Wine Club – November 2022
MESQUIDA MORA , 2021
We’ve sent you island wines before. We’ve sung their praises too, for fun and breezy, and for inducing nostalgia for easier times before those times are over. If island wines are already special, then this Mallorcan wine is even more so. Take the independence of spirit and the idiosyncratic flavour profile, and bottle it with an eye towards precision, depth, and gastronomy, and you’ve got this minimal-intervention white meant for dinners at home with heated political debates amongst people who love each other. That sort of dialogue is precisely what Bàrbara Mesquida Mora is looking to incite with her wines, themselves rooted in a biodynamic ethic of dialogue between the variety (in this case, Giró, indigenous to the island), the soil (in this case, a fresh and fertile plain), and the Mediterranean climate.
DOMAINE THILLARDON , 2021
This month, we are so excited to be able to bring to you a bottle of one of the best and most underrated Beaujolais producers, Domaine Thillardon. The quality of fruit in their wines is always ethereal–almost as if they’re all supercharged with an interior energy that can do nothing but spark joy. This Cru wine (meaning that it hails from the town of Chénas, considered amongst to be the region’s ten best for winemaking) is a bit atypical, in that it doesn’t err on the side of extraction. It does something different, something more immediate; it’s light, bright, and electric, but it doesn’t fall into the hyper-candied trap of most young Beaujolais. This wine is too tart in the middle for that. We always love Gamay, but we especially love Gamay when it can surprise us. Even we didn’t see this one coming.
PELUDA VINHOS, 2021
Up in the north of Portugal, the Vinho Verde (Minho) region is known for making spritzy, sour whites that read way more natural than they actually are. Despite their styling, the production of these high-acid wines is often industrial and the carbonic gas often added. As always, though, here at T.N.W.C. we are interested in the true artisans that exist in and amongst all the industrial agriculture, such as Mariana Pala, who farms 17 ha of land high up in the hills of Basto together with her grandfather. This wine, a pet-nat from the local Azal grape, is not unlike a Vinho Verde: great acidity, slightly frizzy, citric overtones, and perfect from mid-afternoon through to the first course of dinner. We love that it turns a style that once was unadulterated, then was mass-produced, and strips it back down again.
UN BRIN LIBRE, 2021
Here at T.N.W.C., we embrace wines of all colours, shapes, sizes, and all along the spectrum of natural. Still, we do contend that no-intervention makes perhaps the funnest of the wines we offer, and Colin Alex’s zero-zero white is just that: very, very fun. His name choices say it all–Canaille in French means cheeky or mischievous, and the project, titled Un Brin Libre, means a loose end. It’s all off-kilter on-purpose. This half Viognier and half Chardonnay is a fruit-juicy, flower- and spice-forward partly-macerated white with a playful spirit. Maybe imperfect in a classic sense, but perfect for groups and/or perfect solo. In Colin’s previous life, he was a herbalist and a percussionist, so you can imagine the beat that this bottle plays to. Enjoy freely.
FAMILLE RICHAUD, 2021
Marcel Richaud and his children Thomas and Claire are all about radical honesty in winemaking. They firmly believe in their vocation and have been making natural wine since the 1980s. By choice, they eschew over-processing in favour of growing good quality grapes. By prowess, they make those grapes into wines whose clarity is pure and whose purity is clear. Bubille, a blend of mostly Counoise, the dark horse of the Southern Rhône grapes, is made by Claire. On the nose, it’ll remind you of a cherry jam, giving a first impression marked by breadth and structure. The beautiful part is–when you drink it–it is the lightest, brightest, airiest marmelade you’ve ever tried: dry, perfectly seasoned, and not sticky in the slightest. A knockout wine for the winter season.
VINS INTRÈPIDS, 2021
Sumoll is a curiosity of a variety by Mediterranean standards. By all standards, it’s a grape that gives fresh, vertical juice and retains acidity pretty well despite the heat. At the same time, it has a thick, rough skin: if you’re not careful with the length and intensity of the maceration, the wines can be incredibly harsh and tannic in their youth. These are some of the reasons that this uniquely Catalan grape fell out of style decades ago, and many vineyards were ripped up in favour of white grapes for Cava. Good thing, then, that the Catalan natural wine scene has taken to championing Sumoll (rescuing it, if you will). Better still that young winemakers like Xavi Mas from Vins Intrepids know how to work with it well, making easy going wines (less time on skins, naturally) with a sense of place (home).