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Wine Club Edition
— April 2022

LITTLEWINE Wine Club April 2022

Spring Selection

Welcome to the April Edition of our Wine Club! 

It might be ffffffrrrreezing right now, but recent sunshine has given us a much-needed energy boost and we're looking forward to putting winter behind us. This month’s selection is composed of wines that evoke spring to us in some way — a little less tannin, a little more brightness & lots of acidity. ⚡️

Wines 1-2 feature in the Roots subscription, 1-4 in the Grower subscription and 1-6 in the Cosmos subscription. 

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Wine #1:
Béla Jóska 2020

Kalkspitz NV by Christoph Hoch

What's it Like?

A wine that is elegant and pure — fresh raspberries and wild blackcurrants with a sprinkling of white pepper and a crunchy, saline mineral element. This is Blaufränkisch in its most honest and transparent form when tended with care: like the grape variety looking at itself in the mirror.

Where's it From?

This symbolises the coming together of two families (Wachter and Wiesler) in 1992. What began as a small cuvée of just 2000 bottles is now symbolic of this winery. As homage to this, this is Blaufränkisch from each family's original organically farmed vineyards in Deutsch-Scheützen and Eisenberg, and the vines are between 30 and 50 years old.

How's it Made?

The wine fermented naturally with around 20-30% whole bunch inclusion, to give it a little extra lift and freshness. The wine was then aged for 13 months in large old wooden barrels and foudres. Bottled unfined, unfiltered and with just a touch of sulfites.

The Winemaker:
Wachter-Wiesler — Burgenland, Austria

The Blaufränkisch wines produced by Wachter-Wiesler are amongst the most nuanced versions found in Austria; they compete with the famed ability of Pinot Noir to express their site. As for the white grapes that they work with—this cellar has become home to some of the most thrilling examples of Welschriesling, too.⁣⁣​⁣⁣ Most importantly of all, the domaine has led by example with regards to healthy viticulture. The soils thrive and the cover crop & wildflowers bloom throughout the year, providing homes and food for a swathe of beneficial insects. The change has been so positive than Christoph hasn’t noticed herbicide use by other growers in the area for two years; a giant step in the world of Sudburgenland’s vineyards.⁣⁣

“I look for purity, origin and drinkability. To be able to recognise where a wine comes from is so unique. Then, wine should be fun—you should want to drink one, two and then three glasses of it."

Wine #2:
Avant la Tempête 2020

La Perdida O Trancado by Nacho Gonzalez

What's it Like?

A wine that made us nod affirmatively on first sip. Although only at the beginning of their career, this duo is already achieving incredible things — and this bottle represents their philosophy perfectly. Think freshly whipped butter, lemon curd and fresh sea salt, with an ever-so-subtle spritz of wild mountain herbs. Deliciousness, bottled.

Where's it From?

This comes from the indigenous Jacquère variety of the Savoie, farmed organically and currently in conversion to certification. The vines were planted in 1956 and are located in the Apremont cru, on clay, limestone, schist and quartz soils, with southeastern exposition.

How's it Made?

85% of the grapes were directly pressed, and 15% were destemmed and macerated for one month, to give the wine a little more texture. The juice fermented naturally in stainless steel, before being moved to barrels to age. Bottled unfined, unfiltered and without the addition of sulfites.

The Winemaker:
Camille et Mathieu Apffel — Savoie, France

Camille and Mathieu Apffel have entered a new chapter of their lives, and it’s a chapter we’re very excited about. Since 2018, they have been tending their own vines in the Savoie, making their own wines, and selling their own wines. It is the full-circle project they had craved, and they are now living the dream. Their wines are all about purity; gentle, subtle and nuanced wines that speak of their mountainous slopes and native varieties. Through a love for nature, they are achieving healthier and healthier grapes each year, which in turn enables them to achieve their goal of making wines without additions — pure grape juice, but with more soul. 

“It was evident to me that I wanted to work organically, and I also have my own approach to biodynamics. For me, biodynamics is about disconnecting from day-to-day life, and instead focusing on the earth, and using your senses. It’s about trying to integrate ourselves into the environment and ecosystem, and using our observation more.”

Wine #3:
Tu 2020

Chenin Blanc by Intellego Wines

What's it Like?

A wine that is totally spellbinding. It’s hard to know where to begin — this red/white grape field blend rosé has the colour of a lava lamp, but this isn’t just about fun. Think Play that Funky Music — so much fun to dance to, yet also a classic. Full of raspberry and cherry aromas and with a dash of lavender and thyme, be prepared to fall in love. We did!

Where's it From?

This comes from the hillsides of Campania in Italy, from organically farmed old vines. The vineyard is a true field blend of grapes — both red and white — located in Montemarano. The grapes are Aglianico, Primitivo, Piedirosso, Coda di Volpe and more!

How's it Made?

The grapes macerated for two days with the juice, to extract a little colour and extra flavour. The grapes were then pressed, and the wine fermented naturally in old chestnut casks, where it aged for six months before being bottled unfixed, unfiltered and without sulfites. 

