Fancy - Freaky Advent Wine Notes

Prepare to be moonstruck you mischievous little minxes, as you are beyond lucky to have in your hands the Grape Witches Advent Calendar 2023!

Wine Notes by Day

Pinard & Filles, ‘Balbutiements’, Frontenac Gris, Frontenac Blanc, Magog, Quebec

We couldn’t help ourselves but start with an ultra-rare, ultra-remarkable rosé bubble that screams demure charm. Quebec wine champions Pinard & Filles, aka Catherine Belanger and Frederic Simon, fully embrace experimentation, minimal-intervention & HYBRID GRAPES. Here we see a 50/50 blend of orchard-ly frontenac gris and concentrated, citric frontenac blanc, macerated for 24 hours and co-fermented to reach an optimal peach coloured union. An all encompassing, deep nose-full, apricot soaked in syrup, smashing walnuts, lemon peels, quince marmalade, grapefruit pith & crab apple. Enjoy with your favourite holiday hybrid snacks: candy cane flavoured coffee, ham and bananas hollandaise (1973), Campbell’s salmon shortcake (1954) or Greenland's infamous Kiviak (look it up, we dare ya!).

Scout, ‘Syrah-Riesling’, Cawston, British Columbia

A calm souled co-ferment, to match any and all holiday themed jazz CDs. Dedicated to the health of their land and crops, winemakers Maggie, Murray, Carly and Aaron exemplify how inviting & intricate Canadian wine can be. From the regeneratively farmed, sandy soils of their Scout Vineyard – in the semi-arid Similkameen Valley – we are gifted this fragrant, vibrant & quaffable blend. Fermented from start to finish in qvevri, whole clusters of syrah (stems, skins and all!) were submerged in freshly pressed riesling juice, for a lifted pleasure cruise of delicately integrated tannins. Dried salmonberries, penny coin toss, cherry juice, bejewel bubblegum, crunchy rhubarb with leaves & crushed whole blackberry bush. Enjoy chilled as you open up cards and letters from your friends and family who still send cards and letters, and place them gingerly around your home.

Celler Frisach, ‘Alifares’, Vernatxa Gris, Terra Alta, Spain

Welcome to an escapist fantasy dreamland. Firstly, a swoon-worthy snippet from the winemaker’s notes: “We came from a very dark and deep night, and all light is inadequate. We have the memory of the time marked on the skin and the seasons of the year dyed in the must”. Francesc and Joan Ferré are part of a two century long line of grape farmers, who are now making energetic, natural wines in the Terra Alta appellation of Catalonia. Here the soils are fully ‘panal’, or petrified sand dunes – #natureismetal. The grapes are hand-harvested, lightly foot-trod and left to ferment and age on skins for 30 days of heartwarming skin contact. Copper in colour, bitter grapefruit rind trimmed into an elegant garnish, bergamot, apricot nectar structure, vibrant tangelo, dried herb melange, fizzy salt & a blend of green and black tea. Enjoy with your seafood salads, snacks or suppers you fun and feral felons.

Bonnet Cotton, ‘Piscine Olympique’, Gamay & Muscaris, Beaujolais, France

A winter-ready rosé – stuffed to the brim like a stocking from an over-achieving parent – with robust fL@vOUr and ready for the bounty of heartier meals ahead. Since 2014 winemaker Pierre Cotton has been delivering organic and minimal intervention bojo babies, but it wasn’t until the addition of partner Marine Bonnet, an agronomist specialized in viticulture, that the winery took its final form in 2020. The youthful gamay and aromatic muscaris are co-macerated for 10 days as they braid themselves into a charming friendship bracelet – the kind that never falls off. Orange sour keys, fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, sweetcorn silk, green tea bitters, cherry jello & mellow musk. Pour alongside unsettling Outer Limits reruns & eggnog shots, we see you and we respect your choices.

