Looking for wines made from beautifully grown grapes with minimal intervention in the winery? Wines that express the land and people that made them, not wines made to fit a product specification? Here are six of them to enjoy.
Baglio Rosso, Nero d’Avola, Terre Siciliane - This has been one of our favourite wines and we’ve been rather impatiently awaiting the arrival of the new vintage having sold out last Autumn. Here at last it is tasting a bit raw and youthful at the moment but all the components are there - intense small berry fruit flavours, ripe damson and spice - classic Nero d’Avola. This is from the Vesco’s organically farmed vineyards high in the hills of Western Sicily. Cool nights add a touch of freshness to the wine and minimal intervention in the cellar allows the fruit flavours to come through. Very expressive. It is tasting very youthful at the moment but if you like a slightly raw edge it’s good to go or decant it or open a day or so ahead of drinking. Get the barbecue out. It would be great with a bit of something smokey.
Comando G, La Bruja de Rozas, Sierra de Gredos, Spain - The Sierra de Gredos is a high mountain range in central spain west of Madrid and Comando G was created by a trio of enochalados (crazy winemakers) who had day jobs with serious grown-up wineries but having been friends at university got together for a side project making wines from small, sometimes abandoned, often neglected vineyards scattered around the hills. Comando G was the name of a Spanish / Japanese manga comic in the 1980’s and the wine labels reflect this. Now just two, Dan and Fernando, they approach what they do like it’s done in Burgundy, making very site specific wines, mostly from a single grape variety (Garnacha) but with a much more developed sense of humour and much less developed sense of their own importance. This wine has been matured in amphorae (but not many more than one amphora as it is really small production) and the texture on the palate really reflects this.
Altolandon, Milhistorias, Bobal, Manchuela, Spain - The Altolandon winery is at a remarkable 1100 meters above sea level in the province of Manchuela, South East Spain. The high altitude gives a huge day / night temperature range, a remarkable clarity of light, clean air and plenty of breeze which all adds up to a great environment to grow organically, produce healthy grapes with loads of character and balance. This is made from Bobal, a local variety that has rather unfairly been mainly limited to making guest appearances in sangria, in jug wines or blends. More recently it has been recognised for it’s potential and made into dark coloured wines with spicy, rich fruit. It also has a lovely touch of acidity which makes it rather more moreish.
Chateau Ollieux Romanis, “Lo Petit Fantet d’Hippolyte”, Corbieres - This has become a firm favourite at Iron & Rose, the one with the tractor. Bags of character from a beautiful, organically farmed vineyard in the south of France. Mainly Carignan with a dollop of Grenache and Syrah and no added sulphur, it's got garrigue herbs and ripe red fruit flavours. You could even say ebullient in character, an underused word in our opinion.
Domaine Herbauges, La Roche Blanche, Muscadet Cotes de Grandlieu Sur Lie, France - Sometimes you just can’t beat the classics. Muscadet fell out of fashion, another victim of its own success possibly, but the style is unique and when good, unmistakeable. This wine is made from 100% Melon de Bourgogne grown on a single vineyard with stony, schistous soils. The Sur Lie bit in the name is about ageing the wines on the lees, the solids left from the fermentation, the skins, dead yeast etc, which gives the wine extra depth and complexity. The art is knowing how long to do this for and how much batonnage (stirring up the lees) to do. In this case over 8 months and regularly. The wine has the characteristic grapefruit, lemon acidity, expressive and complex. Amazing with mussels and as an aperitif.
Antonio Camillo, Vermentino, Maremma, Italy - Antonio spent years working as winemaker for other producers in this very scenic part of southern Tuscany before venturing out on his own. He works hillside vineyards, farmed organically and with minimal intervention in the winery. Maremma’s climate has a strong influence from the nearby Mediterranean sea and wines reflect this with a certain minerality and almost savouriness. Vermentino is grown all round the Med coast, over into France and on Sardinia. It has a lovely citrus quality and weight that makes it great to drink with a variety of food, summer salads, grilled vegetables.This case contains one bottle of each of these wines. If any is out of stock or becomes unavailable it will be replaced by one of equal or greater value and deliciousness.