Join us this Thursday for a special tasting of whiskey, produced by Kings County Distillery in Brooklyn! Sam Kulik will be here answering questions and pouring straight bourbon, peated bourbon, and single malt whiskey. Just in time for holiday gift giving – a taste of NY spirits!
WINES FOR SPECIAL SEASONAL GATHERINGS
Mullineux Chenin Blanc "Kloof Street" Swartland WO 2015 - SUSTAINABLY GROWN
Country: SOUTH AFRICA / Region: SWARTLAND / Appellation: SWARTLAND WO / Varietal(s): CHENIN BLANC --- Mullineux is an intensely focused family winery based near the village of Riebeek Kasteel, in the Swartland region of South Africa. Established in 2007 by Chris and Andrea Mullineux (alongside business partners Analjit Singh and Peter Dart), within a few short years the winery has established itself as one of South Africa's finest, earning seventeen 5 star ratings from Platter's South African Wine Guide by 2016, as well as Winery of the Year in 2014 and 2016. The Kloof Street line of wines focuses on freshness, balance, and drinkability, making this chenin blanc a great go-to for seasonal dinners! Grapes for the 2015 vintage come from three sustainably farmed vineyard parcels in different parts of Swartland; one parcel of 34 year old vines planted on stony shale and schist soils of Riebeek Kasteel Mountain, and two other plots of 40+ year old dry land, bush vines grown in decomposed granite on Paardeberg Mountain. 85% of fermentation takes place in tanks with 15% taking place in old French oak barrels. Fermentation is done with indigenous yeasts and lasts up to 6 weeks. The barrels are then racked and blended with the tank fermented portion and then bottled. Pale straw in color, this wine is bright and aromatic, with an alluring nose of sun-ripened pears and wet granite. Lively notes of citrus, apple, and a hint of fresh-cut grass lead on the palate, followed by a vibrant, food friendly acidity. A soft, round texture and mineral finish makes this a versatile choice for the holiday table. Fantastic with pan-seared scallops with asparagus and pancetta.
Arnot-Roberts Gamay Noir El Dorado 2016 - ORGANICALLY GROWN
Country: USA / Region: CALIFORNIA / Appellation: SIERRA FOOTHILLS - EL DORADO / Varietal(s): GAMAY NOIR --- Arnot-Roberts Wines is a collaboration of school friends, Duncan Arnot Meyers and Nathan Lee Roberts. Since founding their winery in 2001, they have gained a reputation as among the most progressive producers on the California scene. The 2016 gamay noir comes from the Witters and Barsotti vineyards above the town of Placerville in the El Dorado Appellation of the Sierra Foothills. Both vineyards lie on granite soils between 2,500 and 3,200 feet in elevation. A truly gorgeous red, this wine unveils layers and layers of delight! A classic bouquet of tart red cherry, cranberry, pomegranate, cracked pepper, and stony earth also contains the faintest nuance of campfire smoke. On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied, with juicy tanginess and fabulous complexity. Fine length and grip on a well-balanced finish displays silky tannins just begging to be paired with dishes like smoked tea shrimp dumplings with sour plum sauce.
Domaine Ratte Pinot Noir Arbois AOP 2015 - CERTIFIED BIODYNAMIC
Country: FRANCE / Region: JURA / Appellation: ARBOIS AOP / Varietal(s): PINOT NOIR --- Just outside the town of Arbois in eastern France, Michel-Henri and Francoise Ratte have been growing grapes following organic and biodynamic principles since 1989, when they acquired some vines from Francoise's parents. After purchasing other parcels, they now have about 20 acres across seven vineyards. All their wines are made following biodynamic practices and are certified Demeter. Their son, Quentin, has just completed his studies in viticulture, and now assists them full time in producing wines that are hailed as iconic expressions of the Jura. This pinot noir is from vines ranging in age from 20-80 years old, planted on the blue marl characteristic of the area. Entirely hand harvested, it is fermented using indigenous yeasts and enjoys a long maceration of three weeks without the addition of sulfur. Aged in Burgundy barrels and bottled unfiltered, this is simultaneously delicate and powerful, with exquisite aromas and flavors of generous red fruit, blackberry, elderberry, and blackcurrant. Light and lively acidity is supported by assertive tannins that make this a special treat with salmon risotto with bacon and saffron.
Altesino Brunello di Montacino DOCG 2011
Country: ITALY / Region: TUSCANY / Appellation: BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO DOCG / Varietal(s): SANGIOVESE --- Brunello is famed as one of Italy's top-quality wines, and for good reason! It comes from the vineyards surrounding the town of Montalcino, located in the Tuscany wine region about 80 km south of Florence. In 1980, Brunello di Montalcino was awarded the first Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) designation. Altesino made their first Brunello in 1972, and the grapes here come from vineyards planted between 1981 and 1999. Made from 100% Sangiovese Grosso grapes hand-harvested from the Altesino, Castelnuovo dell'Abate, Macina, and Pianezzine vineyards, this wine is a delicious example of the classic elegance Montalcino's wines represent. Ruby red with a garnet rim, this offers up seductive aromas of violets, perfumed wild berries, tobacco, vanilla, and chocolate. Opulent and velvety on the palate, it displays sleek ripe black cherry, licorice, clove, and earth flavors, expertly balanced with firm tannins and palate-cleansing acidity. Its elegance and finesse make this a classic to uncork with warming, celebratory dishes like osso bucco, pot roast, and beef stew.
