Wine Club – June 2021
Located next to Lake Balaton in the west of Hungary, this is from a much larger winery that converted to biodynamics in 2018, bowing out of a process that meant they had to commit to more and more chemicals to standardise every part of the winemaking process, increasingly standardising the taste of their wines as well. For Florian Zaruba, who heads up the winery, he said they could basically choose to make a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc if they bought the right yeast. Instead, they want to capture more of their own environment, and the Liquid Sunshine is meant to capture the feel of summer on their estate; it’s made from a blend of Chardonnay and Szürkebarát (Pinot Gris), the former being fermented on the skins for three weeks in amphora, and the two being mixed after pressing. The result is an orange wine that’s sunny and juicy, with some good apricot flavours as well. We decanted ours to let it open up even further.
Selva Vins, 2017
It’s our birthday, and everyone gets a bottle. We teamed up with Selva Vins in Mallorca for this pét-nat after visiting the island a year or so ago and tasting the cellar with Selva’s winemaker, Carlos Rodríguez Furthmann. This was the wine we really fell in love with, and for our one-year anniversary Carlos dedicated us the last remaining bottles of his 2017 Ancestral. He’s been working in wine for the past 20 years or so but set up his own project in 2017, so for both of us it marks the start of something good. The wine’s made from a blend of Callet and Mantonegro, both of them hyper-local varieties that have steadily been marking their return. It’s murky and jammy—strawberry jam with a slightly crunchy feel to the flavours, fairly small bubbles that aren’t overly present but keep the wine fresh, and it’s got some good body to it as well.
Fruita Analógica, 2020
We first saw Dido and Jurriaan trawling through the crowded floor of a bar, pouring
everyone glasses from a magnum of their wine, a year or two after they first
established themselves on a 9.5ha patch of vineyards to the north of Barcelona.
From there they’ve been making their Vinyes Tortuges wines, which we featured
earlier on in the club, and since then they’ve gone on to purchase a big old wine
cooperative building with their friend Bart Obertop, former owner of the brewery
Brouwerij’t Ij (everyone’s Dutch in this scenario). With that, they’ve been able to
expand their winemaking with a new venture, Fruita Analógica, thanks to the 30
cement tanks they have access to. This is their first vintage, where the reds are
intended to feel like whites, and vice versa. So while we have a single-varietal
Cabernet Franc, it’s incredibly light, macerated for only three days, with a touch of
Xarel·lo/Macabeo blend added in to make it even fresher. Serve slightly chilled.
Cantina Martinelli, 2018
You have to appreciate commitment to a cause, and the Martinelli farms a tiny plot of
only 1.2ha, with only Garganega, a white varietal primarily grown in the Veneto
region of Italy, where the winery’s located. The land was originally bought in the ‘90s
by the father of the current winemaker, Francesco Martinelli, who started mulling
over the idea of winemaking in 2015 and eventually released his first vintage a few
years later. Now the project’s fully underway, but still with the same plot of vines, and
still with their sole variety; they’re making just one white and a sparkling in a region
that for a long time has focused more on high yields rather than unique wines, so it
feels extra special to have one of these bottles. As for the wine itself, you’ll find a lot
of fruity notes on the nose, like apple and peach, but in the mouth it’s very clean,
with a savoury, mineral finish.
Katla Wines, 2020
Jas Swan, the winemaker behind Katla Wines, worked as a sommelier but was
prompted into winemaking by the son of the legendary Ardèche natural winemaker
Gilles Azzoni, who told her that everyone who’d ever interned with them (as she’d
done) went on to do their own bottles. Instead of breaking tradition, she’s now into
her second vintage, having started off in 2019, and has landed some cellar space in
the Moselle Valley, spearheading a loose group of winemakers who are reinventing
the kind of staid image of the region. She buys in organic grapes and changes up the
wines each year, except for the Sigyn, which is into its second run. This time, she
also added in 10% Dornfelder, alongside the 60% Regent (both with semi-carbonic
maceration) and 30% Riesling. It’s definitely not a classic Moselle Riesling, as the
pinkness suggests; it’s got a crisp, cherry note on the nose, with an equally crisp,
metallic, cranberry, cherry taste in the mouth.
Domaine Villet, 2015
If you know, you know, but if you don’t, this one can use a bit of explaining. It comes
from the Jura, a region of France located next to Switzerland with its own history of
winemaking, one that cat make it seem like the black sheep or the greatest thing
ever, depending on where you stand with this particular grape and technique.
Savagnin is local to the area and typically comes with a long acidic, citrus, pineapple,
herbal taste, with a fair bit of strength. Often it’s made into oxidative-style wines,
which adds a whole other layer of strong, nutty flavours on top. Legends of the
scene, like Pierre Overnoy, shifted more towards the ouillé style though, meaning
they top up the barrels as part of the juice naturally evaporates, to avoid leaving any
room for oxygen to gather and create the layer of bacteria (the voile) that gives the
Jura its oxidative style. In turn, that means there’s more room for the raw
characteristics of the grape and terroir to come through, and that’s what we have
here in our bottle of Savagnin Ouillé from Domaine Villet.