Twenty-Fifth (25th) Edition Wine Club

There is a dual theme to this month of Wine Club: Summer Wines & Repetition. It's a dual theme because the two wines everyone is getting are absolutely party wines for ringing in the summer months (did you know the longest day of the year is just a couple days away?!), and those at the four bottle level (this is one of the perks!) will get a bottle of light red from Mendall (last month was a sparkling white) and also a second Austrian rose of Blaufrankisch from famed natural wine producer, Christian Tschida. One of the things I'm frequently encouraging natural wine drinkers to do so to dive deeper into themes -- producers, styles, grapes, etc. By tasting a second of Laureano's wines, you'll get a better sense of who he is as a producer. My drinking a second Austrian Blaufrankisch rose you'll be getting a sense of the range of the grape and individual producers' touch. Cheers to sunshine and drinking wine! 


'Intra! the Wild Rose' 2022
Neckenmarkt, Burgenland, Austria 

"The word Kolfok has its origins in a regional dialect and describes a person, critical to common thoughts — an unconventional thinker. Winemaker and Kolfok in chief Stefan Wellanschitz was born into winemaking at the family's estate in Neckenmarkt, a winery that dates back to the early 19th century, to a time when this part of Burgenland was still Hungarian and not Austrian.

While still also working at the family's estate, Stefan decided to launch his own wines back in 2013, wines that are a clear deviation from the family's more traditional style, towards natural winemaking and a purist low-tech approach that would highlight soils and micro-climate, aka terroir.

Some parts of the vineyards are directly at the border of Hungary, especially the town Neckenmarkt shows a unique combination of alpine soils and Pannonian climate. In the middle of the Oedenburger Valley, Neckenmarkt is located at a relatively high altitude, the vineyards are up to 500 meters above sea level with a smorgasbord of soils coming into play. In the higher parts soils range from schist, gneiss to limestone, and in the lower vineyards from ferrous loam to volcanic clay.

Says Stefan: "I want to show those exceptional conditions in my wines. That's why I work naturally both in the vineyards and in the cellar. To prevent monoculture the vines are growing organically together with other herbs and plants. In the cellar it's very easy - the wine leaves the press without the use of pumps into local oak barrels which can be from 600 liters (Halbstueck) to 1200 liters (Stueck), this is where the stays without fining, moving or even sulfuring. At the optimum time, they are bottled unfiltered with minimal addition of sulfur."

The 2nd vintage of Stefan's highly sought after Rose. Organically farmed Blaufrankisch from a cool vineyard site. Some clusters were left intact and whole, some were partly destemmed before being put in a semi closed container for a slow and cool native yeast fermentation that lasted into November. The juice was moved by gravity into 1200 liter used Austrian barrels and allowed to age without intervention, stirring or additives. Bottled in February. It is a phenolic, lightly spiced Rose with enough structure to make it a fabulous food accompaniment. We are so excited to bring in this stunning example of Kolfok natural wines!" - WineMonger (the importer)

Le Batossay (Baptiste Cousin)
'Puppet-Nat' 2020
Gamay + a little Cabernet Franc
Boirsairault, Loire Valley, France

Baptiste Cousin Jr's winery is one of many buildings that used to form Château de Boisairault, a large old agricultural estate dating back to 1600, famous for its tobacco production. Due to twists and turns in its recent history, the Chateau became completely derelict...Luckily for him, one of the things he inherited from his father (besides his knack for winemaking and rebellious spirit) is also dexterity and love for construction work. 

The once run-down estate has now not only become a winery of Baptiste’s own, but also continues to find other uses as well, including a nascent multifunctional space that will serve their community as a school for kids during the day, eating space at lunchtime, and a venue for parties, weddings or concerts on evenings and weekends. Baptiste praises this unique spot that allows him to exist virtually off-the-grid, a feature that is very important for his radical nature.

Baptiste farms some 4.5 hectares that his father left him in 2012 when Cousin Sr. decided to concentrate on Cabernet Franc. He continues to work these plots (including a plot of Chenin planted in the 1950s) in the same way as his father: by hand, plowing with horses and using his own biodynamic herbal teas and other formulas. But you won’t hear about it unless you ask – chez les Cousins, it’s just the normal thing to do. “I’d never play this card to show off on the internet in the sense of “look how authentic we are, we have a horse and everything,” adds Baptiste, who’s very private and wary of the current social media craze. 

