After many years exploring restaurants and bars around the world, we’ve tried a few bottles of wine. We are by no means educated sommeliers, but as our cork collection has grown, we’ve learned a thing or two about how wine is made and, most importantly, what style of wine we like. As with most things, wine taste is completely subjective. There is no right or wrong answer, there’s only what you like to drink and what you don’t like to drink. There are many famous wines that are just not the style we like to drink. For example, Kaitlin can’t stand Chardonnay or the oxidized style of wine that you typically find in the Jura region of France. Anders is not a fan of sweet wines, and usually avoids wine pairings for that very reason. We’ll take an extra glass of Champagne over a dessert wine any day!
When we met, our love for natural wine was one of the first things that brought us together. We quickly discovered we had the exact same taste in wine, which made it very easy to share a bottle. Over time, we’ve discovered that the majority of our favorite bottles tend to come from Australia, Italy, and Austria. We’ve made it a goal to visit a lot of these producers; we’ve gone to their cellars to sip still-fermenting wines directly from the barrel and then tried the finished product in the glass. But we still have a lot of wine destinations left to explore!
If you, like us, gravitate toward light and juicy wines, funky and unfiltered grape juice, then chances are you’ll probably like a lot of the wines on the list below. If your taste is more classical and clean in style, or you prefer the bolder, heavier, oxidized stuff, this list is not for you. We’ve listed our favorites, producer by producer, with our top bottles from each one. Stay tuned – we’ll keep updating this list as we drink more wine and discover more favorites.
Our All-Time Favorite Natural Wines
Ah, the arrow wine. If you follow us on Instagram, chances are you’ve seen us post these bottles a time or two. Gabrio Bini is a winemaking wizard. We visited him on the small island of Pantelleria and were blown away by the terrain of the volcanic island and the wine that is produced as a result. Did you know Pantelleria is closer to Africa than it is to Sicily? The dry heat and extremely strong winds are so intense that the vines grow in bushes on the ground rather than standing tall in beautiful rows. It’s a crazy place, and it produces crazy wine – wine that just so happens to be our absolute favorite in the world! Serragghia Zibibbo Bianco is an extremely tropical, aromatic orange wine, with notes of apricot and peach and a wild acidity. It’s tart, it’s floral, it’s everything we want in a wine. The Fanino Rosso is equally spectacular – it’s such a light red it feels more like a rosé. It’s equally aromatic, bursting with flowers, and is super tart and juicy. Do note: we prefer these wines young and fresh (the 2018 vintage is our favorite) – if it gets over a few years old, it gets more baked peach/dessert wine vibes. We’ve also tried a few of the limited edition bottles but didn’t love them as much as the classics, so no need to spend the big bucks on them – in our opinion.
2. Momento Mori
Australian super juice! This is a producer we can never resist – one, because it’s super rare (at least outside of the natural wine mecca that is Copenhagen), and two, because it’s freaking delicious! Staring at the Sun was actually the first orange wine Kaitlin ever tried (at La Cabane in Hong Kong), and it’s safe to say it changed her life! It’s light yellow in color, with notes of orange blossom, elderflower, yuzu, and tangerine – like a super tart lemonade. Our favorite bottle from Momento Mori, however, is Fistful of Flowers. As the name implies, this is a bouquet in a bottle. It’s got notes of yuzu, stone fruit, lychee, honey, and brown sugar, while still having amazing acidity and freshness. We also like Nosiola (another tropical orange), Etcetera Etcetera (a light and juicy red), and Malvasia Frizzante (floral citrusy bubbles), but we don’t love Bianco (more Chardonnay vibes) or the Cardinia Range Rosé (more of a basic rosé) as much as the others.
