Buon Vino is an independant company based in The Courtyard, Settle, specialising in natural wine from small producers around the world. On our blog you can keep up to date with what we're up to, our tastings and events, new wines, and find out more about natural wines.
Orange wine goes back a long way – from humble beginnings in Georgia, Slovenia and the world’s oldest wine regions, it disappeared into obscurity for centuries. Since its rediscovery in the last couple of decades, it has morphed and adapted to fit into our modern wine culture.
When Orange wines first burst back onto the scenes at the more avant-garde establishments in London, they were designed to show the extent of what an Orange wine could be; to distance themselves from Whites – and more importantly, Rosé. Deep colour, cloudy appearance, scrumpy-like characteristics with high levels of tannin, phenolic elements, savoury flavours, spice and more. Pioneering producers like Josko Gravner and Stanko Radikon in Friuli used long skin maceration and no sulphites and the wines were structured, dry and muscular. They took some drinking and needed the right food but there was no denying the allure and complexity of these unusual wines.
Fast forward 23 years or so and now people are really catching on and starting to love these amber elixirs but also are craving easier styles. Winemakers, ever influenced by the fast paced development of the natural wine movement are aiming for a more refined style, with shorter periods of skin contact, less extraction and ageing in stainless steel or concrete tanks to preserve freshness of flavour and avoid oxidative characters. Many of the orange wines we’re seeing now have all the elegance of their white counterparts, but with more profound texture and depth.
Producers like Craig Hawkins in Swartland are making wines completely transformed from their deep coloured, tannic and hearty heritage. His Skin Contact 2018 is a delicate orange hue and has elegant aromas of flowers, fruits and herbs with just a touch of the classic phenolic component of orange wine. Some of our other more delicate favourites include L’Orange from Domaine de Courbissac, and Marius et Simone from Domaine Giachino, wines that are fresh, elegant and precise. Not that we don't love the more hardcore stuff too and Radikon's long aged Ribolla and Paolo Vodopivec's Magnificent Vitovska take pride of place among our range of some 40 odd orange wines.
But we are delighted to see this evolution in the category and such a diversity of styles emerging. Natural winemakers love to experiment and respond to developing tastes which is all the better for the thirsty wine lover.
The future's bright, the future's orange!
We have created a mixed case for those wanting to try a variety of Orange wines....
This fantastic case includes: 2 bottles of Jakot Nando, a light, aromatic Slovenian wine; 2 bottles of Toscana Bianco Procanico, a robust and rare Tuscan variety; 2 bottles of Baby Bandito Stay Brave, a lovely, entry level offering from Craig Hawkins. It also includes: 2 bottles of Marius et Simione from the Mountains; 1 bottle of Radikon Jakot from the King of Orange Wines in Friuli; 1 bottle of Courbissac l'Orange; 1 bottle of Zagreo Fiano from Campania, rich and complex and a bottle of Cattarato by Aldo Viola. Enjoy!
Free Postage for Mainland UK with this case.
It is often noted that the best wines come from the very limits of vine growing capabilities – the coolest climates, the most extreme terroirs – and mountain wines are no exception. You might think that snow capped mountains seem like a stupid place to plant vines, but there is certainly method in the madness!
We wine fanatics often use the word ‘terroir’ to refer to the wine’s sense of place, which is a fancy way of talking about the environment it was grown in. Soil is one factor – with drainage and composition playing a part in grape quality and even variety (as some varieties respond better to different soils). Aspect is another, as this can be the difference between a grape getting enough sun to ripen, and not. Proximity to water can be a big factor as well. Sometimes even the other plants in the vineyard can affect the final wine. It’s these factors which come together to make each wine producing region, and in some cases, each plot of vines, unique.
So what is it about the mountains which makes them prime growing spots? Well, firstly, steep slopes allow for great sun exposure, and surprising warmth in the summer. The steep slopes also allow for good soil drainage, which makes the vines dig deep and work hard. The altitude means that cold nights help keep the balance of acidity in check. Many of the vines in the region are also planted next to large lakes, which help to temper the temperature swings and prevent frost in the crucial growing seasons. There’s the method! Because of the often challenging terrains, many producers still harvest by hand, and use traditional methods where modern machinery would be unable to help, and we think the wines are all the better for it. That means that they have a close eye on quality, and a personal touch. It also means that many producers work without chemical intervention.
