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Tag: biodynamic

Wine of the Week

Riffing with Mr. Riffault

I am fully aware that Sébastien Riffault has been in the spotlight for things other than his wines lately. Let’s keep this aside for a while. The quality of his wines can hardly be doubted. Okay, there are people who don’t like the mature style. Some even say they are not typical of Sancerre. Remember that many people believe that the early-harvested commercial yeasted cat’s pee in a gooseberry bush is the real thing. Riffault is, in my opinion, very Sancerre, but clearly a different take.

The sauvignon blanc was planted on limestone and clay some 35 years ago. Akmèniné means “made of stone” in Lithuanian (the nationality of his wife). The grapes were harvested by hand in mid-October, directly pressed without skin contact, 30 percent of the grapes having botrytis. It was then fermented in large old barrels, then aged on the lees. No sulphur added, not fined or filtrated.

Akmèniné 2019 (S. Riffault)

Pale amber. Aroma of mature apples, mango, herbs and yeast. Good volume and concentration, rich, tasty, with ripe fruit and adequate acidity.

Price: Medium

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Wine of the Week

Burja’s beauty

This beautiful Slovenian white was presented a few years ago. Read some background information here.

In short: Burja is located in the Vipava valley about 40 km east of the Italian border. Primož Lavrenčič has a holistic approach and farms organically and according to biodynamic principles.

The grape composition here is laški rizling (Italian riesling or Welschriesling) 30%, malvazija (d’Istria) 30%, rebula (ribolla gialla) 30%, others 10%. 7 days skin-maceration in steel, 10 months ageing in barrel.

Bela 2020 (Burja Estate)

Deep golden. Aroma of mature fruits, orange peel peach, herbs, white pepper. Full on the palate, a touch of nuts and a natural, integrated acidity, salty in the finish.

Price: Medium

Food: Light meat, pig, veal, grilled and white fish, tasty salads

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Wine of the Week

Genuine gorgollasso

On the last day in Mallorca, 3rd January, I visited Carlos Rodríguez Furthmann in the small town of Selva. He is a veteran vigneron, but he does not own any vineyards, and for this project he buys all the grapes. This creates freedom, but in reality he says he continues to work with only the same few farmers.

The wine is made from gorgollassa, a red indigenous grape variety that Carlos calls his favourite. Elegant and subtle are two adjectives that he uses to describe it. One part of the wine was aged in 500-litre French oak barrels, another in a Mallorcan clay amphora and the remaining in stainless steel. Spontaneous fermentation. Nothing was added to the wine apart from a low dose of sulphites. It was not clarified or filtered. 

Gargo 2019 (Selva Vins)

Ruby red. Red fruits (cherry, raspberry), herbs, blackthorn (endrina), a bit earthy. Light and fresh in the mouth, smooth tannins, a slight bitterness in the finish, everything well-balanced.

Price: Medium

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Wine of the Week

Mademoiselle M

Mademoiselle M is a sauvignon blanc from Kimmeridgian limestone soils (marl with oyster sediments), located in the appellation of Pouilly-Fumé. It’s made without added sulphites, aged in used oak vats for 18 months.

Alexandre Bain owns 11 ha in Tracy-sur-Loire. Like his friend and collegue Sebastien Riffault across the river in Sancerre, Alexandre harvests later than most in his region, which gives the wines a darker colour. To retain the maximum acidity in his grapes, Alexandre trains his vines low. Harvest is done by hand, and yields are small.

Mademoiselle M 2015 (Alexandre Bain)

Dark golden, slightly turbid. Aroma of mature apples, flowers, a touch of honey and a flinty minerality. Quite full on the palate, glyceric, concentrated flavours. Rich for a sauvignon blanc. Probably at its peak right now.

Price: Medium

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Wine of the Week

Pretty Pannobile

Here is a prime wine from one of the founders of the Pannobile group.

The wine originates from vineyards located on the slopes of the Leitha mountains. Zweigelt and blaufränkisch planted in limestone and slate soils and grown organically with biodynamic techniques and without using chemical products. Harvest is carried out manually. Once the grapes have been selected by hand, spontaneous fermentation with native yeasts begins and a three-week maceration in the skins in wooden tanks. Then it’s pressed and the wine obtained matures for 21 months in used 500-liter oak barrels.

Pannobile 2018 (Heinrich)

Dark cherry red. Aromas of dark fruit (morello, blueberry), lightly spiced and some earth. Tasty, silky, a sweet and sour sensation and a long taste. Lively, balanced.

Price: Medium

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Wine of the Week

Sampaio’s Curtimenta

Tiago Sampaio is a driving force on the modern wine scene of the Douro. The Folias de Baco project was started in 2007, and today he is recognized as an innovative winemaker deep rooted in the traditions of the area.

The name Curtido implies that this is an orange wine, in Portugal usually called curtimenta. It’s made from moscatel galego planted on a blend of schist and granite soils. It was harvested by hand in early September with extensive vineyard sorting and two weeks maceration time. Fermentation in stainless steel using indigenous yeasts. Not fined or filtered.

