“I like the idea that people were brave enough to say ‘Let’s try [to make wines with zero sulfite addition]. We’ll lose wine, into vinegar, or we’ll dump it in the gutter.' But they still tried hard to learn and pass on their knowledge. To say, we made it: no sulfites from A to Z, and it works. - Michel Moulherat
Now largely retired and living in the Touraine town of Loches, Michel Moulherat saw prominence among the second generation of natural wine advocates1 in Paris, starting in the mid-nineties at his 15th arrondissement bar L’Insolite (1995-2000), and continuing into the second decade of the new millennium at his 11th arrondissement wine shop La Cave de l’Insolite (2002-2011).
While he was among the early supporters of radical vignerons like Rémi Poujol, Catherine and Gilles Vergé, and Jérôme Saurigny, Moulherat professes no personal insistence on zero sulfitage. His own classical wine background is extensive, beginning with two years working for Stephen Spurrier at Les Caves de la Madeleine. Moulherat then spent three years working for two prominent expat restaurateurs, Tim Johnston (of Juveniles) and Mark Williamson (of Willi’s Wine Bar). He spent the first half of the 1990s working as a sommelier at the Michelin-starred restaurant of Hôtel de Crillon, before opening L’Insolite in 1995.
Check out the episode to learn what sorts of insects he occasionally found in early natural wine bottles; where he’s been drinking 1959 Vin Jaune lately; and why he signed the open letter circulated in defense of scandal-plagued Sancerre vigneron Sébastien Riffault.
FURTHER LISTENING & READING
The first being comprised of François Morel, Luc Desrousseaux, Bernard Pontonnier, Jean-Pierre Robinot, Olivier Camus, Raquel Careña, et al.