Wine Club – December 2023

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BulleDog Rosé
François De Nicolay, 2022
Aligoté, Pinot Noir

François de Nicolay is another T.N.W.C. mainstay whose personal project is a place of experimentation and play. From the renowned Burgundy winemaking family at the helm of the Chandon de Briailles estate (and as acting head winemaker there), in his day job François makes the serious, expensive, and expansive wines right up there at the level of Burgundy’s fame. But on his own time, he sources grapes from quality grapegrowers and uses them to, you know, go wild. This is a bright little number: everyone’s perennial favourite – pink bubbles. As an aperitif to your annual holiday dinner with friends, there’s no beating it. As a gentle come down off the holidays (you know – December 27th, or January 2nd), as well. Aligoté mixed with a bit of Pinot, for colour. It’s juicy but fresh; it’s fruity but dry. The exact makings of a wine meant for fun.

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Lammidia, 2022
Trebbiano, Pecorino, Chardonnay, Traminer

Paparazza is a wine for the afterparty. Show up after midnight and bust it out of your bag when you want to be photographed. It’s a new year’s eve kind of bottle if there ever were one. The wine is bombastic and dazzling: a palate-whetting, peachy, saline, citric refermented sparkling wine that is dangerously easy to drink all on your own. That’s kind of Lammidia’s vibe. They’re specialists in radical natural wine–100% grapes and that’s it–enjoyable from minute one until minute 35 (because that’s how long this bottle will last if you’re not careful). Out of Abruzzo, these guys truly make Italy’s version of “natural wine for the people”. All their bottles are clearly natural – unfined, unfiltered, hazy, fresh, and funky – but also clearly approachable. This one included. We’re not sure what else we could ask for. More wines like this one in the new year?

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Les Bulles de BD
Bruno Dubois, 2022

We aren’t usually known for waxing lyrical about grape varieties. They can be misleading, because they’re only a miniscule part of what makes each wine so great. And yet – a moment of appreciation for Chenin Blanc. A grape whose juice has as much tension and drive as it does roundness and amplitude. A grape whose aromatic range goes from lemon through the stone fruits and from flowers and honey through to baking spices. A grape whose ageing capacity is seemingly endless. A grape that works wonders in sweet and dry wines – and, unfortunately, is entirely underrated for the production of sparkling wines. We take our hats off to this storied biodynamic winemaker from the Loire, Bruno Dubois, whose sparkler from Chenin is an ode to the variety. This wine has all of that stuff and more. We are almost tempted to say… better than Champagne?

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Els Talls
Casajou, 2020
Xarel·lo, Garnacha Tinta, Macabeo

Where we live, a holiday dinner is unthinkable without a bottle of Cava on the table. Problem is, for natural wine drinkers, most Cava tends to be… unappetizing. It has a bad rep for high-yield, low-quality. industrial agriculture and production processes. Not into it. Luckily, between the bad actors, there are renegades in the region using the traditional method to make similar sparkling wines, but with an eye towards quality. Casajou’s Els Talls is basically Cava – but by any marker of reputation, it is so much more than that. Laia and Jaume, using grapes carefully cultivated by their friend Oriol Roig, have made this small-production, light, rose-gold sparkling wine with intention and purpose. It’s a promise of what Cava could and should be – elegant and crisp, but approachable. Perfect for you and your grandmother on Christmas day.

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Should we just rely on luck?
Anders Frederik Steen & Anne Bruun Blauert, 2022
Cinsault, Chardonnay, Grenache blanc & noir, Syrah and Merlot

We couldn’t end the year without featuring one more wine from our friend Anders, crafter of some of the most idiosyncratic and memorable bottles to come out of this box. This time, the Danish-born winemaker asks us, Should We Just Rely on Luck? We say, in the new year, you do you, friend. Still, this wine has some serious know-how behind it. The grapes are from the practised natural wine estate Domaine du Mazel, co-fermented here into a tart, juicy, dark rosé. But Anders is right: natural wine always has a degree of “luck of the draw”. In this case, there was an earlier-than-expected end to the fermentation, with roundabout 30 gr of residual sugar. Before you run away at the idea of “sweet”: it is perfectly integrated here. Sour cherry candy, rich bitters, and slight fizz make this a true holiday banger to share amongst many, or keep for next year. Once again, you do you, friend.

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Pinot Noir

Dessine-moi un Pinot (draw me a Pinot) is an obvious reference to the iconoclastic novel Le Petit Prince, whose namesake character’s signature plea is for the stranded airman to draw him a sheep to help clear his little planet of the invasive baobabs. It’s an iconic refrain (check out Mylène Farmer’s mid-tempo rock banger of the same name – the live version). Almost as iconic to French culture as, well, Pinot Noir. This Pinot was crafted by the historic Burgundian biodynamic winemaker Emmanuel Giboulot in homage to this dual iconography. It’s a destemmed maceration of grapes sourced from the hotter, drier South of France, making for a rich, supple, gastronomic, and decidedly adult wine. But don’t be fooled: a bright backbone and generous fruit aromatics fill this wine with the same whimsy and imagination as Saint-Exupéry’s little prince.


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