When career changers start with winemaking, they sometimes endeavour insane projects: heat, steep slopes, naked rock! In order to brake with all conventions in the winemaking process, they also show a rebellious style in the cellar work. The combination of these ingredients are the debut wines of Melanie and Guido Hube in Banyuls: cleverly they come with the label oiseau rebelle.
In the very beginning, everything went pretty quickly: the move from the Sommelier position in Germany’s capital to the Spanish boarder, establishment of a company in 2014 and the absolute will to do something out of the ordinary, crazy.
Four years later, in August 2018, I have tasted the wines. And while taking notes, I am also reading the tech sheets. I am more than astonished, as regards taste as well as professional. But let’s tackle things one at the time.
The tasting starts with a conundrum: BRMTH is the name of the wine. Hube leaves out the consonants and B in Spanish stands for a V; hence Verm(o)uth. The wine is not seasoned or aromatized, however, it reminds me stylistically of an aperitif wine. The Grenache grapes undergo a strong press and sit afterwards for 21 (!) month in stainless steel. Fermentation happens naturally and the wine reaches an incredible level of 17.5% abv – nearly impossible according to the textbook. But let’s assume, the wild yeasts are very much used to the local conditions. The hands-off-approach is further underlined by waiving sulphur, clarification or filtering. The wine is supple, creamy, gracious with a fine fruit and a light herbaceous touch – wonderfully inspiring and complex.
Do you like it a bit more rebellious? We continue with VVNT: vivant – alive. The wine shows a amber-gold hue, is herbaceous on the nose with hints of ripe yellow fruits. The structure on the palate is tight with grippy tannins and an impressive minerality towards the end. One half of the Grenache gris and blanc grapes is directly pressed, the other half is crushed and macerated with the juice. Punch down every 4-5 hours and addition of 15% ripe, slightly dried stems. Maceration without racking for 30 (!) months, no further manipulation. The wine is fermented dry with 15% abv. Chapeau for the courage and the result!
MTRNR – it is getting challenging: matière noire or antimatter – what a message. I am totally blown away: it smells, looks and has an alcohol just like a sweet Banyuls. But indeed it is naturally fermented dry to 17 % abv and of impressive elegance. Super-concentrated cherry fruit, spicy cedar wood and tobacco, thrilling alcohol but underlined by a cooling minerality. Wow, wow, wow.
7 months maceration without racking, 100% Grenache Noir, no sulphur, all natural, swallow by swallow.
Then I meet the guardian of hell, CRBR stands for Cerberus. I did not think that it could get even more dramatic after the antimatter. Same winemaking, majority of Grenache noir, long maceration and 145 grams per litre of residual sugar at 14% abv. A genius sweet wine with – once again – an incredible mineral aftertaste that ends in a spicy finish.
The pricing of the wines is ambitious, we talk about mid-range two digits Euros. However, with all the efforts from the vineyards into the design of the bottles it is understandable. The wines are available over the website www.oiseau-rebelle.vin or eventually in Switzerland soon.