IT'S BASTILLE DAY!
Domaine Stéphane et Bénédicte Tissot Chardonnay "Patchwork" Arbois AOC 2016 - BIODYNAMICALLY GROWN + LOW INTERVENTION
Country: FRANCE / Region: JURA / Appellation: ARBOIS AOC / Varietal(s): CHARDONNAY --- "When you’re biodynamic, you have a different life in your vines, in your grapes, and in this way, you can make very easy wine. It leads you." Those are the words Stéphane Tissot lives by, having worked biodynamically since 2004, and with his wife, Bénédicte, striving to express the character of the Jura terroir above all else. The Tissot family has been producing wine in the Jura since 1962, with Stéphane and Bénédicte taking the reins from his parents, André and Mireille, and acquiring a formidable reputation as being among the region's top winemakers. Arbois is a commune located within Jura, about 30 miles west of Switzerland. It's an insular area that specializes in unique renditions of chardonnay and savagnin for white wines, as well as pinot noir, trousseau and aromatic ploussard (aka poulsard) for reds. Fuller-bodied and dry, the Patchwork chardonnay comes from a blend of parcels planted on clay or limestone. Stéphane uses the blend to balance the fruit elements before aging in neutral oak and 10% new barrel to retain freshness. (Unlike some of the other white wines from the region, Patchwork is not an oxidized wine.) A chardonnay with personality to spare, this is a serious white, combining a briny tang, lip-smacking acidity, and luscious citrus and tropical fruits with a touch of creamy, buttery texture on the finish! An opulent partner to strong cheeses, or grilled arctic char with creamy cucumber aioli.
Clos Cibonne Tibouren "Cuvée Spéciale des Vignettes" Rosé Côtes de Provence AOP 2015 - ORGANICALLY GROWN
Country: FRANCE / Region: PROVENCE / Appellation: CÔTES DE PROVENCE AOC / Varietal(s): TIBOUREN --- Described by one taster as “love in a bottle”, this elegant rosé is the embodiment of summer romance. Owned by the Roux family since 1797, the property of Clos Cibonne saw its winery modernized in 1930 by André Roux, who hoped to showcase his estate’s rosés. André replaced all of the estate’s mourvèdre with the native grape varietal tibouren, which he believed to be the ideal grape for the region. Bridget Roux (André’s granddaughter) took it over in the 1990’s, bringing Clos Cibonne back to its standing as one of the 18 Cru Classés in Côtes de Provence. Nowadays, Clos Cibonne is highly esteemed for producing distinctive rosé wines with earthy notes that capture the essence of Provence. This special bottling is 100% tibouren sourced from 60+ year old vines. It is aged on the lees for one year before bottling, so it comes to market the year after the rosé wines from other estates. This cuvée is vibrant, highlighted by aromas of red berries, stone fruit, and hints of jasmine, orange pith, and crushed herbs. Bold and fresh on the palate, it offers up electrifying flavors of raspberry, peach, and blood orange. Powerful and graceful, a delightfully lingering finish makes this just perfect for pairing with red mullet, tomato bouillabaisse, grilled chicken, or dishes with saffron or curry
Clos des Grillons Grenache "Calcaires" Vin de France 2017 - ORGANICALLY GROWN + LOW INTERVENTION
Country: FRANCE / Region: RHÔNE VALLEY / Appellation: VIN DE FRANCE / Varietal(s): GRENACHE --- Originally a professor of geography and history, Nicolas Renaud worked nights and weekends for his friend Eric Pfifferling, the winemaker behind L'Anglore in Tavel. Nicolas moved on to further training at Domaine de Vieille Julienne in Châteauneuf du Pape before renting vines in 2005 to begin "Clos des Grillons". His vast knowledge of the rocks and soils of the region, as well as the location of several forgotten older vineyards, have allowed Nicolas to piece together an impressive string of parcels in the Gard department of the Southern Rhône Valley. He works the vineyards with organic methods, using no chemicals, and maintaining the soil by hand. This philosophy follows through into the cellar as well, where fermentations are sparked by wild yeast and the barest amount of sulfur is used. 100% grenache noir, this cuvée comes from old vines grown on gravelly calcareous limestone. It underwent carbonic maceration for 10 days and finished fermentation off the skins. After six months in barrique, the wine was bottled with a minuscule dosage of sulfur. This cuvée comes from three parcels of grenache grown on pure sandstone -- a fantastic natural aquifer for areas that have low rainfall. The wine is brimming with bright, ripe cherry and peppery spice with gorgeous tension on the palate rare in wines from warm Mediterranean climates. This is a stunning example of grenache with pure finesse. Delicious on its own (chilled slightly) or drink with charred fennel salad, fire-roasted summer squash tossed in sea salt and herbes de Provence and black olive and caramelized onion pissaladière.
JUICY VALUES FROM FRANCE AND SPAIN
Domaine Eugène Carrel Rosé Jongieux AOC 2017
Country: FRANCE / Region: SAVOIE / Appellation: JONGIEUX AOC / Varietal(s): GAMAY+MONDEUSE --- The Savoie region tends to fly under the radar, known more for its excellent skiing or summer relaxation opportunities than for its wines. The wines from this region are rarely found outside of the area, leading one to reason that the locals and tourists are enjoying these wines immensely, keeping them to themselves! The region lies in southeastern France, due east of the grand city of Lyon and south of Geneva, Switzerland. The climate is best described as alpine, with vineyards spread throughout the region, often clinging to hillsides in slightly warmer zones. Most of the production is white, although there are reds and sparkling wines as well. (The dominant grape is called jacquère, a productive grape known for its aromatics and crisp acidity, and one from this same domaine that we've been happy to carry for several years now.) But just in time for rosé season, this blend of 80% gamay and 20% mondeuse (another grape local to the region) bursts with strawberry and raspberry flavors, crisp, dry, and clean on the palate. A refreshing value for almost any occasion, try this with grilled cheese and veggie sandwiches!
GULP/HABLO 2017 - ORGANICALLY GROWN
Country: SPAIN / Region: LA MANCHA / Appellation: N/A / Varietal(s): WHITE-RED BLEND --- The name says it all. This is a kitchen-sink blend of sixteen different grape varietals, both white and red, all either organically or biodynamically grown in the Castilla La Mancha region of Spain. Aromas of berries, flowers, and crushed herbs open the show, then it's all about ripe strawberries, peaches, apricots, and wet stones on the palate. Straddling the line between light red and rosé, this juicy, aromatic LITER just screams to accompany your next picnic, BBQ, or weeknight dinner! Like these long summer evenings, this will be gone in the blink of an eye. Serve slightly chilled.
UNWIND WITH A TASTE OF ITALY!
Vigneto Saetti Rosso Viola IGP 2017 - CERTIFIED ORGANIC + LOW INTERVENTION
Country: ITALY / Region: EMILIA-ROMAGNA / Appellation: ROSSO VIOLA IGP / Varietal(s): SALAMINO DI SANTA CROCE --- It's Lambrusco, but fear not! This is a far cry from the dark days of Riunite! Luciano Saetti is one of a newer generation of Lambrusco growers approaching this much-maligned wine in a more modern (actually, old-fashioned!) way. His family planted their vines in 1964, and for years sold their grapes to a local co-op. But Luciano was inspired by the potential of their old vines of salamino (a thick-skinned, tight-bunched, darker, more acidic strain of the lambrusco grape.) He converted to organic (certified) farming and started bottling estate wines. Sulfur has not been used at any point in the process since the 2007 vintage, and grapes are hand harvested, de-stemmed and crushed in the field in small 100-liter steel containers for maximum freshness. Rare for Lambrusco, the secondary fermentation takes place in bottle, initiated by the addition of fresh grape must in the spring following the vintage, and is fermented to bone-dryness. This defies the sad stereotype of Lambrusco, with a dry, complex, earthy character, flavors of dark fruits, and a floral, savory finish. Add in its characteristic spritziness, and the result is an incredible pizza wine! (It's also great with cold cuts like salami, antipasti, or Parmesan dishes). Serve lightly chilled.
Venica & Venica Pinot Grigio Collio DOC Jesera 2017 - CERTIFIED BIODYNAMIC
Country: ITALY / Region: FRIULI-VENEZIA GIULIA / Appellation: COLLIO DOC / Varietal(s): PINOT GRIGIO --- Venica & Venica is a family-owned estate in the Dolegna district of Collio. Located in the Friuli region of Italy's northeastern corner, the Venica family has owned the estate since 1930, and have a reputation as winemakers nearly as long. Since the 70s, the family has ambitiously upgraded and replanted vineyards, invested in state-of-the-art equipment, and experimented with winemaking techniques. Brothers Gianni (agronomist) and Giorgio (cellarmaster) have been making the Venica wines since 1975, carrying on in the footsteps of their father, and grandfather, the estate's founder. Collio is on the Italian border with Slovenia, and "Jesera" means "little lake" in Slovenian. It refers to the name of the vineyard from which the grapes for this cuvée come. This site is at the bottom of a cool valley, irrigated by the water that flows from the surrounding hills. 100% pinot grigio, this luminous wine displays a subtle copper hue due to skin contact with the grapes during fermentation. A far cry from your local pizza joint's style of pinot grigio, this is instead rich, complex, and subtle in character. Lush aromas of pear, banana, Acacia flower, and hints of fresh apricot yield to a long, crisp palate of candied pear, quince peel, and minerals. Good acidity keeps things fresh throughout the lengthy, luxurious finish. A wonderful choice for summer gatherings, pair this with squash blossom fritters.
Mocali Rosso di Montalcino DOC 2015
Country: ITALY / Region: TUSCANY / Appellation: ROSSO DI MONTALCINO DOC / Varietal(s): SANGIOVESE GROSSO --- Dino Ciacci, the founder of the Mocali estate, was one of the 25 vignerons who, in 1967, founded the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino. Today Mocali is owned and managed by Tiziano and Alessandra Ciacci, Dino's grandchildren, who live on the estate. Tiziano manages the vineyards and winemaking, as he has since the 1980s. Mocali follows a traditional style of winemaking, and their Brunello has a formidable reputation worldwide as being both approachable and age-worthy. This delicious Rosso is the "little brother" to Mocali's esteemed flagship Brunello; the fruit comes from the same vineyard and the wine is made similarly, with shorter aging to make it more approachable while still young. 100% sangiovese grosso, grown in marl and limestone. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel and malolactic fermentation is carried out in wood. The wine is then matured for 12 months in large French-oak barrels called “botti”, followed by additional aging in bottle for 7 months before release. Ruby red in color, this Rosso is elegant and precise, with a concentrated nose of cranberries and cherries, baking spices, and orange peel. Delicate mineral notes dance across a full-bodied palate, with an earthy, lingering finish tying things together beautifully. Throw a rib eye on the grill and enjoy!
Chalk Hill "Wits End" Vermentino McLaren Vale 2017 - CERTIFIED ORGANIC
Country: AUSTRALIA / Region: SOUTH AUSTRALIA / Appellation: MCLAREN VALE / Varietal(s): VERMENTINO --- The vermentino grape is widely planted across the Mediterranean coast of Italy and France, but it's also well suited to the coastal location of Australia's famed McLaren Vale region. Chalk Hill is among McLaren Vale’s premier wineries, owned by the Harvey family whose grape growing heritage goes back six generations in South Australia. There are six family-owned vineyards, first planted in 1897, and these century old vines still bear fruit today. These vineyards are certified organic, and also employ biodynamic methods as well as IPM (integrated pest management). Winemaker Renae Hirsch focuses on purity of expression in her winemaking, allowing the character of both varietal and vineyard to shine. She therefore uses as little intervention in the winery as possible, resulting in a wine full of refreshing personality. Crisp and lively, with zesty apple and citrus notes and crushed herb flavors on the finish, this is a surefire winner with catfish tacos!
Moraitis Estate Aidani Mavro Rosé Cyclades PGI 2017 - ORGANICALLY GROWN
Country: GREECE / Region: CYCLADES / Appellation: CYCLADES PGI / Varietal(s): AIDANI MAVRO --- This organic (and vegan!) electric pink sipper comes from the Cyclades Island of Paros (picture crystal blue waters and that stunning white and blue architecture). Made from the native aidani mavro grape, this offers up Mediterranean spices, tart cherries, strawberries, and crushed herbs on a refreshingly dry, medium-bodied frame that finishes with crunchy acidity. Fantastic with stuffed koosa mahshi (Arabic stuffed squash), or beef or mushroom cheeseburgers hot off the grill.
