As we round out the first month of 2018, we’re already enamored by all of the wines we’ve tasted. We bucked the seasonal trends, traveled far and wide and shown that natural wine doesn’t necessarily need to bring the funk. For this week, we’ve returned to the classics, so to speak. These are still natural wines, but in more classic regions: Beaujolais, Burgundy and Alsace. The results, however, are anything but expected. Many of these wines are fruit-forward, high in acid, or full bodied but still showcase unmistakable earth and structure through mineral or herbal notes. Vibrant wines don’t necessarily need to be light bodied or crisp, we’ve come to realize this week.
Part of the fun of wine tasting is that we have to discard expectations and embrace terroir.
Pierre Cotton, 100% Gamay Pet Nat ‘Carentia’ (NV)
The Pet Nat features a salmon-colored hue with an immediate and generous amount of bubbles upon pouring. On the nose, it highlights fresh strawberries and a structured yeasty undercurrent. Taste wise it is bursting with fresh, ripened red fruit, and is a touch off dry but is balanced with nice acid. Notably a slightly bitter earthiness and funk build on the palette, providing a necessary depth for a chillier night. This might be mouthwatering but it is a fundamentally complex wine, not at all easy drinking in the same way you might expect other Gamay Pet Nat rosés.
Vini Viti Vinci, Chavan Blanc (2015)
What a lovely white wine from one of the lest storied parts of Burgundy in Avallon! It is very clear and pale yellow in the glass, with a bit of the classic Chardonnay roundness on the nose in addition to fresh green apple notes. Though it catches some of that initial acid you’d expect from a Chablis, it’s decidedly softer joue de vivre, with rounder stone fruit notes predominating. We love the long finish that is dry and mineral-forward, which adds unexpected personality and life to this wine. It drinks well in the winter, though it is also perfect for that memorable summer BBQ.
Pierre Frick, Riesling (2012)
This is a masterful, rich expression of Riesling in a natural style and at an amazing value (only $15). It is a deep, golden yellow in color. On the palette, it shows how it is big in body, balancing rocky minerality with fruit-forward, juicy grapefruit notes, a racy acidity and oxidative, almost savory, nutty notes on a long, tension-filled mid palette. This is definitely not a Riesling for those that are looking for something clean and crisp. However, don’t let the underlying residual sugar fool you. It’s featured only in service of the other elements, with a decided pep by the time it settles down in the finish.
Join us next week as dive into some seriously funky natural wines from Spain and Italy, not really knowing what to expect in the process. Cheers!