The wine market is slowly moving towards more sustainable practices and finally getting over the idea that natural wine needs to smell and taste like a farmyard. Here are our picks to keep your whistles wet for the months to come.
As you prepare to stock up your cellar for the year ahead, we’ve set out like sleuths to track down the best bottles and the top cellars. Below is a small bucket list that will whisk you from the fruits of ancient Burgundy’s storied terroir to modern Tuscan takes on the art of viticulture. We’ve also thought through the occasions on which you might consider serving them and suggested 12 wines, from reds to whites, bubbles and some surprises too.
Pernand-Vergelesses 2019, Premier Cru
Domaine Chandon de Briailles
Burgundy is à la mode, de rigueur and drinking well. Prices and demand are rising steeply but, as a result of climate change, those time-tested aromatics are subtly shifting too. This biodynamic estate is a jewel and its wines are hearty expressions of this ancient soil.
Bourgogne Aligoté Sans Soufre 2020
Clos du Moulin aux Moines
The vineyards of Auxey-Duresses were planted by monks more than 1,000 years ago and there is still something divine about the place today. This charming Aligoté was biodynamically vinified without extra sulphur, an additive sometimes used in small quantities to prevent oxidation and spoilage. It makes for a refreshing white with a creamy undertone and notes of white peach, honey and lime.
Rosé À Table 2021
Fabien Jouve, Mas del Périe
A biodynamic malbec rosé from the Sud-Ouest: what more could you want? It has a slightly harsh aromatic paired with sweet, fruity notes that offer a kick. The upshot is an electrifying wine that is ideal for thirsty moments and warmer climes; a wild rosé that celebrates an artistic tradition of eschewing subtlety for impact. One to be enjoyed, even on the rocks.
Wisselbrunnen Riesling 2020
Every palate – or occasion – can benefit from the refreshment that can only be achieved with a German riesling. Swiss-born Urban Kaufmann and German Eva Raps started making this white only a few years ago and have quickly gained a stellar reputation. A naturally made riesling. this is a celebration of the aromatic purity of this fruity and fair grape.
Old Tawny Porto 30 Years
Quinta do Vallado
A time machine in a bottle that makes the case for how good an aged port wine can be. The Quinta do Vallado vineyard is a gem worth visiting amid the stepped terraces of Portugal’s historic Douro valley. Now run by the sixth generation of the Ferreira family, this fortified wine has notes of candied almonds, honey, hazelnuts and figs.
Finca Valdeolmos 2017
Goyo Garcia Viadero, Ribera del Duero
Spain’s high-altitude wines are not to be sniffed at and this organic masterpiece comes courtesy of ancient vines in the Ribera del Duero. Goyo Garcia Viadero farms without adding chemicals and he is inspired by the philosophy and history of the hardy mountain wine-makers in the Jura region of France. This red isn’t polished in the conventional sense; instead it is a rather untamed, wild and wonderful experience.
From left to right
Weisser Schiefer S 2018
Austria is a great place for hugely impressive white wines such as this seemly blend of welschriesling and weissburgunder. The secret? That it is only produced in very good years and with the oldest vines here (at about 60 years of age). It is a funky number that is dry and rich in nuance. A sniff alone will paint a picture and tell a tale.
Kerner Horn 2020
Hauksson Weine, AOC Aargau
Icelandic-born wine-maker Hoss Hauksson fell in love with the vineyards in Aargau, Switzerland (can you blame him?) and makes this wine from the old grape variety kerner. It is fermented with the skins of the berries and is therefore classified as “orange wine” but it is a million miles from the cidery sludge to which the name is sometimes applied. Decant the wine 30 minutes in advance to give it some air and enjoy its complexity.
Toscana Rosso 2018
La Caccia di San Giovanni
The second vintage of an ambitious intercontinental project, this red is produced in partnership between this Tuscan treasure and Gagnon-Kennedy Vineyards in California’s Napa Valley. The result? A vibrant, powerful and yet elegant blend of cabernet sauvignon, sangiovese and petit verdot, as the New World meets the Old World.
No 3 Meunier Extra Brut
A wonderful new project from the family-owned Champagne house, this just-released bottle is for champagne aficionados seeking something sparkling and new in a field full of old names. It is a pure pinot meunier from historic soils that was aged for 64 months on the lees; an exuberant, effervescent surprise for celebrations.
Grand Cru Heida Visperterminen 2020
St Jodern Kellerei
From Europe’s highest vineyard in Visperterminen comes its highest achievement. The heida grapes come from the best plots and offer an aromatic expression of alpine viticulture. This white is stored for two to six years before it’s release. It is one for admirers of the subtleties and charms of lesser-known grape varieties.
Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2019
The first vintage of a new wine from this Swiss-owned Tuscan winery, this is a pure sangiovese red aged for 12 months in barrels. It is organic and powerful, yet still full of freshness, aromatic grit and silky tannins.