As the trend for organic and bio foods continues to grow there is an increasing importance placed on the story of your food and produce. Where does it come from? How was it grown? Who grew it? And, this is just as true in the wine industry. Even though the big name brands are still popular there is an ever-growing niche for wine with a story.
Ancient wine making practices dating back to the 1600s have always held a special appeal. From Château de Cîteaux, specialising in chardonnay and pinot noir, to Abbaye Sainte-Marie de Valmagne. These vineyards are still producing beautiful vintages with gorgeous complexity. But the hefty price tag in the current economic climate is driving a trend towards the smaller, lesser-known guys. Who, even though they are (relatively) new to the game, are still producing high-quality, quaffable goodness.
These are our 3 favourite wine stories at the moment:
Imagine deciding to leave your home country and travel halfway around the globe to start your own vineyard? It all sounds improbably romantic. But that is exactly what Mr. Osawa did. He left Japan and travelled to New Zealand in order to start his own winery. With a background in engineering, he sought advice from industry experts and settled on a farm in the remarkable region of Hawkes Bay, on the north island of New Zealand.
A former sheep station, nestled on the Ngaruroro River, he went to work planting vines carefully selected for their suitability to the content of the soil, with the idea that the wine produced will live up to its potential. Running his vineyard in the precise manner that only an engineer could achieve, Mr. Osawa’s wines have been raking in awards and reviews; having picked up 22 gold medals and 5 trophies. Keep this on the down-low but apparently, the 2011 Pinot Noir red cannot be missed with its strong flavours of cherry and oak. Shhhhh!
Located in Santiago and founded in 1856, it is one of the only vineyards in Chile still run and owned by the original family, for over 6 generations. A noteworthy achievement in our books! And, with the aim of producing wines reflective of the character of the Maipu Valley, we can see that their wine reflects their love and dedication; evident in their consistent production of mature reds and whites, with each bottle giving the consumer a little back-story about the growing, fermentation and bottling process. A nice touch.
Off the beaten track in the beautiful Boland in South Africa, is a little vineyard doing bold things. Not content with the status quo this winery aims to be a disruptor with their 100% vegan and organic wines. With no sulphites since 2009, this might be the place to order a crate from if you’re having a party. Hopefully, that awful wine hangover might be avoided or, at the very least, reduced. They also have the environment in mind and are dedicated to organic and pesticide-free farming techniques to ensure that they first do no harm to their surroundings.
A winner in our books, not only because of their ethical production but because of their bold flavours. Consistent, award-winning ruby red cabernet sauvignons, with hints of vanilla and plums, alongside their fortifying port makes us think this little vineyard is definitely one to keep your eye on. Need we say more?
So there you have it. Three interesting vineyards with three thought-provoking stories. So next time you visit a new wine estate and you are lucky enough to share a glass of something with the owner, always ask for the story. You might find gold.