Healthy for us and the planet!

Blog · Posted January 26, 2024

Bill provides us with some low intervention and ‘healthy’ wine options!

At this time of year a lot of us hunker down and try to clean up our diet, including easing back on our alcohol intake. We’ve got a good solution when it comes to wine. We have a healthy number of bottles on the deli shelves that are ‘low-intervention’ wines. This means they are generally made with organic/biodynamic practices, where little or nothing is added in the vineyard or the wine cellar when the wines are being made. They are full of life, bright and often fruit forward, mostly with low or no added sulphites and made with wild/indigenous yeast to give a true expression of the terroir, (sense of place), from these exciting small production vineyards and truly enthusiastic wine makers. Here is a selection from our newest wholesalers Les Caves de Pyrene:

So that everyone has the specifics, the layout of information is as follows: [Bottle | Country, Region – Grape | Winemaker | Style (Price)].

Salamandre Orange | France, Rhône Valley – Grenache Blanc | Chateau Saint-Cyrgues | Skin contact (£17)

This is a great, gentle entry-level orange wine. Made from one of the traditional Rhône Valley grapes, Grenache Blanc, that has undergone skin contact for ten days during fermentation, this creates the distinctive orange colour and flavour profile. Salamandre is a fresh and easy going skin-contact wine, with a floral note and flavours of peach and summer fruits. Unfined and unfiltered. The Chateau Saint-Cyrgues is one of the most southerly vineyards in the Rhône Valley and the mistral blows throughout the year, really helping the vines grow. The winery is over one hundred years old but keeps with the times being certified organic.

(From left to right)

Fratelli Felix Bianco | Italy, Campania – Fiano, Falanghina | Vigneti Tardis | White (£15)

Fratelli Felix is a collaboration between Jack & Bruno (of Vigneti Tardis) and Les Caves de Pyrene. The project sources grapes from sustainable growers in Campania and aims to offer honest, excellent value wines made in the Vigenti Tardis way. The vines are in the Cilento hills, not far from Naples, and are all farmed organically. It is all naturally made with nothing added save from a small amount of SO2. This is one of our best value wines which overdelivers on tropical fruit notes allied to a bone dry, saline structure. Delicious warm weather wine!

Martedi | Italy, Campania – Aglianico | Vigenti Tardis | Red (£22)

There are 7 wines in the range from Vigneti Tardis, each named after a day of the week. This one corresponds to ‘Tuesday’ and is not what you would usually get from Aglianico, the workhorse grape of this southerly part of Italy. It’s full of vibrant, crunchy red fruit and is very aromatic and fresh. The tannins are deliberately kept low to make it superbly gluggable especially if served slightly chilled. London Sommlier Jack Lewens is the main man behind Vigneti Tardis and his objective is to produce organic wines as naturally as possible with nothing added apart from the absolute minimum of sulphur.

Mappinga Hill | Australia, Adelaide Hills – Chardonnay | Stepping Stone Vineyards (Xavier Goodridge Wines) | White (£18.50)

The Stepping Stone Vineyards is a joint project between Xavier Goodridge and Les Caves de Pyrene. The key mantra for this range was to demonstrate that wines made with great care and attention to sustainability could still make it to the UK market and be good value for money. The Adelaide Hills are one of the coolest and most elevated regions in Australia, providing ripening conditions similar to those in Champagne. Combined with organic farming methods being employed throughout, the result is a beautifully fresh and elegant chardonnay.  Great to try with creamy pasta dishes or salads.

Nu Litr Bianco | Italy, Puglia – Bombino Bianco | Calcarius | White (1 Litre £25)

This is a strong wine with great character! Calcarius, the winemaker, is known for their commitment to sustainability in the vineyard and in the cellar. Natural wines in all respects, with spontaneous fermentations without temperature control and with minimal additions of sulphur dioxide. Thanks to the soil and strong thermal excursions, this wine expresses an irresistible fruity bouquet, with citrus notes of lemon, pear and orange peel. Very fresh and savoury, with an agile body and little alcohol.

Vinos Inacayal

A collaboration between Luca Hodgkinson of Metic and importer Les Caves de Pyrene has created these two incredible and natural wines. Produced by Vinos Inacayal in Chile, they aim to create excellent value wines, as naturally as possible and we think they have done this as you will find better value anywhere else.

La Cueva | Chile, Valle Del Colchagua – Pais, Carignan, Cabernet Sauvignon | Vinos Inacayal | Red (£11.50)

Inacayal, a Quechua (indigenous peoples of South America) word, loosely translates to ‘old thing’. The winemaker’s name is a nod to to the old vines used in the process of growing their fruit.  All fruit is sourced from old, dry-farmed vineyards planted on their own root-stock, and sulphur levels are low. The Pais grape adds an amazing colour while the Carignan provides spicy dark fruit. The result is a moreish red packed with black and red berry fruit, pepper spice, and a delicate note of violet on the finish.

La Patagua | Chile, Valle Del Colchagua – Semillon, Moscatel, Saugvinon Vert | Vinos Inacayal | White (£11.50)

‘La Patagua’ refers to an indigenous Chilean tree (Crinodendron Patagua) which grows abundantly in the Colchagua area, another ode to the natural landscapes in which this wine’s fruit grows. This wine is 90% Semillon with pockets of Sauvignon Vert co-planted in the same vineyard. However, the characteristics of all three grapes are used in this wine; Semillon for fruit, Sauvignon for freshness and acidity and the Moscatel to add an extra floral fruity note and minerality.

Bobastrell | Spain, Murcia – Bobal, Monastrell | Pedro Olivares | Red (£21)

Pedro Olivares is passionate about biodynamic crops and began making natural wines from old organically-farmed vines between 50-110 years of age. In this wine the Bobal grape provides the aromatics, red fruit and velvety texture whilst the powerful Monastrell gives darker tones and notes of tobacco, wild herbs and liquorice. Bobastrell is a wine that should be shared at dinner with friends and family.

Coola Hills Pinot | Australia, Mount Gambier – Pinot Noir | Stepping Stone Vineyards (Xavier Goodridge Wines) | Red (£17)

This is another wine from the project by Xavier Goodridge and Les Caves de Pyrene, aiming to prove that wine made with sustainable practices can be marketable in the UK. Mount Gambier is historically a dairy farm region but is rapidly becoming one of Australia’s most exciting wine growing regions and Stepping Stone can certainly attest to this. At Mount Gambier they have managed to hand harvest their fruit to create a super fresh, juicy and light natural pinot noir.

Vendredi 13 | Italy, Etnas – Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio | Vino di Anna | Red (£28)

This is a fantastic wine and a beautiful introduction to the great work being done up on Etna. Vendredi 13 drinks like what you want your Pinot to drink like with the added interest of volcanic soils and Mediterranean climes. The winemaker, Vino di Anna, is a family-run estate, whose vineyards are planted in a series of historic lava flows. All of their farming is biodynamic, with the work in the vineyards all being undertaken by hand, fermentation done using indigenous yeasts and no fining or filtering. On top of all of that, they also help curate a rare species of Sicilian black bee that help with pollination and promoting bio-diversity in their vineyards.