giovedì 22 maggio 2014

Raw wine fair London

Last weekend I spent a few days in london for the Raw fair an artisan wine fair. There were more than 150 stands with wines from all over the world. The location was the Old Truman Brewery in Brick lane; very central and an awesome spot.
I did taste lots of wines and there are always great producers present there, the vibe at the fair was subliminal, friendly atmosphere with two very sunny days.
The organization was very efficient, between the stand there was enough room to chat with the growers  or the person/sommelier in charge.
However I'll tell in this post the wine I hadn't drunk before and thanks to the Raw I discover:
 From one appellation  I really like lately, always I spoke about in this blog is the Mount Etna in Sicily. In the fair I find this amazing artisan called Etnella. They are located in the north west part of the Volcano between the town of Presa, Linguaglossa and Passopiciaro at the altitude  of 600 to 1000 meter above sea level. 13 hectare in total which 4 are dedicated to vines and the rest are olive trees and orchards to respect the biodiversity of the living soil. 5000 bottles produced with the indigenous varieties as Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccino only trained in bush vines and quite old some even prefilloxera especially for their reserve called "Notti Stellate". Etna is known for the diurnal temperature range which make this wine a full body with great refreshing acid structure.
Notti stellati was ruby red with a bouquet of black pepper, cinnamon cassis and cherry under spirit very elegant on the palate.
The Rose (the photo at the top) was my preferred wine, sour cherry and plum with pinotesque color, savor dry with great minerality. An every day wine medium body very interesting.
Catherine and Gilles Verge in the Maconnais I always heard about this producer but this was my first time to try it, sorry to come so late I do apologies I missed something very important.
At the stand were showing 4 cuvee from different vintage from 06 to 09. They farming only 3 ha of vines between 54 and 126 years old and they do not add sulphites at all and they don't age their wines in wood instead spend 4 years in steel vats.
Their wines are pure expression of Chardonnay quite chalky and limestone minerality, electric and tight with some cheese and honey character along orchard fruit and incredible saltiness. The Virè Clessè was my favorite, which is in an AOC village in the Macon with great terroir driving.
Oregon in Willamette Valley I found this producer producing only Pinot Noir with low level of sulphite only 25 mg/l and using only old burgundy barrel. The cuvee present was Crowly Station from 2012 in a single spot or climate called Eola Amity Hills.
Some blue berries unripe and fresh clean strawberry with a hint of mushroom and forest floor character. Medium plus acid and great length. Good finish and awesome drinkability.
Russian River Valley in Sonoma County California. A guy called Derek make some very interesting wine with an Italian heritage and a degree in Enology in California, he found with this project his approach on natural wine farming after woking in a brewery. The name of the winery is very funny:
 Old World Winery: 
I then tried an orange pinot gris with some skin contact quite masculine style of this delicate grapes, great orange color phenolic component and amazing structure in the palate from 2010; lovely the third character candy orange zest, baked grapefruit with hints of iron with a metallic pleasant aftertaste.
One of their red called 1890 Block from 2011 is an unusual blend from Muscadelle, Abouriou, Zinfandel, Monduese noir, Trusseau Gris and Chasselas from vines planted in the 1890 by his italian family Martinelly.
Bright ruby color with sour red fruit, palate juice and full of energy, I loved this wine.
Behind Testalonga in Swartland in South Africa there is a vigneron called Craig Hawkins, a young winemaker who has worked in Portugal and Austria and makes 3 different type of wines in maceration with skin grapes with the Chenin Blanc and Muscatel also is the winemaker at Lammershoek another organic winery in the Swartland region.
He believes in the lees and skin to protect the wine during fermentation and enriches the final product.
On granitic soil the wines are pure expression of the new world chenin blanc with fine tannins which give an extra dimension to the wine.
Craig is the new guy of the orange wine something to be watched.
The Nouvelle Vague of Savennieres Damien Lareau, he practices byodinamic farming and he has been certified Ecocert since 2009.
The schist and slate soil of the region give brightness and charm to his wine with good balance between acidity and complexity. Talking with Damien he told me he try not tot push the harvest as sometime normal vigneron in the region do, he loves to have in his wine the perfect freshness of the Chenin Blanc with the fine and complex minerality only this small A.O.C. in the Loire valley. He's got vineyards between the two towns of Bouchemaine and Possonniere; also he's got some small parcels in Roche aux Moines. 
Les Genets was the cuvee I did really like, it's one of the more highest lieu-dit of the entire region around 85 meter above sea level on volcanic and schist soil only wild yeast on the fermentation. 18 months on lees in some new barrels and old; exotic fruit and honey, opulent and very mineral. Energetic and Superb.
Florian Looze and Cyril Alonso are the two guys behind the project Maison P.U.R. They are working their vineyards with the idea to respect the terroir with the absence of herbicide, pesticide, insecticide and any product of synthesis. They summarize their job with the description "Natural wines without inputs".
They make 4 wines in Beaujolais and the Rhone Valley, all 4 were present at the Raw fair. However for me the Cote du Py and the Regniè were wonderful.
Semi carbonic maceration, long fermentation up to 15 days to extract poliphenol and nutrients, the aging has been done in Concrete vats.
The Morgon "Cote du Py was full of cherry with peppery character quite rich, smooth with great balance.
The Regnie more feminine with nose of violet and white pepper, with a thin and nervous mouth.
Weingut Georgium in the most south region of Austria "Carinthia" near the border of Italy and Slovenian this winery working only with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
At the fair were present 3 wines two pinot noir and one chardonnay however one red was pinot vinified in white.
Very chalky and limestone soil in this region which give the wines finesse and elegance. Normally it is quite hard to find a good pinot in the old world always with the Burgundy in comparison; but these wines were a great discover for me.
Finesse and balance, electric and tight, mineral and freshness.
Poully Fume by Alexander Bain the man plough the vineyards with horse and to protect the vines sprays  tea, seaweed and others homoeopathy treatment. On silex soil with a shellfish bed the wines are super salty and very precise. A bit reductive, needs time to open, but after your patience the bottle pay you back with an infinity long lasting full of energy in the palate.
Only stainless steel and very low sulphur at the bottling.
After Dagenau, Bain is one of the man on Poully Fume.
 On monday I attended the master class about orange wine, was a great discussion between the producer and Isabelle Legeron MW which is the mind behind the fair.
The producer involved in the tasting and discussion were:
Sasa Rdikon of Radikon
Ernesto Cattel of Costadilà
Sepp Muster of Weingunt Maria & Sepp Muster
Stephane Bannwarth of Laurent Bannwarth
Craig Hawkins of Lammershock and Testalonga.
I did really like the discussion and the wines that were chosen to do that master class.
I guess now orange wines are very fashion around the planet through wine bar and restaurant, so there are very different points of view about these white wines made in red style, so with tannin and structure.
Just try it and have fun that is my conclusion. 































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