3. Gut Oggau
When wines become so much a part of your life that they feel like family. Our love for Gut Oggau is no secret – there’s frequently a family member sitting at our table, and we had a magical time visiting them in Austria in 2019! Our favorites of the family are Winifred, a happy-go-lucky rosé with juicy cranberry and strawberry notes, and Theodora, a cheeky skin contact white with notes of peach and apple. Other favorites include Timotheus, the new Maskerade Rosé, the Split Face Rosé and White from 2016, and the Brutal Rosé. We’re not as big of a fan of their red wines, which in general tend to be darker and heavier than we like. Our life will be complete when we each have our faces on a bottle of Gut Oggau! 😉
4. Tom Shobbrook
This is the story of a sommelier who changed our life with a spot-on recommendation. We were at Tyge & Sessil in Stockholm and were about to order a bottle of Serragghia Zibibbo, when the worker asked if we had ever tried Giallo from Tom Shobbrook. We said no, and he highly encouraged us to try it, describing it as tropical, juicy, tart, and even saying he’d drink it himself if we didn’t like it. One sip and we were sold! This is an extremely hard-to-find bottle – since then, we’ve only spotted it at Night + Market in L.A. and at Noma. (We’ve bought it every time.) Perhaps the slightly easier to find bottle from Shobbrook is Muscat, which we have also fallen in love with. Compared to Giallo’s crazy tropical passion fruit, guava, mango, yuzu vibes, Muscat is slightly more floral and herbal, with an interesting hint of licorice root. One time at Domaine in L.A. we found a tart and tangy orangey rosé from Shobbrook called Rose, but sadly we haven’t been able to find it again since.
5. Christian Tschida
Yummy, yummy Tschida! Another favorite producer of ours is Christian Tschida, who is also located in Austria, only about 30 minutes from Gut Oggau. The Himmel Auf Erden (Heaven on Earth) series is our favorite (especially the 2018 vintage), but this year we also fell in love with his Birdscape white and red. Tschida makes some of the most aromatic wines we’ve tasted – they’re elegant, they’re complex, they’re juicy, and they’re way too easy to drink. You really can do no wrong with Tschida – we’ve yet to meet a bottle we don’t like!
6. Lucy Margaux
Another exceptional Australian producer is Anton Von Klopper, who named his winery Lucy Margaux after his daughter. Where to begin when we have so many favorite bottles?! Let’s start with the macerated Sauvignon Blancs, the Wildman Blanc and the Tete d’Oeuf. Both are juicy and floral with lots of tropical notes; think elderflower lemonade, with hints of bergamot, jasmine, and honey. Boom, baby! Anton’s reds are more like dark rosés – Summer of Love and Noir de Florette are both tart and juicy with amazing acidity. Don’t forget the bubbles! The Pinot Gris Pet Nat is one of the best pet nats we’ve ever had. Blood orange dominates the palate, with the perfect amount of tang and acidity and a sprinkling of bubbles. Juicy Lucy!
7. Le Coste
It’s time to highlight a few pink wines that totally break the mold when it comes to the pale juice usually associated with a rosé. First up, the Rosato from Le Coste – a rare and elusive m*thaf*cka so slippery and hard-to-find that you absolutely should buy it all up if you see it. (Just kidding, please leave some for us!) Shall we call it the pink panther? *dun dun dun dun…* This rosé is bursting with grapefruit and blood orange, it’s tart, zingy, and super fresh, with some lovely floral notes. We also love Le Coste’s basic Bianco and Bianchetto (pineapple tangerine lemonade vibes), but find the more expensive bottles (Bianco R) to have a little more age and heaviness than we like in our wine.
Never say no to Panda! We continue our rosé crawl with another funky fresh rosato that is also very hard to find – but actually the last time we were in Norway, Vinmonopolet (the national wine monopoly) had shelves of it, so keep an eye out! This cloudy orange rosé is quite peachy in the glass, with tart grapefruit and citrus notes, and a salty aftertaste that leaves you craving sip after sip. While the Panda is by far our favorite from Lammidia, we have also enjoyed their Bianco, Bianchetto, Carbo Bianco, and Moontonic Bianco.
