March 2022 | Enthusiast Wine Clubby Caileen Brison
Nanclares 2020 Dandelion Albarino
From Jose Pastor
The essence of their approach is reverence for the vineyard, from organic farming to fermentation by native yeasts: "In the winery, we respect the grapes as much as possible, we don't use any winemaking additions besides moderate amounts of SO2. We do not ferment with pie de cuba (pied-de-cuve) in order to preserve the identity of each vineyard," Alberto says. To express the edginess of the naturally high in acidity Albariño grape, he eschews adding potassium, which is what many in Rías Baixas use to de-acidify and soften their wines. Malolactic fermentation rarely occurs, and the wines spend a good amount of time (often a year or more) on their lees before being bottled without clarification or filtration.
Alberto and Silvia currently own 5 hectares of Albariño in the Val do Salnés, all trained in the traditional Pergola style and divided into 12 small parcels in the parroquias of Castrelo (South Cambados), Vilariño (North Cambados) and Padrenda (North Meaño). The grapes from these plots, vinified separately, yield the core of the Nanclares y Prieto wines.
This expression of Albarino from the Val do Salnes is delicate and soft, almost silk-like in mouthfeel. The nose has linear floral tones of gardenia and lime flowers that transition to warmer tones such as dandelion as the wine evolves in the glass. On the palate is a coating salinity that seamlessly transitions to lees, croissant, and sunflower. The finish carries a notable acid, but incredibly balanced in the overall impression of the wine. As time goes on, higher notes of green apple candies and grapefruit pith begin to emerge, but always in the background of the warmer floral tones. This wine would be amazing with oysters, anchovy toast, or a picnic blanket with an old friend. Drink now for liveliness, age up to 6 years for nuttier, saltier tones.
Marie-Charlotte 2020 Pinelli Rouge
From Selection Massale
Though one of the youngest vignerons within the Selection Massale family, Marie-Charlotte Pinelli is proving to be an incredibly talented, thoughtful, and hardworking force on the island of Corsica. Since beginning her domaine, she has obtained organic certification, planted 3.5 hectares of new vines (nielluciu, sciaccarellu, and vermentinu), and has begun the process of constructing an underground cellar on the steep slopes of her family estate.
Marie-Charlotte’s grandfather was a winemaker on the island, however her father decided to go into business rather than continue to work in the vines, though it was always his dream. When she had the choice to move to Paris to study architecture, she faced the same decision and, not without hesitation, ultimately decided to pack up and make the move. This would all change when her father took over a small parcel of muscat, which was planted in 2001, and she dropped everything to move back home to help him vinify their first wine in the cellar of Nicolas Mariotti Bindi, one of the masters of natural winemaking in Patrimonio. This was in 2015 when she was nineteen years old. She believes, as her father and grandfather taught her, that great wine is made in the vineyard, so it seemed obvious to her to obtain her AB organic certification. What is incredibly interesting, to us, is that she has no interest in fortifying her wines, which is the tradition and requirement for the Patrimonio AOP. She instead takes the Vin de France designation with absolutely no regrets.
This wine is one of the most interesting wines I’ve had in recent memory – don’t sleep on this, crack it (I bought extra), and have fun. The nose is undeniably pine resin, fresh honey, and white pepper oil in a harmonious dance of savory warmth. The palate has an almost bloody expression of iron that transitions me to islands or volcanoes alongside oregano and sage crunch. As the wine evolves in the glass it opens to some pretty notes of rose petals, smoked orange rind, and pink peppercorns. The structure has delicate texture that is nicely balanced between grip and acid – everything seems to be in balance here. Despite being described in a relatively bombastic way, the wine itself is quite light in body. This wine is made with minimal effective sulfur and has incredible staying power over time. Drink now – 2025 and serve in all-purpose stemware just above cellar temperature.
Food pairings: chevre stuffed dates with peppers, bouillabaisse, roast fennel.
Gral Pelzberg 2017 Kékfrankos
From Danch & Granger
Zalán Mucsi is a 3rd generation winemaker from the Great Plains (Alföld). He originally had his sights set on Szekszárd. Along the way he married Barbara in her small hometown of Gyönk in the Tolna region. After getting to know Gyönk better and looking around a bit, he soon fell in love with the Pelzberg vineyard. Much like two betrothals in one year, they took their wedding money and purchased a few hectares on the Pelzberg hill along with a cellar originally built in 1880. Similar to Szekszárd (which Tolna was a part of until 1997), it has deep Swabian roots, loess, clay and limestone soils, but is 1-2 degrees cooler.
Using zero absorbable chemicals like herbicides and pesticides, everything has been farmed organically from the very beginning. The vineyard health and increasing immunity are both managed by orange oil, copper, sulfur and biodiversity. For many years the production was one hundred to three hundred bottles and all sold locally, so getting certification was not a priority. Given growing exports and adding some vines, they are now in transition and getting certification in the coming years. Zalán has a great sense of humility toward nature and uses the vineyard to recharge and decompress despite the labor involved. He has a very gentle, nurturing, and thoughtful disposition. It’s not surprising that the 4th generation is following suit and already working towards taking over when the time comes. As Zalán puts it, the whole process should, “bring out the best in myself and in my wines.”
The winemaking is mostly all open vat fermented, manual punchdowns, all basket pressed, and most secondary fermentation and aging is usually in barrel. All fermentations are spontaneous without any temperature control. Wines are moved by gravity and pumps and are bottled unfiltered with a small sulfur addition. While there’s some new experimentation with carbonic fermentation, the 2018 Kadarka and 2017 Kékfrankos are refreshingly old school and well executed.
This Hungarian wine is enveloping with notes of overall smokey reduction and herbal texture. This knockout Kek has aromas of dried lavender, burning sage, and gunsmoke. Despite having such an expansive repertoire of tonality, this bottle benefits greatly from a good amount of oxygen and would be a good wine to open well in advance or decant. Behind the green herbal tones are perfumed notes of tobacco wrapper and white flowers. Structurally the wine is relatively high acid, tannins are moderate, and the alcohol is low. If you open the bottle 6-12 hour before you’re ready to drink, this wine is an absolute treat with graphite texture and dynamic movement. Drink now – 2030, decant or open in advance and serve in a large-bowled stemware.
Food pairings: rack of lamb, blood sausages, grilled eggplant.