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Tag: biodynamic

Wine of the Week

Ganko 2018

This was one of the rioja wines that stood out in a local wine club tasting. It’s made by Bordeaux-born Olivier Rivière, who took a job in Rioja in 2004, after having studied enology in Montagne Saint-Émilion and worked briefly for several wineries. Among them were Domaine Leroy in Vosne-Romanée, where he learnt about their biodynamic methods. He decided to stay in Rioja and began looking for specific vineyards grown organically, with the goal to buy grapes and make his own wine.

Ganko is a 50/50 blend of mazuelo and garnacha The grapes are grown in the village of Cárdenas in the Alto Najerilla. Here in 600 meters altitude the old vines grow on sandy soils. It’s a rugged zone with only small plots. The wine is fermented with whole bunches in a 3.000-liter oak foudre and matured in used barrels.

Perhaps you wonder what the word ganko means? It’s Japanese for stubborn, a nickname given to Olivier by a Japanese importer. Olivier liked it and gave the name to this wine.

Ganko 2018 (Olivier Rivière)

Dark cherry red. Aroma of wild berries (blackberry), flowers and herbs (thyme). Fine-grained tannins, a cool, fresh acidity and a long and dry finish. Complex and elegant.

Price: Medium

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Wine of the Week

Trentino’s leading light

I have recently had two opportunities to taste Foradori’s range. The first was at restaurant Smalhans of Oslo, with Theo Foradori and their Norwegian importer Non Dos in mid-March. Then at Barcelona’s Vella Terra fair in the beginning of April (look for a forthcoming article), when I for the first time met Theo’s mother, the beautiful Elisabetta.

Theo Foradori on his visit to Oslo

Foradori makes some magnificent white wines at the foot of the Dolomites mountains. (Read about one of them here.) But they also do a terrific job with their reds. Not least is it interesting to go through the many faces of the grape teroldego. Elisabetta is like a queen of teroldego; when she took over the winery at a young age she brought in new and better clones, switched to biodynamics, replaced barrels with clay vessels and botti and elevated the grape to a level yet unseen.

The grape grows only in Trentino, and thrives best in Campo Rotaliano, where Foradori have all their vineyards. They make two single-plot wines, Morei and Sgarzon, with exactly the same vinification. The wines demonstrate how different teroldego can be in different soils.

Elisabetta Foradori at the Vella Terra

Here we shall speak about maybe the producer’s most simple red. It is as well made as all the others. I mean simple as in light, delicious, easy to drink; and I never miss an opportunity to taste – and drink it. Lezèr is a light red, almost rosé wine that comes from various light macerations in amphora, wood, steel and cement, and then aged four months in concrete vats. It started out in vineyards some 30 years old.

Lezèr means in local dialect. Some claim that the name teroldego comes from “oro del Tirolo” – in other words “the gold from Tyrol”.

Lezèr 2021 (Foradori)

Light ruby with blueish hint. Red berries (raspberry), plums, flowers. Luscious in the mouth, fine-grained tannins, integrated acidity.

Price: Medium

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Wine of the Week

Canlibero can

Last Monday’s tasting in my private wine club was dedicated to wines from southern half of Italy, most of them from the grapes falanghina, fiano and greco di tufo. And it was the former, the only one without a DOCG, that excelled the most.

Ennio Romano Cecaro and his wife Mena cultivate four hectares in Benevento in the Campania region. The vines are between 60 and 90 years old, biodynamically farmed.

Credit: Canlibero

The cellar is built in an old tufo cave under the house where the couple lives, and the vinification is very simple. All the wines get a long skin-maceration in steel tanks, and no filtration or additions of any kind are carried out. The annual production is no more than 3.000 bottles.

This week’s wine fermented in open tubs, stayed five months on the skins and was bottled without addition of sulphites, clarification or filtration. I have tasted quite a few wines from the producer at natural wine fairs and bars. And once again convinced: Yes, Canlibero can!

Iastemma 2018 (Canlibero)

Amber, slightly turbid. Complex aroma of orange peel, white flowers, and a light volatility, over a layer of anise and honey. Sapid, lightly textured with integrated acidity, long.

Price: Medium

Food: Salads, light meat, fried fish, sushi, fermented food, Asian…

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Wine of the Week

Loimer’s happy glou-glou

The minimalist cube in Langenlois, Austria that is Fred Loimer’s winery, hides precious jewels. To be more precise, the wines made by close attention of vineyards and helped by biodynamic practises are found behind these walls. (Read about another of his many inspired/inspiring creations here.)

