Hinterland - an adventure off the beaten track - a six bottle box set
While there is comfort in the familiar, it can be much more exciting and rewarding to get off the beaten track, to explore the places in between. In the context of wine, this might mean finding wine growers in places where there are few. Or it might be finding wines from well known regions but made from unusual grape varieties or in unusual ways. This mixed case explores the hinterland of wine...(but with a lot fewer murders and a lot more joy than the TV series set in West Wales!)
Slobodné, Majer (white), Zemianske Sady, Slovakia - Slobodne is family-run winery and farm going back to the early 20th century but with a 50-yr break due to the hardships of WWII and then 40 years of communism. They have rebuilt their farm over the past 25 years and now alongside making wine produce crops: barley, wheat, rapeseed, poppies and more; tend livestock; and keep bees. It is run by two sisters and their two partners, Agnes, Andrea, Katerina, and Miso, who are pictured on the label of this wine and the Majer red.
The Majer wines are multi-vintage blends of the main grapes they farm so the mix of the blend and the winemaking will vary with each version but always staying true to the cause of being an expression of the remarkable place the vines are growing and the remarkable people who farm them and make the wines.
Producer - Slobodné
Country - Slovakia
Region - Zemianske Sady
Variety / Blend - Devin, Gruner Veltliner, Sauvignon Blanc
Wine Style - White Wine
Farming - Organic / Biodynamic
Gaintza, Txakolina Getaria, Pais Vasco, Spain - They say that monks from France brought and planted the vines on the 'Camino de las estrellas', 'The path to the stars', a perfect wine for a wilderness.
4 generations of the Lazkano family have produced and sold Txakoli and in 1923 they created the Gaintza cellar, while they embrace modern technology and methods they have their feet firmly planted in the past.
Grapes are hand harvested before a controlled temperature fermentation in stainless steel tanks occurs, this ensures the natural spritz is retained and the zingy, acidic, citrus and herby notes aren't lost.
Producer - Gaintza
Country - Spain
Region - Pais Vasco
Appellation - Getariako Txakolina
Variety / Blend - Hondarrabi Zuri, Gros Mensang, Hondarrabi Beltza
Farming - Sustainable
Gonzalez Bastias, Naranjo, Maule Valley, Chile - 200 year old Pais bush vines, 5th generation of the same family, organic farming and environmentally aware production in every sense. Chilean wines that are light years from the me too, international varietal mass. An amazing, complex, but accessible and easily enjoyable amber wine from one of Chile's oldest yet most adventurous producers.
Hand harvested grapes grown in the granite soils on banks of the Maule river where no additional irrigation takes place. These grapes are then manually crushed through a 'Zaranda de Coligue', a back breaking job of manually rolling grapes across a slatted frame of bamboo to extract the juice. Fermentation with native yeast occurs to the blended grapes before the Pais juice is added, followed by 4 weeks on the skins before spending 6 months in Chilian Fudre. Only the first press juice is bottled with no fining or filtration
Producer - Gonzalez Bastias
Country - Chile
Region - Maule Valley
Variety / Blend - 40% Pink Moscatel, 40% Torontel, 20% Pias
Farming - Organic
Aphros, Vinho Verde Tinto, Portugal - Aphros is the project of Vasco Croft, a fomer Lisbon architect who has become one of the pioneers of biodynamic winemaking in Portugal. The estate spreads over nearly 20 hectares of land and forests, six of which are vineyards and four are chestnut orchards.
Everyone knows white Vinho Verde, right? But this is a red Vinho Verde made from the indigenous Vinhao variety. Fermentation and then maceration on the skins occurs in granite tanks at a controlled temperature of between 19-22c. Next there is the pressing, malolactic fermentation and then 9 months in old French oak barrels resulting in an elegant and lifted wine reflecting its cool climate origins with aromas of crunchy strawberry, sour cherry, mint and spice.
Traditionally served chilled (but we quite like it just cool) perfect for lunch or dinner on a warm evening.
Country - Portugal
Region - Vinho Verde
Appellation - Vinho Verde
Variety / Blend - Vinhao
Farming - Biodynamic
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
Inacayal, La Cueva, Valle del Maule, Chile - Luca Hodgkinson hails from Priorat, Spain. With an English father and French mother, he seemed destined to travel. A long time consultant in Chile and with his own business sourcing grapes from sustainable, often organic vineyards, it only seems natural he would want to do it himself. This collaborative idea is to create excellent value wines, as naturally as possible, that faithfully reflect the place they come from and rediscover the tradition of winemaking in Chile.
The big, safe, MOTR Merlots and Cabs of Chile are deeply familiar but sadly often just a bit boring. This wine hails back to a pre-industrial style of winemaking and the original varieties including Pais. The grapes for this wine are grown in old, dry farmed vineyards in an area known as ' La Cueva del Leon' - legend has it that a lion once hid there one night.
The grapes are destemmed before a natural fermentation occurs with wild yeast, then aged in a big old French oak tank that holds 10,500 litres.
Light bodied, juicily fruity and soft. A lovely wine for Pinot Noir lovers and ideal a bit cool.
Producer - Luca Hodgkinson
Country - Chile
Region - Valle Del Maule
Appellation - San Javier
Variety / Blend - 70% Pais, 11.5% Carignan, 18.5% Cabernet Sauvignon
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.