Fiacre Taillet, winegrower in Merfy in 1485, was the first of a long line of family winegrowers in Merfy. Another Fiacre Taillet, born in 1700, was an enlightened winemaker who wrote extensive memoirs about his life and his work, as well as the economic, political and cultural environment of the region in the early 18th century. Following this, first Laurent, then Antoine Taillet continued to write logs, passing the family tradition on from father to son, one generation to the next. Today, Alexandre Chartogne-Taillet maintains written logs of his own, as his parents Philippe and Elisabeth did before him. Since 2006, Alexandre has been dedicated to the family’s work, seeking to share with you the wines of the village of Merfy.
Situated on the western slopes of one of Bordeaux’s most picturesque towns, Saint Emillion, Château Meylet has been a family run vineyard since 1875 when it was called Clos Le Clou. Just 2ha of vines here produce Saint-Emillion Grand Cru.
Bordeaux is not a region you think of when discussing natural wines and indeed Château Meylet is one of the last natural producers in the region with winemaker Michel Favard leading the way. Certified biodynamic by Demeter since 1987 and one of the few, artisinal wine estates on the Right Bank the savoury, elegant and achingly pure red wine from the estate, a blend of 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc, will restore your faith in the Bordeaux region and is worthy of a place both in your glass and in your cellar.
Cyril Fhal is producing some of the most exciting natural/biodynamic wines in France and his domaine, Clos du Rouge Gorge is to be found on the hippest wine lists from Paris to New York. Cyril found small parcels of north-facing hillside vineyards, on gneiss, near the village of Latour-de-France, and began tending the vines according to biodynamic farming practises and the domain was born.
Cyril rejected the AOC regulations of the Roussillon, which require 30% Syrah or Mourvedre, grapes not native to the region, so the wines are labelled Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes but quality isn’t an issue here. Vital, mineral-laden white wine made from Macabeu and incredible reds from Carignan and Grenache are your reward.
After finishing his winemaking studies, Clotaire Michel spent time in the Languedoc with Pic St. Loup master Christophe Peyrus of Clos Marie before working for five years with the legendary master of Cornas, Thierry Allemand.
Since 2015, he has based himself in Beaujolais where he crafts, finely honed wines from Gamay vines up to 100 years old.
Organic/biodynamic farming, wild yeast ferments, no added sulphides, fining or filtration, these are wines of outstanding fruit purity and sense of place… if you can imagine Thierry Allemand making Beaujolais, you are on the right track. Superb Beaujolais produced in a gentle and considered manner.
Born in towns that face each other across the Rhône River, René-Jean Dard and François Ribo met in wine-making school in Beaune, starting their own domaine together in 1984.
Working 7.5HA of vines in the Rhone Valley scattered over 7 villages, most of their holdings lie in Crozes-Hermitage, some in St-Joseph and a slice of the hallowed Hermitage vineyard.
These are wines that resonate with purity of fruit, unfettered by a heavy hand in the cellar clouding their sense of place and pure deliciousness in the glass. Expect sapid, textured white wines and beautifully detailed reds that are hard to put down. Dard & Ribo are one of the darlings of the ‘lo-fi’ wine scene and their wines grace the hottest wine-lists across the globe from 3-star Michelin to trendy Parisian wine bars. One of our favourite producers.
After drinking Champagne from the larger houses and ‘Grand Marques’ quite often, the first taste of a grower Champagne can be described as a revelatory experience such are the wines purity and finesse compared to the famous, large volume brands that hog the limelight.
It is a tiny domain run by an elderly couple, some 9 hectares in total, all prized grand cru vineyards in Avize and as production is so tiny the wines are as rare as hens teeth.
The wines themselves are magnificent, aged seven years sur lies, fermented in large old wooden casks, everything here is done as natural as possible and the resulting Champagnes, Brut & Extra Brut are stunning examples of what can be achieved through great farming and gentle hand in the cellar in this world famous wine region.
Paul Old and Hugo Stewart working with 20 hectares of old vines within the Corbières & Rousillon regions of the Languedoc in the south of France. The name Le Clos Perdus refers to ‘the lost vineyards’ secretly tucked away throughout the scrubby hills of the region, left in disrepair and brought back to life by the estate through hard work, organic/biodynamic farming and an eye for the sites potential.
