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Category: Wine of the Week

Wine of the Week

Ploughman’s Pinot

Alexander Pflüger is third-generation owner and winemaker of Weingut Pflüger in the Pfalz. The name Pflüger means he who ploughs, and implies that the family has a long tradition as farmers. They were pioneers in organic farming in Germany, and the vineyards were certified in 1989. In the early 2000s, they switched to biodynamic. Today, Weingut Pflüger is the producer in Germany with the largest Demeter-certified vineyard.

It’s an all pinot, spontaneously fermented and raised in steel.

Pflüger Buntsandstein Pinot Noir

Buntsandstein Pinot Noir 2020 (Pflüger)

Cherry red with blueish hint. Aroma of red berries (raspberry), plums, anise, an earthy touch. Juicy, fresh, medium-bodied, with fresh acidity.

Price: Low

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Wine of the Week

More Biokult

We presented a “cultic” pét nat from this producer last year. (Read here.) We continue with a white one, or more accurately: orange. It’s a group of producers from Burgenland, Austria that have got together, and get some help from Meinklang with the winemaking.

The grapes are grüner veltliner 65%, welschriesling 25% and muscat 10%. They were grown in clay and limestone soils, picked by hand and spontaneously fermented with 7-8 days of skin maceration. Maturation was done in steel, and the wine was bottled unfiltered.

Weisse Blumen 2021 (Biokult)

Light orange. Aromatic with white flowers, white peach, a touch orange peel. Fresh taste, nice rounded acidity, lightly structured, salty finish.

Price: Low

Food: Apéritif, salads, fish (red and white), light meat, pig

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Wine of the Week

Elegant Pirouette

Les Vins Pirouettes is a label created by Christian Binner. The idea is to give selected growers the opportunity to launch their ecologic wines under an established umbrella. Here it is Raphaël who offers his elegant crémant zéro dosage. (You can find more from the project if you search these pages. Here is another, also by Raphaël.)

This week’s wine is a Crémant d’Alsace from 2018, made from riesling 60% and pinot gris 40% planted 1970 in chalky soil. It’s spontaneusly fermented, spent 24 months on lees and was bottled without added sugar.

Les Vins Pirouettes Crémant de Raphaël 2018 (Pirouettes/ C. Binner)

Light yellow, with greenish hint, small bubbles. Aromatic, yellow apples, lime, bisques. Fresh, dry, good acidity, quite long.

Price: Medium

Food: Apéritif, salads, white fish, shellfish, lightly spiced food…

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Wine of the Week

Fruity Forcallà from Fontanars

The forcallà grape (or forcayat, officially forcallat) originates from Castilla-La Mancha, but nowadays most of it is found in Valencia and Murcia. (Here I have mentioned another, by the way.) The grape was common in the Levante before phylloxera. But when the farmers replanted after the plague it was largely replaced by monastrell, because it had more colour and alcohol. However, in this Mediterranean climate with high summer temperatures forcallat’s lower alcohol is now seen as a virtue, with its potential to give light, elegant and floral red wines.

Rafael Cambra is located in Fontanars dels Alforins, Valencia, where he works to recover grapes and styles. He believes in minimal intervention, and the wine is certified organic. This forcallat is from a single pie franco (ungrafted) vineyard more than fifty years old, on sandy soils. Fermentation took place with indigenous yeast in 2,000-litre stainless steel tanks with 10% stems and gentle pumping-over. Ageing for eight months in used French barrels of five hundred liters, then concrete for three months.

La Forcallà de Antonia 2020 (R. Cambra)

Cherry red. Aroma of red and dark fruits (raspberry, dark cherry), plums, spice, pepper. Full in the mouth, soft tannins, intense flavours and fruit all the way.

Price: Medium

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Wine of the Week

L’orangeade

Philippe Formentin had worked 10 years at Domaine Chabanon in Lagamas, near Montpellier, before he became a “flying winemaker”, consulting at vineyards around the world. Then he found a small winery in the south of France, just outside Clermont l’Hérault. Here in the foothills of the Larzac, Philippe has brought life to his dream of making his own natural artisan wine.

His wines are made from grapes grown organically and according to biodynamic principles. They grow in different plots with clay-limestone soils and various exposures.

The grapes are manually harvested in the cool, early mornings, then stored in a cool environment 24 hours to slow start fermentation. They ferment naturally, with indigenous yeast and without sulfites.

A manual vertical press is used to gently extract the juice. The wines are then aged in containers, decanted, and bottled without filtration. L’orangeade 2020 is a varietal grenache blanc.

L’orangeade 2020 (Opi d’Aquí)

Light orange. Fresh aroma with apricot, orange peel, eucalyptus, a touch of honey. Medium full, light tannin structure, good length.

