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Wine Club Edition
— November 2022

LITTLEWINE Wine Club November 2022

Dinner Party Season

Winter is aknockin’, and we’re excited to embrace the festive season: it’s time to start hosting dinner parties. As November is also the month in which we celebrate not only Beaujolais Nouveau — but all things Beaujolais (as if we needed an excuse to drink more Gamay…) every subscriber receives an extra-special bottle from the region. Wines 1-2 feature in the Roots subscription, 1-4 in the Grower subscription and 1-6 in the Cosmos subscription. 

As a Wine Club member, you enjoy exclusive perks — including full backstage access to read about and virtually meet the winemakers. Should you have any questions or feedback, please don't hesitate to reach out to us and we will swing by with our little emergency van.

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Wine #1:
Chénas 'Les Carrières' 2020

Zwikl

What's it Like?

This is one of the most elegant reds we know, yet it manages to simultaneously be full of soul. This smells like a bowl of freshly picked cherries and wild strawberries, with a lovely forest-like edge and a mineral edge. A bottle guaranteed to bring awe, and to remind you of Gamay’s greatness.

Where's it From?

Paul-Henri Thillardon has become renowned for his work in expressing the various soil types of the Chénas cru via single vineyard bottlings. This cuvée comes from the side of the valley that was flooded several millions of years ago. As such, it is home to sedimentary soils, and Les Carrières also has some silex and silt. 

How's it Made?

The grapes were left to ripen until peak maturity. After harvesting, they were then chilled down in small boxes in a refrigerated container, to five degrees. This method preserves freshness and purity of fruit. The whole bunches were then put into a concrete tank, where they remained untouched to undergo carbonic maceration for up to 25 days. The grapes were then pressed in an old vertical press from 1927, and the wine aged until May in old oak barrels and tanks. Bottled unfined, unfiltered and without sulfites. 

The Winemaker:
Domaine Thillardon — Beaujolais, France

The wines of the Thillardon family, in Chénas — the smallest of the ten Beaujolais Crus — represent the next generation of natural wine pioneers. Not only are they focused on making wine in an artisan way, and farming with organic and biodynamic methods, but they are also dedicated to fostering a supportive community.  Although the Thillardon wines have become some of the most heralded wines in Beaujolais, the family remains ever humble. Indeed, Paul-Henri Thillardon tells us that if it weren’t for Domaine St-Cyr, a fellow winery, he might not even have embarked upon his path as a winemaker in the first place. It is this humility and open-minded approach to sharing knowledge, which they are now extending to younger winemakers in the region, that reminds us we are all capable of striving for a greater good. And what medium is better than a bottle of wine to serve as inspiration to do so? 

"At first, we decided to try working biodynamically out of curiosity. The results were almost immediate. It was incredible. The vines were healthy, everything growing around the vines was healthy, and that simply made us happy. It made us feel good. I really think the presence of the animals; working by horse; has even more of a positive impact on the vines. Then, it’s also a personal feeling —working in this paysan manner resonates with us. I’m not dogmatic; it’s not a religion for me. It simply suits us."

Wine #2:
Michi's Farm White 2021

Lovamor Albillo

What's it Like?

This is a lipsmackingly delightful and easy-drinking Austrian white wine. With its lime pith and citrus zestiness, this has bright acidity and a sappy edge. It’s a bottle which is guaranteed to get you dancing, while also inspiring us to have deeper conversations on agriculture. Because wine can be fun and serious at the same time. 

Where's it From?

Michael Gindl farms an organic 3.5-hectare plot specifically for this wine, around 30 minutes north of his estate. Additionally, he also sources biodynamically certified grapes from a few friends in the region.   

How's it Made?

This is a blend of 95% Grüner, with a touch of Muskateller. Michael racks the wine once directly after it has finished fermenting naturally, so it is aged only on the fine lees. This means the wine is a bit fruitier and more easy-drinking. Bottled in springtime, unfined and unfiltered. 

