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"COSMOS"

December Edition

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#1 Autrement Rouge 2016

By Domaine Curtet | Savoie (France) £28

Meet the Makers in the December Film Episode (accessible via the button below)

What's it Like?

This is a wood nymph in vinous form. The vines are nestled against a forest, so perhaps it's not so surprising that it takes after them. With pine sap, fresh earth and wild berry scents, this is like a hike. Its heady perfume might be intoxicating, but at only 12.5%, you don't have to worry too much about the festive hangover tomorrow.

What's in it?

This is a blend of the three classic red grape varieties of the Savoie: Gamay (80%), Pinot Noir (10%) and Mondeuse (10%), planted on sandstone soils. Fun fact about Mondeuse: this lesser-known, low-alcohol & distinctly peppery variety is actually the grandparent of Syrah! Grapes have family trees too, you know...

How's it Made?

Every week, the Curtet duo climb the equivalent of Mont Blanc when working these slopes. Once hand harvested, the whole bunches were put together in a tank for "infusion" style maceration (think of it like tea - very gentle winemaking). This means it's more elegant & less tannic in style. Bottled after nine months' ageing.

CURTET
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#2 Mon Blanc 2019

By Jurtschitsch | Kamptal (Austria) £24

What's it Like?

This is your "Orange Wine Starter Kit" in one bottle. Not sure if you'll like the style? We're pretty sure you'll like this. Full of pizazz and with punchy acid, it has the same effect as a spa treatment. With a gentle wildflower meadow scent, this is better than a bubble bath. Actually, scrap that. Drink this IN a bubble bath. 

What's in it?

Not only is this a starter kit for orange wine, but it's also a 101 guide to Austrian white grape varieties. It's a co-fermentation of all of our favourites: Riesling, Grüner Veltliner, Weißburgunder (Pinot Blanc in German), Muskateller, Donauriesling & Johanniter!

How's it Made?

This was born out of the winemakers' desire to challenge tradition by experimentation and reinterpretation. The grapes were macerated together for two weeks (orange wine style) in an Austrian foudre, before being aged without the skins and with only the finest juice. It was bottled unfined and unfiltered.

JURTSCHITSCH
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#3 Silbermond 2018

By Rudolf & Rita Trossen | Mosel (Germany) £25

What's it Like?

This is like your favourite snack: once you've opened it, you can't stop. With just 10.5% alcohol and a touch of sugar, this is both thirstquenching and moreish. Keep your eye on that uncle sitting next to you - before you know it the bottle will be empty. It has the hallmark of every great Riesling - that dewy, stony mineral crunch - with a little extra body, a little extra energy and a touch of exotic spice. 

What's in it?

This is 100% Mosel Riesling, bare bones 'n' all. What's fascinating is that Rudolf & Rita work mainly with ungrafted vines. What does that mean? In the 1800s, Europe was hit by a louse (phylloxera) which meant growers had to graft their European vine species onto American rootstock. In this part of the Mosel, however, the louse can't survive in the slate soils. They think it adds somethin' extra. We agree.

How's it Made?

This comes from vines that have been biodynamically tended since the 70s (the winemakers were pioneers in planet-friendly agriculture). The grapes were harvested by hand on the crazy-steep slopes of the Mosel, after which they were pressed directly, classic white wine style. The wine fermented naturally in large foudres, and was bottled with a touch of sulphites to prevent refermentation (as there's a little natural sugar).

TROSSEN
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#4 Crémant d'Alsace NV

By Domaine Rieffel | Alsace (France) £25

What's it Like?

This is the tortoise in the vinous fairytale of the hare vs. tortoise. It proves that Crémant can be equally as enticing as Champagne—and in some cases, even more so. Full of life but at the same time understated, this is a chic classic that tastes like the best lemon crêpe you've ever had. It will make eyes pop and jaws drop.

What's in it?

This is a trio of Alsatian white varieties - Auxerrois, Pinot Gris and Riesling. In Crémant and Champagne production, there is often extra sugar added to the wine (known as 'dosage'), but here it's just the grape juice in its birthday suit (this is known as extra-brut, zero dosage or brut nature if we'e getting geeky).  

How's it Made?

This winemaker has had the decade-long goal of creating bubbles with meaning. The grapes were pressed slowly, giving more flavour, before fermenting naturally & aging in large foudres. It was bottled with liqueur de tirage (yeast to start fermentation in the bottle, like a Champagne) and aged for a further 12 months.

RIEFFEL
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#5 Triptyque NV

By Timothée Stroebel | Montagne de Reims, Champagne (France) £69

What's it Like?

This will bestow layers upon layers of flavours upon your palate. When first opened, this is tightwound, mineral, smoky and saline, with a hint of lime rind and cranberries. With a few minutes in the glass, it starts to open up and show its savoury side: thyme, juniper and bay leaves. This is the gift that keeps on giving, and it will explain to you in a single sip why grower Champagne can be so brilliant.

What's in it?

A triptych is a work of art that is divided into three sections; and that's what this is — in wine format. From the three primary grapes of Champagne — Pinot Noir (60%), Pinot Meunier (30%) and a splash of Chardonnay (10%), from three vintages (2011, 2013 and 2014) and from three soil types (chalk, clay and sand).

How's it Made?

This has been in the making for a long time. All of the base wines from 2011, 2013 and 2014 were fermented naturally and aged in separate bottles to one another, before being blended with some liqueur de tirage, and then aged once more in bottle (together this time). It was disgorged and left as a brut nature, although a tiny smidgen of sugar remains naturally, giving a nice roundness to the palate. Bottled unfined and unfiltered (a rarity in Champagne!)

STROEBEL
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#6 Tonnerre de Grès 2018

By Domaine Curtet | Savoie (France) £39

What's it Like?

It has a similar pine cone-esque character to its red friend Autrement, but it's a little more about saline and umami flavours; you can almost feel the crunchy texture of sea salt on your tongue. As such, it's an amazing friend to seafood — smoked salmon and dill blinis, anyone?

What's in it?

This is a blend of the classic white Savoyard white varieties, Jacquère & Altesse, which are indigenous to the area. You know that feeling when you breathe cool mountain air into your lungs in the morning, letting it invigorate every part of your body? This wine has that effect, too. From the mountains, like the mountains.

How's it Made?

After being hand harvested, the grapes made the short trip to the winery where they were pressed directly (classic white wine style). Then, the juice fermented naturally and aged for nine months in concrete to preserve its fresh aromas.

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