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Wine Club Edition
— May 2022

LITTLEWINE Wine Club May 2022

Spring Selection

Welcome to the May Edition of our Wine Club! 

The month of May is named after Maia, the Roman goddess of fertility. Our selection brings you the stories of growers who are wholeheartedly dedicated to ensuring that their vineyards are consistently at peak health, and who work tirelessly to ensure that their ecosystems are nourished and thriving.
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:
Sauvignon Blow 2019

Sauvignon Blow

What's it Like?

A wine that nods to the Studio Ghibli anime creations. The name Studio Ghibli was based on the Arabic name for "hot sahara wind" because the founders wanted Studio Ghibli to blow new wind through the anime industry.

Likewise, this wine is also meant as a sort of antithesis to current trends, and rather nods to the historic wines of the region. The vineyards it comes from are also very windy, but cool instead of hot. As such, this is a fresh, aromatic expression of Sauvignon; all about herbs, white pepper and spice; and incredibly moreish.  

Where's it From?

This cuvée began as a side project in 2013, between Christoph Neumeister and his partner, Katharina Tinnacher of Weingut Lackner-Tinnacher. Originally destined as a birthday gift for their parents, it was so popular that it continued year on year. Its aim is to not adhere to any trends or fashions, but rather to give drinkers a little piece of the history of the region. By choosing late ripening, cool sites of Sauvignon Blanc (all farmed organically), they aim to make wines that are a little like those of the 80s. 

How's it Made?

The wine is made simply; naturally fermented with a few hours’ skin contact for texture, and aged for 6-8 months on full lees in stainless steel to keep the wine tight. Racked, and then aged for a further four months on the lees, before being bottled. 

The Winemaker:
Neumeister — Styria, Austria

Drinking a bottle of Neumeister wine isn’t just about drinking a bottle of delicious wine. Coming from 30 hectares of organic vineyards — in one of the world’s most challenging regions to farm organically — these are wines that also represent deep courage of conviction. Farming in this manner means months of sweat, tears and sleepless nights, but when you taste the wines and experience the results that come from these efforts, every moment is worth it for Christoph. He achieves his goal in creating delightful wines, while simultaneously knowing that his vineyards are as healthy as they can be.

“I had to promise my father that if I couldn’t manage it, I’d have to stop. But I never wanted to stop, and I was sure I could do it. But at the same time, I didn’t want to put my ego above the company or the people, so I moved slowly.”

Wine #2:
Touraine-Amboise 'Ad Libitum' 2021

Ad Libitum La Grange Tiphaine

What's it Like?

A wine that makes us leap for joy — the sort of wine that announces, ‘summer is here in a bottle!’ Ever-so juicy and light on its feet, this is as drinkable as red wine gets. Despite being so quaffable, it’s also not simple — its bright raspberry and bramble tones are joined by a mineral, saline backbone that keeps you coming back for more. 

Where's it From?

This comes from a trio of Loire grape varieties — Côt (otherwise known as Malbec) Cabernet Franc and Gamay. Farmed organically on red clay soils with silex, on limestone bedrock, from 15 to 45-year-old vines.

How's it Made?

The grapes macerated for between 10 to 12 days with light extraction, with separate fermentations for each variety (all natural fermentation). The wines were then blended and aged in concrete for four months. Lightly filtered before bottling, with low sulfites. 

The Winemaker:
La Grange Tiphaine — Loire, France

La Grange Tiphaine winery, in the Loire Valley, owns and farms vineyards across two appellations: Montlouis-sur-Loire and Touraine-Amboise. Luckily for us, this means we can explore the energetic and vibrant Chenin Blancs of Montlouis, as well as the soulful reds and Chenin Blancs of Touraine-Amboise, via the talented and dedicated couple behind this domaine. Through a sensitive love for their land via organic and biodynamic methods, this winery has gone from strength to strength as they’ve learnt which winemaking methods best enable them to capture the essence of their fruit in the bottle. These days, their cellar approach is simple: touch the fruit as little as possible — intervening only when necessary — in order to let their delicious fruit shine brightly.

“The first step when it comes to making wine is to really understand the terroir, the plant, and to have a healthy vineyard. Good grapes make good wine, and you notice a certain expression in your wine.”

Wine #3:
Rosato di Ampelaia 2020

Rosato di Ampelaia

What's it Like?

A wine that epitomises why rosé doesn’t have to be super-light — this is the word ‘oomph’ in a bottle. Full of energy and depth of flavour, this is the kind of rosé you immediately pay attention to; the sort of wine which makes you sit bolt upright and look for pen and paper. Blackcurrants and a hint of fresh sage, this is also a dream rosé for food pairings. Let your imagination run wild!

Where's it From?

This comes from the Carignan and Alicante Nero varieties. The biodynamically farmed vines are grown on reddish brown clay/sandy/limestone soils with round pebbles, at 250m above sea level, in Maremma, Tuscany, Italy. 

How's it Made?

