A fine wine importer and distributor representing high quality producers from Germany, France & Italy.
The Keller estate is located in the small town of Flörsheim-Dalsheim in the Rheinhessen wine growing region of Germany and it has been in the family for over 220 years. Many of the vines producing now were planted in the 50’s and 60’s. Dual vignerons, Klaus-Peter and his wife Julia turn conventional wisdom upside down by slowing photosynthesis to achieve a long, slow ripening period. In constant pursuit of making the sublime more
sublime. From one vintage to the next, Klaus Peter’s perfectionism in the vineyard and winery is rivalled by few in Germany; his personal intensity and the quality of his vineyards are almost unparalleled. Keller clearly practices some of the lowest yields in Germany these days for his rieslings, with the entire estate averaging about thirty-five hectolitres per hectare, a low yield in line with many of the greatest grand cru vineyards in the hands of great producers. Approximately 85% of Keller's vineyards are Grosses Gewachs (GG or Grand Cru) but under 20% is sold as such, the rest declassified to the other estate wines.
The Prinz estate owned by Fred and Sabine Prinz, is revelation. It started as the archetypal “garage estate” when Fred started making small batches of wine under the house in 1991, whilst he was the full-time winemaker at the large Kloster Erberbach estate. By 2004 they had their own plots, and Fred started nurturing the vines and making his wine as a full-time vocation. The 9.2ha estate is now totally and staunchly organic and Fred makes wines that have great flavour intensity. All this from perfectly grown, “low-yield”, carefully-ripened grapes combined with texture from skin-contact maceration. The deep concentration and slight chewy texture of the wines is offset by the extreme precision thanks to the high-altitude sites that are set back from the Rhine. In these locations the cooler nights and wide diurnal temperature range give grapes that retain acidity and have more focus, yet ripen perfectly. Prinz rieslings are the archetypal laser-focused Rhiengau style.
A visit to Ziereisen is a memorable and very moving experience. The cool and calming influence of Edel Ziereisen is often tested by the fast-talking and break-neck mental speed of her energetic and excitable husband, Hanspeter, who gives the impression he sleeps only 5 hours per night. The vineyards here, in the very bottom left corner of Germany, are rooted in limestone and (at 270-550mt), and look down on Alsace, Jura and the Swiss regions around Basel. Although he is always in a rush when speaking, he never rushes his wines. Whether it be the judicious full bunch stem/skin macerations, the 20-hour press cycles (with stems) for whites or the 2 or 3-year large-old-barrel ageing that many wines receive; his wines are given what they deserve. Add to all of this his penchant for naturalness (organic viticulture, minimal or no use of SO2, natural ferments, long lees-ageing, minimal filtration and fining, minimal use of stainless steel and heavy reliance on old / neutral oak vessels) and we begin to scratch the surface of the unique Ziereisen philosophy.
After hearing about Johannes Jülg from K-P Keller, wine makers, merchants and sommeliers, our interest was piqued. Our curiosity lead us to this special Riesling and Pinot 'rising star' estate that has half of its vineyards in France and half in Germany! Johannes is third generation and enthusiastically took over the 20ha estate in 2010, after 7 years of experience working at Keller, Clemens Busch and Clos des Lambrays amongst others. Johannes is an energetic, deep-thinking and enthusiastic vigneron. He has no recipe for any wine, but he prefers to listen and watch, and
follow what nature, the vines and the soils dictate. His soils vary from limestone to red sandstone, including blends of both. The sites on the French side of the border are part of Northern Alsace, and those on the German side are in the Pfalz. The wines are all estate grown by Jülg and labelled as Pfalz. His Rieslings are a masterclass in texture. A strong belief in phenolic ripeness and gentle extraction (partially by feet!), as well as the use of both stainless steel and old oak, results in wines of purity and honesty that provide bright expressions of their terroir. These wines are more Germanic than Alsatian in style, laced with minerality and tense acid backbones.
