After sniffing, swirling and sipping our way through the RAW WINE fair this spring, here are some of our favourites – just in time to pick up some tips for London Wine Week 2016.
1. Italian Family Ties
The Valpolicella red wines from Corte Sant’alda (pictured above) come from a vineyard steeped in family history. Not uncommonly, they are refined using fresh egg whites and the Campi Magri Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore 2013 is aged in the barrels used to make the Corte Sant’alda Amarone Della Valpolicella 2011, resulting in a rich golden tint and depth of flavour.
Find them: www.cortesantalda.com/it; imported by Winetraders.
2. South Hungarian Vines
Hailing from the southwestern Hungarian town of Villány, the wines from Hummel Pincészet Villány are a little different. Their Jammerthal uses the little-known Blue Portuguese grape variety, while their Xeyn is a well-structured Merlot with great depth and strong tannins.
Find them: www.weingut-hummel.com; currently not imported.
3. Austrian Whites
Fruity and fresh with a little acidity and a flavoursome kick, these whites from Weingut Werlitsch are about as natural as you can get, with next to no added sulphites (sulphite levels cannot exceed 70mg per litre). The Freude 2013 in the charming terracotta bottle is particularly smooth and mellow, a blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Find them: www.werlitsch.com; imported by Newcomer Wines.
4. Bella Italia!
As well as having eye-catching bottle designs, the wines from Castel Noarna in the very northeastern tip of Italy are flavoursome and varied. The vineyard boasts seven grape varieties and the Sauvignon 2013 is particularly fruity and mellow. The sparkling 2014 Rethium is made by adding the 2015 vintage to the mix and this is what prompts fermentation, rather than the more common addition of sugar (so it’s positively a health choice).
Find them: www.castelnoarna.com; currently not imported.
5. Taste of Tuscany
Podere della Bruciata have only been producing wine for five years but their combination of Sangiovese, Petit Verdot and Colorino Toscano grapes are impressive. The smooth and mellow 2012 Nobile Di Montepulciano was a particular favourite.
Find them: www.poderedellabruciatawines.it; imported by Naturalvine and Bellavita.
6. From Verona with Love…
Apparently the only chemical that goes into the wines from Cristiana Meggiolaro is ‘love of life’ – the epitome of natural wine! Produced in small batches and made from the Durello and Garganega grape, these wines are fresh, mellow, and possess a rich depth of flavour.
Find them: www.cristianameggiolaro.it; currently not imported.
7. Catalan Choice
The wines from Clos Lentiscus in Catalonia are made from local grape varieties, including Xarel.lo (pronounced ‘Sharello’) and Malvasia de Sitges. The sparkling Blanc De Blancs Malvasia De Sitges 2012 has delightful caramel notes, while the Perill Blanc Xarel.lo Anphora 2014 is rounded, warm and earthy.
Find them: www.closlentiscus.cat/en; imported by IBERIANDRINKS UK.
8. Champagne Anyone?
Vincent Couche make their Champagne using Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. The Chloé NV is made from grapes grown in older soil and has a rich depth of flavour. A little different and absolutely delicious were the Ratafia Champenois Pinot Noir De Buxeuil NV and the Ratafia Champenois Chardonnay De Montgueux NV – more liqueurs than wines, these aperitifs were smooth, sweet, and a favourite of the day!
Find them: www.champagne-couche.fr; currently not imported.
9. A Refreshing Teatotal Alternative
Postcard Teas provided an array of teas to be enjoyed as an alternative to wine. Brewed at ambient temperature, the cooler temperature really brings out the flavour of the tea whether you go for the delicate and fragrant Darjeeling Blend, or the darker Japanese Blend with its hints of caramel. They also source directly from small, independent plantations. Perfect refreshment for lazy summer evenings…
Find them: www.postcardteas.com
10. Cornish Craft Gin…
Ok, so we know it’s not a wine but we had to share this with you. In the spirit of small-scale, independent and quality-driven production, Tarquin’s Gin is the first gin to be distilled in Cornwall for over a century. They use traditional distilling methods (their copper pot stills are flame-fired) and botanicals including the Devonshire violet. If you’re a gin-lover, they’re a must-try!
Find them: www.southwesterndistillery.com