If you like the sound of natural wine but don’t consider yourself an expert, this article was written with you in mind! Read on for our top picks amongst the natural wine icons of tomorrow. As we said in our previous article about the current auctions, the highly specialist collection led us to research many domains at length.
Up and coming natural domains
In addition to the plethora of natural icons – Overnoy, Ganevat, Anglore, Allemand – we’ve also discovered many wines that we’d never even heard of. Thankfully, the collector, a natural wine specialist himself – guided us through the best, rarest gems in his cellar.
In Burgundy, Domaine de la Cras is an exciting project that was launched by the city of Dijon, which bought the 160-hectare estate in 2013. The vines have AOC Bourgogne classification. Marc Soyard was chosen to manage the domain with full freedom, as long as he farmed his vines organically and opened the domain to the public for educational visits. Having worked at domain Bizot in the past (Vosne-Romanée), his decision to farm organically and biodynamically, and to use natural vinifications, came fairly naturally. The wines from this promising, new domain are said to be delicious.
Maison en Belles Lies had been recommended to us several years ago by this very same seller. Members of the iDealwine to who have had the pleasure of tasting the domain’s wines recall their ‘perfectly fluid and supple texture and refined profile’. This biodynamic and natural domain is tended like a garden; the team wholeheartedly recommends their cuvées.
Finally, the newly created domain Dandelion, in Hautes Côtes de Nuit, deserves our full attention. Young winemaker Morgane Seuillot created the tiny (2.5-hectare domain): she produces wines as cleanly as possible, with no inputs whatsoever. She is helped by her friend Christian Knott of Chandon de Briailles. The fruit is sublime, the wine fresh, elegant and perfectly balanced.
In the Jura, Domaine des Murmures is already “one of the greats” according to our natural wine specialist. There again, spanning one hectare, the domain is microscopic. This gem of a domain is owned by the talented Emmanuel Lançon.
The Loire offers its own fair share of finds: first of all, La Grapperie in Touraine (AOC Coteaux du Loir). The young Renaud Guettier moved to Buel-en-Touraine in 2004 and grows Chenin, Pineau d’Aunis, Gamay and Côt. The domain’s cuvées deliver pleasant ripeness, intense fruit and pronounced minerality.
Gerard Marula trained with Jo Pithon and has been producing a limited amount of his own top-quality wines since 2005.
Domaine Corbineau in Candes Saint-Martin (AOC Touraine) is not so much a new kid on the block as a discrete domain whose wines are worth trying; his Cabernet Franc cuvées combine power and firmness with incredibly supple textures.
Three natural champagne producers are featured in this private collection: domains Aurélien Lurquin, Brochet and Rupert-Leroy. Aurélien Lurquin is part of a young generation of natural producers in the region. With only 2 hectares, he produces superb, terroir-driven champagnes and great Coteaux Champenois wines that are almost impossible to find. Emmanuel Brochet also produces top-drawer wine in very limited quantities, perfect for lovers of frank, vinous champagnes. Last but not least, domain Rupert-Leroy is slightly more well-known. Located in the Côte des Bar, the vineyard spans four hectares in Essoyes, where the young couple Bénédicte Ruppert and Emmanuel Leroy produce widely renowned biodynamic and natural champagnes.
Check out Domaine Pedres-Blanques in Banyuls (AOC Collioure). The domain was in the news a few months ago because its owners, the young Japanese couple Rié and Hirofumi Shoji were threatened with deportation as they couldn’t prove the minimum revenue dictated by French law. Prior to the press coverage, the domain was already well-known for the quality of its organic and natural wines. Prices remain reasonable for the moment.
In the Rhône, we’d like to present another domain that is managed by a talented Japanese winemaker: Domaine Ooka in AOC Cornas. Hirotake Ooka has managed to achieve a very high quality of wine in a very short space of time: they are perfectly balanced, fresh and have great length. Unfortunately, the domain no longer exists since the Ooka family returned to Japan to create another domain.
In Bordeaux, as you already know, natural wines are in short supply. In Saint-Julien, however, you’ll find Domaine du Joguaret, a tiny vineyard (just over one hectare) owned by seventy-year-old Jean-François Filastre. It just goes to show, natural wine isn’t as recent a phenomenon as we sometimes imagine!
Above is just a snap shot of the natural wine icons of tomorrow: browse the catalogues to see more.