By Rose Murray Brown MW Published in The Scotsman 1 January 2022
My pick of progressive wineries to watch in 2022:
South Africa: WOLF & WOMAN www.wolfandwomanwines.com
Swartland-born Jolandie Fouche has returned to her home region after training in Australia and California. With husband Gustav she makes superb Chenin Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Rose and Pinotage from mature vineyards planted in 1970s and 1980s in Paardeberg and Malmesbury – and is proving to be a talented winemaker. My favourite is her 2020 Chenin Blanc (£19 Justerini & Brooks) with richness, texture, complexity, tension and her characteristic wildness. Only her third vintage, but already highly acclaimed.
Moldova: NOVAK www.novak.md
Andrey Novak renovated his father’s bulk wine business and vineyard – aiming upmarket with his own bottlings in 2016. Novak discovered native Alb di Onitcani grape by accident as he had been short supplied by his local nursery with Sauvignon Blanc and Aligote and was sent this hardy cold-resistant varietal instead. Novak’s Alb di Onitcani 2019 (£16 www.moldovawine.co.uk) is a wonderfully floral grapefruity dry white which bears resemblance to Sauvignon Blanc with fresh bright acidity.
Hungary: BARTA www.bartapince.com
Karoly Barta (pictured on left) has revived one of Tokay’s most famous steep terraced vineyards, Oreg Kiraly, known as Old Kings vineyard. Once part of the original 1700’s vineyard classification, during Communism it was abandoned and vandalised. Today Hungarian-born winemaker Vivien Ujvari (pictured on right) makes superb dry and sweet Furmints. Oreg Kiraly Dulo Dry Furmint 2018 (£24 Corney & Barrow) is rich intense dry Furmint with fruit purity, lime leaf, hints of oak and lively acidity – and for a lighter dry style try her Egy Kis Furmint.
Cyprus: VOUNI PANAYIA www.vounipanayiawinery.com
The Kyriakides family winery is one of my top recent finds, Cyprus’ first private regional winery. Winemaker Andreas Kyriakides makes stunning wine from 100 year old bushvines grown 1000 metres up in the Troodos mountains. His Alina Xynisteri 2019 (£18 Cavas Piliadis; Aspris), from Cyprus’ renowned Xynisteri grape, has figgy nose, rich fruits, salty minerality and mouthwatering finish.
Greece: THYMIOPOULOS www.thymiopoulosvineyards.gr
The Thymiopoulos family in Trilofos only began bottling their own in 2003 when son Apostolos (pictured above) finished his oenology studies. Today they have 36 hectares with an outstanding range of wines. Based in Naoussa in northern Greece, their speciality is Xinomavro. Apostolos is able to coax great character and approachability to this tannic grape. Try Thymiopoulos Jeune Vignes Xinomavro 2019 (£11.50 The Wine Society) or Earth & Sky Xinomavro 2018 (£22 The Wine Society).
Spain: BODEGAS MUSTIGUILLO www.bodegasmustiguillo.com
Toni Sarrion began his rescue of local Bobal grape back in the 1990s. Based in high altitude 900m vineyards, 80km inland from Valencia, Sarrion makes superb Bobal reds at El Terrerazo – but it is his whites from local rare Merseguera blended with Viognier and Malvasia have attracted attention: Mestizaje Blanco 2018 (£14.50 Bibendum, Noel Young Wines, Berry Bros) peachy, citric, beautifully balanced white.
Portugal: WINE & SOUL www.wineandsoul.com
Wine & Soul was set up by two winemakers: Jorge Serodio Borges, previously winemaker with Niepoort, and his wife Sandra Tavares da Silva, previously with Vale Dona Maria. They renovated an old port lodge, rebuilt its stone lagares and bought a spectacular vineyard with ancient old vines in Vale de Mendiz in Douro. They make eight different wines working with 30 different vareties maturing at different times. Pintas Character 2016 (£30 Corney & Barrow) is a deep plummy generous red with delightful freshness and earthiness.
Bulgaria: BRATANOV www.bratanov.wine
Tanya and Hristo Bratanov are based in Bulgaria’s warmest area, the South Sakar hills near the Turkish border. Hristo inherited just one hectare, but built up the estate to 24 hectares with French trained winemaker Maria Stoeva making non-interventionist wines. Tamianka Wild Fermented Shishmanovo Vineyard 2019 (£14.80 The Old Cellar) is a good example from Bulgaria’s native version of Muscat with grapey nose, rich spicy full flavoured palate and long length – it reminded me of Alsace Muscat with riper fruits.
Chile: MATURANA WINES www.maturanawinery.cl
Jose Ignacio Maturana was chief winemaker at Casa Silva. He lost his house and vineyard in 2010 earthquake and decided to change his life - starting bottling his own wines from growers in Maule. He focuses on natural wines working with 70 yr old vines. Maturana Naranjo Torontel 2019 (£15.25 Corney & Barrow), from the Torontel grape planted by Spanish missionaries in C16, is beautiful orange wine with copy tone, orange peel notes, spicy, tangy and concentrated.
Argentina: DOMAINE BOUSQUET www.domainebousquet.com
Jean Bousquet family’s originate from Carcassonne in southern France, but he fell in love with Argentina whilst on holiday in 1990 immediately investing, planting vineyards and building a winery high in the Andes at 1,200m in Tupungato. Today his daughter Anne and husband now live on the 240 hectare estate and are revitalising the quality of their Malbec. Bousquet Malbec Reserve 2019 (£16-£17 L’Art du Vin; Cornelius Wine) from low yielding vines; delicious ripe tannins, generous fleshy damson fruits with perfect acid balance.
Georgia: BAIAS WINE www.baiaswine.com
Sisters Baia and Gvantsa Abuladze with younger brother Giorgi, in Meore Obcha in rural Imereti region, western Georgia, a couple of hours inland from the Black Sea, make superb amber wines. Imereti’s local Churi fermenting pots are thinner than Kakheti’s Qvevri vessels, with less must added and shorter maceration, the result is more delicate and softer than Kakheti amber wines. Loved their elegant blend of three Georgian grapes, Tsitska-Tsolikouri-Krakhuna 2020 (£22 Taste of Georgia; Gvino UK).
Join Rose’s Wines of Georgia tasting on Thursday 10 March in Edinburgh: www.rosemurraybrown.com