Bruno Pelletier, general manager at St Pancras Brasserie and Champagne Bar by Searcys discusses unusual and atypical wines
Atypical wines are becoming more and more popular around the world and there is no sign of this slowing down, which offers a great opportunity to put the spotlight on new and exciting bottles. We have already seen orange wine, which is made by leaving the grape skins and seeds in contact with the juice, surge in popularity. Wines like Vin Jaune (yellow wine), alongside the likes of Jura's Vin de Paille or Vin de Voile, produced in the Gaillac region in the South of France, are also becoming more commonplace.
But in my opinion, the most exciting atypical wines are those produced in unusual conditions. Some examples include Rangiroa, a wine produced in Tahiti with grapes grown in the coral atoll, with two harvests a year; or the wines produced in Bali, where the local grapevine grows on a pergola; or in the Gobi Desert, where grapes are free of diseases due to the absence of humidity.
Here are my top four atypical wine recommendations:
Vidal Blanc Icewine, Signature Series Oak Aged, Peller Estates, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada
As the name suggests, this wine is made from frozen white or red grapes in countries with a particularly cold climate. Canada is the number one country producing ice wine, with harvest taking place at night in mid-December. To ensure the grapes reach the right temperature, harvest can only happen with the temperature between -8°C and -12°C, and the wine is only made from humble grapes, such as Gewurztraminer, Riesling and Grüner Veltliner.
Chateau La Mondotte, Saint-Émilion Grand Cru, Vignoble Comte Von Neipperg, Bordeaux, France
Born in the 1990s in Bordeaux, France, garage wine describes a small wine production originally planned for estate château. These micro-cuvées are extremely tannic as they are aged in new oak barrels and have been a big hit with wine critics. Bottles are sold at a very expensive price for an exclusive clientele.
Villa Dei Misteri, Rosso Pompeiano IGT, Mastroberardino, Campania, Italy
From the outskirts of Pompeii comes the Villa dei Misteri wine, a relatively young bottle with a bitter taste and 13.5% ABV. As part of a project to recreate the wines of the ancient city of Pompeii (where the Romans used to mix their wines with seawater to cut the sweetness), Mastroberardino was selected by the Italian government to unearth sites and testing to piece together the ancient winemaking region, the result being a ruby red wine.
Dena Dela White, Emmanuel Poirmeur, Egiategia, Southwest, Vin de France, France
The history of southern France region Egiategia (which means ‘the workshop of truths' in Basque) is based on a strong belief: to create from a blank page, with the freedom of the pioneers of the new wine-growing worlds. With this in mind, Emmanuel Poirmeur, winegrower from Egiategia, came up with a very surprising way to produce wine. In 2007, he filed the patent for immersion and maturing wines underwater. Some of his wines undergo a second alcoholic fermentation in vats immersed 15 metres deep in the middle of the Bay of Saint-Jean-de-Luz.
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