Winery: Muri-Gries traces its roots back to the end of the 11th century when the Counts of Bozen built Gries Castle in northern Italy. With the arrival of the Benedictine monks in 1845, the Muri-Gries winery was officially established. The monastery has always been self-sustaining, and initially its wine production was for its own needs. Today the monastery cultivates 35 hectares of vineyards and has contracted with neighboring wine growers for an additional 20 hectares.
Philosophy: Appreciating the “value of the old, indigenous and often neglected grape varieties” and “to preserve the Lagrein’s typical characteristics, its down-to-earth taste, its rustic elegance and identity, fostering and developing these both in the vineyard and in the cellar.”
Winemaking: Integrated and organic methods are used, with only “natural and sustainable pest management strategies”. The original castle cellar that dates back to the 12th century, serves as the current cellar, housing all of the barrels and barriques.
Tasting Notes: Deep pink with coral highlights in colour, with invigorating aromas of cherry, white pepper and grapefruit zest. Fruit forward with cherry and strawberry flavours complimented by a racy acidity. Pink grapefruit notes accent the wonderfully dry finish. A bit heftier than your typical Rosé, the clean, vivid flavours and vibrant acidity make this a fantastic companion to a wide variety of dishes.
Produced and Bottled by Cantina Muri-Gries SAS
Estate: The Judith Beck estate is located on the eastern side of Lake Neusiedl, in the commune of Gols in the Burgenland region of the most eastern part of Austria [which is also the country’s warmest growing region]. It is a family estate, founded by Judith’s parents Matthias and Christine Beck in 1976. Judith took over the reins of the winery in 2004, whilst her father Matthias devotes his time to the care of the 15 hectares of vines. The estate has always used sustainable methods; in 2007 they converted to biodynamic practices. Judith Beck wines are known for their “of pure and vivid expression of the variety “ along with elegance, power and complexity.
Philosophy: “Wine and the joy of living and pleasure all go hand in hand. We prefer wines which captivate all of our senses with each new bottle and each new sip.”
Winemaking: Father and daughter believe in as little intervention as possible in both the vineyard and winery. All wines are vegan with only native yeasts used in fermentation.
Tasting Notes: Amber orange in colour with aromas of cherry, crushed white peppercorn and a fantastic hint of herbaceous funk. Cherry, red currant and watermelon flavours are framed by a sleek acidity, whilst red grapefruit and hints of orange blossom comprise the bright, citrus finish. Wonderfully easy drinking and refreshing, this will vanish rather rapidly from your glass.
Produced by Judith Beck GMBH
Brand: Lost Angel Wines are a brand of Foley Family wines, which was founded in 1996 by vintner William Foley II. Foley Family Wines encompasses vineyards in California and the Pacific Northwest and includes brands such as Sebastiani Vineyards, Chalk Hill Estate and Three Rivers Winery. Foley places an emphasis on “the average American wine lover” that enjoys well-made wines ranging in both style and price.
Philosophy: “Create bangin’ wines that seduce the palate with scandalously good flavors.”
Winemaking: Each property contracted with Foley Family Wines is committed to sustainable farming practices.
Tasting Notes: Transparent garnet in colour with aromas of black cherry, spiced oak and vanilla. Tart cranberry, pomegranate and black cherry flavours culminate in a lengthy finish of vanilla and spiced oak notes. Not the best for sipping on its own, I recommend pairing with food and decanting for at least 30 minutes, as the fruit softened up and became less aggressively tart. [I paired it with cheesy mushroom penne and seared, black pepper faux meat.]
82% Pinot Noir, 18% Syrah
Vinted and Bottled by Lost Angel Wines
Winery: La Vieille Ferme was founded in 1970 by Jean Pierre Perrin [of Château Beaucastel fame] as a channel for him to produce inexpensive, straightforward Rhône wines to sell by direct mail in France. It was a successful venture and ultimately was introduced to international markets where they were met with much acclaim due to their high quality and value. Famille Perrin is the leading organic winegrower in the Southern Rhône Valley; the vinification processes and grape varieties at La Vieille Ferme [The Old Farm] mirror those in place at Château Beaucastel in Châteauneuf du Pape. Faithful to their family values, for over 40 years their wines “have been considered as one of the best values for money wines in the world”.
Philosophy: Valuing nature and tradition, for 5 generations the Perrin family has produced wine under a philosophy of “absolute respect for the soil, a commitment to manual methods, and a deep belief that organic viticulture is the only way to express the true essence of the terroir”.
Tasting Notes: Coral-pink in colour with enticing aromas of watermelon, grapefruit and rain-washed minerals. Flavours mirror the aromas with watermelon, zippy pink grapefruit and a streak of minerality. Citrus zest on the dry finish boosts the refreshing character. Gluggable, versatile, and a great value, this is one of my favourite summer sips.
Blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah
Bottled by La Vieille Ferme
Estate: Casa Vinicola Fazio is a 4th generation family estate located in the province of Trapani in northwestern Sicily. Headed by Girolamo and Vincenzo Fazio, the family is committed to respecting nature and limiting the environmental impact, thereby protecting the land for future generations. They practice integrated farming and use only organic substances. Solar panels provide 100% of the electricity for the estate.
Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from hillside vineyards in the Erice DOC. The cool, windy climate combined with the “particular geological soil” of the vineyards contributes to the fresh flavours and bright acidity their wines are known for. Slow, temperature controlled fermentation, aged for 4 months on the lees.
Tasting Notes: Pale gold with green hints in colour with aromas of lemon, wildflowers, sea salt minerals and nuts. Tropical fruit flavours are glossed by bright lemon and savoury herbaceous elements. Zippy acidity and traces of nuts comprise the dry, saline mineral finish. Wonderfully refreshing, a wine made for the heat of summer.
Terre Siciliane IGT
Bottled by Casa Vinicola Fazio Wines