Dard & Ribo Crozes-Hermitage and Vinujancu Etna Bianco
I couldn’t make up which of these terrific wines to recommend from yesterday’s London Wine Sessions so I’m going for both.
I was familiar with Dard & Ribo but this is a particularly delicious vintage, so alive and vibrant with incredibly fresh-tasting mulberry fruit. Or “a wine with edges’ as Jamie nicely described it. You can buy it from Les Caves de Pyrène for £22.02 or for £24.22 a single bottle from Wine Bear (£21.38 if you buy a case of six).
And the 2011 I Vigneri Etna Bianco was extraordinary - sumptuously rich and peachy, with a luscious lick of honeysuckle and a surprisingly fresh finish for a wine that’s made in such a hot climate.
According to the Caves de Pyrène list it’s made from grapes that are grown in a vineyard 1200m above sea level and is a really unusual blend of Carricante, Rhine Riesling, Grecanico and Minnella.
"The winemaker [Salvo Foti] doesn't use any chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides. The grapes are harvested by hand from the end of September until mid October. Fermentations are done in open vats, without the use of yeast inoculation, enzymes or thermal control and racking and bottling are done by the lunar cycle. The wines are bottled with little or no filtration."
We enjoyed the bottle I brought back with a warm roast chicken with herbs tonight but apparently it’s a good match for artichokes according to a blog called The Italian Wine Geek - one of the few wines that are.
As a caveat I’d say you'd be likely to enjoy the Dard & Ribo even if you've never tasted natural wine before but you might find the Etna Bianco challenging. I’d strongly recommend it though if you’re adventurously minded. It’s not remotely weird or cidery, just different - and in my view gloriously different - from conventionally made wines.
You can buy it from Les Caves for £23.02 a bottle.
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