Wine is about people and place, taste and celebration, and the stories that bubble up over a glass with friends.

Natural wine is uniquely about innovation and individuality. About the freedom that comes within the constraints of a platform of belief.

Not that different from the blockchain community in that respect and tech in general.

For those who like a backstory along with their wine, I’ve jotted notes each of the bottles we will be pouring– from France, Italy, Spain, The Canary Islands, Santa Barbara, and Portland, Oregon.

Big thanks to my buddy William Mougayar for organizing this. And to Ariana RolichEben Lille, Andy and the rest of the team at Chambers Street Wine for inspiring us to curate such an incredible selection.

Hope to see you there!

(This is a sold out event for Summit attendees. We are out of space and will contact you if there are cancellations.)

Nine Vignettes of Taste and Place

 Costadila Bianco Dei Colli Trevigiani Prosecco

Delicious and disruptive are not what you imagine when you think of mass-produced Proseccos from the Veneto in N.E. Italy near Venice.

Enter Ernesto Cattel and his Ag.Costadila polyculture project for natural wines.

Surrounded by industrial farms making exceedingly meh wines, Ernesto is a visionary agronomist changing what is in your glass through what is alive and healthy in the soil.

He started reenergizing the land in 2006 and producing small handcrafted—and quite amazing—sparkling Proseccos. Changing not only how the grapes are grown, how fermentation is handled but the grapes within Prosecco itself, adding lesser used Bianchietta and Verdiso to the mainstay Glera grape, making his wines brighter, livelier and just more joyous.

Honestly, his wines are a bit of a revelation to drink–a tingling freshness in the mouth, wafting pear and apple aromas and a crazy long finish.

For the wine geeks, the cloudiness of the bottle comes from the dry lees, as the wine is unfined and unfiltered. We simply shake the bottle gently a bit before uncorking to distribute them more evenly.

Ernesto uses only organic fruit and not a drop of sulfur added to the vineyard or the bottles.

This bottle is to me a triumph of taste, of an agricultural idea proven true and of the possibility of what Prosecco as a natural wine could really be.

Jousset, Lise et Bertrand 2015 Montlouis-sur-Loire Bubulles Pet Nat

A natural Pet Nat from the Loire Valley in France.

Some call Pétillant-Natural Farmers Champagne, but as my friend, Sophie Barrett says, Champagne may be akin to love, but Pet Nat is pure flirtatiousness, joyful in its own right.

I’m excited to share Pet Nat done so well, and introduce the artistry of the winemakers, Lise and Bertrand. To those that know them, they attest that their vivaciousness and openness as individuals, their love for Chenin Blanc, seems perfectly mirrored in the wines, especially this Pet Nat.

They moved to the left bank of the Loire a dozen years ago and farm 11 hectares spread across 25 parcels with vines ranging from 30 to 130 years old. Their core belief is that to have a living wine you need to have living soil with high microbial activity. A running theme through all the wines we’ve chosen.

Their wines are organic in the vineyard, zero-sulphur added and for this bottle, made from 45-year-old Chenin Blanc vines.

What’s Pet Nat anyway?

Champagne is made from finished still wine, you then add sugar (dosage), ferment, disgorge, bottle again. With Pet Nat you bottle and seal before fermentation of the wine is complete, judging just the right amount of sugar to end up with a dry finely moussed effervescent and quaffable delight.

Takes a gift to get right. This one most certainly is.

Swick Wines 2016 Columbia Gorge Grenache Blanc

Organic small-batch Grenache Blanc fermented on the skins. (That’s orange wine to some.)

Joe is talent, a friend, and while a 5th generation Oregonian, part of the 1st generation of West Coast natural wine makers. A growing but a small group of highly individualistic people from all walks of life, searching out interesting and organic plots up and down the coast to make wine from.

He spent 10 years working harvests in Portugal, Italy, Tasmania and California and New Zealand before settling in to start his own label.

Deeply passionate, terroir obsessive and a natural purist by nature.

Joe’s words sum his approach up- “I like the real deal. No maquillage [makeup].”

This Grenache Blanc is high-elevation, low alcohol wine with a jolt of freshness and strong nudge of layered acidity.

This is white wine made like red wine, fermented on the skins. An entirely new palette of taste for most of us as the drinkers, and for the winemaker, an endless opportunity for creativity and expression.

Skins are the touch of the earth in wine, where minerals and bouquet and tannins live.

This bottle is Joe’s idea of where his intent, the place itself, the climate at this given time and the grape variety itself become terroir, true and unqualified.

Two wines from RuBor Viticultores

The Sierra de Gredos are the massive mountains just West of Madrid where a new generation of winegrowers are recuperating abandoned vines, adopting vineyards from retiring farmers and moving to organic and biodynamic agriculture.

Enter RuBor Viticultores, a partnership between Rubén Díaz and Orly Lumbreras, born of friendship and a shared passion for ancient vines and their mountain home.

The poet of the pair, Orly, phrased their intent to produce tiny amounts of the white varieties Chasselas and Albillo as a personal preference. To him ”White wine is for dreaming, and red wine is for enjoyment”.

I think we get equal doses of both in these bottles.

RuBor Viticultores 2015 Castilla y León Chass! Chasselas

Most of us think of Savoie in the French Alps when we think of Chasselas, myself included, but this bottle is something different. Something Spanish.

Biodynamically farmed and made from two tiny 70-year old Chasselas plots grown in decomposed granite there is something uniquely this alpine place in the glass that you can taste.

With 3-4 days on the skins during fermentation and the slightest tad of sulfur added at bottling.

