2naturkinder Fledermaus Pinot Meunier 2016
Michael and Melanie's story is now well known. They returned home to Michael's family winery in 2012 having fallen in love with vibrant, additive free wine while working in London and New York, and immediately set about converting the farm to organics. The following year they released their first tiny production and the volulme of the 2naturkinder wines has grown steadily since. They now work with roughly 5 hectares and the vineyards are largely comprised of shell limestone and keuper.
Their work in the vineyard is sensitive and, of course, strictly organic. They recently pulled out their Dormina vineyard and have planted that quite dramatic slope to 17 ancient local varieties - I'm incredibly excited to see the results of this given that the practice was proven and very widely used for hundreds of years before industrialisation.
Michael's work in the cellar is very carefully considered. He's deeply interested in expressing site through his wines and also wants them to great fun to drink.
As such, his wines are direct and pure and he clearly has a talent for coaxing delicious fruit from his vineyards.
2Naturkinder 'Heimat' Silvaner 2015
Adelina Eternal Return Arneis 2017
A fresh and aromatic Arneis from the lovely folks at Adelina. Floral notes and stone fruits on the nose with citrus fruits and Granny Smith apple on the palate. A textural wine with fresh acidity, minerality, and perfect length. An absolute pleasure to drink.
Champagne Agrapart 7 Crus Brut NV
Disgorged March 2018. The Agrapart range begins with a non-vintage wine called 7 Crus which we have only started shipping in recent years. The name refers to the seven Côte des Blancs villages from which it derives: Avize (younger vines, 20-40 years), Cramant, Oger, Oiry, Avenay-Val-d'Or, Bergères-les-Vertus and Mardeuil. Like all Agrapart wines, the fruit is 100% from vineyards that are estate-owned and farmed. 7 Crus is a blend of two different harvests; in this case 60% 2015 from Premier Cru vineyards and 40% 2014 from Grand Cru sites (this reserve wine is raised in neutral, 600-litre oak casks). The breakdown is 90% Chardonnay 10% Pinot Noir (it's the only cuvée in the range that isn't 100% Chardonnay). Even at this first level, the wine is aged for three years on lees and is then disgorged with 7 g/L dosage. It is the most immediately seductive cuvée in the Agrapart range as you might expect, yet it is still extremely fine and deep as the note below suggests. Sadly we do not get nearly enough.
Champagne Agrapart Grand Cru Avizoise Blanc de Blanc 2011
Disgorged March 2018. Avizoise is sourced from vines of up to 60-years-old in the clay-rich (argilo-calcaire) coteaux d'Avize vineyards of Les Robarts and Les Gros Yeux. The richer soils in these two neighbouring sites give a deeper, more powerful and textured expression of Avize than the Minéral. Again, the 2011 does not disappoint although it is still tightly wound for now. Expect a super complex wine with floral and mixed citrus fruit leading to a long, pithy and chalky close. The wine is aged entirely in 600-litre demi-muid, and the fermentation in bottle is carried out under cork rather than crown seal. Dosage is 5 g/L and the 2011 spent around 60 months on lees
Agrapart Complantee 15
Champagne Agrapart Grand Cru Mineral Blanc de Blanc 2011
Disgorged March 2018. Minéral is blended from two adjacent vieilles vignes plots (50+-year-old) of similar, chalky, Grand Cru terroir on the border between Avize and Cramant. The fruit from Le Champ Boutons in Avize is fermented in tank, while the component from Bionnes in Cramant is vinified in 600-litre oak casks. Dosage is 5 g/L and the wine has spent some 60 months on lees. This is always the saltiest, racy, mineral wine in the Agrapart range and the 2011 is no exception. With some time on cork, more and more layers will be revealed. In a word: terrific.
