“Spring Has Sprung!”
In Florida we get two seasons: hot and hotter. But there is a brief moment of weather-sanctity between the two where one might enjoy a refreshing beverage on the porch without fear of heat exhaustion. It is in that interlude I want these wines to bloom and be apart of. April focuses on the lighter to medium-bodied wines that display freshness and brightness while also showcasing a new importer of natural wines in Florida, City Beautiful. This company shares the same passion as Cru in supporting small-production, family-owned, organic wineries that possess an approach to wine-making that is extremely low-intervention.
Borell-Diehll Pinot Noir, Pfalz, Germany
In 1990 Annette Borell and Thomas Diehl married and created Borell-Diehl by joining their families’ three wineries into one. Starting with a total of 5 hectares, they have since expanded to 33 hectares of vineyards, all within 5km of Hainfeld, about 1/2 hour drive from Deidesheim. Their holdings are a complex geology of loess, limestone, red sandstone, with deposits of minerally muschelkalk (limestone) in some sites.
Annette and Thomas’ oldest son George is now poised to take over leadership at the estate. Having staged at important addresses like Rebholz (Pfalz) Wittmann (Rheinhessen), and Von Volxem (Saar), as well as an internship in New Zealand in 2016, he will continue the winery’s focus on quality wines of extraordinary value. The wine is exquisitely fruity, silken textured, dry Spatburgunder from the sunny Pfalz. Hand-harvested from estate-owned sites, tank-fermented and aged in large, neutral (3+yrs old) French oak barrels. This is Pinot in a modern, easy style with modest alcohol, fresh cherry themed fruit and a lip-smacking finish.
Benjamin Taillandier Grenache, Cinsault, Carignan, Languedoc, France
In 2007, winemaker Benjamin Taillandier settled in his family’s hometown of Caunes-Minnervois, which sits between the ancient city of Carcassone and The Montagne Noir. He purchased 5.7ha of Grenache Noir, Syrah, Cinsault, Terret Gris and began working it organically, eventually converting all of it over to biodynamics. Each year he added a plot to his estate and now he works 9.5 ha all by hand and now fully Ecocert certified. He also runs a terrific wine bar downtown called Cantine du Curé which is open during the summer tourist season. Benjamin feels that many of the wines in the Minnervois AOC are too concentrated and alcoholic, and works hard to make wines that, while full flavored, are lighter, fresher and lower in alcohol than most average wines from the Languedoc. Indeed, there is a level of liveliness in this wines that you seldom see in the wines of the region, Benjamin is happily introducing people to the concept of Minnervois “vin de soif”.
Weingut Jurtsitsch Gruner Veltliner, Kamptal, Austria
Alwin Jurtschitsch and his wife, Stefanie Hasselbach (of Gunderloch fame in the Rheinhessen). Alwin and Stef are leaders in the natural wine movement in the Kamptal. It’s a unique story because they happen to have the oldest winery in the area, dating back to the 16th century. In 2006 they rented out some of their land to focus their attention on quality rather than quantity and converted all vineyards to organic. Their “house style”, which you will find in this months Gruner Veltliner, is all about preserving freshness and elegance rather than power. After taking over the domain from Alwin’s three uncles the winery’s philosophy underwent a change, “Our wine style became more ‘polarising‘, characterised by the idea of terroirs without compromise” says Stephanie. They only use spontaneous fermentations and work without any additions, aside from minimal sulfur. The entry level wines are made in stainless steel, but all of the single-vineyard Erste Lagen wines are aged in large oak foudres. The wines shine in multi-faceted elegance, offering drinking pleasure at highest level without being baroque and heavy. This Gruner shows intense aromas of fruit and blossoms, it is fresh and spicy, at the same time complex and mouth-filling with a lively acidity. What we like to call a “porch pounder”!