2017 Domaine Brand La Fourmi
Region: Alsace < France
Grapes: Gamay, Cinsault
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Biodynamic farming (Demeter certified); granite soils; partial carbonic maceration; whole cluster fermentation and maturation for eight months in demi-muid barrels; bottled unfined/unfiltered with zero-added So2; zero-zero; 14% ABV
Winemaker: Philippe Brand
It’s a common story all across Europe: Philippe joined his father in the family estate in 2006, pushed him to take the organic estate even further, into biodynamics and working without any additives. Since 2015 they’ve been Demeter-certified and add no So2 -- and the wines have never been better. The grapes for La Fourmi don’t come from the Brand vineyard, but from like-minded farmer friends, like the certified organic Château de Grand Pre in Beaujolais. This grape-sharing is common in the natural wine world, as friends help each other out when Mother Nature snatches someone's harvest, which is happening more and more frequently these days.
We're loving this plush wintry red, full of bright red fruit, herbal plumminess and a deeper, warmer spiciness from the Cinsault that balances the Gamay's aromatic rose petals and soft tannins. We always big fans of a Gamay blend, but the addition of Cinsault here takes it a whole new direction, a bit wild and feral, but not funky in the least. Cali Pinot lovers take note: this is your jam, with its soft, rich and warming fruit and spice notes, and no tannic bite to slow you down. In fact, the layers of complexity eliminate palate fatigue and keep you coming back for more.