Top of the Drops
Top of the Drops will always feature some of the best and rarest from our list at any given time. In this current selection we feature the best pet nat sparkling ever made (in our humble opinion), a single-vineyard Malbec, a complex and wildly distinctive rosé, a juicy and layered Blaufrankisch, a stunning white Burgundy, and a one-of-a-kind aged white from Slovakia.
Featured here (left to right):
(Mosel, Germany) Staffelter Hof - Rizzy Starmust 2018
The ultimate sparkling wine made from the ancestral, or 'pet nat' method. This is 100% Riesling from prime parcels that underwent a very slow fermentation over the course of various months, and spent 18 months on its yeasts, or lees, for extra complexity and texture. It is high pressure with gorgeous bubbles that hold perfectly into the next day. Packed with flavour, subtleties, herbal notes, various fruit profiles... this is not your every day bubbles. Special stuff.
(Cahors, France) La Calmette - Bois Grand 2017
Serious yet juicy and immediate. This Malbec/Merlot blend comes from a single vineyard of old vines planted on Kimmeridgian rock in France's South West. It was aged for one year in old barrels followed by 18 months in bottle and is drinking beautifully now. There is a tense mineral backbone which is uncommon in reds, let alone in Malbec. Gorgeous perfumed aromatic of purple/dark berry fruits, with notes of caramel and a slight savoury edge. A medium/full-bodied wine with the structure expected from Malbec but without the over extraction of the over-oaked character that this region can be known for. This still ticks all the boxes for Malbec but showcases a restraint and a finesse that makes this one of the best expressions of the grape we have come across. Domaine La Calmette was started in 2015 by Maya & Nicolas, a talented couple who bring not only a thorough knowledge of viticulture but also a meticulously researched scientific backbone to their natural wines. Explosive, bursting with life and vibrancy.
(Ribeira Sacra, Spain) Silice Viticultores - Rosado 2019
A rare rosé from one of Spain's most underrated regions, and arguably one of our favourites. This blend of Mencia, Merenzao, and Palomino was direct pressed and fermented in barrels where it stayed on full lees for three months. It was then transferred to steel tanks for a few months before bottling. Very floral nose with complex layers, and buckets of character though with zesty citrus notes that keep it super fresh. This is proper fancy rosé, and a unique opportunity to try something new and wildly exciting. Silice Viticultores is a collaboration between three friends who sought to unite old parcels in the canyons of the mythical Sil river. Extreme viticulture, jaw-dropping landscapes, and fanatical dedication yield some of Spain's most exciting wines.
(Burgenland, Austria) Joiseph - BFF 2018
Joiseph's trademark red, the BFF, is back with this new vintage. Made from Blaufränkisch, this wine is lean yet full of nuances, velvety, perfectly spicy, perfectly elegant. The colour is pretty amazing, almost beetroot purple. A stunning recent release. Joiseph is a collaboration between three friends that started with the 2015 vintage and has grown from a tiny hectare to nearly five hectares. The wines across the range are distinct, wildly exciting, and full of energy.
(Burgundy, France) Domaine de Thalie - Pierres Levées Blanc 2018
Proper white Burgundy. Chardonnay from a single vineyard on marl and limestone soils, vinified in steel tanks and aged in old barrels for one year and in bottle for an additional year. This is from a high altitude site where phenolic ripeness is achieved with the perfect balance of fruit and acidity. Linear but textured, rounded but retrained, this is the sort of Chardonnay that fascinates us. Great tension and salinity, and so much joy and complexity. Made by Peter Gierszewki, a first generation Burgundian of Polish parents who started this small 4.5 ha estate in 2009 with a view to push the limits of natural farming in his parcels, an ethos he also brings into the cellar. Beautiful naturally made Burgundy wines but with a very strong sense of belonging.
(Hlohovec, Slovakia) Slobodne - Deviner 2014
The 2014 Deviner is special for various reasons. It is the very last year that this wine was made as a barrel-aged 'white' (with no skin contact), it is one of the few wines that they have left to age, and it comes from a very challenging year where the grapes had to be selected berry by berry as some had been affected by noble rot (botrytis). Aged for two years in old Hungarian oak, the result is a wine we have often described as 'white Burgundy meets Gewurtztraminer.' It is wildly aromatic, but has the texture, complexity, and length reminiscent of a Burgundian white, although perhaps more tense and linear. Made from two local and aromatic grapes - Devin & Traminer. Slobodne are a fascinating family-run winery going back to the early 20th century. They rebuilt their farm over the past 25 years following a 50-yr break due to the hardships of WWII and then 40 years of communism. Now run by two sisters and their two partners, they are making some of the most exciting natural wines around today.