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5 Wineries off the Beaten Track: Fill Your Glass with Something Special

by Straits Wine Company 31 Aug 2023

If you’re an adventurous wine enthusiast who loves exploring new and exciting wineries, we’ve got a treat for you! At Straits Wine Company, we firmly believe that great wines can be found in unexpected places. That’s why we’re here to introduce you to incredibly unique wineries that are rooted in their own values, producing honest wines that are reflective of its terroir. As a special deal, take 15% off these labels in an online-exclusive sale happening from 24-30 August. For the latest news and promotions, follow us on IG and FB at @straitswinecompany. Cheers to the joy of exploration and the wonders of wine.

1. Johannes Zillinger – Austria

Naturistic, puristic and individual – fitting words for Johannes Zillinger and his biodynamic wines. Our first stop on this wine exploration takes us to Austria, where we encounter the extraordinary winemaker whose vineyard has been farmed organically for more than 35 years. The vintner has four wine lines – NUMEN, VELUE, PARCELLAIRE & REVOLUTION – designed through special selections and styles of development. The Johannes Zillinger Numen Riesling 2020 *Bio ($72.25, U.P. $85) sits under the “NUMEN” family of wines, which stands for natural and expressive bottles that are made in the cellar with almost no intervention. With a slight cloudiness, this Riesling’s expressive nose immediately transports one to an orchard during harvest time, as aromas of orange peel, Nashi pear, pink ladies, honeysuckle, fresh ginger, mandarin and honey intermingle. This wine pairs beautifully with spicy dishes and seafood, making it a versatile choice for any occasion. 

2. Deep Down – New Zealand

Pic credit: Wine Enthusiast

An underrated gem down under, Deep Down is a boutique winery in Aotearoa, New Zealand, founded by Clive Dougall and Peter Lorimer who share a love of organic, exceptional wine, and a life well lived. What truly sets them apart is their commitment to organic practices, small-batch production and minimal intervention. Each wine undergoes a wild ferment and is sourced from single vineyards, resulting in wines that are transparent and reflective of their terroir. Offering Sauvignon Blanc, Arneis, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir produced with intuition and heart, their land is farmed with care and vineyards managed with respect. The Deep Down Marlborough Pinot Noir 2022’s ($50.15, U.P. $59) vibrant ruby color sets the stage for the enchanting aromas of ripe dark fruits, complemented by subtle hints of spices and oak. Pairing this delightful red wine with grilled meats or roasted vegetables will enhance its flavors and create a memorable dining experience. For those with a sweet tooth, indulge in a slice of decadent chocolate dessert alongside a glass of this wine, and you’ll be treated to an unforgettable pairing.


3. Wabi Sabi – Austria 

Our quest for unique wineries led us to Wabi-Sabi in Austria, a winery that is rooted in the Japanese Zen philosophy of embracing the beauty found in imperfection. While many strive for a designed and flawless image, the creators of Wabi-Sabi wines perceive a different approach. Rather than pursuing a mass-produced ideal, they celebrate low-intervention wines that express their quality as living entities. For them, character and individuality are far more authentic than sterile, fruit-driven creations. This can be seen in the Wabi Sabi Ancestral Blanc NV ($41.65, U.P. $49) with flavors such as tropical fruits, honey, and a delightful earthiness. Pair this extraordinary wine with sushi, cheese platters, or spicy Thai cuisine. 


4. Urlar – New Zealand

Pic credit: Wine Tourism

Our next hidden gem takes us back to New Zealand. Certified in both organic viticulture and biodynamic, Urlar – meaning Earth in gaelic –  is located in the North Island, part of Wairarapa. Owned by Japanese winemaker Mr Yoichiro Nishi, Urlar is committed to farming and harvesting according to the rhythmic influences of the sun, moon, planets and stars – a commitment that has been highly recognised and rewarded with the Hills Harvest and Gallagher Innovation Awards. The result is beautiful, clean and true wines that have not impacted negatively on the soil that they’ve been crafted on. The Urlar Pinot Gris 2019 ($41.65, U.P. $49) is a captivating white wine with enchanting savoury aromatics, infusing the air with tantalising scents of oak spice, luscious honey, and toasted butter. The harmonious fusion of ripe pears and honey creates a lingering impression, enticing you to indulge in each sip. Whether paired with succulent grilled chicken, refreshing salads, or creamy pasta dishes, this delightful wine elevates your dining experience to new heights. 


5. Craven – South Africa

Last but certainly not least, we make our way to the renowned wine region of Stellenbosch in South Africa, where we unravel the charms of Craven. A global affair, husband and wife team Mick (Australian) and Jeanine (South African) met while working at a winery in Sonoma, California before returning to South Africa inspired and to source fruit for their natural wines. Only making single vineyard, single variety wines, Craven highlights different terroirs around Stellenbosch through their bottles. They make wines which are interesting, both stylistically and by varietal, which also have a sense of place and an expression of the terroir where they come from. A 90 points Robert Parker wine, the Craven Cinsault 2020 ($43.35, U.P. $51) embodies elegance and finesse, with its light-bodied nature and captivating flavors such as  cherry and plum, and the delicate spice undertones. This versatile wine shines when paired with pizza, pasta, or grilled meats, creating a perfect fusion of flavors.

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