Wine Club – September 2021

tnwc_bottles_20216 2
Barraco, 2020
Nero d’Avola

Where to start: this wine feels disarmingly simple, a Nero d’Avola from Sicily made as a
rosé but that almost tastes like the distilled version of a fuller-bodied savoury red. It
feels expertly made: one push in the wrong direction could’ve toppled the whole thing
over. Because we were sitting at a knock-off Donald Judd table, we went ahead and
compared it to Judd: controlled but unassuming, going straight to the essence. The
winemaker, Nino Barraco, officially started in 2004 but was making wine and selling it to
a small local restaurant in Palermo (where he was studying) even before that—the
bottles took on a cult status for locals who knew what to ask for. Now he works in vines
lining the Mediterranean, in the dunes of the Marsala region, and the grapes for his
Rosammare were picked early to retain some freshness and acidity, spent only one
night on the skins, and have a little black cherry and tart red fruit to them as well.

tnwc_bottles_2021 2
Vinarství Merínský, 2020
Rulandské Bílé
Czech Republic

As the name suggests, this is the second orange in our September box, but it heads in
a different direction to the Entropia; on the nose there’s a smoky, almost bitter,
butterscotch aroma that’s balanced by a lighter, more floral, mineral flavour in the
mouth. Definitely let this one sit for a moment before drinking though, as the flavours
come into their own once they’re allowed to open up further. Coming from a small
family-run winery, Vinařství Měřínský, that was planted two generations back in the
Czech region of Moravia, close the city of Brno, the Orange is made from 100%
Rulandské Bílé (the local name for Pinot Blanc) and the grapes were left to macerate for
six weeks in acacia barrels before being aged on fine lees for just under a year. As a
result, there’s some creaminess and substance to the wine as well; overall, a good,
solid drop.

tnwc_bottles_20215 2
François de Nicolay,
Chardonnay, Aligote

We’re welcoming back one of our favourite Burgundy producers, François de Nicolay,
whose family has been making wine in the region for the past 200 years at the Domaine
de Chandon de Briailles (the estate was originally built in the 17 th century by one of the
architects of the Château de Versailles). Around the same time the family landed there
in the early 1800s, the first effervescent wines in the region were also starting to be

produced with Pinot Noir, but the local crémant can also include Chardonnay, Aligote
(as we have here), plus a few other local grapes. With the geographic proximity to
Champagne, shared varietals, and use of the traditional method (a second, in-bottle
fermentation for the bubbles), there are some similarities to the sparkling up north.
Crémant has shorter ageing requirements though, and our bottle goes through some
fruitier notes before ending on a little bitterness, paired with a fine, persistent fizz. One
of the classics.

tnwc_bottles_20212 2
Vintopia, 2019
Cencibal, Cabernet Sauvignon

As ever, we like to keep exploring the area around our base in Barcelona, and here
we’ve gone a little deeper inland to La Mancha, one of the biggest DOs in Spain but
also one that’s fairly overlooked. The Intro is a rich, classic Tempranillo (or Cencibal as
it’s known in the region) blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, and if you like your reds big
and full-bodied, this is the wine for you. The grapes spent 10 days on the skins with
daily pump-overs, where the wine is moved around so as to keep extracting the full
characteristics of the fruit. The two brothers behind Vintopia have been making wine
together since 2016, taking up their grandparents’ way of vinifying in their own cellar,
before La Mancha became known as a place for high-yield grapes sold off to large-
scale co-ops under Franco. They’re also only making small runs of each cuvée, with the
Intro one of 600 bottles.

tnwc_bottles_20213 2
Ibon Apezteguia, 2020

Ibon Apezteguia’s project works like a nomadic winemaking enterprise, where each new
vintage is made in different locales, depending on the location of winemaker friends who
can spare some grapes and/or cellar space. This is his second vintage; last year we
sent out his first, a very light, delicate rosé made with Monastrell from Mallorca, and this
year we have its counterpart: a fuller-bodied red, still with 95% Monastrell but sourced
from around Murcia in southeastern Spain, blended with 5% local white varieties. The
grapes had 12 days on the skins before six months’ ageing in used oak barrels. This is
maybe a more classic rendition of the Monastrell variety (a textbook grape for more
robust wines), but it’s still measured in its approach, smooth, and with a good texture in
the mouth. Also same as last year, this wine comes in limited numbers, with only 850
bottles of the Panduro released.

tnwc_bottles_20214 2
Racina, 2020
Greco Bianco, Muscat of Alexandria

These are some of the first bottles from a new venture based in the Costa Viola in
southern Italy (2020 being their first release) and one of only three cuvées they’re
currently producing. It’s what you might call a fun, juicy orange and something we
stumbled on almost by chance while tasting through a sea of samples at a lunchtime
barbecue. Greco Bianco makes up 90% of the mix, with 10% Muscat of Alexandria; the
former is pretty flexible and runs the gamut of styles in the Calabria region, from dry
whites through dessert wines, the key being its highly aromatic profile. Alongside the
Muscat there’s an intense floral character to the wine (jasmine, white flowers), but a
dose of acidity to round it out. The grapes were left to macerate on the skins for nine
days, aged on fine lees in glass demijohn bottles, and this is one for the last of the
summer days.


Whoops! Our make-a-box service is an exclusive perk for T.N.W.C. members only. Log in if you’re already a member; if not, click below to become one!


Dear wine-lover, if you wish to stay updated with our latest monthly bottles drop and insights with natural winemakers please subscribe to our newsletter below.

Date of birth