MOUTHWATERING PICKS FOR THE HOLIDAY TABLE
Königschaffhauser Grauer Burgunder Baden Hasenburg 2015
Country: GERMANY / Region: BADEN / Appellation: BADEN / Varietal(s): GRAUER BURGUNDER AKA PINOT GRIS --- Hard to pronounce, but easy to drink, Königschaffhauser produces this grauer burgunder (pinot gris), a grape that is one of Germany's best kept secrets. Amazingly well made, this white comes from a co-op of 300+ growers in Baden, which allows it to be an amazing value as well! From grapes grown in the Hasenburg vineyard on the terraces of the famed Kaiserstuhl area, this medium-bodied white is dry with no oak influence. This flinty, mineral-driven offering gives us exotic aromas of jasmine, chamomile, orange zest, and tropical fruit. Rich citrus essence (think orange meets melon... but without a trace of sweetness!) on the palate, hints of yellow plum and pear meld with high-toned acidity, and a finish of surprising power and length. A wonderful winter white, this is good all by itself, but pairs equally well with drink ham and Gruyère on a baguette or braised chicken thighs in wine sauce with crème fraîche.
Le Maoû "Haut Les Coeurs" Vin de France 2015 - NATURAL WINE
Country: FRANCE / Region: RHÔNE VALLEY/ Appellation: VIN DE FRANCE/ Varietal(s): CARIGNAN --- Vincent and Aurelie Garreta started this estate in 2014 with 3.5 hectares. Employed in the environmental field, Vincent's grandmother was a winemaker, and he yearned to get back to his family roots. Now 5.5 hectares, the estate is located in the Luberon region, in the village of Gordes, west of Avignon. It lies on ancient riverbed soil of clay and silt that is favorable to grapes like carignan. 100% carignan, this cuvée comes from 60 year old vines, hand harvested and whole cluster fermented in open top vats, then bottled unfiltered and unfined. "Haut Les Coeurs" (which translates to "take heart" or "lift your spirits") will definitely lift your palate, with a generous nose of dark fruit, herbs and wild berries, and lots of plum, blueberry, and black currant flavors. Balanced acidity and chalky tannins keep this wine fresh and incredibly drinkable, just fabulous with rustic fare like roasted or braised meats, charcuterie, or cheeses.
VERSATILE SIPPERS FOR THE SEASON
Thomas Pico Chardonnay Vin de France 2016 - CERTIFIED ORGANIC
Country: FRANCE / Region: LANGUEDOC / Appellation: VIN DE FRANCE/ Varietal(s): CHARDONNAY --- Despite the culture that has grown up around it, wine is at its core an agricultural product, subject to the whims of Mother Nature for better or worse. The last few years have been challenging, to say the least, for farmers in many of the world's great winegrowing regions, Chablis among them. The region has always been particularly vulnerable to weather issues due to its northerly location, and 2016 was an extremely difficult vintage, thanks to the triple-whammy of hail, mildew, and drought. Thomas Pico is the owner/winemaker of Chablis house Domaine Pattes Loup, an emerging producer who has spent the last decade developing his family's small estate into one now recognized internationally. Faced with extremely limited yields, Pico sought out fruit elsewhere in France that he could source to make a supplemental wine using chardonnay that still measured up to his stringent organic/biodynamic principles. He found some in the sparkling wine region of Limoux in the Languedoc, from certified organic parcels farmed by friends and acquaintances. Redolent of lemon zest and stone fruits, this cuvée features a bright, shimmering acidity that yields to cool roundness on the palate. The absence of oak allows the vibrant fruit character to really shine here, making this an affordable luxury to pair with roasted chicken with Meyer lemon and shallots.
Thierry Richoux Irancy AOC 2013 - ORGANICALLY GROWN
Country: FRANCE / Region: BURGUNDY / Appellation: IRANCY AOC / Varietal(s): PINOT NOIR --- Just southwest of Chablis, the Irancy appellation gained separate AOC status in 1999. This tiny region is still somewhat of a sleeper outside of France (where it now has quite a reputation), making it a great value for the rest of us. Thierry Richoux’s father, Jean-Claude, was actually one of the forerunners when Irancy was still considered generic Burgundy and was one of those responsible for the appellation gaining AOC status. Following in his father's footsteps, Thierry has managed to advance the level of quality even further. His vineyards are maintained at extremely low yields, hand harvested, and are in the process of organic conversion. This delicious red is exquisitely perfumed, with aromas of fresh strawberries, red plum, red currant, and exotic spices, accented by wild flowers, moss, black tea, and forest floor. A medium-bodied palate reveals bright acidity on a juicy core of red cherry, cranberry, pomegranate, and strawberry. Elegant and mineral-driven, this sings of the terroir it hails from, with limestone notes merging with layers of dried rose petals and crushed leaves. A winner to consume now (decant for 30 minutes) with cassoulet with duck confit, or cellar some for a delicious treat in a couple years – if you can resist opening it all now, that is!
