Bin #010

Introducing Bin #010: Godello-Albariño-Treixadura 2020

We return to Spain for our limited-edition range, with mouthwatering results.

Region: Ribeira Sacra, Spain 
Grape: Godello (81%), Albariño (12%), Treixadura (7%)

 

Bin Series wines

Bin #010: Godello-Albariño-Treixadura 2020

Release date: September 2021

Region: Ribeira Sacra, Spain

Grape: Godello (81%), Albariño (12%), Treixadura (7%)

Story: It was in Spain that we found the very first wine in our Bin Series, and for the tenth release we’re delighted to return to this dynamic winemaking country.

Bin #010 comes from one of the country’s most dramatic vineyard areas, Ribeira Sacra, where the steep, terraces on narrow valleys require a heroic approach to viticulture. It’s a small region in the north-west area of Galicia, influenced by the Atlantic Ocean giving a milder and more temperate climate than the rest of Spain. This is an area known for its sophisticated red wines from the mencía grape and to a lesser extent on whites, where leading producers focus on varietal wines.

One such leading light is Eulogio Pomares at Quinta do Estranxeiro, a winemaking talent behind names like Zarate in Rías Baixas. He was eager to try something different by blending godello, albariño and treixadura and he has done it with remarkable success.

You tend to see these grapes bottled on their own, so to encounter a blend of all three is unusual, but the results are so good that we knew we had to bottle it under this label. The grapes are all hand-picked – machine harvesting is not practical on vineyards this steep! – and many of the vineyards are extremely old. The result is a delicious, aromatic white with lift, complexity and elegance. Gentle yet intense, it combines floral notes and citrusy flavour with a touch of spice. We hope you enjoy trying it.

Limited to six bottles per member

 

Tech Sheet

Grape: Godello (81%), Albariño (12%), Treixadura (7%)
Residual Sugar: 1.7g/l
PH: 3.39
Acidity: 6.4g/l
Ageing vessel: Stainless steel
Fining agent: Bentonite
Vegan: Yes
Vineyard altitude: 267 metres
Soil type: Granitic
Winemaker: Eulogio Pomares
Buyer: Pierre Mansour
Alcohol: 13.5%

Bin #009: Chiroubles 2020

Release date: May 2021

Region: Beaujolais, France

Grape: Gamay

Story: Is the famed region of Beaujolais the obvious choice for a series championing less well-known regions and grapes? When it comes to Chiroubles – amongst the least known and least fashionable of the ten ‘crus’ of the region – we felt it was: while names such as Fleurie and Moulin-à-Vent have become well established over the years, Chiroubles still evades the recognition it arguably deserves. In a vintage like 2020, however, it has shown why it merits greater attention.

The vineyards of Chiroubles lie between 300 and 600 metres above sea level – they are the highest in Beaujolais – and in the past the grapes often struggled to ripen fully. Due to climate change and the increasingly warm temperatures that the region has encountered in recent years, however, times have changed.

Indeed, it’s our buyer Tim Sykes’ belief that Chiroubles now provides one of the most authentic illustrations of gamay, a grape that relies on its perfume and delicate floral character for full expression.

The 2020 vintage was hot and dry, and some of the ‘warmer’ corners of the Beaujolais region tended to produce overly ripe, occasionally jammy wines. Not so Chiroubles!

Bin #009 also enjoys another noteworthy attribute – it was made without the addition of sulphur, the preservative that winemakers typically use to prevent their wines from oxidising and to ensure a longer shelf life. Beaujolais has been one of the pioneering regions in the wine world when it comes to producing low-sulphur and no-sulphur wines.

It is very difficult to make really good wines without the use of sulphur – buyer Marcel Orford-Williams has in the past likened it to walking a tightrope without a safety harness – as the wines need to be expertly handled from grape to bottle to ensure that there is no ingress of air along the journey. But the 2020 Chiroubles from Domaine de Boisselière was bottled with the technical assistance of Maison Aujoux, our partner for The Society’s Beaujolais-Villages and Exhibition crus Beaujolais, and therefore couldn’t have been in safer hands.

