As has become traditional, the first event back into the autumn / winter tasting season at DNS Wineclub follows a holiday theme, or more precisely wines that we have been drinking over our summer holidays – hopefully where the wine is actually produced!
Here are three that stood out at our most recent event:
Batistic-Zure Grk “Bartul” Zure 2017 (13.0%, ~ €19)
Grk is a grape that’s hard to pronounce but even harder to grow. It’s home is in the sandy soils of Lumbarda on the Dalmatian island of Korčula but is rarely happy elsewhere. The even trickier part is that Grk is not self-pollinating, i.e. there are no fertile male flowers to pollinate its female flowers (a condition which apparently affects only 1% of all wine grapes). The work-around is to co-plant 10% – 20% of local cross Plavac Mali (Crljenak Kaštelanski x Dobričić if you must know!)
The aromas of this Grk are very much reflective of its island home with a lovely saline quality over citrus. There’s citrus on the palate too, and a curious waxy quality that is rather appealing and reminds me of the Suertes del Marques Trenzado. Try with smoked salmon, lemon and capers.
Fattoria Mondo Antico Croatina Agenore 2015 (14.0%, the 2009 is available in the UK from Drink Italy)
Fattoria Mondo Antico has 26 Ha in Oltrepò Pavese near Pavia in Lombardy, though only 4 Ha are planted with grapes, making production volumes very small indeed. Viticulture and vinification are biodynamic and low intervention, with only a small squirt of sulphur at bottling. The Agenore is 100% Croatina, a local grape which is said to have similarities to Dolcetto, and is also found in parts of Emilia Romagna, the Veneto and Piedmont.
Even for an Italian red, this has deep colour, lots of tannin and high acidity, but all as the backbone against plentiful red and black fruits. There’s a slightly wild, sous-bois element to it, which fits with the low intervention winemaking, but doesn’t dominate. It’s an exciting wine – and the world needs more of those!
Domaine Pieretti Vin de Corse – Coteaux du Cap Corse 2017 (16.0%, €26.90 the Muscat du Cap-Corse is also available at Yapp Wines)
Cap Corse is the northern-most part of Corsica, a narrow peninsula sticking out towards France above the city of Bastia. The south west of the cape has the AOC Patrimonio (mainly reds) and the north east tip has Vin de Corse-Coteaux du Cap Corse where sweet wines are made from Muscat or local black grape Aleatico. Covering the whole of the peninsula is Muscat du Cap-Corse, a Vin Doux Naturel (VDN) made entirely from Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains.
As with other VDNs, very ripe grapes are late harvested, crushed and fermented at low temperatures. Fermentation is then stopped by the process of mutage as a precise volume of high alcohol grape spirit is added to the wine to kill off the yeast. The locals take it as an aperitif when well-chilled and with desserts if allowed to warm a touch (which brings out the stone fruit and the sweetness).
This is hands-down the best Muscat VDN I’ve ever tried, and was the overall favourite wine of the night by a country mile!
Thanks to all the DNS members who brought their holiday wines!