The Winemaker:
Michi's Farm — Weinviertel, Austria

Michael Gindl is a winemaker, but first and foremost, he is a farmer and animal lover. His biodynamic Weinviertel wines have become world-renowned for the unique portrait they paint of their region, but when you visit Michael, you realise that these wines wouldn’t exist without the healthy farming model in which they are grown and made. Michael’s new range, Michi’s Farm, celebrates the importance of planet-friendly farming, and aims to introduce more wine lovers to this world. The hope is to inspire dialogue on agriculture, while simultaneously enabling him to bring his estate wines to a new level of complexity. You can also watch our documentary with Michael Gindl here.

"I have the best time working in nature. I enjoy every minute, every hour — especially if I can work with my animals. When I am with them — outside in the vineyards — I can forget about everything else."

Wine #3:
Roditis 2021

Muscadet Granite

What's it Like?

Made with just a touch of skin contact, this has a delightful texture. It tastes like peaches and cream (without any of the sugar) with a delightfully crunchy backbone. A foodie wine, this is the kind of bottle that will inspire you to get cooking to find its perfect partner. We’re obsessed with how well this goes with Thai red curry. 

Where's it From?

This comes from Pella in Greece, in the Central Macedonia region of the mainland. This is the Roditis indigenous variety, grown on clay-limestone soils. Farmed organically and according to permaculture, with teas and preparations that the Ligas family makes themselves from the plants and minerals found in the area. 

How's it Made?

Meli Ligas works with stainless steel for this cuvée, as she finds it helps to best express this vineyard site. The juice macerated with the skins for four days, after which it was pressed, and the wine fermented naturally in stainless steel, where it aged on the lees before being bottled in early June. Unfined, unfiltered and bottled without sulfites. 

The Winemaker:
Ktima Ligas — Pella, Greece

The Ligas family, in Pella, Greece, have been farming their vines naturally, according to permaculture, long before it became a well-known term. Now headed up by Meli Ligas, daughter of Thomas Ligas, the winery is entering its second generation.  The future is brighter than ever. The vineyards continue to thrive, and in the cellar Meli is fine-tuning her winemaking methods, listening to each vintage and discovering how to manage her grapes to best express the terroirs from which they come. The Ligas quest is one of biodiversity, purity and transparency above all else. These are honest, unadulterated Greek wines that speak to us from the place where they were grown and made with love. 

“We leave everything to grow together. The herbs and grasses that grow here are interconnected and interact with one another. This is the permaculture approach. We don’t want the sun to burn the skin of the earth. When you let the earth grow, you have grass. And that’s beautiful. People want to remove the grass, but why? It’s a silly approach. The grass keeps our vines cooler — in fact three degrees cooler! Even just one degree is really important to protect nature.” 

Wine #4: Kamptal Kollektiv Red 2021

7 Fuentes

What's it Like?

A wine that reminds us of a red berry smoothie. Think raspberry and cherry aromas and a lovely lifted rose hip twist. If only we could turn this into perfume, too. We recommend serving it chilled to fully bring out this wine's charming character.  And even better — the project behind this wine is focused on enabling local growers to convert to organic farming. So really this bottle is a win-win situation. Join us in drinking delicious wine, while taking little steps for a healthier planet!

Where's it From?

This comes from a mix of local grape varieties (such as Zweigelt and Sankt Laurent), farmed organically in the Kamptal region of Austria. The idea is to give an overall glimpse into the various terroirs found here, via the medium of a delicious and easy-drinking red wine. 

How's it Made?

The grapes macerated for a short period of time, around five days, with some whole bunches (inspired by Beaujolais wines, to encourage some intracellular fermentation) and the rest of the grapes being destemmed. Naturally fermented, and bottled unfined and unfiltered. 

