Freaky Advent Wine Notes

Welcome our unique, unbridled and ultimately unstoppable unicorns to the Grape Witches Advent Calendar 2023!

Wine Notes by Day

Cantina Furlani, ‘Rosso’, Teroldego, Marzemino, Rurca, Negrara, Trentino Alto-Adige, Italy

We are over the full moon to be here with you, now hold tight to our grape-stained hands and for heaven’s sakes, don’t let go! A dangerously decadent start to our time together, we are pleased to present the most stunning alpine-lambrusco-esque bubble you have ever laid your tongue on. Cantina Furlani sits amongst the clouds at 700 metres altitude towering over the city of Trento. Here, fourth-generation winemaker Matteo Furlani oversees his organic and biodynamic production like a shepherd guards his flock. The blend of peppered teroldego, plummy marzemino, floral turca & tannic negrara is left undisgorged for maximum cloudy texture. Strawberry jello, heirloom watermelon, washed-rind cheese, blackcurrant of the forest, & grapefruit. We are big proponents for the high brow, low brow mash up at GW – pour alongside McD’s new, here-for-the-holidays, Double Big Mac.

A Sunday in August, ‘Field Blend’, Pinot Blanc & Gewürztraminer, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada

For day two, a bold, BC field blend that rests in a liminal space, quite an outlier & boasting the most stunning VA (aka volatile acidity) around. Mike Shindler began A Sunday in August in 2017 with a love and commitment to fermenting electrifying & low intervention wines. Direct pressed, ‘Field Blend’ is unfined and unfiltered, giving a wee bit of mouth filling and cloudy DrAMa. This wine is like the sub-plot of an evil villain’s sidekick who really isn’t evil at all, but stuck in their duality, shrouding their heart of gold only to protect it, but in order to be released as their daring, proud and bursting self, they must start shooting out in all directions to escape their limbo-bound existence…just spitballing pls send fan fiction. Ripe and juicy melons galore, acidity that isn’t here to mess around, underripe nectarine, kiwi skin, sun in your eyes & plushy white peaches with a white floral accent. Enjoy this untameable treasure while the darkness sets outside (at 4:30 PM), it will be your sun.

GW House, ‘Pais Rosé’, Paìs, Maule Valley, Chile

A savoury, spicy rosé for all seasons, and that includes the wind-whipped, frost-bitten & black-iced one we are careening towards right now! The GW House Wines are our newest collaboration with experienced winemaker Roberto Echeverría, and the culmination of our dream to offer delicious and quality wines at excellent price points! Organically grown, the savoury and thin-skinned paìs is macerated for four days pulling more generous tannins than you would expect from its convivial colour! The granitic, sandy loam soils – formed by granite from the coastal mountains – are full of brilliant quartz and bestow minerality that pushes cleanly through the toothsome palate. Tomato-y, potpourri, stewed strawberry, crystalline minerality, fig leaf oil & a secluded, rough outcrop with a gnarly tree holding on for dear life. Enjoy with cold Chinese fresh from the fridge, its okay if you don’t know what day it is!

Vino Lauria, ‘Solerte Macerato Zibibbo’, Sicily, Italy

One delightful skin contact deserves another! Winemaker Vito Lauria is a Sicilian local who, after studying winemaking in Friuli, returned home to take over his family's 70 hectares in the west of Sicily. His focus from the start was organic viticulture & regional Sicilian varieties. Here, the outrageously aromatic zibibbo, aka muscat of Alexandria, spends 15 days on skins pulling inviting tannins and marked texture. Muddled and layered fragrances, with fresh chamomile, dried bergamot, rose hydrosol, apricot skin, candied peaches, sage brush, malt & darjeeling. This wine utterly charmed us and will go with any dang holiday board or beam of December sun. Sip while reading Craigslist’s ‘casual encounters’ – *SURGEON GENERALS WARNING* – freaks only!

Martin Obenaus, ‘MO Rot’, Rotburger, Weinviertel, Austria

A light red as charming as adopting a rescued jackalope and watching them fall asleep on your lap for the first night in their new, forever-home. Martin is the first winemaker in his family line, farming 20 hectares biodynamically, his aim is to produce wines not just in harmony with nature, but as a part of nature itself. Like a biodiversity scavenger hunt, among his vines you can find bee hotels and an impressive density of flora and fauna alike. Sour cherry blasters, elegant violets batting their eyes at you, blackcurrant juice, crunchy spices, loaded minerality & barely there tannins that tell you, “be free!”. Chill down and enjoy with a chipotle rubbed steak, carbonara and seaweed salad, now is the time to create your own traditions!

Bardos, ‘Winter Walker’, Apples, Sonoma, California

Steely eyed, unblinking & ravenous with FLAVOUR! Zoinks! Cider makers and high school pals, Aaron Brown and Colin Blackshear, began Bardos in 2019, grounded in the desire to translate the deep, apple-laden history of California through a low-intervention lens. Together they have spent their time tracking down centennial trees (!) and land owners open to sharing their (usually) forgotten or unused fruit. The apples from the wildly-wine-like ‘Winter Walker’ come from 100+ year old trees and spend two weeks macerating to lock in texture, before aging in oak barrel – sewing together all the acidic bits and aromatic pieces seamlessly. A Basque soul, with tender apricot, pear crisps, wood chop, suave tannins & a veritable trip to farmhouse funky toooown! If you are an orange or textured white wine lover, prepare to open your heart to other fruits. Enjoy alongside snowshoe pit stops in the evening sun.

