January 2021 | 12 Bottle Club
Welcome to the January Club from MYSA Natural Wine!
A note from our founder:
We are so excited to share these wines with you and why we picked them! If you’ve been here for a while, we hope you’ll enjoy this new digital format in place of the printed wine cards. As much as we care about the sustainable practices of our natural wine producers, we also care about the ways we can reduce our own footprint on the planet. Every month, you will receive a link to a custom page with the wine tasting notes on each bottle. If you miss the “notes” section from the cards, we’ve created an even more in-depth version for you to practice your wine tasting skills with printouts at the bottom of this page!
So let’s dive in!
This month, for our twelve-bottle club I wanted to bring some joy to the time after the holidays. I always get a bit down when the coziness of the holidays is over and we still have a lot of winter to go. In that vein, I wanted to have fun with light bubbles to keep the party going into January. Next, we have some SUPER old world wines with our first Georgian wines in the club and a few reds that have the heft I’m looking for in a winter wine, without a super high ABV. A very special red made the cut for y’all with the Etna Rosso that could definitely age for a while, or I’d set it aside for a special meal that you might be planning this month. The Georgian orange is not a big tannin bomb like you might expect. It’s super refined but still will stand up to a lot of the foods you’ll want to be eating right now. This includes the Georgian rosé with its light extraction from the little known Aladasturi grape. Finally, we have an oldie but goodie in the Vino Naranja that we could not pass up! Below, you’ll see more info on each of the wines, but I wanted to give you some context of why I love these wines for January.
- Holly Berrigan, Founder, MYSA Natural Wine
- Innocent Dove - Kostanzis
- Espumante Bruto Branco - Duckman
- Chinuri - Chubini
- Dario Serrentino - Fuso Cala
- La Bodega de Pinoso - Fermina Rosso
- Martvilis Marani - Aladasturi Rosé
- I Custodi - Pistus Etna Rosso
- Cacique Maravilla - Vino Naranja
- Fond Cypres - Premier Jus
- Bolet - Cava Brut Nature
- Esencia Rural - Pampaneo Ancestrale
- Cardedu - Caladu
- Wine Evaluation Sheet
Innocent Dove - Kostanzis
Karditsa - Greece
A natural take on a very traditional wine blend in Northern Greece of Xinomavro (a native grape) and Merlot. It feels both familiar with all the medium notes coming from the Merlot but then the Xinomavro adds a deeper kick and spice to it. I love this wine for winter because, while medium bodied, it has depth and weight to it with a strong structure. Beyond that you'll find lighter notes like strawberries and tomato that make it really enjoyable and refined with your winter dishes!
Pairings: Stews, Roasted Meats, Mushroom Risotto
Serving Temperature: 54°-58°
Kontozisis Organic Vineyards is an organic grower in Karditsa, a rural town in the region of Thessaly. Karditsa is known as the bicycle capital of Greece, and the homeland of the impressive Limniona red grape. The winery and vineyards are on the foothills of mount Agrafa, in two distinctive terroirs between Kanalia and Dafnospilia. Kontozisis has been practicing certified organic agriculture and organic vinification since 1991, one of the first to get such a certification in Greece.
His long term commitment to organic practices shows his honest approach to sustainability. Having worked only with the local market of Karditsa, organic practices were something that was not appreciated, but Kontozisis insisted on farming without chemicals, and making honest, natural wines. The few loyal fans of Kontozisis wines in Karditsa were enough to keep going throughout the years, and eventually making them available to a market that fully embraced the authenticity in those wines; the big urban centers of the United States.
Andreas Kontozisis and his partner Aphrodite Tousia are working passionately with the area’s indigenous red grape, Limniona, among others, for which they have developed proprietary vineyard techniques to get as much concentration as possible from the variety’s large grapes. All grapes are hand harvested and pruned from the low-yield (28 hectoliters / ha) estate-owned vineyards of 11 ha. Kontozisis uses no press (only free run wines) and no commercial yeasts
Espumante Bruto Branco - Duckman
Bairrada - Portugal
Who says bubbles need to end in December?! The holidays may be over but the end of COVID is on it's way so we say celebrate all of 2021! Duckman, Maria João Pato (Pato means duck in Portuguese and Spanish) makes some of the most playful wines we had in 2020 and we were very excited to get this one into the club to start this year off right! Don't write this wine off as only glou glou, though! It had extensive lees contact, making it complex and giving it some great texture and richness that feels like more of a winter style sparkling. I'd drink it in front of the fire after you find out your loved one has finally gotten the vaccine!
