THE WINE CLUB
FIELD STREET – SHIRAZ – MCAREN VALE - AUSTRALIA
NOTES: On the nose there is a lovely purity of fruit, aromas of violets are coupled with the beautiful perfume of a punnet full of fresh berries. The palate is medium to full-bodied with lovely, earthy tannins and a lifted finish. Outstanding.
ABOUT: Stephen Pannell is one of the best and brightest of the new generation of Australian winemakers, having spent a decade working as chief red wine maker at Hardys before striking out on his own in 2004. Steve has worked all over the world, including with Aldo Vajra in Barolo and for Domaine Dujac and Pousse d'Or. His broad experience has helped shape his approach to winemaking and his wines are true expressions of the grapes and vineyards of McLaren Vale. In October 2015, Steve was named Winemaker of the Year by the consumer wine magazine, Gourmet Traveller Wine.
CLOS DES FOUS
POUR MA GUEULE - ITATA VALLEY - CHILE
NOTES: Fruit forward with smokey, earthy notes. The wine is perfect as a aperitif or for quaffing, but equally is so textured and complex that it's a wonderful accompaniment to rustic, hearty meat dishes.
'Pour Ma Gueule' is a French expression that translates to 'for my gob' - winemaker slang for the stash of wine the producer is keeping to drink himself. BUT, this wine is too goo not to share.
ABOUT: Clos des Fous is an exciting project between four Chilean friends: Pedro Parra (the viticulturalist), François Massoc and Paco Leyton (the winemakers), and Albert Cussen, who looks after the business. 'Fous' is the French word for 'crazy men', a reference to what their peers described as their 'craziness' in crossing the traditional vineyard boundaries of Chile to source grapes from vineyards in the extreme conditions further south and east. Pedro is credited with discovering many of the top vineyard sites across Chile, as well as revolutionising the way in which iconic wineries, such as Montes plant and manage their vineyards. The winery is based in Maule, to the south of the main vineyard area, where the 'Fous' make an enviable range of top quality varietal wines.
CHENIN BLANC – SWARTLAND – SOUTH AFRICA
NOTES: Produced from 40-year-old vines by Swartland pioneer Charles Back, this Chenin Blanc has a classic lemon-lime character with a characteristic waxy, almost honeyed note on the palate and a lime twist on the finish. Bright yellow in colour. This wine boasts aromas of peach, tropical fruits and subtle flinty hints on the nose. The palate is rich and broad, but with a vibrant acidity which carries the flavours onto the lingering finish.
ABOUT: Charles Back was a pioneer in the Swartland when he started Spice Route in 1998. “Without [Charles]…the Swartland would still be regarded as a rural backwater” wrote Tim Atkin. Today, the region is the source of many of South Africa’s outstanding wines, yet Spice Route remains one of the best and most credible producers in the region, due largely to the fact that they own their own vineyards. Spice Route’s 100 hectares of vineyards are situated in Malmesbury and Darling. The former, all bush trained on Malmesbury shale and red clay subsoils (the clay ensures the vineyards are dry grown), give the Grenache and Mourvèdre the intensity of fruit that makes this region so exciting. Winemaker Charl du Plessis has been with Charles for 15 years, and knows the region intimately. The winemaking is ‘hands off’, as Charl is keen to capture the flavours and structure of the outstanding fruit he has grown.
I'D RATHER BE A REBEL ROSÉ – LONDON/ESSEX - ENGLAND
NOTES: An expressive and textured dry rosé, with elements of strawberries and cream, ripe red cherry and freshly crushed raspberry coming together on the beautifully balanced palate. The grapes for this wine are sourced from the single vineyard ‘Crouch Valley Vineyard’, which is situated on the coastal peninsula of the Crouch Valley in Essex, between the Crouch and Blackwater Rivers.
The ‘I’d Rather Be a Rebel’ rosé was vinified following the philosophy of minimal intervention.
ABOUT: Blackbook Winery is an urban winery located in a railway arch in Battersea, South London. Their philosophy is simple: blending tradition with innovation. The grapes are sourced from carefully selected growers, who have vineyards within hours of the city and high quality grapes. Blackbook endeavours to bring the hard work of the vineyard owners to the forefront, by creating a range of single vineyard wines that showcase the quality and potential of producing world-class still wine in England. Focussing on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Blackbook uses a minimalist approach, with low to zero sulphur and natural yeasts, as they seek to reflect the vibrancy, culture and energy of London in their wines.
PUR PETNAT – WAGRAM - AUSTRIA
NOTES: Don't be fooled by the haze. This 50/50 blend of old vine Pinot Noir and Zweigelt might be a natty boi, but the wine is as clean and fresh as it gets. This, in a bucket of ice, on a hot day... Wow. The nose is packed full of red fruits and the palate is clean, fresh and zippy. There is a lovely creamy mousse that helps this slip down far too easily. Have more than one ready...
ABOUT: Wimmer-Czerny is certified Demeter and is farmed organically and bio-dynamically. Hans Czerny is totally obsessed with the unique soils (Loess, Gneiss) and the single vineyard sites in Wagram, each one lending an individual and fascinating character to the grapes. He is fanatical about the geological history and ecology of the region, and farms livestock to enhance the land and cultivate his compost, which, when explained on a visit earlier this year, pretty much sounds like it has magical properties…Hans’ sheer dedication, knowledge, craftsmanship, and attention to the natural environment sing through in his spectacular set of wines.
PINOT GRIGIO - GORIŠKA BRDA - SLOVENIA
NOTES: Admittedly, Pinot Grigio is rarely our favourite variety. Too often it like any sort of concentration or depth of flavour. This wine, however, is an excellent exception. This Pinot Grigio has lovely warmth of ripe pear, pineapple and cinnamon. The wine is straw yellow in colour with a subtle shade of pink. The nose is reminiscent of pear, grapefruit, pineapple and cinnamon. Well balanced, this medium-bodied wine has a lovely richness, with a silky finish and citrus aromas.
ABOUT: Gašper is located in Goriška Brda, which makes up the two thirds of Collio stretching into Slovenia from Friuli-Venezia Giulia in north-eastern Italy. Goriška Brda has a climate ideally suited to viticulture, with its proximity to both the Adriatic Sea and the Alps providing dry, warm summers with cooling breezes during the crucial ripening period. The Gašper wine estate is a joint venture between a local cooperative and the Čarman family, who have been in the wine and hospitality business for over 50 years. At the helm of the cellar is Darinko Ribolica, a respected oenologist from Goriška Brda. He uses Slovenia’s local varieties, deeply rooted in Germanic, Slavic and Roman cultural influences, to create wines in a modern, fresh style.