Plain Wine Volume 10: The Bastard Edition

Marcus Hauer
Jul 4 · 4 min read

After all the crazy heat I’m happy the wines shipped during colder times. I’m very proud to have some of my favorite wines in there. They all have in common that they reinvent the category in which people put them. There is a Prosecco which isn’t a Prosecco (or at least how people think a Prosecco has to taste). Also, we have a rosé which the Austrian wine law thinks isn’t a rosé. The last one even calls itself a bastard, because it comes from a region where mainly Riesling with a specific style is expected. All of them are exquisite friends for your summer adventures, but should equally well last.

Illustration by Anna Vu,

2016 Bianco 450 SLM

Veneto, Italy

When in 2006 Ernesto Cattel and a few partners started Costadilà as a side business they wanted to go back in time and start a farm with polyculture, where vines, fruits, vegetables, cereals, and livestock all happily coexist. Everything is farmed organically and focused on the long term health of the soil and vines. Unexpectedly Ernesto passed away in 2018 and with him left one of the proponents of the Col Fondo Prosecco making. Fortunately, the partners continue to make the wine and time will tell how good the new vintages are.

This wine was still made by Ernesto and as you might have guessed the number means the elevation of the vineyard. The 450 is the highest in the range. After a couple of days macerating with the skins, the wine is made by fully fermenting it until it is completely dry. Before they bottle they mix in must from dried passito grapes to finish a secondary fermentation and create the carbonation. You will get grassy notes combined with pear and sour apples. Though we usually have this with Pizza, this is a perfect match to many kinds of spicy and flavorful Asian food.

Matthias Warnung
2017 Basis Nobody

Grüner Veltliner, Zweigelt
Kamptal, Austria

After spending a year in South Africa with Craig Hawkins, of Testalonga, Matthias came back to Austria and got his first two hectares in Etsdorf with Grüner Veltliner and Zweigelt in 2011. By now he’s at 10 hectares which he mostly got from his father Ernst. Some vineyards are still being converted to organic, but most are already. He is constantly evolving how he makes wine and later did another learning session with Tome Lubbe of Matassa in the Roussillon.

He is not allowed to call the wine a rosé even though it looks and tastes like one, because it wasn’t made how the Austrian wine police think this should be made. This kind of co-fermenting with red and white grapes is becoming more and more popular everywhere. So guess what, that’s where the name for the wine came from: not red, not white. The grapes spend 10 days in whole bunches together, after which they are pressed and sit in a barrel for about one year. The result is a very drinkable light red or dark rosé with crunchy red apple notes. Drink it with savory appetizers or in the park for the best picnic of the year.

Staffelter Hof
2018 Little Bastard

Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Müller-Thurgau, Muscat
Mosel, Germany

When Jan Matthias Klein took over the winery from his parents in 2005, the winery had some serious history. Started in 862 as a gift to the Abbey of Stavelot, now part of Belgium, it was sold in 1805 and was split up several times. In 1949 the family Klein started expanding again and today it is back to 9 hectares. One of Jan’s first move was to switch to organic farming, which is especially challenging with the steep hills in the Mosel region. Only recently he started to make natural wines, but quickly expanded the range and all of it is absolutely outstanding wine.

The “Little Bastard” was one of the first naturals Jan made and it is a bastard in a region which is so focused on Riesling. It still is mainly Riesling, but with the right amount of Sauvignon Blanc and a tiny bit of other grapes. They all ferment separately with various amounts of skin contact before they go into a big old barrel for just three months. It is bottled with a little bit of fizz to make it stay fresh longer. It is a very wild, but easy drinking white wine with aromas of peach and lime. This will be definitely a brilliant summer wine and especially good with any kind of cheese.

You live in Germany (for EU just ask) and you are interested in getting three bottles of natural wine per month? Sign up here:

Plain Wine

A wine club for natural wine

Marcus Hauer

Written by

Head drinker at Plain. Disciplined designer. Pragmatic consultant. Assorted geek. Liberal foodie.

Plain Wine

A wine club for natural wine