Wine Club – May 2022
While it’s nice to have something new and shiny, sometimes years of experience are undervalued in the fast-paced, gotta-catch-‘em-all world of natural wine. This year’s iteration of Riva del Ciliegio—historically, a powerful and structured version of pinot from Emilia-Romagna—is a great showcase of what practice and know-how can bring to the study of more elegant, refined natural winemaking. The 2019 vintage saw Alberto Anguissola pare back on tannin, extraction, and raw material from the grape. Still, the wine maintains the same aromatic intensity, heady earthiness, and vegetal crunch as before. He knows what he’s doing, and the result is nothing short of grand. Bravo.
Clos Massotte, 2021
Orange wine, as we all know, is famously not made from oranges, but we’ll admit that sometimes it tastes like it could be. Pierre-Nicolas Massotte must agree, because his Zest Machine is as zesty as they come. Orange? Tangerine? Lime? It’s got all of that, plus a smooth, tannic grippiness that leaves you salivating for a second sip of this Roussillon gem. We recommend a couple minutes of air, and a few degrees above fridge temperature, to fully appreciate the sense of depth and calm that lies beyond its just-opened vibrancy/zest. It’s a perfect first bottle for golden-hour evenings outdoors, where all you need is a light sweater (and a nice candle).
Just like humans, wines need rest to gather their forces. But unlike humans, wines are patient. Maybe we’re just feeling poetic, but this pet’-nat’ from Joan and Emma seems to us the perfect example of the unbridled energy of wines that wait. It was fermented in barrel, to let it breathe, and was bottled airtight to finish the ferment and trap the bubbles almost three years ago. Since then, it’s been resting on its lees (a graveyard of yeast, if you will): putting itself back together, gaining structure and complexity, and developing a fascinating, freshly-struck-matchstick reduction that comes only with time. Now it’s ready to breathe again. What are you waiting for?
Mas Candí, 2021
In Catalan, cabòries are those little ideas that buzz around your head non-stop, no matter how much you ignore them. Ramon Jané’s buzzy idea was that this obscure local grape, Mandó—thereunto lost to the passage of time, victim of the 1990s trend of planting Cabernet Sauvignon literally everywhere—was actually noble and enigmatic. Worthy of being the star, instead of a supporting player. A few years later, the few vines he replanted are stage-ready. They sing notes of redcurrant fruit, with a snappy, acidic backbone. The resulting wine is easy and practiced, fresh and balanced. Who doesn’t love it when a good idea works out well?
Marco Barba, 2020
Marco and his “Barbaboyz” just want you to drink good wine that doesn’t come from destructive agricultural practices. Their mission, in grander terms, is to recuperate old, abandoned parcels dotted around Veneto, bring them back to life the biodynamic way, and then make approachable wines that bang both at parties with friends and on the dinner table with your in-laws. This red is a spicy blend that stretches towards meaty and bloody mid-sip, but goes down juicy, fluid, and light on its feet. It’s a younger, modern take on a big-bodied red: perfect for the grab-and-go shelf of the wine fridge
Pivnica Čajkov, 2021
You may remember Marek Uhnák talking about the 2020 vintage in his legendary Christmas video from last year. (Check it out on our IG—we promise it’s worth it!) 2021’s Princess is the perfect early spring rosé: airy, floral, low in alcohol, and full of joy. If you didn’t know better, you might think it were jasmine and bergamot iced tea in your glass: even Marek calls it a breakfast wine. It’s a bottle that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but still respects the generations-long family tradition of making of humble wine from grapes indigenous to this offbeat corner of Slovakia. All in all, a good reminder that delicate can still be powerful.