Fancy Advent Wine Notes
It's a great day to be you, the lucky recipient of our Fancy Advent Box.
We’re so excited to take you on a journey through our favourite bottles of the year. Expect best in class wines & evocative flavours. Let's dive in!
Furlani ‘Sur Lie Rosato’ Pinot Nero & Chardonnay, Trentino Alto-Adige, Italy
For your gorgeous debut as a Fancy Advent Haver, we’re starting on a high note, way up in the Dolomite Mountains in northeastern Italy. From Cantina Furlani, one of our favourite biodynamic winemakers in the world, this is the ‘Sur Lie Rosato,’ a stunning Alpine sparking rosé that drinks like a sunrise on a crisp November morning. Fourth-generation winemaker Matteo Furlani lovingly farms tiny parcels of land with no chemicals and a focus on regional Italian grapes. His rustic, evocative wines always seem like they just naturally occur in the wild, sprung from the earth like the first bud break of the spring. But his sparkling wines are where he shines brightest, this cuvée being one of many to combine ancestral and modern winemaking methods. The grapes were hand-harvested and twice-fermented in steel tanks and in bottle with no disgorging, fining, filtration or added sulphites. Tart, dry and frothy with a reddish, golden hour haze – Sqirl brioche & jam toast, hibiscus kombucha, cherry chapstick & a cold blast of mountain air straight from the side of a Coors Light can. Light & lifted, this glows with an inner luminescence that is utterly magical, the stuff dreams are made of.
Joan d'Anguera 'Altaroses' Garnatxa, Catalonia, Spain
Ah, Day 2! Now that we’ve bathed in the refreshing waters of Lake Furlani, it’s time to get cozy & actually wear the fancy hotel bathrobes that we’re only a little bit tempted to steal. This light & spicy Garnatxa (with its fancy regional spelling!) comes to us from Catalonia in northeastern Spain. Forget the boozy, instinct bruisers that spring to mind when one thinks of some Spanish reds & embrace this gossamer & ethereal beauty with an open heart & mind! Sourced from younger vines farmed biodynamically, this wine was whole cluster fermented in neutral old oak barrels and bottled unfined and unfiltered with just a tiny bit of sulphur for stability. We’re obsessed with this not only because it’s shockingly clean & precise, but you get all of the satisfaction of a warm, spicy red in a featherweight package – raspberry preserves, tart blueberry, Turkish delight, blood orange San Pellegrino, potpurri & savoury baking spices in the anise, nutmeg & cinnamon camp. Perfect for pairing & ready to party, this confident & soaring red is destined for the dinner table — think spiced carrots, toasted pine nuts & za’atar-encrusted anything. Just the thing to knock the socks off your Rioja-obsessed banker bro.
Laurent Saillard ‘Lucky You!’ Sauvignon Blanc & Chardonnay, Loire Valley, France
Welcome to Day 3 of your Fancy Advent journey! For your next surprise, we bring you one of our all-time favourite wines EVER, courtesy of Grape Witch Imports. Every time we’re asked what this tastes like we just blurt out “Delicious!” because words simply fail us when describing this lustrous Loire Valley white blend — it’s Lucky You!
When we first encountered the wines of Laurent Saillard at La Dive (a fancy French wine fair we attended in the Before Times!), we begged and wrote love letters and probably sent a bouquet of flowers or three just for an allocation of these widely coveted wines. Made from a blend of old vine Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, this textured & oh-so-fresh wine is a liquid “So true, bestie!” and is such a wine bar wine, something you'd drink in an impossibly chic wine bar in any major international city. Grapes were whole cluster fermented in stainless steel tanks, then bottled unfined & unfiltered with next-to-no sulphites. Sauvignon Blanc brings concentration and freshness while Chardonnay delivers on texture and body, Vivre Sa Vie meets Thelma and Louise. Flirty fun flavours all the way downtown: Meyer lemon, Allen’s apple juice from the can, acacia honey, almond skin, lime leaf, crunchy pear, wet rocks & gauzy, golden silk. If you have a pantsuit, now’s the time to use it.
