendance.

Didier is very interesting and down to earth and his discoveries come through trial and observation not from abstruse theories.

Iris said...

I think, as I said already in my commentary on Bert Celces article, that it is un interesting discovery - yet I'm quite sceptical about it, because of my own experiance so far.

We had the soil deconstruction discussion with Claude Bourguignon, when we created our vineyard at Lisson. He was enthousiast about not ploughing deeply, we were scared about having problems with pourridié transfered from rotten tree roots to the wines, as we couldn't plough deep because of the difficulties on our small terrasses and steep hillsides...

we got it - plots of dead vines where the biggest trees had been - after some years.

So nothing is simple and I think, we should follow any observation, but we should make sure, it works, that means: it's reproductable, before crying victory:-).

We should stop to oppose intuition to science, but try to make them work together - and you can be sure: if leeks are the solution, Monsanto will bring out a special performant variety under it's brand label, to be spread out:-)!

Jim's Loire said...

Thanks Iris. You are right to be cautious but Didier's approach to me is so much more ssnsible than the widespread use of weedkillers that is still seen in the Cher Valley with possible long term consequences of helping to provoke diseases like esca.
The need to keep nature in balance.

Jim's Loire said...

Furthermore what works in the Loire may not work elsewhere – in the south of France for example.

Aynard said...

I have plented this sunday some leeks around esca. I would only say, if thats doesn't work it is probably my fault. If that works I shall say it thanks to Jim, Didier and Bertrand.
I will keep you informed.

Jim's Loire said...

Aynard. Will be interesting to see what happens. If it does work you can always make soup or a leek tart!