Twenty-First (21st) Edition Wine Club

This might be controversial one...ROSE ALL DAY!
For February Wine Club -- the month of LOVE -- I'm going to be doing all kinds of rose. As a seller of wine, I think rose is consistently overlooked as being the most fun, delicious, and dynamic of wine styles. But it's SO HARD to get people to buy in. And I get it...If you think rose is the nauseas swill hailing from Provence with names like Whispering Angel, then I know why you don't like it. I don't like it either. Fortunately, that's not what most roses taste like! 
Within natural wine, there is little typicity when it comes to rose. Technically rose is either a direct press (meaning red grapes are pressed and do not spend time with the skins and juices co-mingling) or they have a short maceration, under 48 hours with the skins and the juice. Sometimes rose is a blend of red and white wine as well, but in the conventional wine world, this is sort of looked down upon. In natural wine, rose can function somewhat as a 'catchall' for wines that don't fit neatly into any one category, see the 'Valmal' in the four bottle membership. I hope you enjoy this month's selections. I know I did. 


A Boire
Blinto '22
Itata Valley, Chile
"After many months the new Chilean project of Basile Wehrlé has landed in California.  You may remember Basiles project in Alsace called “À Boire" where he worked under the tutelage of Patrick Meyer. Finding the desire to move back to Chile, where Basile had spent time working for Louis Antoine Luyt in 2016, Basile is now set up in the Itata Valley with his own vines making his own wines & Sour Beers. In December of 2022 we had the pleasure to visit these wild vines, some of over 100s of years of age.  The result is aromatic whites of Moscatell, and smokey reds of Pais, and some mixes of the two, all with great drinkability and freshness." - the importer
If you're a lover of orange wines, this will be for you. It's a combination of light maceration white (i.e. a fresher orange wine) and a direct press red (i.e. rose). Wehrlé is working both with his own grapes and with grapes grown by neighbors, but in the case of this wine, they're all from his own vineyards. Quite low alcohol, making it extremely easy to drink. On the nose, there are lovely aromatics. The wine is lightly smokey, low acid, with notes of tart watermelon rind and first of the season red fruits.
Azienda Agricola Farnea (Marco Buratti)
Anin '21
Colli Euganei, Veneto, Italy

Marco Buratti’s Azienda Agricola Farnea occupies around two hectares of vines and three hectares of woodlands in a particularly beautiful part of the Colli Euganei National Park. The land here has been planted with grapes since the eighteenth century, when the vignaioli of old were drawn to the area’s fertile volcanic soils. Marco’s vines are worked by hand without the use of chemicals, a way of working he had decided on before clearing the forest to plant vines here in 2003. The cantina consists of a small room at the edge of Marco’s house strewn with various vats of concrete and fibreglass, old barrels and not a lot else. These tools, along with the grapes, are all Marco uses to make wines, there is nothing added at any stage. - Tutto Wines

Like the Cascina degli Ulivi rose you had in last month's Wine Club, we have another rose made from young vine Merlot. This time, we're tasting the grapes from Veneto, a region still in northern Italy, but due east, not far from the Slovenian and Austrian border. The Merlot is directly pressed into cuves and stays in there until the following year. In your glass you'll get lovely scents of blood orange, brined olive and decent body and weight. This is the epitome of "winter rose".



Les Freres Soulier
Valmal '21
Direct Press Grenache Noir
Saint Hilaire d'Ozilhan, Rhone, France
Les Freres Soulier was started by two brothers, Charles and Guillame, when they took over their father's domaine in 2014, producing their first vintage in 2015. Since then they've expanded their footprint and now farm a total of 10 hectares all by hand and horse. Guillame primarily handles the agriculture, while Charles focuses on the winemaking. Both are united in their commitment to eschewing the use of chemicals and mechanization. 
Grenache from 80-year old vines is left un-topped, creating a beautifully oxidative wine that is bursting with notes of strawberries and caramel. wine A touch of residual sugar is balanced by its acidity. A truly unique wine. - Snail Bar
Please note, this wine is UP-TOPPED! That means that as the wine ages, you lose some of the volume to evaporation. Usually the winemaker will "top" the wine off, so the volume doesn't decrease and the wine stays fresh. If you don't top the wine, you get more exposure to oxygen, making this an "oxidative" wine. Famous oxidative wines include Sherry and  Vin Santos. This process is intentional and adds flavors such as brioche, baked fruit, and nuttiness. The wines will often be brown or golden in color. If we called a wine "oxidized" we are implying an UNINTENTIONAL exposure to air and it will make the wine feel dull and drab. Oxidative wines are excellent food wines, especially drank well with cheeses. 


Simon Busser
Si Rose
Cahors, Southwest, France

Along a meandering stretch of the Lot river outside Cahors, Simon farms around 5 hectares of Côt, Merlot and Chenin Blanc inherited from his father, along with a sprinkling of Trousseau and Savignin brought from friends in the Jura. Equidistant from the Mediterranean sun and the rainy Atlantic of France, Cahors is a region known for earthy and powerful red wines designed for the table. Practicing organic viticulture with a horse-drawn plough and zero-additive winemaking since 2008, Simon describes his style as “traditional” and “non-technical.” 

For Simon, traditional refers to a combination of ripe grapes, significant extraction, and then elevage in large wood or concrete vessels—a style that he learned from his father and neighbors in Praysac. Non-technical, though we often hear it invoked by winemakers, has a bit more complicated, quasi-paradoxical meaning. As in cooking where simple dishes with few ingredients—imagine an omelette, a sole meunière, cacio e pepe— require more rigorous practice and attention to detail than food made with tweezers, so in winemaking it is often more difficult to naturally vinify a traditional red than a cloudy pet-nat or an aromatic amber wine. It’s no wonder that most good chefs are more likely to have a steak frites on their night off than the newest tasting menu in town. In the present climate, where irony is often celebrated more than sincerity, it takes a good deal of nerve to do something simple and do it well, without yelling about it. In our view, Simon’s approach to winemaking will never go out of style because, like a good bistro, its objective is to nourish and bring people together at a table. - Josh Eubank (the importer)


Many of you may be familiar with Simon Busser's wines, primarily rich and rustic southwestern reds (which I've previously featured in Wine Club), but not with this infrequently made cuvee. 'Si Rose' is apparently a play on words in French, but I cannot figure out what said play is. Because of the ripeness that Busser typically picks his grapes at, this rose will have a much fuller body than say, 'Blinto'. Balanced acid with light volatility typical of his wines.