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Your favourite small producers?

I agree that defining ‘small’ is not obvious. One way is production volumes. I think mine would be: if you turn up at the winery, who answers the door and what are they wearing!

Some of my favourite small-ish producers would be:

  • Domaine du Tunnel (N Rhone)

  • Sang des Cailloux (Vacqueyras)

  • Arianna Occhipinti (Sicily) (also COS, but possibly on the larger side?)

  • Roubine (Gigondas/Sablet)

  • I’d also give the time of day to anything made by Gavin Monery, once of London Cru urban winery and now at Vagabond. His cab sauvs, from Jeff Coutelou’s grapes, were lovely. Chards also v impressive.

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Vicky Torres at Matias i Torres on the island of La Palma
Nino Barraco in Marsala (second Occhipinti and Cos of course)
Fattoria San Lorenzo in the Marche
Tre Botti in the Tiber valley (yep, the name is literal!)
Bodegas VidAs in the Narcea valley in Asturias
Aphros in the Minho
Barranco Oscuro from.the highest vineyards in continental Europe
Mlecnik in Slovenia
Sclavos on Kefalonia

And probably many more I can’t recall right now.

These are mostly produceers who only make a few barrels.

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In the Loire, I enjoyed the Chenin from various slightly obscure appellations produced by the 15ha Domaine de Belliviere, which TWS stocked briefly at one point.
http://www.belliviere.com/en/estate.htm

In Alsace, comparing rieslings from different vineyards, all produced by Bott-Geyl, also 15ha, was the first time I really thought about the impact of terroir on a wine.
https://www.bott-geyl.com/english/index.htm

And for a 15ha hat trick, G. Mascarello of Barolo fame also counts as a small producer in volume terms I think…

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I don’t get the wine trades seeming obsession with ‘stories’. Either the wine is good or it isn’t.

But, since you asked for an example - how about Callejuela.

Fabulous manzanilla.

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Yeah, but the wine trade needs help with marketing, and a good story is… a good story!

Surely a wine can be good but boring? Or deeoly imperfect but alive snd more interesting?

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Domaine Mochel in Alsace. Sadly only one of their wines now stocked.

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One of my favourites is Moulin de la Gardette in Gigondas…

http://www.moulindelagardette.com/

Small, family run winery whose wines appear in the TWS list once in a while, and are usually included in the Rhone EP offers. Their Ventabren 2016 is slowly maturing in the cellar downstairs right now - a treat for the future me.

An affinity with small producers often comes from meeting them in person so that you can understand their story and approach - Jean-Baptiste Meunier is a great guy if you ever get the chance.

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Small producers that I have tried through W/S - Toni Jost, Domaine Serol and Ch. De Merande.

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Here’s a story that might put you off.

I tried a bottle of her rosé last night, before reading the above.

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Sadly almost every fruit and veg producer in S Italy uses caporolato. It is only marginally better in Spain, and of course in the UK too.

It does seem rather unfair to post this on a thread about small producers, as if they were particularly prone to exploitation. The opposite is likely to be true, of course.

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Agree on Tony Jost, and definitely worth visiting if you get the chance. But I am not sure I like this thread. I want to keep my small discoveries to myself.

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Julie Balagny in Beaujolais. Proper garagiste operation, all based in her small barn but making characterful enchanting wines. Very honest and friendly when I visited in 2015. She seems to have made a success of it as prices have crept up steadily over the last few years.

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Love all these suggestions, thank you everyone! So many new names to explore, and a few I’d forgotten about (Dme Serol being one, thank you @NickFoster!)

Obviously a lot of these aren’t wines TWS stocks - any hints on good merchants where I can find some of these names? (It’s not against the rules to recommend other wine suppliers here, so don’t be shy! :wink: )

OMG! This is exactly the kind of thing I love. I’ll see if I can find some of the Clos St Jean somewhere…

A few interesting Rhone names too (thanks @Alchemist and @Cavafy!) which I’ll consider at the next EP…

I don’t know if it counts, but Domaine Jones is also on my list. A few of you’ve mentioned that you define smaller producers as people you can go and visit in person, and it’ll be the winemaker you meet if you turn up for a tour - I think Katie Jones definitely falls into this category! I’ve visited twice and stayed for a week or so to help pick grapes - not for a few years, mind, but when we were there it was very much a tiny operation. And every time I taste one of her wines I feel like I’m transported back to that tiny village (Tuchan) in the south of France. I’ve just seen on Facebook she’s looking for some more harvest volunteers and I’m sorely tempted to go back… (I wish!)

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Domaine Finot is an interesting small producer. It’s exactly what I’m beginning to love in wine. Not the uber expensive Burgundies that I can’t afford, but the numerous small producers with a passion, doing unexpected things in unexpected areas (and in more expected areas, too.

Domaine Finot is in an unexpected place, Isère I think near Grenoble of all places. This wine, even down to the quite sweet label seems a labour of love. It’s a lovely, nuanced and really embracing Pinot. I wasn’t expecting much - thought it might be one of those that just didn’t deliver and could be an expensive mistake, but it delivered.

I’m trying to save some bottles to see how it develops.

There’s a lovely piece about the producer here:

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Fitting in with the “you can visit a person” vibe. I had a bottle of Domaine Careme Vouvray last night. It was their 2018 Le Clos, so not cheap (about £20 a bottle), but it was insane levels of delicious! Everything that Chenin Blanc can be in spades.

I picked it up from BBR (actually in the shop! I went to a shop!) a couple of weeks ago.

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I’ll add this to THE LIST. I am always on the lookout for great Beaujolais producers. I think people are catching on to Beaujolais again so prices are starting to creep up across the board, especially at Cru level. The “Gang of Four” wines are pushing £30 a bottle now, and the current wave of trendy Beaujolais in a Burgundy style producers are not far off that either. Still plenty of great wines at amazing prices to be had though!

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I wish you all the luck in the world with that one! :smiley:

CT lists a 2017 - it doesn’t exist (as far as I’m aware). The latest release is 2009. I’m jealous of every one of the 7 bottles listed on CT, not least because I turned up at Clos de Gamot 2 years, only for Yves to tell me he’d sold the last one a couple of days before (they go quick, I’d only got the letter about their release a a few weeks before).

I think Christopher Keiller is still selling the 2001 (but only by the case, sadly) and the 2002 is still available at the Cellar door.

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The enthusiastic and engaging Nadia Curto makes very good Barolo and a lovely raspy Barbera ( in stock at TWS ) from her 4ha. Great value too for wines from that part of the world.

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L&W or Justerinis for David & Nadia. I’ve had the Grenache and Pinotage, both seriously good, the latter much lighter bodied than every other Pinotage I’ve had.

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I’m amazed nobody’s mentioned Chateau Rayas. They’re a really small producer in the southern Rhone and their wines are really good - definitely one of my favourite small producers.

Domaine des Accoles is very interesting, too. In a different way.

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