9. No Control
All the best rosés are the hardest to find, apparently. We were introduced to Stone Rosé at Skaal Matbar in Oslo, and have been on the hunt for it ever since (only spotting it once at Spontan in Trondheim and once at Brutus in Oslo). We instantly fell in love with the vibrant, punchy flavor exploding from this bottle – it’s juicy, it’s tart, and it’s so easy drinking it’s practically chuggable. (Importers, please find more of this juice!!!!) The only other wine we’ve tried (so far) from No Control is Fusion, a juicy and aromatic wild red wine. No control, indeed!
10. La Sorga
La Sorga wines can be a bit hit or miss for us. We have a few all-time favorite bottles from this producer, but, to be honest, we’ve also tried quite a few that just didn’t capture our attention. Fier Heretique, however, is a gem – a juicy orange pink rosé with candied grapefruit on the nose and a nice tartness. Ginnungagap (say that five times fast!) is another stunner that took our breath away at first sip. It has notes of orange zest, lemon peel, and bergamot that keep it tart and fresh. We’ve only seen the cheekily named Sorgasme once (at Ahiru Store in Tokyo); if you can get past the raunchy, polarizing label, you’ll be rewarded with notes of yuzu and passionfruit. (Sorgasme, indeed!) The only problem with La Sorga is once we’ve fallen in love with a bottle, we maybe only see it once more after that before it disappears without a trace! La Sorga is less of a lifetime love affair and more of a hot and lusty fling. But when it’s good, it’s so very good… (Do be warned: these wines should be drunk fast, as they have a tendency to get mousey very quickly.)
11. The Other Right
While you can’t always judge a wine by its label, sometimes the name is a spot-on description of the contents. Sunshine On My Skin is that for us – it really is sunshine in a bottle. With notes of yuzu, salty tangerine, passion fruit, and peach, this was an instant win for us. We’ve tried a few other bottles from The Other Right, but none compare to our first love from this producer.
12. Renaud Bruyère & Adeline Houillon
The elusive wines from producers Renaud Bruyère & Adeline Houillon typically fly off the shelves before we can buy them. However, we have been lucky and have spotted them on a few wine lists. Before tasting this Poulsard, Kaitlin had pretty much written off the entire region of Jura – the oxidized, Vin Jaune stuff is the complete opposite of our taste in wine. But the Arbois Pupillin Ploussard caused Kaitlin to open her mind. Unlike the rich white wines of the region, this red wine is light, juicy, elegant, fun, and funky, with a really nice acidity. Snag it if you find it!
If you’re looking for a wine that tastes like a mimosa, Moz Frizzante is the wine for you. Fizzy, citrusy bubbles, with a tart, juicy flavor that makes this wine the perfect aperitif (but also just so delicious to drink any time of the day). You have to look closely at Costadila’s labels because they all look very similar, but it’s actually the most basic wine from this producer that we find the most interesting. The 280 slm, 330 slm, and O-X versions of the frizzante are more fizzy and less flavorful than the Moz Bianco Frizzante which is exploding with tropical, yuzu, floral bubbles!
A recent discovery in the past year is the Australian producer Manon. We first tried the Wild Nature Sparkling on a tasting menu at Noma, and fell in love with the foamy, apricot and strawberry-flavored bubbles. It has a fun pink/orange color, fizzy foam, and great acidity – we declared it was the best pet nat we had ever had. Later, we discovered She Blushes Gris at La Cabane in Hong Kong (a juicy pink-orange wine), and Blush (a lovely rosé that smells like vanilla bean on the nose and tastes like fresh strawberries).
15. Anders Fredrik Steen
Perhaps the most famous Danish winemaker, Anders Fredrik Steen got his start working with wine at Relæ, Manfreds, and Noma before moving to France to make wine. Our favorite wine from him may have changed names over the years, but the juice remains the same. The Artist Formerly Known as Peach, Peach of Mind, you name it! It’s peachy, alright, but also with other notes like strawberry and fruit punch. This is summer juice – easy-drinking, tart, and delicious. We’ve also enjoyed Anders Fredrik Steen’s Je Suis Comme Ca et Alors? – a skin-contact white with volatile acidity and fun floral notes.