RED, WHITE, & ROSÉ: AN ALL-AMERICAN LINEUP
Bow & Arrow Sauvignon Blanc Eola-Amity Hills 2016 Le Chenaie Vineyard - CERTIFIED BIODYNAMIC + LOW INTERVENTION
Country: USA / Region: OREGON / Appellation: WILLAMETTE VALLEY / Varietal(s): SAUVIGNON BLANC --- Do you love Loire Valley wines? So do we! And so do Dana and Scott Frank, makers of Bow & Arrow; that's the inspiration for their wines, using exclusively Loire Valley varietals. Many have noted the similarities in climate and latitude between the Willamette Valley and the Loire Valley (as well as Burgundy). 100% sauvignon blanc from Bill Holloran's beloved and certified biodynamic La Chenaie Vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills, this bottling has a truly unique character. Far from the lean-and-mean sauvignons that seem ubiquitous in summertime, this wine displays a rounder texture thanks to time spent aging on the lees in partial new oak barrels. From a single clone, this barrel-fermented sauvignon blanc offers up generous notes of pear and candied peaches, with luxurious ripe orchard fruit and undertones of dried herbs. Open this with chicken breasts with grilled peaches, arugula, and basil.
Eminence Road Farm Winery Cabernet Franc Rosé Keuka Lake 2016 - SUSTAINABLY GROWN + LOW INTERVENTION
Country: USA / Region: NEW YORK STATE / Appellation: KEUKA LAKE /
Varietal(s): CABERNET FRANC --- One of our favorite New York producers, Eminence Road Farm Winery marches to the beat of its own drummer. Based in a converted cow barn in the mountain valley of Long Eddy, NY, on the western edge of the Catskills, Eminence Road is still, in a way, a Finger Lakes winery. All of their wines are made from sustainably grown Finger Lakes grapes, in this case from Keuka Lake. All wine is produced from single vineyard lots, fermented by naturally occurring yeasts, and bottled by hand, unfined and unfiltered with the only addition being a minimal amount of sulfur for stability. This lovely rosé is made from 100% cabernet franc, hand harvested, crushed and destemmed, then fermented with native yeast in old French barrels, and bottled unfiltered and unfined (as all Eminence Road wines are). The wine went through malolactic fermentation, lending it a richer body and texture than many lighter rosés. Almost approaching a light red in body (but still perched in the rosé camp), this displays juicy notes of raspberries and melon, with a luxurious, mouth-filling texture. This fuller-bodied style, along with savory hints of green pepper and herbs on the finish make this a great rosé to pair with heartier fare. Try it with grilled sirloin tip, mushroom, pepper, and onion kebabs.
Broc Cellars "Amore Rosso"Broc Cellars Sangiovese "Amore Rosso" Mendocino 2017 - ORGANICALLY GROWN + LOW INTERVENTION
Country: USA / Region: CALIFORNIA / Appellation: MENDOCINO / Varietal(s): SANGIOVESE --- If you read these emails with some regularity, you know the wines of Broc Cellars. For those new to the winery, Broc was founded by Chris Brockway and built on a philosophy of sourcing sustainable and organic fruit on the way to creating exceptional wines. He takes a hands-off approach, allowing nature to be in charge. As the playful name indicates, Amore Rosso is the Italian sister wine to Broc's popular "Love Red"! 100% sangiovese, the grapes for this lively red come from the Lone Oak Vineyard, a very steep plot of 20 year old vines planted on rocky, iron-rich soil. Destemmed and fermented with native yeasts, the wine was pressed after two weeks and aged in neutral French oak barrels and bottled with a minimal dose of sulfur. Light and bright, this is incredibly expressive, with aromas of cinnamon, clove, and red cherry. Easy drinking, its lively acidity on the palate makes this perfect for pizza (it's right on the label, after all!) or cheese and charcuterie. Serve lightly chilled at your next gathering (or save it for your own summer "staycation") and watch it disappear!
Bodega Gorosti Flysch Getariako Txakolina DO 2016
Country: SPAIN / Region: BASQUE COUNTRY / Appellation: GETARIAKO TXAKOLINA DO / Varietal(s): HONDARRIBI ZURI --- Bright, hot days are well suited to Txakolina, the refreshing Basque white poured from a distance to accentuate its fizzy nature. This cuvée gets its name from a geologic term for the unique rock formations of the Basque coast, formed under the sea 60 million years ago. These dramatic layers of rock are now part of the Basque Coast Geopark, which extends 13 km along the coast. Inaugurated in 2010, it's part of a European network of geologically interesting locations. Winemaker Juan Mª Etxabe is a fourth generation Txakolí producer, and planted vines of the native hondarribi zuri grape in the Geopark in 2008, releasing his first vintage in 2011. The winery, named Gorosti, is located on the coastline in Elorriaga, between the small cities Itziar-Deba and Zumaia (or the larger cities of Bilbao and San Sebastian.) Bright and briny, the Flysch cuvée displays refreshing lime and citrus flavors, with accents of sea spray on a light, crisp palate. This is the kind of wine you can drink all day and well into the evening. A lovely companion to shellfish, this will also work beautifully with grilled or roasted sole finished with a squeeze of lemon and a few capers.
Jean-Maurice Raffault Chinon AOC Rosé 2017 - ORGANICALLY GROWN
Country: FRANCE / Region: LOIRE VALLEY / Appellation: CHINON AOC / Varietal(s): CABERNET FRANC --- Jean-Maurice Raffault's rosé is consistently among the best produced in the Loire Valley. 100% cabernet franc planted on alluvial sand and gravel soils on the former Loire river bed, Raffault picks the fruit dedicated for rosé at the beginning of the harvest period to ensure freshness. Raffault uses only pressed juice that is selected and vinified parcel by parcel. It is then fermented at low temperature using native yeast until fully dry. The low temperature also prevents the start of malolactic fermentation while the rosé rests on its lees in tank for 5 months, further maintaining its refreshing nature. Before bottling in late February, the wine is racked to diminish the level of CO2, and is then lightly filtered to ensure clarity. Brilliant, light pomegranate-red in color, this bursts with aromas of red roses and raspberries. Red raspberry and blood orange zest on the palate yield to an elegant stony finish with a hint of savory red pepper skin. A lovely match with chicken breasts stuffed with goat cheese and roasted red pepper.
D'Angelo Aglianico "Sacravite" Basilicata IGT 2014
Country: ITALY / Region: BASILICATA / Appellation: BASILICATA IGT / Varietal(s): AGLIANICO --- D'Angelo is a family estate in the heart of the Basilicata appellation in southern Italy. They've produced wine on the slopes of Mount Vulture (a dormant volcano) since the 1930s, beginning to bottle their own just after WW II, with a concentration on the aglianico varietal. Introduced to Italy by the ancient Greeks, aglianico's similarities to nebbiolo in terms of structure, acidity, and aging potential, have earned it the moniker "Barolo of the South." It produces full-bodied wines with firm tannin structure that display earthy, woodsy, dark berry fruit. D'Angelo owns about 40 hectares of vines, as well as some of the oldest, high elevation vineyards on the mineral-rich volcanic slopes. This high elevation contributes to the complex character of the wines, by allowing for large diurnal temperature variations, while maintaining the strong sun exposure typical to southern Italy. Winemaker Rocco D'Angelo strives to continue his grandfather's legacy of biological agriculture and traditional winemaking, using only native yeasts, large neutral oak barrels and minimum intervention. Layers of dark cherry, dried blackberry, Middle Eastern spices, licorice, and leather are supported by refreshing acidity with a satisfying burst of earthiness and savory spice on the finish. Robust, intense and pleasantly firm, pair this aglianico with savory, tangy, and meaty fare. Cheeses like Taleggio and Pecorino, mushroom risotto, lamb chops with sage, meatballs, BBQ; all are great matches with this bold red! Time to fire up that grill!
LET'S SUMMER IN THE LOIRE VALLEY!
Le Rocher des Violettes Chenin Blanc Vin de France 2016 - CERTIFIED ORGANIC
Country: FRANCE / Region: LOIRE VALLEY / Appellation: VIN DE FRANCE / Varietal(s): CHENIN BLANC --- Xavier Weisskopf founded Le Rocher des Violettes in 2005 after earning his degree in viticulture and oenology in Chablis and Beaune. Working for the demanding Louis Barroul at Château de Saint Cosme (a famed Gigondas producer), he quickly rose to the rank of cellar master, making four vintages during his time there. However, his love for the chenin blanc grape lured him to Montlouis, where he was able to acquire 9 hectares of old vines (mostly planted pre-WWII). He immediately converted all his vineyards to certifed organic farming, so that nothing would stand in the way of the true expression of those old vines. His traditional approach extends into the cellar, where his use of older barrels allows the subtleties of the terroir to shine through, resulting in wines of laser-like clarity and focus. Bright peach, quince, and yellow apple flavors are joined by touches of white flowers, chamomile, and ginger. Medium-bodied, a beautifully-textured mouthfeel features cool minerality while still retaining a core of vibrant acidity throughout. Sure to be a new classic, enjoy this with shrimp and zucchini skewers with lemon-mint dipping sauce.
Domaine Régis Jouan Sancerre AOC Rosé 2017
Country: FRANCE / Region: LOIRE VALLEY / Appellation: SANCERRE AOC / Varietal(s): PINOT NOIR --- The 7,000-acre AOC of Sancerre produces three iconic wines: the sauvignon blanc-based blanc (what we all typically - and deliciously - associate with Sancerre), rouge made from pinot noir, and rosé, also made with pinot noir. Domaine Régis Jouan is a small estate of four hectares that offers exactly the kind of meticulous winemaking we expect from Sancerre. Located in Sury en Vaux, on the left side of the Loire, it boasts classic limestone and clay soils of the region. 25 year old vines are planted on a slope with southwestern exposure. Régis is the fifth generation winemaker, and is now working with his daughter and son-in-law, keeping it a true family tradition. If you're looking for a rosé that packs a bigger punch than your easygoing Provence sippers, then you've just hit the jackpot! Sancerre's claim to fame is bone dry, crisp, minerally wines, and this rosé doesn't disappoint: 100% pinot noir, it gets its lovely color from a short maceration of the skins. Bursts of red fruit (think tart, juicy cherries and raspberries) walk a high wire of sizzling acidity and elegant minerality. Medium-bodied, with a persistent finish of crushed stone and grapefruit pith, this is a delightfully dry dazzler, perfect for elegant luncheons or casual picnics alike. Impressive with a spinach salad topped with grilled chicken, raspberries, goat cheese, and almonds.
Hervé Villemade Gamay Vin de France 2017 - ORGANICALLY GROWN / LOW INTERVENTION
Country: FRANCE / Region: LOIRE VALLEY / Appellation: N/A / Varietal(s): GAMAY --- Hervé Villemade is an old-school Loire vigneron, hailing from several generations of vignerons that farmed the vineyards around Cellettes. Domaine du Moulin encompasses 22 hectares of vineyards spread out over the Cheverny and Cour-Cheverny appellations, where Hervé took over the family winemaking duties from his father in 1995. Hervé began transitioning away from conventional farming in the late 1990s, feeling that the wines weren't as good as they could be. Inspired by the wines of Marcel Lapierre and Clos du Tue-Boeuf, as well as a severe allergy to sulfur that he developed around the same time, he converted to organic farming in 2000 in order to get the high quality grapes needed for low sulfur and sulfur-free vinification. After a few years of organic farming, he noticed a distinct difference in quality, confirming his belief, and has made natural wines ever since. Fermentation is done with native yeast in large wood or stainless steel, avoiding heavy-handed new oak. This delightful gamay is hard to put down! Juicy and light on its feet, it features lively freshness and red berry fruit with a silky, elegant texture. Precise, elegant and refreshing, this is great lightly chilled with seared albacore or poulet en cocotte (chicken roasted with bacon and potatoes).