Perhaps the most famous mountainous wine regions are in the Savoie in France, and in bordering Switzerland, in the Valais. Up in the Savoie you’ll find a whole host of (mainly white) grapes which are, more or less, unique to this area, such as Rousette, Chasselas, Rousanne and Jacquere. You’ll also find reds made from Gamay, Pinot Noir, Mondeuse and Persan. The wines here are often leaner, more savoury and complex than you might find elsewhere, and grape varieties such as Jacquere are often characterised by a stream-like minerality. Naturally, they are excellent matches for Alpine cheeses, fondues, or creamy potato dishes, and have excellent capacity for ageing (if they ever make it that far). Switzerland also uses many of the same varieties, as well as some of its own such as Petite Arvine. Much of its Gamay and Pinot Noir goes into a blend called Dôle, which is a pretty excellent Sunday Roast wine. Whilst there is some mass-produced stuff, there are pockets of Switzerland where not much has changed since Heidi roamed the mountains, so wine production is often small, and expensive, but is so worth it when you can get your hands on it, as the good stuff from passionate producers tends to disappear pretty quickly.
Perhaps you’ve had your interests piqued by a recent ski trip, or have been craving fondue (as I frequently do!), but if you’d like to know more about mountain wines, check out our website here, where there will be 10% off selected Mountain wines throughout February.
Ahead of our upcoming Portuguese wine tasting, with Niepoort wine maker Nick Delafore, we thought we’d take you on a little history of Port, one of wine’s most interesting stories, steeped in conflict and gout.
Port’s origins are of course deeply rooted in Portugal,though English intervention is undeniable in Port’s development. To cut a long story short, the English fell out of love with French wine during the 17th Century because, well, we were at war with France. In order to satiate our love of wine, we had to find a new source, and Porto was just a short hop down the coast from Bordeaux, which was our usual haunt for sourcing booze. Just in case these new Portuguese beauties spoiled on the journey, we started adding brandy to the wine, and quickly discovered that if we did it at the right point in the fermentation, it stopped any more sugar being consumed and left us with a delicious, sweet wine that would survive the high seas. Thus, Port was born.
Today, Port is usually made from 3 main Portuguese varieties: Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Roriz (otherwise known as Tempranillo). White Port, made in the same way but with white grape varieties, is also excellent and highly underrated as an aperitif, with cheese or with tonic. Port now comes in a baffling array of labels, so here’s a little run down of the differences.
Ruby ports are approachable, fruity styles that have usually undergone shorter maturation periods, making them the cheapest to buy, but are not to be sniffed at. They are usually a deep red and pair well with desserts, milk chocolate or cheese.
Tawnies differ from Rubies in that they undergo longer oak ageing, often in traditional pipes. This tends to give them characteristics of nuts, figs, caramel, and sometimes earthier qualities. Tawny Ports can be given age statements, usually of 10, 20 or 30 years, which indicate a style or average age, rather than an actual age. These will tend to pair well with cheeses, nut-based desserts, dark chocolate and dried fruits.
Crusted ports are unfiltered which allows them to develop in bottle, making them a more affordable alternative to a vintage, but will need decanting.
Vintage Ports are made from the grapes of one harvest, usually only in the best years. They tend to spend 2 years in oak before going into bottle without filtration, so as to develop further in the bottle, often up to 20 years (though they can often go much further). This usually makes them the most expensive, but with the most potential for ageing.
LATE BOTTLED VINTAGE
LBVs differ from Vintage Ports in that they will spend a few years ageing in barrels, before then being bottled and released, rather than doing most of its ageing in the bottle.
Founded in 1842, the small Port house of Niepoort is now run by 5th generation brother and sister Dirk and Verena Niepoort. Its easy to forget that it was only a few years ago that Niepoort was only sought out by a small band of faithful followers, as stock of remarkable, artisan wines built up in the cramped old Niepoort lodge in Rua Serpa Pinto in Vila Nova de Gaia. These days, with a formidable international reputation which spans all styles from aged tawny to vintage, and all points in between, demand threatens to outstrip supply. Ports are all made at the old Museu de Lagares in Vale de Mendiz, which has the only circular granite Lagares in the Douro. Wine Niepoort is an independent family business founded in 1842 when Franciscus Marius van der Niepoort came over to the Douro from Holland to become a Port merchant. Through five generations, the business passed successfully from one Niepoort to the next with generations working side by side.
Niepoort's mission has always been to be a "niche player", to produce distinctive Ports and Douro wines, combining centuries-old tradition with innovation. This continues today with new vineyard projects to produce dry, natural wines in the Douro - Bairrada - Dão triangle. The importance attached to understanding soils, climates and grape varieties has led the current head of the business Dirk Niepoort down the path of Biodynamics, a practise that respects the "moods" of Nature, to find a balance between biodiversity and minimum intervention. After 150 years of doing things just a little differently, Niepoort are now highly respected for their delicious Ports and an increasing array of natural table wines. Browse their range here.
If you want to find out more about Portuguese wine, why not join us for our tasting on the 16th November at 7pm with winemaker Nick Delafore. Tickets are £25 a head, and includes a fantastic selection of wines and ports, as well as cheeses from the Courtyard Dairy. Give us a call or email us to book.
