The Brand brothers are...electrifying their little town and this forgotten region. And they are doing so with huge smiles, a raucous joy – even downright excitement – in their role as stewards for the land.
It’s a rather curious blend of youthful exuberance, a surplus of energy and an unflappable belief in the future of viticulture in their vineyards, tempered by a maturity that is surprising given their ages (Daniel was born in 1990; Jonas in 1994).
If in some way the brothers, and their unique, crystalline natural wines, seem to have come out of nowhere, there is a context here. Their father, Jürgen, was one of the first advocates for environmentally conscious agriculture, joining an important organic organization in 1994. However, it wasn’t until Daniel came into the winery in 2014 that they made the transition to organic viticulture. Starting with vintage 2018, they are certified organic. They are also pursuing parts of the biodynamic philosophies, with the very real desire to understand and integrate its principles, without necessarily blindly following the ideology. The brothers, for their own parts, have worked with a bevy of “who’s who” producers including Lise and Bertrand Jousset in the Loire, and Alwin Jurtschitsch in Austria’s Kamptal.
So, what about the wines?
Ah yes. In the beginning, it was the liters – these are the wines that immediately made both John and I look at each other with eyebrows a-raised, sharing that look of delight when something stands apart because of its internal, brightness, purity and zzziiiinnnnng. They still fascinate and delight; there are few better deals in wine.
In the years since, the Brand brothers have quietly experimented more and more with 0-sulfur winemaking. Some were, right from the start, nearly perfect. The Pet-Nats are riveting, ultra-light testaments to what this region is capable of; in the already-saturated world of Pet-Nat, they have a dedicated following and disappear quickly. The rather long and eccentric list of 0-sulfur “Pur” wines that the brothers released with vintage 2018, reflects a lot of experimenting, both in the vineyards and in the cellars. It is still a work in progress, though a number of wines are already sure-footed and captivating, unique testaments to a world beyond Riesling. The “Wildersatz” field blend is saline and lemon pith; it is as vibrant as spring water. The Pinot Blanc Pur is classic, the high-toned florality and rounded curves flaunting the inherent breed of the grape. The “Cuvée Flora,” an old-vine Dornfelder cuvee, is one of the most riveting wines of the portfolio, in my opinion. An inky, jet-black red with the soul of an herbal red from the Loire, with all that moist dark soil, stones and herbal fruit.
Nothing of what the brothers is doing is simple, or easy to explain, or, for that matter, sound in judgement. Spending so much time cultivating an old-vine parcel of Dornfelder is idiocy, when you consider how easy it would be to plant more Riesling and feed that market (which in places other than the U.S., is very strong). - Vom Boden
Wine Notes: Pet Nat from Germany that tastes exactly like you’d hope it would. It’s like those you already know and love from France, but racier, leaner and more bracing…fresher.
The white Pet Nat is half Silvaner and half Weißburgunder (Pinot Blanc) and it clocks in at a mere 10% alcohol. It’s ultra-light and tastes like sea spray with bubbles, showing a fresh mineral core and unquestionable cut. The rosé is mostly Pinot Noir with 10% Portugieser and has only a mere 10.5% alcohol. After an initial burst of round, tart, juicy red fruit it finishes dry, clean and mineral with great focus.
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