Adventures in Drinking Naturally - an intro to real wines - a six bottle box set
Looking for wines made from beautifully grown grapes with minimal intervention in the winery? Wines that express the land and people that made them, not wines made to fit a product specification? Here are six of them to enjoy.
For us 'natural' wine is less about classification & certification, more about intentions & passion.
Love and respect for the planet. A desire to make wines which are fixed in a particular time & place, a vintage & a vineyard. Not wines made to a recipe. To make wines that while they're sometimes a little unexpected, even a little hazy (yes, Jane MacQ, that's ok by us😏) they're always, always delicious to drink.
Luneau-Papin, PM&M Garance, Muscadet Sévre & Maine Sur Lie, Loire, France - Sometimes you just can’t beat the classics. Muscadet fell out of fashion, another victim of its own success possibly, but the style is unique and when good, unmistakeable. This wine is made from 100% Melon de Bourgogne grown on a single vineyard with stony, schistous soils. The Sur Lie bit in the name is about ageing the wines on the lees, the solids left from the fermentation, the skins, dead yeast etc, which gives the wine extra depth and complexity. The art is knowing how long to do this for and how much batonnage (stirring up the lees) to do. In this case over 8 months and regularly. The wine has the characteristic grapefruit, lemon acidity, expressive and complex. Amazing with mussels and as an aperitif.
Soc. Coop. Valli Unite, Ottavio Rube Bianco, 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 and 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.
Cortese is the grape synonymous with Gavi and the Piedmont area, here it is blended with a local varietal Timorasso. Fermentation happens spontaneously in stainless steel with no fining or filtration and only tiny amounts of sulphur added at bottling.
A funky nose but complex, fresh and clean and low in sulphates to boot. Great paired with pesto or seafood pasta
Angiolino Maule, Rosso Masieri IGT, Veneto, Italy - We'd suggest decanting this one. It’s made by Angiolino Maule, one of the pioneers of natural winemaking, totally organic in the vineyards, minimal manipulation in the cellar, just looking for the pure expression of place. And the place is in the Colli Berici, a hilly area of the Veneto in Northern Italy with volcanic soils, using Merlot, Tocai Rosso (the local name for the local Grenache grape) and Cabernet Sauvignon. Beautiful with pasta with sausage and fennel sauce.
Comando G, La Bruja de Rozas, Sierra de Gredos, Spain - The Sierra de Gredos is a high mountain range in central spain west of Madrid and Comando G was created by a trio of enochalados (crazy winemakers) who had day jobs with serious grown-up wineries but having been friends at university got together for a side project making wines from small, sometimes abandoned, often neglected vineyards scattered around the hills. Comando G was the name of a Spanish / Japanese manga comic in the 1980’s and the wine labels reflect this. Now just two, Dan and Fernando, they approach what they do like it’s done in Burgundy, making very site specific wines, mostly from a single grape variety (Garnacha) but with a much more developed sense of humour and much less developed sense of their own importance. This wine has been matured in amphorae (but not many more than one amphora as it is really small production) and the texture on the palate really reflects this.
Altolandon, Milhistorias, Bobal, Manchuela, Spain - The Altolandon winery is at a remarkable 1100 meters above sea level in the province of Manchuela, South East Spain. The high altitude gives a huge day / night temperature range, a remarkable clarity of light, clean air and plenty of breeze which all adds up to a great environment to grow organically, produce healthy grapes with loads of character and balance. This is made from Bobal, a local variety that has rather unfairly been mainly limited to making guest appearances in sangria, in jug wines or blends. More recently it has been recognised for it’s potential and made into dark coloured wines with spicy, rich fruit. It also has a lovely touch of acidity which makes it rather more moreish.
Karri Vineyard, Carbernet Sauvignon, Margaret River, Australia - Australia is a big Farma kinda place and you might think the search for great value wines with great values was hard to come by however you’d be surprised. Head to the Riverland, often deemed unfashionable but full of classic old vines or head to Barossa or Margaret River where you can find plenty of land which is farming great fruit for base wines organically allowing for some great value wines. Here we find a biodynamic producer from Margaret River who is making an amazing value wine naturally produced using natural yeasts, unfined, unfiltered and low sulphites with all the classic flavours of cooler climate cabernet. Punchy dark red fruits with eucalyptus and pepper overtones. What more could you ask for?
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.