The Joh. Bapt. Schäfer estate is located in the far eastern end of the lower Nahe in the village of Burg Layen, which is the most warm and dry part of the region. The estate was established in 1900 and is now in it's fourth generation. From certain points in the vines the Rheinhessen and Rheingau regions are visible by sight. Sebastian took over the 6-hectare estate in 2002 and he has been on the rise ever since. The production is small and controlled completely by Sebastian. He works with mostly old oak foudres rather than stainless-steel vessels for the top wines. All ferments are spontaneous with minimal intervention in the cellar, and his wines often show that hedonistic, reductive, visceral influence under the tropical fruit flavour that he eeks from the berries. His focus is in the vineyards where he aims to grow perfect expressive fruit from his variety of terroirs. His top GG vineyards are Pittermanchen (clay loam, decomposed white and gray slate) and Goldloch (red slate, conglomerate rocks). Both vineyards are steeply sloped and exposed to plenty of sunshine. Sebastian's range is focused on dry wines but he does vinify some fruity and sweeter Rieslings.
Max von Kunow owns 21ha in sweet spots of the Saar Valley, the coolest part of the upper Mosel region, close to the Luxumbourg border. Von Hövel is a historic estate that was already famous when these wines were favoured by Napoleon, back in the very early 1800’s. The cellar itself is around 1000yo and used to belong to the Monastery of St. Maximin. Max has organic sites that are mostly all steep, mostly all slate, and he also has a large proportion of mature vines. Since he converted the 21ha estate to organic and sustainable 'Fair’n Green' practices Max says that the wines he is making have less tropical pineapple and lychee characteristics, and more herbal tea, sage and mineral notes, with better phenolic ripeness at lower alcohol levels. In the cellar, he places more emphasis than his father before him, on non-botrytised fruit for dry and Kabinett wines, and uses more crushing of skins and also some skin-contact to coax out more extract from the berries. All wines are fermented with wild yeasts where possible, and he uses a lot of the traditional 1000lt Mosel barrels.
Benedikt was born the Ahr Valley (itself famous for some truly great Pinot producers like Jean Stodden) and he comes from a long line of grape growers and winemakers. His ancestors grew grapes and sold to co-ops. He saw the fruits of the family’s labour being grown with care, but then turned into simple wines by someone else, so he always dreamed of growing and making his own wine. After wine studies in Bad Kreuznach and 'stages' in Germany, Portugal and Hungary, he relentlessly scoured Germany for vineyards on great sites and he eventually found the Klingenberg Municipal estate and winery that had been founded in 1601 but had been abandoned for some years. This came with very old vines on the steep slopes, so it was a dream come true! Benedikt says ‘Sustainability is very important to us, so we manage our vineyards in an organic way. In addition to the absence of herbicides and chemical plant protection products, we support our vines with natural plant starch agents such as teas, soils and oils. A dozen sheep also help us to control weeds and to stimulate the soil with their natural fertilizer. We are dedicated to the fostering of permaculture in which one does not have to intervene often and which the vineyard renews itself. By that we have to do nearly everything by hand because of the steep terraces. We need up to 2500 hours per hectare per year, which is really a lot. The manual work gives us the opportunity to work gently, vine by vine. That's why we love to be winegrowers!'
Rotweingut Jean Stodden is a legendary wine estate with just 6.5ha in the steep-sided Ahr Valley, a slate, shale and basalt riddled area in the cool North of Germany’s wine zone. It’s 70km directly north of the Middle Mosel (this latitude equates to a cool 500km south of Tasmania!) To achieve ripeness, the pinot vines are planted on steep slopes angled towards the sun. Based in the pretty village of Rech, 5th generation Alexander Stodden has been crafting the wine here since 2001. The estate is a pinot noir specialist. The focus here is on the vines, mostly on steep slopes
The Wagner family has been involved in wine production now for nine generations, and since the early 1990s Daniel Wagner has been responsible for the vineyards and the cellar. Daniel has personally cleared trees and scrub on the famous GG sites of Hollberg and Heerkretz, and the estate has made these sites VERY famous and revered over the last 20+ years. All of the grapes are estate grown, organic, hand-picked, naturally fermented and have no additives except for a little SO2. The vineyards are some of the highest in elevation in Rheinhessen. The decomposed granite (porthyritic) and the granite rocks have a low pH causing vines to grow slowly and produce modest crops. Daniel has further lowered yields through manual pruning and canopy management as well as selective hand-picking using multiple passes through the plots for the dry wines.
