James Madden is the man behind Scintilla Wines. A sommelier-turned-winemaker, it was a chance meeting with James Erskine, Anton von Klopper and Tom Shobbrook that ignited his passion for natural wines, and gave him the impetus to start his own wine label.
He initially started with small parcels of organically grown fruit from the Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale, which were made under the label, Little Things. But as the saying goes, "from little things, big things grow," and James is now producing close to 20 tonnes per vintage under his new label, Scintilla Wines.
Coming from a hospitality background, James is mostly self-taught, but he has flourished under the guidance of winemakers such as James Erskine (Jauma), Alex Schulkin (The Other Right), and Anton von Klopper (Lucy Margaux). Like his mentors, James focuses on crafting completely natural wines, with no additions or subtractions through the winemaking process. He makes a range of styles and varieties, from vibrant Pet Nats, through to whites crackling with energy and complex and layered reds.
This release is really exciting. All the wines are produced from vines grown and managed with organic and/or biodynamic principles. All the grapes are carefully hand picked then processed by hand (with a shovel and a fork). James assures us that a lot of beer is consumed during this process and of course the beer is local and crisp. All wines are bottled at the shed, (read: estate), and all with TCA checked natural cork. As usual, the wines are finished with no fining or filtration, and no additions whatsoever; apart from love, work and luck.
Explore the more than scintilla-sized range here.
"2020 was a small vintage, but we've got a couple of wines that we haven't done in a while... It seemed like a good idea at the time." - Tom Belford (Bobar)
Tucked away in an idyllic corner of the Yarra Valley, Tom and Sally Belford craft wines that are true expressions of their sites. Made with passion and intent, their wines are lovingly produced with little to no additions or subtractions of any kind. Their less-is-more philosophy comes from both an innate understanding of the fruit they work with, and a desire to not interfere with it. “The way we ended up making our wine, has been an extension of a general philosophy of how we live our life... Simplicity makes sense,” says Tom.
They met while studying viticulture at Charles Sturt University, but it was working multiple vintages in France that really cemented their belief in minimal intervention winemaking. “We are inspired by the wines of Beaujolais. We personally enjoy wines that are light, but lengthy and have intriguing, subtle hints over a solid structure.”
To achieve this, Tom and Sally work with a select few growers - relationships that have been solidified over decades. In fact the Nenagh Park Vineyard (where the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet come from) was where Tom first started working as a picker and vineyard hand, over twenty years ago. "Steve was kind of my first boss. So it's really great to be working with him still, after all this time."
Having just released all of the 2020 vintage, the focus is now on 2021, which is already in barrel.
See the Bobar wines here.
The king of Cote du Py is back with another stellar release. Jean Foillard produces some of the best wines in Beaujolais. He focuses on Morgon, one of the ten Crus, however he does produce wine from Fleurie too!
He is a disciple of Jules Chauvet and a member of the Gang of Four, which includes Marcel Lapierre, Guy Breton and Jean Paul Thevenet. They represent a return to traditions... True minimalist winemaking combined with meticulous farming practices, avoiding the use of sprays or enzymes during the winemaking process. The wines undergo fermentation naturally as whole clusters slowly at low temp and are aged in old barrels purchased from the famed Domaine de la-Romanee Conti
These are rustic, wholesome expressions of Gamay, layered with spice, elegant structure, fruit and a mineral streak. The cellaring potential is there but so is temptation... These wines reward both.
Explore the collection here.