Tiberio ‘Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo’ Montepulciano, Abruzzo, Italy
It's Day 4 of your incredibly Fancy Advent and here, we salute Cristina Tiberio, another one of our favourite winemakers making dry, elegant & affecting wines in the Abruzzo region of northern Italy. A trained chemist who trained in Champagne, Chablis and the Mosel before taking the helm of her family’s winery, her wines are odes to the regional Italian grapes that have defined (and until recently, were neglected in) the region for centuries.
From dark-skinned Montepulciano grapes, this juicy & balanced deep and savoury rosé is antithetical to the heavy, dark-fruited reds that have been Italy’s calling card for ages. Unusually, Cerasuolos are vinified with reduced skin contact, creating a glossy, white wine-esque texture in the body of a structured red with gentle, easygoing tannins. Cerasuolo also means ‘cherry’ in Italian, a nod to the fruit-forward juiciness of it all! Light red or dark rosé, you choose – either way, this Cerasuolo is dry, perfectly agreeable and more than willing to make small talk with everyone at the dinner table. Expect lip-smacking strawberry, raspberry and orange peel with a slate-like rockiness and bright acidity. Light enough to enjoy on its own but structured and concentrated enough to pair with rich proteins, truly the best of both worlds.
Guy Breton ‘Cuvée Marylou’ Gamay, Beaujolais, France
It’s the 5th day of Advent and we’re in the thick of our Fancy journey! For this, we head to Beaujolais for a lovable Gamay from one of the OG winemakers of the region – ooh la la, it’s Cuvée Marylou!
Cuvée Marylou is mad lovable, so fact-check your heart out: the details add up. Iconic Beaujolais producer Guy Breton is well-known for being a member of of the famed ‘Gang of Four’ (alongside Jean Foillard, Jean-Paul Thevenet & Marcel Lapierre) credited with single-handedly (well, quadruple-handedly) catalyzing the natural wine movement in the early 1980s. Of the four, Breton’s wines tend to be the most spirited, fruit-driven & agile; Breton himself has marvellously proclaimed “I don’t like tannins” which, let’s face it, is very punk rock. Like noshing on a bag of licorice Nibs while sipping cherry Coke at a movie theater (but the movie is French and artsy and hard), homemade cherry pie & washing dirt off of fresh-picked raspberries in an Evian stream. Share this thoght-provoking bottle with your core crew of dinner party veterans & watch an innocuous December evening turn into a roaring good time that will probably get you a well-earned noise complaint.
Koppitsch ‘Aeon’ Welschriesling & Gruner Veltliner, Burgenland, Austria
You’ve nearly reached the half-way point of your Fancy Advent journey! To recognize this fateful moment, we bring you this momentous skin-contact blend that shoots for the moon and lands squarely amongst the stars. This, my beloved wine enthusiast, is Aeon.
Husband and wife duo Alexander and Maria Koppitsch make fashionable & freaky wines that are beloved by the natural wine set in Burgenland, Austria. To make this wild-yet-sophisticated orange wine, Gruner Veltliner & Weissburgunder grapes were picked on the night of the full moon to catch some of that luscious, witchy energy. And guess what? The moon is all over this dreamy & ethereal wine, a prophecy come true! Each grape is vinified separately — half of each undergoes two weeks of skin contact – then blended together shortly before bottling without fining, filtration or added sulphur. Drinks like Orangina straight from the bottle, apricot nectar, a G&T with a big grapefruit wedge, yogurt with a pinch of salt & a sandy minerality that’ll make sense as soon as you put this to your lips. Drink alongside your next tarot reading to harness some of that lunar magic into figuring your life out.