Today Paul is joined by Ben Adams and the wines are made in the seaside town of Peyriac de Mer. Macabeu, Grenache Gris, Muscat, Mourvedre, Grenache, Carignan and Cinsault wines that are pure, delicious and produced with minimal intervention.
Domaine Sainte Croix is located in the village of Fraissé des Corbières, on the border between the Languedoc and the Roussillon. Jon and Liz Bowen, after travelling the world for many years learning their craft now farm 13ha on a variety of terroirs from limestone through to sand, gravelly clays and schist, the array of different soil types is astonishing.
They seek out the oldest available parcels of Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Terret Gris, Grenache, Carignan, Syrah and Mourvèdre, farming the plots themselves and achieving organic certification through ECOCERT in 2008.
These are gorgeous, artisinal wines of the highest quality, from old vines, including some field blends, that shine a light on the wonderfully diverse terrors of Corbières.
Over the last few years, the wonderful Italian sparkling wine, Prosecco has gone from strength to strength, cutting into the market traditionally dominated by the French and prompting a few nervous glances over the shoulder from Champagne producers. For those in the know, the unfiltered Prosecco ‘Col Fondo’ is the way to go and Casa Belfi is one of the regions finest producers of this style.
Casa Belfi’s vineyards are farmed biodynamically and their Col fondo is a perfect example of the style. With its natural sur lie bottle re-fermentation and no filtration, the resulting wine is cloudy, effervescent and dangerously slurpable
Campi di Fonterenza was founded by twin sisters Margarita and Francesca Padovani in 1997. The biodynamically farmed estate lies in the commune of Montalcino in the beautiful heart of Tuscany wine country. The origins of the 35ha estate at 420 metres above sea level, date back to 1462 and the Padovani family began rejuvenating the vineyards in 1975 planting 4ha of Sangiovese and retaining 24ha of woodland and olive groves.
Vinification takes place in 17.5hl new Slavonian oak fermenters, using only wild yeasts, followed by ‘affinamento’ elevage in larger 37hl Slavonian oak. No fining or filtration takes place prior to bottling of what is only a few hundred cases of each wine. The wines, Rosso di Montalcino (savoury, bright and pitch perfect) and Brunello di Montalcino (a study in detail and latent power) are some of the most exciting wines to come out of the region.
Piemonte is without doubt, one of the most famous and beautiful wine regions in the world. Eugenio Bocchino and his wife Cinzia run a small organically certified estate with 5ha of vineyards scattered through the communes of La Morra, Verduno, Alba, and Roddi.
It is here that Nebbiolo is king and with fastidious work in the vineyards and a distinctly traditional approach in the winery, these are wines that resonate with the deep pedigree of the region. The Langhe Nebbiolo “Roccabella” & Nebbiolo d’Alba “La Perucca provides delicious, savoury drinking but it is with the Barolo’s that the wines are taken to the next level. These are just beautiful wines.
Located in the stunning hilltop town of Monforte d’Alba in Piemonte, Flavio Roddolo is one of the finest winegrowers in the Barolo region for his deep connection with the tradition and land he farms. He seems to have a deep attachment and connection to each of his vines and the 6 hectares of vineyards have not been chemically treated for 40 years, following biodynamic principles well before they became fashionable.
Using only indigenous yeasts and the traditional winemaking techniques of the region the wines are captivating. The stunningly pure and juicy Dolcetto & Barbera will have you reaching for another bottle and the Barolo ‘Ravera’ is a fine example of what this famous region is capable of.
With 7ha of certified organic vineyards planted with Sangiovese, Ciliegiolo, Canaiolo, Vermentino, Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia del Chianti , in the heart of the DOC Montecucco in Maremma, La Calle produce a range of wines that are considered benchmarks for the region. There is a deep respect for the land they farm here, the utilisation of knowledge, laid in a sedimentary fashion by generations of successive family’s tending the soils.
Wild yeast ferments and a traditional, hands-off attitude in the cellar result in wines that are true to their terroir and utterly delicious in the glass from the young and vibrant Sangiovese, Campo Rombolo that bursts with fruit purity through to the Poggio d’Oro Riserva which is built for the long haul. Spellbinding, beautifully made traditional wines from an exciting, yet often overlooked region.
