Fancy - Classic Advent Wine Notes
Oh, hello there! Look at you, with your ostrich feather boa, and beaded, silk housecoat.
Looks like a bottle of wine (or 12) and a clawfoot tub are the only things needed to complete your look. How fortunate you now hold in your clutches, the 2022 Grape Witches Advent Calendar! Stocked with prized cuvées that tickle that fancy bone and are masters of keeping things clean & pristine! Now sit down & ramp up, we splurged on this one!
Bruno Dangin, ‘Cuvée Blanche’, Pinot Noir, Burgundy, France
Swan-dive into a different type of luxury. We love an underdog, overcoming. Originally, Bruno Dangin’s land was firmly in the esteemed and coveted Champagne appellation, but after a change in boundary lines following World War I, now sits just south of Aube, despite having the same limestone soils, climate and aspect. While some growers would be despondent, dropping quality after losing membership to the world’s most prestigious club, the Dangin family continued the same, exacting farming and careful winemaking. The result is the most delicious Cremant de Bourgogne we’ve had, full stop, which blows past many of its Champagne siblings and sits atop the list of the world’s top restaurants. Making its debut in Ontario, this bottling is exclusively certified, organic pinot noir. Delicate and mouth filling bubbles that say ‘I belong’ with pronounced white cherry and orange blossom aromatics, backed by honeyed elderflower, fleshy apricot, toasty brioche & salty minerality. Pair with taking a deep sigh and realizing you haven't started any of your holiday shopping.
Ludovic Bonnardot, ‘En Cheignot’, Hautes Côtes de Beaune, Chardonnay, Burgundy, France
We love an outsider defying the odds, but sometimes the exact thing thriving in its exact place is just ~ it ~. We’re talking oysters, Parma ham and Diane Lane wearing a white linen suit while walking, contemplatively down an empty beach. We’re heading south in Burgundy for a gorgeous Chard from the homeland of gorgeous Chard (yum). Original winemaker Elisabeth Bonnardot came from a traditional wine growing family, and after a stint with Jules Chauvet, one of the legendary founders the natural wine movement, her mind changed. While herbicide and pesticide use exploded around her, she focussed on Burgundy made naturally, planting blackcurrants (YOM!) between the vines and even stopping the use of sulphur. Passing on the skills and traditions, today the family estate is run by her three sons Ludovic, Emilien & Antoine. Slow and gentle pressing in whole bunches teases out beautiful complexity. Toasty caramel, butter toffee, meyer lemon purée, white peaches & eating yellow apple slices off of your pocket knife. Enjoy out of a giant decanter - any old jug or vase will also do - with air popped popcorn, while watching the movie franchise of your choice, what else are holidays for?
SÉLÉNÉ, Gamay, Brouilly, Beaujolais, France
Our train of most beloved, fancy French regions carries on south from Burgundy to the dangerously delicious Cru Beaujolais! Sumptuous and immediate, this gamay is the cat that got your tongue, and they’re not letting go anytime soon. Winemakers Sylvère & Mathilde Trichard thoughtfully farm their seven hectares of vines organically, while also implementing biodynamic practices. With the health of their land in mind, the two planted an orchard, welcomed sheep onto the property, and planted rows of trees between their vines – to increase biodiversity, and provide welcome shade from increasingly hot temperatures. The combination of semi-carbonic maceration, with the sandy-clay soils over granite, gives us a deep and savoury mineral treat with something to say. Black fruits, pomegranate syrup & a warm tingling that lasts for ages. Drink in a contemplative evening, making plans for 2023 aka the year of the Water Rabbit, a symbol of longevity, peace, and prosperity.
Béatrice et Pascal Lambert, ‘Les Puys’, Cabernet Franc, Chinon, Loire Valley, France
Today we finish our tour de France with one of our forever (and ever) faves. We couldn’t love the Loire more and this wine will show you why. You can’t talk about being card-carrying members of the Cab Franc Fan Club without talking Chinon, home to some of the very best Cab Francs in the world. From biodynamically farmed and hand-picked grapes, this stunning example from Beatrice and Pascal is bursting with savoury depth and herbaceous complexity. Just the thing we’d want to drink in a bustling restaurant with the lights dimmed, candles lit & table heaving with food. Pours a pronounced purple with flavours of cassis, fresh blackcurrant, liquorice, dried florals & stemmy, green bell pepper with a crunchy texture and light-hearted tannins. Crack one open and toast to the good times, like when your friend accidentally set her hair on fire with a menorah, and when she noticed, very calmly put it out and waved it off like “it happens!”. How sweet it is to have such nonchalantly chic and resourceful people in our lives!