Champagne Agrapart 'Terroirs' Blanc de Blanc Grand Cru Brut NV
Those who have followed this artisans fortunes over the years will have noticed the rise in purity and structure of Pascal's wines. This wine makes it obvious. To quote Rob, "It blows away the vast majority of the so called prestige cuvées." Unlike most prestige cuvées, Terroirs is produced from only great sites and is 100% grand cru. The fruit comes from four villages in the Côte des Blancs: Avize, Cramant, Oger, and Oiry. The vines average 40 years old, and Agrapart uses 50% reserve wine and 50% barrel for this cuvée. The wine spends up to 48 months on lees and dosage is limited to 5g/l. Disgorgement is carried out by hand and to order, roughly 2 months before collection. These standards (like the viticulture) are far higher than any prestige cuvées of the grand marques, to give Rob's quote some context, and it makes this wine an undeniable bargain. The current Terroirs is the most exhilarating version of this wine that we have shipped. Emblematic of the lacy depth and purity that Pascal Agrapart channels into all his wines, it is a wonderfully textured, pulpy and vibrant study of Côtes des Blancs greatness. It is also unbelievably delicious.
Alain Graillot Crozes Hermitage 2016
Depth and flesh with terrific freshness just about sums up the Alain Graillot Crozes 2016. This is a Syrah that is full of silky, vibrant fruit, balanced by powdery tannins and good freshness. Of course, it is not as concentrated as the 2015 release, yet it lacks nothing in the intensity and complexity stakes, (ripeness was not an issue in 2016 thanks to a long, late growing season with warm autumn days and cool nights). A great vintage for this wine, which remains one of the genuine bargains of the fine wine world.
Alberto Loi Sa Mola Cannonau 2013
Ruby red color. It is intense and complex, floral, fruity and delicately spicy on the nose. The taste is dry, warm, fresh and tannic. It has good body with a pleasant flavor.
Alessandro Viola Note Di Grillo 2016
An absolute stunner from Sicilian biodynamic producer Alessandro Viola. Perfectly suited to the warm climate of Sicily, and us here down under, Grillo produces some fantastic, crisp wines to sit right alongside fresh seafood dishes.
Light in body with fantastic complexity, an array of stone fruit aromas bounce from the glass such as peach and nectarine. The palate is honeyed, carrying the white fruit flavours with fantastic mouthfeel, light chamomile and white flowers shine through.
The ideal warm weather wine that forevers tempts for another bottle.
Alfredo Maestro El Marciano Garnacha 2016
100% Garnacha, Sierra de Gredos.The isolated Gredos mountain range starts at around 120 kilometres west of Madrid and is home to a mosaic of tiny, old-vine vineyards planted mainly to Garnacha or Grenache. Alfredo pulls this wine together from seven small plots located in Navarredondilla (part of the Ávila district) that are situated at around a staggering 4,000 feet in elevation. In contrast to his organically-managed Ribera del Duero sites, these vineyards are farmed biodynamically (perhaps thanks to the 'extra' assistance he receives here from his green friends captured on the label!).
Crushed by foot, with 100% whole bunches retained, the wine is fermented with wild yeasts in stainless steel. The result is Spanish Garnacha in its most glowing form, and a wine that typifies Maestro's delicate touch and respect for his land. Striking a perfect balance of perfume, power and refinement, we’re not going to disagree with Señor Gutiérrez, below. It's a wine bursting with spicy, dark cherry, liquorice and lavender aromas and flavours. The powdery, high grown finish brings it all together. Superb.
“I already tasted the 2016 El Marciano, the Garnacha from Gredos from Alfredo Maestro, from plots of old vines throughout the village of Navarredondilla, in the province of Ávila. They keep the wine as pure as possible; it's bottled completely unoaked. The destemmed but uncrushed grapes fermented in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts. It's fragrant, perfumed and floral, elegant, with very fine tannins and a fresh palate with just a touch of warmth in the finish. This could very well be the finest vintage of this bottling to date and one of my favorite Maestro wines ever.” 92 points, Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate