Domaine de la Roche Paradis
Domaine de la Roche Paradis is a quintessential Northern Rhone Garagiste and the man behind these thrilling wines is Yann Menager. Yann lives in the small mountainous village of Chavanay about 8km from Condrieu (the view from the farm etched on the label), he crafts incredibly pure examples of traditional Rhone varietals from his hallowed plots of vines in Cote Rotie, St. Joseph and Condrieu. Yann hand built his winery, his oak balcony overlooking the valley, and furnished us with home cured salami and goats cheese upon tasting - a gent and an artist! Working traditionally with minimal intervention, his wines are true to the region but display a modern finesse and elegance. 2016 is the first year Mayfly has imported and they are an incredibly impressive set of wines from a stellar Rhone vintage.
Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy
There are so many wonderful sides to studying in Venice, the mind is swiftly blown by the architectural harmony, stunning Renaissance painting, and the fact you live in a fairy-tale land of canals and boats. But after a few months of treading the cobbled streets to lectures, it was the subtleties of lagoon life that hooked me, and one foremost institution in particular, the local Cichetteria and the tumbler of Prosecco. I made some dear friends, who, 20 years later introduced me to their dear friend Bettina, whose family crafts the finest Prosecco I have ever tasted. So it is a real pleasure to now import Najma into the UK!
Najma is a family run estate situated in the Friuli Venezia Giulia just to the North East of Treviso, whose history harks back to the 15th Century. The farm, along with nurturing 18 hectares of vines (8 hectares dedicated to Prosecco varietal Glera), also cultivate trees and biomass poppies. The farm is managed with utmost respect for the land and the natural environment, and is heading towards pure bio-dynamics. There are two absolute gems available from Najma, the Prosecco Extra Dry DOC and the single vintage cuvée, Millesimato 2018. The Extra Dry is plump and harmonious, filled with peach, pear and orchard fruits. The 2018 Vintage is more akin to a 'Champagne' style with its low dosage, it is racy and seriously elegant with lean flavours of apple and lemon.
It is a real pleasure to announce Weingut Wimmer-Czerny as Mayfly Wine’s first agency! I met Hans Czerny when I was party to an impromptu Mangalitza pig reconnaissance mission to Austria a few years ago. We were staying with his dear friends and pig aficionados Christoph and Isabel Wiesner, and I was told I had to try his wines – a proposal that took no arm twisting. The excitement of visiting a new wine region is enough to keep me entertained, but when we arrived in the sleepy town of Fels am Wagram we were greeted at door by Hans, who was wearing full dungarees and a huge cheerful grin that was infectious. After a gentle mauling by his gigantic dog ‘Odin’ we muscled our way into the kitchen and embarked on one of my most memorable “tastings”.
Hans and Astrid Czerny are incredibly hospitable and absolutely lovely, and five hours later, we too were all grinning. The table had been bombarded with bottle after bottle of beautiful Wagram nectar, and mountains of cured meats and homemade schmaltz. The jamboree continued and I knew I was completely smitten by these wines, just blown away by a purity you only experience with the greats like Nikolaihof and Joh Jos Prum.
Wimmer-Czerny is certified Demeter and is farmed organically and bio-dynamically. Hans is totally obsessed with the unique soils (Loess, Gneiss) and the single vineyard sites in Wagram, each one lending an individual and fascinating character to the grapes. He is fanatical about the geological history and ecology of the region, and farms livestock to enhance the land and cultivate his compost, which, when explained on a visit earlier this year, pretty much sounds like it has magical properties…Hans’ sheer dedication, knowledge, craftsmanship, and attention to the natural environment sing through in his spectacular set of wines. Prost!