OCTOBER SAUVAGE–STREKOV FRED #3 NV
If we were to tell you that some of the world’s most intriguing natural wines were coming from a single farm in rural Slovakia, you might be suspicious. We were too. But then we drank through the entire range of wines from natural wine guru Zsolt Sütó. A passionate and radical adherent to serious naturalism in the vineyard and the cellar, Zsolt works with virtually unknown varieties, farms them according to biodynamic principles, and makes his wines with zero additions or subtractions. His wines are some of the closest examples of completely natural wines that we’ve come across. More importantly, they are wildly delicious and unapologetically funky elixirs that push the envelope of what we expect in a glass of wine.
Zsolt’s most important red wine, Fred #3 represents a field blend of Alibernet and Dunaj. Alibernet is an unknown cross between Alicante Bouschet (aka Garnacha Tintorera as in our Envínate selection) and Cabernet Sauvignon. Dunaj, on the other hand, is a cross between Blauer Portugieser and Sankt Laurent. Like nearly all of Zsolt’s wines, the vines are quite young as he himself recently replanted nearly all of his vineyards with superior plant material. The resulting wine is fermented spontaneously in open-topped vats and subsequently aged in large barrels for 3 months before being bottled without any addition of sulfur. Though it’s bottled under a crown cap it is indeed still (save for some residual carbon dioxide) with seriously zippy fruit, earthy funk, and a hint of wildness. It should be drunk relatively cool, with charcuterie.