CVNE "Monopole" Blanco Rioja DOCa 2017
Country: SPAIN / Region: RIOJA / Appellation: RIOJA DOCA / Varietal(s): VIURA --- White Rioja? Why yes! CVNE (Compañia Vinícola del Norte de España) is a 119 year old company, now known by its initials. Whereas once Spanish whites were ignored in favor of the full-bodied reds of the region, happily, today the tide is turning. Even better, these new-to-us arrivals offer some excellent values, perfect for hot summer nights where something versatile and refreshing is in order, without breaking the bank. 100% viura (also known as macabeo, a staple of Cava production), this offers up clean floral and white fruit aromas. Fermented in stainless steel with neutral yeasts, it was bottled early to preserve freshness. Notes of pear and waxy apple meld with a dash of salty citrus and green banana, leading to a lightly lingering finish with a faint hint of bitter herbs. A versatile grab for almost any occasion, try this with simple grilled fish or grilled chicken breast.
Vignoble Dinocheau Pineau d'Aunis Vin de France 2017 - ORGANICALLY GROWN / LOW INTERVENTION
Country: FRANCE / Region: LOIRE VALLEY / Appellation: VIN DE FRANCE / Varietal(s): PINEAU D'AUNIS --- The 13 hectares of small family estate Domaine Dinocheau are planted on tuffeau, a blend of chalk and sand that appears white. Now run by siblings Fabien and Laurence, the family has made a name for themselves by cultivating several abandoned grape varietals, including pineau d'aunis, among the most ancient of grapes in the Loire Valley. Formerly known as chenin noir, it was replaced over time by cabernet franc, and is now quite rare – a pity considering the interesting, elegant wines it makes. A favorite with light red lovers, this is packed with vibrant fruit flavors without being over-extracted. A dusting of fresh cracked black pepper on the finish adds to the savory character. This refreshing value works brilliantly with a California ham sandwich (ham, avocado, grilled onions, and Monterey Jack cheese with whole grain mustard on sourdough). Serve lightly chilled.
AROUND THE WORLD IN A DAY - KINDA?
Weingut Holzapfel Grüner Veltliner Federspiel Wachau "Zehenthof" 2014
Country: AUSTRIA / Region: NIEDERÖSTERREICH / Appellation: WACHAU / Varietal(s): GRÜNER VELTLINER --- Weingut Holzapfel is situated in a former farmstead, established 700 years ago by the Canons of St Pölten, which was updated to the baroque style by Jakob Prandtauer, architect of the famous Benedictine abbey, Stift Melk. At that point in history, most of the vineyards in the Wachau belonged to the Catholic Church and its nearby monasteries; the farmstead was the center for the harvest and fermentation of wine grapes and for the administration of local sales. Today, the estate consists of some fourteen hectares of vines, worked with traditional methods. Grapes of first-class quality flourish on these stony and mineral-laden soils, which contain in places significant elements of limestone and mica schist. The climate conditions specific to this particular part of the Wachau produce extreme variations of temperature between daylight and nighttime, which, together with the various elevations of the vineyards, encourage an acidity which imparts freshness and elegance to the wines. This grüner veltliner is packed with an intensely fruitful, citrus nose, and comes alive on the palate with savory herbaceous flavors and delicate acidity. A seriously delicious wine meant for some serious food. This riper Federspiel category (a label specific to wines with higher minimum must weight), is perfect with roasted pork or poultry, savory pâtés, charcuterie, or the now seasonally appropriate asparagus soup. YUM! For those willing to go full Austrian, pair with backhendl (fried chicken)!
Domaine La Bastide Blanche Rosé Bandol AOC 2017 - ORGANICALLY GROWN
Country: FRANCE / Region: PROVENCE / Appellation: BANDOL AOC / Varietal(s): MOURVÈDRE+GRENACHE+CINSAULT+CLAIRETTE --- We look forward to drinking rosé each year, but inevitably some of the best come from the Bandol appellation. The wines possess a power and depth of flavor, while holding it all together elegantly. La Bastide Blanche is a great example of the quality found in this region. This wonderful wine is the work of Michel & Louis Bronzo, who purchased this property in the early 1970's. Bandol is unique in France in that it is the only area the mourvèdre grape must be dominant. The region is ideal for this sometimes difficult-to-mature grape. The warm summer days and stony soils are the perfect marriage for the heat-loving grape, allowing it to fully mature before harvest. This cuvée is elegant, yet capable of hanging with almost any summer indulgence. There are lovely strawberry notes entwined with a strong sense of minerals and delicate peppery notes. This is a winner with any and all summer fare - we're thinking grilled whole trout stuffed with citrus and garden herbs.
John Almansa Cinsault "Zou Maï" Vin de France 2016 - ORGANICALLY GROWN + LOW INTERVENTION
Country: FRANCE / Region: LANGUEDOC / Appellation: VIN DE FRANCE / Varietal(s): CINSAULT --- A true vin de soif (roughly "thirst quencher") from the Languedoc. This is the epitome of a chillable, light, juicy red, perfect for taking the edge off of that mid-afternoon yard work, or when you just need something deliciously simple to open with pizza, salad, or sausage. John Almansa, a Spaniard who has been in Languedoc making wine at Domaine Pibarot for a few years began renting vines from Pibarot in 2015. This is his second vintage of cuvée "Zou Maï" (translates to 'come on!' like the Brit punkers say - hence the mohawk'd seahorse label?) and he is making his mark among the many amazing organic, biodynamic and low-intervention producers in the region. Fruit from the 30+ year old cinsault vines is destemmed and macerated for 10 days without punchdowns, giving the wine an energetic and sprightly feel without the weighty over-extraction that can plague some wines from hot southern France. It then ages on the lees for three months in fiberglass tank. Zou Maï – unfined, unfiltered, and bottled without additional sulfites, allowing us pure enjoyment of this pure expression of cinsault.
Broc Cellars Mission Lodi Somers Vineyard 2016 - ORGANICALLY GROWN + LOW INTERVENTION
Country: USA / Region: CALIFORNIA / Appellation: LODI / Varietal(s): MISSION (AKA PAIS) --- If you read these emails with any regularity, you know the wines of Broc Cellars. For those new to the winery, Broc was founded by Chris Brockway and built on a philosophy of sourcing sustainable and organic fruit on the way to creating exceptional wines. He takes a hands-off approach, allowing nature to be in charge. This bottle is a taste of California history! Chris first moved out to California to work with older plantings, and this is his first time making wine from the mission grape (also known as país or listán negro). Mission was the first cultivated varietal in California, planted by Spanish missionaries who used it to make sacramental, table, and fortified wines. The grapes for this bottling came from old vines (of unknown age but at least 60+ years old) dry farmed in sand and gravel soils beside a river in Lodi. This wine is made through carbonic maceration (a technique often used in Beaujolais where whole grapes are fermented prior to crushing), and fermentation is initiated using native yeasts. Dry and earthy, it displays aromas of rose petal, strawberry cordial and spice, with red berry and smoky citrus peel flavors on the palate. Medium-bodied and fresh with good structure and acidity through the finish, this would be a great match for farro salad with roasted mushrooms and Swiss chard, peppercorn-crusted pork loin with bitter greens and mash, or with grilled portobella tacos.
CIDER WEEK TASTING!
We're always pouring cider for our friends and family, and feel a special attachment to those grown and produced locally. New York has an incredibly rich tradition of apple growing and we want to embrace that! Think globally, act locally and grab a cider this weekend (and the next...and the next...)
South Hill Cider "Bluegrass Russet" Finger Lakes NV - ORGANICALLY GROWN 2016
Country: USA / Region: NEW YORK-FINGER LAKES / Appellation: N/A / Varietal(s): GOLDEN RUSSET+NORTHERN SPY+BALDWIN+CRAB APPLES --- From the Cidermaker: "Steve Selin, the cidermaker, apple picker, and community orchardist has been bottling his own cider since 2003. He is a musician grounded firmly in traditional American Old-Time music - a genre that has many parallels to cider: In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries both cider and Old-Time music were staples of American culture, only to be sidelined by more mechanized and industrial rivals." Happily, both the music and cider are now reemerging into American culture in a very real and organic manner. At South Hill Cider, apples come from wild trees, abandoned orchards and orchards of high quality cider apples. They have planted an organically farmed cider orchard on a hilltop south of Ithaca to be part of a harmonious ecosystem that relies on diversity and fertility as its foundation. Bluegrass Russet is a blend of traditional American cider apples (primarily Golden Russet), with some English bittersweets. Hints of lemongrass, melon, and soft floral notes on the nose sashay with lively effervescence, and an herbal, musky & faintly farmy palate. A delightful slightly sweet, crisp finish makes this another stellar apéro-style cider. Keep this in the cookout cooler or for sipping on the patio all summer long! Or take a bottle with you while foraging for berries later this summer or wild apples towards the fall!
Kite & String Cider Single Varietal Northern Spy Finger Lakes 2016 - ORGANICALLY GROWN
Country: USA / Region: NEW YORK-FINGER LAKES / Appellation: N/A / Varietal(s): NORTHERN SPY --- Kite & String was started by a team of young farmers passionate about organic permaculture and its potential in the Finger Lakes region. Melissa Madden and Garret Miller hold down operations on the farm, which produces a variety of leafy greens, herbs, asparagus, as well as peaches and apples from their young orchard, plowed by their two draft horses, Polly and Leo. Garret's brother Jimmy Miller is the head cidermaker, operating everything from pressing to fermentation to bottling in the cidery right below the tasting room. The team at Kite & String are some of the hardest working people in the cider business because they are farmers first! From the producer: "The apples are fermented in four separate tanks using different yeast strains to maximize expression of varietal character. Sweetened with a cold concentrated ‘sweet reserve’ made from Northern Spy apples." This is a lovely fruit-forward and balanced style, with aromas of fresh and ripe honeydew, mango and papaya. Put down the Prosecco and pick up this bottle instead - perfect before the meal or next to a cheese plate and strawberry salad with poppy seed vinaigrette.
Metal House Cider "Ora d'Oro" Extra Brut Hudson River Valley 2016 - ORGANICALLY GROWN
Country: USA / Region: NEW YORK-HUDSON RIVER VALLEY / Appellation: N/A / Varietal(s): GOLDRUSH+EMPIRE+IDARED --- Kimberly, a painter, and Matt, a builder, began Metal House on a urge to do good by the land, and have worked to restore abandoned ancient orchards in the Hudson Valley to their former fruit-bearing glory days. Employing bio-intensive farming techniques, which focuses on the use of naturally made fertilizers and pest management techniques (akin to biodynamics), they focus their work around the idea of sano, which "means healthy and sound, as in the food we eat, the environment we surround ourselves in, and the ideas we support. Complete. This is the orchard from which we want to harvest apples… An orchard free from unnecessary herbicides, fungicides, pesticides and chemical fertilizers allows organisms to work with the trees, improving the flavor and characteristics of the fruit. Beneficial flora have the opportunity to thrive." We're pouring "Ora d'Oro" from the 2016 vintage, made of organic Goldrush from Milton, NY and, Empire and Idared from two untreated orchards in Esopus, NY. Made in the Champagne method, the cider spent 12 months on the lees after secondary fermentation, imparting lovely brioche and biscuit aromas to complement the cider's invigorating fruit flavors. The delightfully crisp and dry finish puts this cider on par with the serious sparkling wines of Spain and France.
MEET THE CIDERMAKERS, CELEBRATE HUDSON VALLEY CIDER WEEK
ALL CIDERS DISCOUNTED DURING CIDER WEEK JUNE 8-17
Cidermakers Max Pritchard of Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider and Leif Sundström of Sundström Cider are pouring their creations here this Sunday! Taste some truly excellent ciders, pepper our guests with all your cidermaking questions and enjoy some cheese- and-such as we launch our Second Sunday Cider Tastings (watch for more announcements in months to come on this new featured tasting - and join us in bolstering the burgeoning cider culture here in the HV to one day parallel the extraordinarily vivid and robust ones in Spain's Asturias and Basque Country).
MEET WINEMAKER HANK BECKMEYER OF LA CLARINE FARM!
Hank and Caroline Beckmeyer are the minimalist winemakers/farmers/proprietors of La Clarine Farm, located at 2600 feet in California’s Sierra Nevada Foothills. On their 10 acres, they grow grapes, raise goats and share their space with numerous dogs, cats, bees, chickens, birds, gophers, flowers and herbs. Their winemaking is based on Hank's insistence on questioning the status quo of the wine world: "Why does everyone I knew (at the time) add an isolated strain of yeast to their musts? What would happen if I didn't, and relied solely on the indigenous (or ambient) yeasts? Why was everyone automatically adding SO2 at the crusher, and then at every racking? Why do you need to add an enzyme to quicken the extraction rate of the must?" His answers to these questions are the wines of La Clarine Farm, which see no added yeasts, no SO2 at the crusher, no destemming, no SO2 addition at any point in the process unless needed, no new oak, and no enzymes to speed up color and flavor extraction.