Tim Smith Wines Shiraz Barossa "Bugalugs" 2016
Country: AUSTRALIA / Region: SOUTH AUSTRALIA / Appellation: BAROSSA / Varietal(s): SHIRAZ --- Tim Smith is a Barossa Valley-based winemaker, among Australia’s most awarded boutique producers. Inspired by an encounter with an early 1980s Yarra Yering Dry Red #2, he resolved to make his own wines, learning the craft first as cellar hand, then as winemaker at Yalumba. After earning a degree in wine science, he was awarded the Winemaker Exchange Scholarship (part of the Barossa Valley/Rhône Valley Winemaker Exchange Program). He spent some seminal vintages shadowing some of the most influential winemakers of the North and South Rhône Valleys, then returned to Australia and founded Tim Smith Wines, producing his first vintage in 2002. Bugalugs shiraz is made using traditional techniques, and results from a barrel selection of eight parcels originally intended for Tim's two designated Barossa shiraz releases. From vineyards up to 100 years old, this wine is matured in older French oak for 6-12 months prior to bottling, and is unfined and unfiltered. Full of classic shiraz character, it's still inviting and accessible: voluptuous in body, with spicy, plummy fruit, dark cherries, hints of black pepper, licorice, and vanilla, and soft tannins on the finish. Meatloaf has met its match!
SUMPTUOUS FRENCH SELECTIONS
Pierre Frick Pinot Gris Alsace AOC 2010 - CERTIFIED BIODYNAMIC
Country: FRANCE / Region: ALSACE / Appellation: ALSACE AOC / Varietal(s): PINOT GRIS --- "Wine is not about the mind. It's about music. It's art. It's sensory." - Pierre Frick / Once an aspiring ecologist, Pierre Frick instead found his calling in the vineyards, farming organically since 1970, and biodynamically since 1981. Located in Alsace between Colmar and Guebwiller, Frick farms 12ha of vineyards (1/3 of which are rented), and remains passionately committed to improving and maintaining the health of his vines and land. By choosing to hand harvest with local grape pickers, Frick maintains the social and cultural component of the harvest, while allowing the true expression of the grapes and soil to come through in the cellar. He vinifies with natural yeasts only, and hasn't chaptalized (the addition of sugar to grape juice before or during fermentation to increase alcohol levels) since the 80's. Wines remain on fine lees for 5-9 months, in oak casks up to a century old, without any additional stirring. Expressive aromatics of quince, pear, and honeyed wildflowers carry through to a full-bodied, velvety palate, redolent with rich pear and light brioche flavors. Good acidity and a generous, lingering finish make this a wonderful match with roasts, hard cheeses, even chicken curry, as well as a fabulous aperitif.
Domaine Lafond Côtes du Rhône AOP "Roc-Epine" 2015 - CERTIFIED ORGANIC
Country: FRANCE / Region: RHÔNE VALLEY/ Appellation: CÔTES DU RHÔNE AOP/ Varietal(s): GRENACHE+SYRAH --- Looking for a hearty red that just so happens to be certified organic? Just in time for the holidays, this offering from Pascal Lafond satisfies on every level – including value! This 65-hectare, family-run estate is named after a famous French race horse of the 1960s, Rocquépine, a favorite of Pascal's father. Located in the rosé-only appellation of Tavel, it is now helmed by Pascal, with his son Jean-Baptiste assisting in the production of what are widely considered among the best wines of the region. Youthful and exuberant, this offers up bright, crunchy red fruits (berries, currants, and a hint of red plum), with touches of dried herbs, and vibrant acidity that makes it a great match for warming holiday fare. Structured, but not overwhelming tannins on the finish provide a wonderful counterpoint to dishes like roast lamb with garlic sauce and rosemary potatoes.
Terre Rouge Roussanne Sierra Foothills Monarch Mine Vineyard 2011
Country: USA / Region: CALIFORNIA / Appellation: SIERRA FOOTHILLS/ Varietal(s): ROUSSANNE --- Terre Rouge is located on the west slope of the Sierra Nevada in Amador County, California. Established in 1986 by Bill Easton and Jane O'Riordan, it's also the home of Easton Wines, with about 30 different wines produced in small lots of 100-400 cases between the two labels. Terre Rouge began bottling roussanne annually in 2001. This fantastic winter white comes from the Monarch Mine Vineyard, planted with a clone of the roussanne grape that originates from a Chave family parcel on a hill at Hermitage. A difficult variety to grow, it ripens unevenly, requiring selective harvesting over a prolonged period of time. Its susceptability to powdery mildew also results in reduced yields, with over 80% of the 2011 harvest discarded. The result of all this labor, however, is exquisite, evoking an Hermitage Blanc, for a European-styled California wine that offers beautiful balance and sophistication. Classic roussanne characteristics abound here: straw golden color, with delicate quince, honey-nut, and beeswax aromas. Opulent on the palate, the result of barrel fermentation and lees aging, it lingers luxuriously on the finish, with elegant minerality and a silky mouthfeel. Bottle-aged before release, go for all-out flavor extravagance and open with lobster mac & cheese!
