Wine notes – January 2021
The Portuguese winemaker Rodrigo Felipe took over some vines that his dad had planted as more of a side hobby almost two decades ago now, on their property just north of Lisbon, and without any formal training he started experimenting by fermenting some grapes and kept adapting, following people’s advice until he realised that the best approach had always been the first and most direct. Like he’d been working his way down into the Platonic cave to study the shadows instead of staying out in the sun. As the name suggests, the Carbonica has been made with carbonic maceration, making this a much less tannic, easy-drinking red that includes a blend of Touriga Nacional and Syrah. You can smell this already on the nose, but there’s also an almost mushroom earthiness to keep things interesting and not overly fruity. All up, a wine we could always keep drinking.
La Cave aux Fioles, 2019
‘Nuit blanche’ means to pull an all-nighter in French and the label leans into the mood like a kind of psychedelic cartoon version of a Gaspar Noé film. We came across this bottle one long evening in the southwest of France and somehow this connotation has always stuck… but in actual fact, the daughter of the winemaker, Carlos Badia, was born just a few days before their first ever harvest, so it also references the energy and emotional high of that time. Nuit Blanche is a full-bodied white that arrives fully formed, with a long, fruity, but saline taste, and some smoky banana on the nose. Carlos himself only took up his small parcel of grapes close to Perpignan, France, in 2018, but he’s already captured us with this bottle. It’s made with 100% Macabeu from old vines, the grapes having passed through an old basket press to gently extract the juice, which was aged for a bit under six months before bottling.
Clot de les Soleres, 2017
Something a little familiar to round out the selection, a Catalan Xarel·lo, this time from the pair behind Clot de les Soleres, Carles and Montse Mora Ferrer, who are based around an hour inland from Barcelona. They’re known for making only single-varietals using direct press and no maceration, the whites going in with whole clusters, the idea being to get as pure a rendition of the grape as possible. For their Xarel·lo, they’ve also fermented the juice in stainless steel and the wine has been left to age for five months on fine lees, which adds a little creaminess to the end result. Added to this on the nose are some floral notes, but in the mouth it’s back to a balanced earthiness, some peachiness, good acidity, and grapefruit—bottled with a few residual sugars, hence the crown cap. As intended, this is a very clean, direct expression of the grape, something very honest and down-to-earth to start the new year.
Enoz Masseria Torricella, 2018
In the beginning, there was Chaos, and from there was formed Gaia, mother earth; Tartarus, the abyss; Eros, desire; Erebus, darkness; and Nyx, the night. That’s the premise on which this very first wine released under the Enoz label has been built: Il Chaos, a single-varietal Primitivo from the Campania region of Italy, and a reminder that everything starts from this principle, whether it’s human intervention on the land, the course of nature, or the practice of biodynamics. The idea is also to reflect the whole story of the people who’ve participated in the wine, through their advice and interpretation of the grapes, an ongoing story like the myths it references. Regardless, this is a really great, structured, medium-bodied red with beautiful aromas of red fruit, blackberry, and black pepper, though it’s not overly tannic. The grapes received 15 days’ maceration with regular punching down and were aged for nine months in amphora.
Michael Gindl, 2018
It feels legit these days to consider where you’d like to ride out the oncoming Armageddon, in a bunker or a sprawling, self-sufficient property, and it seems like Michael Gindl’s inadvertently gone for the latter. Located to the north of Vienna, Austria, his family farm also grows extensive crops, he breeds livestock and eventually wants to be able to butcher onsite as well. Then there are the vines, about 10 hectares all up. His Buteo 12 comes from 100% Grüner Veltliner grapes, which in turn have received around eight hours’ skin contact before a long, slow press for another eight hours, making for a more delicate result. Fermentation was in barrels, where the wine was also aged for six months—the oak having come from the forests on Gindl’s property as well. The medium-bodied Buteo has been made in the oxidative style, with a golden straw-coloured hue, strong aromas of green apple, and a mineral finish.
Amor per la terra, 2019
Half the fun of reading Tolkien et al. as a kid was studying the map that came at the start of the book, a pleasure that’s been transferred to every bottle from the fledgling project Amor per la Terra. Founded by three friends in 2019, they work with different producers from around Catalonia to make each wine, painting the roadmap and quoting from their WhatsApp conversations on the labels. For La Vinya d’en Tomàs we also see David Pujol Cargol, who picked his Garnatxa grapes on a blazing hot day and ended up adding 30% Moscatell, which underwent a cold maceration, in order to freshen up the ripeness of the red grapes. These underwent a separate carbonic maceration, and both were aged in stainless steel for four months. There’s a special yin–yang quality about this wine, both grapes standing apart but still together, and the warmer you drink it the more the fruity, floral Moscatell will come out. We preferred it slightly chilled, the Garnatxa adding structure and an interesting depth of flavour.