There is a staggering amount of good wine being made around the world, sometimes in fairly remote corners that get missed. If, like many consumers, you find yourself regularly reaching for the classics of Burgundy, Bordeaux, Tuscany, and Piedmont, out of safety, then we invite you to broaden your horizons and explore the vastness that is the wine world.
These 6 winemakers are just a few of the names producing a special brand of magic in the wine regions that often go unnoticed. Let’s go exploring.
1. Filipa Pato - Bairrada, Portugal
Filipa Pato is in no way a newcomer to winemaking, starting her own project in 2001 and having lived an entire lifetime around wine before that. Her father, Luis Pato is a winemaking legend in Bairrada, known well for his modernization of the local Baga grape and for bringing approachable Bairrada wines to the masses. Filipa has not only created her own path, she has arguably surpassed her father’s fame and taken these wines to new heights.
Along with her husband William Wouters, a Belgian restaurateur and sommelier, they work their vineyards biodynamically, focusing on the Baga grape and other local varieties like Bical, Arinto, Cercial and Maria Gomes. The use of oak is limited, opting for other vessels, like concrete and amphorae.
The wines are beautiful - modern and elegant. She now has a catalog of various reds and whites, as well as some traditional method sparkling wines that are an absolutely incredible value, but Portuguese wines continue to fly under the radar for many consumers. We love the Post Quercus Baga, a wine that is fermented and aged in amphorae and is bursting with cherry fruit wrapped in earth. Give these a try.
2. Chiara Condello - Predappio, Italy
Chiara Condello is a relative newcomer to the wine world that is quickly making waves for her sensational Sangiovese wines in Predappio, located in Emilia-Romagna, northeast of Florence.
Since her first vintage in 2015, Chiara has already accumulated some impressive accolades, including being voted the 2022 Best Winemaker Under 35 by Food and Wine.
She farms roughly 10 acres of land organically and makes just two wines, both of which are incredibly pure and seamless - her Predappio Sangiovese and the Riserva ‘Le Lucciole’, which is a special selection from a small plot aged in large Slavonian oak for two years and an additional year in bottle before release.
Keep your eyes on this talented young winemaker as her wines are sure to become more well known. And purchase a bottle of her Predappio Sangiovese at Caves Wine Shop.
3. Envínate - Canary Islands and Greater Spain
Roberto Santana, Alfonso Torrente, Laura Ramos, and José Martínez are the group of winemakers collectively known as Envínate, formed in 2005 while studying enology in Alicante. It’s been a few years since their emergence and quick rise in popularity for their wines that explore the forgotten regions of Europe’s Atlantic coast, mainly Tenerife in the Canary Islands and Ribeira Sacra in Galicia.
With Envínate you’ll be introduced to a selection of grapes you’re probably unfamiliar with, like Listan Negro, Listan Blanco, and Negramoll to name a few, but the team works with some wonderful, old Mencia vines in Galicia and their ethos remains the same - let the land express itself.
In terms of the Envínate lineup, expression is the one constant. These are fascinating wines that have deservedly gained massive attention on the international wine market.
Winemaking is done very traditionally and as ‘natural’ as it gets with no chemicals and only the smallest amount of sulphites needed at bottling. Find their ‘Benje’ tinto bottling at Caves Wine Shop and grab a bottle to see what separates these personality-filled wines from many others.
4. Eduardo Torres Acosta - Sicily, Italy
Eduardo is a young, emerging winemaker originally from the Canary Islands. He moved to Sicily in 2012 to begin his winemaking career as an intern for Arianna Occhipinti, one of Sicily’s most prominent winemakers and has quickly risen the ranks to produce a force of his own wines around Mount Etna.
His largest productions are the Versante Nord wines, both red and white, that are based on Sicily’s own Nerello Mascalese, Catarratto, and Minella grape varieties, among others and hail from eight small vineyards on Etna’s north (Nord) face that are organically tended to.
These are wines that are vibrant and exciting, filled with energetic fruit and a striking minerality that comes from Etna’s trademark volcanic soils. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for Eduardo. It will surely be worth watching.
5. Hannes Storm - Hemel-en-Aarde, South Africa
Hannes Storm is a superb winemaker from the cool climate region of Hemel-en-Aarde, South Africa located just east of Cape Town in Walker Bay. His own label, Storm Wines, released its first vintage in 2014, but prior to embarking on his own he was the head winemaker at the famed Hamilton Russell estate, also in the Hemel-en-Aarde.
Hannes’ focus is on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, which he sources from several small vineyards throughout the Hemel-en-Aarde’s various altitudes. He crafts his wines with a hands-off approach, focusing on site and allowing the fruit to do the talking. These wines are truly Burgundian in style and are some of the best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay found in South Africa.
6. Luke Lambert - Yarra Valley, Australia
There is so much winemaking talent in Australia and Luke Lambert is right there at the top of the stack. His base is in the Yarra Valley, located just outside of Melbourne, a cool climate region known well for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Luke is a proud minimalist that uses no new oak in the winemaking process, resulting in wines with striking purity of fruit and wonderful depth.
His emphasis has been mainly on Chardonnay and Syrah, which he sources from select vineyards in the Yarra Valley, along with a more limited bottling of Nebbiolo that is some of the best you’ll find outside of Piedmont. Luke produces wines that are Old World in style, while still retaining some New World energy. These are sensational, thought-provoking productions that almost always sell out.