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Another week trying delicious wines; always all about discovery. First, we start with two ecologically conscious producers from France with very different styles. Then we meet some minimum interventionists from Victoria. We finish with a dreamy Italian…

Champagne Henri Giraud ‘Esprit Nature’ Brut NV

Located in Ay, the estate excels in its Pinot Noir work; which is usually defined by a bigger and more vinous style (oak fermentation used frequently). The wine is composed of a classic blend of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay.

“This brilliant wine holds the banner of Champagne Henri Giraud’s commitment to the protection of nature and human health opting for outcome obligation rather than mean obligation. Esprit Nature also gives the estate’s view of natural wine. Its emblem; the paper oak relates the fragility of life but also the capacity for humans to rebuild it.
Sparkled with beautiful mineral bitters, it goes inside the great wines of champagne, while its unrivaled fruit invites to shared delights.” (Champagne Henri Giraud, 2020)  

Despite what its name could suggest, the ‘Esprit Nature’ is a brut Non- Vintage, meaning between 6 and 12gr of sugar in the dosage. The wine is yet dry, mineral, sharp on the attack, deploys an array of generous fresh fruits and complex notes, followed by an incredibly rich, silky finish.

Champagne’s sales are declining drastically around the world; let’s invert that trend!

La Grange de l’Oncle Charles ‘Parcours’ Assemblage Blanc

If you are after a conventional and safe white wine we recommend you put this bottle back on its shelf. If you want to head to Funkytown; you may just have found the one.

In his native Alsace; Jerome Francois was a carpenter before getting the wine call and becoming a sommelier. One day, he inherited a few rows of vines from his grandfather; changing his life. He moved onsite to Ostheim, and settled in his uncle’s barn (called grange in french) named Charles. Hence the obvious name choice for his winery: La Grange de l’Oncle Charles aka Charle’s Barn.

The winery is relatively new, 2014, however, it has made some noise in the alternative wine industry; with absolute dedication to environmentally friendly processes from the vines to the bottles. Everything is farmed biodynamically with the utmost respect for ancestral traditions.

Horses used regularly in the vineyard – Fastoche and Sirus. No tractors

Today, Jerome farms 5.5ha of vineyards located in the towns of Ammerschwihr, Zellenberg, Kaysersberg and Ribeauville where grapes are planted in co-plantations and produce on average 25hl/ha. Like many minimal interventionists, Jerome believes his wines are a pure expression of their unique terroir making his work in the winery minimal.

So what is this wine you may ask? A raving skinsie blend of Pinot Gris, Auxerois, Muscat, and Gewürztraminer, that will pair beautifully some pungent cheese in the likes of local legend: Munster (Minschterkaas as they would call it).

Nomads Garden Pinot Meunier

Made by very talented and ultra humble winemaker(s) from the North East Victoria; this experimental label is all about handmade and showcasing the beautiful and diverse vineyards around the Alpine mountains. King Valley, Alpine Valleys, Beechworth, Rutherglen & Glenrowan; you name it! The team highlights single vineyards through their range and prefers a more minimal intervention to their wines.

This Pinot Meunier is handpicked from a single vineyard, in King Valley. Hand-picked grapes are naturally fermented in barrels with no addition of yeasts. After a slight carbonic maceration, it is gently basket pressed, barrel-aged for 12 months in seasoned French oak, with no additions of acids or else at any time. The wine will be bottled unfined but with a gentle filtration. Low intervention but no funkiness; this range is about drinking pure, pristine expression of varietals showcasing their respective unique growing conditions. Juicy ripe dark cherries and strawberries intertwined with hints of baking spices (cloves), sandalwood, carried on the palate and finish. Clever wine you’ll want more of.

Nada Giuseppe Langhe Nebbiolo 2018

Nebbiolo. You magnificent beauty, you magnificent beast…

Dare to smell the enticing crushed sour cherries, dried rose petals, wild dried herbs, earthiness and tar perfume. Then succumb to a palate of tart red berries, roses, licorice, spices, with a gentle prickle of acids and a tight grip of tannins in a leather cover. Enjoy this wine until its last drop like you would enjoy a rose until its last petal. So elegant, so poise, we are in awe at the drinkability of such a young wine.

Situated in one of the four villages of Barbaresco in a place called Treiso, the Nada family has 9 hectares, including in the well-known cru vineyards Casot and Marcarini. Making wines since the 60ies, the family uses both traditional practices as well as keeping up with modern winemaking trends.

Hope you enjoyed this week’s excentric line-up. If you wish to purchase any of these, pop by the store or email glenn@decanters.com.au, perhaps to be devoured with some deliciousness from Providoor?!

Wine regards,

VKL