(Cred. Loimer)

The grapes, zweigelt 70%, and the rest st. laurent and pinot noir, were grown in his leased vineyards in Gumpoldskirchen (Thermenregion) on the other side, the southern side of the river Donau – partly destemmed, partly whole cluster pressing. Then spontaneous fermentation, no fining and no filtering. Partially matured in wood, 6 month on lees. No sulphur added during maceration, 20 mg after the blend, before bottling.

Gluegglich Rosé (Weing. Loimer)

Light ruby. Fresh, young aroma of ptpawadpa, raspberry and plums. Medium-bodied, creamy, with a refreshing yet careful acidity, dry, with a fruity finish.

Price: Low

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Wine of the Week

Chakana’s high entry-level

Bodega Chakana delivers at a generally high overall level. So also their so-called entry-level malbec, where the price is next to nothing. (Read about another of their wines here.)

Chakana is a family owned winery located at 960 meters altitude up towards the Andes in Agrelo, Mendoza. It represents a new generation of local terroir-conscious winemakers. The name of the project is what the indigenous people in the area called the southern cross constellation (Crux).

This is how the bodega describes the naming: “Chakana is believed to hold the key to finding the perfect timing for the cultivation and harvesting of crops – a calendar, compass & symbolic link between earth and spirit. On May 2, 2002, the Chakana reached perfect vertical position in the sky, marking the beginning of a new farming cycle. It was then that Chakana’s founder Juan Pelizzatti chose its name for his winery, paying homage to the Incan understanding of and respect for nature.”

Winemaker is Gabriel Bloise, who has experience from both Europe and Australia. The farming at Chakana can be described as biodynamic, with spontaneous fermentation, natural acidity, minimum or no sulphur, and the wines are never clarified nor filtrated.

chakana winery vineyard panarama1
(Cred. Bod. Chakana)

Their vineyards are orientated 45 degrees north west to maximize fruit expression. According to themselves this is “a surprising example of synchronicity, as this is the exact route that the Andean development chose”. This is called the Viracocha line, or the “Line of Truth” of the Incas.

For Chakana this planting direction was chosen for best canopy protection of the grapes during the highest temperatures of the day.

For this wine 60% of the grapes are from Luján de Cuyo in Mendoza and the rest from La Rioja (some 600 km to the north). The grapes were cold-macerated for 3 days, then fermented in steel and cement 15 days.

We also tried it with Brazilian beans

Malbec 2018 Organic Wine (Bod. Chakana)

Dark cherry red, blueish hue. Fruity, mature dark berries (blackberry), plum, some spice. Juicy yet a bit carbonic in the mouth, with soft tannins, firm and slightly bitter finish with a slight (and pleasant) touch of vinegar (maybe in lack of a better word).

Price: Low

Food: Many types of meat, also red, grilled and slightly spicy, roast duck, casseroles

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Wine of the Week

Cool British Col

As we enter into a new year we chose a bubbly fresh wine from a promising winery. The obvious choice would be champagne, of which the is a big amount to chose from, also in the natural end of the scale. But no, our choice is from England, itself a promising wine country.

I visited the Tillingham winery as we entered into the pandemic for the first time, and went straight into a quarantine, according to the rules that had been made while I was there. I will not go into details about the producer, as much is written already. Here is one of the write-ups.

Winemaker Ben Walgate in the winery

The wines are produced as naturally as possible; which means no spraying in the vineyards, no unnecessary additives are added, and the wines are bottled with minimal sulphur.

This wine is made in and named after the italian method Col Fondo, in essence the same as the ancestral method. The grapes are mostly pinot noir, with chardonnay, pinot meunier and auxerrois. Hand-picked grapes ferment naturally in separate containers. Pinot noir and chardonnay are pressed directly as whole bunches and fermented in steel. Pinot meunier is also pressed as whole bunches of grapes and fermented in large Georgian qvevri. Auxerrois is mainly pressed as whole bunches of grapes and fermented in steel, as well as a small amount of yeast with a day’s skin contact before it is pressed into qvervi. After finishing the alcoholic fermentation, all the components in the steel tank are mixed with minimal amounts of sulphur added, and then the wine is bottled with 8 g/L added sugar. Thus the wine undergoes a second fermentation in the bottle.

Col 2019 (Tillingham Wines)

Light golden and somewhat cloudy. Aroma of lime, green fig and white flowers. Light and appealing, a moderate amount of tiny bubbles, with fresh acid, a bit creamy and with a quite long, dry finish.

Price: Medium

Food: Apéritif, natural shellfish, white fish, tapas…Perfect for celebrations.

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Wine of the Week

Lambrusco ancestral

Here is a wonderful ancestral from Emilia-Romagna, in the historic Lambrusco category, based on the grape with that name.

Il Farneto was founded in the 1990’s, always with the intention to produce environmental sustainable wines. Today they own 34 hectares, 8 of them vineyard, near Scandiano in Reggio Emilia.