In 1383 the first part of the Chateau Thivin cellars was built, this is the oldest Côte de Brouilly estate and one of the most highly respected producers in the region. All of Chateau Thivin’s organically-grown, largely old gamay vines are planted on the (mostly southern) slopes of Mont Brouilly, a small extinct volcano. The mature vines, great sites and endless dedicated work in the vines gives a modest yield of perfectly ripened small bunches. At harvest, these are gently placed into small crates undamaged, then tipped into vats that are closed and sealed when full of complete bunches. The marvelous simplicity of the process continues as the vats are left untouched for 7-10 days, whereupon any fermenting wine, resulting from bunches being squashed under their own weight, is drained out and the remaining whole bunches pressed. The young wine is then rested in large old barrels for 6-12 months before bottling. Such a simple and natural process gives amazing red wines.
Amiot-Servelle's history begins with the establishment of the domaine by Clement Tachot in the village of Chambolle-Musigny in 1920. Eventually, his son-in-law took charge of the estate, and the domaine operated under the name of Servelle-Tachot until the torch was passed to his daughter and her husband Christian Amiot of the Morey-St-Denis family of Pierre Amiot. All of the wines are certified organic as of the 2008 vintage.
What is remarkable about Domaine Simon Bize is that each of its wines clearly portrays the ‘house style’ as well as its individual personality, without one masking the other. The domaine’s winemaker, Chisa Bize, is a Japanese Burgundian perfectionist. It is a little-known fact, but this domaine has some of the oldest vines and the highest average vine age in all of Burgundy. There are few domaines that could boast a Bourgogne Rouge made from vines planted in 1963, 1971 and 1980; or a 1er Cru Vergelesses made from vines planted by his forbears from the ‘30s – ‘60s with the youngest planted in 1978! The winemaking philosophy is based on the principle that yield is of the utmost importance and should never exceed 40 hectolitres per hectare (a personally imposed restriction, given that the legal limits set by the French government are significantly higher). She believes in harvesting ‘perfect’ fruit, and does whatever is required to accomplish this, even if it involves a degree of
risk that most winemakers are not comfortable with.
This is a 13ha Domaine of ultra-high quality. At the core of the Domaine are some impressive vineyard sites and enviable old vines. The quality is preserved by ‘less than greedy yields’ and confident winemaking eschewing fads that the family has disrespect for. All of the wines demonstrate harmony, ripe fruit and structure thanks to both hard work in the vineyard by Denis (who insists on low yields and a strict grape selection) and to a fermentation and barrique elevage carefully controlled by Bertrand. The vineyards south of Nuits (such as Pruliers and
Vaucrains) tend to have more muscle and drive while those nearer Vosne, such as the Chaignots and Bousselots, offer more on elegance and silkiness. This is one of the very best and most pleasure-giving domaines of Burgundy and one of the most reliable too. Many writers and commentators state that Chevillon is the best or equal best domaine in Nuits St. Georges. The Chevillon brothers are two of the most hardworking vignerons we know of in all of Burgundy, and this combined with skill and passion, plus a quiver full of mature and old vines
[many in excess of 80yo] provides us with more than ample reasons to buy these wines year in, year out
Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard is one of the most important producers in the village of Chassagne-Montrachet. The style of the wines at Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard is intense, racy, deep and complex. They start out life classically balanced and accessible, but always with expressions of terroir and the underlying structure to age gracefully. The wines are always focused and detailed, and are generally aged in about a third new
oak for the Premier Crus and a little more for the Grand Crus. Celine Fontaine, only in her 30’s, but born and raised at the Domaine, seems more comfortable, confident, curious and more energized every passing year. Her parents, and her grandmother are still working in the vines, but she is constantly making small changes resulting in better and
more reliable wines.
Bertheau’s vineyards are all located in the village of Chambolle and include ‘Bonnes Mares’ and ‘Les Amoureuses’ amongst other top sites. François Bertheau is a very hands-off winemaker and allows the wine to express its self. Minimal intervention, little racking and rare use of new wood results in a bright and pure style.
