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Cosmos — October 2020

"COSMOS"
October Edition 2020

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#1: Coume de l'Olla 2019

By Domaine Matassa | Roussillon (France), £28

What's it Like?

Juicy, invigorating, moreish, thirstquenching. This is the kind of wine that makes you wanna go out partying. Or just party at home in your pyjamas. Either way, you'll be boogying to funk & disco classics until the wee hours. This is a wine that cries out for Mediterranean food: roasted veg and wild herbs - with or without beef.

What's in it?

A cofermentation of red (Grenache), pink (Grenache Gris) and white (Macabeu) varieties. As such, this isn't technically a red wine, nor a rosé, nor a white wine. So what is it? Well, Tom doesn't care if this falls into a specific category of wine, and neither should you. What does matter is that it's delicious above all else.  

How's it Made?

All of the grapes were hand harvested separately and then combined in one large concrete tank, where they "cofermented" — ie. experienced the joyous transformation of juice to wine as one (naturally, of course). This took place over ten days, with the whole bunches (stems & all), after which the wine was aged in concrete. 

#2: Marguerite 2018

By Domaine Matassa | Roussillon (France), £34+

What's it Like?

This is a rare rose amongst the thorns. In a region that used to be known for bulk wine, this has become one of the most celebrated natural cuvées in the whole world. It tastes like summer in a bottle. What’s not to love? Fun fact: it was named after Tom Lubbe's wife's grandmother, who was one of the last people in the region to speak Catalan as her first language.

What's in it?

It is made from old vine treasures of the white grape varieties Macabeu, Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains and Muscat of Alexandria. The latter two are considered amongst the oldest grape varieties in the world, initially believed to hail from Greece, before people wanted to spread the love and gave cuttings as presents to nobility throughout Europe.

How's it Made?

This is a light "orange wine;" meaning it spent time macerating with the grape skins (although only for one week). This means it has more flavour, tannin and structure than your regular white wine, without being 'super-orange.' After the maceration period was over, it was pressed, finished fermented naturally and was aged in old oak barrels before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. 

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#3: Grauburgunder 2019

By Rennersistas | Burgenland (Austria), £24

What's it Like?

This is like the 3D cinema version of wine. One look at it in the glass and you'll be thinking, huh? Is this really wine? Damn straight it's wine, in all its fluorescent glory. This is the kind of wine you wanna open with special friends, so everyone can eyeball it in wonder together. 

What's in it?

This is 100% Pinot Gris (also known as Grauburgunder, or Pinot Grigio), from a young vineyard that the Rennersistas planted themselves, with their own hands, in 2017. This is the very first wine produced from that fruit, so it's kind of a big deal, jus' sayin'. No sulphites were added.

How's it Made?

After being hand harvested, the natural fermentation process began with a six day maceration period. This means it's kind of like an orange wine, but because Pinot Gris is a pink variety, it's more pink than orange. Finally, it was aged in old 500L barrels, and bottled unfined and unfiltered. 

#4: Déferlante Chenin Blanc 2019

By Olivier Cohen | Languedoc (France), £26

What's it Like?

Feel like dreaming about warmer days, or wanna be mentally transported to southern France? This will do that for you: think zesty citrus and croissant flakes. Drink it on a lazy Sunday afternoon while watching a movie with some snacks—great with popcorn or pistachios.

What's in it?

This is 100% Chenin Blanc from a close friend of Olivier's, who farms organically in Limoux, in the south of France at 450m elevation. That dizzying height means it's possible to grow Chenin Blanc here, creating a fresh white wine from an otherwise hot region. No sulphites were added.

How's it Made?

Once the grapes had arrived in their new winery home, they were turned into juice about as simply as it gets: the whole bunches were 'direct-pressed' (no skins, just juice), and the wine fermented naturally in fibreglass tanks to preserve freshness. Bottled unfined & unfiltered. 

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#5: Benje Tinto 2018

By Envínate | Tenerife & Spain, £25

What's it Like?

This wine is the same colour as a ruby, and just as sparkly. It's wearing its finest gown (or suit) at a ballroom dance. It's so elegant that it feels like it's wrapping you in silk. With juicy and floral scents, it's roses, peonies, white pepper and fennel that sit at the head of this table. 

What's in it?

This comes from old vines of an ancient Spanish variety called Listán Prieto. Due to the vine killing louse (phylloxera) that attacked European vineyards in the 1800s, most of the original vineyards in Spain were killed. However, Tenerife has never had phylloxera, so these vines survived. 

How's it Made?

Once the grapes came down to the cellar from their vineyard (located at very high elevation - 900-1,200m!) they were destemmed. Then, natural fermentation took place in concrete, with a maceration period of fifteen days. The wine was aged in old French oak barrels and concrete tanks, and was bottled unfined and unfiltered.

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#6: Les Grands Teppes 2018

By Jean-François Ganevat | Jura (France), £65+

What's it Like?

This is a mythical being: like Fawkes the phoenix in Harry Potter. Jean-François Ganevat is considered one of the greatest winemakers in the world, but when you meet him you'd never guess it. He's as down-to-earth as they come. You find this in the wine—it's all about subtlety and nuances. From fresh raspberries, to moss, to forest floor, to potpourri. An eternal mystery... 

What's in it?

This comes from a vineyard in the southern Jura, in an area known as Rotalier. They are some of Jean-François' oldest Pinot Noir vines, a parcel of which was planted in 1977. They are planted on clay/limestone; on very similar soil composition as what you find just an hour down the road in the hallowed terroirs of Burgundy.

How's it Made?

The grapes were hand harvested and brought back to Jean-François' cellar, where they was left to ferment with their whole bunches, "infusion style" like tea (that's why the wine is so pale and delicate - it was made with lightness in mind). The wine was then aged for a year in old oak barrels, and bottled unfined and unfiltered.  

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