We did it again! Decanter's number one for natural wines, we are really chuffed. A massive thank you to all our on-line customers who love natural wines and want to drink right. So to celebrate natural wine this month, buy a mixed dozen of any natural, organic or biodynamic wine and get 10% off the listed price!
Simply enter MYMIXEDCASE into the discount code in the shopping cart on our website.
Remember, it must be a MIXED CASE, a minimum of 6 different wines (we love you to try things) and they must be listed as natural, organic or biodynamic in the attributes. Enjoy.
Want to know more about natural wine? If so, I am delighted to invite you to our inaugural NATURAL WINE PORTFOLIO TASTING at THE FOREST SIDE HOTEL in Grasmere in the Lake District on Monday the 29th October from 7pm. We will be showcasing approximately 80 natural, organic and biodynamic wines from over 30 producers from around the world. The event will take place in Forest Side's beautiful dining room. If you would like to come, please RSVP to email@example.com or call 01729 824056 to book your place. Note this tasting event is totally free of charge but you must reserve a place as spaces are limited.
Of course, if you are travelling from a distance, why not book one of Forest Sides stunning rooms, you can relax and unwind for the evening, taste at leisure and enjoy a buffet supper prepared by Michelin Star Chef Kevin Tickle. We have put together some outstanding prices for you......
Price includes, double en suite room, breakfast, buffet supper and wine tasting for two people. To book for the evening go to https://www.theforestside.com/rooms/. or contact Forest Side directly on 015394 35250.
Naturally, there will be an opportunity to order wine at a special price on the night! I look forward to seeing you there.
When I first started learning about wine, I was told that cloudy appearance in a wine is a fault, yet we are becoming more and more accustomed to seeing a bit of haze in our glass. So what is it that makes a wine cloudy? And perhaps more importantly, what makes a wine clear?
Wine in its purest form will be cloudy. The dead yeast from the fermentation and sediment from the pressed grapes will all contribute to the haze. Over the years, winemakers have developed ways to clarify the liquid to make it more presentable as, particularly with whites, some people find translucency to be off-putting. These are generally separated into two categories: fining and filtration.
Fining is the process by which substances are added to the wine to bind the unwanted particles and make them easier to remove, by either allowing the clumps to settle or by filtering them out. Examples of fining agents include bentonite, egg albumen, gelatine and isinglass. Bentonite is a (usually calcium or sodium based) clay which brings excess proteins to the surface of the wine, allowing them to be removed easily. Egg albumen comes from the whites of eggs, and isinglass is a protein found in fish bladders. These all allow the smaller colloids to be collected, that would normally pass through a filter, or would take a long time to settle.
Filtration is the physical process by which the wine (which may or may not have been subjected to a fining agent) passes through a filter in order to remove the sediment.
So why do some producers choose not to do this? Many natural winemakers believe that these processes remove some of the vital characteristics of the wine, as many of these also soften flavour and can take out some of the compounds which will allow a wine to develop over time. For others, the use of animal products in the production of a wine is undesirable. Some natural winemakers will still use light filtration, or rack the wine slowly off its sediment to remove as much of it as possible.
For us at Buon Vino, a hazy wine is a sign that the winemaker has trusted in nature and is confident in the quality and stability of his wine. That’s not to say that we are horrified at the sight of a clear glass, but that we recognise haziness not as a ‘fault’, but simply and ‘alternative’.
Come to our next tasting evening where we'll be sampling a great selection of wines from Judith Beck, Gut Oggau and Arndorfer, some of Austria's finest natural winemakers. A fun evening with plenty to drink and perfectly paired nibbles, not to mention stacks of interesting info so you might even learn something. Austria is producing such awesome natural wines that this is an event not to be missed!
Ticket prices are £30pp and the event will run from 6.30 until approx. 9pm at our fantastic shop next to the Courtyard Dairy, A65, LA2 8AS.
Please call 01729 824056 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for tickets as spaces are limited.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Pet Nat is one of the recent crazes in the wine world. Short for Pétillant Naturel, which is French for natural fizz, this form of bubbles is delighting fans of Prosecco and Champagne alike, and we’re seeing more weird and wonderful incarnations cropping up.
How is Pet Nat different to other fizz?
With most other sparkling wines, the liquid undergoes two fermentations. The first is to create a base wine, before the yeast and sugar is topped up and a second fermentation takes place under pressure. With Champagne and most English sparkling wines, the second fermentation takes place in the bottle, followed by a long ageing in bottle before the dead yeast is removed and the resulting sparkling wine is resealed. For Proseccos, Cavas etc, the second fermentation usually happens in a pressurised tank. With Pet Nat, the wine is bottled during the first (and only) fermentation, and the carbon dioxide produced is therefore trapped in the bottle. This produces a much lighter, fresher style of fizz, that’s often a bit lower in alcohol. Most Pet Nats will be sold with the yeast still in the bottle, which makes them slightly cloudy, but all the more appealing as far as we’re concerned! That also means that they are generally free of sulphites, and are usually vegan friendly!