La Clarine Farm Albariño Sierra Foothills 2016 - ORGANICALLY GROWN + LOW INTERVENTION
Country: USA / Region: CALIFORNIA / Appellation: SIERRA FOOTHILLS / Varietal(s): ALBARINO --- For this singular albariño, the grapes are farmed with minimal inputs by Matthew Rorick's (of Forlorn Hope) crew in Murphys, CA. Green-gold color in the glass, the wine bursts with gooseberry and peach. Medium-bodied with stone fruits, great acidity, and mineral textures on the palate. As Hank says, "They can't quite do this in Spain." Fabulous with warm Caesar salad with grilled shrimp.
La Clarine Farm Rosé "Alors!" Sierra Foothills 2016 - ORGANICALLY GROWN + LOW INTERVENTION
Country: USA / Region: CALIFORNIA / Appellation: SIERRA FOOTHILLS / Varietal(s): SYRAH+MOURVÈDRE+COUNOISE --- This delectable rosé is direct-pressed from syrah, mouvèdre, and counoise, and fermented half in barrel and half in tank. Organically farmed, vegan friendly, unfined and unfiltered, very low added sulfites, no added yeasts, enzymes, or cultures... all the things we know and love about La Clarine Farm! The separate batches were combined and bottled in spring of 2017, then left to settle and develop until release this year. The result is intensely delicious! Sockeye salmon pink in color, it explodes with aromas of watermelon, strawberry, black cherry, and a touch of anise. The palate is juicy and elegant with watermelon, blood orange, and pink grapefruit flavors accented with crushed herbs. A round texture and touch of briny salinity from spontaneous malolactic fermentation is lifted by a core of mouthwatering acidity, making this a versatile choice for a variety of foods! Serve chilled, but not too cold (55-57°F is ideal), with salmon tacos!
La Clarine Farm Syrah "El Dorado" NV - ORGANICALLY GROWN + LOW INTERVENTION
Country: USA / Region: CALIFORNIA / Appellation: EL DORADO COUNTY/ Varietal(s): SYRAH --- This wine is an exploration of El Dorado County in a bottle–literally! Over the past couple years, La Clarine has produced an assortment of various syrah from 2015 and 2016. This compilation of those wines and vineyards is meant to give a tasty look into the terroir of El Dorado County. A combination of vintages, this embodies syrah from both main soil types - volcanic and granite. Whole cluster fermented and aged in a variety of vessels, this is bottled unfined and unfiltered with minimal added sulfur (as always). Aromas of black cherry, smoke, meat, and vanilla open up into bold savory, smoky fruit in the mouth. Firm tannins meld with notes of black olive and tar in a finish of pleasing acidity and length. Let those flavors and textures wander across your palate for a bit and enjoy a taste of El Dorado mountain-grown syrah! Give it a little time and air before quaffing, then down this with bold summer flavors, like smoky grilled eggplant or bacon-topped bison burgers!
La Clarine Farm Tempranillo Rorick Vineyard Sierra Foothills 2015 - ORGANICALLY GROWN + LOW INTERVENTION
Country: USA / Region: CALIFORNIA / Appellation: EL DORADO COUNTY/ Varietal(s): TEMPRANILLO --- The grapes for this deep, dark, delicious wine come from Matthew Rorick's vineyard near Murphys, CA. The La Clarine grapes grow in the lower, slightly "cooler" block, in a unique mix of schist and limestone soils. Once at La Clarine, they were given the standard treatment: no sulfites, foot crushed, and whole cluster fermented with native yeast in open top fermenters, bottled unfined and unfiltered. 100% tempranillo, this shows black cherry, apple skin, crushed thyme, and a pinch of baking cocoa on the nose. In the mouth it is medium bodied with a compelling balance between fruit and savory notes. Lively acidity and structured tannins mingle with dashes of black pepper, tea, and earth. This has the potential to age beautifully for years, but is also great now. Give it some air and enjoy with mushroom risotto!
WELCOME JOSH HOLLY FROM HAUS ALPENZ AND GET SUMMER COCKTAIL-READY WITH QUINQUINAS AND AMARO!
Today we're focusing on aromatized wines, which play a starring role in all your classic cocktails! Josh Holly from Haus Alpenz will be pouring a selection of quinquinas and amaro for your summer sipping pleasure.
Mattei Cap Corse Quinquina NV Blanc
Country: FRANCE / Region: CORSICA / Appellation: N/A/ Varietal(s): N/A --- This bittersweet Corsican aperitif begins with a base of mistelle (slightly fermented grape juice fortified with brandy) made from muscat and vermentinu grapes grown on the northern part of the island. Cinchona bark (quinine) is joined by local citron (cédrat) fruit, and other botanicals and spices. Aromas of mixed herbs, quinine, floral elderflower and honeysuckle transition to a bittersweet palate with quinine bitterness nicely offset by zesty lemon and lemongrass flavors.
Mattei Cap Corse Quinquina NV Rouge
Country: FRANCE / Region: CORSICA / Appellation: N/A/ Varietal(s): N/A --- The rouge also starts with a base of mistelle from muscat and vermentinu grapes. Cinchona bark (quinine) mingles with local citron (cédrat) fruit, and other botanicals and spices. Aromas of quinine, citrus, floral elderflower and honeysuckle introduce a bittersweet palate. Robust flavors of grape, caramel, and classic quinine bitterness are balanced by a honeyed sweetness and a finish of complex herbal notes, especially rosemary.
Cappelletti Pasubio Vino Amaro
Country: ITALY / Region: PIEDMONT / Appellation: N/A / Varietal(s): N/A --- Pasubio was one of the first amaro recipes created by Guiseppe Cappelletti in the early 1900s. Built on a base of aged wine, it gets its name from Mount Pasubio in the Dolomites, famous for its road with 52 tunnels, that was originally built by the Italian army as an alternate supply route. This is an example of the older alpine style of digestif, with a nose of tree bark, root beer, and other woody, earthy notes. A rich, mouth-coating palate provides flavors of cola along with blueberries, strawberry preserves, pine sap, and crushed mountain herbs on a lingering finish with hints of mint!
FRENCH FAVORITES: FROM CLASSIC TO PARTY-IN-A-BOTTLE!
Château d'Épiré Savennières AOC 2016 - ORGANICALLY GROWN
Country: FRANCE / Region: LOIRE VALLEY / Appellation: SAVENNIÈRES AOC / Varietal(s): CHENIN BLANC --- Savennières is located just southwest of Angers, on the north bank of the Loire River, where grapes have been cultivated since Roman times. One of the oldest and most iconic estates in Savennières, Château d’Épiré is rich in both winemaking and architectural history (thanks to its rendition of the Petit Trianon of Versailles). The domaine has been continuously owned by the Bizard family since the 17th century, and is currently run by Luc Bizard. They own 11 hectares, 9 of which are devoted to the cultivation of chenin blanc, which they vinify in the domaine's winery, a former Romanesque chapel dating from the 12th century. The Savennières from Épiré is regarded as Grand Cru, due to the rich soils and ideal microclimate. Southern and south-eastern sun exposure brings ripeness to the grapes, while the proximity to the Loire River keeps the temperatures moderate. The subsoils are comprised of sandstone and schist, and the top soil is a lovely blue slate schist that covers the vineyard floors, lending great character to the resulting wines. This wine is a true classic, both in terms of its pedigree, and also (importantly!) its flavor! Beautifully complex, this offers up elements of wild honey, bright orchard fruit, and hazelnuts on the nose, before an elegant transition to a palate of ripe apricot, lemon curd, and crushed stones, all supported on a core of nervy acidity. Gorgeous with Parmesan and polenta-crusted oysters.
Coeur Estérelle Rosé Magnum (1.5L) Côtes de Provence AOC 2016
Country: FRANCE / Region: PROVENCE / Appellation: CÔTES DE PROVENCE AOC / Varietal(s): GRENACHE+CINSAULT+TIBOUREN --- A magnum of dry, delicious rosé perfect for any summer sipping situation? Yes, please! This cuvée was produced by Château Rouët from grapes grown on the slopes of the Esterel mountain, not far from Antibes and Cannes, in the heart of Provence (hence the name). A lovely blend of grenache, cinsault, and tibouren, this is as versatile as it gets, with rich aromas of cherries and strawberries on an elegantly dry palate with hints of peach skin, crisp acidity, and dusty minerality. Great with salads, grilled veggies or seafood, cheese platters - you get the idea! At this price, why not?
Domaine Le Briseau "Patapon" Rouge Vin de France 2016 - ORGANICALLY GROWN/LOW INTERVENTION
Country: FRANCE / Region: LOIRE VALLEY / Appellation: N/A/ Varietal(s): PINEAU D'AUNIS --- By 2002, Natalie Gaubicher and Christian Chaussard found their way to each other, and then, to the northern reaches of Touraine in the Loire Valley. It was there they founded Domaine Le Briseau, named after the incredibly hard flint subsoil (Le Briseau roughly translates to "the shatterer"). The two converted the old vines of pineau d'aunis to organic farming, then later adopted biodynamic principles in all of their vineyards. "Patapon" itself was another creation of theirs, to serve as the unofficial mascot for the underappreciated pineau d'aunis grape. Christian tragically died in a tractor accident in 2012, but his influence in the natural wine community is not forgotten (he was the president of the "Association des Vins Naturels" for 5 years). Natalie carries on in the vineyard and cellar, making thoughtful, low-intervention wines that speak to their love of the land. "Patapon" rouge, made of 100% pineau d'aunis sourced from multiple vineyard sites is an electric, summery red, reminiscent of sunny afternoons tending a grill packed with fresh vegetables. Tons of fresh red berry fruit is topped with a distinct fresh cracked black pepper. Chill slightly and enjoy all summer... while it lasts!
NEW VALUES FROM WOMEN WINEMAKERS!
Judith Beck "Pink" Rosé Burgenland 2017 - CERTIFIED BIODYNAMIC
Country: AUSTRIA / Region: BURGENLAND / Appellation: BURGENLAND / Varietal(s): ZWEIGELT --- Judith Beck is a family-owned estate in the Burgenland region of Austria, close to the famous Neusiedlersee. This great lake acts to moderate temperatures throughout the seasons, taming the effects of both the hot continental summers and freezing central European winters. This is Austria's warmest wine growing area, known for producing full-bodied red wines. Judith’s parents, Matthias and Christine Beck, founded the family estate in 1976, and Judith made her first vintage in 2001, taking over fully in 2004. The estate is a member of the Pannobile association, as well as of “11 Frauen und ihre Weine” (11 Women and their Wines). Judith and her father Matthias practiced sustainable viticulture from the beginning, and converted to biodynamic practices in 2007. Assisted by a modern winery and aging cellar built in 2005, Judith is able to manipulate her wines as little as possible throughout the winemaking process, allowing the pure, vivid expression of the varietal to really shine through. Only native yeasts are used to spark fermentation, and the finished wines are also vegan. 100% zweigelt, this new arrival to the rosé section is positively electric, popping with tart flavors of bing cherries with a squeeze of fresh lime juice! Summer soirées scream for rosé, and what could be better than this biodynamic sipper? Try it with lemongrass shrimp skewers!
Solar dos Lobos Alentejano IGP 2016 - SUSTAINABLY GROWN
Country: PORTUGAL / Region: ALENTEJO / Appellation: ALENTEJANO IGP / Varietal(s): ARAGONEZ AKA TEMPRANILLO+CASTELAO+ TOURIGA NACIONAL+TRINCADEIRA --- Three generations of women in the Silveira family form the winemaking team at Solar dos Lobos. Their vineyards are located both in Redondo (situated near the Serra d’Ossa with a cooler microclimate) and Arraiolos (a warmer zone known for producing full bodied wines), all managed sustainably. Made from a delectable blend of native Portuguese grapes, this great new value is hard to resist! Juicy red cherry and blackberry flavors meld together along with a lively streak of acidity that makes this an easy match for almost any occasion! Picnic, party, or pizza night, this has you covered!