Bichi "La Santa" Rosa del Perú Baja California 2016 - BIODYNAMICALLY GROWN
Country: MEXICO / Region: BAJA CALIFORNIA - TECATE / Appellation: N/A / Varietal(s): ROSA DEL PERÚ (AKA MISSION AKA PAÍS) --- Wine from Mexico? Why yes! In Mexico's rugged Baja California Norte mountains, El Equipo Bichi has put together an exciting collaboration, with delicious results! Noel and Jair Téllez, their mother Ana Montaño, and their team of collaborators produce wonderfully expressive natural wines from non-irrigated, organically farmed vineyards. Mexico's winemaking history dates back to the 1500s, when the Spanish conquistadors first planted vines (predating both Chile and Argentina). About 90% of Mexico’s wine is produced in Valle de Guadalupe, with many of the oldest vineyards centered around Tecate, very close to the US border, where the sandy loam and granite soils are ideal for grapes. Some of the vineyards are planted up to 2,500 ft in elevation, and the Pacific Ocean contributes a delicate salinity and character to the wines. The Téllez family moved to Baja from neighboring Sonora in the early 1970s (hence the name Bichi, which means “naked” in the Sonoran dialect, perfect for describing these natural, expressive wines). Bichi bottled their first vintage in 2014, inspired by a meeting that Jair and his brother Noel had with the patriarch of Chilean natural winemaking, Burgundian ex-pat Louis-Antoine Luyt, now renowned for his work with the país or mission grape. Luyt convinced Noel and Jair to seek out heirloom plantings of mission, as he had done in Chile, and produce "vinos sin maquillaje" (wines without makeup) from them. As such, Bichi adheres to traditional methods and minimal intervention, farming 10 hectares of their own Tecate vineyards biodynamically and collaborating with a growing family of organic farmers working vineyard land in Tecate and around Valle de Guadalupe. Fermentations are carried out by wild yeast in locally made concrete amphorae. The wines are raised in a mix of neutral barrels and steel vats, with a minuscule 10 ppm of sulfur added at bottling to preserve the wine for travel, if needed. As you've probably noticed, the labels are distinctive, to say the least, and represent the Téllez family's quirky sense of humor! The wine inside comes from 100 year old, own-rooted (not grafted) Rosa del Perú, grown at 2,400 ft elevation. La Santa is light and lively, almost rosé colored in the glass. Delicately floral, with red and black fruits, and vibrant, transparent acidity. A touch of Pacific salinity and granite minerality make this a lovely light red to serve chilled as an aperitif with charcuterie and cheeses!
Field Recordings Fiction Red Paso Robles 2015 - SUSTAINABLY GROWN
Country: USA / Region: CALIFORNIA / Appellation: PASO ROBLES / Varietal(s): ZINFANDEL+SYRAH+MOURVEDRE+GRACIANO+CABERNET SAUVIGNON+TOURIGA NACIONAL+CARIGNAN --- 34-year-old Andrew Jones seems to have a keen eye for finding diamond-in-the-rough parcels with untapped potential in California’s Central Coast. He spends his days as a vine nursery employee planning and planting vineyards for farmers all over the region and, in return, is sometimes gifted small allocations of the finest fruit the vines can offer for his efforts. Given his background, there’s no question as to why he produces such soulful and delicious wines. This red is a quirky blend of grapes. Based mostly in zinfandel, it also incorporates grapes traditional to Iberia and southern France. The wine is a full-bodied, fruit forward expression of the Paso Robles region. The fruit is decidedly black in profile, yet the tannins are a bit softer. This is a great partner to dry-rubbed Memphis style pork or chipotle black bean and sweet potato fajitas with avocado.
Le Meurger Bourgogne AOC Blanc 2014
Country: FRANCE / Region: BURGUNDY / Appellation: BOURGOGNE AOC / Varietal(s): CHARDONNAY --- This classic white Burgundy is produced specifically for the US market. In some cases this can lead to wines that seek to follow a certain style. Le Meurger, however, has happily followed the style of the Burgundy region. Two of the three parcels come from a co-op in Chassagne-Montrachet and are fermented and aged only in stainless steel. A third parcel offers a bit more complexity and is thus aged in oak briefly. The wine offers a whiff of oak with a hint of nuttiness giving it a layered style. Plenty of mineral-y fruit rollercoasters on the palate with a refreshing finish. We are thrilled to have this wine at this price. It's sure to impress wine savvy family and friends and made even better with roast chicken or stewed chickpea with leeks and rosemary.
Tenuta La Pergola Monferrato DOC Rosso 2015
Country: ITALY / Region: PIEDMONT / Appellation: MONFERRATO DOC / Varietal(s): BARBERA+CROATINA+FREISA+DOLCETTO+BONARDO --- This fresh and lively red has everything one could want in an autumn sipper. From Italy's Piedmont region, this is a delectable blend of both well-known and fairly obscure grape varietals. Bright red (think juicy cherries) and black fruit dance across the palate before finishing dry with a food-friendly savoriness. An earthy, slightly rustic character makes this the ideal companion to all sorts of hearty casseroles and bean stews – perfect for impromptu cold weather gatherings of family and friends!
TIME TO TALK TURKEY (AND SIDES)!
