Know Your Wine
Wine lovers are a lot like Star Wars fans. There are those who know the twist and turns in the Palpatine backstory and there are others who have just signed up for Baby Yoda. It’s easy to know your preference of white or red wine without studying its origins or methods of fermentation. Sometimes, knowing the background of the thing you really like could give you a greater appreciation for it.
Our aspiring sommelier in the neighborhood, Tom, gave us some tips for understanding one type of wine in particular, that you may have seen popping up on the shelves of your local grocery store: natural wine. Tom has been in the restaurant biz for a while and he currently serves as our Director of Food and Beverage. Whether you order curbside pickup from our Prim and Proper restaurant or are just curious to learn about wine, we hope that you gain a little something from this deep dive with us.
What makes a wine natural or low-intervention?
“Low-intervention wine (also known as natural wine) refers to the hands-off approach the winemaker takes to let the site and vine do all the talking. The grapes are organically and/or biodynamically grown and hand-harvested. Indigenous yeasts are used in fermentation and there is little to nothing added or taken out during vinification. These methods and choices speak to the old-school ways of winemaking before industrialization. They also function as a way to celebrate the earth while protecting it, as a way to celebrate the region, or simply to make a wine in its most authentic, terroir driven form (generally, terroir means the total ecosystem the grapes are grown in; climate, soil, water, elevation, etc). In a time when we are increasingly thinking more about what we consume, where it comes from, and how ethically/sustainably it’s produced, why shouldn’t wine be one of those things?”
What is the most interesting element of natural wine, in your opinion?
“It’s a little tough to pick… I enjoy the absolute unpredictability of every wine. To me, they are fresh with an invigorating energy that I haven’t really gotten from a lot of conventional wines. They’re a major break from the homogenization that has happened over the years. There used to be some styles of wines I thought I could do without, but low-intervention wines are really good at changing my mind every day. My excitement goes way beyond the wines themselves, though. A lot of these wines come from small, often family-operated producers. Whether they come from a long family line of winemakers or they’re just starting out, the celebration of their terroir and the utmost respect for the earth is the same. Low-intervention wines, for me personally, speak to my interests in earth sciences and intuitive processes in a way that is creative and celebratory of something larger than any of us individually.”
We asked Tom to tell us more about the wines we carry at Prim & Proper:
Loxarel Amaltea Brut Nature Reserva NV
Origin: Penedès, Spain (Catalonia region, Northeast Spain)
Story: Fresh and creamy with flavors of citrus and herbs. A toasty finish and frothy bubbles. Loxarel uses only the traditional cava grapes, xarello (Loxarel is an anagram), macabeu and parellada, grown biodynamically or organically. A steal for the quality and NYT just recommended this wine recently.
Prim & Proper Pairing: The Good Burger. You gotta love a solid burger and bubbles combo- it’s a total match made in heaven.
Gulp/Hablo Verdejo 2018 1L
Origin: Castilla-La Mancha, Spain (Central Spain)
Story: Gulp/Hablo is the dream of three brothers, Francisco, Javier and Luis Parra. The hope was to celebrate their home of La Mancha by raising organically and biodynamically grown grapes and creating authentically terroir expressive wines. This liter of Verdejo is light, dry, crisp, alluding to pleasantly ripe stone fruit and citrus flavors. Plus it’s a 1L bottle, so there’s an extra glass built into the value.
Prim & Proper Pairing: Millennial Toast. The crisp notes from the wine pair nicely with the greens and crunch from the toast.
Mengoba Brezo Tinto
Origin: Leon, Spain (Bierzo region, Northwest Spain)
Story: For years, the high altitude of the Bierzo region in Spain and its difficult accessibility for modern machines caused its potential to be overlooked. Then comes along maverick French winemaker Gregory Pérez, who saw through the difficulties to the true potential that the high altitudes and rich soil provided for growing grapes. Today he farms organically and plows the old fashioned way: with cows. This is a blend of Mencía and a small amount of Alicante Bouschet. The result is medium-bodied, juicy, bright red fruit, floral, soft texture, balanced and fresh. Nice and acidic with rich fruit flavours means it is a great food wine, but it’s great on its own as well.
Prim & Proper Pairing: Charcuterie and Cheese Board. The floral and soft textured wine will pair excellently with the salty, savory notes from this board.
All of these wines are currently going for $15 a bottle when you bundle them with anything on our curbside menu.