I use the same headline every year for my Thanksgiving post.
And every year there are more quality natural wines, from more diverse places, made by producers I’ve never drank before, showing new innovations and at better prices.
There has simply never been a better time in history to be alive and be a lover of wine. We are so very lucky in this respect.
Truly outstanding wines from Oregon, Quebec, France, Sicily and Spain. With a splash of mead thrown in.
Here’s the selection:
Terroir Historic (Terroir Al Límit) 2015 Priorat Negre ($28.99)
The crowd favorite red this holiday.
Dominik Huber is a truly talented German winemaker making restrained natural reds and whites in the Priorat, in Spain.
Much less ripe that you’d expect, significantly reduced alcohol and making not a wine of place, but a wine of region. This bottle is a blend from a scattering of organic plots with telltale llicorella clay and alluvial soils of the Priorat.
Tightly wound acids, brambly herbal berries. As Ariana Rolich put it well, ‘a Priorat for minimalists’.
To me the bottle simply says Drink Me now!
Partida Creus 2015 Catalunya Massís de Bonastre Xarello ($29.99)
This was the crowd favorite white. Basically vanished in a moment.
We know the grape Xarello from Spanish Cavas, but was new2me as a still wine.
This is simply a head-nodding beautiful bottle–mineral rich, bright, citrus, nteresting and juicy at the same time.
This one is naturally a bit wild, no added SO2, and six months on the lees. Some time on the skins is obvious through the grip of the tannins and bouquet.
I’m buying a magnum for the Chanukah gathering of the same group.
Buy and try this if you can find it.
Swick Wines 2014 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ($27.99)
Joe Swick and I have spoken in depth about natural wine. He is outspoken, so very wine savvy, an uncompromising purist and 5th generation Oregonian from Portland. And need I mention, a true talent.
This bottle is a silky, textured and brambly Pinot, sourced from several cooler Willamette Valley sites (Cancilla, Medici, and Fairsing vineyards). A light touch with a satisfying palate that leaves you with berries on the mouth, savory in the nose, and just satisfying all over.
I’ve been drinking this bottle over and over since its release.
Feels just right each time.
Joe nailed it with this one.
Romeo del Castello 2015 Etna Rosato Vigorosa ($28)
I had the pleasure of meeting Rosanna Romeo and her daughter Chiara Vigo when in Etna a number of years ago.
I remember well their story of how the eruption of Mt. Etna in 1981 reduce 60 hectares of vines to 14 and left huge lava beds on their property.
This wine speaks to me of my love of Etna and my pining to return.
That unique taste that even in a rose is vibrant and savory, bright and acidic with a crisp finish and a spice to the aftertaste that simply won’t end.
Delicious bottle that was a perfect complement to the others at the table. I kept this one near to me the entire meal.
Source du Ruault 2013 Saumur Blanc “La Coulee d’ Aunis” ($17)
I knew this wine the least prior to drinking it. Quite a discovery.
Comes from a tiny one-hectare parcel of Chenin Blanc of almost entirely Turounien Limestone in the Loire Valley.
Perfect pre-meal, hanging around nibbling while cooking and chatting. It is lean, mineral with a silky suppleness to it that that drew me in immediately.
A bit too austere for the group, but I grabbed and nursed this one myself.
A discovery and a huge bargain at $17.
I have another one in the fridge for for some saw goat cheese I picked up at the market today.
Desrochers–Foehn Ferme Apicole Honey Wine ($37)
This is a completely natural Pet Nat mead from Northern Quebec.
Unfiltered. Unfined. No added SO2 with the yeasts cultivated from the pollens collected from the same bees that brought in the honey for this bottle.
I met the winemaker and apiarist at my panel at the Raw Fair a few weeks ago and tracked this bottle down.
As intriguing as it is delicious. Clearly not a wine made from grapes and as a beekeeper years ago, I could taste the honey in the aftertaste though it is completely dry and magically satisfying.
Super natural in every way. Twelve months on the lees, non dosage, nothing added.
Not only does this winemaker have real talent but he is certainly part of a new generation that will I am certain redefine what natural means to all of us.
Try this or the other wines linked to in the post of my panel.
I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
Been a while since I threw together a post on what I’ve been drinking, rather than spit out bottle pics on Instagram
This was more fun and more useful.
I hope you enjoyed it. I am certain you will enjoy the wine!