Tatomer Riesling Vandenberg Santa Barbara County 2015
Country: USA / Region: CALIFORNIA / Appellation: SANTA BARBARA COUNTY/ Varietal(s): RIESLING --- 39 year-old Graham Tatomer got his start in the wine business at the age of 16, working for Santa Barbara Winery. A paycheck grew into a passion, one particularly influenced by the cooler-climate vineyards of California's Central Coast. After having his mind blown by a glass of Austrian riesling, Graham moved to Austria in 2003 to fully immerse himself in the world of of that iconic grape, working with Weingut Knoll in the celebrated Wachau region. Returning to California, he founded Tatomer in 2008 with two riesling vineyards, with the intent to make California riesling as bone-dry, bracing, and nuanced as those he experienced in Austria. He's been remarkably successful ever since, and this wine is a case in point! A blend of multiple pickings from sites throughout Santa Barbara County, the majority of fruit here comes from "Kick-on Ranch". Kick-on Ranch is located about a mile from the Vandenberg Air Force base, which lends its name to this cuvée. Fresh and lively, this has all the intensity and tension of a plucked string on an electric guitar! A whiff of petrol on the nose yields to a palate of savory stonefruit and white flowers. A textured, honeyed character provides plenty of elegance on the finish. This has great aging potential, but is darn good now with sesame chicken salad with ginger-lime dressing. It's also a great way to get your palate warmed up for a big Thanksgiving feast!
Idlewild Wines Arneis Fox Hill Vineyard 2016
Country: USA / Region: CALIFORNIA / Appellation: MENDOCINO COUNTY / Varietal(s): ARNEIS --- Sam Bilbro comes from a family tradition of winemaking, beginning with his great-grandfather, who made wine in Cloverdale during Prohibition and trucked it up to San Francisco. Sam's father started Marietta Cellars in 1978, where Sam literally grew up among the vines (his brothers Jake and Scot are also in the wine business). After a stint in the restaurant business, he started Idlewild in 2012, with the goal of making wines of energy and precision with the grape varietals of Northern Italy's Piedmont region. A rare find in California, Fox Hill Vineyard is located southeast of Ukiah on the Talmadge Bench in Mendocino, where the arneis grape thrives in gravel and sandstone soils. A beautiful floral and mineral nose displays notes of yellow and white peach, spiced pear, almonds, and a touch of fennel. Clean and lean in the mouth, it bursts with flavors of Rainier cherry, white flowers, and chalky wet stone, with a saline, savory texture. Beautifully balanced, this is unique, refreshing, and totally gulpable! A great start to holiday dinners, this is great with fried oyster cakes, cheeses, and the big bird itself!
Cruse Wine Co. Monkey Jacket Red North Coast 2016 - CERTIFIED ORGANIC
Country: USA / Region: CALIFORNIA / Appellation: NORTH COAST / Varietal(s): VALDIGUIÉ+CARIGNAN+TANNAT --- Quaffable, quirky, and uniquely Californian: Michael Cruse's winemaking philosophy in a nutshell. A resident of Petaluma since the age of 10 (his family moved to escape high housing costs), Cruse's blue collar background remains central to the wines he makes, backed up with formidable technical skills. Aspiring to be a scientist, he studied biochem at UC Berkeley, where he got his first taste of wine science at a lecture by Terry Leighton (the microbiologist who owns Kalin Cellars.) He was admitted to the UC Davis master's program in enology and viticulture, but took a job at Sutter Home first, where the physical work of the cellar won out over the academic rat race. He never made it to Davis, instead working as associate winemaker at Starmont, before launching Cruse Wine Co. out of a warehouse across the street from Lagunitas Brewery in Petaluma in 2013. In a scene where the focus is often either on high-end cabernet or high-acid European-inspired wines, Cruse's wines remain exuberantly drinkable, accessible, and table-friendly. This is perfectly summed up in his relationship with the valdiguié grape, a cornerstone of Napa's past. Known as "Napa gamay" in the early 20th century, it was the base for less-exacting wines mimicking French Beaujolais. Of the 950 acres in Napa in 1973, only 21 remain, and Cruse's vineyards are among those still standing. Like gamay, valdiguié is generous and fruitful, but fuller-bodied in character. This red blend (named for a short jacket historically worn by sailors) is a glorious dance of that historic valdiguié with touches of tannat and carignan. Energetic aromas of cranberry and violets evolve into a palate of bright citrus and soft tannins. Juicy, fresh, chewy, textured, this wine evokes a truly Californian joie de vivre. A perfect choice for celebrating gatherings of family and friends: generous, sophisticated (but never pretentious) and downright delicious!
Farmstrong Field Red California 2014 - SUSTAINABLY GROWN
Country: USA / Region: CALIFORNIA / Appellation: CALIFORNIA / Varietal(s): CARIGNAN+SYRAH --- Winemaker Faith Armstrong Foster seeks to highlight California's unique grape growing history with her Farmstrong label by purchasing small lots of grapes from individual vineyards with distinctive characteristics and using them to create deliciously dynamic blends. A blend of 36% carignan from Hawkeye Ranch in Redwood Valley, 28% carignan from Casa Rojo vineyard in Contra Costa, and 36% syrah from Roger King in Suisun Valley, these batches were fermented separately in stainless steel tanks, then aged in 9% new and 91% neutral French oak. Faith works with farmers who are true stewards of the land, and this field blend is a case in point. The carignan vines of Hawkeye Ranch are heritage clones and 80 years old on average, and the vineyard is CCOF Certified Organic and Fish Friendly. The syrah comes from Roger King (of Ledgewood Vineyard), a well-known grower and advocate for sustainable practices in Suisun Valley, where his dry-farming techniques imbue the syrah with intensity and complexity. Finally, the other batch of carignan comes from Casa Rojo, the oldest vineyard planted in Contra Costa, dating back to the 1800s. Old vines and sustainable farming pay off in spades here, with incredible aromas of spices, floral notes, dark fruit, grilled bread, and freshly ground white pepper. Medium- to full-bodied on the palate, the wine is elegant and structured, with mouthwatering flavors of black plum, cranberry preserves, and warm cherry compote, all balanced by bright acidity and gentle yet firm tannins. Sure to be a new favorite, this is refreshing, reliable, and versatile. Another terrific American choice for Thanksgiving.