The vineyards are certified organic by both AB-Ecocert and Nature et progrès, a French label that goes beyond organic farming: “It’s not about biodynamics, it’s a certification of… peasantry (la paysannerie),” Baptiste explains the differences. Also designed to address the social dimensions of farming, the organization “requires you to employ local products and workers, ethical financing, solidarity.. And the monitoring is more strict and thorough since you are checked by the farmer-members themselves, not just by someone outside agriculture who doesn’t fully understand what they are controlling.” - Jenny & Francois (the importer)

To read on, click here.


The grapes were hand harvested, macerated for 12 days and then pressed. Bottled under crown caps while the primary native fermentation was still going, to keep the CO2 in bottles, as is typical for a pet-nat. Lightly fizzy, fruity and round red bubbles.



Mendall (Laureano Serres)
'The Last' 2021
Carignan + a bit of Grenache Blanc/Macabeo

El Pinell de Brai, Catalonia, Spain


Laureano in his cave/tasting room in town (June 2022)

Laureano telling us about the history and geography of the region (June 2022)

The bulk wine cooperative in town, which is, at least architecturally, a shrine to wine (June 2022)

Laureano's cave (June 2022)


This is an easy description since I wrote it last month: Another absolute legend is in Wine Club this month, a label that many are probably already familiar with, and if you're not, what a treat it is to introduce you to the wines of Laureano Serres AKA Mendall. I had the pleasure of visiting Laureano in June 2022 and it was one of the most important winemaker visits I've had. Pinell is strikingly beautiful, a old fortified town high above the Mediterrenean sea, also known as 'terra alta' -- 'high earth'. Laureano splits his time between town, where he was born and raised, and his vineyards which a short, but winding drive away.

Laureano is one of the original pioneers of sans soufre (without sulfur, 0/0) winemaking. If you've ever seen the 'Brutal!!!' label featuring the Grim Reaper, Laureano was there the night of the founding, along with Anthony Tortul (La Sorga), Axel Prufer, Remi Poujol, Joan Ramon Escoda, and others. Prior to becoming a prolific and respected winemaker, Laureano was a computer programmer until the late 90s when he pivoted his career towards organic winemaking and shortly thereafter, 0/0 winemaking.


View of the mountains from the vineyard hut (June 2022)

Wines on the table (June 2022)


"An all-end blend of late harvest carinyena, with a sprinkling of white grenache and macabeo, along with a healthy dose of high-acid verjus or second crop. Picked in mid-October. Short maceration, keeping its ruby color and vibrant acidity intact." - the importer


Tschida (Christian Tschida)
'Himmel auf Erden Rosé' 2022

Illmitz, Burgenland, Austra

Sometimes, it feels like an honor to have a wine club small enough that I get to put bottles like this into it. I actually feel lucky! But please don't hesitate to tell your friends to sign up for Wine Club. The wines will stay impeccable, don't worry. Here we have 'Himmel auf Erden Rose': a wine I, personally, was introduced to, and so impressed by, that I had to find a way to get it into Wine Club. 

A few weeks ago I had some women who work in natural wine over to my house. We decided to make a game of it and do a blind tasting. For those who might not be familiar, a blind tasting is when the bottles are covered and you taste it and try to identify the wine without seeing the bottle. Most people are bad at this in natural wine, but it's still fun. Of the ten or so wines we tasted (which were eventually all revealed), across the board, we all strongly favored the Tschida rose. Most of us with significantly differing tastes in wine, but once it was time for dinner, we all poured ourselves a glass of this wine. 

A few weeks later, I got to meet Christian at an industry tasting here in LA. Initially reserved, he warmed up and happily chatted about his vineyards and wines. He showed pictures of his vineyards, the horses, and the unique doppelstock system of planting two vines directly next to each other to insight competiton. His perfectionism was apparent in both the discussion and in tasting the full lineup of wines. Every single one of his wines was tasting amazing. I highly recommend the whites and oranges if you see them out in the wild, and certainly the reds don't hurt. To read more about him, follow this link. It makes for a great read. Cheers!


Christian picks the grapes over 5 different harvest days in order to show off “the whole aromatic spectrum” of his highest, coolest vineyards, which are on limestone soils. Grapes are hand harvested and crushed by foot. The juice ferments in large barrels, and spends one year aging in 500 to 1500-liter barrels.