A Lesson of Wine Punk by PHASE 2

Which is a project previously known as Collectif Anonyme.

Travelling through Sud de France this spring, I visited Kris, co-founder of Collectif Anonyme winery, which was renamed to PHASE 2. Collective became a duett with a female element in the form of amazing Agata from Poland. Here’s what believe these, as they call themselves, ex-punks. But are they really ex?

DYI

A fundamental rule of a movement known as a punk from the beginning of its existence. Of course, we don’t talk about sewing your own clothes, painting on your T-Shirts, studding your leather belt, occupied with blood or digging in the trash cans in search of artefacts from recovery. We talk about cutting off the rules invented one day by someone to create eternal harmony and universal definition of normalcy. This cutting off is a practice of punk winemakers who don’t go after rules of appellations and try to make wines 100% according to their own principles.

F***k the system

As has been said, punks don’t want to function according to petrified, boring, hated and riping freedom and creativity frames of the system. They do it on their own. The same starting point embraced Collectif Anonyme, having all the appellation’s rules for nothing and naming their wines simply Vin de France or Collioure or Banyuls. Under the shield PHASE 2, just like in the title of Death Grips song, one of the Kris’ most favourite bands: “1000%!! I used to give a f*ck”. And nothing seems to change by now.

Stay punk, stay clean*

Punk is often associated with dirt, at most with something/someone slightly unwashed. In other words – complete ignorance of common aesthetical and hygienic standards. In case of wine and winemaking, punk is often associated with omnipresent brett and too obvious nuance of acetone, dominating in some of these crazy, funky naturalising wines. Not in PHASE 2. Firstly, in the collective cellar in Port Vendres lots of effort is put on hygiene in vinification to not to let any unwanted micro-organism to enter the wine. Secondly – which is a result of the first – the character of the wines isn’t touched by any flaws. No brett and no volatile acidity. One of the collective’s mottos is #purjus, which means that no chemicals are added to improve the taste, and since Agata joined the team, they also don’t add any sulphites.

These wines are not for self-claimed wine rebels that like their juice to be too obviously barnyardish (which is not the immanent feature of natural wines). Because here we have an example: a brand new Mille Plateaux (Chardonnay macerated five days). The wine’s name at first glimpse reminds the bestseller written by Deleuze and Guattari under the same title. I don’t know if organoleptically the 2018 vintage could be referred to this postmodernist intellectual rollercoaster that easy. Maybe? At first, seemingly, pleasantly seduces with ripe yellow fruits and elusive nuance of vanilla, but further you go, everything is more and more complicated. There’s a lot of acidic and textural resonances and dissonances due to a youthful quivering, but presage the potential of the exciting structure.

This taste tells a good fortune!

Here we have also a brand new Bon Omen, expressive rosé Mourvèdre, also from the previous vintage. Explosive and soft at the same time. Good omen? But it doesn’t have anything in common with punk’s “no future”. I’m not worried, though.

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Bike press, resting.

Tasting from the only right Zalto glasses, we were listening to Nils Frahm’s discography and Kris admitted that he doesn’t want to call his wines a “punk wines”. The reason is simple: nowadays this term still too often directs people’s minds to the wrong connotations. Anyway, not to these which Kris has in mind. Besides, the absolutely not punkish price can cause a slight puzzlement. It’s however, absolutely understandable if you look at these extremely steep terraces of Banyuls and Collioure, unreachable even for a donkey. Everything bore on their own shoulders, processed by their own hands, on material that is how it is.

Having in my all these punk practices, the effect can be a bit paradoxical. PHASE 2 wines absolutely don’t represent punk’s nihilism and zero value of their own, happily.

PHASE 2: new labels

What won’t disappear? Bowie Comme Beau Oui won’t, which 2017 vintage is pretty mature right now and even more substantial. 1+1=3 also won’t disappear – the same vintage is deliciously fruity with a nuance of black, hot rock, myrtle and herbs. There will be Ĩle Dans le Ciel, which 2018 vintage is a marvellously herbal, stony cherry bomb. Also highly energetic Wild Cowboy Number One will still be there.

In turn, CA Blanc and CA Rouge will disappear. Their place will take white and red wine simply named PHASE 2. but fans of the cult label with this Aphex Twin corkscrew can rest peacefully – the label stays with us. PHASE 2 Rouge 2018 is like the cliffs of Banyuls are right now: smells with garrigue and wild lavender, with intense fruity mode and softness in the mouth.

There will be also, still unnamed sweet wine. Subtleness of fugs, plums, prunes and cherries with the smoky tone, and it won’t be famous Big Rock Candy Mountain. It will be something else.

There will be also another, completely new labels, which Kris and Agata were thinking out loud about in the half-light of their cave in Port Vendres. And for sure, there will be a lot of talk about these wines very soon.

 

  • To be more precise. “Stay punk, stay clean” is a motto not so much punks, but their splinter group called straight edge (sXe). Followers of this subculture, beside doing drugs, not using any animal products and not having casual sex, also don’t drink alcohol. Although this last feature doesn’t have many in common with PHASE 2’s story, we think about the purity of winemaking methods.

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