La Clarine Farm Sierra Foothills "Jambalaia Blanc" 2015 - NATURAL WINE
Country: USA / Region: CALIFORNIA / Appellation: EL DORADO COUNTY-SIERRA FOOTHILLS / Varietal(s): VIOGNIER+MARSANNE+ALBARIÑO+PETIT MANSENG --- Looking at this wine, you'll notice some sediment, a bit of haziness to it, what is it hiding? You'll have to take a sip to find out. Some of what you'll discover is what has not been done to this wine, which happens to be quite a lot. Here's owners Caroline Hoel and Hank Beckmeyer own partial list: "... no yeast, sulfur dioxide, oak chips, enzymes or concentrates in the cellar, and no chemicals, fertilizers or tillage in our vineyard." They let fermentations occur spontaneously in this blend of southern & southwestern French grapes (viognier, marsanne and petit manseng, along with Spanish native albariño). The resulting wine is one you'll want to spend some time with, exploring its various nuances. The nose hits you with intense perfumed, rich exotic fruit, then the palate turns it all around; you get dry, restrained, delicate, savory notes. A unique, satisfying blend of crisp pineapple, thyme, candied ginger, fresh mint, Meyer lemon zest, and orange honey with racy acidity and a luxurious floral finish make this an unforgettable aperitif or dinnertime companion. Why not get a chunk of aged Gouda made from a small farmer-run dairy and a fresh baguette, and sit back for a leisurely communion with this most wondrous libation?
Hervé Villemade Cheverny AOP 2016 - NATURAL WINE
Country: FRANCE / Region: LOIRE VALLEY / Appellation: CHEVERNY AOP / Varietal(s): PINOT NOIR+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 blend of pinot noir and gamay is hard to put down! Juicy and light on its feet, the gamay brings lively freshness and red berry fruit, while the pinot contributes silky texture and the faintest hints of licorice and smoke. The combination is precise, elegant and refreshing – light in body, with shades of herbs, black cherry and plum. Great with seared albacore or poulet en cocotte (chicken roasted with bacon and potatoes).
Fattoria Selvapiana Chianti Rufina DOCG 2015 - CERTIFIED ORGANIC
Country: ITALY / Region: TUSCANY / Appellation: CHIANTI RUFINA DOCG / Varietal(s): SANGIOVESE+CANAIOLO+COLORINO+MALVASIA NERA --- Selvapiana is a traditional Tuscan estate situated east of Florence in the Chianti Rufina appellation. Nestled in the beautiful Apennine foothills, it comprises 600 acres of vineyards and olive groves, and boasts 181 years and five generations of experience in producing the classic wines of the region. Now managed by the sister/brother team of Silvia and Federico Giuntini A. Masseti, along with consulting enologist Franco Bernabei (who has been with the estate since 1978), the winery's focus remains on producing wines of longevity and expression. Rufina is notable for its unique clay limestone soil, as well as its proximity to the Apennines, which provides longer ripening fruit with freshness and finesse. This Chianti Rufina is made with 95% sangiovese and a 5% blend of canaiolo, colorina, and malvasia nera. All estate fruit is cultivated with organic methods and vinified separately, and fermentation takes place with only indigenous yeasts. The result yields delicate aromas of subtle herbs and spice, and an elegant palate of red cherries, licorice, and plum. Round smooth tannins and hints of smoke, earth, and minerals add interest on the finish. Bright, mouthwatering acidity makes this a winner for the table – try it with sausage and beans, Pecorino cheese, or roast lamb with rosemary and garlic.
TIME TO START THINKING TURKEY AND SIDES!
Raymond Dupont-Fahn "Les Vireux" Auxey-Duresses AOC 2014 - SUSTAINABLY GROWN
Country: FRANCE / Region: BURGUNDY / Appellation: AUXEY-DURESSES AOC / Varietal(s): CHARDONNAY --- Raymond Dupont-Fahn is a fifth generation winemaker who has worked with his father and grandfather from an early age, absorbing every aspect of the winemaking process and traditions. After earning his degree in oenology at 21, he started managing five hectares of his own vines in 2001. In his brief career he has already produced some wines of stunning quality from the lesser-known appellation Auxey-Duresses (off the beaten path in the Côte d'Or in a small valley just above Meursault). Raymond avoids using pesticides in his vineyards, and usually chooses to harvest on the earlier side to achieve wines with greater acidity and lower alcohol. Most élévage for the wines is 20% in new oak and all his barrels are under 3 years of age. This is a gorgeous example of the results that approach can yield! Pale yellow in hue, with crystalline clarity, this delights the senses with apple, pear, and baking spice aromas. In the mouth, the happy surprises continue, with a luxurious texture revealing juicy fresh pear flavors that generously linger. Accessible, but with elegance to spare, this is a lovely companion to warm shellfish dishes or roasted chicken (or, ahem, turkey.)
