This Month We're Mainly Drinking - February 2022

This Month We're Mainly Drinking - February 2022

Here's a box set to put winter behind us and look forward to spring. One bottle each of six dfferent wines ideal for drinking now.

White wines -

Viña Zorzal, Garnacha Blanca, Navarra, Spain - Vina Zorzal is a project three brothers inherited from their father, Antonio Sanz. It wasn’t long before Inaki, Mikel and Xavier were joined by their friend Rafael Regadera and the boys really made Vina Zorzal their own passion project.

Vina Zorzal is located in the southern part of Navarra, a wine region sandwiched between Rioja and Aragon. Navarra’s landscape can vary from arid dessert to luscious green and so the right location and climate can mean everything to the vines. The vineyard this wine comes from is ancient, one of the oldest in Navarra, including some Garnacha vines that survived Phylloxera in the late 19th century. Vina Zorzal realise the magic lies in nature itself and they let the grapes speak for themselves.

For this wine Garnacha Blanca is hand harvested at night when it is colder to ensure the grapes stay fresh. They are then de-stemmed and cold macerated for 10 hours before a gentle pressing. Fermentation occurs in stainless steel tanks using just the wild yeasts. Once fermentation is complete the wine rests on the lees for 6 months, half in new oak and half in neutral tanks. The result is a fresh dry wine with lovely floral notes and a taste that lingers on the palate. Try this wine with shellfish or a cheese board.

Producer - Vina Zorzal
Country - Spain
Region - Navarra
Variety / Blend - Garnacha Blanca
Farming - Organic

La Patagua, Valle de Colchagua, Chile - Luca Hodgkinson hails from Priorat in Spain, with an English father and French mother. He seemed destined to travel, and he did, ending up in South America.

A long time consultant in Chile and with a business sourcing grapes from sustainable, often organic vineyards for other producers, it was inevitable that he would want to do it himself. The result is Inacayal which aims to create excellent value wines, as naturally as possible, that faithfully reflect the place they come from.

La Patagua is made from Semillon, co-planted with Sauvignon Vert (which is not declared on the label) in Colchagua. This is in the Central Valle region of Chile, close to the coast benefiting from cool, fresh ocean breezes. The Moscatel is planted in Guarilihue in Itata, further south, the first area of Chile where wine was produced, centuries ago. Here are ancient vines on undulating hillsides, dry farmed and ungrafted. The Moscatel is picked a month earlier than the Semillon, the bunches whole pressed and fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel.

Fresh, crisp with floral notes and tropical fruit flavours. Great with seafood and aromatic dishes.

Producer - Luca Hodgkinson
Country - Chile
Region - Valle de Colchagua
Variety / Blend - 90% Semillon, 10% Moscatel
Farming - Organic

Red wines -

Andreas Bender, Pinot Noir, Pfalz, Germany - Andreas Bender is a constant at Iron and Rose, his Dajoar is a go to Riesling for so many folks. We thought it was about time to try Andreas' Pinot Noir and we really should have got it in sooner!

Andreas was only 13 years old when he made his first wine, learning about viticulture, soil and terroir from his father who was a vine propagator. From then on he knew he was destined to be a wine maker. He studied and then hit the road, working at wineries in Germany, France Italy and the US before he settled back home in 2008 to take on his own part on the family vineyard.

Andreas' philosophy is unique in the German wine world, he doesn't vinify his top single vineyards separately. This doesn't mean he's not a traditionalist though. He believes careful cellar work, simple techniques and natural fermentation are key.

Andreas' own vineyards are farmed organically and he also works with trusted growers who farm to his specifications. The grapes for this wine are sourced from a grower in the Pfalz region from a single, south-facing vineyard in the Haardt mountains, rather than Andrea's Mosel, Pfalz being warmer and drier, sheltered from cold and wet Atlantic weather by the mountains, and better for consistency ripening red varieties. This Pinot was fermented in old oak barrels using wild yeasts and then matured in French and American oak barriques. Wine making is low intervention and the wine is bright and well structured with soft tannins.

Producer - Andreas Bender
Country - Germany
Region - Mosel
Variety / Blend - Pinot Noir
Farming - Organic

Commonwood Red, Shropshire, England - You've heard us all raving about Commonwood, you may have even sampled some by now? If you haven't you're in for a real treat.

Hail to the local hero! Commonwood vineyard is situated 2 miles outside of Wem, 11 miles from Shrewsbury, a real local Mon!

This close proximity has allowed Robin to get involved with the entire process, helping Alan Goddard with all aspects whether in the vineyard or winery, the enjoyable days pruning in the summer heat and the harder days when the whites grape harvest was a less than fruitful.

Growing grape varieties Phoenix, Rondo, Regent, Monarch and Dornfelder (Pinot Noir coming soonish!) using organic principles, they are well on their way to becoming carbon neutral.

Now with jazzy new labels that group up to create a set, keep an eye open for the 2021 vintage for some real glou juice.

Producer - Commonwood
Country - England
Region - Shropshire
Variety / Blend - Red Field Blend
Organic principles

Soc. Coop. Valli Unite, Ottavio Rube Rosso, Piedmont, Italy - Valli Unite is a mixed cooperative farm created by several friends in the 1970’s at a time when Italy (and elsewhere) was embracing “chemical” farming with enthusiasm. Founders Ottavio-Enrico and Cesare felt this was all wrong. The farm now covers 100 hectares in the Colli Tortonesi, a hilly region in Piedmont to the the north of Genoa, with around 20 permanent members, more that come and go according to the season, and all permanent members take the same pay. As well as vineyards they grow vegetables, many of which are used in their own restaurant, cereals, livestock and make their own salami, sausages etc.
Juicy cherries and light tannins and ideally served slightly chilled.

Producer - Soc. Coop. Valli Unite
Country - Italy
Region - Piedmont
Variety / Blend - Dolcetto, Croatina
Farming - Organic

Clos Saint Jean, Côte Roannaise Tradition, Loire, France - Joël Lapalue gave up his herd of unprofitable Charolais cattle, bought a smallholding named Combe and decided to become a wine maker, it wasn't long before his sons joined him, Richard and Frédéric.

Richard originally set out to be a banker but before joining his father he was herding goats in Aveyron. Once back home at Combe he invested in Lacaune goats and the domaine specialises in making Fromáge de Brebis, and a bonus is the manure is used as organic fertiliser.

This wine is Gamay, destemmed and macerated for 4 days before fermentation kicks off. Using only wild yeasts, fermentation takes place in cement and stainless steel tanks before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Each vintage is held back a year to age.

Even though Côte Roannaise is classed as being in the Loire valley it is in fact closer to Beaujolais and only Gamay grapes are used and the soils are granitic which is again more akin to Beaujolais. Joël Lapalue was the first organic farmer in the appellation and the only one until 2003. Perfect with tagines or why not find a Fromáge de Brebis?

Producer - Domaine Lapalue
Country - France
Region - Loire
Appellation - Côte Roannaise
Variety / Blend - Gamay Saint-Romain
Farming - Organic

This case contains one bottle of each of these wines. If any is out of stock or becomes unavailable it will be replaced by one of equal or greater value and deliciousness.