The Colli di Luni DOC is an interesting one, spanning two regions, Liguria & Tuscany and Azienda Agricola La Felce is located at the foot of the hills of Ortonovo in the Province of La Spezia in Liguria. These are wines of stunning purity and savoury lines produced from Vermentino, Trebbiano, Malvasia, Massaretta, Canaiolo, Sangiovese and Merlot.
The vineyards are farmed according to organic principles and winemaker Andrea Marcesini produces wines that are both delicious to drink and very agile when it comes to food/wine matching. One of our hidden gems that is sure to win many fans.
Established in 1999, Maria Pia Castelli is located in the commune of Monte Urano in the beautiful Marche region of Eastern Italy, with 8ha of vineyards heavily influenced by the climatic effects of the nearby sea. The vineyard soils, clay rich in minerals such as iron and magnesium and the attention to detail in both the vineyard and winery is evident in all their wines.
Their rich and intricately detailed Sangiovese and Montepulciano have won Tre Bicchieri awards in the influential Gambero Rosso guide and their wonderful skin-contact white wine ‘Stella Flora’, a blend of Pecorino, Passerina, Trebbiano and Malvasia has won adulation as a wine of excellence in the Good Wines of Italy guide.
The tiny Paradiso di Manfredi farm in Montalcino was purchased in 1950 by Manfredi Martini and his wife, Fortunata, pre-dating Brunello being awarded is DOC in 1968. Today the estate is run by daughter Rosella and her husband Florio Guerrini. Nestled on the hill atop which Montalcino is perched, there are a compact 2.5ha of Sangiovese Grosso vines of which 2ha produce Brunello.
Organic and biodynamic practises are adhered to in the vineyard and very traditional in the winery – wild yeasts, cement tanks and a selection of very old, very large Slovanian oak botte (large barrels). The large oak allows a slow micro-oxygenation, and the Brunellos remain in these barrels for at least three years, sometimes longer (36–40 months for the Brunello; 48–54 months for the Riserva) — these are profound, captivating traditional wines that age magnificently.
Farming organically since 1992 and certified through ICEA, Paolo Francesconi is located in the region of Emilia-Romagna in Northern Italy and produces are range of vivid, textural wines from Sangiovese, Merlot and the utterly delicious native white grape variety Albana di Romagna.
These are stunning wines from the bright, savoury lines of the Limbecca Sangiovese di Romagna DOC Superiore to the wild-edged, skin contact white wine produced from Albana, ‘Archaic’. Today, the wines of Paolo Francesconi are much revered in Italy with Tre Bicchieri awards in the Gambero Rosso and high praise in the Slow Wine Italy guide. You will love them.
Giovanna Morganti has quickly forged her reputation as one of the most exciting new winemakers in Tuscany producing epic wines from the village of San Felice just north of Castelnuovo Berardenga, in the southern section of the Chianti Classico zone.
The vineyard, planted with obviously with Sangiovese, but also Ciliegiolo, Colorino, Foglia tonda Mammolo and Prugnolo, is farmed organically and harvested by hand. Production embraces biodynamic philosophy and non-interventionist methods and the Chianti Classico ‘La Trame’, roughly translated as ‘the intrigues’ is a highlight from the estate — authentic, full of character and built to age. Since the 2011 vintage, Giovanna has opted out of the Chianti Classico consorzio, labelling her wines instead as IGT Toscana. This was due to the consorzio bowing to the power of the large producers and no longer reflecting the quality and authenticity that the smaller producers aim for. A true vinous artisan.
The impossibly beautiful region of Cinque Terre is probably better know for its sweeping seaside vistas and cliff-side townships than its wine but the regions wines are just a captivating as its scenery.
Samuele Heydi Bonanini tends his family’s vertiginous vineyard terraces at Possaitara, the Mediterranean seaside cliff into which his family’s farm is cut.
The grape varieties here may sound unfamiliar – Bosco, Rossese Bianco, Canaiolo and Bonamico but you can expect white wines that are dry, savoury and speak clearly of their Mediterranean origins and reds that resonate with vibrant flavours and the Ligurian landscape.
Alto Adige in Northern Italy is a magical place, in a glacial valley surrounded by mountains. Due to its proximity to Austria & Germany, it is a mish-mash of several cultures and its wines, food and culture reflect these origins.