Arnot-Roberts Trousseau North Coast 2016 - ORGANICALLY GROWN
Country: USA / Region: CALIFORNIA / Appellation: NORTH COAST/ Varietal(s): TROUSSEAU --- An iconic grape of the Jura (also grown in Portugal, where it is named bastardo), trousseau is little known elsewhere, but was once a part of California's viticultural traditions. Widely planted in the Sierra Foothills pre-Prohibition, it is now experiencing a delicious renaissance. Arnot-Roberts Wines is a collaboration of school friends, Duncan Arnot Meyers and Nathan Lee Roberts. Since founding their winery in 2001, they have gained a reputation as among the most progressive producers on the California scene. Among the first to experiment with California-grown trousseau, this cuvée is mostly comprised of grapes from the Luchsinger Vineyard (named for Bernie Luchsinger, who first planted it in 2001 with the idea of Port in mind), with additional cool climate Sonoma fruit included. A deceptively pale hue belies the complex aromas and flavors within! Its fluidity and dark perfumed floral aromas are reminiscent of pinot noir, but trousseau has a captivating character all its own of a more bucolic, outdoorsy nature. Bright and savory, and possessed of a lightness that contrasts deliciously with its backbone of firm tannin, this is a delicious match with chai-rubbed turkey breast.
Romanelli Montefalco Rosso DOC 2012 - SUSTAINABLY GROWN
Country: ITALY / Region: UMBRIA / Appellation: MONTEFALCO ROSSO DOC / Varietal(s): SANGIOVESE+SAGRANTINO+MERLOT+CABERNET SAUVIGNON --- Tuscany's next door neighbor, Umbria, finally gets its chance in the spotlight! The two regions share not only a border, but a long history of growing the same grapes. The Romanelli family has produced acclaimed wines and olive oils in the Montefalco DOCG region for generations. The winery prides itself on an eco-friendly approach, using sustainable agricultural practices such as bird boxes to eliminate the need for pesticides, and also avoiding chemical fertilizers. This new arrival is a blend of 60% sangiovese, 15% sagrantino (an intense, dark-skinned grape native to the region often described as "nebbiolo on steroids"!), and equal remaining parts merlot and cabernet sauvignon. Fuller bodied, but still table-friendly, this delights with aromas and flavors of black cherry, vanilla, licorice, leather, and a touch of incense! A long, structured finish is balanced by bright, food-friendly acidity, making this just scream for roast pork tenderloin with sun-dried tomatoes, prosciutto, sage, and cream!
Château Massereau Bordeaux Supérieur AOC 2006 - NATURAL WINE
Country: FRANCE / Region: BORDEAUX / Appellation: BORDEAUX SUPÉRIEUR AOC / Varietal(s): MERLOT+CABERNET FRANC+ CABERNET SAUVIGNON+PETIT VERDOT
--- Château Massereau, situated in Barsac approximately 30km from Bordeaux, was built in the 16th century. The estate was acquired by the Chaigneau family in 2000 and brothers Jean-François and Philippe quickly set about to farming organically. They remain fully committed to natural winemaking; ploughing with horses, pressing using an old wooden press, fermenting with native yeast, and limiting SO2 (sometimes to none at all) at bottling. A delicious blend of merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, and petit verdot, this ferments in concrete vats and spends 18 months in neutral barrique before a 10-year elevage in bottle before release. The result is stunning: full of dark, plummy fruit character elegantly accented by wisps of cedar, tobacco, violet, and smoke. Precise and savory on the palate, lovely dark berry and dried green herbs meld beautifully with a hint of blood orange peel. Classically styled and a great value to boot, this is fabulous with roast beef or with mushroom risotto.
Cantina Muri-Gries Müller-Thurgau Alto Adige DOC 2016
Country: ITALY / Region: ALTO ADIGE / Appellation: ALTO ADIGE DOC / Varietal(s): MÜLLER-THURGAU --- The ancient monastery of Muri-Gries, located just south of the Bremmer Pass in Süd Tyrol, is the source for this beautiful, classic müller-thurgau, a traditional white grape of region. Originally built in the 11th century as a fortress, Muri-Gries became a Benedictine monastery in the 14th century, and remains so today. In 1845, a Benedictine order from neighboring Switzerland took up residence, and applied their winemaking skills to the monastery's wines. Muri-Gries began to produce DOC wines in 1947, and since then has won local fame, a fame that is now growing internationally. Perfect for starting any meal, this white is elegant, brisk, and refreshing. From 30 year old organically grown vines, this sees no oak, remaining pure, bracing, and mineral-driven. Aromas and flavors of lemon peel, grapefruit, green honeydew melon, white flowers, and slate provide a beguiling glimpse into müller-thurgau's sophisticated side. Imagine sitting in the cobblestone courtyard of a tiny cafe in Baden-Baden (as this writer recently did sipping müller-thurgau), people-watching the evening away. Why not save the airfare and enjoy a pizza with shallots, arugula, and goat cheese with a glass of this in your own home!
