Grapes - Furmint/Lipovina
Where - Tokaj, Slovakia
What - For the third installment of Wolf Vials, we wanted to showcase a natural white wine that made us smile from ear to ear; something that we thought represented the sheer skill and dedication of those artisans who practice their craft a little of the beaten track.
Matus Vdovjak is a small batch producer located in Tokaj amongst the rolling hills of the Zemplen Mountains, just north of the Slovakian/Hungarian border. Matus is a legend in these parts, spearheading the natural wine movement in this otherwise old school area.
His ethos is simple - to truly taste a wine's terroir, you cannot mess around with anything other than what happens naturally. His love affair is with Furmint; a grape more famous for producing the Tokaji dessert wines of Hungary. But alongside this, he grows small quantities of Lipovina and Yellow Muscat.
The Oakenshield is a tiny production wine crafted from a 50/50 blend of Furmint and Lipovina. Organic fruit is hand-harvested, destemmed, crushed and naturally vinified in oak butts for a whopping 12 months. After cold settling, the wine is transferred into second-hand oak barrels where it is aged on fine yeasts for a further 5 months. From here, the wine is bottled directly from the barrel without the addition of any sulphite.
The sheer complexity and balance of this white surprised us. It is powerful yet restrained. On the nose, you are bombarded with notes of vanilla, caramel, dried banana, coconut shavings and whiskey. Yet, this is offset with good acidity and subtle flavours of lemon peel, dried apricots and hazlenut. A veritable feast for the senses!
Complex, exciting, nutty. Vegan. Organic practicing. Low intervention. ABV 13%.