Classic Advent Wine Notes

Welcome all ye sweethearts and sugar pie honey bunches to the Grape Witches Advent Calendar 2023!

Wine Notes by Day

Viñátigo, ‘Listán Blanco de Canarias’, Canary Islands, Spain

BOOM, BAM & POW. Nothing hits the overwhelmed holiday tastebuds quite like a salty, textured white! Juan Jesús of Viñátigo is a fourth generation winemaker who has worked tirelessly identifying and recuperating regional grapes of the Canary Islands from near extinction. Listán blanco (aka palomino fino) has the unique ability to cleanly reflect its terroir, and in this case was harvested from rare own-rooted vines, sprouting up from heroic basalt soils that you can really TASTE! Fragrant fennel, dried quince and guava, washed manchego rind, fig leaves, pulsating acidity, spilled salt shaker, lusty volcanic minerality & a distinct sourdough yeastiness that stirs feelings of fino sherry. Drink while planning next years trip to Gran Canaria.

A Sunday In August, ‘Peachland Pinot Noir’, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

A good hair day + a treat or two + an orange grove & you too can be as fabulous as this snow-stormy-white puppy dog! A pinot for lovers of playing fetch and drying your own apple rings, whose fave Mario Bros character is Princess Peach. Winemaker Mike Shindler has a serious love and commitment to electrifying & low intervention wines. From a single vineyard in Peachland, BC (yes, that’s the town’s real name, and yes, they grow MANY peaches), the organic and savoury pinot is semi-carbonically macerated for 14 days to really amp up the JUICE factor and heighten the already rampant aromatics. Brambly raspberry, shoots of strawberry, intertwined, elegant tannins & lusty acidity. Enjoy alongside stringing popcorn and cranberries onto some fishing line.

Revel x GW Field Guide, Gewürztraminer, Golden Plum, Pear & Golden Russet, Guelph, Ontario

Continuing with a petite Canadian kick, we fly from the west, right to the beauty of our own backyard for a diving deeper into the biodiversity of our place. Field Guide is a liquid map written by Grape Witches & Revel. Take our hand and let us trudge together through an embarrassment of Ontario fruit, right up to the shores of our glacial lakes. Wade with us through plush, weighty gewürtz, tiptoe through the angular acid of golden plums, splash through streams of gritty pear juice, and run your fingers over sun-warmed clay and rough golden russet skins. We’ll walk where the air smells of chlorophyll and sunbeams, we’ll wander over the clay at the bottom of the river and experience the scent of a leaf being born. Field Guide is cider, perry AND wine (and throw in a partridge in a pear tree while you’re at it!), amphora aged and kissed goodnight by golden plum skins. Enjoy while sorting through the pressed flowers you made this past year and falling asleep sitting up. A clue for tomorrow you ask? Well, we’ll see you soon sweet petals!

Emme, Pink Lemonade, Field Blend, Mendocino County, USA

Today we SPRUNG (peep the wistful floral label) for an amiable, All Season Rose™ – a special sub-sect of the rosé world designated for lovers & scoffers alike (you know who you are). An aromatic, bone dry rosé, well on its way to a light red. ‘Pink Lemonade’ feels like a blitzed up version of spring and fall simultaneously and is the best escape from today’s weather. Emme is a bushy-tailed project from winemaker Rosalind Reynolds, named after her ecologically-minded grandmother and propelled forwards by her love of minimal intervention winemaking. A blend of all the varieties planted at the organic Ricetti Vineyard, including abouriou and zinfandel for tannin and colour, plus colombard for sharp acidity, aromatic valdiguié, spiced carignan & some later-picked, more stone-fruited colombard. Sliced tomato, zucchini and blossoms, dusty sweet tarts and blow pops on Halloween, ashy salt crust & thick platelets of tannins. Enjoy with your favourite cousin, off in a far corner of a family gathering.

2022 Christina, Gruner Veltliner, Austria

A casual crusade ‘round the globe brings us from the always-sunny California to snow-capped Austria. Third generation winemaker Christina Netzl got her start in her family’s vineyards at a mere five years old, and has since grown into a huge proponent of organics and natural winemaking. Here her layered grüner, aka the primary white grape of Austria, is a glorious vessel for cool-climate greenness all the way – like the hues of Kermit the frog, mint ice cream & Aegean algae had a viridescent baby. A little bit of sediment - don’t be afraid, think a natural juice! - adds to the generous mouthfeel and transports us to an icicle adorned home far, far away. Kiwi marmalade, honeydew balls, yeasty haze, green pear, snippets of salt & white pepper sneezes. Drink around a roaring campfire, wrapped in cowhide, ear muffs fastened & chestnuts roasting.

GW House Wine, ‘Light Red’, Mourvèdre, Chardonnay, Carignan, Syrah, Chile

Today is a great day for a de-LIGHT-ful red, to match your lightly frost-bitten cheekies! Meet our fresh to market GW House Light Red, a collaboration with winemaker Roberto Echeverría many years in the making! A melding of dense and meaty mourvèdre (60%), supple chardonnay (30%), spiced carignan (5%) & berried syrah (5%). The grapes were plucked from their vines on granitic, sandy loam soils formed by the granite-riddled coastal mountains, bestowing minerality that pushes cleanly through inviting tannins. Sour candy, infinity pool sleek-ness, pointy acid that really encompasses the tongue, supple florals, like apple blossom, hibiscus puree, licking an amethyst, multi-fruit (berry + tropical) punch juice box. Stick this ripe beauty into the snow, slush or semi-deep puddle to chill down and then consume while playing one of our favourite cold-weather games: dunking yourself in the hot tub before clamouring out and seeing how long you can last sitting on a snow mound before leaping back in.