SPECIAL TASTING WITH DOMINIQUE SIMON OF THE WINE LIST!
Dominique Simon IS his import company, The Wine List; he'll be pouring a French selection today, featuring a white, rosé, and red from Domaine Dyckerhoff in the Loire Valley, as well as a mourvèdre from the Roussillon! Perfect for all your holiday weekend wine needs!
Domaine Dyckerhoff Reuilly AOC Blanc 2016
Country: FRANCE / Region: LOIRE VALLEY / Appellation: REUILLY AOC / Varietal(s): SAUVIGNON BLANC --- Reuilly is located at the eastern end of the Loire, not far from Quincy. Not to be confused with Rully in Burgundy, Reuilly is often overshadowed by the regions of Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé when it comes to recognition for sauvignon blanc production. However, this 370 acre region offers a refreshing alternative to the usual Loire whites, and an excellent value as well! Since 2004, Christian Dyckerhoff and his Alsatian wife, Bénédicte, have been making wine on 12 acres of lieu-dit plots in Les Conges, Les Enaudes and La Raie, where vines range in age from 3-20 years. Picture a cross between a Sancerre and Bordeaux Blanc: opening with herbal, grassy notes, this medium-bodied white focuses on round, ripe fruit flavors of citrus and gooseberry. Bright, zesty acidity and loads of minerals and stone finished off with more touches of grass and gooseberry make this complex, compelling, and hard to put down! All the elegance and terroir you desire, at a delicious price too! Pair this with fish, grilled vegetables with butter and lemon, or goat cheese tarts.
Dyckerhoff "Petit Gris" Rosé Reuilly AOC 2017
Country: FRANCE / Region: LOIRE VALLEY / Appellation: REUILLY AOC / Varietal(s): PINOT GRIS --- This beguiling rosé is another delightful offering from Dyckerhoff. The region of Reuilly has the unique distinction of producing rosés from pinot gris, although its reds are from pinot noir. This rosé gets its pale salmon color from extended skin contact, which not only lends it a rosy hue, but also imbues a complex texture reminiscent of a lighter-style red. Perfumed aromatics yield to fresh red currant and citrus zest on the palate, supported by a core of racy acidity and finishing with elegant dusty minerals. Crisp and lip-smacking, this is a perfect choice for elevating an al fresco meal. Try it with fish tacos!
Domaine Dyckerhoff Pinot Noir Reuilly AOC 2016
Country: FRANCE / Region: LOIRE VALLEY / Appellation: REUILLY AOC / Varietal(s): PINOT NOIR --- A new addition to our lineup from Dyckerhoff, this pinot noir is light and elegant, with delicate flavors of tart cherries, red raspberries, and a sprinkle of freshly-ground pepper. Bright acidity, subtle minerality, and gently lingering tannins meld together making this a versatile addition to any occasion. Great with cedar plank grilled Arctic char or salmon!
Ferrer Ribière Mourvèdre "Empreinte du Temps" Côtes Catalanes IGP 2015 - CERTIFIED ORGANIC
Country: FRANCE / Region: ROUSSILLON / Appellation: VIN DE PAYS DES CÔTES CATALANES / Varietal(s): MOURVÈDRE --- In 1993, Denis (an experienced fruit grower) and Bruno (a wine loving civil servant) joined forces to establish Domaine Ferrer Ribière. The son of a vintner, Denis took over his family's vineyards intent on farming them more organically, and now Domaine Ferrer Ribière is one of two wineries in the Roussillon to be certified biodynamic. Although the domaine has existed for seven centuries, it was farmed conventionally until Denis and Bruno, dissatisfied with the quality of the wines, began working organically, eventually transitioning to biodynamic production. Set on 30 hectares west of Perpignan, with breathtaking views of the Mediterranean, this domaine is further distinguished by the age of its vines. This cuvée is titled 'Empreinte du Temps', which translated means 'fingerprint of time'. 100% mourvèdre, this wine is dark and spicy. Intensely colored, it offers up notes of dark purple and black fruit, baking spice, tobacco, and sandalwood on a firm finish. BBQ, anyone?
Weingut Umathum Gelber & Roter Traminer 2016 - BIODYNAMICALLY GROWN
Country: AUSTRIA / Region: BURGENLAND / Appellation: BURGENLAND / Varietal(s): GELBER TRAMINER+ROTER TRAMINER --- Umathum is a family-owned estate in the Burgenland region of Austria, close to the famous Neusiedlersee. This great lake acts to moderate temperatures throughout the seasons, taming the effects of both the hot continental summers and freezing central European winters. Some of the vineyards here date back to the early 13th century, and the Umathum family have been in residence since the mid 1700s. The estate as it is today was founded in 1958, with Josef 'Pepi' Umathum taking over from his parents in 1985. Josef refers to his wines as "liquid folk tales", preferring traditional, local grape varietals, which he farms biodynamically in order to allow the terroir as much expression as possible. He even uses sheep as natural mowers between the vines. Roter traminer, gelber traminer, and gewürztraminer are all part of the same family, one prone to mutation over generations. Roter (red) and gelber (yellow) traminer are differentiated by the color of their berries. This unusual and exotic white combines both varietals, with the roter providing aromas of roses, pear, pineapple, and honey, while the gelber contributes notes of stone fruit, tropical fruit, and spice to a full-bodied palate. Elegant and unique with a long, luxurious finish, this is great with a summer cheese and fruit plate, or with Thai or Indian cuisine.
Klein Constantia Sauvignon Blanc Constantia 2016
Country: SOUTH AFRICA / Region: COASTAL REGION / Appellation: CONSTANTIA / Varietal(s): SAUVIGNON BLANC --- Among the world’s most beautiful vineyards, Klein Constantia is set amidst ancient trees and lush greenery on the upper foothills of the Constantiaberg, with expansive views across the Constantia Valley and False Bay. The 146 hectare estate was originally part of "Constantia", a vast property established in 1685 by Simon van der Stel, the first governor of the Cape. This particular valley was chosen not only for its beauty, but also for the decomposed granite soils on its slopes, gently cooled by ocean breezes, which proved ideal for winemaking. For this delectable sauvignon blanc, each vineyard block is vinified separately then blended together at bottling to allow full expression of the terroir. Batches were hand sorted, tank fermented, and spent 7 months on the lees before blending. The result is elegant and inviting, with a nose of bright citrus, crushed herbs, and flint. A balanced palate displays flavors of gooseberries, citrus, and tropical fruit. Juicy acidity and a richly lingering finish are coolly accented with more gravelly minerality, making this a refreshing choice with a smoked salmon, farro, and goat cheese salad.
Casanova della Spinetta Rosato Toscana IGT 2017 - SUSTAINABLY GROWN
Country: ITALY / Region: TUSCANY / Appellation: TOSCANA IGT / Varietal(s): SANGIOVESE+PRUNELLO GENTILE --- Giorgio Rivetti produces approachable yet age-worthy wines that capture the attention of wine critics and consumers year after year with their elegance, concentration, aromatics and length. This wine comes from his Tuscan estate, Casanova della Spinetta, located in the hills south of Pisa. Pale salmon with a touch of orange, this rosé displays delicious complexity with hints of roses, red berries and wilted wildflowers on the nose offset by aromas of lime and sage. A tasty early summer wine with flavors of tart cherry, pomegranate, and honeysuckle with a mineral and floral finish, its complexity makes it suitable for aging, while being equally delightful to drink right away! Perfect with poultry, fish, or with any type of appetizer, preferably enjoyed outdoors!
Fjord Cabernet Franc Rosé Hudson River Region 2017
Country: USA / Region: NEW YORK / Appellation: HUDSON RIVER REGION / Varietal(s): CABERNET FRANC --- Fjord Vineyards is the creation of Matthew Spaccarelli, winemaker at Benmarl Winery across the river in Marlboro. These wines are crafted by Matthew in the Benmarl cellars, using both estate-grown fruit and grapes sourced from renowned vineyards in the Finger Lakes and the North Fork of Long Island. From a single vineyard site (the award-winning Ridge Road vineyard) in Marlboro comes this exquisite rosé, made from 100% cabernet franc. A beautiful salmon hue, thanks to five hours of skin contact, it's clean and crisp, with notes of red strawberries, and a hint of watermelon on the nose. Fresh, elegant, and perfectly refreshing, why not have an all-local feast, and open this with asparagus and goat cheese quiche made from Hudson Valley eggs, veggies, and cheese? A great way to celebrate the bounty of spring!
Bodega Chacra "Amor Seco" Merlot Río Negro 2015 - ORGANICALLY GROWN
Country: ARGENTINA / Region: PATAGONIA / Appellation: RÍO NEGRO / Varietal(s): MERLOT --- Argentina is justifiably famous for malbec, but do yourself a favor and don't overlook its merlot! Bodega Chacra is located in the Río Negro Valley of northern Patagonia, 620 miles south of Buenos Aires, 1,240 miles north of Tierra del Fuego, and roughly equidistant west to east from the Andes Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. The arid central Argentine desert is tempered by the converging Neuquen and Limay Rivers, both of which flow from the Andes and join up in the Río Negro en route to the Atlantic. The Río Negro Valley itself is a glacial bed 15.5 miles wide stretching 310 miles along the river's banks at an elevation of 750 feet above sea level, and is irrigated by a network of channels excavated in the late 1820s by British colonists who took advantage of the Andean snow melt to make an oasis in the desert. This incredibly dry climate and the natural barrier provided by the desert has resulted in an area free from the scourge of phylloxera and other vine diseases, while the pristine, pollution-free air allows for maximum sunlight. One of the most southerly regions in the world for wine production, Patagonia has seen tremendous vineyard growth since the early 2000s. Its drastic diurnal shifts caused by cold air sinking from the steep slopes of the Andes at night contrast with the hot summer days to produce grapes with ideal ripeness, aromatic intensity, and concentration. In this delicious example, lively flavors of red plum, currant, and cherry tango with earthy elements of tobacco, tar, and dried herbs, wrapping up with a pleasantly savory finish. Medium-bodied, this is a versatile choice for mushroom barbacoa tacos or burgers fresh off the grill!
Domaine Les Poëte "Le Côte Cabernet des Poëte" Touraine AOC 2011 - SUSTAINABLY GROWN
Country: FRANCE / Region: LOIRE VALLEY / Appellation: TOURAINE AOC / Varietal(s): CÔT AKA MALBEC+CABERNET FRANC --- Winemaker Guillaume Sorbe is one of the Loire Valley’s hottest rising young stars. In 2007, he began his domaine in the Cher producing white, rosé, and red wines from the Touraine, Quincy, and Reuilly appellations. Ironically, Guillaume comes from a grape growing family (his father had vineyards in Quincy and Reuilly, but after it became apparent that his sons had no interest in continuing the family domaine, he sold the vineyards in 2001.) Guillaume first worked in some of France’s finest restaurants both as a cook and a sommelier, but gradually he said, “The soul of a winemaker awoke in me." He went to Beaune to study viticulture and oenology, and in 2007 after completing his studies he returned to the Loire intent on starting a domaine of his own. He began with a small plot of very old gamay vines on the right bank of the Cher river, and has slowly patched together a tiny domaine today of more than 25 single plots that he farms himself biodynamically. Only 4.5 hectares total are put into production so quantities are extremely small. Freshness and delicacy are his hallmarks, as Guillaume believes that terroir is the most important thing, often citing his motto “moins mais mieux” – “less but better”. Each of his 25 parcels is vinified separately, a method that is very labor intensive but which allows Guillaume greater control over the final blend. 50% côt (malbec), 50% cabernet franc, this wine is dark and deadly-delicious! Explosive aromas of black raspberries, currants, spice, and violets on the nose yield to juicy, fun-and-funky fruit on the palate. Gentle tannins and mouthwatering acidity make this an elegant, easy partner to roast chicken with new potatoes and watercress.
Francesco Cirelli Vino Bianco NV - CERTIFIED ORGANIC/LOW INTERVENTION
Country: ITALY / Region: ABRUZZO / Appellation: N/A / Varietal(s): TREBBIANO --- Trained as an economist, Francesco Cirelli left the profession to pursue a career in winemaking. He purchased his land in 2003 and devoted the property to organic farming, growing olives, garlic, spelt, barley, and figs, as well as grapes. In this cuvée, look for yellow orchard fruit notes along with a nutty finish. Notes of lemon zest, green apple skins, and refreshing acidity makes this a perfect white for linguine and pesto Genovese or a beautifully simple cacio e pepe.
