This weather-appropriate selection features the sort of wines you would want to share over a hearty meal whilst feeling cosy in a warm home, or even better in front of a fireplace. The whites are on the medium/full bodied side, and the reds are particularly earthy and savoury, though not necessarily 'big.' A fantastic bundle featuring wines from Italy, Slovenia, and France.
Featured here (left to right):
(Piemonte, Italy) Cascina Zerbetta - Quattrocento 2019
Sauvignon Blanc grown on 'Terra Rossa', a heavy red clay that gives this wine concentration and texture but also a lovely saline edge. Stone fruits mingling with herbal notes and a light flinty toastiness (no oak used). Made by Paolo Malfatti, a Piemonte native who planted his vines on previously unused land in Monferrato in the late 90's. In this picturesque corner of Italy's Northwest, vines grow alongside organic hazelnuts and wild plants.
(Goriška Brda, Slovenia) Atelier Kramar - Bohem 2017
Made from the local Tocai Friulano grape, this is a white wine with mouth-filling texture, gorgeous sweet spice and white peach aromatics, and a mineral finish that goes on and on and on. The wine sees three days of skin contact but doesn't pick up much colour. A must-taste. Made by former artists Katja and Matjaz, who built their dream atelier in the picturesque Brda region and eventually fell into winemaking full time. Wines rooted in local tradition but with a modern expression and real elegance.
(Cinque Terre, Liguria, Italy) Possa - Cinque Terre Amphora 2019
Very unique blend of the hyper-local varieties Bosco and Albarola, grown on steep cliffs at the water's edge. The wine sees 5 days of skin contact, and is aged in amphoras for 9 months. Vinified and bottled with zero additions, super pure and transparent. This medium/full bodied white has a gorgeous rounded texture, unique herbal edge, dense fruit, and a pronounced saltiness to reflect its provenance. Truly one-of-a-kind. Made by Heydi Bonanini, one of only a dozen growers still working the insane slopes of the Cinque Terre, and keeping alive a tradition well worth saving. Wines that speak of their sea cliffs origins, of salty winds, of hyper local grape varieties, and pure clarity. A grower for whom biodiversity is not just an aim but a way of life.
(Piemonte, Italy) Borgatta - 'La Borgatta' Barbera 2014
Aged and serious Barbera from a 83-yr old producer. Rustic, complex, yet lean and strikingly elegant. The fruit is very much alive and vibrant, yet it is now also showing notes of leather/ tobacco, and spices. The 2014 vintage was cooler than normal, resulting in a fresher wine but with every bit as much character. For fans of Barbaresco! Astounding wine. Made by Emilio Oliveri, who has been working a tiny 2 hectares of land since the 60's with his wife Marisa. Now in his 80's, he is still going strong and still producing some of the best Piemonte wines we have come across in a very long time. These are wines ‘come si faceva una volta,’ a representation of tradition, of old methods, and of pure dedication. Wines infused with the energy of two of the kindest souls one is ever likely to meet.
(Tavel, Southern Rhone, France) Balazu des Vaussieres - Bleuet 2015
A rare example of a matured natural red. This medium bodied blend of Grenache, Carignan, and Mourvedre spent four years in tanks before being bottled and rested for another half year. Dark forest fruit alongside spices, tobacco, liquorice, caramel, really distinct and earthy. So much character and complexity in such a light-bodied wine. Made by Nadia and Christian, whose commitment to natural farming goes far beyond the requirements of organic and biodynamic standards. The result are wines infused with their own distinctive energy.
(Languedoc, France) Mas d'Agalis - Navis 2017
A serious, structured red from Southern France. This Mourvedre & Grenache dominant blend went through strict selection of the best bunches, was made in an infusion style for a delicate expression, and was aged in barrels for 18 months. The result is a wine that is drinking beautifully now but will keep improving. Potent aromatic of red fruits and wild herbs, a medium/structured body, and a complex, long finish. Made by Lionel Maurel, a fourth generation grower who took over the family vines after stints working with some of the biggest names in the natural wine world across France. He primarily works with an 'infusion' style of winemaking, favouring gentle and light extractions as opposed to the more powerful examples that are common in this region. His wine are delicate, elegant, and fresh, real expressions of his immediate subzone and soils.