Every so often, we encounter a wine that we all love, but are a bit hesitant to buy for the shop. Perhaps it doesn’t fit neatly into any of the store’s most well-traveled sections. Maybe the price tag doesn’t scream “value.” It could be that the grape or the region of origin is unfamiliar. Still, we deem it worthy of shelf space at Paul Marcus Wines because we want to share these discoveries with our customers.

Piero Incisa della Rocchetta

One recent arrival that falls into this category is the 2021 Bodega Chacra Sin Azufre Pinot Noir from Patagonia, Argentina. The winery, which lies in the Rio Negro Valley, was founded about 20 years ago by Piero Incisa della Rocchetta, grandson of an esteemed Tuscan winemaker. The Rio Negro is basically desert terrain, with fewer than 10 inches of rain per year. However, the valley is also a riverbed for the confluence of two Andes tributaries, and so its soils offer a unique mix of clay, limestone, and sand–as it turns out, a perfect home for old-vine pinot noir.

Piero’s ‘Sin Azufre’ cuvee checks all of the boxes of a natural wine–biodynamic grapes, no sulfur added–but has little of the funkiness you’d expect. The grapes, from a vineyard planted in 1955, undergo whole-cluster fermentation, a Burgundian touch for a wine that is certainly Burgundian in style, and the juice sees no new oak. Bright, floral, and succulent, this wine will especially delight cru Beaujolais fans with its clarity and liveliness, balanced by subtle mineral and earthy tones. It’s a buoyant wine, with loads of character.

To learn more about this wine or to discover other hidden gems at Paul Marcus Wines, please come visit us at the shop.

We’re all familiar with the thriving natural wine scenes in France, Italy, Spain, and the rest of Western Europe–as well as here on the West Coast. But not everyone knows that Central and Eastern Europe is a hotbed of natural winegrowing and winemaking as well. Oszkár Maurer is a celebrated natural grower and maker in Subotica, Serbia, just south of Serbia’s border with Hungary. Farming is organic, and all wines are ØØ: nothing added during the winemaking–including sulfites–and nothing taken away (no fining or filtration). We currently have four Maurer wines in stock, three of which just arrived at Paul Marcus Wines.

2022 ‘Crazy Lud’ Red

“Lud” means “goose” in Hungarian and “crazy” in Serbian. So: Crazy Goose, as shown on the label! The 2022 ‘Crazy Lud’ red is mostly kékfrankos (a.k.a. blaufränkisch), cabernet sauvignon, and kadarka, with a little muscat Hamburg and prokupac for heightened aromatics and grip. The wine is macerated briefly (two-to-six days) on the skins in open vats and then aged in used 500-liter Hungarian oak barrels for one year. It’s a light-bodied red or even a dark rosé that responds well to 20-30 minutes in the refrigerator. This is an excellent introduction to Maurer’s wines: It’s playful, distinctive, and easy to drink, yet with underlying complexity and even seriousness.

2022 Bakator 1909

Fehér (white) bakator is an extremely rare grape variety; according to Maurer, there’s only one other winery producing it, in the Transcarpathian part of western Ukraine. Maurer’s Bakator 1909 comes from ungrafted, bush-trained vines planted 115 years ago. The 2022 vintage had 15 percent healthy botrytis (noble rot) at harvest, was macerated with the skins overnight, and was then fermented in stainless steel for six months. The wine is light amber in the glass, with remarkable concentration, savoriness, and depth. It’s bone dry, despite being just 10.6 percent alcohol. This is a more serious, elegant Maurer wine that nonetheless retains brightness and easy drinkability.

2022 Bakator Pét-Nat

Maurer’s Bakator Pét-Nat comes from the same ancient vineyard and grapes as the Bakator 1909 still wine, but picked earlier and with fermentation finished in the bottle to create the fizz. It’s undisgorged but barely cloudy, 10.7 percent alcohol, and bone dry. Take this bottle to a party, and you’ll definitely win the excellent-fizzy-wine-from-an-obscure-country-and-even-more obscure-grape prize.


This is the most baroque wine in our Maurer lineup. It’s a blend of five white varieties (medenac beli, rajni rizling, tamjanika, kövidinka, and sremska zelenika, if you must know) from several vintages built with three sequential fermentations and then aged in 500-liter Hungarian oak barrels. It’s darker amber in color, exotically spicy, with some tannin, oxidative notes, and wild complexity. There’s nothing else like it in the shop.