Join us for a deep dive into the wonderful world of organic wine. Every month our wine guru Honey Spencer puts together a new, tempting trio of themed organic tipples and provides in-depth tasting notes to help you separate your tannins from your bouquets.
A very happy new year to all members of the Abel and Cole wine club! We all made it to the turn of the decade, hopefully with a treasure trove of wonderful memories and recycling bin full of delicious bottles shared with the ones we love. To me, nothing signifies the new year more than the renewal of my annual adamant resolution to not not drink. Indeed, the time to eschew lovingly-made organic wine that is good for the earth, good for our bodies and puts a paycheque in the hand of the farmer who makes it his job to support all of the above is never, especially not in January when we need the antioxidants and endorphins a good drop bring more than ever. For the first wine club of 2020, instead of focusing on a single country or region, we take a trip around the world and select three of our favourite wines of the moment. From the toasty tips of Spain’s Jumilla region, down to the shores of Sicily and then a further leap to South Africa’s expansive plains, here are the wines that we are keeping our glasses filled to the brim with this chilly January.
Carta Roja Pura Monastrell, Organic, No Added Sulphur, 2018 (75cl)
A little further South than Valencia and Alicante sits the sub-department of Jumilla, tucked ever so slightly inward away from the nearby Mediterranean. The landscape in Jumilla is relatively arid, relieved only sporadically by the occasional shower that makes it West from the coastline. It is, in other words, vine heaven. Long, hot Summers and low disease pressure make organic agriculture here easier, and allows the old bush vines of Jumilla to be imbued with wonderfully-concentrated fruit that makes for wines full of detail and length. This 100% Monastrell is positively playful and dances with notes of juicy plums and damsons. Just remember to let it breathe for half an hour or so whilst reparing dinner.
Santa Tresa Insieme Nero d'Avola, Organic, No Added Sulphur, 2018 (75cl)
Another interesting no-added sulphur project here, this time from the well known Santa Tresa winery in Sicily’s southern Vittoria region. The name ‘Insieme’ (Italian for ‘together’) draws its origins from the guidance received by the infamous Stellar estate in South Africa in assisting Santa Tresa to make their first no-added sulphur wine in 2017. To make a wine without added sulphur, only the very best grapes from the Nero D’Avola variety must be picked and at perfect ripeness to ensure the right balance in the finished wine. This red, once fully open (again allow 30 minutes) is structured yet supple, brimming with notes of black cherry and an undeniably spicy sign-off.
Stellar Limited Release NSA White (75cl)
Finally, time for a white and this time from the aforementioned Stellar winery in South Africa. What Stellar have achieved in the world of organics in the last decade has been titanic. Proving that organic viticulture is possible on a large scale, inspiring and mentoring many producers around the world to follow in their footsteps. This vibrant white is made with the South-African staple, Colombard, a close cousin of Chenin Blanc and a key component in Cognac and Armagnac production in France. On the nose, aromas of wild flowers and honey blossoms abound, whilst a vibrant and snappy acidity drives forward on the palate. As this is another no-added sulphur wine, permit it to breathe before drinking and don’t be put off by the darker hues of the wine that come from the absence of sulphur’s bleaching effects.
Di Filippo Sangiovese 2018, Organic (75cl)
Sicilia Hoopoe Chardonnay 2017 (75cl)
From the sun-drenched Isles of Sicily comes this blend of Chardonnay and Sicilian native variety Grillo. The Hoopoe winery is named after the local Hoopoe bird that only grazes on the finest organic patches and shuns snacking in polluted areas. (A sign of virtue if ever there was one!) Those with a keen palate may notice a signature waxy mouthfeel that gives way to aromas of orange blossom and kumquat plus just a slight touch of acidity.
Villa Conversino Rosso 2018, Organic (75cl)
Allergen information: Abel & Cole handles celery, celeriac and nuts on site. Due to our packing process and re-use of boxes there is a risk of cross-contamination from these, and all other allergens.