Winemakers Etienne Grivot and his wife Marielle are the 5th generation of the Grivot family to be running the domaine. The 15ha vines range from 45-to 50-years old, across 22 sites including great village and cru; Vosne-Romanée, Nuits-Saint-Georges, Clos de Vougeot, Echézeaux and Richebourg. Without doubt one of the undisputed stars of Burgundy, Etienne Grivot has quietly gone about his business over the past couple of
decades, slowly but steadily nuancing his wines gently and gradually so that today, he is universally admired for being in the very top echelon of Burgundian producers. A very ‘natural’ approach in the vineyards, using organic treatments only, grass-cover, horse and plough (currently around 30% of the whole estate and increasing, including Richebourg, Echezeaux and the Premiers Crus), harder pruning, more rigorous
canopy management and a far more rigorous crop-thinning and bunch selection process.
The daughters of Marie-Christine and Marie-Andrée are now getting more and more involved in the Mugneret-Gibourg estate. This has encouraged the sisters to start the construction of a new cellar at the backside of the estate buildings – to get more space for an expansion of the production. In November 2016 Mugneret-Gibourg got some vineyards back after renting these to another vigneron for a long period via a
sharecropping agreement. These vineyards – 2 ha in total – some Bourgogne Rouge, some Vosne-Romanée, Nuits-Saint-Georges Aux Bas du Combe and some Echezeaux Rouges du Bas, are from the 2017 vintage a part of the production. The estate team has been expanded to manage the larger area of vineyards – and this will in a year with full production require a larger cellar as the workflow otherwise will be somewhat
cumbersome in the existing cellar. With the inclusion of these vineyards the estate is now 8 ha in total. In a sense it’s a start of a new beautiful era for the estate – with larger vineyards, an expanded cellar and the new generation taking a more prominent role at the estate. This lovely estate seems invigorated – and one can feel the enthusiasm of the sisters – now that their children have embraced the task of carrying on the estate in the family spirit.
This 45-hectare Domaine was planted by Jean-Jacques Moreau in the 1970s, and is now owned by Louis and Anne Moreau, who farm it with great care. They have stopped using all pesticides, and started ploughing between rows instead of spraying. It’s one of the largest contiguous parcels in Burgundy, and is planted on a south/southeast-facing slope. Its orientation and soils are very similar to some of the best Premier Cru
vineyards. Now that the vines have reached the 45-year mark, the quality is rising. As the plants have aged, the fruit character has evolved to include a more definite mark of the chalky, limestone minerality for which Chablis is famous. Today the wine has everything, from minerality and snappy acidity to weight and rich stone fruit notes. It’s a complex and beautiful expression of this old-vine site.
The Picq family has farmed its small collection of vines for several generations. Today, the estate is in the hands of Gilbert's two sons Didier and Pascal. For anyone new to these wines, Pascal Picq spends most of his time working amongst the vines; Didier Picq loves cellar work and crafting Chablis. Didier uses only stainless steel and is usually one of the last to bottle his wine, utilizing extended lees contact in tank for up to 22 months! Amazing wines of purity and density. The wines are naturally fermented with indigenous yeasts and raised in stainless steel tanks to protect the underlying expressions of terroir. You won't find a single stave of wood in the entire winery! Pascal Picq does severe pruning each winter and routinely thins the crop twice in the summer months. The serious work in the vineyards can immediately be felt in the Picq wines, as even the Chablis village, lieu-dits and Vieilles Vignes offer up a depth and intensity of flavor in the mid-palate most often associated with premier cru level wines. The winery is a classic case of how truly amazing wines can be made from more humble vineyards when given the
utmost attention and care on all levels. While a good percentage of the estate's holdings are in village-level parcels, Didier feels the wines from these vineyards in many ways serve as the calling card for the domaine. There are four village wines made each year, the Chablis AC, the Vieilles Vignes bottling made from the (oldest parcels of vines in their village wine holdings, some more than fifty years of age), plus two single-terroir
wines, Dessus-la-Carriere and En Vaudecorse which are easily the quality equivalents of a premier cru. Picq also offers up a pair of fine premier crus, both located around the village of Chichée. These include a beautifully pure and complex bottling of Vaucoupin and a more powerful, but equally soil-driven premier cru of Vosgros, which is produced from the family’s oldest premier cru vines.
