Marlborough, New Zealand 2019
Stoneweaver is a range of organic wines produced by the highly acclaimed team at Huia Estate in Marlborough.
The estate was established in 1996 and has been following sustainable farming and winemaking techniques ever since.
You will not see any pesticides, insecticides, or herbicides being used in the vineyards. Wild yeasts are used for the fermentation process and the sustainability of the land is given 100% importance at all times. As part of their sustainable winegrowing initiatives, Huia Vineyards set up the Mana Winegrowers Collective, which consists of a group of organic wine growers.
The grapes for their Stoneweaver Chardonnay are sourced from the sub-region of the Omaka Valley, where vines are planted in a mixture of mix of clay and stony gravels.
Fruit is all hand-harvested before being de-stemmed and gently pressed. Midway through fermentation, the juice is siphoned off into large format and small French oak for 11 months maturation, before being bottled after a total of 14 months ageing.
Expect a nose of bright stone fruits backed up by a touch of vanilla from the oak. The palate is dominated by peach, citrus and wonderfully refreshing, crisp minerality.
Delicious with or without food. Try with weightier fish dishes or veggie recipes, particularly if chargrilled.
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Reserve de Gassac Blanc, Mas de Daumas Gassac,
Languedoc, France 2021
The story of Mas de Daumas Gassac is one of vision, enterprise, passion and pride. When Véronique and Aimé Guibert first purchased their farm in the charming Gassac valley they didn’t realise that they had stumbled upon one of the most unique micro-climates in the region, perfect for making notable, age-worthy wines.
A visiting professor from Bordeaux identified a particular red soil that was common to certain great estates in the Médoc and Grand Cru Burgundies. The family decided they would plant Cabernet Sauvignon vines on this particular plot and the story of Mas de Daumas Gassac as a top quality producer began in earnest.
Soon they were acknowledged as the first ‘Grand Cru’ producer in the Languedoc, proof that fine wines could be made in a region previously only thought of as good enough for entry level production.
The cellars at the estate are housed among the foundations of a Gallo-Roman mill. There are two cold water springs under the cellar's floor, nature's own air conditioning system, which slows the alcohol fermentation down to between 8 - 10 days. This slow process means the complex flavours have time to develop, an idiosyncrasy that is challenging to replicate with more modern, high-tech fermentation equipment and techniques.
With the passing of founder Aimé Guibert, at the age of 91 in 2016, the running of the estate has passed to his sons Samuel, Gaël, Roman and Basile. They've been working at the mas since the early 2000s and, as a team, look set to continue to build on the fine reputation their father has established.
At a fraction of the price of its famous stablemate, Mas de Daumas Gassac Blanc, this Viognier/Marsanne blend has the elegance and quality you'd expect from a 'Grand Vin' estate. Herby and aromatic on the nose, peachy and lemony on the palate – quite simply fantastic value for money.
Doesn’t necessarily require partnering with food but will only be enhanced when placed alongside grilled chicken or prawns.
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Tormaresca, Puglia, Italy 2021
Tormaresca was a project born out of a desire to shine the spotlight on the indigenous grape varieties of the region of Puglia.
Nestled at about 300 metres above sea level, the estate is an area with challenging climatic conditions. Locals have learned how to harness these unique environmental factors, be it the region’s harsh winters, extreme temperature fluctuations, steep ravines, thick fogs or close proximity to an ancient volcano.
The team at Tormaresca use these conditions to their advantage, producing wines which represent this unique terroirs and truly capture their sense of place.
Red fruits and cherry jam sit alongside subtle notes of violets and anise. There is plenty of freshness here and the tannins are elegant and lithe, complementing the lively but balanced acidity. If you typically enjoy Primitivo then this is definitely a variety you should explore.
Negroamaro is an extremely flexible food wine, pairing excellently with a variety of dishes. It goes particularly well with typical Apulian dishes such as roast lamb, meatballs or, if you are feeling daring, the local speciality of bbq horse meat.
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Piedmont, Italy 2021
It is widely considered that the best red wines of Piemonte are produced using the variety of Nebbiolo.
As a result, Barbera is often considered the lesser red grape of the region. It is planted across the lower slopes and valleys, whereas Nebbiolo occupies the more prominent sites, at high altitude and with better exposition.
However, good Barbera can quite simply be delicious. In most cases it is not as ageworthy as Nebbiolo but the flipside is they are far more approachable in their youth – and offer quite a lot more bang for buck!
It has a somewhat unique flavour profile in that it often tastes both rich and light-bodied at the same time. This is primarily due to the fact the pigmentation of the grape is extremely dark, resulting in an almost jet-black wine. However this is lifted by the crunchy wild strawberry and sour cherry notes that are typical of this variety. Coupled with low tannins and high acidity, it makes for great value, food-friendly wine.
This example from the team at Vistamonte is produced using 100% Barbera. Juicy cherry fruit leaps out of the glass, backed up with hints of black pepper and spice. Medium-bodied with fresh acidity and silky, soft tannins. Great with food or indeed enjoyed solo.
A sensational pairing with your favourite homemade pasta dish. The simpler the better.
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