Tour de Natural Wine
#03 No Control “Babinou 2022”
Seeking wine with no control

This time, we’ll introduce the episode of Vincent MARIE, who transitioned from being a natural wine geek to a vigneron (producer).

The word “geek” often carries a negative connotation, doesn’t it?
With a tough, imposing figure,
Impressive tattoos on his arms, and a taste in music ranging from punk rock to fusion metal…
Vincent MARIE is a geeky guy in a way that defies the typical image associated with the term.

The name of his winery is “No Control.”

Vincent MARIE(No Control)

Vincent, making wine in the Auvergne region of France (think of it as being known for Volvic water), is known for placing “No Control” stickers on his bottles. Whenever you ask about various famous producers in Europe, you’ll almost always find a “No Control” seal at their wineries.

Vincent, originally not a winemaker, founded a natural wine salon in 2004. Through this salon, which he continued until 2008, he seized the opportunity to meet many natural wine producers directly. At the time, he was a salesperson for sporting goods, but gradually became interested in winemaking…
In 2008, he was transferred to Alsace headquarters, where he handled web marketing for sporting goods. During this time, he spent most of his free time visiting producers to deepen his knowledge of winemaking. Finally, in 2012, he made the decision to become a winemaker, resigning from the company he had worked for eight years.

My first encounter, with such an unconventional background, happened in 2016 when visiting Auvergne. By chance, We crossed paths at a restaurant while having dinner. Although I had been drinking his wine, it was my first meeting. My encounter immediately turned into a blind tasting competition, guessing the contents of the wine without knowing. Whenever someone made a guess, they were bombarded with questions like “Why do you think so?” …
Although the speaker couldn’t guess, my friend who was with them correctly identified the wine, prompting exclamations like “You’re amazing!” and “Tell us your secrets!”

Encounter with winemakers at a bistro in Auvergne. / From the right Francois Dhumes 、Patrick Bouju(P Domaine La Boheme)、Vincent MARIE(No Control)

He really loves natural wine, you can tell by how much he admires the natural winemakers. He was a man with a very strong first impression.

Tough-looking yet charismatic…
He also had a solid attitude of learning, not hesitating to seek advice from his seniors when in trouble.
This attitude probably earns him affection from the senior vignerons.

He was also scouted as a professional cyclist in his youth due to his athletic abilities. During high school, he participated in track racing as a candidate for the French national team, and as a representative of Normandy-Brittany, he also took part in road races. However, instead of pursuing a career in cycling, he chose academia and has led a well-rounded life, earning a master’s degree in sports management.

While it might be tempting to bike around his vineyards, it seems wise to refrain from joining him for a ride!

A night in Auvergne… From Tokyo, Shito-san (Libertin/Shibuya), Miyauchi-san (Unjour/Meguro), and Hayashi-san (La Pioch/Oyster Shell Town) embarked on a winery tour together for the evening.

Today’s Natural Wine

No Control Babinou 2022
This wine displays a light and bright purple color. It has aromas of cranberry, acerola cherry, thyme, and Earl Grey. The wine is lively and charming, with a burst of cute acidity reminiscent of acerola cherry, bright and fresh fruitiness, mineral undertones, and delicate tannins that shape the lingering finish. While “No Control” may suggest some instability initially, this wine was in good condition from release. Does it offer an unexpected flavor for a “No Control” wine?

【Net】  750ml
【vineyard】  France>Auvergne
【variety】  20% Trousseau, Gamay de Beaujolais, Muscat, Chenin, and Chardonnay each
【type】  Rouge

– The wine name “Babinou” is an original term created by Vincent to match the flavor profile.
– No added SO2, non-filtered.

Profile

Takuya Itagaki
Owner of the wine shop “LoveSong by BATONS” located in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture. Introduced to natural wine 20 years ago, fascinated by it, and transitioned from being a chef to a cellar worker. Opened several bistros in Sendai since 2002, pioneering the handling of natural wine in the Tohoku region. In 2015, opened the specialized natural wine shop “BATONS.” In 2023, shifted focus to a wholesale specialty store and opened the retail wine shop “LoveSong by BATONS,” combined with an apparel store. Following the Great East Japan Earthquake, collaborated with Takeda Winery in Yamagata to produce the original wine “Vin de MICHINOKU” by blending grapes from six prefectures in the Tohoku region, as part of a project he initiated. Representative of MaCuisine Co., Ltd. / Owner of the wholesale wine shop “BATONS” / Owner of “Mangetsu Wine Bar Sendai.”

CULTURE
CYCLE MUSIC #07
B.J. Thomas “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head”

It’s been a year since the passing of Burt Bacharach, the iconic composer of the 20th century. His art of songwriting, characterized by sophisticated yet beautiful melodies and vibrant, stylish arrangements that make full use of “Bacharach Magic” chord progressions and rhythm changes, along with bold and elegant structures, continues to captivate people’s hearts worldwide. His witty and imaginative compositions, combined with urban and deeply resonant lyrics (especially those of Hal David), create a timeless marriage that still resonates with people around the world, transcending generations.

#B.J. Thomas
CULTURE
CYCLE CINEMA #08
“PERFECT DAYS”
Life is beautiful, and that is all.

For a certain generation, Wim Wenders is a special figure. During the era when art-house cinemas had a significant cultural impact, his films were considered “must-see movies.” Following the success of “Paris, Texas” (1985) and “Wings of Desire” (1987), Wenders’ works such as “The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick,” “Alice in the Cities,” and “Kings of the Road” were repeatedly re-released. While not necessarily fervent, Wenders’ films were quietly embraced. The influence he has had on contemporary filmmakers and visual artists is immeasurable (film students in Japan were only making road movies in the narrow confines).

#Wim Wenders
CULTURE
CYCLE CINEMA #04
“The Kid With a Bike (Le gamin au vélo)”
The boy abandoned by his father searches for hope on a bicycle.

“The Kid With a Bike (Le gamin au vélo)” (2012, directed by the Dardenne brothers) is, as the title suggests, a story centered around a boy and his bicycle. The protagonist is Cyril, a boy living in a Belgian foster care facility. One day, his cell phone with his father suddenly goes offline. When he contacts the apartment manager, they claim that his father has moved away. He can’t believe it. His father wouldn’t just move without telling him. Moreover, his precious means of transportation, his bicycle, is still in his father’s apartment. Cyril runs away from the facility and visits the apartment, but as the manager said, his father has already moved, and there’s no sign of the bicycle. Cyril has been abandoned by his father.

#Column #Cinema