Martin Gojer took over his family vineyard, Pranzegg in 2008 and began converting it over to biodynamic farming.
The vineyards are located on terraces above the town of Bolzano; Schiava (called Vernatsch in Alto Adige & Trollinger in Germany), Lagrein, Manzoni Bianco, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Viognier are the varieties grown. The results?…. some of the most captivating, exciting wines from the region produced with minimal intervention in the winery. Superb!
Located in the Magra Valley in Eastern Liguria, Santa Caterina lies in the region of Colli di Luni where they farm their 7.5ha holding of Vermentio, Albarola, Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tocai according to organic and biodynamic principles.
Andrea Kihlgren is a calm, considered character and as often is the case, these attributes also manifest themselves in the wines that he produces from his beautiful vineyards dotted with small orchards and olive groves.
Minimal intervention and very low use of sulphur dioxide are a feature of the wines here… wines made in the most natural way possible, they are calm and composed and seem very comfortable in their own skins.
Stefano Amerighi is a young dynamo of a winemaker producing some of the most remarkable Syrah from a hilly region in Southern Tuscany called Chiuso di Cortona to the west of Siena near the border with Umbria.
8 ha of densely planted biodynamic (Demeter certified) vines lie on the perfect blend of mix of clay, silt & chalk produce some of the most captivating and pure expressions of the Syrah grape we have seen from Italy.
Stefano’s farm is a complete ecosystem with olive trees, vines, forest, crops and livestock and the Syrah, some de-stemmed, some whole bunch is gently foot pressed and fermented with wild yeast in small concrete vats without the use of pumps, sulphur or temperature control.
The wine is then left to clarify naturally in a combination of wood and cement tanks, where they are kept for 14 months before bottling and the results are just mind-blowing — über-pure, elegant, textural wines made with the greatest of care and attention.
The San Guiseppe estate, run by the talented Stella di Campalto is one of the gems of the Montalcino region. The estate was established in 1910, abandoned in the 1940s and purchased by Stella’s family in the early 1990s. Planting ensued and it was certified organic in 1996 and then biodynamic in 2002.
Attention to detail is the reoccurring theme here with the aim of obtaining the purest expression of both fruit and terroir using gravity in the winery and a combination of large 38hl Austrian oak barrels and French oak barriques to vinify the juice as gently as possible. Rosso di Montalicino that is bright and structured and Brunello’s that display profound sense of place and character.
Tessère is a wonderful, small estate located in Noventa di Piave near Venice. Established in 1979 by Ilario Bincoletto , today his daughter Emanuela continues her father’s commitment working with local red variety Raboso Piave along with other international varieties. The estate is the perfect blend of tradition and innovation, producing a range of great wines.
The Redentor Brut is superb, the indigenous Raboso Piave variety, harvested and vinified as a sparkling wine in the traditional method of the Prosecco region. Think of it as a ‘Prosecco Blanc de Noir’ and you are on the right track… a rose sparkling wine that is dangerously drinkable and is sure to win the hearts of many wine lovers.
Federica Magrini and Lorenzo Mocchiutti are the passionate people behind the Vignai da Duline estate in the far eastern Italian wine region of Friuli Venezia Giulia. These are soulful wines in the true sense of the word. The vineyards, even the oldest vines going back to the 1930s have never been treated with herbicides and traditional wisdom has been applied to the vineyard practises with spectacular results.
Here they work with Pinot Grigio, Malvasia Istriana, Sauvignon Blanc (a very old clone), Tocai Friulano, Schioppettino, Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso and several international varieties to produce wines that are bright and filigreed, showing impressive clarity, finesse and detail. Beautifully made wines.
Martin Abraham, whose family has grown grapes in the Alto Adige region for five generations is the young vigneron behind the wines at Weingut Abrahams. Weingut Abrahams is located in Appiano, a commune in South Tyrol in northern Italy, located about 8 kilometres southwest of the city of Bolzano.
Gentle farming according to organic and biodynamic principles ensures wines that sing brightly of the place in the mountains. Pinot Bianco, Gewürztraminer, Upupa Bianco, Pinot Noir and Vernatsch are the stars here, sourced from vineyards 500 metres+ up towards the Alps and the wines show stunning clarity and purity…. it’s no wonder Slow Wine Italy is speaking so highly of them. A star in the making.