Pairings: Celebration, Sushi, Duck fat fries (if you want to be ironic and a bit morbid)
Serving Temperature: 40°-45°
The Duckman wines express the true character of Bairrada’s indigenous varietals and its exceptional maritime influence. There are no indications of the region on the labels, done intentionally to demonstrate an acute sense of place and varietal typicity through minimal intervention in the cellar. Maria Pato, the daughter of Luis Pato, created this project because of her love of the region and varietals, so much so that she felt constrained by the standards of Bairrada wine making.
For both of them only the indigenous varietals can be Bairrada wine, not imports that want to claim it as their own identity. Luis and Maria work from two main vineyards, Amoreira da Gândara which is composed of mostly sandy soils, and Óis do Bairro which is composed of mostly chalky-clay soils. Here they grow both red and white varietals: Baga, Bical, Cercial, and Fernão Pires (a.k.a. Maria Gomes).
Chinuri - Chubini
Shilda - Georgia
We found this wine via Roni Selects and her portfolio of Georgian wines are some of the best in the US! As the first Georgian wine going in the club I wanted to start y’all off with a lighter version of what can sometimes be the most tannic orange wines in the world. This one is softer but still still has enough kick to go with foods that you might typically put with red wines.
Pairings: Korean Food, Curry/Tajine, Anything with bold flavors
Serving Temperature: 45°-50° As a lighter orange, definitely chill it but see how it evolves as it gets warmer!
Tornike Chubinidize might have the name of a warrior (translates to first name: god of victo-ry, last name: archer), but he has the heart of a poet. Situated at the base of the Caucuses in the village of Shilda, Tornike makes just 2 wines and cares for them so deeply that he sleeps next to his qvevri during fermentation.
The Sapervai grapes are picked in early August to ensure juiciness and density, then aged in qvevri for 2 months before being transferred to stainless steel. The Rkatsiteli also has its time in qveveri which gives it a classic amber color and a depth of flavor that brings to mind dark spirits.
Dario Serrentino - Fuso Cala
Sicily - Italy
This is a very fun co-ferment of Nero d'Avola (a red grape) and 10% Grillo (a white grape). It's quite dark feeling with black berries and plums as well as some nice tannin and salinity. The white grapes bring some strong acidity and create a fun balance the Nero wouldn't find on its own. This mix is perfect for January meals like stews or game.
Pairings: Stews/Roast, Game, Charcuterie plate
Serving Temperature: 52°-56°
About Dario Serrentino
Val di Noto sits in the southeast corner of the Sicilian triangle, dipping down to the latitude of North Africa. In spite of the warm climate, the local varieties (especially Grillo and Frappato) and white limestone soils are capable of producing balanced wines with tension and moderate alcohol. Dario Serrentino, after years of selling off his grapes (to naturalistas Frank Cornelissen, Lamoresca, inter alia), started to vinify and bottle his own wines in 2014 as Mortellito. Dario is a naturalista as well, but he insists on making clean wines that taste extreme only in their deliciousness. He works his family’s 25 hectares, 15 of which are under vine; the rest are a mix of ancient olive groves and heirloom almond varieties. A plate of pasta al pesto rosso (sun-dried tomatoes, toasted almonds, olive oil, garlic, salt) with a glass of Dario’s rosso ‘Calaniuru’ (Frappato with a dash of Nero d’Avola), flatters several of the fruits of his farm. His wines have a tempered hedonism, a mix of ‘taking’ in the sun (as the Italian idiom goes), and then ‘taking a bath’ in the salty-cool sea. - Porto Vino
La Bodega de Pinoso - Fermina Rosso
Valencia - Spain
Monastrell is another great grape for the colder months! This one is spicy and earthy with red fruit, medium body and balanced tannin. It can play nicely with a lot of different foods and also benefited from a little bit of chilling in the fridge, 20 minutes or so!
