Natural Wine Club January 2017
Shed your expectations and listen to what a wine has to say for itself.
One of the great things about wine is that it will continue to be intriguing and surprising for as long as you continue to explore. A glass of wine reveals a combination of elements; grape varieties, climate during a vintage, vineyard, and the person who ushers the winemaking process. In natural wine the winemaker does his/her best to remain invisible so the other elements can be expressed in the most pure and honest way.
In this month’s club we consider a wide range of flavors and textures by touching down in four countries and checking out four wines, each made from a different grape. The challenge is to keep expectations from running roughshod over experience. For me this means turning down the analytical volume, i.e. “purple-y red wine tastes like… or, I hate floral whites”, so I can appreciate the wine’s unique voice. Similar to people’s voices, some are baritone and rich, some high pitched, some smoky. Ultimately we’ll find some wine/voices are easy for us to listen to and others more challenging. When taken together they create a fascinating and diverse array of the complexity achievable in wine.
It’s likely that in this month’s selection of club wines you will only be familiar with one of the grape varieties-Merlot. The other three are more obscure-Tibouren, Scheurebe and País. Because Merlot is a grape most have some experience with it will be difficult to approach without expectations, but please try! I think you’ll find Le Due Terre from Friuli Colli Orientali a very original wine. With the less conspicuous grapes the task of open mindedness will be easier to achieve so your challenge will lie in not asking them to be something they are not.
As you drink the wines from this month’s club remember to have fun!
Drink With Focus Club
2014 Clos Cibonne Tibouren Cuvée Spéciale des Vignettes, Côtes de Provence, FR
Grape – Tibouren, a native grape of Provence.
Interesting Fact – This Rosé rests under a layer of fleurette (a blanket of yeast) for a year before bottling. This is similar to how wines are aged in Sherry production but the outcome is entirely different.
Food- Bouillabaisse, Salmon, Pasta with a light tomato sauce.
2013 Le Due Terre Merlot, Friuli Colli Orientali, IT
Grape – Merlot
Interesting Fact – Bordeaux varieties (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc) were brought to Italy as early as the 1700s. In some regions Merlot has been around so long the locals think of is as an indigenous grape.
Food – Seared steak, mushroom ragu.
Drink Everyday Club
2013 Gysler Scheurebe Halbtrocken, Rheinhessen, DE
Grape – Scheurebe
Interesting Fact – Scheurebe is a white grape that is the result of a cross between Riesling and Sylvaner. Halbtrocken means “half dry” but don’t let the term scare you. The fruitiness in this wine is balanced with great acidity.
Food – Spicy and or Salty dishes. I recently made Roasted Chicken with Clemintines and Arak from the cookbook, Jerusalam (include link to cookbook), and the Sheurebe was a terrific match!
2015 Cacique Maravilla Pipeño País, Secano Interior de Yumbel, CL
Grape – País is believed to have been brought to Chile by Spanish colonizers in the 16th century. (also known as Mission/Listan Negro/Criolla Grande).
Interesting Fact – Pipeño is an old and simple style of production that is meant to produce an easily quaffable glass of wine. The País vines are an incredible 200+ years old!
Food – Sausage, Lightly smoked meat, roast chicken.
Natural Wine Club January 2017