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July Cosmos Edition

LITTLEWINE CLUB

Read about the winemakers by clicking the buttons below. To read the full features, please Head Backstage.

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#1 Smetana 2020

By Slobodné | Slovakia

What's it Like?

Grüner Veltliner is often made in quite a rigid, acid-driven style. But what happens when you’re a little gentler with it—a little more hands-off? Well, the answer lies in this bottle. Think natural Greek yoghurt with fresh chunks of pineapple and a spicy twist, but still with that hallmark freshness the variety is famous for. A grown-up Piña Colada. Indeed, ‘Smetana’ means creamy in Czech, but it’s also a nod to the famous Czech classical composer Bedrich Smetana (1824-1884), who is pictured on the label.

Where's it From?

This comes from the biodynamic vineyard of the Slobodné quartet. Their farm is called Zemianske Sady, and is located near Hlohovec in Slovakia. The family has an incredible story—they were able to reclaim their land post-communism thanks to some historical papers that had been left in a basement in Prague many moons ago. Take a further delve into this remarkable story by clicking the link below. 

How's it Made?

The grapes were destemmed, pressed, and left overnight to settle. Natural fermentation took place outside, and was very slow. After fermenting, the wine was moved into egg-shaped tanks where it stayed on the full lees (all the delicious yeasty bits) for a couple of months before being bottled in November. It has some sediment in the bottle on purpose to protect it, as it was bottled without sulfites. Just 1000 bottles made.

Slobodné
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#2 Forks & Knives Red 2019

By Milan Nestarec | Moravia, Czech Republic 

What's it Like?

According to its maker, young Czech winemaker Milan Nestarec, this falls under 'essential nutrition.’ We’ve heard this idea before from the legendary Tom Lubbe of Matassa, and we’d be inclined to agree. There are certain wines that just feel soothing; that are good for the soul; and this is one of them. For this cuvée, Milan blended Pinot Noir with a shot of Blaufränkisch and spicy Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc. 'Quite carbonic, immensely chuggable. Low viscosity, zero bulls*&t!’

Where's it From?

Milan works across 12 different plots all situated around his home village Velké Bilovice in the southern part of Moravia. His approach in the vineyards has always been 'normal' — which according to him means no herbicides, pesticides, or fertilisers. Instead, he focuses on building a healthy ecosystem, farming biodynamically. Indeed, together with Slobodné he was one of the people to help found the biodynamic Demeter certification in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

How's it Made?

Milan says, “The role that wine used to play in my country always pissed me off: not an essential part of almost any meal like elsewhere, but rather a binge drink afterwards / a treat for special occasions. For me & my family, wine is like food, something that should be on your table every day. Our bread and butter (literally).” So that’s what this is — a delicious wine to be placed in situ with forks and knives. Aged in stainless steel and big old barrels, and bottled under crown caps to ‘keep all that energy in.’ Unfined, unfiltered and without sulfites.

MILAN NESTAREC
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#3 Village Pinot Noir 2020

By Gentle Folk | Adelaide Hills, Australia

What's it Like?

This has glimmers of sunshine merged with buckets of freshness, like the wine version of a blue-skied spring morning. It has that sun kissed Aussie feel to it, but it’s by no means heavy; quite the opposite. With spice and a crunchy texture, this might be juicy, but that doesn’t make it any less serious. This is a food wine - for al fresco dinner parties and chatting into the wee hours.

Where's it From?

This comes from organically farmed Pinot Noir fruit in the Adelaide Hills. It is a blend from across their vineyards (approx 50% Norton Summit, 25% Little Creek, 15% Scary Gully and 10% Piccadilly), incorporating eight different clones of Pinot. 

How's it Made?

This is made from 100% whole bunch fruit, which is why you get the beautiful spicy aromas here. The wine fermented naturally and was aged in 225L and 500L barrels, with no new oak. Bottled unfined, unfiltered with just a tiny touch of sulfites.