Pardas, 'Negre Franc', Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon & Sumoll , Penedès, Spain
Beautiful Cab Franc from France meet beautiful Cab Franc from Spain. The terribly exciting Catalonian wine project, Celler Pardas, is named after the wild boars that roam the forests surrounding their painstakingly restored vineyards. A blend of savoury cabernet franc (65%), spiced cabernet sauvignon (24%) and ancient and powerful sumoll (10%) come together to create this deep, dense, devastatingly delicious, scene-stealing wine. Rich ruby in colour, black pepper sneeze, balsamic background, fleshy, black plums, candied orange wheels, pencil lead & seductive tannins that last forever and a day. We want this while laying on a fur carpet, playing chess & listening to Miles Davis records as we text ‘waiting for the uber!!!!!’ with no plans to leave anytime soon.
Burja, ‘Bela’, Malvazija, Welschriesling, Rebula, Vipava Valley, Slovenia
Red wine is nice, but there is nothing like a textured and elegant Slovenian orange to put you in that posh, holiday state of mind, said literally only us, but try it!! Winemaker Primoz Lavrenčič seeks to work in harmony with nature wherever possible and practices organic & biodynamic viticulture. It’s easy to see why, his family have lived in the stunning Vipava Valley since 1499 and want to keep it that way - google photos and begin planning your summer ‘23 trip, you’re welcome. Crafted from aromatic malvazija, bright welschriesling, ancient rebula (plus a very small percentage of regional grapes) grown on thriving soils. Aged in oak barrels for 11 months and bottled without filtering or fining to preserve the full, natural character of the wine. Orange wines are relatively new for many folks and, like anything, they CAN be weirdos, but this one is a classic star. Opaque, orange-gold in colour and bursting with acacia flowers, grapefruit pith, apricot nectar, pear cream, smoked pineapple & a mineral, tingling. Pour alongside panettone & assorted treats.
Ori, ‘Laora’, Chinuri, Chkhaveri & Aladasturi, Imereti, Georgia
On days ending in ‘d-a-y’, we drink bubbles! Welcome to to–DAY! Dreamy, ethereal & charmingly offbeat, this non-vintage sparkling rosé is the product of Champagne maker Bastien Warskotte, who relocated to Georgia for love (what else!). Extremely cute and inspiring fact: Ori Marani means ‘two wineries’, the daily affirmation of a dream to come, creating a second winery in Champagne devoted to clay amphora-aged bubbles, the prospect of which makes us salivate only somewhat inappropriately. But back to the hear and now! Let Laora take you away with a strong, but brief whirlwind of cherry blossoms, like an ultra-pale, extra-dry Provence rosé gone rogue with distinctly creamy notes of cornflower, ginseng, Chinese preserved plums, juniper & chalky white florals with a salty, briny edge. Best enjoyed in your jewel-toned cocktail hour best, this would be stunning alongside a retro assortment of 70s party dishes – shrimp cocktail, tomato aspic & devilled eggs.
Esmerelda Garcia, ‘Arenas de Santyuste’, Verdejo, Rueda, Spain
Put some knee-high, wool socks on and cuddle up to this textured Spanish white, ready to sing with roasted anything! At high altitude, Esmeralda Garcia makes powerful wines from her hometown of Santiuste de San Juan Bautista. Here she tends pre-phylloxera vines ranging from 140 to 210 years old. Nerd moment: phylloxera is an insect that devastated most of the world’s vines in the 19th century. Seriously, almost the end of wine! The solution? Grafting European vines to disease-resistant American root stock. To have ‘pre-phylloxera’ vines means they are on their own rootstock, which is very cool and some argue makes more dynamic flavours. But back to the wine! Her specialty is Verdejo, a regional grape almost exclusive to Rueda, tasted here from four different high-altitude sites at 800 to 850 meters above sea level. Grapes are fermented with natural yeasts a mix of stainless steel for freshness and clay amphora for depth, before bottling with no additives. Late September orchard fruit, tonic, Meyer lemon verbena, aniseed & SALTY, crunchy herbal spice on the finish. Drink on a minus 40º & cloudy day to let the sunshine in!
