Or ‘Garnatxa Peluda’ as they call it in Catalunya.
Here’s an excerpt from wikipedia:
“… is a Grenache variant evolved to grow fuzz on the underside of its leaves to protect the vine from transpiration in hot climates, like the corresponding fuzz on rosemary or other mediterranean plants. Compared to its more widely planted cousin, it produces wines lower in alcohol and higher in acidity that show spicy and savory notes more readily as they age.”
Anyways… today’s wine is also made from Garnatxa Negra (the regular one) and Carignan.
‘Sang de Corb’ is pure balance. Sweet dark fruit with an anis twist on the nose. Harmonious and fruity-friendly in the mouth. A touch of iron fits the name perfectly (Sang de Corb means ‘Raven’s blood’), and beneath the surface lies something I still can’t put my finger on but desperately need to explore.
This may be the first time you hear of Celler Frisach.
But it will not be the last if you stick around here!
Daniele left his native Piedmont to study and make wine in Tuscany.
He wanted to work with Sangiovese and, in effect, had to turn his back to the local king of grape varieties, Nebbiolo. That requires great conviction I think.
In Tuscany he found a mentor in Giulio Gambelli with whom he worked for several years. In 2000, after several years of searching while making big, prominent Sangiovese wines as a consultant, he finally found the right spot to begin his own adventures.
Daniele’s “Campinuovi” is located in Montecucco, 20 km south of Montalcino.
His Montecucco Sangiovese is a great display of pure, traditional winemaking and respect for the Sangiovese’s inherent potential.
Cherries and blackcurrant stand out as the primary fruit with an underlying leafy and tomato-like aroma blending in. And then there’s the trademark balsamic taste clearly present throughout the show. The texture is fine-grained and juicy and there’s a cool touch of iron on the finish line. Though you will not be surprised to learn that this wine spent a year in giant used barrels there are no signs of excessive oak flavors in this one. And thank god for that!
Just wait ’til you pour Bábel into your glass (and please do that when the sun shines).
The luminescent, raspberry red color of this Hungarian charmer certainly whets my appetite every single time I see it. And the best part… the beautiful appearance on the eyes matches that of the nose and mouth with impressive precision.
Bábel is a raspberry tornado.
Its modest (12%) alcohol content is almost unnoticeable.
Muscat of Alexandria is a variety that seems to contain an endless stream of generosity. I spent many days and nights in its company on the island of Pantelleria where it goes under the name of Zibibbo.
On a Greek island (similarly vulcanic, roughly six times the size and 1200 km east of Pantelleria) Muscat of Alexandria is also the main ingredient in their wines.
The island of Lemnos.
A native to Lemnos, Manolis Garalis has made wine from Muscat of Alexandria since 2006. Or put in a another way, Manolis has helped his Muscat grapes do what they do best…
Because that’s the feeling you get from the very first interaction with this wine. How on earth can a grape absorb those amounts of sweet summer scents? It is packed… with a colorful range of tropic fruits like tangerine, mango, pineapple, lemon and orange peel.
Its flowery aromas and stony backdrop heightens the experience to a level far above the islands hotel cocktails that may contain the same fruity ingredients but lack the genius of the interpreter (Muscat) and her assistant (Manolis).
In the mouth it crackles and dances and releases the aromas to put the whole olfactory system at work!
My first encounter with this wonderful glass of wine was on a sunny September afternoon.
Not the most complex of wines but everything I needed in that moment. Bright red fruit. Spice. Lightness. A beautiful balance and fast approaching need for another sip.
No.6 Colleita refers to number of harvests it has taken the four cousins at Cume do Avia to reach this point in their adventure. The four guys started from scratch by planting no less than 20 varieties indigenous to their region – Ribeiro, Galicia.
They were determined to plant old local varieties because the safest way to be working without additives in the production is usually to work with the varieties that has stood the test of time (until industrial methods took over the entire region). But different varieties require different care, and when you start from zero it is nice to have someone to ask for advise. But unfortunately asking the local elders for advise wasn’t very helpful, since even the elders were too young to remember the time when those grape varieties dominated their land.
So what you are tasting here is a blank canvas. Plus a few years of preparation. Plus six years of winemaking.
No. 6 Colleita is made from Brancellao, Caiño Longo and Souson.
And it desperately wants to be there by your side when the sun breaks free again.
In Hungary, near Lake Balaton, lives a man named István Bencze.
(Reading time: 1 min, 40 sec.)
István is one of the most ambitious young winegrowers I’ve ever met, and he is definitely the most fast-paced. I’ve followed him for close to four years (including three Hungarian visits) and the progress he’s made is simply astounding.
In short, István works with indigenous varieties (aka names you’ve probably never heard of and/or are able to pronounce) which he grows biodynamically. He adds nothing, he takes away nothing, and a couple of years ago he threw away almost all of his barrels and steel tanks and replaces them with a solid collection of amphorae. Pedal to the metal, no regrets and no looking back!
The exact location of the Bencze vineyards are the vulcanic soils of Szent György Hegy (Saint George’s Hill) in the Badacsony region. You should go there!
AUTOCHTHON 2019 A blend of young vines of Furmint, Hárslevelű and Kéknyelű. A bit of skin contact and aged in amphora. Whether you define ‘natural wine’ as a style or a philosophy doesn’t really make a difference here. This is in the natural category. Bitter grapefruit, lemon juice and a slice of mango brought along with an insisting acidity that touching the volatile kind. If you are not afraid of acidity, you probably like this one.
KÉKNYELŰ 2019 100% Kéknyelű aged in amphora. Grapefruit and lemon is accompanied by a fine minerality that grows into a deeper complexity as the wine slowly opens up. Open this today and finish it tomorrow. And take note of this variety, Kéknyelű. I have a feeling that it’s got a really high potential. Especially if you are a self-declared Chenin fan like István (and me).
Pinot Noir is the queen of grape varieties. So Andreas treats each grape as a little prince or princess.
They have now grown up into charming adult personalities inside their well-proportioned Burgundy bottles. Dressed in simple white shirts, saving all the magic for those who choose to take a closer look.
Andreas Durst makes two almost similar Pinot Noirs. The difference is the ‘S’.
S is for sulphur.
Bottling the wine with a bit of SO2 preserves the wine. For many winemakers the process is merely a safety measure. For Andreas Durst it seems more intentional. I think he wants to make a wine that’s a little more within the lines than it’s wild (unsulphured) sister. Where the fruity nuances are immediately visible and the recognizability of the Pinot Noir is high.
Sure, this choice may sometimes be at the expense of extreme levels of wildness and vibrancy, but in this case I am glad that Andreas decided to make both versions.
Pinot Noir S is indeed still a playful type. It’s pure and clean in nose and mouth, and it’s acidity-driven style highlights every curve of it’s lightly dressed body. It’s as sexy as a German queen gets and will remain so for at least half a decade more.