GENTLE FOLK
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#4 SP68 Bianco 2020

By Arianna Occhipinti | Vittoria, Sicily

What's it Like?

This is a wine that toys with the line between white wine and orange wine — not sure if you're an orange wine kinda person? Dip your toes in the shallows of this aromatic, floral beauty. Perhaps due to this gentler orange wine approach (combined with its deliciousness), this wine has become one of the most celebrated natural wines in the world, and we’re psyched to have been able to pull some strings to include it in our club. 

Where's it From?

This is 60% Muscat of Alexandria and 40% Albanello from Arianna's organic vineyards in the Vittoria region of Sicily. She has farmed in just about every natural way possible, and currently has her own method which is her own take on biodynamics and permaculture. For her, it's not just about farming vines, but also about creating a healthy, self-sustaining ecosystem that contributes to the local economy.

How's it Made?

The grapes were macerated with the juice for fifteen days to heighten aromatics and give some structure, fermenting naturally, before ageing in large concrete tanks. Bottled unfined and unfiltered with a very small amount of sulfites.

ARIANNA OCCHIPINTI
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#5 Hyland Vineyard Clone Pinot Noir 2019

By Kelley Fox | Oregon, USA

What's it Like?

This shows why Oregon can produce some of the world’s greatest Pinot Noirs — but even more than that, it’s a wine that also shows how great Pinot Noir is all about lightness and energy. We have its maker, Kelley Fox, to thank for that — with her passion and sensitivity she brings a certain depth to her Pinot Noirs that’s impossible to categorise in a tasting note. You have that pine ethereal side of the wilderness of Oregon, but there’s something else here, too; a certain mysticism… 

Where's it From?

Kelley counts her lucky stars to have the opportunity to make wines from this special place. Hyland is close to the Coast Range that separates the Willamette Valley from the Pacific Ocean. Originally planted in 1971, it’s one of Oregon’s oldest vineyards (the legendary Charles Coury introduced this mysterious clone of Pinot Noir). Her block is own-rooted, planted in 1988, farmed biodynamically, and the soil is volcanic with some silt, clay, and loam. A beautiful forest borders the block along the west-facing slope, providing some shading.

How's it Made?

As with all of Kelley's wines, this is about a lightness of touch: minimal intervention and none of the 'heavy handling' that US Pinot Noir is still to some degree known for. Instead, this is made from 30% whole bunches, with light extraction, and aged in old oak (to not impart any of the more oaky flavours to the wine) for one year.

"I love respecting the entire plant. Not just the fruit. And I think that the seeds and so on add tannins too, not only make it more adult flavoured, less like a popsicle, but also to give it antioxidant protection.”

KELLEY FOX WINES
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#6 Gin Tonic 2016

By Milan Nestarec | Moravia, Czech Republic

What's it Like?

According to Milan, this is like 'a cocktail in a wineglass'. The first time Milan made his 'atypical' Sauvignon in 2015, the juice smelled intensely of juniper berries and had a slight bitter aftertaste like tonic. A few years later, it's probably our all-time favourite wine from Milan - a Ground Zero hallmark for Czech wine and beyond… and one of the best expressions of Sauvignon ever (in our humble opinion…)

Where's it From?

In Moravia, Milan explains that many Sauvignon wines are made in one way (not his way). In his words, "I remember a time when winemakers in our village used to say “if you don't have sauvignon blanc in your cellar, you ain't no winemaker” because everybody was trying to make a hardcore “nettle-y” wine from unripe pyrazine grapes, in order to wow visitors with an intensely aromatic white similar to the then-popular New World Savvys. But I wanted something else, something rich and flavoursome. Like whole milk, straight from the cow..."

How's it Made?

In order to showcase the essence of Milan’s Sauvignon Blanc grapes without a ‘heavy orange-styled veil’, he only uses skin contact on around 10% of the grapes (if that). The wine is naturally fermented in large old oak barrels made from local oak and acacia, and it ages there untouched for two years on fine lees. Bottled unfazed, unfiltered and without sulfites. 

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