Earlier this week we were invited to host a tasting for the Bristol Wine Circle, a lovely group who meet frequently to share their passion for wine.
They tasked us to show them a range of ‘interesting wines’, always like a challenge!
First was to narrow this down to just ten. We choose all our wines for interest and purpose, however some are just a little more obscure and unusual. This is what we chose:
2015 Emmenz-moi Au Bout du Terret, Clos du Gravillas
Unusual to find a single varietal Terret Gris but here it is from the dynamic couple at Clos du Gravillas in the Cote du Brian, Languedoc. Dry, elegant and savoury, a perfect aperitif or partner to shellfish. Use as you would Muscadet.
2015 Reto, Ponce
Spain is such a fascinating wine producing country that we featured three wines from it. This Albillo de Albacete is the work of Juan Ponce in Manchuelo. Organic farming and minimal intervention add to complexity of this weighty, textured white with a nervy citrus edge.
2016 Gumpoldskirchner Tradition, Johanneshof Reinisch
Now into Austria, Thermenregion just south of Vienna and one of our favourite producers Johanneshof Reinisch. This is a terrific blend of Zierflander and Rotgifler, both native to this region and not really found elsewhere. A rich start of ripe fruit gives way to more honeyed and savoury notes with a dry finish. Great with rich, fatty foods.
2012 Ribolla Gialla, Ronchi di Cialla
Ribolla Gialla is an ancient variety found here in Friuli, NE Italy and across the border in Slovenia. I find it racing with acidity in youth but, with some age, the fruit fills out and perfume notes are enhanced. Stunning wine!
2014 Roussanne, Stolpman
This fickle variety can make some of the world’s most stunning wines however it is stubborn in the vineyard and winery so few are made! Here it is transported from it’s home in the Rhone Valley to the Central Coast of California with stunning results. The oak is beautifully balanced but ever present, layered with tropical, green apple and lime citrus fruit.
On to the reds…..
2015 Zweigelt, Johanneshof Reinisch
A crossing of Blaufrankisch and St Laurent by Fritz Zweigelt, this is Austria’s most planted red variety. It is a great introduction to this country’s wines capable of producing a wide range of styles. Here it is full of juicy, dark fruits, touch of spice and fine tannins, a very versatile wine.
2015 Adiado, Casal Figueira
Casteleo in it’s funkiest form! From the lovely Marta of Casal Figueira, a tiny estate in the hills of Lisbao producing this brilliant and an outstanding white Vital. Expect crunch, herbs and farmyard!
2014 7 Fuentes, Suertes del Marques
We are now whisked off to the island of Tenerife to taste the native Listran Negro blended with a touch of Tintilla (Trousseau) cultivated on volcanic soils. Deep brooding fruit with a touch of smoke!
2010 Schioppettino, Ronchi di Cialla
Once thought to be extinct, Paolo and Dina from Ronchi di Cialla fought for the recognition of this ancient variety from Fruili. Thank goodness they did, it is just wonderful in a delicate and elegant way. Light cherries and truffle, mushroom and perfumed violet.
2014 T. Amarela, Envinate
Tinta Amarela or Trincadeira to give it it’s proper name is native Portuguese and usually found there. This little beauty, however, hails from a tiny vineyard plot just over the border in Extremadura, Spain. Wonderfully perfumed nose leads to a dense yet vibrant palate that is layered and long. Only a few hundred bottles made, be sure to grab one whilst you can (and before we do!).
All these wines are produced organically or biodynamically with minimal intervention in the winery. It is not why we chose them, even though they are practices we believe are important, we chose them because they taste damn fine!