Mas Théo "P'tit Gaby" Vin de France 2016 - CERTIFIED BIODYNAMIC
Country: FRANCE / Region: RHÔNE VALLEY / Appellation: VIN DE FRANCE / Varietal(s): GRENACHE+SYRAH+CARIGNAN --- It's no easy task to find a value Côtes-du-Rhône that stands out in a crowded field, and even harder to find one that's not only organic but biodynamic. Luckily, Mas Théo comes to the rescue, just in time for grilling season! Located in Saint-Restitut, about 10 miles west of several Côtes-du-Rhône Cru villages, this 80-acre estate was inherited by winemaker Laurent Clapier. Laurent converted to organic in 2004 and then biodynamic in 2011, and vinifies with all wild yeasts. In the cellar, he uses no additives and very minimal sulfur, keeping all the winemaking incredibly low-intervention (with the exception of harvesting by machine rather than hand). A blend of grenache, syrah and carignan, this incredible value bursts with crunchy red berry flavors and lip smacking acidity – perfect for pizza night (or any night!)
C&D Deneufbourg Marselan Côtes Catalanes IGP 2015
Country: FRANCE / Region: LANGUEDOC-ROUSSILLON / Appellation: CÔTES CATALANES IGP / Varietal(s): MARSELAN --- Corinne and Damien Deneufbourg produce their elegant, structured wines in the Côtes Catalanes in Roussillon. Hyphenated as Languedoc-Roussillon, Roussillon is in fact a distinct cultural area with a proud Catalan identity, and Côtes Catalanes is located about 20 miles north of the Spanish border in the Pyrénées-Orientales. This is a wine region to watch, producing lots of interesting and delicious bottles! A cross between cabernet sauvignon and grenache, created in 1961 for its resistance to fungal diseases, the marselan grape possesses the best characteristics of both parent grapes. Charming dark fruit flavors (thanks to the cabernet) meld with the easy drinking texture and lighter tannins of grenache. Hints of earth, cocoa, and cedar, along with good acidity and moderately firm tannins make this a great match with lamb chops or pulled pork tacos.
ITALIAN & CALI BIG-HITTERS THIS SECOND SATURDAY
San Salvatore "Vetere" Rosato Paestum IGP 2017 - BIODYNAMICALLY GROWN
Country: ITALY / Region: CAMPANIA / Appellation: PAESTUM IGP / Varietal(s): AGLIANICO --- BIODYNAMICALLY GROWN -- Ever wanted to meet the graceful, elegant side of aglianico? The "Vetere" rosato from San Salvatore is this in spades. San Salvatore is located in the midst of the Cilento National Park, near Paestum, in the Campania region of southern Italy. Deeply committed to preserving the delicate balance of the land, San Salvatore takes a special interest in cultivating the vineyards without synthetic products or genetically modified organisms and uses biological processes and biodynamic preparations like horn dung (sourced from water buffaloes that live on the property) that favor the natural fertility of the ground and the production of humus. In fact, all of their fertilizers are created in-house using natural methods. The fruit is harvested, gently pressed, then fermented in stainless steel tanks, yielding a wine with a brilliant pearl-pink color and tart berry and citrus aromas for days. Crisp in the mouth, with bright acidity and a mineral core, this wine is begging for a Caprese salad, or simply a fresh ball of mozzarella drizzled with olive oil with salt and freshly cracked pepper.
Venica & Venica Sauvignon Collio DOC Ronco del Cerò 2016 - CERTIFIED BIODYNAMIC
Country: ITALY / Region: FRIULI-VENEZIA GIULIA / Appellation: COLLIO DOC / Varietal(s): SAUVIGNON BLANC --- Venica & Venica has been producing wine in the Collio, tucked in the alpine foothills of Friuli since 1930. Steeped in the vinegrowing and winemaking traditions of their grandfather Daniele, third-generation brother winemakers Gianni and Giorgio Venica are committed to biodiversity and environmental stewardship in everything they do. Vineyard practices are certified biodynamic, so all work is based on balancing of energies of the earth, plants, and the cosmos. Practically speaking, this means applying preparations of various natural teas made from fermented plants, manure, and other earth-friendly matter. The wines speak directly of the Venica family's dedication to the land -- incredible precision, complexity, and length of this sauvignon blanc bottling that will make you reconsider every Sancerre you ever drank. After harvest, the grapes are crushed and left to macerate on the skins for about 20 hours, which provides more aromatic complexity. Once pressed, 10% of the grape must ferments in large oak botti and is aged on the lees for 6 months, while the remaining juice is fermented in stainless steel. The wine is finally bottled corresponding with full moons between the end of March and May. Peppery and peachy, this sauvignon blanc is texturally splendid with rounded, persistent acidity. Absolute winner with a chicken dinner (fried, baked, or Hainanese!), or pair with oven-roasted whole fish (branzino/sea bream/porgy) over a bed of sweet onions, parsley, mint, and tomato.
Stolpman Vineyards "Para Maria" Santa Barbara County 2016 - ORGANICALLY GROWN
Country: USA / Region: CALIFORNIA / Appellation: SANTA BARBARA COUNTY / Varietal(s): SYRAH+PETIT VERDOT --- Stolpman Vineyards is considered the founding vineyard of the Ballard Canyon AVA (American Viticultural Area, akin to the French AOC system), which was granted official status 3 years ago. Over a dozen wineries have joined the AVA and all have decided to focus on syrah, based on Stolpman's results in varietal experimentation. "Para Maria (de Los Tecolotes)" ("For Maria of the Owls") is a 50/50 partnership with Stolpman Vineyards' vineyard manager Ruben Solorzano and his wife Maria, their forewoman. 2016 is the third vintage of Para Maria, and incorporates some fruit from other vineyards that Ruben farms. A blend of 85% syrah and 15% petit verdot, 28% of the blend underwent whole-cluster carbonic fermentation in sealed stainless steel, adding a joyful freshness. The syrah adds depth and darker fruit flavors, while the petit verdot contributes juiciness and rich texture. Dense, voluptuous purple fruit dominates the nose with delicate touches of violet, red plum, and sage a bit further back. Luxuriously textured, this cuvée unveils layer after layer on the palate, finishing with bright red pomegranate flavors. This delicious, dark-fruited, densely colored syrah retains a liveliness that will beautifully accent warm weather fare such as lamb burgers or grilled eggplant.
Clos Saron Carignan "The Pleasant Peasant" California 2014 - BIODYNAMICALLY GROWN/LOW INTERVENTION
Country: USA / Region: CALIFORNIA / Appellation: CALIFORNIA/ Varietal(s): CARIGNAN --- Established in 1999, Clos Saron is owned and farmed by partners Gideon Beinstock and Saron Rice. Gideon cut his chops at Renaissance Vineyard & Winery, known for its pioneering work in biodynamic viticulture in a relatively unknown region in the California wine world (the Sierra Foothills, about 70 miles north of Sacramento). This is not the region for lifestyle vintners, but the radical winemakers who take a low-intervention approach to their craft. The Sierra Foothills, at higher elevation, is known for its cooler micro climate, and this is perfect for Gideon who prefers this cooler side of California where his grapes achieve ripeness at lower sugar levels. This preference guides his sourcing of grapes from other vineyards. The "Pleasant Peasant" is one example of this, coming from 115 year old carignan vines in Lodi. Beautiful character, concentration, and focus come from these old vines, which have thrived for over a century on the decomposed granite soils washed down from the Sierra Foothills. A nose of rich, freshly-turned earth, baking spice, and dark fruit offers a delightful introduction to the flavors that follow. Medium-bodied, brambly black and purple fruit, hints of dill, crushed herbs, and nutmeg all dance around each other on a palate that provides plenty of freshness and a light dusting on earthy tannins on the finish.
NEW FRENCH FAVORITES
Domaine Matignon Saumur AOC Brut NV
Country: FRANCE / Region: LOIRE VALLEY / Appellation: SAUMUR AOC / Varietal(s): CHENIN BLANC+CHARDONNAY+CABERNET FRANC --- Domaine Matignon, headed by third-generation sibling vignerons Hélene and Yves is located in the town of Martigné-Briand, one of the most important of Anjou in terms of wine business, which has built its reputation thanks to the diversity of its terroirs. Soils of schist, marl, and calcareous clay form the basis of their vineyards -- 38 hectares in total. Their Saumur sparkler, a blend of 70% chenin blanc, 20% chardonnay, and 10% cabernet franc, offers up light aromas of toast followed by a lovely dry palate of green pear, apple, and quince supported by refreshing acidity. The cool climate of the Loire valley lends itself to growing grapes with naturally high acidity, which yields textured minerality and a touch of salinity on the finish. This is a perfect match with oysters, crab cakes, or a cheese and charcuterie platter.
Mas Théo "Cuvée TO" Grignan-les-Adhémar AOP 2016 - CERTIFIED BIODYNAMIC
Country: FRANCE / Region: RHÔNE VALLEY / Appellation: GRIGNAN-LES-ADHÉMAR AOC / Varietal(s): GRENACHE+SYRAH --- It's no easy task to find a value Côtes-du-Rhône that stands out in a crowded field, and even harder to find one that's not only organic but biodynamic. Luckily, Mas Théo comes to the rescue, just in time for grilling season! Located in Saint-Restitut, about 10 miles west of several Côtes-du-Rhône Cru villages, this 80 acre estate was inherited by winemaker Laurent Clapier. Laurent converted to organic in 2004 and then biodynamic in 2011, and vinifies with all wild yeasts. In the cellar, he uses no additives and very minimal sulfur, keeping all the winemaking incredibly low-intervention (with the exception of harvesting by machine rather than hand). Cuvée TO is half and half grenache and syrah, fermented in neutral tanks and aged 18 months in stainless steel, without any fining or filtration prior to bottling. Luscious and lip-smacking, it displays pretty notes of red and purple fruit on a balanced, medium-bodied frame. Food friendly acidity and dusty tannins sashay around a touch of natural funk, making this an ideal summer vin de soif quaff, especially with anything hot off the grill!
FAIR- (AND FOUL-) WEATHER FRIENDS
Huia Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2017 - CERTIFIED ORGANIC
Country: NEW ZEALAND / Region: MARLBOROUGH / Appellation: MARLBOROUGH / Varietal(s): SAUVIGNON BLANC --- Named after a legendary (sadly extinct) bird native to New Zealand, this delicious sauvignon blanc is certified organic! Huia feathers were worn by the Maori and said to represent wisdom, elegance, and dignity, the same philosophies that today guide Claire and Mike Allan in their winemaking. Grapes here are sourced from two separate vineyards with contrasting soil types resulting in a greater array of flavors and textures in the finished wine. A small percentage of this sauvignon blanc (10-15%) was native-yeast fermented in a mix of neutral and French oak. Dry, with classic New Zealand herbaceousness and lime-based citrus softened by delicate tropical fruit notes, this is beautifully balanced on the palate, finishing with enticing minerality. A touch more subtle than many New Zealand wines, this makes an elegant match with spring pea ravioli with herbs.
Domaine Les Terres Promises Rosé "L'Apostrophe" Coteaux Varois en Provence AOC 2017 - ORGANICALLY GROWN / LOW INTERVENTION
Country: FRANCE / Region: PROVENCE / Appellation: COTEAUX VAROIS EN PROVENCE AOC / Varietal(s): GRENACHE+CARIGNAN+CINSAULT --- Fed up after a long career as a political advisor, teacher, and author, Jean-Christophe Comor moved to Coteaux Varois en Provence, near Bandol, in 2003 to start a new life as a vigneron. With help from generous like-minded winemakers like Catherine and Pierre Breton and Marcel Richaud, he learned to farm organically, and doesn't use any chemicals in his vineyards. All harvesting is done by hand, and sorting is done in the vineyard. In the cellar, he uses natural fermentation and sulphur is kept to a minimum. He generally doesn’t fine or filter his wines and uses fiberglass tanks and oak foudres for fermentation. Jean-Christophe’s Domaine Les Terres Promises (The Promised Land) is located in the village of La Roquebrussane, 1,300 feet above sea level. His vineyards are in a microclimate between Aix-en-Provence and Côtes de Provence that has colder winters and hotter summers on eroded hillsides that are composed mostly of limestone with gravel and flint. This striking minerality shines through in "L'Apostrophe", a delightful rosé made from the classic Provençal blend of grenache, carignan, and cinsault. From 25 year old vines, the grapes are fermented with indigenous yeasts and lightly filtered before bottling. Wonderfully fresh, this bursts with notes of ripe peach, red raspberries, and red currants, while hints of orange blossom, crushed herbs, and spices add intrigue. More than just a simple sipper, its elegant weight and structure make this a fantastic match with grilled vegetables, ratatouille, or salads. A fabulous new addition to your summer BBQ lineup!