Uivo Pt Nat Curtido 2021 (Folias de Baco)

Yellow-orange, cloudy. Aromatic, flowery with apricot and citrus peel. Dry mouth-feel, only slightly fizzy, lovely citrussy acidity, good concentration and an intense aftertaste.

Price: Medium

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Wine of the Week

Marvelous Masieri

This is a red wine from natural wine pioneer Angiolino Maule of La Biancara, that I visited in 2018 (read here).

The soil in Gambellara is volcanic, and the vineyard was planted some 45 years ago. Organic agriculture with biodynamic principles. The grape composition is merlot 50%, tai rosso 40% and cabernet sauvignon 10%. They were picked by hand and spontaneously fermented, before a 2 to 3 weeks skin-maceration in big Slavonian oak.

Rosso Masieri 2018 (La Biancara)

Cherry red, a bit developed towards rim. Dark and red fruits (blackcurrant, cherry), balsamic, beginning dried fruits. Juicy and yet concentrated, coffee, black olives, long.

Price: Medium

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Wine of the Week

A Grüner at Grünerløkka

I’m in Oslo for the Skin Orange wine fair. In the Grünerløkka neighborhood, named after Friedrich Grüner in the late 19th century, what could be more appropriate than to open with a magnificent grüner veltliner? Mr. Grüner lived 250 years earlier, by the way, and served as town administrator and master of the mint.

Anyway, at Skaal Matbar I was surprised to see a wine from Stagard (or Stagård). They have been in Kremstal for 10 generations, and it was the father of Urban, one of the current owners, who introduced the family name to the business. I remembered them from my time as an importer and tasted all their wines many years ago. Since then they have taken on a biodynamic approach. This wine is a blend of two vintages, I think 2018 and 19. It’s unfiltered and bottled with only minimal added sulfur.

At Skaal you can enjoy tasty small dishes to a selection of wines by the glass. At the moment they serve oysters, schnitzel, charcuterie and more, and the wines are a little bit of everything, thankfully not the same as offered by everyone else.

Medusa N/V (Lesehof Stagård)

Light yellow. Fresh aroma of citrus (lemon zest), baked apple, a light peel character and also a mineral touch. It’s immediately appealing, but it also dense and tasty and has a certain complexity. Slightly spritzy, with a stimulating citric acidity.

Price: Medium

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Articles

From inside the Sekt

Our local wine club featured Sekt, sparkling wines from Germany, the other day. The tasting showed an overall good quality-price ratio, I would say better than the tasting of spätburgunders a couple of months ago. There are four categories of German sparklers, from the basic Sekt, where the grapes can be of shopped around Europe, narrowing down to Winzersekt, where a smaller manufacturer owns the grapes himself.

Among the best, and also with a very good price, was this one. Raumland is a specialist located in Rheinhessen, with facilities for making sparkling wines offered to several famous German producers. All their vineyards are worked organically, and their sekts are normally fermented out dry.

Riesling Brut 2018 (Sekthaus Raumland)

Light yellow colour, fine bubbles (small mousse). Aromatic, green apples and lime, hint of bakery (after 36 months on the lees). Mellow entry, with apricot, a citrussy acidity grows in the mouth, it’s complex, it’s crisp and energetic, and it finishes off dry.

When the Suez Canal was opened in 1869 wine from Reichtsrat von Buhl was offered for the celebration. This cuvée is named to honour the occasion, 150 years later. Organically grown riesling grapes were harvested manually. The base wine was fermented in stainless steel and in tonneaux, followed by a traditional bottle fermentation on the lees for 40 months.

Suez Riesling Brut Nature 2015 (Reichtsrat von Buhl)

Light yellow, small mousse. Yellow fruit, mature apples, brioche notes. Full in the mouth, creamy texture, integrated acidity and a long finish. Mature style, elegant.

Sven Leiner’s domaine is located in Southern Pfalz. It consists of 15 hectares of vineyards, that he runs organically with biodynamic methods (and certification). Only a little sulfur is added to the wines before bottling, and no filtration is done. Some key words: Spätburgunder with chardonnay, age of wines 60-70 years, grapes harvested manually, fermented and matured in big oak vats and cement. I guess it’s assembled from three vintages corresponding with the numbers on the label.

Leiner Brut Nature (Weingut Leiner)

This wine lived up to the natural wines’ reputation of being living things, as it changed “colours” several times, from closed and square to open and well-assembled. In the beginning it showed a slight mousiness, but the day after (you see, this bottle I smuggled home after the tasting) it was clean and cutting.

Let’s try to assemble the many impressions: Light with very little bubbles. Aroma of ripe apples, some nuttiness and a stony minerality. Full in the mouth, a rich texture, and a fine mousse on the palate, integrated acidity, quite concentrated and long.

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