Wine Club #35: Low ABV

It’s January, that time of year some people decide to spend the month dry. Now while we would never advocate you skip wine as some kind of month long lark we do get wanting to tone it down a notch or two. So for this allocation we are giving you Low ABV. You often find natural wines on the lower side. The grapes are usually picked on the early side which means higher acid, lower sugar, so lower alcohol! It’s harder to find red wines lower than 13% so we went hard on the low ABV reds for y’all. This is probably where we should say something about the percentage on the label. Believe it or not this is not always an accurate number. You will notice some importers print 11% - 14% lol…what? That said, these wines are light and fresh and we hope you love them. And if you are not drinking this month, lucky you they will be delicious February 1st when you can double down.
Bottoms up!

Listen to the playlist here!

Judith Beck Blaufränkisch 

Judith Beck is a figurehead in the natural wine scene of Burgenland, Austria, and for good reason. Judith trained in France and Chile before heading home to Gols where Mom and Dad (Matthias & Christine Beck) started a winery back in 1976. Judith took over in 2004 and wasted no time before converting all the farming here to biodynamic in 2007. Judith shines a light on the indigenous grapes of her home which include the Blaufrankisch we have here as well as Zweigelt, St. Laurent, Welschriesling and Neuburger. The Becks live in the warmest part of Austria’s wine country, with nearby Lake Neusiedl helping keep the surrounding area temperate. This 100% Blaufrankisch was hand-harvested then underwent spontaneous fermentation in barrels followed by three weeks of maceration. The wine was then aged for 10 months in small oak barrels. The wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered with a very small addition of sulfites.

Mood: sequins in winter

Occhipinti SP68 IGT Rosso 

Arianna Occhipinti, the charismatic and eternally friendly face behind wine label Occhipinti, has wine in the blood. It was her uncle Giusto (of Sicilian powerhouse COS wines) who invited Ari to help him out at a wine fair when she was 16, and that’s where the rest became history. Ari went on to study oenology in college, where they taught her a lot of conventional techniques that her uncle, and ultimately herself, would disagree with, but her education served as a good foundation nonetheless and she began making wine with one hectare of abandoned vines in Vittoria, Sicily. From there, Ari and her wine label grew and grew to the point where she has become a seminal figure on the natural wine scene. This wine is named after a beloved route, County Road 68, that holds a lot of significance for Ari as it’s the road where her very first vineyard lies. This wine is 70% Frappato and 30% Nero d’Avola, two grapes native to the sandy red soils of Sicily. The vines are farmed organically and the grapes are harvested by hand. The grapes co-ferment with native years in concrete tanks with two weeks of maceration. The wine is then aged in concrete tanks for 8 months before being bottled unfiltered. 

Mood: hip wine collector

Margins Mourvedre 

If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Megan Bell let us tell you, she’s the best. Megan makes it within the Santa Cruz Mountains and very much marches to the beat of her own drum. She’s interested in the cracks between, the marginalized, and the forgotten. She makes wine full of terroir and heart. This Mourvedre comes from an organically farmed vineyard in Santa Clara Valley called Sattler Vineyard. This site is hot and dry, situated in the southern climes of the Santa Cruz Mountains, but still sees cool temperatures each evening. The grapes were 100% destemmed and fermented on the skins for nine days. Then, the wine was aged in neutral oak barrels for nine months. The wine was bottled with no fining or filtration and no additions besides 10 ppm of sulfur the week before bottling. 

Mood: cooking over an open fire

Les Tètes Gamuto

We love it when friends get together and do cool stuff. Enter: Les Tètes, a collaborative effort of four friends in the Loire Valley: Nicolas, Philippe, Baptiste, and Vivien. More precisely, they are in the village of Le Pressoir in Touraine Azay-le-Rideau. This crew all has wine projects they focus on independently but they wanted to come together to share ideas and grapes for a side project. In their lovely words, “Les Tétes is about friendship, and wines you drink with friends.” Well, we’ll certainly drink to that. Their 2021 Gamuto is a blend of Gamay (75%) and Muscatelle (aka Muscat) (25%). The wine comes from organic vines that are around 25 years old.The grapes are co-fermented with indigenous yeasts for three days. The wine is aged in stainless tanks before being bottled unfined & unfiltered with a small (15ppm) amount of sulfur added. The wine is fruit and bright with a balanced spicy edge. 

Mood: 90’s r+b

Barouillet Splash

Bonjour! Now we’re in Bordeaux! This wine comes from Bergerac, 50 km east of Saint-Émilion, where the Barouillet family have been tending to grape vines for the last 8 generations. The young blood, Vincent Alexis, began working with his father in 2010 and quickly converted their vineyards to organic. By 2020, the Barouillets received their biodynamic certification. We never get tired of this story of the kid showing their parents the ropes of how to grow grapes and be a good steward of the land in the modern day. This bottle is a fun & lively Pét-Nat made from 50 year old Sémillon. It’s super light, clocking in at just 9% ABV but doesn’t lose out on brilliant texture & aromatics as a result. The grapes are hand harvested and then fermented with indigenous yeast. The wine is bottled mid fermentation to create those bubbles. It sees no fining, no filtration and no added sulfur. 

Mood: roller disco

Nicolas Reau Attention Chenin Mechant Blanc

Nicolas Reau is a natural winemaker, vigneron and staunch follower of biodynamic methods based in the Loire. Reau has been making waves on the wine scene in the Loire since the early aughts and continues to make fabulous wines. Growing up, Nicolas was on a path to become a professional pianist but wine ultimately won him over and he went to school for oenology and got his hands on his own estate by 1998. In 2005, Nicolas met  Sylvie Augereau who just so happened to be the mind behind the epic French wine festival, La Dive Bouteille. The two married and Nicolas was properly welcomed into the fold of natural winemakers in the Loire. This bottle is made from Chenin that Nicolas purchases from a former harvest intern. The grapes are farmed organically, hand harvested and let to ferment with indigenous yeast.  The wine is direct pressed in a horizontal press. Fermentation begins in tank and finishes on the lees in old oak barrels. The wine is then aged for 6 months in old oak barrels. The wine is lightly filtered, unfined and sees a tiny addition of sulfur (less that 10ppm). 

Mood: banquet hall dance floor

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