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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.