The Winemaker:
Kamptal Kollektiv — Kamptal, Austria

Founded in 2020, Kamptal Kollektiv is a project that supports family-run grape growers. The goal is to preserve the small structured landscape of the Kamptal (one of Austria's famed wine regions) while aiding its growers to convert their vineyards to organic farming. The conversion to organics can be challenging, as growers are faced with increased work in the vineyards, disease pressure challenges, reduced yields and unsustainable prices (per kilo of grapes). It is Kamptal Kollektiv's mission to make organic conversion accessible and feasible to all local grape growers by providing mentorship, higher prices for the grapes and guaranteed income. It is an admirable project that takes necessary action to enable lasting change — seeing more vineyards become healthy, diverse and thriving ecosystems, while providing socioeconomic support.

"I like the notion of having many small things — but together, they are good and stable. I sat down in 2019 to finally write this concept down, and to think: how can we support the local growers? Because looking at the way in which the trend is currently moving… well, they will stop producing."

Wine #5:
Treinspoor 2020

Mephisto 2018

What's it Like?

We were also beyond thrilled to receive an allocation of this wine. Now highly allocated globally, these aren’t easy bottles to get hold of! Perfumed yet also brooding, it’s the sort of wine you want to take time with: to get to know. Blackcurrant meets fresh earth & rose petals. With a few years in the cellar, it will reveal an additional side to its personality. Patience is a virtue. As its maker, Eben Sadie says, “We urge you to age this wine."

Where's it From?

This comes from old vines of Tinta Barocca planted in the Swartland, South Africa back in 1974, farmed organically. The soils are alluvial plain, with sandstone, granite and quartz formations. This vineyard is located next to the old railway line (treinspoor in Afrikaans) and was named accordingly. Eben says, “Tinta Barocca has the textural nature of the Nebbiolo grape and the aromatic orientation of Syrah - a great combination. It produces wines of great character and expression that are built to last.”

How's it Made?

The wine fermented naturally, with a maceration period of 25-30 days, with 50% whole bunches and 50% being destemmed. Extraction is kept to a minimum — only bucket-overs are doing during the maceration period to ensure delicate tannins. The grapes were then pressed in an old basket press, and the wine aged in 28-year-old conical wooden casks that do not impart any wooden flavours. Bottled after 12 months ageing.

The Winemaker:
Sadie Family Wines — Swartland, South Africa

Eben Sadie has wholeheartedly dedicated his life to the grapevine. He has had a profound impact on not only the South African wine scene, but also on a global scale in terms of viticulture. Known for his work reviving old vines, being the driving force behind ensuring many of them remain rooted in the ground today, this is merely one book in his Planet Grape anthology.  The sequel is one of equal importance: planting for the future. Together with a team of viticulturists and fellow winemakers, he is writing what will one day become the new history of South Africa, researching and planting grape varieties that suit an ever-extreme South African climate. From planting both missal selection and clonal material, to carrying out in-vitro cleaning of ancient material, this is all work that will largely be done for the next generation to reap its rewards. It is this selfless passion that personifies Eben: this isn’t just about him, nor even about his wines, but rather for the greater good of the South African people, her climate and her soils, and for wine lovers worldwide. 

“The reality is that after 20 years spent in Europe, in various grape growing regions, I have returned to the soil where I will one day be buried, for the simple reason of being from here, and having to have impact here.” 

Wine #6: Assyrtiko 'Barrique' 2020

Sta Rita Ranch

What's it Like?

This is Assyrtiko in its birthday suit: salty, zesty & full of that hallmark minerality. This takes you on a journey: you’ll marvel at how it develops. This world-renowned bottle is ideal for sharing with winelover friends. Why not throw an Assyrtiko party in its honour? 

Where's it From?

This comes from Assyrtiko vines planted on schist, fairly close to the city of Pella, planted in the early 1990s. Farmed organically and according to permaculture, with teas and preparations that the Ligas family makes themselves from the plants and minerals found in the area. 

How's it Made?

The grapes macerated with the juice for five days, after which the juice was pressed and the wine fermented naturally, ageing for eight months in old oak barrels. Bottled unfined, unfiltered and without sulfites. Maria Callas graces the label, as Meli says, “this wine is more concentrated, and more powerful — like Maria. Always a high level of performance!” 

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