Cortese "Bianchino", Valli Unite 2020 (Piedmont, Italy) $17 Staying in northern Italy, but moving to southeastern Piedmont. This is 100% Cortese from our favorite hippy commune, Valli Unite, which is a group of about 30 farmers raising livestock, growing grapes, grains and vegetables all completely naturally. On the lighter side of medium bodied with hazy green apple and citrus.
Terra Alta Blanc, La Furtiva 2020 (Catalonia, Spain) $20 Off to Catalonia, specifically Terra Alta, not far from the Mediterranean coast, south of Barcelona. This is 75% Garnaxta Blanca, 15% Macabeu and 10% Parellada from uncertified biodynamic vines, whole cluster pressed and aged in a mix of concrete tanks and chestnut barrels for 10 months, then bottled unfiltered with no sulfur added. Wild and expressive with spicy yellow fruit, wild flowers and nice weight and texture with a mouthwatering mineral finish.
K Pi Blanco, Daniel Ramos 2020 (Gredos, Spain) $19 We love Daniel Ramos. He makes natural wine way up in the mountains just west of Madrid. This is 100% Jaen Blanco left on the skins in concrete for a few months before getting bottled unfiltered with low or no sulfur added. Orange wine, but light and fresh with stone fruit and crushed rocks.
Gaillac Perle Nature, Domaine Philemon 2020 (Southwest, France) $17 Southwestern France's answer to Vinho Verde. This is 100% Loin de L'Oeil from organic vineyards just north of Toulouse bottled with a little residual CO2 (most producers add extra, but Philemon keeps it natural) and just a drop of sulfur at bottling. Bright and fresh, but at the same time ripe and round with crushed pears and juicy citrus.
Gaillac Duras "Croix de la Buscarie", Domaine Philemon 2019 (Southwest, France) $17 Sticking with our friend Mathieu Vieules, just north of Toulouse, this is 100% Duras from a plot planted by Mathieu's dad in 1990 and one he planted in 2003. Full bodied and perfectly rustic and charming with spicy purple fruit and brambly wild herbs. You should be eating sausages sans silverware while drinking this.
Touraine Rouge "Les Linottes", Domaine des Roy 2018 (Loire, France) $18 A few hours north of Gaillac, in Touraine along the Cher river, Anne Cecile Roy has been running her family's winery since 2005 and continuing the tradition of no chemicals in the vineyard, native yeast and low sulfur. This is a classic Cheverny blend, but just outside of the area. 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Gamay made all in tank. Silky red fruit with a lipsmacking finish. Nice with a chill, but can go either way.
Touraine Cot, Domaine des Roy 2018 (Loire, France) $18 Staying with the Roy family, this is 100% Cot (aka Malbec) hand harvested from biodynamic vineyards and wild fermented and aged all in tank. Medium bodied, but light on its feet and looks darker than it drinks with lifted juicy purple fruit and river stones. Definitely on a different planet than South American Malbec and even the southern French version.
Ribera del Duero Joven, Bodegas y Vinedos Valderiz 2020 (Ribera del Duero, Spain) $14 Back to Spain, this time a little further west of Madrid near the Duero river where Tinta del Pais (aka Tempranillo) is king. Valderiz was an early pioneer in biodynamic farming here and this is their baby made all in steel. Powerful dark red fruit with smoky leather and earth notes.
Bobal "Clos Lojen", Bodegas Ponce 2020 (Manchuela, Spain) $18 Our returning champion. This is 100% Bobal from a single biodynamic vineyard planted in 1965 in the hills of Manchuela, just west of Valencia. The grapes are pressed whole cluster and wild fermented in huge open topped barrels, then aged for 8 months in large old French oak barrels before getting bottled unfiltered with minimal sulfur. Medium bodied with dusty dark cherry fruit, earthy spice notes and velvety finish. Total crowd pleaser and a longtime shop favorite.
Douro "Curral Teles Alpha", Mateus Nicolau de Almeida 2017 (Portugal) $20 Douro, in northern Portugal, is where Mateus is following in the footsteps of his legendary father and grandfather making the traditional wines of the region. His Curral Teles wines are a nod to Roman and Cistercian winemaking methods with as little intervention as possible. This is a field blend of 15+ varietals all from a single old organic vineyard, hand harvested and foot crushed, then aged in concrete for 8 months before getting bottled unfiltered with minimal sulfur. Medium plus with rich red fruit, iron minerality and spice.
Giandon Rosso, Il Farneto 2020 (Emilia-Romagna, Italy) $16 Back to Emilia-Romagna, this time just south of Modena where Marco Bertoni has been farming naturally since the 90s. This is a blend of Marzemino, Malbo Gentile and Lambrusco grapes like Salamino and Maestri, all hand harvested, fermented with native yeast and made in steel and bottled with little to no sulfur. Medium bodied with wild red berries, mossy forest floor, and a lean, bright finish. Pizza wine of champions.
Primitivo "Calx", Filippo Cassiano 2020 (Puglia, Italy) $16 Finishing up down south in the the heel of the boot, this is 100% Primitivo from 20 year old organic vines planted on iron and limestone rich soil, hand harvested and made all in steel. Full bodied, but the not quite the bruiser that this grape is famous for producing, this is balanced and juicy with lush purple fruit and a clean, sunny finish.