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Top 10 low-intervention sparkling wines at RAW

Ahead of RAW Wine London, we have picked out 10 low-intervention sparkling wines from the fair – a consumer event to showcase organic, biodynamic and natural wines starting this Sunday.

Ploughing the soil at a new plantation in Champagne by biodynamic producer Franck Pascal

Taken from a range of producers from RAW, which features 150 growers, below is a snapshot of sparkling wines you might want to try at the event, which runs from 10-6pm on Sunday and Monday (10-11 March).

Be it pet nats, the rural method, ancestral method, col fondo, traditional method, or any variant in between, it’s on pour at RAW, while some of wines selected below will be shown at a masterclass at 2pm on Monday, called Understanding Bubbles.

Featuring six labels, the event will take in low-intervention producers from Champagne, Franciacorta, Oregon and Wales, including a range of styles, from Pet Nat to Brut Nature.

As previously reported by db, more than 150 natural wine producers from around the world will be converging at London’s The Store on 180 The Strand for two days from this Sunday 9 March, with the fair running from 10-6pm on both days.

But for now, below is a selection of 10 types of low-intervention fizz for the natural wine lover.

Champagne Franck Pascal, Fluence Brut Nature, Champagne, France NV

Champagne is experiencing a green renaissance in part due to a host of committed, small, artisan growers, including the husband and wife team Isabelle & Franck Pascal of Champagne Franck Pascal, whose wines are “biodynamically and bioenergetically produced”.

This Pinot Meunier (50%), Chardonnay (25%) and Pinot Noir (25%) blend, saw no SO2 during vinification, carried out full malolactic fermentation and received zero dosage.

UK importer: Dynamic Vines

Cantina Furlani, Sui Leviti Alpino, Trentino, Italy, 2015

Based in the Italian Alps, this small, 3-hecatare vineyard, located in part on the Vigolana hillside and partly on the hills overlooking the city of Trento, is home to fizz expert Furlani who craft a raft of sparkling wines in tiny quantities.

Sui Leviti Alpino is a sort of hybrid – part-way between ancestral method and traditional method – featuring a first fermentation in steel tank and a second fermentation in bottle using frozen must from the same vintage.

It is a blend of Vernaccia, Lagarino Bianco, Nosiola and Verdebara. A

UK importer: Natural Born Wine

Divella, Blanc de Blancs, Franciacorta, Italy, 2015

Franciacorta is becoming increasingly famous as a first-rate source of high quality méthode traditionelle in Italy, and Alessandra Divella’s Blanc de Blancs is no exception.

A pure Chardonnay, it is fermented in large oak barrels and released after three years maturation.

Alessandra herself is a young marvel. Having set up operations all by herself, she farms 2 hectares of vines (1.5 ha of Chardonnay and 0.5 ha of Pinot Noir).

All her sparkling wines are matured for between two and five years sur latte before releasing them without any dosage.

UK importer: Dynamic Vines

Els Vinyerons Vins Naturals, Pregadeu, Penedès, Spain, 2016

Els Vinyerons is a collaborative project between friends Alex Ruiz Masachs, an oenologist, and Amós Bañeres, an ex-pharmacist, who swapped his life in Barcelona for a patch of old vines on a hillside in the Penedès – Catalonia’s cava country.

Els Vinyerons focuses on indigenous varieties, grown and vinified naturally and sold at very reasonable prices.

This ancestral method Xarel-Lo was grown on limestone soils that the producer proudly claims is packed with 18 million year-old fossilised oysters.

UK importer: Ancestrel

Domaine Brand, Crémant Flèche Saignante, Brut Nature, Alsace, France, 2017

Growers in Alsace are beginning to bring natural approaches to viticulture to their cellars as well, resulting in an increasing range of low-intervention producers in this region, including Domaine Brand.

This zero dosage Pinot blend – Pinot Blanc (40%), Pinot Gris (30%), Pinot Noir (30%) – is made using the traditional method, with a twist.

The effervescence in the bottle is created using the following years’ must, which means the fermentation is started by the yeast from their vineyards.

UK importer: Seeking representation

Meinklang, Foam White, Burgenland, Austria, 2017

Meinklang is home to the inspirational Michlits family in Austria’s Burgenland. This 2,000 hectare farm (of which 70ha is under vine) is run completely biodynamically, with most farm inputs grown or made directly onsite. Foam White started fermentation spontaneously and was left on its Pinot Grigio skins for about 7 days. The fermenting free run juice was then bottled a few days later with 18 g/l of residual sugar and the fermentation completed to dryness in the bottle – making this an ancestral method bubbly.

No sulphites were added and 7000 bottles were produced.

UK importer: The Winemakers Club

Movia, Puro Rosé, Brda, Slovenia, 2010

Aleš Kristančič, owner of Movia, has produced ancestral method, col fondo wines for years, and long-before their new-found fashion as a more traditional type of fizz.

Typically made with very long elevage in the bottle sur lie, Movia’s Puro range of wines are testament to the fact that pet nats can be an ageworthy fizz. This wine was made from Pinot Noir left on its skins for a single day and no sulphites were added.

UK importer: Seeking representation

Gotsa Wines, Tavkveri Pet’Nat, Rosé, Kartli, Georgia, 2017

Beka Gotsadze is an impressive character. An architect by training he is also a fabulous grower & maker of fine Georgian wine. His vineyard, which he planted from scratch an hour outside Tbilisi on ancient winemaking land that had been lying fallow since the Soviet industrialisation of agriculture, has been farmed biodynamically from the start.

All of Beka’s wines are vinified in qvevri (kvevri) buried underground at altitude (1300m), and his pet nats are made by bottling the still fermenting wines, in true rural method style.

The pink Tavkveri has a dash of residual sugar that makes it especially perfect to kick off the first toast at a Georgian supra.

UK importer: Seeking representation

Swick Wines, The Beav, American Sparkling Wine, 2018

This small winery in Newberg, Oregon, focuses on making natural wines from grapes sourced from organically farmed vineyards in Oregon and Washington. Although their focus is Pinot Noir, they also work with several other grape varieties from the colder areas of two states. This particular wine is an unusual blend of 40% cinsault (direct pressing), 10% riesling and gewurztraminer macerated for two weeks on its skin. Made using the ancestral method and disgorged by hand in January, only 1320 bottles were made.

UK importer: Seeking representation

Ancre Hill Estates, Triomphe Pet Nat, Wales, UK, NV

Ancre Hill Estates is one of the vineyards driving the organic conversation in the UK. Located in just over the English border in south Wales, this straw-bale winery and 11 ha farm in the Wye Valley has been working biodynamically since 2010. This sparkling red wine is made from the unusual Triomphe grape – an Alsatian creation from 1911. Made by blending finished wine from 2014 with fermenting wine from the 2015 vintage, it was riddled, disgorged and topped up with the same wine.

No sulphites were added and only 1400 bottles were produced.

UK importer: Carte Blanche Wines.

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