The whole clusters of Alicante Nero were left to infuse in the must of Carignan, ensuring very delicate extraction.  After being pressed, the wine then fermented naturally and was aged for six months in concrete.

The Winemaker:
Ampeleia — Tuscany, Italy

The story of Ampeleia is one of individuality. This is a place where thinking outside of the box has had a profound impact on a piece of land. The vineyards that are rooted here, and the winery in which their grapes are transformed into wine, demonstrate that embracing alternative ways of can help to propel regions to exciting, unexplored territories and a new dimension. This is Tuscany, but not entirely as you know it. The very notion of individuality also applies to the personal journeys of those who work at Ampeleia. Nothing here is set in stone, rather the opposite; by combining their thinking, all of the employees here contribute to little changes that occur on a daily basis, forming the present and future of this remarkable winery.

“We see Ampeleia and the company as a whole: the people and the vineyards. People here have been touched somehow, there’s a different feeling of being involved in this idea or vision. It forms the basis of why they’re here. People are touched in different ways."

Wine #4: Garg 'n' Go 2020

Garg n Go by La Biancara

What's it Like?

A wine that makes you wanna have a garden party just so you can serve these bubbles to everybody. Fresh, exuberant and refreshing, this tastes like a summer cocktail but in wine format. Infinitely gluggable and so fruity you could almost mistake it for pear juice, this is the kind of wine that simply makes everybody smile.

Where's it From?

The Garganega grapes for this cuvée are tended organically with care by the Maule family in the sleepy, rolling hills of Gambellara, in the Veneto, Italy. The soil of La Biancara is primarily composed of basalt, an extrusive igneous rock. This means that it formed from lava that was ejected from below ground, via volcanic activity from an extinct volcano lies nearby, in the town of Brenton.

How's it Made?

The wine is made according to a variant of the "Col Fondo" method; the family dries some Garganega grapes to achieve highly concentrated natural grape sugars. 5% of this super sweet juice is added to to 95% still wine in stainless steel, which restarts fermentation and creates bubbles. Left unfined and unfiltered, the wine then finishes fermenting in bottle.

The Winemaker:
La Biancara — Veneto, Italy

Once upon a time, instead of tending vines, young Angiolino and Rosamaria Maule had their hands deep in dough. They were pizza makers, and owned a renowned pizzaria. But the call of the vines became too strong to ignore, so they took on a plot of Garganega in Gambellara. They have become renowned for their quest to farm in a planet-friendly manner, and for their research carried out with the organisation Angiolino founded, VinNatur. Their natural wines have captured hearts across the globe, and their unique take on natural sparkling wine has gifted us their brilliant Garg'n'Go cuvée. 

"I’ve entered a permanent endeavour to maximise soil health, and therefore to find the maximum expression of the soils in the wines. It’s an endless quest… a lifetime of searching."

Wine #5:
Ampeleia 2016

Ampelaia 2016

What's it Like?

A wine that is difficult to express in words. It simply leaps out of the glass, enveloping you with its dark berry notes, wild aromas of thyme, rosemary and forest floor, with an undertone of graphite and white pepper. A wine that develops with every sip, this is impressive yet effortless; a true pleasure to explore. 

Where's it From?

This cuvée represents the Ampeleia estate in one bottle. It comes from the vines (farmed biodynamically) from which the winery takes its name. They say, “We have grown together with it and thanks to it. Its essence comes from Cabernet Franc, a sensitive grape variety that is difficult to work with and only shows its qualities in the right soil. This is one thing we are sure of: the village of Roccatederighi and Cabernet Franc have a rare synergy.” The vines are scattered around the estate, planted at 500m above sea level, on clay-limestone soils.

How's it Made?

The wine is made simply: always fermented naturally with around 15% whole bunches, the wine is then aged for 12 months in wooden barrels. Since 2015, it has been made solely with Cabernet Franc to express the purity of this variety grown here. 

Wine #6:
Klausen 2011

Klausen 2011 by Neumeister

What's it Like?

A wine that demonstrates why Styria is capable of some of the world’s finest Sauvignon Blancs — this sits on the same platform as some of the Greats of the Loire Valley. All about minerality, this rare 2011 vintage also has gorgeous notes of acacia honey, beeswax and chamomile. A wine for a special winelover dinner party — a bottle that never ceases to spark discussion.

Where's it From?

This comes from a very steep single vineyard named Klausen (65% incline, so steep that it is hard to walk there!) Farmed organically, it is planted on limestone and sandstone soils, with high chalk content. As the plot faces east, this vineyard always remains fairly cool, and produces grapes of an exceptional quality year on year.

How's it Made?

The grapes were macerated with the juice for around a day, before being pressed. Christoph explains that he always thinks about the tannin structure according to the tannin quality. As 2011 was an exceptional year, he was able to produce a white wine with elegant structure that can age for decades. The wine was aged in large oak barrels for around 12 months, before spending many years in the bottle.

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