Martha Stoumen, ‘Post-Flirtation Rose’, Zinfandel & Vermentino, Mendocino, California, USA
The fanciest rosé for the most grandiose season of them all. The halls, they are DECKED OUT! A welcome parade of all that we love about low intervention Californian wines. Martha is a significant part of the New California winemaking movement, with worldly wine experience and natural vine growing wisdom. At an 88% red to 12% percent white grape split, this organic blend has high-key, plump n’ fruity Zinfandel notes that are smoothed out by textured, aged Vermentino. Like a lemon wheel, red clay, watermelon & lime-zest spritzer with acacia wood, passionfruit curd, rambutan & fresh prickly pears. For all you snow bunnies & snow birds out there, this wine will have you California dreamin’ until the ground thaws & the buds start a-poppin’.
Les Lunes, ‘Barra Vineyard’ Chardonnay, Redwood Valley, Mendocino, California
Let the West Coast fantasy continue! Maybe today you were walking along a slippery sidewalk, snowflakey-gusts whipping past & you could feel it in your heart, something delicious this way comes! Great California Chardonnay is like butter on your croissant. Champagne in your infinity pool. Simply luxurious, no notes. Organic, 50-year-old vines dig deep in Redwood Valley. This sub-appellation of Mendocino is known for its cooler climate and higher altitude, allowing grapes more time to achieve ripeness and develop complex, nuanced flavours. Historical bonus points: Redwood Valley was one of the very earliest California vineyards, planted by some thirsty Italian immigrants, of course. The Les Lunes project is all about old-vine, top-sites farmed impeccably to show off the classic, refined and age-able side of natural wine. With just 121 cases made, this is all pithy citrus, quince jelly on white linen, and the cast of White Lotus eating apricots in Sicily (luxurious AND intriguing!!!). Enjoy while scrolling the Mejuri site after the most wholesome of snowballs fights, more akin to playing snow-catch.
Weingut Ziniel, ‘St Andraer Hutweide’, Zweigelt, Burgenland, Austria
A rare, special and decidedly fancy red, fit for wintery wonderland settings & deer meat cookouts. From young, dynamic winemaker Andreas Ziniel, Weingut Ziniel is a free spirited winery at the lowest point in Austria, where they say they are, “completely at peace in the centre of the universe”. Be where you are, man! While Andreas’ younger cuvées are all about fun and freaky flavours, he treats his old vine plots with the reverence they deserve. (Respect your elders now, and always!) From 50-year-old Zweigelt vines fermented in large neutral barrels & aged for twelve months – a “hot dad” Zweigelt if we ever did see one. Author’s note: hot dad is a state of mind, and there is a hot dad in all of us. Herby aromatics, contemplative, possibly a bit curmudgeon-y from the outside, but soft and integrated on the inside with so much to give. Pour alongside heaps of mashed potatoes and shovels of gravy.
Sette, Barbera, Nizza, Monferrato, Italy
How quickly time has passed, how wonderful our voyage has been, and how lucky you are to finish with this bang! A glistening and bold barbera, from Nizza, Monferrato, to be exact – the heart of Italy’s finest barbera country. Organically grown from 80 year old vines (!), winemakers Gino and Gian Luca endeavour to do justice to these revered, gnarly gods of wisdom & longevity. Each sip holds hand-pies of inky black cherries in a rosemary graham cracker crust with spruce tip wisps, dusty cabin delirium, sturdy tree root tannins, dark chocolate square & dehydrated satsuma rind. Drink this while posing for your first oil portrait & nibbling a rich beef tartare as the softest landing to the longest day, or month, or year – may all your ‘nexts’ be positively marvellous,