Pairings: Veal, Pasta with Truffle Oil, Mushroom dishes
Serving Temperature: 55°-58°
About La Bodega de Pinoso
From Jenny & Francois - La Bodega de Pinoso makes the Fermina wines for us. They started producing wines from organic grapes in 1997, being one of the pioneer wineries in the region to do so. Today, more than 800 hectares of vineyards are certified by the Valencia Region Organic Agricultural Committee, which is 35% of the surface area, producing more than 1,500,000-liters of wine. The Bodega de Pinoso is the most important producer of wines from organic farming in the Valencia Region, and are considered one of the biggest producers on a national scale. To obtain organic wines La Bodega de Pinoso combines an exhaustive control of the vineyards with careful processes in winemaking. Treatments carried out at the vineyard are minimum, making for grapes of excellent quality, without pesticides or chemical residues. The vineyard uses organic fertilizer from local organic cattle farming to improve fertility of the soil. They minimize agricultural activity to maintain the structure of the soil. They believe in the maintenance of biodiversity leaving vegetation to grow spontaneously in order to serve as a reservation of auxiliary flora and fauna.
Martvilis Marani - Aladasturi Rosé
Samegrelo - Georgia
A non-traditional rose that felt right for drinking in January because it's a bit heftier and more savory than most! A fun story about the native grape is that they named it after Allah after Georgia was invaded in hopes that they wouldn't pull them all out of the ground!
Pairings: Stews, Perrogis, Charcuterie plate
Serving Temperature: 45°-52°
About Martvilis Marani
Martvilis Marani was formerly working under the name Vino M’artville, but for the 2019, decided to honor their heritage with a more traditional Georgian name. They winery was founded in 2012 with .5 hectare of vines, producing under 3000 bottles. They’ve grown to farming 4 hectares around the cellar in the western Georgian Samegrolo region with some fruit sourced from friends and like minded growers in Imereti, Lechkhumi and Kakheti. They now produce over 11,000 bottles and work with 10 different grape varieties including ojaleshi, orbeluri, tsolikouri, krakhuna, aladasturi, tsitska and kakhuri mtsvane, among others.
All farming is organic with no intervention in the winemaking process. Martvilis vinifies in qvevri and stainless steel and uses small amounts of sulfur when absolutely necessary to preserve the integrity of a wine.
I Custodi - Pistus Etna Rosso
Sicily - Italy
This is a special red wine from one of Nic's favorite grapes that we find is great during the winter months! Rare and indigenous grapes grown in volcanic terroir give this red tons of minerality. Good, light acidity with blackberry, cherry, plum and earth on the palate. Lean tannins with a smooth finish.
Pairings: Pasta, Turkey, Roast
Serving Temperature: 46°-52°
About I Custodi
Mount Etna is a current darling of the Italian wine scene, and I Custodi is among the 21st-century Etna Renaissance producers who are now making wines as compelling as the active volcano’s cooled lava flows. Founder Mario Paoluzi has teamed up with Etna guru Salvo Foti and I Vigneri, the local vineyard workers who tend the ancient albarello vines, and volcanic terracing. The Etna Rosso ‘Pistus’ (mostly Nerello Mascalese) comes from Etna’s north slope, where the wines are known to be structured and savoury. In 1774, the Florentine scholar Sestini called them ‘navigabile’ or ship-worthy, keeping after long voyages. Don’t miss 150+ year old-vines mostly-Nerello cru ‘Aetneus.’ The racy Etna Bianco ‘Ante’ (mostly Carricante) comes from 900 meter high vineyards on the sea-influenced eastern slopes; raw fish come alive with this wine. ‘Alnus’ is the traditional ‘pista e mutta’ (press and rack) Etna rosato. Organic. - Portovino
Garnacha - Lurbira
Navarra - Spain
A great price performer of Garnacha with red fruits, spice, and berries. Perfect for a large dinner party! Made by a completely female team, this wine was made with our friends at Rooted Selections to show a fun and fresh perspective of a Navarra Garnacha.
Pairings: Barbecue, Roasted Pork, Charcuterie
Serving Instructions: 40°-45°
Throughout my wine career I have always been drawn to the pure drinkability of Spanish wines. These are wines that deliver killer flavors, but at price tags you won’t feel guilty about popping a bottle every night for dinner. After years of discussing it (usually over a bottle of wine) Rooted Selections decided to jump in and create our own custom cuvee, but who to partner with? We knew we wanted to work with a family, someone who cared for and respected the land, as well as having a deep connection to their region. Enter Bodegas Beramendi, a family owned sustainably farmed winery in the Navarra region of Northern Spain. Here Bodegas Beramendi cultivates the traditional varieties of Garnacha, Tempranillo, Graciano, and Garnacha Blanca, along with the more international varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay. After an exhaustive search for a name we decided on Lurbira, who was the “Earth Goddess” in the ancient religion of the native Basque people of the region. To us this helps symbolize the commitment we feel to the land as well as allowing us to keep in the spirit of Bodegas Beramendi, which is one of the only wineries in Spain run completely by women.