Forlorn Hope ‘Zinny Man Vol. VII’ Zinfandel, Calaveras County. USA
On this 7th day of Advent, we invite you to reconsider a grape whose reputation was sullied by a swath of over-extracted, over-oaked & boozy bruisers in the 1980s. This is Zinny Man Vol. VII, a wine created by Forlorn Hope winemaker Matthew Rorick to rehabilitate the image of this much-aligned grape! Forget everything you thought you knew about Zinfandel, because when it’s done right, it’s crazy delicious.
This 7th iteration of the Zinny Man series is sourced from the soaring Rorick Heritage Vineyard (at 2000m above sea level!) and is fermented with natural yeasts in neutral barriques where it rested for 19 months before being bottled without fining or filtration. Reminiscent of a baby Syrah without the snarl, this is straight-up rugged & cool — notes of cherry, cassis, pine resin & clove with a pointy sharp acidity and juicy Kool-Aid freshness. Structured and spicy, this wine breezes into dinner on a cold day with all the self-assuredness of someone who knows what they got & how to use it. It can even handle a slight chill in nature’s wine fridge, right outside your door! Zinny Man is totally chill, man – don’t think about it too hard & embrace the warm, cozy vibes.
Werlitsch, ‘Ex Vero II’ 2017 Morillon & Chardonnay, Styria, Austria
Coming in hot on Day 8 of Fancy Advent, a real treasure from Weingut Werlitsch, deep in the heart of Austria’s verdant and picturesque green heart, Styria. This is the incredibly fancy Ex Vero II ’17, a mind-bending and soul-stirring blend of Morillon (a local variety of Chardonnay) and Sauvignon Blanc.
‘Ex Vero’ means out of the truth in Latin, a phrasing that characterizes Ewald and Brigitte Tscheppe’s holistic approach to winemaking. In this case, you should definitely judge a book by its cover because the iconic & honestly tattoo-worthy image of a rooted tree growing out of Planet Earth points towards the Tscheppe’s distinct style. Driven by the motto ‘Nature always does it better,’their vineyards share a home with fruit trees, wild herbs, vegetables and untamed forest, an incredible example of integrative winemaking & an otherwise wildly romantic ideal of a perfectly harmonious relationship with nature. Ex Vero II hails from the mid-point of the single slope they biodynamically farm, spontaneously fermented in old French, Croatian and Hungarian oak for 2 years with an extended aging on the lees. Full & robust, this is simply stunning — salt taffy, burnt caramel and struck flint on the nose, descending into green notes of fennel and green apple with yellow pair, green apple, lemonade citrus, wildflower aromatics, a crunchy, stony minerality & a puff of smoked hay. We like to imagine Marie Antoinette drinking this in her ‘faux peasant’ best, hanging out at the Petit Trianon to kiss boys in the stables, a seriously aristocratic romp in the hay! This wine is made to be contemplated, a perfect time to reflect on your Aeon-fuelled tarot revelations from the other night.
Proprietà Sperino ‘Uvaggio’ Nebbiolo, Vespolina & Croatina, Piedmont, Italy
After the romp in the hay that was Aeon, we feel the need to overdress (not that we believe in the concept!) on Day 9 by going the black tie route with this dark & sensual Nebbiolo blend from a rarely-seen region in northeast Italy. From Lessona, a small winegrowing region at the foothills of the Alps, this wine is like pulling on a bespoke velvet smoking jacket, sensual and romantic with something hidden in the breast pocket. The unique sandy, yellow soils of the area (doesn’t not look like polenta!!) impart a robust perfumed quality reminiscent of Burgundy, while the persistent tannins are classically Nebbiolo. Here, the grapes were hand-harvested and fermented with natural yeasts then aged in a barriques and casks for 22 months. On the nose, it’s dark & heady, creamy dark cherry and black plums with clove, white pepper and a whiff of someone’s rolled cigarette. Hyper-concentrated & pigmented strawberry fruit, a trail of dried rose petals leading to the fantastically-scented dressing room of a long-ago opera star, leather & lace, aniseed pastille— as pretty as it is powerful & has us wrapped around its little finger.