The Winemaker:
Cantina Giardino — Campania, Italy

As winemaker Daniela de Gruttola explains, the hillsides of Campania are the fake south. You might expect big, rich wines from southern Italy, but here — with old vines planted to traditional methods at high elevation — the opposite is possible. The wines are all about freshness, acidity and purity. Take these natural conditions and pair them with an experimental, forward-thinking mindset that also nods to the historical way of doing things, and you end up with the captivating cuvées of Cantina Giardino.

"We make wine according to local tradition,” says Daniela. “We don't use the term ‘natural wine’ because we first need to regain the term ‘wine’. Conventional wine should have a label. This is real wine, and the other is not. Our passion is to drink the wines that were always made in this way, when the winemaker would never have added anything during the winemaking process."

Wine #4: Le Combal 2017

Pinot Noir Nature by Rieffel

What's it Like?

A wine that feels as soothing as sitting in a quiet gallery, looking at your favourite paintings. This is personal expression at its purest form; taking the winemaker’s primary material — healthy grapes — and translating it into a silky, light-as-a-feather red wine. Although Cahors is renowned for its big and tannic wines, this shows the region in another light entirely — this is Malbec, but with the personality of Pinot Noir. Juicy, yet deeply serious.

Where's it From?

This comes from biodynamically farmed Malbec planted in Cahors, in southwest France, grown on clay-limestone soils with gravel.

How's it Made?

Most of the grapes were destemmed, after which the berries macerate very gently with minimal interference, to ensure as light extraction as possible, resulting in very fine tannins.  Fermentation occurred naturally, after which the wine aged for 12 months in old French oak barrels, and aditional time in the bottle.

The Winemaker:
Domaine Cosse Maisonneuve — Cahors, France

Domaine Cosse Maisonneuve, run by Matthieu Cosse and Catherine Maisonneuve, is to the wine region of Cahors what Monet is to the art world; classic, timeless and integral. It is the subtlety and the nuance of these wines that has seen them become revered across the globe; these are elegant bottles that don’t adhere to any trend. The only movement they are inherently linked to is that of biodynamic farming. Without their meticulous approach in the vineyards, the quality of their wines would not be the same.It is this self-proclaimed perfectionist approach that has helped to elevate the southwestern French wine region of Cahors to another level. This partnership creates a dialogue not only on great wine, but also on agriculture and long-term sustainability in the face of climate change.

“You could consider it this way: at the start, you are recuperating a sick terroir; a vineyard that hasn’t been well cared for. So, it’s a transition — you work to regenerate your soils and vines — and then they start to respond by getting healthier, and so they get sick less and less.”

Wine #5:
Résonance 2019

Bourgogne Blanc by Dominique Derain

What's it Like?

A wine that proves the liveliness of biodynamic farming in a single sip. With cherry stone and an earthy forest element, this is a Champagne of the wilderness. It will energise your whole body and leave you refreshed, wanting more. A Champagne not just for partying, but also for thinking.

Where's it From?

From Dominique Moreau's biodynamic vines in Polisot, in the Côte des Bars southern region of Champagne.This is massal selection Pinot Noir from her 2.5ha vineyard. 

How's it Made?

The grapes were pressed directly, and the juice fermented naturally in stainless steel. Aged for three years before release. Unfined and unfiltered, with minimal sulphur, and very low dosage.

The Winemaker: Marie Courtin (Dominique Moreau) — Champagne, France

Drinking a Marie Courtin Champagne is like finding a nugget of amber on the shore of mass-produced Champagne. These bottles are the children of Dominique Moreau, who named the domaine after her great-grandmother. Marie was a woman who was “very close to the earth,” who farmed the family’s land alone with a horse during the First World War, when the men were away to fight.It is clear that these traits of bravery and determination have been passed down to Dominique. Under her watch, a small plot of just 2.5 hectares has become iconic — but never through trying to make a brand or to create something fancy. Rather, this is true Champagne of Nature — these are bottles that bring you close to the earth. 

“Plants are alive. And just like us, they communicate. They speak.”

Wine #6:
Ried Ratschen 2018

Saint Joseph by Pierre Gonon

What's it Like?

A wine that manages to combine power with elegance — this is all about the peppery, granular side of Blaufränkisch, with the darker fruits the variety has to offer — think blackcurrants and bramble. We know the word 'minerality' is often over used, but it's really the name of the game here — the texture of this wine will linger on your tongue for minutes after your last glass.

Where's it From?

This comes from a beautiful single vineyard of 60-year-old Blaufränkisch vines, planted on sandy clay soil with gravel, and farmed organically.

How's it Made?

 The grapes macerated for a period of 28 days with the juice, with gentle extraction, during which time the wine fermented naturally. The wine then aged for 18 months in large 2000L old Austrian oak barrels. Bottled unfined and unfiltered, with low sulfites.

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