The result is a wine with lovely fresh, vibrant fruit and an appealing purity. Store it in cool conditions and drink it over the next 12 months.

 

Tech Sheet

Grape: Gamay 100%
Residual Sugar: 0.2g/l
PH: 3.55
Acidity: 4.10
Ageing vessel: Stainless steel
Fining agent: None
Vegan: Yes
Vineyard altitude: 250-450 metres
Soil type: Granitic
Winemaker: Jean-Pierre Large
Buyer: Tim Sykes
Alcohol: 13%

Bin #008: Manseng Noir 2019

Release date: February 2021

Region: IGP Gascogne, France

Grape: Manseng noir

Story: It seems totally appropriate today to talk about pandemics. A century and a half ago, European vines and vineyards were the victims of a pandemic that would have severe consequences not least the disappearance of countless grape varieties. Among the casualties were varieties that were probably less viable or just difficult to grow. It is impossible to know how many were lost but some did survive, often growing wild, on sandy soils were the phylloxera louse didn’t prosper.

Finding these odd vines, analysing their DNA, studying and propagating them has been the work of pioneering spirit, André Dubosc and the team at Plaimont, that group of co-operatives central to wine production in Gascony.

Manseng noir is one such long-forgotten grape variety, but it may be a future hero. Like most grape varieties from the south-west, its origins are Basque. It is related to other manseng varieties, which are white and better known.

What the studies showed is that manseng noir produces a wine with a huge amount of colour and plenty of tannin yet ripens with very modest alcohol potential. It interested Basque producers in Irouléguy, where it is known as arrouya, and of course producers in Gascony. Its potential in a world of wines of increasingly high alcohol is obvious and the hope is that it will be allowed in appellation wines, such as Saint Mont and Madiran.

This manseng noir is taken from very young vines of no more than five years old. The deep colour is there – almost purple in the glass – and there is masses of fruit and a lovely balance with plenty of freshness too. Drink on the cool side with a wide variety of dishes and styles.

 

Tech Sheet

Grape: Manseng noir 100%
Residual Sugar: 5.2g/l
PH: 3.78
Ageing vessel: Stainless steel
Fining agent: Bentonite
Vegan: Yes
Vineyard altitude: 100 metres
Soil type: Clay and limestone
Winemaker: Cédric Garzuel
Buyer: Marcel Orford-Williams
Alcohol: 12%

Bin #007: Encruzado 2019

Release date: October 2020

Region: Dão, Portugal

Grape: Encruzado

Story: A grape full of promise, offering invigorating palate refreshment in its youth, with a proven track record for ageing, which brings more fulfilling, toasty notes of complexity, encruzado is the signature white grape of Portugal’s Dão region.

Yet few of us have heard of it.

Cruz means cross in Portuguese and this grape is thought to be a natural cross from only the 1920s or 30s. First documented in 1942, it is the youngest of Portugal’s fine indigenous grapes.

It is a solid component in blends in the Dão region, and elsewhere in Portugal, but it offers unique character when it stands alone. The delicate aromas of white flowers, mineral and citrus notes of its youth give way to more complex, toasty character as it matures. It can go quiet on you after a couple of years in bottle, in which case you may prefer to let it grow up a little and express itself before broaching again.

This wine was made by Carlos Lucas, who knows a thing or two about the grape. He uses encruzado in blends and makes a variety of styles, but here we opted for a pure, unadorned (unoaked) wine, which just happened to have been vinified in Carlos’ specially designed super-cool stainless-steel tank (described by our buyer Jo Locke MW as one of the cutest and funkiest she has seen in close to 40 years in wine!).

And if all this is not enough to whet your appetite, take an insider tip from all those Portuguese winemakers who drink Dão wines at home, irrespective of their home region, and discover encruzado.

Limited to 12 bottles per member.

