Updated: May 24
If there's a lesson we can take away from this week's wines, it's the importance of respecting your elders. For our friends at Bodegas Frontonio that comes in the form of reverence for old vines. While many modern vineyards remove aging vines when production goes down, the three friends behind this estate sought out the historic vineyard in this off-the-radar wine region because they saw the potential of the old vines that grew there. Then there's Erwin Poller, one of our favorite Austrian producers, who gives senior chickens a second chance. When he discovered that the local chicken farm was terminating hens that were no longer laying, he decided to give them a new job. Now his rescue chickens live in portable coops that move around his vineyard, providing natural fertilization and pest control.
Pollerhof Grüner Veltliner Hühnergarten 2021 ($35)
Erwin Poller is unconventional in his approach to both winemaking and vineyard management. His stunt of rescuing chickens and employing them on his vineyards inspired the name of this weeks Grüner Veltliner. 'Hühnergarten' directly translates as Chicken Garden. To celebrate them, the bottles feature a real feather in place of the label.
The Pollerhof estate is located just 5 miles from the Czech border in a tiny Austrian village without a single restaurant. Most of the other winemakers in the area only make wine for personal use. His Grüner Veltliner Hühnergarten is both rich and refreshing with great minerality and a zesty palate. Notes of yellow cherries, lemon balm and yellow currant, and an acidity that just sings. This lovely white is full-bodied enough to pair with veal or will go brilliantly with any type of seafood.
Bodegas Frontonio El Casetero Macabeo 2021 ($15)
Down in Northeastern Spain, Bodegas Frontonio has helped to revitalize an area once abandoned. The team saw great potential in the area of Valdejalon, where the combination of north facing slopes, high altitude, and the clay, limestone and blue slate soils, offer ideal conditions for the creation of complex, vibrant wines made from native varietals.
This one is made from Macabeo, which goes by Viura in Rioja and most other parts of Spain, and is often used in Cava, the famous Spanish sparkling wines. More and more, new generation wine makers are learning how to bring out its full potential - and Bodegas Frontonio is one of those examples. At $15 this wine is hard to beat with it's delicate notes of roses, orange peel, and chamomile. The perfect wine to take to your next picnic in the sun!
The team at Frontonio is attracting much attention and shedding the spotlight on this once forgotten region. We have featured a few of their wines before. If you have not tried the Telescopico Garnacha, we highly recommend that you do (see below)!
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Bodegas Frontonio Telescopico Garnacha 2017 ($29)
From the same talented team as the Macabeo above, this Grenache is just so drinkable. Full of strawberries, red currant, raspberries, hints of nutmeg and vanilla. A wine of great structural elegance with a focused core and pure character. What a treat!