Riesling – Dirler-Cadé (2011)
Winemaker: Jean and Ludivine Dirler
Age of Vines: 30-40 yrs
Grape Variety(s): Riesling
Style: Dry White
Region: Alsace, France
Certified Biodynamic since 1998, Jean and Ludvine Dirler are 5th generation grape farmers and
winemakers, producing mainly dry Rieslings from super steep slopes in the upper Alsace. 2011 was a difficult year and with very low-yields resulting in extraordinary wines for the vintage. As a bonus, this "basic" Riesling was supplemented with juice from the Grand Cru of Kitterlé as they did not feel it was good enough to be labeled as Grand Cru this vintage.
Pale straw-green. Fresh aromas of apricot and green apple. Then bright and fresh in the mouth, with suave flavors of apple and pear leading to a persistent, spicy finish. This has above-average texture and depth for entry-level Riesling.
Varetuo – Barranco Oscuro (2013)
Winemaker: Eddy Oosterlinck
Soil: Stony Schist and Clay
Age of Vines: 20 yrs
Grape Variety(s): Tempranillo
Style: Dry Red
Region: Andalucia, Spain
Manuel Valenzuela has been a pioneer in Spain producing natural wines. He arrived with his family in 1979 to Barranco Oscuro, a cortijo (farm) in La Alpujarra, one of the poorest places of Spain with the sole motivation of doing a new life in the countryside after become tired of the big city. At that time, the land was covered mainly with almond trees, but the cellar was full of wine from the owner before, who kept the vineyards for himself. Manuel had to plant a new vineyard to keep making wine. The land was never worked with chemicals and keep so was the aim of Manuel who became a respected leader in organic farming.
The 12 hectares of vines are located on the top of the Sierra de la Contraviesa, the viticultural region at a highest altitude in Europe, between Sierra Nevada and the Mediterranean sea. All of them growing organically and unirrigated. The altitude, with the summit being 1368 meters above sea level, a mediterranean mountain climate, the low rainfalls and poor soils of schists and clays result in very low yields and very rich juices.
The 2013 Varetuo is fresh, smooth, and a bit spicy, with tangy, herbal falvors of strawberry, crabapples, juicy tomato, and sea salt, with delicate tannins. Fermented with whole clusters and native yeasts and aged in old French Oak barrels for 12 months. The vineyards sit at 1,250 meters in elevation. No sulfur additions...super delicious!