Last Sunday, Sunflower and I attended a natural wine tasting ($25) at Bricks Wine Store. Juice Import co-owner Erik Mercier showcased wines from Dormilona, a woman-led winery in Margaret River, Western Australia. For this post, let’s listen to “French Disko” by Stereolab.
An interesting fact about winemaking in Australia and the wine owner / maker Josephine Perry. The seasons in the Southern Hemisphere are the opposite of the Northern Hemisphere. Josephine hops back and forth between Western Australia and the Northern Hemisphere and doubles the wine she can make. Furthermore, the harvest times in Australia is from January-February and March-April in New Zealand, which allows her to add a third harvest.
Josephine’s intense work ethic results in a dawn-to-dusk schedule. Being so busy means she rests when she can and is known for falling asleep at the dining table. This drowsy habit turned into her moniker, wine label and the name of her winery. Dormilona translates to “lazy bones,” and a sleepy skeleton is the motif.
The first wine we tried was a 2022 Crum Pet ($44.95). Erik described this sparkling wine as friendly and clean, with tangy lemon zest. Erik noted this wine is bottled while still fermenting, resulting in a naturally sparkling wine.
The 2020 Chardonnay ($53.96) had a strong scent with a pleasant aftertaste. Erik mentioned the grapes come from an impeccable biodynamic farm called Burnside Farm, and the method of dry farming results in highly concentrated grapes. He likes the soft texture and gentleness of the 2021 chardonnay. I found this wine a little buttery.
The grapes from the 2021 Clayface Chardonnay ($75.95) come from the same vineyard as the previous wine we tried, except only the very best fruit is used for this vintage. Sunflower tasted kumquat, while Erik described clementine. I say potato, potahto, tomato, tomahto. Erik mentioned this is Josephine’s top chardonnay cuvée, with only 45 cases produced and each bottle hand numbered.
The next wine, a 2022 Clayface Chenin Blanc ($75.95), is even rarer, and Juice Import’s first-ever allocation of Josephine’s top chenin blanc, with only 25 cases produced. There are only six bottles of the 2022 Clayface Chenin Blanc in Calgary and six in Edmonton. Erik sniffed, sipped and sighed that this was a crazy good flavour.
My favourite wine is the 2022 Yokel Rosé ($35.59). I’m not usually a rosé fan, but this was just sumptuous. Erik thought there was plenty of structure, complexity and nuance. The grenache grapes are farmed from the hottest commercial region in Australia. I bought three bottles of the rosé.
The 2022 Yokel Grenache ($38.95) is Erik’s favourite in the lineup. He tasted cherry pie, cherry danish and fresh cherries. Sunflower tasted blood orange. Sunflower and I both bought a bottle of the grenache.
The last wine we sampled was the 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon ($68.95). Erik called this an “intense, luxurious, but not heavy.” I bought a bottle for my sister Me Shell, who’s visiting me in July. I know her taste, and she would love this style of wine.
Erik should consider becoming a full-time wine lecturer. I don’t know if there is a university for natural wines, but he should look into it. His passion is so evident you can hear it in his voice and see it in his eyes. I’m looking forward to the next Juice Import event, a raging, sold-out Pinotfest.