We've been eagerly awaiting the arrival of these awesome wines, known locally as "the face wine." For those yet to meet this gaggle of quirky individuals, allow me to introduce you...
Gut Oggau is a 13-hectare Austrian wine estate located in the town of Oggau close to the shores of Lake Neusiedl, Burgenland. The estate is run by Eduard Tscheppe and his wife Stephanie Tscheppe-Eselböck, who took over the former 'Vineyard Wimmer' - an old-established property in Oggau with a long standing tradition.
They began to painstakingly restore the 17th century winery that had been abandoned for 20 years, including its 200-year-old screw press. For the vines, this 20-year period of neglect was fortunate, as it allowed for all pesticide and chemical treatments to be washed away. This in turn allowed Eduard and Stephanie to begin working immediately on the vines according to biodynamic principles, for which they are certified by Demeter.
Stephanie and Eduard focus on quality as a permanent quest. Their aim is to achieve a natural vine balance and process the grapes as gently as possible, allowing them to make the best use of their vineyard's strength. Their 13 hectares of vines are spread across dozens of tiny vineyards. Each of these sites are vinified separately and then either bottled as a single site or blended to create complex field blends.
When they began working with the wines in the cellar, they noticed that each wine seemed so alive with its own personality. They decided to craft labels centred on the personality inside each bottle and as such created a family of wines. Each cuvée is named after a fictional character created by German designer, Jung von Matt, and is integrated in a family tree across three generations. The Maskerade series are their younger vines and newer plots, yet to reveal themselves remaining hidden by a mask. As the vines progress their personality will be revealed... Exciting.
Unmask the collection here.
Eleni and Edouard Vocoret
We are particularly excited to have our latest allocation of Eleni & Edouard Vocoret back on the shelves, as we have surmised that each year seems to get better and better. The bottle accompanying Pete’s 2020 Christmas lunch made his day pretty great, but if he can get his hands on our stash before it disappears, even a locked down Christmas could not rain on his parade.
Edouard Vocoret comes from good Chablis stock: Domaine Vocoret has been in his family since 1870. But like a lockdown has shown some of us lucky ones that we value and love our family as much as we value and love space from them, Edouard and his wife Eleni decided in 2013 to break free from the mould. Purchasing 5 hectares from Papa and Grand-Père Vocoret, they went out on their own, Edouard reflecting ‘my dad never told us what to do, he said “Here’s your vines, you make the wine the way you want”’.
And that they did. Eleni and Edouard began experimenting with natural yeasts and ploughing to express the terroir of the parcels Edouard had earmarked when working on his father’s vines in his youth. Le Bas de Chapelot 2019 for example is a lieu-dit that sits, as the name suggests if you pardon my French, at the base of Chapelot, a Premièr Cru Chablis climat of Montée de Tonnerre, known for its power. The great power that comes from this site is handled with great responsibility, resulting in wines of beautiful weight and texture.
Find the wines here.
As our passion at Annandale Cellars will attest, we do not need to introduce you, Dear Reader, to the concept of Grower Champagne, rather to the previously unknown, but now cult-status family names behind the bottles. This week, allow is to introduce you to Champagne Lelarge Pugeot, the Grower Champagne of Domonique and Dominique.
The Lelarge family have owned parcels in Champagne since 1799. Seventh generation grower Dominique Lelarge set off to study viticulture and oenology at Beune in 1983, and there he met his future wife, Dominique Pugeot. The young couple returned from Beaune to takeover the winery, and Lelarge Pugeot was born. Moving to organic and more recently biodynamic practices over the last 20 years, the Dominiques plough by horse and grow grass between the vines. Last year they planted 90 fruit trees on their vineyards to encourage natural biodiversity, and this year they plan to double this effort. The move to more sustainable practices has seen the fruit in the vineyards develop more natural sugars, reducing the need for excessive dosage of the bottles. The sustainable future is secure with two of their three children now working alongside their parents.
The Lelarge-Pugeot family have 8.7 hectares in and around the Premièr Cru village of Vrigny, situated in the Petite Montagne de Reims. Traditionally Pinot Meunier has been the ancestral grape of the Vrigny terroir, with the varietal’s rapid growing cycle aiding in its tolerance to the spring frosts of the area. Pinot Meunier has a reputation though for being the workhorse of the region, not known for aging well on its own, and in the taste profile of Champagne, playing third fiddle to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. This however has changed in the hands of the growers like Lelarge Pugeot: Meunier has been allowed to shine, properly tended in the sandy-clay soils that give life to fine and structured wines.
At Lelarge Pugeot, Pinot Meunier truly puts the Champ in their Champers, with plantings in half of their vineyards. Both the Extra Brut Tradition and the Gueux see Meunier in the majority of their blends. However, Les Meuniers de Clemence 2013 is 100% Pinot Meunier, aged on its lees for four years, resulting in a rich and structural representation of the varietal with toasty, autumnal flavours. Santé!
Find the collection here.