Scout ‘Pinot Gris’ Pinot Gris, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia
Arriving at the 11th hour for Advent, we just couldn’t resist including this ultra-special cuvée making this 10th Fancy Advent reveal a SOFT LAUNCH (shh!) for the prettiest darn orange wine you ever did see. Friends, family, from the Similkameen Valley in British Columbia, this is Scout’s skin-contact Pinot Gris.
Started by four friends working in the wine industry, Scout is a dream realized of making low-intervention wines with an eye towards sustainability and regenerative agriculture. Think of this as a full sprint through untouched forest, an absolutely thrilling convocation of nature’s finest flavours, bottled by centaurs or something. Drinking this is almost liberatory, one of those wines that make us want to drop everything and move out to the woods. Fermented with natural yeasts and bottled without sulphur, this Pinot Gris flits across the tongue with texture and vibrancy – the ripest golden plums, orange blossom, red fruit punch, quince jam, pink grapefruit & a whiff of savoury green herbs. A real treasure if we've ever seen one, this wine has a strong case of Main Character Syndrome (we relate!) in the best way possible, a wine so minimal that it circles back to maximal.
Thymiopoulos ‘Earth & Sky’ Xinomavro, Naoussa, Greece
Finally, the penultimate wine of your Fancy Advent! After all these years, a wine that you and your Rioja-obsessed brother-in-law can agree on, something to satisfy Cool Wine Kids (that’s us! and you, probably) and Full-Bodied Red Lovers who like one thing and one thing only (hint: it’s full-bodied red wine). Lovers and other strangers, meet Earth & Sky from Apostolos Thymiopoulos in the village of Naoussa in Greece.
A luxurious & age-worthy expression of Greek red grape Xinomavro, this was grown on old biodynamically-farmed vineyards then partially aged in old oak for maximum body & soothing spicy notes of wood & smoke. Powerful notes of truffle, oregano, forest floor & black olive are balanced by wild red fruit flavours, velvety tannins & an infinite finish. This drinks like a soliloquy to all of the corny elements of the holiday season we cherish but haven't personally experienced: fruitcake (surely can’t be that bad!), popcorn tinsel (crafty and delicious!) and party crackers, which are only a bit ridiculous. Enjoy with a full fummy & an open heart in front of a roaring fireplace wearing the hottest ugly sweatpants of the season.
Bernard Gaucher ‘Carte d’Or' Chardonnay & Pinot Noir, Champagne, France
You must be thinking “They led with Champagne, where’s the Champagne?” Well, here it is, baby! For your final wine of your incredibly Fancy Advent, nothing else will do. And in this case, a lack of imagination arrives as the most welcome gesture. From Bernard Gaucher, this is the Carte d’Or.
This blend of Chardonnay & Pinot Noir brings us big “best of both worlds” energy. Chardonnay’s linear, athletic edge & lightning bolt acidity meets Pinot Noir’s spicy, sumptuous texture & linzer cookie sapor. This wine is the pot of gold at the end of the advent journey rainbow, the light at the end of the tunnel of your seemingly endless “Holiday Obligations” To-Do list. This is a wine that gives you permission to kick back, close your eyes, & simply escape. Flint & cream, shiny red apple, flaky pastry, like walking past a bakery that smells so good it stops you in your tracks and you just kind of stand there in croissant-crazed daze. Even if iCals & Google Hangs & shopping lists & credit card statements won’t stop life-ing it up & maybe you just can’t impulsively run away to Paris at this very moment, take a minute to let this staggeringly chic Champers be your dreamiest fantasy in one perfect glass.
And just like that, we’ve come to the end! We hope this journey through the grapes, regions and winemakers that inspire us everyday has been as enjoyable for you as it was for us to put together. If you’d like more information on any of the wines in Advent, drop us a line at email@example.com and point you in the right direction.
Finally, thank you for being a part of Advent this year! From all of us at Grape Witches – we wish you & your loved ones a wonderful holiday season and we can’t wait to see you in the New Year.