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Frisach Sang de Corb 2017

Celler frisach Sang de Corb 2017

Hairy Grenache

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!

Frisach ‘Sang de Corb’ 2017

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Lise et Bertrand Jousset ‘rose à lies’ 2019

Lise et Bertrand Jousset Rose à lies 2019

Ecstasy

The feeling of excitement I get when I’m on my bike about to spend a night out with good old friends.

The short glimpse of pure happiness when dinner is served on a Friday night and we are all just so ready for the weekend.

The high spirit I find myself in waking up before everyone else taking an early morning walk in the countryside.

That sense of ecstasy…

I get very close to that feeling when I drink ‘rose à lies’.

Combining it with one of the above scenarios (preferably the no. 2 since drinking while biking and early morning alcohol consumption can be problematic) and the ecstasy definitely kicks in!

No need for synthetic party drugs when you got a natural sparkling wine.

Lise et Bertrand Jousset ‘rose à lies’ 2019

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Campinuovi Montecucco Sangiovese 2016

Campinuovi Montecucco Sangiovese 2016

Sangiovese

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!

Genes + place + skills

Equals…

Campinuovi Montecucco Sangiovese 2016

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Max sein Wein Blanc 2019

Max sein Wein Blanc 2019

Orange to the Max

Actually it’s orange from the Max.

Max Baumann that is. A twenty-something young man making wine from his inherited 3½ ha of vineyards in Baden, Germany.

Blanc 2019 is Müller Thurgau, Gewürztraminer and Sylvaner vinified separately and assembled into an orange wine.

Citrus, herbs and white peach florality.

Lightweight and easy drinking.

My kind of orange.

Max sein Wein Blanc 2019

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Sziegl Pince Bábel 2019

Raspberry tornado

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.

Which makes it juicy beyond all limits.

– and dangerous indeed!

Pure evil 🙂

Sziegl Pince Bábel 2019

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Garalis Terra Ambera 2019

Garalis Terra Ambera 2019

Catching sunshine

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…

Catching sunshine!

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!

What could be better on a grey winter afternoon…

Garalis Terra Ambera 2019

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Tatsis Malagouzia 2018

Tatsis Malagouzia 2018

Character

On a glorious night I had this wine among many. Served blind, it immediately stood out. Then I gave it my full attention. And fell in love.

Our second rendez-vous only confirmed my first impression.

The aroma jumps right out of the glass. Sometimes this means a charming but rather one-dimensional experience. Not the case here.

This lively fella shines with its intriguing aromatic complexity. Flinty smoke, wet stone, anis, green pepper, gooseberry and a sort of candied fruit. Or is it honey? I’ll leave that up to you.

A crisp acidity blends in beautifully with a light creaminess. A pure wine with such a strong character.

Tatsis Malagouzia 2018

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Cume do Avia No. 6 Colleita (2018)

Cume do Avia No. 6 Colleita (2018)

Even the elders are too young to remember

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.

Cume do Avia No. 6 Colleita (2018)

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Bencze Kéknyelű 2019 (+ Autochthon)

Bencze Kéknyelű 2019

Hungarian hero

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).

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Andreas Durst Pinot Noir -S- 2015

Andreas Durst Pinot Noir S 2015

Queen S

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.

Andreas Durst Pinot Noir S 2015