Yum Cha Chats: JonnyVicious profiles 5 natural wines in a flamboyant narrative that compares wine with music
What does orange wine have it common with Seth Troxler's armpit?
Any trip to Kuala Lumpur always ends up with getting whisked away to the newest and coolest spot by the city's star attraction: JonnyVicious. A bonafide bon vivant with an innate appreciation for the finer things in life, we're not sure what impresses us the most about him: his style as a selector, his epicurean ways or his enthralling conversation during which I wouldn't recommend even blinking at risk of missing even a fraction of a second. Or maybe it's because we always leave sloshed after imbibing too much natural wine. Sloshed, but never hungover (the lack of sulphates in natural wine usually equals little to no hangover).
He says his relationship with nature wine is the easiest relationship he’s ever had. “There he was on a summery day, friends of mine said he was rather cloudy, but alas I wasn’t really into a massive thinker that afternoon. I just wanted to have fun. He slipped his juice down my throat and that was it, I knew I couldn’t drink another glass of Margoux again.”
JonnyVicious goes on: “My life resonates around trying to be more sustainable and reasonable with our planet. I’m not an extremist when it comes to my thoughts and feelings, but I believe that there are better and more moderate ways to create, anything really! Natural wine makers are fundamentally our forefathers making wine, the way it should be made, sans sulphites, shitty additives, insane pesticides and military grade fertilisers. The makers of natural wine are people of the soil. They are farmers, extremely intelligent men and women who understand that kissing the ground is the only way forward. They brace disasters, they have bad years, and yet they strive to continue with so much passion. This helps me in turn, by teaching me so much about how I too can be this way with all that I do. If that isn’t fascinating, I don’t know what is.”
We also asked if the rumors were true and natural wine was hangover free. “Here’s a great story," he says (and we fix our attention on nothing but him and the wine in hand, ready). "We attended the annual natural wine convention in Singapore a few good years ago. This is where I noticed the polar opposite of a normal wine fair, nobody was in a bloody tie. Anyway, we go through about 8 hours solid drinking and learning about the most delicious natural wines ever, and ending our evening with the wine makers popping whatever was left as we danced to Abba. I woke up not remembering how I got home, but felt fresh as a daisy. The confusion struck me as endearing and from then onward, I never touched a glass of shitty mass produced wine again. Forgive my French.”
We credit Jonnyvicious with introducing us to this wild world and instead of texting him once a month asking for a recommendation, we decided to make a record of it for everyone in a Yum Cha Chat. Bookmark this page now...
Region: Cote De Marmandaise Histoire De Boire by Elian Da Los & Sandrine
“Histoire De Boire is a yearly Glou Glou love affair between Elian Da Los and Sandrine who are both winemakers from Côtes du Marmandais. It’s always made in magnums as that is the best way to bottle wine, hands down. HDB is a wine to share, making it my favourite of all the natural wines I have ever popped. Its flavour profile is red berries and earth, and is made using an indigenous grape called Arbouriou."
What does it pair with? LIFE. It literally pairs the coming together of people, not generally something id pair with food, but more towards the end of dinner when everyone starts sharing secrets.
Where to drink it: PURO at REX KL, Kuala Lumpur. Look for Meng How, he’ll teach you a thing or two.
Region: Emilia Romagna Denavolo - Dinavolino, 2018
"This wine was the first high profile orange wine that I ever tasted and god, what a wine it was. It felt like Seth Troxler squeezed his armpit sweat into a vat of spice creating a godly mixture that is both extremely perfumed and fantastic on a hot day out on a meadow or while dancing to a morning set at Wonderfruit. Its flavour profile is made up of blossoms, peels and Chanel no. 5, if you could drink it. The spice makes ituniquee, a fair amount of orange wine tends to lack much character, this one is definitely the slash of the orange wine world. This maker uses indigenous grapes native to this high altitude, so as with music, wines like this give me life because they taste like nothing else."
What does it pair with? Fresh nutty salads, anything poultry that boasts a bunch of spices or herbs or stinky delicious cheese!
Where to drink it: Joloko KL, if you see Rick Joore, run for your life because he’s never letting you leave.
Region: Nelson / NZ Kindeli “Tinto” Pinot Noir Shiraz Blend, 2017
"A total James Brown of the wine world, Kindeli Tinto was an all funky, slightly spicy wine that had a nice chewy vibrancy to it. Totally natural, totally unrefined. Its flavour profiles? Grandma’s Most Delicious Jam. The unique factor is that it's an early harvest wine that is ridiculously hard to make, but provides the wine with a freshness that one wouldn’t usually describe when drinking a Shiraz blend. Its maker, Alex Craighead has been running far away from the grain and is one hell of a risk-taker!"
What does it pair with? We had it with a bunch of cheese and cuts along with a few different tapas at our favourite bar in Singapore.
Where to drink it: WINE RVLT, SINGAPORE
Region: Victoria Momento Mori Etcetera Etcetera, 2017
"This winemaker selected the best fruits from every grapevine he could find throughout his vineyard and vineyards around him and fermented them all together to create ETCETERA ETCETERA! A Glou Glou that is adjacent to watching 17 of your favourite DJs come together on one stage at 8am to play b2b for 10 hours on a beach in Tulum. To be honest, I always taste a sense of deep anal with this wine, but I guess I would say crisp red fruit with dry herbs. The fact that it is a culmination of grapes from all his best friends makes it everything a glou glou should be in not many words, Communal. Momento Mori found out that Italian grapes work best in Australia henceforth three cheers to them for keeping it real and making fine wine totally naturally on only two hectares of land with almost zero technology!"
What does it pair with? We paired it with a Beetroot Tartare at our supper club, Super Secret Social last season. It gave the dish acidity and made it come to life.
Where to drink it: Kangkao, Bangkok serves up a bunch of Momento Mori wines and they are all fabulous. Try a Fist Full of Flowers or Staring at the Sun!
Region: Fruili Venezia Giulia Sauvignon Franco Terpin, 2013
"This wine blew my mind to smithereens. For someone that rides on the fact that naturals need to be slightly, how can I say this, dirty? This wine breaks away from that, it is SO CLEAN, that it could be at a top restaurant in a city of bourgeois natural wine haters and they would never tell the difference. Skin contact for 10 days gives it a slightly darker complexion but is literally the best 100% sauvignon blanc that I have ever had in my entire life. It’s full-bodied and so dynamic that it made me have goosebumps on my brain, the scent of dried fruits and lots of citruses make it so delectable while slurping on many an oyster. This vineyard is just before the border of Slovenia, a fantastic winemaking region that only exists in the minds of people that “know”, so there you go, you know now. The people who make this are like true techno fans, they are part of the resistance of natural winemakers who exists within the region of Italy and Slovenia who took a stance at keeping their wine natural during the mass exodus “coughs”, I mean the industrialisation of wine. They are snobbish, and we love them."
What does it pair with? I would suggest so many types of cheese but I would go with soft and stinky as that's my vibe, outside in spring, at the perfect temperature, you would literally feel so confused as to whether you’re alive or dead on a dance floor somewhere in Bulgaria while listening to Ricardo Villalobos.
Where to drink it: Probably nowhere because the winemaker literally only provides it to a certain few restaurants that they believe in around the world. As all great natural wines never travel well, you’d probably need to get on a donkey from Italy, start your journey through your inner self to Slovenia and take your 60-day journey to the winemaker on foot. We have no idea where they truly are, but we hear they have seances in caves where the grapes ferment to the sounds of Fran Gerbič and a bunch of Gregorian monks.