Cleaning up at The Dirty Dozen

Published by Alex Beaumont on 10/10/2017

Last month Roberson joined eleven of the UK’s most interesting independent wine importers at The Dirty Dozen. This annual tasting event champions smaller producers, who focus on “wines of integrity and authenticity”, that are “real before synthetic” and “that speak of the terroir”.

The demand for these organic, biodynamic and natural wines was plain to see. As a society we’re ever more conscious of what we put in our bodies, and the wine trade is adapting well to this growing market trend.

Tucked away in the basement of one of London’s leading record stores, passers-by would never have guessed that over 250 wines were being swirled, sniffed, slurped and scrutinised by some of the country’s finest sommeliers, wine retailers and wine journalists.

Dirty Dozen Tasting - Roberson Staff

Favourites among the Roberson selection were identified as the Plein Sud 2016 from Vignerons d’Estezargues, Rudolph Trossen’s Silbermond Riesling 2016, Seth Kunin’s Santa Barbara County Syrah 2015 and the wines of our new agency Vinca Minor.

Vignerons d’Estezargues Plein Sud 2016 – A 50/50 blend of Viognier and Roussanne from the Cote de Rhone, Estezargues make their wine as naturally as possible, with minimal SO2. This wine displays a floral, fruity nose and juicy stone fruits on the palate, rounded off with great minerality.

Trossen Silbermond Riesling Fienherb 2016 – Pioneers of bio dynamism, Rita and Rudolph Trossen produce organic fruit in the Mosel valley. Working in harmony with the land, the winemaking process is synchronised with the biodynamic calendar. With minimal intervention in the winery and use of indigenous yeast only, the end result is slightly off-dry, packed full of citrus fruit with a dazzling minerality that lingers on the palate.

Kunin Santa Barbara County Syrah 2015 – Seth Kunin, a transplanted New Yorker, first arrived on the west coast to work in California's fine dining scene, where he fell in love with wine and ended up quitting the restaurant business. A fan of wines of the northern Rhone, this Syrah is a new world expression of a classic Saint-Joseph. This wine is silky and elegant with spiced blackberry fruit and hints of smoked meats and olives.

Amelia Singer (ITV2’s The Wine Show expert and UK ambassador for California Wines UK) is a huge fan of Kunin and praised the wines while she tasted at Roberson’s stand:

“I love how the ripeness of baked red plums is equally matched with a peppery, charcuterie-esque nuance. It really shows how Santa Barbara’s terroir allows winemakers to straddle the savoury and fruity aspects of Syrah.”

Vinca Minor Santa Cruz Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 – Using organic fruit from high altitude sites in the Santa Cruz Mountains, this Cabernet is fermented with native yeasts and aged in neutral French oak to preserve the freshness of fruit. Bottled un-fined and unfiltered, this is a brilliant example of minimal intervention winemaking.

Peter Richards MW from BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen tasted it at our table, describing it “as adorable as an eager and super-fluffy puppy”.


Alex Beaumont

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