Contrary to popular opinion, it's not pronounced "Poppell Veg." It is in fact pronounced pop-ell-vei, and it's the tiny, shed-sized winery from Danish Somm-turned-winemaker, Uffe Deichmann and his brother Jens.
Poppelvej translates as "road of the poplar trees," and it's a direct reference to the street in the tiny village of Hundested (about 45 minutes north of Copenhagen) where the brothers grew up.
It was their shared love of wine that propelled the boys south, eventually settling in the picturesque Sellicks Beach, at the southernmost end of the McLaren Vale. Here Uffe crafts vibrant, minimal-intervention wines from fruit sourced from eco-sustainable vineyards. Everything is wild-fermented with no additions, apart from a minimal amount of sulphur at bottling.
The wines crackle with energy and vitality, and like so many other natural producers, sit at the lighter, more elegant end of the spectrum. No over-extraction here!
In the winery, the walls are lined with a series of concrete eggs, as well as older oak vessels in various sizes. Anything that will allow Uffe to pull as much flavour from the fruit as possible, without sacrificing its purity or essence.
We were immediately struck by the wonderfully layered and complex wines from Uffe's early releases, so when his new wines popped up, we pounced on them.
Fresh Jura Drops
This week we focus on a selection of new wines from a specific region - Jura!
Jura, to the east of Burgundy, is one of the smallest wine regions of France, yet the most idiosyncratic. Whilst more conventional styles exist within the appellations, Jura is famed for its oxidative and nutty white wines, and its Vin Jaune, the tangy and curry-spiced Savagnin "yellow wine", aged under a veil of flor (sous voile) in a similar way to a dry Sherry.
We've just received a huge selection of cuvées from some of the most exciting produces in Jura. All in small amounts and all very sought after, so don't hesitate to make your move.
Their wines are mostly traditional and whites being (sous voile) oxidative with a few exceptions linking them to the slowly modernising movement in Jura right now. Every wine is carefully thought out in the cave which now resides in the old honey factory in the town of Toulouse. Production is now around 15000 bottles a year but they are continuing to expand now that their son Romain has finished his studies.
In the town of Arbois, you will find the small Domaine run by husband and wife team Michel-Henri and Françoise Ratte. Vineyards have been in Françoise family for generations but they have always been under the shackles of a fruitier, selling their fruit under contract until now. In 2015 they broke free, not an easy feat considering you are usually signed for life here, and started making wine for themselves from some of the best terroirs in Arbois.
Winemaker Patrice Béguet, born in Jura, gave up Paris city life and returned to the Jura countryside with his wife, Caroline Hughes. They purchased heritage vineyards on great terroir, and set up a small winery under their house in Mesnay adopting sustainable viticulture practices and winemaking techniques. In the cave, he is a keen experimentalist, making use of extended macerations and egg-shaped barrels. All wines are fermented with indigenous yeasts, with some fermentations lasting up to six months. The wines complete their élevage (or "upbringing") in a mixture of stainless steel tank, eggs, and various aged old oak barrels. Very little sulphur, if any, is used for all his wines and for the 2015 vintage, he has used no SO2 at all.
They are methodical people, both of them former engineers, which you can see in their cave and their wines. The new cave was built in 2009, soon after acquiring the vineyards, and is clean, tidy and purpose built winery and probably one of the most well set out I have seen in Jura. Stainless steel vats are housed in the fermentation room and each wine has its own maturation vault housing the barrels for their Pinot, Chardonnay, Savagnin and sous voile wines. A lot of thought and care has gone into the planning of their winery and the care of their wines. Their wines are a window into the terroir that they were grown on. Rich fruited, focused, technical and precise with loads of Jurassic acid backbone carrying all the flavours. Their sous voile wines, perfect examples of what I love about Jura but forward enough to be able to be enjoyed very soon after bottling.
Dig through our Jurassic collection here.