Fond Cyprès - Premier Jus
Corbières - France
Premier Jus means first juice in French and I would not be mad if this were the first wine I drank for 2021! I love this wine not only because it's delicious and perfect with winter squash, but because it also feels like the finish line of 2020 running into 2021 excited for what is to come on the other side. We did it! Celebrate with a delicious French wine :)
Pairings: Salami, Stews, Squash
Serving Instructions: 45°-50°
About Fond Cyprès
From the Brigitte Bardot of Corbières and her endearing husband come the wines of Fond Cyprès, a soulful, luscious lineup of Carignan, Syrah, Grenache, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Viognier, Muscat, Cinsault and blends thereof. The couple, whose real names are Laetitia Ourliac & Rodolphe Gianesini, is intent on producing wines that express their sultry slice of the Languedoc — specifically, Escales, in the northernmost part of the Corbières AOC. Their domaine begins at the end of a road lined with Cypress trees and extends in either direction across 15ha of lush vegetation, a secret garden of olives, tomatoes, eggplants, wild herbs, and newly-born kittens. We first met Laetitia and Rodolphe in the deep, damp recesses of Cave Ackerman on a February afternoon in the Loire, and even then their wines were singing. But when we pulled up to their home in August and were greeted by bowls of freshly grilled palourdes, mussels, garlic, and parsley cooked in the juice we were about to drink, we understood their wines had made it feel like summer all along. - Minum Selections
Bolet - Cava Brut Nature
Catalonia - Spain
As mentioned above, the first of January isn't the only day for bubbles! We're celebrating all month reaching 2021 with different styles of sparkling wines. This one is very traditional and delicious! You could easily use it for Cava cocktails or have it by itself for a brunch.
Pairings: Shellfish, Green Salad, Cornbread
Serving Instructions: 40°-42°
The Bolet family has cultivated vinyards and elaborated wine for over seven generations.At the beginning of the 20th century, Jaume Bolet Galofré faced the phylloxera plague by replanting all of the vines on our property with white and red varieties typical of the region. Over the years he planted new vines and today we work 66 acres. The estates: Can Planes d’en Perull, Les Conilleres and Mas Lluet, each in different areas and at different altitudes, are located in Castellví de la Marca (Barcelona). In the 1970s, Antoni Bolet Pascual began to modernize the winery by installing machinery and stainless steel tanks. In 1982 we began bottling wines and cavas from our homegrown harvest under the Bolet brand, tribute to the family surname, from both branches "Mas Lluet" and “Can Planes”. - Bolet
Esencia Rural - Pampaneo Ancestrale
Castilla-La-Mancha - Spain
This one is certainly a natty take on a pét-nat that is fun and playful! Low in alcohol, I love this wine as a starter to a dinner party. Made in the ancestral method, this pét-nat is playful and bubbly! You’ll experience notes of pineapple, pear, sweetgrass and pineapple. Fresh, fruity, crisp and light!
Pairings: Tapas, Ceviche, Spicy Food
Serving Instructions: 40°-45° - Have a glass handy in case it bubbles a lot and open the cap slowly to prevent big pops!
About Esencia Rural
Winemaker Julian Ruiz farms 50 hectares of Airen, Tinto Velasco, and Tempranillo varieties organically and with some biodynamic principles. The vineyard in Castilla La Mancha is a tribute to all the farmers who have made an effort from sunrise to sunset that work the land with simplicity and dignity.
Caladu - Cardedu
Sardinia - Italy
Smoke meets spice in this fruit forward red! The 25-50 year old vines this wine comes from gives a depth to the flavors while the granite soils keep it crisp. Store this bottle in your cellar and save it for a special evening, it’s worth the wait! This wine was also in the Eater wine club as a celebration wine and we love the idea of opening something with age for a nice time or saving it for an ever MORE special occasion.
Pairings: Lamb, Eggplant, Mushrooms
Serving Instructions: 40°-45°
"Sergio Loi is a 4th generation traditional Sardinian producer, whose family winery from the early 900s has always practiced no chemical farming and minimum intervention in the cellar. The Cardedu [car-DAY-do] vineyards are located on the island’s sparsely populated Southeast, where soils are crumbling granite near the coast, and schist in ragged-dry cliffs around Jerzu. - Portovino
Wine Evaluation Sheet
Want to have some fun evaluating and taking note on your wine? Check out our natural wine tasting sheets we made special for the club!