Entre Vinyes, 'Oniric Blanc’, Xarel lo, Penedes, Spain

‘Oniric’ is a word in Catalan to describe a ‘dreamer’, it’s like it was made for you wee snow angels! Winemakers Maria Barrena and partner Pep began their project in 2012 by taking over some old vineyards, as they gained experience they became more exploratory. From 80-year-old, organically tended vines close to the Mediterranean, this xarel lo sings in winged & wonderful tunes. Trip to the flower market, oscillating minerality, six months on lees kinda generous texture, green stone fruit, green almond tackiness, herbs tied to straw & salt to linger at the closing door of each sip. Pour alongside The Feast of the Seven Fishes, and get ready for some contrast tomorrow babyyy!

Jouves, ‘La Roque', Côt AKA Malbec, Cahors, France

Now we know you are craving a deep, dark, raucous red. Ever meet someone it feels like you’ve known for a lifetime? That’s what Côt – or Malbec, outside of Southern France – drinks like, a ruby-hued red with a gorgeous, structured profile, its Louboutin-clad foot firmly planted on our necks! This delicious is example is from Fabien Jouves, an incredibly warm & slightly wild, biodynamic winemaker based in Trespoux near Cahors. Made from 35-year-old vines and drinking like Jennifer Coolidge doing the bend-and-snap. Deep, sumptuous, violet-scented black fruit pulls you in with sour cherry, snappy red vines, dried sage, a savoury truffle note and a touch of fresh cig, then snaps into sharp relief with feathery tannins, a whiff of oak & a glimmer of iridescent minerality on the finish. Savour after a day of festivities and fiascos, you deserve a delectable rest sweetie pie!

Populis ‘Macerated White’, Chardonnay, Albariño, Grenache Blanc, Ribolla Gialla & Sauvignon Blanc, Mendocino County, USA

Good day ya classy crocodiles, please say hello to this gentle California orange, perfectly suited for the tastebuds of the merry masses! Chic and glittering, drinking as sumptuously as Angelina Jolie’s 1998 Emmy Awards gown, WOW. Winemakers Shaunt Oungoulian & Diego Roig produce their Populis project by using purchased grapes from historic vineyards & multi-generational growers in Mendocino County. The exquisite, organic chard is 2/3rds fermented whole cluster for plushness, while the final 1/3rd was direct pressed to balance everything with juicy freshness. Ample mouthfeel, kindly tannins, cashew tree, angelica, apple leathers, a smear of salty minerality, woody musk & tart splashes of tangerine acid that peeks at you through underripe apricot crostata curtains. Trick your most conservative relative into falling in love with an orange wine or enjoy in the afternoon with a leftover ham sandwich.

Bonnet Cotton ‘Blanc’, Chardonnay, Beaujolais, France

A Rudolph among reindeer, mistletoe among balsams, this is the BEST Beaujolais blanc (aka chardonnay from Beaujolais) we have tasted this year (or maybe ever?) and now YOU have one! 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 suns warmth radiates off of the walls of their vineyard-stead, the land pushes outwards with their goblet-y claws, and down below, the near 200-year-old cellar is a vinous catacomb that whispers in cobwebs & wine. Grown on a unique vein of limestone near the domaine, this bojo blanc is unforgettably flawless – lovers of Ganevat beware! Warm sour apples, young white lilac bushes, burnt sugar on the stove, lactic plushness that fills your mouth like a balloon, only to be punctured by darts of minerality and deflated into mashed meyer lemon, with a texture like biting into a honeycomb, making a perfect impression of your teeth. Enjoy while watching someone prepare a multi-course dinner for you, that’s about as holly jolly as it gets!

Diego Conterno, 'Ferrione’, Barbera, Piedmont, Italy

Step out of the frigid cold and into the belly of the beast with this powerful Piedmont barbera! Winemakers Diego and son Stefano work 7.5 hectares of organic vineyards together, their goal to give liquid form to the best parts of Monforte d'Alba: structure, texture, minerality & longevity. Aged for four months in large oak casks (aka botti grande) and another six months in concrete churning over and over into this perfect storm of fruit and fire. Full of black plums, butcher’s smock, sour cherry bomb, wayward cedar frond, sweet briar rose, roasty cinnamon roll, trampled rosemary & fine-grained tannins for you to lap up. Enjoy with reverence, and a dog curled up at your feet, this one’s for cozy evenings and discussing the great beauties of the world.

Mas Candi, ‘Corpinnat’, Brut Nature Cava, Xarel-lo, Macabeo & Parellada, Penedés, Spain

Here we are sweet snowbirds, our final day together, let us bullet down this double black diamond with epic finality, and be doused by a proper bubbly shower at the bottom. The Mas Candi vineyards have been tenderly farmed for over 500 years, producing wines that veer towards us, lovers of wildly delicious, low-intervention sippers with beautiful, classic flavours. FUN FACT! Mas Candi is one of a few local wineries that has chosen to rename its Cava to 'Corpinnat', a name that signifies an agreeance to uphold high standards of grape growing and viticulture, use only regional varieties, harvest grapes by hand and be as environmentally conscious as possible! As always, a regional blend of grapes, including: acid wielding xarel-lo, herbaceous macabeo, floral parellada & a small amount of other local Penedés grape varieties. Chamomile honey, yellow apples on parade, brioche crust, lemon displayed on a solid stone plinth, handful of lemon verbena & hazelnut mousse. May the new year bring charming challenges, brilliant bashes & so much more! XOXOXO, GW.