The domaine; run by the Bourdy family since 1475, is based in the sleepy village of Arlay near Château-Chalon. All 10 hectares of vineyards were converted to biodynamics in 2006 and certified by Demeter in 2010. They produce a range of wines including Côtes du Jura, Crémant du Jura, Vin Jaune, Château-Chalon, Vin de Paille and the digestif/aperitif Galant des Abbesses. The reds are made from 1/3 each of pinot, poulsard and trousseau, and not surprisingly they are light-medium bodied and live (like a white) off their acidity. Cote du Jura whites are made with
100% chardonnay. This 10ha domaine has been certified biodynamic since 2006, but has been organic for much longer.
The Macle family started growing vines in Château-Chalon in 1850 and has been winemaking since the 1960s. 7th generation winemaker Laurent is currently working with his father Jean. Their cave is from the 16th century and their Château-Chalon is considered the Grand Cru of Jura. The liquid treasures of Domaine Macle are hard to come by. Even in France they are quite rare and the Domaine has not historically
exported from Europe. The Château Chalons have all the power of great Vin Jaunes, but the extra finesse, elegance and staying power that this little Grand Cru of Jura gives.
The Tissot family produces a very large range of ‘small batch-single site’ wines. The winemaker Stéphane is infectiously passionate and enthusiastic, intense, intelligent and also charismatic. Tissot is a talented and individualistic producer. Their savagnin and reds are always planted on clay for increased acidity. Chardonnay is planted on both clay and limestone, and is fermented with wild yeast and made in a very
reductive way with a lot of the yeast lees. All vineyards are strictly biodynamic and the yields are kept very low. Wild ferments, extended lees contact and reductive handling is the style here.
Picpoul de Pinet is known as the Muscadet of the south of France, and is one of the named crus of the Coteaux de Languedoc. Picpoul means “lip stinger,” which refers to its naturally high acidity. The style is a little difficult to describe, but is a little like an imaginary cross between dry Australian riesling [citrus, acidity, drive and freshness] and French melon de Bourgogne from Muscadet [doughy, yeasty, lemony and more
textural]. The best examples, such as this, have a youthful, lemony, sedate aromatic nose and a zesty palate showing hints of pear, lemon with a hint of mineral and firmness.
Daniel Crochet and family own a small 9ha domaine based in Bué, near the village of Sancerre itself. 4th Generation winemaker, Daniel Crochet has been running the family winery since 1996. Organic vineyards with two main types of soils; a limestone-clay, known locally as Terres Blanches and a pebbly limestone known locally as Caillottes. No oak is used creating a pure, Chablis-like Sauvignon Blanc.
Maréchal is an old Loire Valley-based producer that offers a complete range of great-value sparkling wines from Loire Valley fruit. The wines are based on Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay.
Located right in the middle of Provence, between Lorgues and Draguignan, Château Roubine is one of the oldest wine estates of France. One of only 23 Côtes de Provence estates recognized as "Cru Classé" since 1955.
We have long been avid supporters of Chateau Cissac - we believe it to be one of the top cru bourgeois Bordeaux from the Haut-Medoc. Château Cissac is located right in the heart of the Médoc region. Its exceptional terroir adjoins that of the prestigious Saint-Estèphe and Pauillac
appellations, extending over an area of around a hundred hectares. The soil is mainly sandy gravel on top of clay and limestone, and the vineyards occupy a single tract of land which is sheltered by the village of Cissac and the forests which surround it.
Cécile's vineyard holdings cover just 1.6 ha in the heart of the Dentelles de Montmirail, a terraced ‘lieu-dits’, planted in 1970 by her father. The site reaches a height of 300m above sea-level, soils are comprised mainly of stony red-clay alluvium and is planted to three classic Rhone varieties; Grenache, Syrah and Mouvedre. Producing only one cuvée means they can focus their energies on careful vineyard management and astute winemaking.
