Going Natural Wine Club - June 2022
Posted on June 15, 2022
Located on the benches of southeast Kelowna, Sperling Vineyards strives towards a better tomorrow with a focus on pushing into the biodynamic and organic world while still maintaining tradition. The family has been producing wine on the same land in the Okanagan since the 1930s, with the tradition of winemaking stretching over four generations. Although the Vinyards have been farmed and used to make wine since the 1930s, the company Sperling Vineyards was officially founded in 2008 and received its Organic Certification in 2017. Head winemakers Ann Sperling and her husband, Peter Gamble, travel around Canada helping winemakers and Vinyards to advance their winemaking style. Ann grew up on the Sperling property and has been experimenting with low intervention, biodynamic, organic viniculture, and winemaking practices since the 1980s. This has allowed her to maintain the family’s traditional winemaking techniques while also pushing the envelope, which is a difficult balance to achieve.
With a blend of 85% old vine Marechal Foch, and 15% Pinot Noir, this wine stands out from other Pet-Nat's due to the fact it’s red! Don’t let that fool you though as this wine has crisp acidity and low tannins with notes of fresh Haskap berries and just picked red cherries. After harvest the Marechal Foch goes into the fermentation tanks as whole berries and clusters where they let the juice begin to ferment inside the skins of the grapes (a process called Carbonic Maceration), it is then pressed, blended with a touch of Pinot Noir, and then bottled with no added yeast, sugar, or sulphur. The secondary fermentation that goes on inside the bottle brings the wine to 1.5 atmospheres, giving it a healthy amount of bubbles. Because they don’t disgorge the yeast from the bottle before capping, there is a small layer of the leftover yeast left at the bottom of the bottle. This wine drinks reminiscently of Lambrusco, making it the perfect pairing for the Canadian version of traditional Italian Pizza, Greasy Hawaiian Pizza! Please drink cold or else you’re going to have red wine spray all over yourself and anything else that’s close to you when you open it, not a threat, just a warning.
Based in the small, little-known French winemaking region of Bugey, which is just east of Lyon at the base of the Rhone-Alps. This small winery was started in 2016 by Isabelle and Jérémy Decoster Coiffier with support from investors. Jérémy has worked with some of the most well-respected natural winemakers in the world, the experience and knowledge gained while working under the likes of Agnes and Olivier De Moor, Lilian Duplessis, and other well-known producers, he decided to settle down and start his winery in Bugey. This region is around 500 meters above sea level and tends to have clay-limestone-based soils. Six hectares of the Les Cortis estate are cultivated by hand while following Biodynamic and organic practices. Their goal for each vintage is to truly show off the terroir and uniqueness of this region while interfering with the winemaking as little as possible. Or as he says” The future, as determined as it is unpredictable, will be, as far as we are concerned, an opportunity to deepen our practices and, above all, to occupy passionately our function: to reduce the infinitely complex to very little."- Jérémy Decoster Coiffier
The wine itself is 85% Gamay, 10% Altesse, and 5% Mondeuse, this tends to give it a Beaujolais sort of style while still maintaining a uniqueness that makes it stand out. Only ambient yeast is used during the wine-making process, semi-carbonic maturation is used at the start of the fermentation to boost the floral and red fruit notes while 15 days of maceration on the skins brings depth and complexity that complements and balances the bright red fruit notes with grace. The wine is then left to finish fermenting in vats on the lees for 10 months, this adds another layer to this already beautiful mosaic of liquid. This wine tends to drink better with a light chill on it and pairs wonderfully with BBQ chicken and roasted Vegetables! It may be a little funky when it is first poured but let it breathe for a few minutes and it opens right up.
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