It hard not to love this one.

This is Ruben and Orly’s bright and salty gift, fresh and expressive, crunchy minerals, with a tickle of tannin and effervescence in the bouquet from time on the skins

RuBor Viticultores 2014 Castilla y León Protocolo Zero

Albillo Real is the great white grape of the Gredos area.

Big-boned with moderate acidity, this is a blend of Albillo from two very old plots, with a variety of different vinifications.

Protocolo Zero is their intent to marry the fresh, youthful, and bright wines with rich, spicy, and aromatic ones, from different elevations in proportions of their choosing.

100% Albillo grown with biodynamic methods on organic vineyards with very little sulfur added at bottling.

Full of granite in texture and length, with flavors of pear, butterscotch, minerals and a hint of fresh ginger.

This is a natural Rose made with 100% Carignan, oozing with flavor and chutzpah.

You realize with artisanal and natural wine that type—be in Rose or Pet Nat or whatever—are just guidelines meant to be interpreted.

And this Rose crafted by Jean-François Nicq is no summer pink fling. This is the real deal in complexity, satiation and a ton of vivaciousness in the glass.

From the Languedoc, near Montpelier, France, Jean-Francois has found his special spot in the most eastern Pyrenean Mountain chain where he has been making wine since 2002.

Organic, and zero sulfur added.

Peppery redcurrant and raspberry aromas with floral and citrus notes. Super fresh and wildly aromatic in character.

Bermejos 2013 Lanzarote Rosado of Listan Negro

The island of Lanzarote is the most Westerly of the Canary Islands, politically part of Spain but a world of its own, closer in actuality to Africa.

In the 1700s, a month-long volcanic eruption covered the island in black lava meters deep, destroying agriculture but spawning a unique environment for wine.

Like craters on the moon, half-domed hoyo are scooped out of the lava which protects the vines and extracts moisture from the violent gusts of sea breezes.

It is hugely laborious to work this place by hand, with tiny yields, but in this case, difficulty breeds something magical and intense with a soul all of its own.

Like this wine at the hands of winemaker Ignacio Valdera.

100% Listán Negro Rosado, organically grown and hand crafted.

Complex yet satiating. Tart with sea salt. A nip of volcanic minerality.

Nothing transports me quite like this bottle, sitting on my rooftop in TriBeCa on a Spring Saturday afternoon drinking in these unusual yet familiar flavors from this surreal moon-like place on the other side of the world.

Amplify 2015 Santa Ynez Valley Camp 4 Carignane

I’ve been smitten with this wine since my first taste earlier this year.

Cameron and Marlen Porter are Santa Barbara born and raised. Local people wanting to recreate something special, doing more by doing less with intent.

In their own words, they wanted their Carignane to have one foot in the wild iterations of the Roussillon in France and the other with the light beauty of Poulsard from my beloved Jura.

A sense of place. A sense of style. This is all about the freedom of the craftsperson within a framework of beliefs.

An attempt to re-find the terroir of their home geography with a newer, less encumbered, more natural approach to winemaking.

Organic. Some sulfur at bottling. Tiny production.

They describe this bottle as delicate, lithe, limpid red wine with just a hint of the savage. Add a bouquet that is surprising in the face of a pale delicate juice and I agree.

This is a talented couple just starting out on a journey.

I met them a few weeks ago and my first inclination was to hug them.  Which I did.

Silice Viticultores 2015 Ribeira Sacra

Ribeira Sacra is in the very northwest corner of Spain.

Abandoned for generations but unchanged since the Romans terraced its slopes and planted grapes to make wines for their armies marching towards the sea. Too steep for machinery. Too harsh for anything but indigenous fauna.

Enter Silice Viticultores, a partnership of three men–winegrower Fredi Torres and brothers Carlos and Juan Rodriguez to reclaim these terraces and make wine that captures their connection to this place.

Primarily Mencia, with Merenzao, Albarello, Garnacha Tintorera, and some white grapes, from multiple small vineyards on slate and granite slopes in Amandi averaging 60-80 years old.

Every single grape is moved by pulley and bucket, by the sweat of people reclaiming the past with an eye towards a new future.

Organic with biodynamic methods, no additives except a touch of sulfur at bottling.

Exquisite and crisp, with subtle red fruit character.  Reminiscent of some Pinot Noirs from Savoie or the Jura, or Gamay from Beaujolais.

Easy on the mouth yet light on the senses. Bold enough to pour at a feast yet subtle enough to drink on the fire escape on a warm NY summer night.

Le Raisin et L’Ange 2016 Vin de France Pause Canon

Some natural wines are made by a new generation of individuals, rediscovering and reinventing something old to make a new.

Some are projects, inspired people reclaiming their pasts or iconoclast agronomists proving a case to the world.

And some are just farmers making wine they want to drink, local philosophers of the soil just doing it.

The later is Gilles Azzoni to a word, making 100% natural wine with nothing added to simple quaff and enjoy.

His farm is in Ardeche, not far from Lyon, sort of West of the Northern Rhone. Basically in the middle of nowhere in France. Or maybe a special somewhere.

This is farmers wine, made naturally with astounding skill. A blend of 75% Gamay and 25% Syrah and to get a bit geeky, 6-day whole cluster carbonic maceration for the Gamay, 12 days for the Syrah.

Enjoy this one. Drink it back as that is exactly what it is made for.

Round and effervescent. Fruit layered but not forward.

From Gilles farm somewhere in France to your glass at a blockchain gathering high above the city in NYC.