Wine Club – January 2022

La Furtiva & Vins de Quimera, 2021
Morenillo, Merseguera

You could almost refer to a young, loose kind of winemaking collective that’s forming in and around Barcelona these days, in no small part shaped by Òscar Navas at La Furtiva, while the Punt Verd also features the collaboration of two sommeliers and a trained nurse who formed Vins de Quimera this past summer. More specifically, this light-bodied rosé-style wine hails from the Terra Alta region of Catalonia and was made with a blend of Morenillo (a red grape indigenous to the area, only recognised by the DO in 2018) and the white grape Merseguera, both receiving a direct press before brief fermentation/ageing in stainless steel. Definitely a young, fun wine that smells like red velvet, bubblegum, sweet cherry, but with a kind of textured coarseness in lieu of any excessive syrupy-ness.

Esencia Rural, 2017

This is not for the faint of heart, but it’s definitely one to explore if you’re open to tasting a bottle that’s unashamedly aromatic and full-bodied and if you’ve got to a point in your drinking habits where you want to see where else a wine can go. Straight off the bat, there’s a lot of volatile acidity on the nose (essentially the gaseous form of the liquid acidity you can taste in the glass), as well as banana and lots of pepper. Julián Ruiz, the winemaker at Esencia Rural, is an old-hand at these sorts of intense wines, working mostly with the white Airén grape in La Mancha, a hot and arid region of Spain that otherwise produces much of the country’s brandy. The flavours are hugely concentrated, but Ruíz somehow manages to finish this off with a lasting freshness.

Domaine des Moriers, 2019

A Morgon like we know and love, a bit more structured and savoury than the otherwise juicy red fruit of the Gamay from elsewhere in the Beaujolais region. This one was made by Domaine des Moriers, a group of friends that started working together in 2005 that also includes a long-standing contributor to T.N.W.C., François de Nicolay, whose family has been making wine at Domaine de Chandon de Briailles, in Burgundy, for the past two centuries. Here though, apart from the inviting taste of dark red berries you’ll almost find an undercurrent of vanilla on the nose and a light liquorice finish—all very drinkable and a bottle that’s always gone too quick.

Vital, 2019

A wine that’s as much about the process and backstory as the grapes themselves, the result of a collaboration between oenologist Josep Queralt and ceramicist Carles Llarch, the latter having launched into amphora-making about a decade ago. In the process Carles started making wine to test the innumerable combinations of earth he could use to make clay for the vessels, and he now makes individualised amphora for winemakers around Europe while keeping up a small production of his own wine as well. To Vi is limited to only 600 bottles, and the white Parellada was of course fermented and aged in jarras of Carles’ making. It’s a deep orange wine with a mix of bitterness, white pepper, and a mineral finish; we left it to breathe for a while and almost enjoyed it more the day after opening.

Vini Felici, 2019

Felix Sebastian of Vini Felici makes just two wines, one each in different locations: his Riesling in the Mosel Valley of Germany and a Zibibbo on the island of Pantelleria, Italy, which we were lucky to feature a year or so ago. Production of both is very small and focused on making something special with local grapes and methods; that said, even as a relatively young winemaker, he manages to extract a certain warmth in both of his wines that, in the current Riesling, translates into a big nose of honey and a kind of late-harvest sunny feeling in the mouth but with a good sense of acidity and a mineral finish. The grapes were macerated for a single day only, then left to ferment and age in barrels for a year.

Domaine de l’Ecu, 2018
Pinot Noir

From one of the great domaines of the Loire Valley, handed down to the current winemaker, Fred Niger, by one of the great names of French winemaking, Guy Bossard, who turned to organic viticulture in the early ‘70s then biodynamics in the late ‘90s. Bossard and Niger worked together for a few years to smooth the transition and the latter has kept it together, his bottles now on the wine lists of top restaurants. One addition though has been Niger’s use of amphora, in which this single-variety Pinot Noir was aged for a year after a short fermentation of around a week. For us, Ange moves easily between a lighter-bodied beginning of dark red fruit, a bit of pepper, and a fuller, more rounded finish. This is also one you can cellar; Niger says it’s great after 5 years but will hit its peak after 10.


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