Gut Oggau, ‘Theodora’, White Field Blend, Burgenland, Austria

Good day you tender lil deviants, say hello to our pal Theodora, one of the natural wine world’s most iconic bottles we were THRILLED to tuck in your box. Gut Oggau winemakers Stephanie & Eduard Tscheppe are deeply adored by natural wine lovers the world over. The fabric of their wines hinge upon a fictional family inspired by the characteristics of different parcels of land in their meticulously farmed Burgenland property. Theodora is known as a cheerful and animated prankster, with the wild, but focussed energy of youth. A field blend of mostly acidic and mineral gruner veltliner & welschriesling with small amounts of skin contact and a softly spoken mouthfeel. Sugar cookie reduction, lemon saltwater taffy, barbie dog leg, white clay minerality, cucumber water, grandma’s, driving a truck with herbs in the back. Enjoy when you are feeling a little too spontaneous, a little too unhinged, Theo is wise beyond her years and can lend some perspective.

Tiberi, ‘L’Rosso’, Gamay del Trasimeno, Ciliegiolo, Umbria, Italy

Winemaker Federico Tiberi has tenderly named this wine, “the red with a green heart”, we feel like there could be a Grinch joke in there somewhere, but we’ll leave it to you. Tiberi is a fourth generation family winery tended to by Cesare Tiberi and his grandchildren Federico and Beatrice. Less than four hectares, Tiberi’s small plots celebrate historic red and white grape varieties, organically grown & affectionately brushed by dry Mediterranean winds. Made from (80%) fragrant gamay del trasimeno (a type of grenache) that can only be found in this part of Umbria, and (20%) cherried ciliegiolo, with four days on skins to gain this rambunctious, amaranth-red tone. Fennel, maraschino cherries + liquid, ripe tomatoes, ground pomegranate skin, prickly pear & a furry, animalistic edge, like a Visayan Warty Pig with a vertical mane. Enjoy while watching Labyrinth or The Dark Crystal, everyone’s favourite feel good holiday movies.

Ferme Apicole Desroches, 'Golden Beezz’, Honey & Apple Pomace, Quebec, Canada

Like a shark and its suckerfish, today we indulge in the symbiosis of honey & apples! Desrochers is helmed by siblings Anicet and Naline, with Anicet looking after the apiary’s hives, bees, and honey while Naline is in charge of the mead. Their craft of mead making was passed down by their parents, the goal to produce exceptional and experimental examples of this thousands-year-old fermenting tradition. Held in place by the nordic climate, the upper Laurentians host an extreme and vigorous ecosystem. Expansive and varied, with floral prairies and dense forests all coalescing into a unique smörgasbord  for their bees, and intricate profile for their honey. ‘Golden Beezz’ is a sparkling wine made with raw summer honey from Miels d’Anicet and golden russet apple pomace from Cidrerie Chemin des Sept, to bring about some comforting and supportive tannins. Pearlescent-ly silky, wildflower florality (le duh), a saline sheen & pear juice, with red tea tannin cheekbones, like a really chic snow-person. Enjoy with pistachio baklava and your finest “fisherman’s" sweater.

Brand ‘Shake & Wait’, Silvaner & Weissburgunder, Pfalz, Germany

Every day can be a celebration, and today we make it easy with this fresh, freaky and oh-so-fun (and interactive!) bubble from Jonas and Daniel Brand, the world’s most adorable winemaking brothers (google immediately). Start with the action of (gently!) shaking the bottle, incorporating all of the good yeasty, delicious sediment back into the cloudy juice. Wait a good 15 minutes to prevent explosive disaster and then, upon gentle opening, be instantly transported into this fitth-generation cellar and natural wine haven surrounded by lush, biodiversity. Close your eyes and imagine pears buried in warm sand (can you taste it?) and the smell of Joshua Trees after a vigorous hike (cactus forward). On first sip find an explosive herb garden with a generous lime squeeze perfectly paired with seaweed salad dusted with sesame. Drink with spicy food while rereading your fave Greek tragedies and mythological tales, the three sisters of fate are beckoning!