This wine is a red natural wine made with the ancestral method from organic and biodynamic grapes. Some key words: Spontaneous fermentation, native yeasts, unfined, unfiltered, minimal added sulfites, low alcohol (11,5%)..

Frisant Rosso 2020 (Il Farneto)

Ruby red, bubbly. Aromas of red berries (strawberry, raspberry), a floral component. Fresh, luscious taste with herbs and licorice.

Price: Low

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Wine of the Week

COS Zibibbo

Here is a lovely white from southeastern Sicilia, from the zibibbo variety. I have earlier also highlighted the red version. (Read here.)

COS started in 1980, when the three architecture students Giambattista Cilia, Giusto Occhipinti and Cirino Strano, mostly as a fun experiment, founded the winery. Names are composed of the initials of the three classmates’ surnames. Today, they make top wines using ancient methods in Vittoria on the southern tip of Sicilia. Today they cultivate 35 hectares biodynamically.

The grape for this one is zibibbo, in the moscato family. The soil is calcareous and volcanic clay, with silica sand, in a vineyard planted in 2001. It’s of course spontaneously fermented, before a 7 months skin-maceration, and maturation a few months in clay. COS prefers the Spanish tinajas as made by José Padilla of Albacete (read here). Unfiltered.

Certification is organic, and they work according to biodynamic principles.

Zibibbo Pithos Bianco 2018 (Az. Agr. COS)

Light golden. Aromatics include apple, orange blossom, pineapple, and a touch of honey. Full-bodied, dense, adequate acidity.

Price: Medium

Food: Dried fish, salads, light meat, pork…

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Wine of the Week

Slovakian wolves at Bellies

I could have written a long introduction to the tasting. Here I will just mention that Nebbiolo Wines is one of the most important importers of natural wines in Norway, and Bellies, where Jan-Erik Hybertsen conducted this tasting (he is actually also a classical musical conductor) is probably the best 100% vegan restaurant in Norway. I came a bit late, so I chose to concentrate on the Czech and Slovakian producers of their portfolio.

Magula is the Slovakian producer that we shall focus on here. They make natural wines exclusively from their own, organically grown grapes of Slovak and regional varieties. They started out in 2007, and since 2016 the farming has been biodynamic. They are found in Suchá Nad Parnou, a traditional wine-making village in the Small Carpathian wine region, just northeast of Bratislava. Here we find deep loess soils with a high proportion of minerals, especially calcium, and there is scarce rainfall, coupled with a large proportion of sunny days.

At Bellies: Nestarec’s Czech wine Umami left

In 2001 they picked up the family tradition that been interrupted by the communist era. At that time they had an estate near what is in Slovak called the Wolf valley, from where this series of wines take its names.

Vlk is Slovak for wolf, and Oranžový Vlk becomes orange wolf. Among the other contributions the red, Cerveny Vlk, has a nice evolution while retaining its fine acidity; lots of red fruit and some leather and chocolate. The Frankovka (blaufränkisch in Austria) has a typical stony & herby aroma and fleshy taste. The pink wolf, Ružový, was a superb, fresh, lightly structured rosé.

The orange wolf is made from white grapes by open vat fermentation on skins and stems, followed by further maceration for two weeks. The blend is welschriesling 50% and grüner veltliner 30%, both from an old vineyard in Wolf’s valley, with the variety devín from a young vineyard on Rose mountain. It’s spontaneously fermented, unfiltered, unfined, and with no SO2 added. It’s aged in old barrels and amphorae. Half of it had two months of skin-contact with stems, most of the rest had ten days of skin-contact.

Orange wolf bottle next to the glass on the left

Oranžový Vlk 2019 (Magula)

Deep orange. Aroma of stone fruits, apricot, peel and a touch of smoke. Medium-bodied with light tannin, good concentration and fruit, and adequate acidity.

Price: Medium

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Wine of the Week

Fonterenza Brunello di Montalcino 2014

Here is a “young” and dark wine from a vintage with problems and where many producers chose to declassify their brunello to rosso. It was one of several good wines from a private brunello tasting last week.

Fonterenza was created by two twin sisters from Milano. They planted their first vineyard in 1999, and now all the plots are cultivated biodynamically, as natural as possible and with minimum intervention.

The grapes are sourced from a small plot with clay and shale soil. The must ferments in 1.750 litre Slovenian oak foudres with native yeasts. It is aged in 2.000 and 2.300 litre barrels for 47 months. The final wine is not filtered or clarified before bottling.

Brunello di Montalcino 2014 (Fonterenza)

Dark cherry red, a bit brick-toned; aromas of dark and wild berries and a touch of smoke and leather; fresh in the mouth, dense, with quite elegant tannins, long. Will keep.

Price: High

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