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Martin "Marto" Worner

Marto, "Cuvée Alanna" 2020

Marto, "Cuvée Alanna" 2020

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About the wine

100% Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) with a longer élevage than any other cuvée, in foudre. Zero/zero. 12% ABV


It can feel forced to make equivalencies between Art & Wine – that winemaking both is and is not art. They are their own practices, undeniably, though what their progenitors may most deeply share is the quality to suspend disbelief, to chase the ragged tail of something unknown. The negative capability to have faith & listen to something where intellect otherwise fails: for Martin “Marto” Wörner, it’s this kind of open-mindedness, this ability to embrace constant (climate) change, to listen to the other elements of the work in order to make the work – in this case, wine. This kind of nearly serene approach – the calm needed to successfully skate on the edge of “failing” – belies the way Marto wines have sometimes been described. Alternatively, his rising profile has been portrayed as rockstar & renegade, nearly iconoclastic at times. You’d expect a bottle of farty kombucha that replaced a cork with a middle finger. Yet this misses what often feels like the heart of these wines: they are less ideological than they are 750mL of hard-won juice pressed from grapes produced by vines planted around his hometown by his grandfather many years ago. Grapes whose names more so carry the charm of chamber music than fruit: Wurzer, Faber, Scheurebe, Huxelrebe, Bacchus & the like. They are heirloom vines with the peculiarity that only something honestly done may carry; look no further than the sometimes ridiculously prodigal fruit-production of his Bacchus, somehow particularly well-suited to grow here in Flonheim. 

Which is where we are – spread over about 3 hectares, Martin & his partner Alanna Lagamba farm & vinify the range that marks this historic wine-growing place of the Rheinhessen where vines have been cultivated since ancient Roman times. The wine-growing line in the Wörner family starts with Martin’s grandfather who planted vines and follows on through his father who cultivated these same grapes in addition to other fruit & thereafter fermented them from the mid-80s onwards (a difficult time to sell Rheinhessen wine) in order to make various fruit wines like Strawberry, Cherry Wine & the like. Grapes & wine-making were simply not the focus & therefore the vines were part of the general agriculture rather than the hyper-focused laboratory for biodiversity they represent today. The 3 hectares of grandfathered-in vines are planted amidst a smattering of cover crop – beetroot, turnip, & radishes grow freely in the vineyard’s combes to aid in the constant battle against soil erosion, particularly difficult in the steeper parcels. Recently, Martin & Alanna have introduced sheep to keep the wild grass under general control – which is to say, this is a no-till operation. 

All of this taken together, it is important to remember certain key facts in the formation of what is today undeniably one of the most exciting operations in our little (growing) world of natural wine – what we now buy, sell, and drink as “Marto” wines are the product of some amazing internships at places like Gut Oggau & Matassa in Calce with Tom Lubbe & the Gaubys, in addition to the thriving community of German natural winemakers who are indeed forging a new path for what German Wine can be, what it can represent (much more than Riesling!) & carry into the world, many of whom happened to be at the University of Geisenheim at the same time Martin happened to be there. A story of fate & serendipity – of the negative capability to bring the world in & give it back something worthwhile, something new. 

We have 3 Marto cuvées: the field-blended ‘Weiss’ that is perfect at the moment. A 10.5% spicy, pithy, zesty panorama of the Wörner varieties planted throughout Flonheim – a love letter to not wasting any fruit & to embracing the unknown; the ‘Crazy-Crazy’ skin-contact pét-nat that is all fizz, fun, flirt & love, composed of a mostly-identical cépage as the ‘Weiss.’ And then there is the ‘Cuvée Alanna,’ so-named to distinguish that it was made by Alanna. A very special rosy portrait of perfectly cultivated cold-climate Pinot Noir that would blow the socks off anyone from your ex’s parents to your roommate who only digs beer.  Rounding out the lineup is one Vin de Lagamba cuvée, the vampire-soda-Dornfelder-or-die fizzer ‘Frauen Power.’

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  • "Curated wines from small producers"

  • Additive free wines made in accordance with nature

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  • Serving natural wine lovers since 2006

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