Plain Wine Volume 5: The No Sulfur Edition

This month’s box features one wine, which is close to my heart and I personally brought back from my Veneto tour last year. The other one is by a star winemaker from the Czech Republic which I should have imported myself considering all the fun I had importing it. The last one is made with grapes 40km away from the winery in France, hence the name. All wines are made without any added sulfur and I guess they are all prime examples of extremely well made natural wines.

Illustration by Anna Vu, @goodwinecrapdrawing

Domaine Lise et Bertrand Jousset
2016 Éxilé Rosé Petillant

Gamay
Loire, France

Lise and Bertrand weren’t planning to start a winery so quickly when a friend told them about a fantastic estate with 9 hectares in the Loire valley which was up for grabs. Just like this, they started making wine in 2004. They very soon farmed everything organic, and fortunately, after some initial struggles it all worked out very well, and they are now even running a wine bar right on the winery grounds.

The Exilé line is made with grapes from nearby domains, which they buy. Initially, they started this line because their harvest wasn’t good enough due to weather conditions. This is still a problem in the Loire region, but now they release this line every year. The wine is a very fresh sparkling Pet Nat made with 40-years old Gamay. It’s almost Champagny clean and bright, but with enough sweet strawberry flavor to make it different. It should be good with cheese or just a simple salad.


La Biancara di Angiolino Maule
2017 Sassaia

Garganega
Veneto, Italy

Who would have thought that a pretty famous pizzaiolo would make such perfect and precise wine. At some point, Angiolino was done with making pizza and decided to make wine. He bought a couple of plots from his savings and started to make the wine he wanted to drink. He’s working biodynamically in the Gambellara region next to Soave, which you might know as pretty bad supermarket wine. Both areas focus on the Garganega grape, but together with his two sons, Mr. Maule is making pretty amazing mineral-driven wine.

Previously Sassaia was made with a little bit Trebbiano, but recently they made it with only Garganega. They grow on vineyards close to the winery in like 100 meters above sea level. The wine is made with 2 days of skin contact, and then it is left for eight months in stainless steel tanks. It’s full of herbal fruit notes like pear and quince. If you look closely, you can taste some reasonable amount of minerals from the volcanic soil and a very satisfying savory finish. With its good acidity, it’s a very versatile food wine. Mister Maule recommends it with cheese pizza or seafood carbonara. Yum!


Milan Nestarec
2016 Forks and Knives Red

Pinot Noir
Moravia, Czech Republic

If there is somebody who is pretty much a star in the natural wine world, it is Milan Nestarec, and honestly, I’m his biggest fanboy. He makes some of the most outstanding orange wines in the world and uses almost no sulfur in any of his wines. His father bought eight hectares in 2001 and handed the land to Milan after he finished his winemaking studies. All his vines are farmed organically, as he believes you need the best grapes to make the best wine.

His Pinot Noir is fermented for ten days in steel tanks and is aged with one half in oak barrels and the other half in steel tanks. This produces a relatively light and extremely drinkable red wine. You could smell smoky berries and some earth. Tastewise it continues with those berries, some proper minerality, and nice acidity. As Milan said, have this wine with food like something oven-roasted or drink it slightly chilled as an aperitif.


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