La Grange aux Belles "53" Anjou AOC Rouge 2016 - ORGANICALLY GROWN/ LOW INTERVENTION
Country: FRANCE / Region: LOIRE VALLEY / Appellation: ANJOU AOC / Varietal(s): CABERNET FRANC --- La Grange aux Belles is a relative newcomer to the Loire Valley wine scene, founded in 2004 and releasing its first vintage in 2008. It is managed by Marc Houtin, Julien Bresteau, and Gérald Peau in Anjou. Another classic story of searching for a new career, Marc, the founder, used to work for a major oil company before pursuing an enology degree in 2001. He eventually found 9 hectares of vineyards in Anjou after a lengthy search in both the Languedoc and Loire. Unlike many in the region, Marc had no family connections to the world of wine, but he persevered in spite of the steep learning curve, turning the vineyard organic and using biodynamic methods as well (although not seeking organic or biodynamic certification). Along with young winemakers Houtin and Julien Bresteau, this "naturalist" operation grows cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, pineau d'aunis, gamay, grolleau, and chenin blanc, all farmed organically, using herbal infusions against mildew and vinified with minimal sulfur. In contrast to the tannic, high-acid reds common to Anjou, La Grange aux Belles focuses on producing light-bodied aromatic wines, low in tannins and alcohol. Cuvée 53 is especially unique; made from a cabernet franc vineyard planted in 1953, it is vinified in unlined concrete vats without the addition of sulfur. It boasts incredible purity of fruit, a lovely richness of flavor that somehow still remains light and refreshing. Delicate mineral notes and juicy berries dance across each sip, making this an irresistible choice for warm weather dining! Perfect with grilled flatbread with goat cheese and roasted red peppers.
NEW GRAPES, NEW YOU
Abad Dom Bueno Godello Bierzo DO 2016 - ORGANICALLY GROWN
Country: SPAIN / Region: CASTILLA Y LEÓN / Appellation: BIERZO DO / Varietal(s): GODELLO --- There may be no better white wine to transition between the seasons than godello. This obscure grape began its resurgence in northwest Spain in the early 1980s. The wines had fallen from favor as it's not a prolific grape. Some have compared the grape to the great white Burgundies, but these wines may be even more nuanced. Godello does offer wonderful fresh acidity, but the wines offer a richer fruit profile. This wine is a case in point, as nectarine and nutty elements tussle with acidity, each vying for dominance. Bright, clean accents of citrus add a dash of liquid sunshine, while delicate floral hints and notes of aniseed make this a beautiful match with savory risotto with roasted spring veggies!
Gere Attila Winery Portugieser Villány 2016
Country: HUNGARY / Region: BARANYA / Appellation: VILLÁNY / Varietal(s): PORTUGIESER --- The southern Hungarian town of Villány boasts a grape growing culture that predates Roman times. After occupation by the Ottomans, German settlers were invited to reinvigorate the dwindling population, bringing with them their own grape growing and winemaking traditions and innovations, along with the local kékoportó (portugieser) grape. The warmth of Villány's southerly slopes is enhanced by the hot air from the Mediterranean, and soils are rich in geothermic heat-sources and water, which provide nourishment to the vines during the hot, dry growing seasons. First introduced to the wines of Villány in 1978 (thanks to his father-in-law's homemade wines!), Attila Gere became enamored of the potential of the region and established his own winery in the early 1990s, with the dissolution of the Communist regime. With a family history of winemaking stretching seven generations, Gere is now one of Hungary's largest producers, but still picks and sorts all fruit by hand and has always used integrated pest control methods and all-natural treatments in the vineyards. Made from the local portugieser grape, this light and lively new red is fermented with wild yeast in stainless steel before spending four months in 5,000-liter barrels to complete malolactic fermentation. Generally, no sulfur is added until after fermentation. The result is an irresistible spring and summer sipper, bursting with fragrant wild raspberries, cherries, and crushed herbs! Light as a feather with barely any tannin to speak of, this begs to be chilled and chugged at warm weather gatherings! Pair with stuffed baby zucchini or peppers.
INTRIGUING WINES TO PAIR WITH THE SPRINGING OF SPRING!
Dominique Lucas "C de Marin" Vin des Allobroges IGP 2014 - ORGANICALLY GROWN / LOW INTERVENTION
Country: FRANCE / Region: SAVOIE / Appellation: VIN DES ALLOBROGES IGP / Varietal(s): CHASSELAS --- Dominique Lucas comes from a family of Burgundian winemakers (he is the 5th generation) who own a small estate outside of Pommard. After completing oenology school, he decided not to return to the family estate because he did not want to work within the strict oversight of the AOC, settling instead in the Haut Savoie in 2008. His vineyards lie just outside the small village of Ballaisons, on slopes overlooking Lake Geneva (known as Lac Léman on the French side of the border). In spite of a family history of Burgundian winemaking traditions, he vinifies his grapes in an array of different amphorae, barrels and concrete eggs. Fermentations occur naturally and the only addition to the wines is a tiny bit of sulfur at bottling. The results are stunning: pure and character-filled, these wines can hold their own with any of the best of the region. Chasselas is a fairly esoteric grape, grown mostly in eastern France, Switzerland and Germany, and mostly drunk casually, après-ski. Here, however, it comes into its own, bright and refreshing! The chasselas for the "C de Marin" cuvée comes from 40-50 year old vines planted in granitic soils, which lend it a definite mineral core. Loads of granite, citrus, and honeysuckle on the nose yield to a palate of honeyed tropical fruit, lemon zest, and a smooth, stony finish. Try it with fish cakes with a side of slaw with honey-lemon vinaigrette!
Troupis Winery "Hoof & Lur" Moschofilero Arcadia IGP 2016 - LOW INTERVENTION / SKIN FERMENTED
Country: GREECE / Region: PELOPONNESE / Appellation: ARCADIA IGP / Varietal(s): MOSCHOFILERO --- Troupis Winery is located at 700 meters in elevation in the heart of Mantinia in the Peloponnesian region of Fteri. The Troupis family has a long history of agricultural work, beginning back in the 1970s when vines, fruit trees, and flowers were grown and sold from the family nursery. Like many traditional Greek families, they made wine for their own table, eventually expanding their efforts into the commercial realm. Today, Tasos Troupis, along with his children, manage the family estate of 16 acres of vines. Hoof & Lur is Troupis's homage to the old school style of winemaking practiced for generations in the region – the wine of their grandparents and great-grandparents. Made from the native moschofilero grape, this wine undergoes spontaneous fermentation using native yeast, and sees a slight amount of skin contact, which lends texture, weight, and complexity. It sees no oak and is bottled unfiltered with little to no sulfur added. Tangy tangerine pith, wildflower pollen, and honeycomb flavors meld together deliciously on a medium-bodied palate that features lip-smacking acidity and a nutty, saline finish that goes on and on with just a kiss of dusty tannins. Great with falafel and a salad or with spring veggie quiche.
Salem Wine Co. Pinot Noir Eola-Amity Hills 2015 - BIODYNAMICALLY GROWN
Country: USA / Region: OREGON / Appellation: EOLA-AMITY HILLS / Varietal(s): PINOT NOIR --- Salem Wine Company is a new project by Rajat Parr and Sashi Moorman, who were behind the highly sought Evening Land, Sandhi, and Domaine de la Côte. With those credentials, expectations for this wine were high, and we're pleased to report that it certainly doesn't disappoint. Near Salem, Oregon, about an hour's drive southeast of Portland, lies the seahorse-shaped Eola-Amity Hills AVA. Contained entirely within the larger Willamette Valley AVA, it was established in 2006. The name Eola comes from Aeolus, the Greek god of winds, and it's those winds that define this AVA's character, as cool sea breezes are funneled over the hills, rapidly cooling the vineyards but also increasing evaporation. Foliage is thinner and vines are challenged to produce their fruit, gaining complexity as they respond to unique climactic changes. Most of the fruit for this cuvée comes from the renowned, biodynamically farmed Seven Springs Vineyard. Aged for 15 months in neutral oak barrels, the purity of fruit really shines though. Delicate and elegant, it opens with a lovely bouquet of red and black cherries, black raspberries, wild mushrooms, and hints of Earl Grey tea. The vibrant palate brings forth more flavors of strawberry, cherry, pomegranate, cola, tobacco leaf and baking spice. A showstopping addition to any meal, fire up the grill for bbq tacos.
BRING THE GRILL OUT OF HIBERNATION!
François Chidaine Touraine AOC Blanc 2017 - BIODYNAMICALLY GROWN
Country: FRANCE / Region: LOIRE VALLEY / Appellation: TOURAINE
AOC / Varietal(s): SAUVIGNON BLANC --- The cellar of François Chidaine is in Montlouis-sur-Loire, the center of the Loire Valley region known as the Touraine, named for its proximity to the historic city of Tours, about 150 miles southwest of Paris. Long revered in the Loire for his Montlouis and Vouvray wines, Chidaine began producing sauvignon blanc a few years ago with the same impeccable growing and winemaking techniques. The fruit for this cuvée comes principally from the domaine's vines in Chissay-en-Touraine and Saint-Julien-de-Chédon, less than 10km from Montlouis. Augmented by some fruit sourced from neighboring sites, Chidaine is proud to maintain that even those locations not owned by the domaine are still managed by his team and entirely hand-harvested. Made from biodynamically grown grapes that are whole-cluster pressed into stainless steel, the wine is then fermented with wild yeast and aged on its lees until bottling. Sumptuous aromas of grapefruit, white flowers, and crushed stone give way to an explosion of citrus, including Meyer lemon and grapefruit, as well as green apple, pear and minerals on the palate. Herbaceous but not grassy, the citrus and stone linger seductively in the mouth. The depth of flavor and complexity here are the hallmarks of this highly esteemed grower, and make this an impressive value as well! Enjoy this as a luxurious sipper all on its own, or let it elevate light fish dishes, green vegetables, and goat cheese.
D'Angelo Aglianico "Sacravite" Basilicata IGT 2014
Country: ITALY / Region: BASILICATA / Appellation: BASILICATA IGT / Varietal(s): AGLIANICO --- D'Angelo is a family estate in the heart of the Basilicata appellation in southern Italy. They've produced wine on the slopes of Mount Vulture (a dormant volcano) since the 1930s, beginning to bottle their own just after WW II, with a concentration on the aglianico varietal. Introduced to Italy by the ancient Greeks, aglianico's similarities to nebbiolo (structure, acidity, aging potential etc.) have earned it the moniker "Barolo of the South." It produces full-bodied wines with firm tannin structure that display earthy, woodsy, dark berry fruit. D'Angelo owns about 40 hectares of vines, as well as some of the oldest, high elevation vineyards on the mineral-rich volcanic slopes. This high elevation contributes to the complexity and character of the wines, by allowing for large diurnal temperature variations, while maintaining the strong sun exposure typical to southern Italy, thereby concentrating the aromas and intensity. Winemaker Rocco D'Angelo strives to continue his grandfather's legacy of biological agriculture and traditional winemaking, using only native yeasts, large neutral oak barrels and minimum intervention. Layers of dark cherry, dried blackberry, Middle Eastern spices, licorice, and leather are supported by refreshing acidity with a satisfying burst of earthiness and savory spice on the finish. Robust, intense and pleasantly firm, pair aglianico with savory, tangy, and meaty fare. Cheeses like taleggio and pecorino, mushroom risotto, lamb chops with sage, meatballs, BBQ; all are great matches with this bold red! Perfect for bringing the grill out of hibernation!
EYE-OPENING NEW YORK WINES!
We've heard it all – the good, the bad, and the ugly – about New York wines. But we've got an incredible selection of wines from talented producers all over the state including: austere, Mosel-style riesling from the Finger Lakes; minerally, elegant Long Island rosé; and a minimalist, low-S02 cabernet sauvignon from deep in the Catskills!