Why we love Pet Nat?
Aside from the fact it’s a much more authentic way of producing fizz, with lower intervention (though still requiring considerable skill from the winemaker!), it is capable of producing delicious wine that is often infinitely more characterful than a Prosecco, but much cheaper than Champagne or equivalent. It’s lighter in terms of alcohol and slightly less fizzy, so easier to enjoy at any time. Whilst it originated in Gaillac and Limoux in the South West of France, we’re seeing an increasing range from across the wine world, as well as delicious poolside Pet Nats made from grapes such as Gamay, for a lively, fruity experience.
Pet Nats are great on their own for an afternoon in the sun, as an aperitif – or try with a cheese board to cleanse your palate. Browse our range of Pet Nats here.
It seems that everyone has quickly forgotten about the horse meat lasagne scandal of recent times, yet the Austrian anti-freeze antics of 1985 have tainted the reputation of Austrian wine to this day. Whilst no reported incidents came from these wines, it caused a near collapse of the Austrian wine market, as sales plummeted as far as 90%. Over 30 years later and people still bring it up as they browse the Gruner Veltliners, despite stringent additive rules being brought in across Europe.
Fortunately, Austrian wine has massively upped its game, and you'll now find world-class Rieslings, peppery Gruners and a range of excellent reds at a pretty accessible price! Think about it, it’s no accident that the capital of Austria is Wien in German, which is an anagram of Wein….meaning wine! Clever stuff. Even though potentially deadly chemicals have (thankfully) been banned from appearing in wine, we at Buon Vino know that there are still plenty of undesirable compounds that are still allowed to go into the bottle. Luckily for us, there is a band of Austrian winemakers, who in the face of scandal, have eschewed additives entirely!
Martin and Anna have a fantastic estate in the Kamptal region, northern Austria. They believe that the key to success is to bring ‘life and balance’ to the vineyard, and so promote a healthy ecosystem in the vineyard. This means they can avoid the use of chemical pesticides, herbicides or fertilizer which would affect this delicate balance. Many of their wines are unfiltered and made without sulphur. Their handcrafted Gruner Veltliner is delicious – floral and spicy with hints of white pepper. Simply great with sushi! They also have a separate joint venture solely devoted to the very fashionable Pet Nat, also made without intervention (bottled under the name Fuchs Une Hase). These single fermentation sparkling wines are delicious. Light, aromatic and subtly herbaceous.
Judith talks us through one of her wines at our shop here in Settle
We’ve featured Judith Beck quite heavily recently, because she’s great. She has a range of lively reds, bursting with cherries and supple fruits, and her delicate, off-dry Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) is one of our absolute favourite wines in the price bracket. We particularly love her St Laurent, which is unsulphured and a bit wild, but shows lovely raspberry characteristics, warm spice and supple tannins. Think of it as the wild cousin of Pinot Noir – where Pinot Noir is enjoying afternoon tea, St Laurent is at a festival, but they always know what to get each other for Christmas! Judith’s Biodynamic estate is located in the East of Austria, by the shores of Lake Neusiedl.
Gut Oggau is also in the Burgenland, and produces truly characterful wines. So much so that an artist has created a family tree to represent their range of wines. The younger generations offer fresh and lively wines, whilst the parents and grandparents offer something more serious and complex. It’s a novel but effective way to present their range, especially when grapes such as Roesler and Blaufrankisch don’t often mean much to a foreign buyer, though take it from us, these wines are absolutely world class, and I would reach for them over an Gut Oggau is a fascinating and sought after Biodynamic estate whose wines are found in Michelin restaurants all over the world.
So if you are yet to sample some recent Austrian wine delights, we hope that this has piqued your interest enough to give them a go. You won’t be disappointed
Join Buon Vino and The Courtyard Dairy to celebrate the ongoing English food and wine revival in a cheese and wine tasting and matching evening showcasing the very best! You'll taste a selection of the superb Davenport sparkling and still wines matched to modern English cheese. A fun night starting with beautiful English bubbles on arrival. Tickets cost £30 and need to be pre-paid for this event. Call 01729 823 291 or email email@example.com for tickets. We look forward to seeing you there!
We go large portions to say thank you for reviews! If you have something to say about any wines you have bought from us and you leave a review, then you automatically go in the regular prize draw to win a Magnum of wine. This time it's a Magnum of Barbaste, a beautiful biodynamic, low sulphur, dry white wine that is perfect for summer drinking. Quick leave your review(s) as a winner will be picked from the reviews on Friday the 13th (Lucky for someone!) Cheers!