I never met Joe Dressner, but I knew a lot of the wines that he imported into the U.S. They were fresh, different, sometimes quirky, but always engaging. These are wines that demand your attention.
A year ago this week, I was in the Loire Valley visiting producers as harvest was in full swing. On the morning of September 17, 2011, I was on my way to meet with one of Dressner’s producers, François Cazin in Cour-Cheverny, but decided to take a detour to stop by Jean-Marie and Thierry Puzelat’s Clos de Tue Boef (another member of the Dressner portfolio). In front of the small, unadorned winery, there was an old 1950s/60s blue Ford Tractor with one of its headlights dangling from the socket. I whipped out my camera to take a few pictures. Out walked Jean-Marie Puzelat – a round, jolly man wearing overalls. He was laughing, amused that I wanted to take pictures of his “crappy tractor” (cleanest translation I could muster for what he actually said). We chatted, and he apologized for not being able to do a formal tasting, but asked if I wanted to taste through a few wines in tank. I happily accepted the invitation.