Heart & Hands Riesling Finger Lakes Nutt Road Vineyard 2014 - Sustainably Grown
Country: USA / Region: NEW YORK / Appellation: FINGER LAKES / Varietal(s): RIESLING --- Tom and Susan Higgins are the husband and wife team behind Heart & Hands. The winery is committed to producing cool-climate wines which express the terroir of the Finger Lakes with an exclusive focus on pinot noir and riesling.Only producing around 2,000 cases per year allows for an intense focus on sourcing the best fruit and maintaining a presence in the public tasting room! 2014 was a historically cold winter in the Finger Lakes, which diminished fruitful bud counts throughout the region so production levels were generally down. However, riesling is a very cold-hardy grape and expresses itself with the most finesse under some of the toughest climatic conditions. These sustainably farmed grapes come from Nutt Road Vineyard, located on the west side of Seneca Lake on well-drained Honeoye silt loam soils. The texture of this wine is something to behold: lightning-like acidity is balanced by a touch of richness on the mid-palate. Notes of fresh peach and apricot are brightened by touch of fresh-squeezed lime juice. This bottle will make a great partner to pan-roasted halibut with Thai green curry, baked ham and gruyère crostinis, or grilled chicken salad with ginger-lime dressing.
Wölffer Estate Rosé Long Island 2017
Country: USA / Region: NEW YORK / Appellation: LONG ISLAND / Varietal(s): MERLOT+CHARDONNAY+CABERNET FRANC+PINOT NOIR+SAUVIGNON BLANC+CABERNET SAUVIGNON+RIESLING+GEWÜRZTRAMINER --- Wölffer Estate has helped boost Long Island into the national spotlight for emerging wine regions. Their beloved "Estate Rosé" may be one of the big factors behind this success. Looking towards Provence in the south of France for stylistic and aesthetic inspiration, this rosé is an excellent example of elegance and restraint. Aromas of fresh cut watermelon and just-ripe strawberry give way to lovely texture on the palate -- dry and crisp. Skip the French pink this weekend and grab this local bottle for your grilled pork and warm fennel salad with Bosc pears and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Eminence Road Farm Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Elizabeth's Vineyard Finger Lakes 2015 - Sustainably Grown + Low Intervention
Country: USA / Region: NEW YORK / Appellation: FINGER LAKES / Varietal(s): CABERNET SAUVIGNON --- Eminence Road Farm Winery is was born out of the combined dreams of the husband and wife team Andrew Scott and Jennifer Clark. With a deep love of the Loire Valley and the growers and makers of organic, biodynamic, and minimal-input wines, they set out for life in the sleepy Catskill hamlet of Long Eddy, the perfect setting for a cool-climate winery. Making wine from specially sourced fruit from the Finger Lakes, and in this case, from the sustainably farmed Leidenfrost vineyard on the east side of Seneca Lake. This is one of the few locations in the Finger Lakes particularly well suited for ripening the thick-skinned cabernet sauvignon. The combined influence of powerful afternoon sun on the west-facing slopes with the heat-retaining properties of beautiful shalestone top soil make ripening possible (in addition to the massive, heat-retaining lake right down the slope!). In the winery, the fruit was crushed and destemmed and put into one-ton bins to ferment by ambient yeast. The grapes received once daily punch-downs for 21 days before being pressed. The juice was pumped into old French oak barrels to finish fermentation which continued into June of 2016. After 23 months in barrel, the wine was racked off its lees and gravity bottled by hand without fining or filtration. Black fruit abounds here - juicy blackberry and blackcurrant are structured around a slate-y, mineral backbone. Bright acidity and dusty tannins make this wine feel like steak-frites' best friend!
Domaine Alary Roussanne "La Grange Daniel" Vin de Pays de Vaucluse IGP 2016 - Organically Grown
Country: FRANCE / Region: RHÔNE VALLEY / Appellation: VIN DE PAYS DE VAUCLUSE IGP / Varietal(s): ROUSSANNE --- The Alary family's viticultural and wine production history dates back as far as 1692, to the reign of Louis XIV (from an American historical perspective, the Alary family has been making wine since the first year people of Salem, Massachusetts were accused of witchcraft! I digress!). In all, ten generations have successively played their part in building the domaine, guided by a healthy respect for nature and the environment. Proof of their commitment to sustainable environmental stewardship was the decision in 2009 to convert to organic farming. From a minuscule 2 hectares of stony clay soils, the organically farmed roussanne grapes are hand-harvested early in the morning to allow sorting in the vineyard and prevent oxidation. The nose is fresh and shows elegant restraint, asking you to engage in the notes of honeycomb and white flowers. The palate has lovely rounded acidity and a mineral expression backed by notes of honey and acacia. Bright but with some body and texture, a great match for foods you may crave on these cool Spring evenings.
Le Meurger Bourgogne AOC Rouge 2015
Country: FRANCE / Region: BURGUNDY / Appellation: BOURGOGNE AOC / Varietal(s): PINOT NOIR --- The Le Meurger name stems from the word “meurs” (walls), constructed to outline a property, built along the edges of vineyard plots from stones extracted from the fields. More often the word "clos" is used to reference these walls, however, this bottle of red Burgundy is all about breaking down barriers by offering affordable bottles that still convey a sense of place. This private label project by Village Wine Company was a way to introduce wine-drinkers to what can be an intimidating category with intimidating prices to match. In the bottle, we get red cherry and just-ripe raspberry aromas, with a lovely crunchy tart cherry palate with a bright acidity that makes this super thirst-quenching and food-worthy: Spiced-shiitake tacos, cedar-plank salmon, or a late-night sausage, egg and cheese biscuit.
SECOND SATURDAY: CALIFORNIA <3
You think you knew California wine, but you really had no idea... we're here to dispel the myths and pour some stellar bottles from some of our perennial favorite producers.
La Clarine Farm Albariño Sierra Foothills 2016 ORGANICALLY GROWN + LOW INTERVENTION
Country: USA / Region: CALIFORNIA / Appellation: SIERRA FOOTHILLS / Varietal(s): ALBARINO --- Hank and Caroline Beckmeyer are the minimalist winemakers/farmers/proprietors of La Clarine Farm, located at 2600 feet in California’s Sierra Nevada Foothills. On their 10 acres, they grow grapes, raise goats and share their space with numerous dogs, cats, bees, chickens, birds, gophers, flowers and herbs. Their winemaking is based on Hank's insistence on questioning status quo of the wine world: "Why does everyone I knew (at the time) add an isolated strain of yeast to their musts? What would happen if I didn't, and relied solely on the indigenous (or ambient) yeasts? Why was everyone automatically adding SO2 at the crusher, and then at every racking? Why do you need to add an enzyme to quicken the extraction rate of the must?" His answers to these questions are the wines of La Clarine Farm, which see no added yeasts, no SO2 at the crusher, no destemming, no SO2 addition at any point in the process unless needed, no new oak, and no enzymes to speed up color and flavor extraction. For this singular albariño, the grapes are farmed with minimal inputs by Matthew Rorick's (of Forlorn Hope) crew in Murphys, CA. Green-gold color in the glass, the wine bursts with gooseberry and peach. Medium-bodied with stone fruits, great acidity, and mineral textures on the palate. As Hank says, "They can't quite do this in Spain."
Stolpman Vineyards "Para Maria de los Tecolotes" Rosé Santa Barbara County 2017 - SUSTAINABLY GROWN
Country: USA / Region: CALIFORNIA / Appellation: SANTA BARBARA COUNTY / Varietal(s): SYRAH+CABERNET SAUVIGNON+CABERNET FRANC ---
Maria Solorzano is the unsung hero/forewoman of Stolpman Vineyards. She has spent her career tending to the vines, enacting the viticultural visions of her husband Ruben, who is Stolpman's head vineyard manager. Maria grew up in the small Jaliscan village of Santa Cruz two hours away from Guadalajara and just a few miles from Ruben’s ranchito. Ruben and other locals in the area always referred to party-people from Santa Cruz as Tecolotes, or [night] owls. In honor of Maria, Stolpman Vineyards created a beautifully-crafted woodblock print of an owl’s face and officially named the new wine “Para Maria de los Tecolotes” or "Maria of the Owls". And we can't think of a better way to spend a sunny spring Saturday than with a chilled bottle of Para Maria. Aromas of lush tropical fruit and fresh tart cherries, combined with crisp, cleansing acidity, make this a go-to, light-profile pink.
Stolpman Vineyards Sangiovese "Love You Bunches" Santa Barbara County 2017- SUSTAINABLY GROWN
Country: USA / Region: CALIFORNIA / Appellation: SANTA BARBARA COUNTY / Varietal(s): SANGIOVESE --- "Love You Bunches" is a wine with roots in a 2016 wedding attended by vigneron Pete Stolpman, where his Stolpman carbonic sangiovese was served as the party wine. "Carbonic" is short for "carbonic maceration", a winemaking technique which brings forth the bright fruitfulness of red grapes while also softening tannin. Fast forward to 2017 and we have the most recent release of this juice-bomb, renamed "Love You Bunches" (a reference to the use of whole grape bunches during the fermentation). Bursting with vibrant energy, the carbonic sangiovese is a light-hearted wine meant to drink cold. Firm, crunchy cherries, red grapefruit with loads of acid and a popping tannin structure that makes the wine extremely food friendly.
Robert Sinskey Vineyards "POV" Los Carneros 2013 - CERTIFIED ORGANIC
Country: USA / Region: CALIFORNIA / Appellation: LOS CARNEROS / Varietal(s): MERLOT+CABERNET FRANC+CABERNET SAUVIGNON --- Robert Sinskey is an atypical vintner. He is a native Californian and a wine guy who did not attend wine school. Instead, Rob received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Parsons School of Design in New York City. Over the past twenty-five years he has grown his 100% organic and biodynamic certified winegrowing operation to over 200 acres of vineyards in the Carneros and Stags Leap districts of Napa and Sonoma Valleys. The "POV" bottling is a classic right-bank Bordeaux-style blend packed with stewed red berry fruit, chocolate-mocha, bramble, and sweet spice. Open and watch how this bottle evolves over the course of an evening, if it lasts that long.
Gérald Damidot "Fontbrune" Rosé Bandol AOC 2016
Country: FRANCE / Region: PROVENCE / Appellation: BANDOL AOC / Varietal(s): MOURVEDRE+GRENACHE+CINSAULT --- Focused, red-berry and hibiscus-scented rosé from a Burgundy boy -- this is what Gerald Damidot offers in "Fontbrune". Although he was born and educated in Burgundy where pinot noir and chardonnay reign supreme, Damidot found his way to Provence, where he is making drinkworthy pink. This is classically-styled rosé from Bandol, the winegrowing region just east of Marseille, which is known for its warm maritime climate perfect for ripening the thick-skinned mourvèdre variety. The grapes yield a wine with a deep salmon hue and lovely brightness, acidity and length with fresh raspberry, just-ripe strawberry and purple flowers on the palate. Wash down your crusty baguette sandwich (prosciutto and dill havarti for me) or sip alongside a lovely Saturday night salad Niçoise.
Domaine Ledogar "Maccabeu" Aude IGP 2015 - BIODYNAMICALLY GROWN + LOW INTERVENTION
Country: FRANCE / Region: LANGUEDOC-ROUSSILLON / Appellation: AUDE IGP / Varietal(s): MACABEU --- Brothers Xavier and Mathieu Ledogar produce plainly delicious wines. Their arduous work in the vineyards begins and ends with a commitment to biodynamic farming principles. Biodynamics provide a framework for energy balance in the vineyard, where the health of the soils and vines are directly related to both the climate and celestial bodies. Attention to vine and grape health is their number one concern and this shows in the bottle. "Maccabeu" is made from 100% macabeu grapes grown in the esteemed Corbières Boutenac cru, where the warm, dry Mediterranean climate is ideal for organic and biodynamic vineyard management. The brothers practice low-intervention winemaking, so this bottle sees no fining, filtration, and only a discreet dose of S02 before bottling. The macabeu comes from two different plots and is picked early to retain freshness and acidity. Pear-skin, yellow apple and white flower aromatics flow softly out of the glass and a distinct mineral core makes itself present on the palate. Perfect aperitif wine, or beautiful with a roasted eggplant salad with crushed chickpeas and herb yogurt.