'Brutal!!!' from Jean Marc is back
Three bottles per customer until it's gone
The Brutal Wine Company started in the dark back room of Bar Brutal in Barcelona. The story goes that a group of natural winemakers got wasted and started yelling "Brutal!" in reference to the funkiest (and for them best) wine on the table. The tagline followed them out the door. Each winemaker went back to his or her country and, in addition to making their normal wines, each produced a "brutal" wine made with no sulfur, from one barrel. Each bottle gets an identical 'Brutal!!!' label, an indication of a commitment to hands off winemaking.
For some drinkers, the Brutal Wine Company is the upper echelon of natural wine, for others, it's an entry point into understanding the difference between natural and conventional winemaking. At $35, this bottle is a little bit of both. It's one of the more accessible Brutal bottles to land in the states (compare Gut Oggau Brutal at $50 or L'Octavin Brutal at $70), but the quality of the wine is clear. This comes from Christian Binner's group of Pirouettes winemakers in Alsace, and though Jean-Marc Dreyer is one of the most elusive of the bunch, he makes our favorite Pirouettes orange wine. This typically goes fast, so three bottles per customer until it's gone.
Christian Binner is an Alsatian winemaker and heir to an estate dating to 1770, and for several decades he has been one of the most influential natural winemakers, not just in Alsace, but everywhere, due to his mentoring and generosity. This Vins de Pirouettes project, of which this 'Brutal' bottling is under, was created by Binner to help younger growers in Alsace, where land is expensive and especially hard for younger winemakers to develop. These are growers who want to work organically, but can't always cover their expenses by selling to the cooperative. Christian Binner stepped in and has helped them to make their own wine at their own cellars. Then he uses his name, his networks and relationships to help sell the wines, too. The wines have been affordable and wildly delicious, not to mention inspiring.
Not much is known about Jean-Marc Dreyer — we only recenly learned his full name — but I'm told he is the grower of the Pirouettes gang that really marches to his own beat. It was Jean-Marc that made the first Pirouettes 'Brutal' orange wine; to me it's still the best one. Even since early 2021 when we last got this wine, there has been a flood of orange wine and a growing interest in the category. We taste plenty that look the part but don't quite reach the next level. Put aside being orange or zero sulfur, Jean-Marc's 'Brutal' bottling is simply a wine that is exciting and beautiful. If it's your first orange wine or your 60th, it will be memorable and delicious.