London

NEWCOMER WINES, DALSTON

On a bleak rainy Saturday a couple of weeks ago, myself and two friends took shelter in Newcomer Wines’ shop and bar, in Dalston, where we set up camp (for many hours). 

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On a bleak rainy Saturday a couple of weeks ago, myself and two friends took shelter in Newcomer Wines’ shop and bar, in Dalston, where we set up camp (for many hours). 

I’ve had a keen interest in Austrian wine for a while now: particularly impressed and thoroughly encouraged by the wines of Judith BeckAndreas TscheppePeter Veyder Malberg and Alwin Jurtschitsch (the latter two of whom I met recently at Sager and Wilde, which I’ll also be writing up soon). The country has a wealth of highly interesting and unique indigenous grape varietals of excellent quality. This, combined with minimal intervention in the vineyards and gentle winemaking, means the wines act as very clear vehicles of their unique terroirs.  

Founded in 2014, Newcomer Wines began as a student start-up by Peter Honegger and Daniela Pillhofer. They source Austrian wine from the new generation of growers, and are importing into the UK. They work with many great wine establishments in London, helping them to source Austrian wine for their lists, such as The Clove Club, Fera at Claridges, Sager + Wilde, the Hawksmoor Group and many others.

2016 saw them open their bar, and visiting the venue has been at the top of my list for a while. I was very impressed by their impeccable range, as well as Toni Tossman’s thorough knowledge, and also the low mark-ups, still quite rare in London. We drank some wonderful, eye-opening wines. 

The bar itself is lovely. Great light for tasting and lovely decor with bare bulbs and wine on all the walls, with Noble Rot magazines hanging invitingly. 

I’d recommend the wine bar to anyone wanting a glass of wine, or a bottle to takeaway. 

WHAT WE DRANK

All four of these wines are excellent examples of what Austrian terroir and Austrian varietals are capable of. 

SIGHARDT DONABAUM‘S GRÛNER-VELTLINER

Indigenous yeasts, minimal intervention Gruner with long yeast contact.

Lovely floral nose of honeysuckle and blossom. Zingy palate of lime, lemon peel and fresh pear, with some fresh peach notes also. Tons of aromas. Pure, lifted finish, and actually has quite a prominent body.

CLAUS PREISINGER’S KALKUNDKIESEL

Biodynamic. Fermented on skins. Six months in oak barrels on the lees. Unfined and unfiltered. Limestone and pebble sites.

Red apples, stone fruit and apricot nose, quite heady and gorgeous. Layered and complex on the palate, with distinct minerality and a certain savoury and a surprisingly creamy finish. 

RENNERSISTAS – WAITING FOR TOM

Pinot Noir, St Laurent and Blaufränkisch.

Rennersistas are two sisters, Susanne and Stefanie, who are beginning their natural wine journey, having taken over their parents winery, which was founded in ’88. After spending few years working abroad for growers such as Tom Lubbe and Tom Shobbrook, they returned to the family winery, and 2015 was their first vintage. They farm 13ha in Burgenland, in the surroundings of Gols. All vineyards and wines organically certified, and winemaking techniques are gentle.

Bright cherries, raspberries, fresh blackberries and some spice. Really vibrant and so juicy, with a lovely slight earthiness with liquorice on the finish. Up there with my favourite reds of the year so far.

WEINGUT WERLITSCH – FREUDE

In 2007 Sepp Muster and Ewald Tscheppe from Weingut Werlitsch started experimenting with skin fermented wines in clay bottles. This is the first wine Ewald has bottled in clay since 2010. Freude (joy) is a Morillon (Chardonnay) Sauvignon blend kept on the skins for a year. The grapes began their spontaneous fermentation in amphorae and were then moved into large oak barrels for another year. 

Amazing, textural and rich orange wine, with notes of honey blossom and acacia on the nose, with a dense, orange peel and nutty palate of fresh almonds, with a lovely lean, slightly sappy finish. Banging wine.

Thank you to Toni who was a brilliant host to us. Will be back soon!

Christina