 

Tech Sheet

Grape: Encruzado 100%
Ageing vessel: Stainless steel
Residual Sugar: <2g/l
PH: 3.20
Vineyard altitude: 370 metres
Soil type: Granite with schist outcrops
Vegan: Yes
Winemaker: Carlos Lucas
Buyer: Joanna Locke MW
Alcohol: 13.5%

Bin #006: Pinot Noir 2018

Release date: August 2020

Region: Tasmania

Grape: Pinot noir

Story: Tasmania is arguably the most exciting region in Australian wine. As things continue to heat up elsewhere, this more moderate climate, influenced heavily by the exposure to the sea, is finally beginning to get the attention it deserves, after years of excellent but very small-scale wine production.

When buyer Freddy Bulmer visited the country this time last year, many winemakers were talking about the exciting things happening in this cool and beautiful place. Indeed, several currently working in more famous regions told him that they had recently bought vineyards in Tasmania to develop.

One winemaker in the McLaren Vale even went so far as to say, ‘If I was to start all over again and buy a new vineyard anywhere in Australia, it wouldn’t be in McLaren Vale, it would be in Tasmania.’

The Wine Society is not new to Tasmania by any means. Thanks to buyer Sebastian Payne MW, we have had an excellent Exhibition Tasmanian Chardonnay on our List for decades. It is a testament to Sebastian’s foresight that some winemakers in Australia’s major regions are only catching on now!

We have wanted to include an example of Tasmania’s other speciality, pinot noir, under this label for some time. A conversation with Michael Hill-Smith MW of Shaw & Smith and The Other Wine Co. revealed that he knew of an excellent parcel of pinot: an off-cut from a well-known Tassie winery, sitting there unlabelled.

Tasting it, we realised it was exactly what we had been looking for: a vibrant, complex and silky wine that demonstrates admirably why so many are excited about the quality and the potential here.

Thanks to Michael, this world-class pinot is also available for a superb price, in order to help highlight this exciting region. We recommend it wholeheartedly.

 

Tech Sheet

Grape: Pinot noir 100%
Residual Sugar: 0.14g/l
PH: 3.75
Ageing vessel: French oak barriques
Vegan: Yes
Vineyard altitude: 90 metres
Soil type: Silica sands over sandstone
Winemaker: Martin Shaw/Adam Wadewitz
Buyer: Freddy Bulmer
Alcohol: 13.5%

Bin #005: Xinomavro 2017

Release date: May 2020

Region: Naoussa, Greece

Grape: Xinomavro

Story: This is one of the most exciting releases under our Bin Series label to date: a very special xinomavro from Greek winemaking master Apostolos Thymiopoulos.

Metaphorically speaking, Apostolos has wine running through his veins: he inherited vineyards from his father, who previously grew grapes to sell. However, Apostolos saw the potential in these plots of vineyard, in the rolling hills of Naoussa in northern Greece, and so decided to stop selling the fruit in favour of capturing and bottling this potential.

He is now recognised as a master of Greece’s xinomavro grape, putting both the grape and the Naoussa region on the map and gaining a strong cult following globally. It’s easy to see why. Many Wine Society members are followers of the wines of Thymiopoulos and his Jeunes Vignes is in fact the most highly rated wine on our website by members. No mean feat for something hailing a long way from the beaten track! His xinomavro from Rapsani has attracted the attention of the likes of Decanter and many critics worldwide, so it is a pleasure to be able to offer members this exclusive new wine.

Apostolos has always been excellent as spotting unloved vineyards in northern Greece and liberating them, giving a new lease of life to what are often incredible old vines. Bin #005 is sourced exclusively from a new site which got Apostolos very excited, in the small Greek village of Fytia. As soon as we heard about this new wine, we knew it would be a perfect addition to this range. And our excellent relationship with Apostolos, who was very keen for our members to be able to enjoy this wine, he offered it to us at a fraction of the price it was destined to be.

