Wine Club – Jan 2023
Marco Tinessa makes wine from a vineyard he owns in the vast Southern Italian region of Campania, to which he is native… but it’s not where he currently resides. He first purchased the plot of Aglianico (reds) and Fiano (whites) in 2007. As a friend and mentee of one of the top-five most famous natural winemakers worldwide, Frank Cornelissen, for years he would take the grapes the same day to Frank’s cellar on Sicily’s Mt. Etna for vinification. But as a resident of Milan, where he works in finance, Marco eventually decided to establish a winery outside that city, and now trucks his harvest up north instead. We love his wines because, like his mentor, he doesn’t shy away from maturity and phenolic ripeness: he uses the bright heat and the hot sun of Naples to craft structured wines meant for bottle ageing and gastronomy. Top!
Domaine VSN, 2021
One of two wines from this month’s collaboration with Domaine VSN! Powerglow itself is a sort of meeting of the minds, between perpetual friend of T.N.W.C., Pauline from Glow Glow Wines, who supplies the Pinot, and Alanna from Vin de la Gamba (Frauen Power), who supplies the Blauer Portugieser. A blend of styles, a blend of grapes, a blend of regions, the result is a powerful and vivacious red with tons of tart red-berry flavour. It is, in our minds, very much a Joan Jett and Cherie Currie kind of wine: bright, banging, energetic, and kind of punky. Meant for a night that you may end up screaming Cherry Bomb at four in the morning. Both Pauline and Alanna have their sights set on the future of the natural wine industry and are on the path to real disruption of the powers that be–in the best way possible.
The beginning of a new year is a time for reflection. We set resolutions and make important decisions, as the cycle of the calendar asks us to breathe and to contemplate the way forward. This wine, from the Greek island of Lefkada, is the perfect wine to drink while thinking, listening, talking it out, and parsing through the past. It’s a rich, mature wine, with a short maceration to add the requisite structure. It’s fluid, not necessarily begging to be accompanied with food, but not really a party wine either. A January wine that tastes like star anise, from an island with canonical links to the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite, and the original adventure story, Homer’s Odyssey. Whether the year that lies ahead of you is meant for love, adventure, both, or something else entirely, this bottle is meant for drinking thoughtfully.
Domaine Muller-Koeberlé, 2021
Alsace is a region of mosaics. A thin strip of land running north-south on the French side of the border with Germany, it has been passed between the two many times over the not-so-distant past, creating a mosaic culture of its own: neither fully French, nor fully German. It’s a valley created by a slow-forming depression between the Vosges mountains and the Black Forest, resulting in a mosaic of soil types dotting the vines. The nine grape varieties planted there (some French, some German) are usually vinified separately, but in the spirit of these mosaics, David and Marianne from Muller-Koeberlé harvest and macerate the grapes from this unusual, co-planted vineyard together. Less a varietal wine and more a scene study in orange: a reminder that diversity is the base of life and that fractured parts can make a beautiful whole.
Domaine VSN, 2021
One of two wines from this month’s collaboration with Domaine VSN! I’m Orange is exactly as it sounds, and just as fun as it looks. A short-ish (10-day) maceration of a local Valencian variety called Tortosi, it’s a zippy, citric, slightly spicy orange wine that actually does taste like oranges. Domaine VSN sources the wine from Tomás Torres, a small grapegrower and winemaker who manages a number of the 300-or-so total remaining hectares of this indigenous variety (in the whole world). Sometimes called Bobal Blanco (and bearing no relation to the widely-planted Bobal Tinto), Tortosi is a localised curiosity of a grape with high-key notes of mandarine and tangerine. So let’s just say the name works on many levels. As far as wines go, this one gets straight to the point, in the best way possible.
The brothers behind Frisach, Joan and Francesc, are mainstays in the Catalan world of natural wine. Visit them at their brand new cellar, and they’re likely to explain to you at length the tumultuous history of their town and territory (Corbera d’Ebre, Terra Alta), which was a borderland and a major battlefield during the Spanish Civil War. Their vineyards, nestled between escarpments rich in limestone, are still littered with bullet casings today. Dig a little and you’ll find one. In their eyes, it’s a clear signal that the patrimony of viticulture is a throughline that links our present inextricably to our past. As stewards of an agricultural history, they take on this responsibility with gravitas, and even their simpler wines, like this fruit-forward, well-balanced red, speak volumes.