The cellars are based in Mauves (same village as Chave and Gonon) and the fruit is sourced from their steep, organically-managed terrace vineyard plots. This exciting new producer is a favorite amongst European critics and sommeliers alike for its traditional and pure approach to winemaking and viticulture in this great quality:value appellation
Sylvain Gauthier numbers among the young, eager and talented ‘rock-star’ northern Rhone producers. He is set on making the world take notice of his dense but pure syrah and is happy to work his mostly high-altitude, steep granite sites by hand, ploughing by horse and also using a handhoe for weed control. This is a fully organic domaine of 6ha, all Southern St. Joseph steeply terraced on steep high slopes. Coming from Lorraine,
where his father was a vigneron, he left the region and studied wine in Beaune before working with Chapoutier and Stephane Robert, both significant Northern Rhone producers. He then started on his own with a single-minded vision of making pure, natural, clean and vivid 'real' Rhone shiraz.
This estate, purchased by Henri de Lanzac in 1995, has vines that average 80 years old. The vineyards include 30 ha in Lirac, adjacent to
Châteauneuf-du- Pape and a 6 ha plot in the commune of Tavel. The wines are dense, spicy and quite rich compared to many other Côte du Rhônes.
Léon was the first cellarmaster at Ogier, just after the company’s creation in 1859. Born in Châteauneuf du Pape, he knew all the secrets of how an exceptional wine from the Rhône Valley should be taken care of. The wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Carignan and Mourvedre. The winemaker is Armelle Barbanson, and this wine comes from sites in the highlyregarded communes of Bourg-Saint-Andeol, Visan and Courthézon.
Azelia is a small quality-focused estate of 16 ha. owned by the Scavino family. Lorenzo Scavino works with his father Luigi to make concentrated Baroli that are not forcefully tannic in style, but they are serious in structure with firmness, flesh and beautiful balance. The Scavino's seem to be able to coax out the heady perfume of rose and spice along with the berry fruits, forest, herb and savoury notes of the nebbiolo grape. They do a rigorous green harvest, along with conscious work with canopy management to ensure air-flow and allow adequate light penetration without sunburn. The modest yields of only 5.5 tonnes per hectare (approx. 35hl/ha or 2.3t/acre) provide ample concentration in the high-quality raw
material. In the cellar cleanliness and fastidiousness are apparent, and the judicious use of large oak barrels preserves the fruit, so it is no wonder the wines are regularly reviewed as being among the best of the region.
In the wonderful hills of Barolo the Brovia family have been growing nebbiolo since 1863. The family organically farms some of the greatest vineyards in the heart of the Barolo area: the cru sites of Rocche, Villero and Garblet Sue in Castiglione Falletto and Brea ‘Ca Mia’ in Serralunga d’Alba. These sites are in the heartland of Barolo, and the wines are organic, pure, unhurried, as well as naturally and traditionally made.
Sisters Cristina and Elena, run the vineyard and cellar and, apart from changing to organics, and making small refinements, they have not significantly changed the traditional winemaking at all. These wines are aged slowly in 3000lt casks, then bottled, unfiltered and unadulterated, usually after about 2 years.
This small estate, now with 6.5ha of vines surrounded by olive trees and natural scrub, was first established in 1910 in the only limestone rich (SE) sector of the Montalcino region, near the old abbey of Sant Atimo. After the estate was abandoned in the 40’s it was resurrected by the new and enthusiastic owner Stella Viola di Campalto from 1992. The vines sit at an altitude of around 300 metres above sea level, and the hand-tended
organic vines (with 5 people working full-time in this small property) produce perfect little berries that are hand-picked and taken to
the cool 3-tiered cellar where the wine is fermented in large truncated cone shaped vats and handled only by gravity. The very slow and cool ageing takes place mostly in large oval oak casks of about 1700lt size (completely topped up all the time) for around 2 years for the Rosso and 4
years for the Brunellos. Stella is never in a rush to release her wines. They are all bottled by hand. With a visit to Stella’s cellar, guests can’ help but feel a palpable sense of determined perfectionism and the burning desire of Stella and the workers to best transfer the vineyard character to the glass, naturally and gently. Even though the Brunellos are far from youthful fruit bombs
upon release, as they have had 6 or so years of cask and bottle ageing, they are deep, resonant, complex and they have cellar potential to burn. When you open even a 2008 or 2009 now, you can expect them to evolve and change for many, many hours in the glass, and it will probably be better the next day. ‘However, if there is one estate and winemaker that, stylistically at least, seems heir apparent to the exquisite sangioveses of Soldera, it might be Stella di Campalto…‘ Dan Keeling, Noble Rot.