Wine club – May 2021
Kamara Winery, 2019
Truth be told, we’re less knowledgeable about Greek varietals, but this could be the wine that makes us commit for the long term. The blend of grapes in Stalisma is slightly ingenious, with 20% coming from a red grape, Xinomavro—the king of all the country’s varietals, we’re told—that’s been directly pressed to extract a blanc de noirs (white juice from a red grape). It’s just enough to bring some minerality and welcome structure to the wine. This has been mixed with 80% Malagouzia, a white grape that almost died out a few decades ago before being ‘rediscovered’ and brought back into the winemaking fold. Here, it’s been left to macerate on the skins, and altogether the result is a slightly caramelised, baked appleness, with floral notes, the balanced acidity of citrus fruit, and a slightly herbal finish. The family winery, led by Dimitrios Kioutsoukis and his daughter Stavroula, is based just to the north of Thessaloniki.
A year or so ago we were mid-love affair with the wines of a Catalan producer, Jordi Llorens, but mindful of the fact that we should still see other people, we went for dinner and asked the sommelier to bring us anything that wasn’t by Jordi—but if possible still exactly like it. He served us an orange by Emma, and thus began a whole other romance that we’re now pleased to share with you, dear members. Their winery is located just next door to Llorens, and the two are friends, but for this particular red, as deep-bodied and richly tinted as it may seem, there’s an unanticipated lightness that gives the whole thing a pleasing depth, ease of drinking, and sweet velvety relief. You’ll also find some notes of blackberry, violet, and balsamic, all stemming from a robust blend of 40% Carinyena, 30% Marselan, and 10% each of Syrah, Garnatxa, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Though we’ll never bring you the same wine twice, and like to change up the producers as much as possible to keep exploring together, sometimes it just makes sense to lean into things a bit more, and that’s the state we’re in with a couple of Portuguese favourites right now. This is one of the few cuvées released by Safado, whose winemaker, Emanuel Frutuoso, collaborates with Rodrigo Felipe of Humus Wines (featured in January) on another project called Flui (also featured in March). This is Frutuoso alone, however, and 2019 also happens to be the year he started out, working a plot of vines planted by his wife’s grandfather in the 1950s. It still produces local varietals from that period, like Alicante Branco, Seara Nova, and Boal Prior, which have all gone into this very Portuguese blend. You’ll find a little density in the body, with some green apple and earthy tones that open up in the glass with time.
Poderi Cellario, 2020
Impossible to ignore the deluxe-edition one-litre bottle of fizz sticking out of this month’s box, basically putting other bottles to shame, and for that we have the generous souls at Poderi Cellario to thank. The winemaker’s grandfather used to bottle wine for friends and family in receptacles of the same size, and that same spirit captures La Grinozza well: it’s not wildly complex, more rustic, but only the coldest heart could fail to imbibe its lively nature and the prerogative to share with others. The wine bends in the direction of unfiltered fruit, the ruby-beetroot colour a tell-tale sign, and it comes with fine but long-lasting bubbles, the taste of cranberry, raspberry, and a crunchy vegetal base. The grape, Grignolino, is an old varietal from the Piedmont region but usually plays third or fourth fiddle to the better-known varietals like Nebbiolo, Barbera, and Dolchetto. Getting rid of such hierarchies or exclusivity is also part of the vibe though.
Bott Frigyes, 2019
Made with a native Hungarian grape whose acidity and minerality can be unashamedly present, our winemaker Bott Frigyes has managed to package some big flavours into an orange wine that’s bold but still refined, the grapes having spent one week on the skins before fermentation and eight months’ ageing in Hungarian oak barrels. Those characteristics of the grape are rounded out by a certain creaminess, an almost white chocolate goodness, and we love this wine for being ever so slightly syrupy and rich in nature. Frigyes himself is also on the border with Hungary, but on the Slovakian side, and his wine project extends beyond the vines he grows to restoring a historical prestige he thinks has been lost in the winemaking area he inhabits. In the next few years the goal is to reduce the number of varietals he farms to expand his focus on traditional grapes, like the tiny 0.5ha plot of Juhfark our bottles come from.
Glow Glow, 2020
The gods smiled upon us this month at T.N.W.C. as we picked up the last remaining bottles from German wunderkinder duo Glow Glow, a small project by Pauline Baumberger, who’s still shy of 30, and her younger brother Carl. The 2020 vintage is only their second, and as far as benchmarks go, it’s hard to imagine better. This cuvée is their first red, made with 100% Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir), and they intended it as a translation of their white wines: very light, very juicy, and it comes with flavours of sour cherry, while still a little green in the mouth, and with a light, peppery finish. Two-thirds of the grapes were fermented via carbonic maceration, while the remaining third macerated on the skins for six days, before ageing in old wooden barrels. The pair have carved out a small 2.5ha parcel from their family winery in the region of Nahe, about an hour southwest of Frankfurt, to launch thieir foray into natural winemaking