16. Mother Rock
If you like a little skin contact in your life, you’ll love Liquid Skin! It’s tart and tropical pineapple juice, like yuzu lemonade with a slightly salty aftertaste. This is, without a doubt our favorite producer from South Africa! We also like the skin contact White from Mother Rock, but Liquid Skin is the best of the best. (Fun fact: we only ever find this at Vinmonopolet in Norway! Copenhagen, catch up!)
While in general Tom Lubbe’s wines can be a bit rich and tannin-heavy for our palates, Blossom is on a whole ‘nother level. Blossom, sweet Blossom! (Have you gotten the hint that we like orange, floral wines yet?) It’s juicy, with stone fruit and apricot notes, elderflower, and lots of honey. Sweet, tart, and bursting with flowers! Our other favorite from Matassa is his Brutal de Jean-Marc, Tom’s contribution to the Brutal!! wine series. Is it an orange wine? Is it a rosé? We don’t know for sure, but we do know it’s juicy and delicious, with lots of grapefruit and peach notes. Oh, sweet memories of the natural wine bar Pitou in the Golden Gai district in Tokyo, where we drank, sang, and danced with good friends. Most recently we also encountered Matassa’s Ace of Spades Les Myrs, a dark red wine that’s surprisingly light, and with a salty aftertaste that left us craving more.
18. Bodega Cueva by Mariano
For once, you can judge a wine by its cover! Spanish producer Mariano Taberner’s eye-catching labels and clear bottles filled with bright, rainbow-colored juice reflect exactly what’s inside them. This isn’t wine you have to think too much about – it’s fun, happy juice, best shared with good friends in the sunshine. The appropriately named Orange is a light, easy-drinking citrus juice, but our favorite bottle from this producer has to be Super Tak, named for the time Mariano spent in Copenhagen. “Super, tak!” (super, thanks!) was the only Danish expression he learned, so this white wine with floral, lavender notes is a tribute to his time in Denmark.
19. Abbazia San Giorgio
And thus the apprentice becomes the master? It may be so, as winemaker Battista Belivisi previously made the wines for Gabrio Bini for 11 years before breaking off to start his own production. So, it shouldn’t be too surprising then that his Zibibbo tastes a heck of a lot like the one from Serragghia – especially since he is also located on the island of Pantelleria, using the same grapes, and making wine in the exact same style. Abbazia San Giorgio’s Orange Bianco is definitely the closest you can get to Serragghia Zibibbo Bianco without paying the big Bini bucks – but do we think it has the magic of the arrow wine? It’s very close! But it’s not quite as wild and out of control.
It’s no secret that we love Austrian wine. On a recent trip to Austria, we visited Gernot & Heike Heinrich in Burgenland and fell in love with their wines and with the way they work in the vineyards. Heinrich’s goal is to be sustainable and environmentally friendly at every opportunity. Our favorite wines from Heinrich are part of the Freyheit (“freedom”) series, our top two being the Traminer Roter Freyheit (a super floral, fresh, and aromatic skin contact orange) and the Pinot Freyheit (a light and elegant, juicy and tart Pinot Noir with a lingering salty aftertaste).
21. Claus Preisinger
Claus Preisinger is a winemaker you can rely on. His floral white wine Kalkundkiesel has been our go-to at many wine bars because it’s so often available by the glass (looking at you Territoriet and Ved Stranden 10!), but as we’ve tasted more Austrian wine we’ve also discovered other bottles we love from him. Ancestral, for example, is a slightly juicier, bubbly take on the Kalkundkiesel, and Dope is a sparkling rosé that pretty much guarantees a good time.
If you’re at a natural wine shop, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll spot a bottle or two of Meinklang on the shelves. Meinklang is dependable, reliable, and pretty easy to find, regardless of where you are in the world. While some of the bottles are a bit basic (translation: great for drinking in the park, or introducing a friend to natural wine for the first time), there’s one bottle that stands out from the rest. Mulatschak tastes like peachy tangerine juice, with floral and honey notes. It’s tart, tropical, and extremely easy to drink. Delicious glou glou!
What are your favorite wines? Leave a comment with any bottles we need to try!