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…spontaneously fermenting

A Tasting Note: 2009 La Biancara Rosso Masieri

La Biancara di Angiolino Maule
Contrà Biancara 14
Gambellara (Vi)
Tel:  +39 (0) 444 444 244
Annual production:  35,000 – 45,000 bottles

Angiolino Maule owns 11 hectares (& rents 2ha more) of vineyards on volcanic soil between the provinces of Vicenza and Verona, an extension of the Soave foothills in the Veneto, in North Eastern Italy. The Veneto is a region traditionally famous for the Soave white wines and the dark, rich and typically hugely alcoholic Amarone della Valpolicella wines.  But Angiolino is traditional in another way, working the vineyards as naturally as possible without the use of any synthetic or chemical additives, industrial fertilizers or any other artificial soil treatments.  Rather, he practices biodynamics and uses only natural preparations in the vineyards.

Angiolino's vines on volcanic soil in the Veneto

Angiolino’s philosophy is carried through to the cellar where his wines spontaneously ferment with only indigenous yeasts.  He doesn’t control temperature during fermentation, he uses no enzymes nor sulfur and bottles without fining or filtering.  To quote Angiolino “The big difference between the majority of vine growers and my vine growing is my great respect for nature and that means no compromise.  I accept and defend what the land gives me without correcting, adding or subtracting to get more.  In the cellar I think the difference is even greater, some producers with the excuse of protecting or enhancing came to use six to eight chemicals added to the must or the wine, I disagree” Read the rest of this entry »

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Gambellara, Italy, natural wine (100% living wine), Veneto


Wine & Music Evening

We would like to invite you to experience an evening of beautiful music and to taste some amazing wines, drugs especially selected to fit the music.  You will hear interesting stories from the wine world and you will have the possibility to enjoy Bacchus’ drink accompanied by live flute music.

Sommelier Joseph Di Blasi will introduce you to 3 great wines and Magdalena Kolodziejczyk, treatment flutist from the Philharmonic Orchestra in Krakow, sickness will present pieces from classical music repertoire.

Event place:       Jacob’s Bar & Kjøkken
Date:                     Sunday, August 1st 2010, 20:00 (8pm)
Entrance fee:     100 NOK*

*Wine is not included in the entrance fee

Category: Events


“I’m Not Drinking Any Fucking" Pinot Noir!

Have you’ve seen the movie Sideways? If you haven’t, you’re missing out. This is a movie about wine, and at the same time, not about wine. If you have seen it, you should remember this part of the movie.  It helped boost sales of Pinot Noir in The States and of course decrease Merlot sales. I witnessed this phenomenon first hand. I vividly remember drinking a glass of wine at Lavanda Restaurant & Wine Bar in Palo Alto when this movie hit the screens. I also remember that the movie was showing right next door to Lavanda and after the movie let out, people often wandered in and ordered a glass of Pinot Noir.

It’s been 6 years since the release of this movie and everyone still talks about Pinot Noir. In fact, to most wine connoisseurs, there is no more seductive grape than the Pinot Noir.  We knew this before the movie, and we still know it today. I too am a sucker for the great Burgundian Pinot Noir.  It’s a grape that can truly seduce with aromas of raspberries, cherries, forest floor and even flowers.  The Pinot Noir’s high acidity gives the wine freshness and longevity.  When you drink a truly great Pinot Noir, it can make you smile.

This being said folks, it’s time to move on and say “I’m not drinking any fucking Pinot Noir!” It’s time to give other (red) grapes a chance. Other grapes that I often look to to seduce me and make me smile!  Even getting me to jump out of my chair!  So what grapes am I talking about? Which grapes am I drinking most often these days?? Read ON!! Read the rest of this entry »

Category: "I'm not drinking any fucking Pinot Noir!", 1 WINE, 9 WINE THOUGHTS, natural wine (100% living wine)


Slow Sunsets, Spontaneous Cider and Enjoying Life, Naturally

I am very grateful to be a part of Cory’s “32 Days of Natural Wine” series and to be among such talented and clever writers.  I personally don’t consider myself a very clever writer nor do I write as often as I would like to.   I spontaneously write like the wines I drink spontaneously ferment. I don’t write every day, twice a week or on a schedule.  Just like the wines I drink may not ferment immediately or with  selected yeasts. The wines I drink ferment on their own, when they’re ready, with their indigenous yeasts.  If I force myself to write, it will be a less than enthusiastic endeavor. If you add a selected yeast to crushed grapes, the resulting wine will probably also be a less than enthusiastic wine (I have read that in the late 90’s,  80% of wines were spontaneously fermented – a statistic that although may have shifted since then, is surprising).