Fuller-bodied than a pinot noir, lighter than a Barolo, and yet with similarities to both, this is a unique wine bursting with personality. You could be forgiven for thinking it had been produced by one of the great winemakers of Burgundy while on a holiday to northern Greece! This is a real diamond of a wine and one that should not be missed. We urge you, as always, to get in quickly: this is a very small parcel and is limited to 12 bottles per member.

 

Tech Sheet

Grape: Xinomavro 100%
Ageing vessel: French oak barrel
Residual Sugar: 2.7g/l
PH: 3.49
Acidity: 6.7g/l
Fining: None
Vineyard altitude: 400-600 metres
Soil type: Schist and granite
Vegetarian: Yes
Winemaker: Apostolos Thymiopoulos
Buyer: Freddy Bulmer
Alcohol: 13.5%

Bin #004: Furmint 2011

Release date: February 2020

Region: Tokaj, Hungary

Grape: Furmint

Story: Last year we were told by a Hungarian importer with whom we have a fantastic relationship about a parcel of aged white wine, sitting unlabelled in the depths of a cellar in the historic Tokaj region. This furmint was, they said, superb and perfectly mature, but it had no home to go to and as a result was being offered at a special price.

It all sounded a little too good to be true… but when we tasted it, it was clear that this was one of our best wine surprises of the year, and that we had to secure what little there was for members to enjoy.

Furmint is a grape that many wine lovers will know from its role in the great sweet wines of Tokaji. Dry furmint, however, has been making more of an impression in recent years. What makes these wines special is their ability to age beautifully, but finding a good example at a modest price can be tricky. All the more reason to add this exciting one-off to our Bin Series label, and to our award-winning Eastern European range.

After nine years of ageing, this is a complex, electric white wine, offered at a superb price for its quality. With a character which hints at the zippy freshness and intriguing kerosene aroma of good bone-dry riesling and the beeswax-like flavour of aged Hunter Valley semillon, complemented by nuts, lime and honey, it offers great depth of flavour and a remarkable backbone of crisp acidity. The perfect match for seafood or creamy dishes and very possibly the best-value aged white wine on the market. We hope you’ll try it for yourself, but hurry: this is a very small parcel and is limited to six bottles per member.

 

Tech Sheet

Grape: Furmint 100%
Ageing vessel: Stainless-steel tank
Residual Sugar: 1.6g/l
PH:3.12
Acidity: 7.1g/l
Fining: Bentonite
Vineyard altitude: 150 metres
Soil type: Volcanic quartz
Buyer: Freddy Bulmer
Alcohol: 13.5%

Bin #003: Ribolla Gialla 2018

Release date: September 2019

Grower: Puatti Vigneti

Region: Friuli, Italy

Grape: Ribolla Gialla

Story: After two Bin Series reds have already appeared (and very quickly disappeared!), we’re thrilled to introduce a white wine to the range: an Italian exclusive that was too good to miss.

Thought to be of Greek origin by way of Slovenia, the ribolla gialla grape has a long history in Friuli, producing rounded whites with bright fruity acidity and an original herby bouquet that is hard to describe but heavenly when done well. It’s also a grape that, for all its popularity in Venice, has for too long been the bridesmaid to the same region’s (very different) pinot grigio on our shores – one of the reasons we jumped at the chance to feature it as a Bin Series wine.

Puatti is Friuli’s top winery known for this style, and this was crafted especially for us by Andrea Lonardi, who is widely seen as one of Italy’s most gifted and thoughtful young winemakers. A wine of great poise and presence, its peachy and almondy nose follows through to the palate with intense apricots, culminating in a complex finish with lemongrass, chamomile and chalk. As delicious as it is versatile, it can be enjoyed very easily on its own but its weight and texture makes it a great match for all sorts of dishes.