Hermit Ram, ‘Zealandia Skin-Fermented Sauvignon Blanc’, Sauvignon Blanc, Canterbury, New Zealand

When you’re marching to the beat of your own drum and find your groove, sometimes you should just keep at it, like plushy, textural oranges, when its right, its right! The Hermit Ram is a culty collaboration between Theo Coles and Gareth Renowden in Canterbury, a small region on the South Island of New Zealand. Most of the fruit is destemmed and fermented on skins for six weeks, while a small amount undergoes whole-cluster semi-carbonic-maceration. What we get is perhaps the rawest, most ‘un-international’, form of New Zealandness from a grape who’s popularity explosion peaked in the early 2000s. Did somebody say y2k comeback?! A cloudy, curious and complex skin-contact ode to the coastline, that’s like licking salt off your own cheeks. Enjoy while looking at trypophobia triggering photos online because you are bizarre as heck & we love you for it.

Domaine des Lampyres, ‘Contre Attaque’, Mourvedre, Roussillon, France

We think you deserve nothing but the best, and to prove it, a rare and lip-smacking red from the saucy South of France. Fourth generation winemaker Francois Xavier (FX if you like), is located a mere 20 kilometres from the Mediterranean Sea, and all about providing the unexpectedly delicious. After working with Tom Lubbe at Domaine Matassa for five years, he spent a further year with Domaine Danjou-Banessy learning all the low-intervention ropes before unleashing his own stellar wines upon our senses. Pomegranate extract, raspberry syrup firecracker, rhubarb acid, writing on a stone with another stone kinda minerality, cinnamon shavings & a gentle attack of the infinitely lovable, outwardly odd. Enjoy with roasted everything while watching Raw by Julia Ducournau.

Joe Jefferies, ‘La Pierre de Sisyphe’, Terret Blanc, Terre Gris, Ugni Blanc, Languedoc, France

A wine to dazzle your bone’s marrow and stir all that bubbles inside you! Dubbed by our writer pal Aaron Ayscough as, “The Grand Cru of the Herault”, this white rests on a throne all its own. Joe Jefferies is a self-taught winemaker, and farms 4.5 hectares of organic vines on volcanic basalt soils around Caux in southern France. A blend of direct pressed (unoaked) Chablis-esque terret blanc (30%) and acid-flaunting terret gris (20%), with the swanky aromatics of ugni blanc (50%), all co-fermented into inseparable unison, like a three headed snake, its just MORE TO LOVE! White clay, sucking on a lemon, CO2 prickles, VA (volatile acidity) that licks each tastebud individually, astringency like chewing a young branch, grapefruit cream soda, softened almond, sage oil, laboriously pushing a boulder up a hill for all eternity type salinity & a welcome finish of bee propolis. A truly timeless sensation, pay serious attention here, your safely guided passage through these churning tides is almost through.

Lewandowski, ‘L Stone’, Sangiovese, Mendocino, California

A rich red that sticks to your mouth, gums and heart, and holds tight until the light of Spring. This sangiovese is a mighty keeper of dragons and true history in motion in its depth and low intervention, New Cali approach. Winemaker Evan Lewandowski grows his grapes in California, but all we taste is dusty old soul Italian sangio cartwheeling through. Harvested from the fabled Fox Hill Vineyard – a unique terroir, consisting of a pebbly, uplifted former riverbed, flecked with quartz, the soil teeming with minerals leftover from everything that ever traveled downriver. Smelling like nibbling green strawberries while scavenging through your great aunt’s bookshelves, and tasting like a thimbleberry & Italian amaro popsicle, deer leather keychain, old pile of newspapers, with fresh cranberry acidity & cat lick tannins knitting everything together. Untamed and unforgettable, enjoy while playing Euchre & listening to Italian opera with your most vocal and foul-mouthed family members (be they chosen of not). Now it is finally time, we hate to see you go, but love to watch you walk away you curious and non-conforming creatures of the deep. Drink on the final full moon of 2023, December 26th (10:33pm if you’re feeling specific), may the new year bring unthought-of adventures, exquisite experiences & crazed challenges for you all.