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April Grower Edition

LITTLEWINE CLUB

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#1 Ocarina 2019

By Saskia Van Der Horst - Les Arabesques | Roussillon (France) £25

Read Saskia's story by clicking the button below.

What's it Like?

This shouts the French word for wild herbs, "Garrigue!" at the top of its lungs. Imagine walking through the south of France on a hot summer's day, with the comforting essential oils from the rosemary and thyme floating like wisps through the air. This is a dark rosé in all its glory; a rosé that proves just how serious the category can be. 

Where's it From?

This wine comes from a small vineyard planted to Syrah, Grenache and Carignan in the village of Montner, in the Roussillon. The vines are between 30 and 60 years old, planted as bush vines, unirrigated and farmed biodynamically; a process Saskia began recently; converting her already-organic vineyards.

How's it Made?

The colour of Ocarina varies depending on the vintage and what nature gives to the grapes. The grapes are foot trodden, then left to begin fermenting naturally, and pressed shortly after. The wine is then aged in fibre glass tanks, with a portion in old oak barrels. Unfined, unfiltered and with tiny amounts of sulphites used at bottling.

Les Arabesques
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#2 Fuchs Und Hase Rosé 2019

By Fuchs Und Hase | Kamptal (Austria) £25

Read the Fuchs Und Hase interview with Alwin Jurtschitsch by clicking the button below.

What's it Like?

This makes you wanna boogie to Night Fever. This is soulful sparkling wine - it has everything you want from a great rosé - raspberries, beaming acid and a mineral touch - but it goes even deeper than that. There's oomph here; a rumbling energy with a textural element, all while remaining elegant. 

Where's it From?

This is a collaboration between Stefanie and Alwin Jurtschitsch and Anna and Martin Arndorfer, from the Kamptal, Austria. Both were inspired and excited by the notion of making natural sparkling wines, so joined forces to do so together. Since 2014, they have produced several editions each year from their organic vineyards.

How's it Made?

This is a cofermentation of Zweigelt (pressed directly) with destemmed Cabernet Sauvignon berries for colour and structure. It is bottled while still fermenting naturally (which means the continued fermentation in bottle creates the bubbles; pét-nat style). It is unfined, unfiltered, without sulphites.

FUCHS UND HASE
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#3 Rebosso 2018

By Aris Blancardi of Selvadolce | Liguria (Italy) £32

Read Aris' story by clicking the button below.

What's it Like?

A wine that is so utterly its own thing that it makes us hard for us to find the words. It almost enjoys teasing us. Fresh pear, wild thyme, pine nuts, lime salsa; it's both exotic and perfumed. It arrives on your tongue with a mineral salty splash, transporting you straight to the Ligurian coast. There's something infinitely refreshing about this wine; reminiscent of cool water.

Where's it From?

This comes from the younger Vermentino vines on the biodynamically-farmed Selvadolce plot in Liguria, Italy, planted on sandy calcareous soils. The plot sits facing the sea and Aris explains that the sea salt blown by the strong Mistral winds settles on the berries before harvest. We are convinced that this brings a salty lift to the wine.

How's it Made?

The Vermentino grapes are directly pressed and fermented naturally in old barrels, on the lees, with no manipulation. Just a tiny amount of sulphites used, and bottled unfined and unfiltered. The result is a crystalline, salty wine that can sit shoulder-to-shoulder with the finest white wines of the world.

SELVADOLCE
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#4 Rosso Leggero 2018

By Pranzegg | Alto Adige (Italy) £25

Read the Pranzegg story by clicking the button below.

What's it Like?

This is a light, juicy, energetic style of red wine; a sort of nod to the vins de soif of the French natural wine movement (think Beaujolais...) but unmistakably Italian at heart. There's a wild, herbal, almost minty side to this wine that makes us dream of great Italian cuisine. Get your pasta cookbook ready!

Where's it From?

This is biodynamically farmed Schiava and Lagrein; the two renowned indigenous varieties from the Alto Adige wine region. As it's a vineyard they recently converted to organics, they felt the grapes needed some time before they could make full extended-maceration red wine from them. But alas, this cuvée was born, hearts were captured, and they're not looking back.

How's it Made?

This is a unique invention - direct-press juice of the Schiava and Lagrein is naturally fermented on the skins of their white wine, Caroline. This gives a little more tannin; but as it's from white grapes, it doesn't add too much body. Hence, this is a wine with the scent and colour of red wine, but tastes a little more like skin-fermented white wine.

PRANZEGG
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#5 Hautes-Côtes de Beaune 2018

By Domaine des Rouges Queues | Burgundy (France) £39

Read the Rouges Queues story by clicking the button below.

What's it Like?

This shows that making natural wine and fine wine is not a question of 'either or.'  Indeed, the world’s best natural wines are truly delicious fine wines - wines that enchant you and give the WOW factor. Isabelle and Jean-Yves' Hautes-Côtes rouge is a great example of this; a fresh, juicy, naturally made Burgundy with a spicy white pepper backbone. Gluggable, but seriously so.

Where's it From?

This is biodynamically farmed Pinot Noir from two Hautes Côtes de Beaune parcels; one a parcel of just under one hectare, planted on clay limestone soils in 1963 (on the slopes of the village 'Changes'), and the other planted by Isabelle and Jean-Yves themselves, in 2000, in 'Sampigny les Maranges.'

How's it Made?

The grapes are foot stomped, after which they macerate whole cluster for fifteen days with some gentle pumpovers of the juice to ensure a healthy natural fermentation with minimal extraction. The wine is then aged for ten months in old oak barrels, after which it was bottled unfined and unfiltered. Minimal sulphites added.

ROUGES QUEUES
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#6 Rucantu 2017

By Aris Blancardi of Selvadolce | Liguria (Italy) £45

What's it Like?

This tastes like Heaven on Earth to us. The Selvadolce farm is one of those places that you would think only exists in romantic Italian movies or maybe in kitsch holiday brochures - but in fact - it is simply one of the most incredible vineyards - filled with life and soul - that you could possibly come across. Rucantu is Aris Blancardi’s skin-fermented Pigato - the skin fermentation brings out a certain complexity rarely found in orange wines. To us, it is more or less sunshine in a glass. Pure joy for body and soul.

Where's it From?

The original, old-vine vineyards of the biodynamic Selvadolce farm produce Rucantu (Pigato) and VB1 (Vermentino). The vineyards face the sea, and we're convinced that this brings the saline quality to the wine. Pigato is a curiosity unique to the Ligurian wine region; it is technically speaking the same grape variety as Vermentino (as it's a mutation), but with different characteristics; the skins of the berries are freckled and the wine has a slightly bitter twist.

How's it Made?

For the old-vine cuvées, Aris feels that the fruit quality is so great that it would be a shame not to skin macerate the wines. Hence, the juice stays in contact with the grapes for a few days. During the ageing process, Aris does regular bâtonnage every two to three weeks (stirring the barrel with a stick, which makes the juice turbid again and adds richness). He allows a little headspace in these barrels to encourage a small amount of oxidation. Unfined and unfiltered.

SELVADOLCE

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