What motivates and inspires me to write? Well, natural wine does, of course! But so do the slow sunsets we experience up here in Norway. They remind me how beautiful life is. Why don’t we sit back and appreciate what nature gives us?  Why should we do things that we don’t enjoy? Why should we eat or drink things that we don’t enjoy and don’t make us feel good?

Why do I drink natural wine?  Because I like the way it smells.  Because I like the way it tastes.  It evokes feelings of joy and the aromas are just so damn expressive.   The fruit quality in the natural wines I drink are so clear and transparent (not in the literal sense, cause you know I love those unfiltered wines!).  I like to taste and understand what I am drinking.  I’ve been criticized by many as having become too extreme. In my opinion, conventional wine has become too extreme.  Manipulated if you will.  Made to “taste” a certain way, to chase fads or trends and forcing the consumer to drink what’s “cool” as opposed to what’s real.  Why do people react when I talk to them about natural wine? Nobody reacts about organic, biodynamic or natural farmers market veggies, like this lettuce.

So, why any negative reactions about natural wine???  Many of these negative reactions come from the large, conventional producers. They would like you to believe that once you open that bottle of unsulfured (or low sulfured) wine, you better drink it up quickly or it will become undrinkable within a few minutes! Granted, a great bottle of natural wine will be drunk up in a matter of 10 or 15 minutes due to it’s drinkability!  I speak from experience when I say that a great bottle of natural wine once opened, can stay alive for even two weeks and sometimes longer.  I  have literally eliminated waste.  I have done numerous experiments  keeping bottles of natural (unsulfured) wines open (by hiding them) for weeks at a time. I even left an opened bottle of Bressan’s 1999 Pignol in my fridge for 21 days. I discovered this bottle after returning from my Christmas and New Year holidays and to my surprise, was still totally drinkable, alive, fresh and enjoyable!

Against the odds and despite the numerous remarks like “you can’t sell these types of wines”, I do sell these types of wines. My wine list, of approx 80 titles,  is approaching 100% Organic, Biodynamic  and Natural.  At least 20 of these wines are made without the addition of any sulfur.  And the sales keep increasing.  Just like all new experiences, the wines should be introduced. I don’t simply drop a glass of glowing orange wine at my guest’s table, I talk about the wine maker, the tradition and what he/she doesn’t do in the vineyards/winery.  Then the guest is not only more willing to taste, but can’t wait to taste. I am most often met with positive comments, and very rarely negative ones. Then the food arrives and natural wines work very well with food, as you know.  Before I leave the table, I have gotten in the habit of telling my guests to expect sediment in their wine because it’s unfiltered and if they don’t get any sediment, they should complain because there is something wrong ;-).  This has eliminated the complaints I used to get regarding sediment in the bottom of the glass.

What about other spontaneously fermented products from nature? How about (more than) organic apples that are planted on Northwest facing slopes that bask in the long Norwegian summer hours of sunlight. When the apples are ready for picking, they are picked by hand and spontaneously fermented in plastic, just like the wines we enjoy. They are left to ferment until the process stops on its own. Sometimes the final cider is bone dry, and other times there is a bit of residual sugar. The cider is bottled without filtering out any of the nutrients and no sulfur is added, allowing those nutrients to stay alive, and make you feel good!

30 Year Old Golden Aroma Apple Trees Facing NW

Joar says "just a reminder that this is just me and my dad making cider because we like it, nothing more then that."

The 2008 dry cider - Sponty, sherry-like tones, sweet fruit & a fresh, dry & acidic backbone

I am not here to impress you with my writing, knowledge or with my love of natural wine and other things natural. You either like them, learn to like (and understand them) or you don’t. I just write what I feel from the heart, and from the fact that I  feel the need to share my excitement, or  ferment spontaneously if you will.  I am sure that the natural wine makers I most admire are also not trying to impress you with their wines. They are merely expressing themselves and the grapes they are growing  to keep their sanity, drink their own good wine and with the hopes to share their passion with others who understand them.  They are doing what comes naturally to them, from their hearts, their soil, their vines, their grapes, their wild yeasts….spontaneously.

If I made my point here in this post, you’ll grab for that glass of your favorite natural wine (or cider) and with the one(s) you love, watch the sunset in the distance.  Enjoy life and the good things it gives us without trying to manipulate and distort. It’s a post about being spontaneous and appreciating the simple things.

Category: 1 WINE, 32 days of natural wine, 9 WINE THOUGHTS, natural wine (100% living wine)

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