The year is nearing its end, and hopefully, we have picked the right wines for you. You might think we chose them because of the labels; they are all so simple and clean (or maybe just white), but no, we genuinely picked them because of what’s inside. We met Andreas Mann the first time this year and were positively impressed by his humbleness and very precise wines. It took a while to fit his wine into one of the boxes, but it finally worked out. Mirco Mariotti, we know already for quite some time, and since we started Plain, we were trying to work with him. And finally, TRAPET! Last year we were too late to get into the small allocation for this wine, but this year we snapped all there which was left. We can happily report this is an outstanding wine, and please consider it our Christmas gift for you!
Weingut Mann — 2018 Cuvée Weiss — Riesling, Müller-Thurgau, Scheurebe, Huxelrebe — Rheinhessen, Germany When you follow the tree of Andreas Mann’s family, it goes back to 1699 in Eckelsheim. They’ve been making wine and running a farm for about the same time and since 2000 solely focus on wine. During his business studies, Andreas decided he wanted to get into wine, and since 2017 he’s making wine together with his family. After a couple of internships at Gutzler and Wagner-Stempel, he formed his idea of what wine he wanted to make. Of the 11 hectares, which are all organically farmed, five are now used for his own natural wines. Since he started drinking natural wine, he doesn’t want to go back and is now finally making his full line of very precise wines.
The varieties which go into this slightly orange wine are very typical for the region, which Andreas hopes showcases the potential of the vineyard. After the harvest, the grapes ferment on their skins for a while until they are pressed and go into wooden barrels where they finish fermentation for one year. After opening, the wine has oxidative, herbal, and apple aromas, which are followed by flavors of citrus and dried fruit in the mouth. With its nice acidity, it will work well with many Asian foods. For example, I just had it with Vietnamese pancakes (Bánh xèo).
Azienda Mariotti — 2017 Smarazen — Trebbiano, Malvasia — Emilia-Romagna, Italy While analyzing wines in his wine lab, Giorgio Mariotti discovered the uniqueness of the sandy soils and the ungrafted vineyards of the Bosco Eliceo region. So he started winemaking on the side and later got more and more into making his own wines. In 2009 Barbara and Mirco took over the winery from their parents, which included some historic vineyard sites dating back 1000 years. Nowadays, they focus primarily on wines made in the ancestral method called “Col Fondo” in Italy, which is similar to the way the French Petillant Naturel is made.
After they hand-harvest the grapes during the first weeks of September, they press the grapes softly and then let them ferment in concrete tanks. Contrary to the French Pet Nat, they usually add a little bit of grape juice to get the fermentation going in the bottle. This takes about 60 days, after which it continues to age for a couple more months until it is sold. The name Smarazen comes from the local card game “Sbarazzino” to suggest how you should consume this wine. May I recommend to have it with some simple antipasti and a card or board game. Mario would be happy.
Domaine Trapet — 2017 A Minima — Pinot Noir, Gamay — Burgundy, France Jean-Louis Trapet is one of the most recognized winemakers in Burgundy. The family has tended the vineyards for seven generations, and since the 1920s, they owned one of the most significant vineyards in the Cote d’Or, but it took until 1960 when they finally started to bottle their own wines. In 1993 Jean-Louis took over and pretty soon started to convert the full 18 hectares to organic and then biodynamic winemaking principles. His wife Andrée Grayer brought another 12 hectares in Alsace into the family, which they now also care for. As proof for the outstanding work, they recently got 20 points for the 2016 Grand Cru Chambertin by the Revue de Vin de France, which rarely gives out the highest rating.
So how is it possible that we have a wine from him when his Burgundy’s cost up to 500 Euros when they are released. Fortunately, many Burgundy winemakers also make one affordable wine, and Jean-Louis started the “Minima” project to showcase what’s possible with perfect grapes and no sulfur. Because the grapes come from the Bourgogne Passetoutgrain appellation, he can use Gamay as well, which is usually forbidden in Burgundy. The result is well-balanced cherry and berry aromatics, combined with some savory notes. Enjoy it with a lighter meal like grilled fish or vegetables.
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