On Top Terroir we ask a different wine expert who his or her favorite wine producers currently are. We can't promise they'll be in your local wine store, but we will tell you where to look for them online. In this installment, Joe Campanale, co-owner and beverage director of New York's dell'anima, L'Artusi, and Anfora shares his picks:
Producer: Arianna Occhipinti
Location: Sicily, Italy
Why? Arianna has been helping her uncle Giusto make wine for 10 years at his Sicilian winery, COS. Now 26, she recently started her own winery creating natural, elegant wine with the low alcohol, nuanced, earthy flavors and blazing acidity that is hard to imagine in Sicily. Like her uncle, she farms biodynamically, and keeps a significant portion of her land undeveloped because she believes it helps preserve the ecosystem of her vineyards. We have her wine on the list at Anfora, dell'anima, and L'Artsui.
Producer: Jean-Paul Brun
Location: Beaujolais, France
Why? The Domaine des Terres Dorées is located in Charnay, a village in southern Beaujolais just north of Lyons, in a beautiful area known as the "Region of Golden Stones." Jean-Paul Brun is the owner and winemaker at this 40-acre family estate. He seeks to make wine that is so unlike what is normal for most of Beaujolais, that in 2007 he was denied AOC status for most of his flagship wine Beaujolais "L'Ancien." In a region where the mediocrity of industrial production is the norm, Brun is such a staunch defender of the terroir of Beaujolais that the authorities didn't even recognize it. Brun's view is that Beaujolais is best when made naturally, by hand and with low alcohol levels. Rather than use the commercial yeast that most producers use (it gives Beaujolais a candied flavor reminiscent of bananas), he opts for only the naturally-occuring ambient yeast that is present on the skins of the grapes, equipment in the winery and air in the vineyards. These stunning wines are all mineral, flower and bright, vibrant berry fruit. We have some on the list at Anfora.
Producer: Cedric Bouchard
Location: Champagne, France
Why? Cedric Bouchard and several other growers are turning the Champagne world on its head by creating unique wines based on terroir. Bouchard is part of a small club of grower-Champagnes that produce wine from the estate from which the grapes are grown. Yet, even in this small, often elite group, Bouchard stands out for how original and naturally-produced his wines are. He started his winery in 2000 when he obtained 1.37 hectares from his family's land Celles-sur-Ource in the Côte des Bar region of Champagne. Several years later, he added a tiny 1.47 hectares which is under the Champagne Inflorescence label. His revolutionary philosophy is diametrically opposed to the large houses. Rather than buying grapes from growers all over the region, Bouchard carefully and naturally grows the grapes himself, using only ambient yeasts and dramatically reduced yields. His bottlings are only single vineyard wines. Instead of blending different grapes and vintages, he makes wines from single grapes, single vintages. All of Bouchard's wines have low or no dosage (they are very, very dry) and taste of soil and chalk. Unfortunately, these are made in such small quantities that there is never enough around, but we do have some on the list at Anfora and L'Artusi.