Momento Mori and most recently, Nikau Farm were founded by Dane Johns, a native New Zealander who honed his craft working for Gippsland legend Bill Downie. Bill is a legend in his own right and someone who definitely helped Dane forge his own path as he now follows a very similar ideology in his winemaking and viticulture.
Dane under the artwork that is the Momento Mori label focusses mainly on Italian varietals sourced from the Chalmers Vineyard, even his Syrah gets a splash of Nosiola! All of his wines are as hand made as it gets…. Small wild ferments, no new oak, no mechanical pumps, filtration, no additions other than the a very small dose of SO2 before bottling for some wines if needed. Given the nature of his operation there are only ever very small volumes of wine produced each year and for those fans of Momento Mori they get snapped up quickly. Search for Dane's wines here.
People often talk about Raveneau or Dauvissat as being the pinnacles of Chablis. And deservedly so. But I would like to add a third Domaine to that list - Domaine Droin.
Situated in the heart of Chablis, Domaine Droin manages 26 hectares of carefully selected vineyards across all AC levels - Petit Chablis, Chablis, nine Premier Crus, and five Grand Crus.
The Droin family has cultivated vines in the area for nearly four centuries, with Benoît Droin the thirteenth generation of winemaker. He took the reins from his father, Jean-Paul, in 2014 and in the last five or six years, really ramped up the quality.
The Droin wines are defined by their power and concentration, underpinned by the unique Chablis minerality, born from the famed Kimmeridgian soils.
We've just received this year's allocation of Chablis AC and Vaillons 1er Cru, these are a staff favourite and always sell out. Don't hesitate or you'll miss out! We have loved everything we have tried from 2019 in Chablis and are very excited to get stuck into these too. Find Droin here.
And while the latin scullers might find the Momento Mori wines a real downer, in the most delicious way possible (and we do remind you to down wine responsibly), Konpira Maru will certainly give you a contact high.
Fine wine, fun wine: the difference is Konpira Maru. The project was born when two mates in the drinks industry walked into a bar and had a beer. No joke, they decided to make wines that would "inject a little fun into an industry often accused of taking itself too seriously". Even their apple cider contains skin-contact grapes. There are no rules.
Working with growers from the South Burnett and Granite Belt regions in Queensland as well as Kilmore in Victoria, Al and Sam of Konpira Maru acquired their own vineyard in the high country of Victoria's King Valley, organically farming Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Gris.
Their ethos is minimal intervention, maximum care. And fun. The fun starts here.