What’s new at Bibendum?
With our latest range additions we venture to central and south-eastern Europe to discover the brilliant, yet often underrated wines of Turkey and Croatia. We also strengthen our regional French and Italian offer with additions from Beaujolais, Languedoc, Puglia and Friuli, while adding a new exclusive cava from Spain and one of Chile’s most important producers.
While Turkey is the fourth largest producer of grapes in the world, only 2.5% thereof is used for making wine. Historically, most of this wine was sold in Turkey, with little need for exports. However, with the changing and less favourable domestic environment, producers are looking more towards export markets, resulting in more realistic costs and increased quality.
Family-owned Doluca was founded in 1926, the same year the Turkish Republic was formed. Owned and managed over three generations by the Kutman family, they work with indigenous varietals, while investing in modern technology. The award-winning Kav range focuses on three indigenous varieties – Narince for the Kav White, and a blend of Bogazkere and Okuzgozu for the Kav Red.
Although better known as a holiday destination than wine producer, Croatia’s wines are well worth exploring. Istria is the most northerly, and arguably one of the top regions of Coastal Croatia, famous for its very own clone of Malvasia, known as Malvazija Istarska. Close to the border of Italy, Istria experiences a Mediterranean climate that’s ideal for grape growing.
Founded in 1998, Veralda is owned by the Visintin family of Verteneglio. It’s one of the largest wineries in Istria, with 33ha of vineyards. These are planted on the sunny hills of Buje, 200m above sea level and only 7km from the ocean. Focused on protecting the environment, they are now in their second year of conversion to becoming a certified biodynamic producer.
At only 27 years of age, Yohan Lardy is one of the new wave, terroir-focussed producers in Beaujolais. He founded his estate of 2ha of old vines – planted in 1911 and 1950 – on the heights of the Moulin-a-Vent appellation in the prestigious plot Les Michelons. He has since added other small parcels of land in Moulin-a-Vent and Fleurie.
All grapes are hand-harvested and Yohan follows a sustainable approach: natural fertilisers, low sulphur, manual horse ploughing in some vineyards, natural yeasts and spontaneous fermentation. Wines are aged in old Burgundy barrels to ensure the best balance between fruit and acidity.
Minervois La Liviniere, Languedoc, France
There’s sustainable winemaking and then there’s Chateau Maris. Purchased by British ex-pat Robert Eden in 1997, the 79ha domaine in Minervois’ La Liviniere (cru classe) is 100% organic and biodynamic. As an advocate for taking steps to reduce the impact on the environment, Robert’s efforts range from using only natural pesticides and fertilizers, to building a winery entirely from hemp bricks to absorb excess CO₂ and control the temperature.
Grapes grown include Grenache Gris, Carignan, Syrah and Grenache Noir, from which he produces a white, rosé and various red wines. Buyer Alastair Pyatt says, “Chateau Maris, with Robert Eden at the helm, is at the forefront of biodynamic and organic grape growing and wine production. Everyone should be drinking these vibrant wines.”
Located in north eastern Italy close to the borders of Veneto, Slovenia and Austria, the small region of Friuli is renowned for its abundance of indigenous varietals that produce amazing light and aromatic white wines.
In the DOC of Colli Orientali lies La Roncaia, an estate acquired by the Fantinel family in 1998. Third generation Marco Fantinel and winemaker Gabriele Tami employs a distinctly ‘green’ approach to production. Their plantings range from modern vineyards with international varieties, to very old vineyards of indigenous grapes.
In the heel of Italy’s boot, in the Salento region of Puglia, lies Orion Wines’ Masseria Borgo dei Trulli. Home to dark, thick-skinned black grape varieties, the focus here is primarily on indigenous varieties and interesting production methods, like the red grape Negroamaro – known in the local dialect as ‘niuri maru’, meaning black and bitter – and the appasimento style Primitivo, an air drying process that concentrates the flavours of this intensely fruity variety.
Produced by winemaker Alessandro Michelon, who co-founded Orion Wines in 2009, the range includes a Negroamaro, Primitivo and Appassimento.
The Cava Llopart story started in 1385, when the Llopart family came into possession of some vineyards located in the country estate of Can Llopart de Subirats. Over the centuries, the Llopart family cultivated traditional Mediterranean agricultural products, such as grape vines, wheat and olives, eventually devoting themselves exclusively to wine growing.
The vineyards are 100% certified organic and the estate comprises 70ha divided into three principal vineyard plots. As the second oldest cava house in Spain, the cavas are made in the traditional method and they produce only 50,000 bottles a year.
Founded in 1880, Santa Rita has been one of the pioneers of the modernisation of Chilean viticulture – seeking out new regions to grow different varietals with a focus on single vineyard plots, producing wines that express a sense of place. Founder Domingo Fernandez introduced not just French equipment and expertise but also electricity to the Alto Jahuel region, where the winery is still based.
As Chile's second largest owner of vineyards, Santa Rita can draw on a great diversity of terroir, with vineyards planted across the valleys of Limari, Casablanca, Leyda, Maipo, Colchagua, Apalta, Maule, Rapel and Curico.