Price: Medium

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Wine of the Week

Dramatically good

The last xinomavro in this column was a very mineral wine. This one is quite different, a lot more fruity. Oenops Wines was founded in 2015 in the northeastern region of Drama by Nikos Karatzas. The grapes come from selected vineyards from Drama and Macedonia, that are cultivated by various ambitious winegrowers.

The grape for this wine is xinomavro, from Naoussa and Amyntaion, age varying from 14 to 65 years. Spontaneous fermentation was carried out in egg shaped 5 hl amphoras, with 6% whole cluster. Nothing added, and no machinery was used at any stage. After fermentation followed 6 months ageing on lees in amphoras. Bottled unfiltered.

XinomavRAW 2020 (Oenops Wines)

Ruby red. Aroma dominated by raspberry and cherries, and behind there some earth and leather. Juicy in the mouth, some tannin, lots of lovely, natural acidity.

Price: Medium

Food: Duck, light meat, Mediterranean, antipasti

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Wine of the Week

Supernaturally good

Chakana has been featured before. Read about their entry-level malbec here, and also some background information. This is a very good Argentine producer that works biodynamically. This week’s suggestion is a very modestly priced bonarda.

The grapes were handpicked and cold-macerated at 5-8 degrees for approx. 3 days and then fermented in steel and cement tanks for approx. 15 days. It underwent malolactic fermentation in cement.

Sobrenatural Bonarda 2020 (Chakana)

Dark red, blueish hint. Flowers, red and dark fruits (cherry, morello), fresh herbs, tobacco and chocolate. Juicy in the mouth, fresh acidity, black olives, good length.

Price: Low

Food: Grilled meat, chicken, charcuterie

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Wine of the Week

Oh when the saints

No, it’s not an attempt of making a cheap musical joke, it’s the real name of the wine. When the wine is marching in, it’s with the grape saint laurent.

Saint Laurent is ​​an aromatic, dark-skinned grape variety from the Pinot Noir family. St Laurent is perfect for sparkling wines as the variety ripens early and the skin is relatively thin. By the way, portrayed on the label is Swedish jazz saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, in a drawing by Olaf Osten.

Since they took over Gernot’s family’s small-scale wine production in 1985, the couple Gernot and Heike Heinrich have focused on the great potential of the local grapes blaufränkisch, zweigelt and st. laurent. The family currently grows their grapes on 100ha in Gols, Burgenland, using biodynamic principles.

The grapes come from a single location on the eastern Leithaberg, in mica-mixed slate soil. The grapes are pressed in whole bunches, and the must is then cooled for rapid sedimentation, before fermentation begins with natural yeast in steel tanks. The fermenting must is then bottled before the fermentation is completely finished, to get its mousse in the bottle.

Oh When the Saints 2021 (Heinrich)

Light straw, abundant mousse. Fruity aroma of yellow apples, citrus, with white flowers and quince. Creamy texture, adequate acidity, salty aftertaste.

Price: Medium

Food: Seafood, white fish, light meat, aperitif

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Wine of the Week

The red Drago

The red Drago has become my go-to Valpolicella. Last time it was featured here was in this article, where you also get some background.

It originates on the Monte del Drago hill, with a total vineyard area of 8 hectares. The grapes are organically cultivated, and biodynamic techniques are also employed. Corvina accounts for 60%, the rest is corvinone, rondinella and barbera. It has rested 12 months in French oak, which is barely noticeable.

Drago Valpolicella Superiore 2018 (Musella)

Dark red. Aroma of dark and red berries (cherry), some herbs. Lucious, tasty and with an adequate acidity.

Price: Medium/low

Food: Light meat, pasta, salads, antipasti

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Wine of the Week

Tradition from Jura

As the rain set in on the rugged coast we wanted a bold wine for the cheeseboard. Luckily this Côtes du Jura was offered by the local store.

Domaine Maire is one of the largest producers of Jura covering 234 hectares of vines, and they sell their wines at affordable prices. The word tradition on the label here refers to a typical blend of the local white grapes varieties ahardonnay and savagnin. Maire’s cuvée comprises around 80% chardonnay and 20% savagnin.

Chardonnay, originating from Burgundy but cultivated in Jura since the 10th Century, has become a native, and is especially well suited on limestone and light soils. The savagnin is typical to Jura and matures slowly on grey marl soils. It’s the ideal grape variety for an oxydative maturing process under a veil of “flor”, referred to locally as “sous voile”. Most of the chardonnay was aged in stainless steel tanks for 2-3 months, the rest on fine lees in wooden vats for the same period of time. A part of the savagnin juices were matured in oak barrels under flor for 8 to 12 months.

Grand Héritage Tradition 2017 (Dom. Maire)

Yellow with green hints; apples and flowers (from chardonnay), flor, butter, roasted almonds and nuts (from the savagnin ageing); full in the mouth, good and persistent acidity, meaty.

Price: Medium

Food: Comté or blue cheeses, tapas, shellfish, paté, charcuterie

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