Andréa Calek 'Blanc' 2018
Producer: Andréa Calek
Varietal: Viognier, Chardonnay
Notes: "Calek says that his favorite wine, which he describes as "not bad," is a Chardonnay/Viognier blend simply named "Blanc" ($27). The Viognier is cultivated according to massale selection principles, a form of viticulture in which a winemaker chooses vines he/she deems "best," or as Calek puts it, "the most interesting ones to you, based on the quality of the grapes." During the growing season, the winemaker snips budwood off vines to propagate new plants. Calek explains that this practice yields more disease-resistant vines by enhancing genetic diversity. Once the grapes are picked and crushed, Calek ferments the Chardonnay and Viogner grapes separately in three-year-old Burgundy barrels for two years. The result is an erotic, lush wine that is also high in acid, with white flowers and beeswax on the nose and palate.
Fans of Andrea Calek’s natural wines often portray him as something of a rock star, mentioning his mohawk, his smoking habit, his general aloofness and the fact that he lives in a trailer next to his vineyards in the Ardèche, in southern France. And while those traits are all true, behind Calek’s veneer of cool is a studious winemaker and an innately curious person fascinated by ancient Incan ruins and whole hog charcuterie.
Calek, who was born in Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic), produces about 40,000 bottles of wine annually divided between four reds and one white. Each is incredibly unique, completely free of sulfur and other additives, and together his portfolio offers a broad spectrum of flavor profiles from soft and sultry, to robust and structured." -Rachel Signer (EATER)