DB Schmitt, ‘FKK red’, Merlot, St. Laurent, Portuguese, Blaufränkisch and Pinot Noir, Rheinhessen, Germany

A gremlin emerges from beneath the riverbank as you stand fishing, do you stay and hear them out? Or run? Bianka and Daniel Schmitt are two talented young winemakers working with biodynamic practices in the Rheinhessen region of Germany. Together they manage the 16 hectare, Demeter certified estate which has been in Daniel's family for over 200 years. Their intention is to create wines that reflect the land, their personal character & abundant creativity. FUN FACT! They are one of only 80 producers in all of Germany to be Demeter certified! A zero sulphur wine, it is quite possible your bottle may be adorably fizzy, like FKK has just woken up with bedhead to say good morning before you leave. Flinty, a TO natural wine bar called Rustic-Rustic, cherry soda, firm cranberry, tart forest raspberries, wild mint, juniper & conifers. Enjoy this ample 1L format with someone you wish to move deep into the woods with, never to emerge – it’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Cirelli, ‘Orange’, Trebbiano, Abruzzo, Italy

Today we are moving on down to warm our cold, cold bones. A stone’s throw away from the Adriatic coast is the entirely organic Cirelli estate, run by Francesco Cirelli and his wife, Michela, who in addition to making wine, farms olives, garlic, spelt, wheat, barley, figs, and geese – an entire, self-sustaining ecosystem! The circle of life, baby! Carrying on their days surrounded by rolling hills, the grapes also enjoy a maritime influence that helps preserve natural balance and fresh acidity in the baked Abruzzo sun. The citric and aromatic trebbiano grapes are destemmed before one month of maceration, pulling glossy tannins. Gold in colour, with hay bale, a bundle of wildflowers, linseed, green pear, white nectarine, raw almond, coriander seed & silky fresh lemony acid. Enjoy while organizing your tool shed, just a few more months sweet peaches!

Mingaco, Cinsault, Itata Valley, Chile

No matter the trends, nor the styles, nor fashions, one thing will always be true: everyone needs a bold red. The Itata Valley is one of the most special & historic wine growing regions in the world, with a wine growing history stretching from the 16th century. From this historic place, a spicy & savoury cinsault, broad and deep like a child’s cavernous mind, full of wonder and tiny wisdoms. Sweet winemakers Daniela & Pablo of Vinos Mingaco farm this punchy cinsault at a fellow farmer’s property in a drier inland area. Hand harvested from 50-year-old vines, the fruit is de-stemmed for an 11 day maceration to extract seasoned tannins, and aged for a year in old American barrels which impart a slight woodsy-ness. Herbaceous pea blossoms, chunky black locust flowers and violets, ripe blackberry smear, whole clove, elderberry syrup, black tea stain & tear dampened Earth. Pour alongside bonfire roasted anything, this one deserves such a display!

Emme, ‘Amondo El Sol’, Colombard & Chardonnay, Sebastapol, USA

Another warm climate bottle to bring on the wack-a-daisical coziness! From the winemaker: “‘Amando el sol’ means ‘loving the sun’, an ode to bright golden colombard fruit that ripens happily in the California heat". Meet Emme, the frolicking project of Rosalind Reynolds, named after her ecologically-minded grandmother and perfectly in line with the New-Cali natural wine movement. The organic blend consists of Ricetti Vineyard colombard (70%), left high in acidity after a drawn out, cool end to the growing season. Next, to create balance and add some creamy weight, plush chardonnay (30%) from the Bazzano vineyard was brought in. Sunflower seeds and pollen, whipped butter packets on the table at a diner, nutty like a tiny sherry fairy lives inside, fall herbs, a lees textured helix with sleek minerality, acorns & lime popsicle acid that clears up any and all confusion. Enjoy while plugging in your ‘happy light’, we are all just plants after all (perhaps the Little Shop of Horrors ones, but still)!

Joe Jefferies, ‘Where Black is the Colour, Where None is the Number’,  Carignan, Languedoc, France

Hold on to your furry, ear-flapped hats! Today is the day for this frank, itch scratching, luscious showcase of the incomparable grape, carignan. After moving from England (due to a case of the LOVE BUG) to settle in the village of Caux, Joe has taken up a few hectares of vines growing on the old lava flows of a long extinct volcano. The carignan sees a six day, whole bunch maceration extracting fine, sandy tannins. The basalt soils cling to the robust and organically tended grapes, inching the minerality ever-higher. Aromas of drinking with an overflowing wine bar crowd on a small French side street during a moist February morning, paprika, laying asphalt, violette de Bordeaux fig sap, fallen bark in the woods, dust, salt & driving cranberry. Enjoy while throwing out any and all expectations for a ‘new year’s resolution’, toss your misguided belief in such things into a fire, real or imagined, this wine will hold your hand as you do so.

Jambon & Tardieu, ‘Une Tranche Sudiste Blanc’, Bourboulenc & Clairette, Rhône, France

Our globetrotting lil’ field trip has come to a close, and we couldn’t imagine doing this with anyone else! Much like the Big Bad Wolf wore Granny’s face, today we see some stunning Rhône fruit under a glossy Bojo guise. Established natural wine radicals Phillipe and Catherine Jambon work to collaborate, create community and a platform for their fellow natural French producers. The ‘Tranche Sudiste Blanc’ was done with Côtes du Rhône winemaker Paul Tardieu of Domaine Denis. A petite slice of the south, the blend is comprised of citric and bodied bourboulenc (50%), with musky and properly-fruited clairette (50%), macerated for a few hours before pressing. Lime leaf, fennel flower, banana juice roundness, boxwoods in bloom, chirping acidity & an undulating texture that stops you right in your tracks. May the new year bring pleasant feasts, fanciful forays & fabled times for one and all!