Some natural wines with the Grape Witches

A few weeks ago I was invited to host a tasting of natural/authentic wine in Toronto with Nicole and Krysta, the Grape Witches. It was for local somms and trade and was a sell out. The wines were lovely: here are my notes.

Guiberteau Les Moulins Saumur 2016 Loire, France
13% alcohol. Tight and complex with lively apple and citrus fruit. Really linear with high acidity and some appley, spicy complexity. Vivid and expressive with real zing. Distinctive and bracing. 92/100

Brash Higgins ZBO Zibibbo 2016 Riverland, Australia
From Ricca Terra Farms, this is left on skins for 150 days in amphorae. Complex and aromatic with lovely grape, pear and orange peel characters. Lively and exotic with freshness and depth, and a slightly pithy finish. Pure, compelling and delicious. 93/100

Birichino Old Vines Chenin Blanc Jurassic Park Vineyard 2015 Santa Ynez Valley, California
13% alcohol. 37 year old vines in Calcareous soils. 9 barrels produced. Linear and nicely spicy with lovely apple, pear and citrus fruit. Pure with nice fine-grained structure. Lovely texture and mouthfeel: a really complete wine with depth and harmony. 93/100

Phanus Loureiro 2016 Vinho Verde, Portugal
This is made in clay amphorae lined with beeswax. Deep gold in colour. Complex and intense with keen acidity under some citrus and pear fruit with a lively spiciness and an earthy, stony edge from the terracotta. Quite structured wit a grippy finish. Lively stuff that’s thought-provoking and delicious. I’m really impressed by this vintage. 94/100

Envinate Lousas Vinas de Aldea 2016 Ribeira Sacra, Spain
Supple, fine and expressive with lovely detailed, peppery cherry and raspberry fruit with a lovely smooth structure and a bit of grainy grip under the silky, sweet fruit. Compelling and vital, combining alluring fruit with complex texture and structure, and a slight sour cherry finish. There’s a very faint buscuitty edge here under the fruit. 95/100

Savage The Girl Next Door Syrah 2015 Cape Peninsula, South Africa
12.5% alcohol. Beautifully floral nose shows red cherries and some peppery spice. The palate is fresh, silky textured and nicely structured with midweight cherry and plum fruit and some fine supporting peppery spiciness. Seductive, elegant and fine: quite thrilling. 95/100

Jean-Claude Lapalu Beaujolais Villages 2017
Fresh and fine-grained with nice stony structure under the sweet cherry and plum fruit. Has lovely freshness and concentration with a bit of sour cherry on the finish. Benchmark Beaujolais with nice purity. Chilled down a bit this is so smashable, but has some seriousness, too. 93/100

Gut Oggau Josephine Rot 2015 Weinland, Austria
This is incredibly deeply coloured, and bustles with rich flavours of sour cherries, raspberries and blackcurrant. Grippy, peppery and edgy, with good structure and acidity. Very interesting, with some mineral reductive hints and just a little wildness. 93/100

Herve Souhaut La Souteronne 2016 Vin de France
12% alcohol. Juicy, lively, a bit spicy and with nice grainy, stony structure under the sweet cherry and plum fruit. Nice grip with a lovely drinkability. Some smoky, meaty notes adding interest, too. Lovely weight, with a smidgeon of natural wildness. This is smashable. 92/100

Find these wines with wine-searcher.com

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