 

Tech Sheet

Grape: Ribolla gialla 100%
Ageing vessel: Stainless-steel tank
Residual Sugar: 2.5g/l
PH:3.35
Acidity: 5.5g/l
Fining: Bentonite
Vineyard altitude: 30 metres
Soil type: Gravel & sandstone
Vegetarian: Yes
Buyer: Sarah Knowles MW
Alcohol: 12.5%

Bin #002: Zweigelt 2017

Release date: July 2019

Grower: Familie Mantler

Region: Weinviertel, Austria

Grape: Zweigelt

Story: Austrian reds are among the wine world’s best-kept secrets and since the Bin Series was first dreamt up, buyer Freddy Bulmer has wanted to include one. It took a blind tasting to find the right wine for the job.

A series of samples was lined up and tasted by the buyers. Familie Mantler’s zweigelt, which was new to us, emerged as one of the undisputed stars of the show.

Zweigelt is an underappreciated grape, capable in the right hands of producing delicious medium-bodied wines with freshness and just the right amount of quirkiness. Matured the traditional way in large wooden vats, this one shows all the grape’s typical soft texture and fresh acidity, but in such a juicy and delicious way, it charmed all who tried it. Freddy knew that The Society had to do something with this delicious wine, and after getting to know the small family firm behind it, realised the second instalment of our Bin Series had indeed been found.

With only 12 hectares of vines at their disposal in the Weinviertel region, Familie Mantler are hands-on at every stage, from the vineyard to the winemaking, and even delivering the wine to local restaurants. Their commitment to quality is impressive and we’re thrilled to welcome them to our range with this new wine. Do make sure you order it while you can.

 

Tech Sheet

Grape: Zweigelt 100%
Residual Sugar: 4g/l
PH:3.49
Acidity: 5g/l
Fining: None
Ageing: Old Acacia Cask
Vineyard altitude: 350 metres
Soil type: Loess
Buyer: Freddy Bulmer
Alcohol: 13.5%

Bin #001: Bobal 2017

Release date: May 2019

Grower: Bodegas Altolandon

Region: Manchuela, Spain

Grape: Bobal

Story: Like so many love affairs with Spanish wine, our story for the first Bin Series wine begins in Rioja…

…even though this wine is from Manchuela in Valencia. But it was at a tasting in Spain’s famed fine-wine capital that our Head of Buying Pierre Mansour discovered this intensely rich, blueberry-laden, spicy red from the bobal grape.

In his words, he was ‘bowled over’. After meeting the growers and being impressed by both them and their philosophy, Pierre decided this would be the perfect candidate for our first Bin Series wine, and after tasting it back at Society HQ, we agreed wholeheartedly!

Bobal has an image problem: though quite widely planted, it has struggled to shed its reputation as a ‘workhorse’ variety responsible for mostly bland and uninteresting wines. This one, however, is anything but, showing what this variety can do when grown at high altitude (ensuring freshness) and made well.

Organic methods are used to manage the vines utilising only natural fertilisers and some green pruning to further guarantee the quality of fruit prior to hand-harvesting. The grapes are vinified as naturally as possible with native yeasts and little other intervention. A short four-month stint in 225-litre French oak barrels builds complexity while retaining the grapes’ natural purity.

We’re delighted to have had this wine bottled under the debut ‘Bin’ label for members to enjoy. Quantities are limited, so be sure to act quickly.

 

Tech Sheet

Grape: Bobal 100%
Residual Sugar: 2.3g/l
PH:3.2
Acidity: 4.8g/l
Fining: None
Ageing: 4 Months. French Oak
Vineyard altitude: 1100 metres
Soil type: Clay, Sand & Stone
Buyer: Pierre Mansour
Alcohol: 14%

About the Bin Series

To introduce ‘wines hitherto unknown or but little known in this country’
– Founding Objective of The Wine Society 1874

 

Unearthing unknown wines with exciting potential has been at the forefront of The Wine Society since the beginning.

Over the years we have been the first to get behind many wines which are now internationally renowned, but we have never followed a trend for the sake of it: the quality of the wine has always, and will always, come first.

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