La Grange Tiphaine "Ad Libitum" Vin de France 2016 - CERTIFIED ORGANIC
Country: FRANCE / Region: LOIRE VALLEY / Appellation: VIN DE FRANCE / Varietal(s): CÔT AKA MALBEC+GAMAY+CABERNET FRANC --- Created at the end of the 19th century by Alfonse Delecheneau, La Grange Tiphaine is now in its fourth generation of winemaking, headed by Damien Delecheneau and his wife, Coralie. Their careful attention to the vines in their 11-hectare vineyard results in beautifully balanced, precise, terroir-focused wines. This organically grown red blend combines côt (malbec), gamay, and cabernet franc to create a medium-bodied wine with juicy dark wild berry flavors. With a nose of bright red fruit, pepper, and dried herbs, and the palate-cleansing tang of balanced acidity and tannin on the finish, this is a perfect wine to enjoy with autumn dinners. Drink this with a variety of roasted fall veggies; also great with Mediterranean cuisine.
Monsecco "Pratogrande" Colline Novaresi DOC Nebbiolo 2013 - CERTIFIED ORGANIC
Country: ITALY / Region: PIEDMONT / Appellation: COLLINE NOVARESI DOC / Varietal(s): NEBBIOLO --- In the hills near Gattinara and Ghemme in Italy's Northern Piedmont, Monsecco was an old estate that had a reputation for making great wine in the 1960s (its long-lived Gattinaras from the 1950s-1980s are fanatically sought by collectors), but then sadly became defunct. Luckily for us, the Zanetta family has revived the estate and now crafts among the finest wines in the Colline Novaresi and Gattinara DOCs using the same traditional methods. Nebbiolos from other Piemontese appellations tend to be more light and agile than their counterparts from Barolo and Barbaresco, with an elegant drinkability and even more appealing price! 100% nebbiolo, the "Pratogrande" displays classic aromas of pie cherries, white pepper, and earth. On the palate, it unleashes a torrent of bright sour cherry flavors, refined tannins, and a spicy lingering finish that owes its character to the complex mineral composition of the area's soils. A delightful dinner companion, pair this with beef braised in red wine or a cannellini bean stew, rich with tomatoes and fragrant with herbs.
TASTE SENSATIONAL SPANISH & CHILEAN SIPPERS WITH IMPORTER LUIS MOYA
Señorío de Villarrica Rioja DOCa Crianza 2014
Country: SPAIN / Region: RIOJA / Appellation: RIOJA DOCA / Varietal(s): TEMPRANILLO --- The mid-1800s marks the genesis of Señorío de Villarrica, when the great-grandfathers of the current proprietors planted their first vines in San Asensio. Maternal grandfather Pablo was one of the first farmers to purchase a tractor in Rioja, while paternal grandfather built a winery and worked to replace the traditional wineskins with bottles. Father Florentino built another winery, expanding production and focusing on quality. It was Florentino who first began bottling wines with “crianza” (two year) and “reserva” (three year) age designations. Presently, brothers Pablo, Rodolfo, Ismael and José Miguel run the winery and vineyards. Villarrica is lucky to have inherited many old vineyards, where all the grapes are handpicked. The grape must destined to become their crianza is first fermented in stainless steel then transferred to mixed French and American oak barrels where it will spend 14 months aging, the wood imparting textual and aromatic nuances. The wine spends at least another six months in bottle and is released only when the brothers think it is ready. Once out of the bottle, powerful wild berry aromas flow freely with caramel notes from the oak aging. Silky tannins make this a pleasure to drink now with grilled lamb or barbeque pork buns.
Bancales dos Mosteiros Mencía Ribeira Sacra DO 2016
Country: SPAIN / Region: GALICIA / Appellation: RIBEIRA SACRA DO/ Varietal(s): MENCIA --- This family winery is now in its fourth generation, helmed by sisters Marta and Carmen Castro. Marta is the winemaker, while Carmen handles the administration of the estate. The striking label is an homage to the Gothic architecture of the region. Equally dramatic is the landscape – granite hillside vineyards so steep that a fall would almost certainly prove fatal! While not very hospitable to humans, the mencía grape finds these conditions quite favorable, as a taste of this cuvée will prove! Spicy, dark fruit on a medium-bodied frame is supported by dusty tannins and food-friendly acidity. A classic savory finish with light granite minerality adds complexity and makes this a great quaff with potato tortilla with bacon, shallots, and truffle oil!
Valdivieso Cabernet Sauvignon Valle del Maipo DO Single Vineyard 2013
Country: CHILE / Region: MAIPO VALLEY / Appellation: VALLE DEL MAIPO DO / Varietal(s): CABERNET SAUVIGNON --- Viña Valdivieso was founded in 1879 by Alberto Valdivieso and owned since the mid 1900s by the Mitjans family. New Zealand native Brett Jackson has been the chief winemaker since 2001, contributing in part to the winery's success. This single vineyard cabernet comes from the Chada vineyard in the Maipo Valley, one of Chile's best regions for producing exemplary cabernet sauvignon. The warm summers and moderate fall temperatures of the region help the grapes develop optimal ripeness with mature, refined tannins. After harvest and vinification, the wine was aged for 12 months in 100% French oak barrels, of which 35% were new oak. Lovely dense dark red and black berry fruit displays accents of savory green bell pepper and hints of spicy chocolate on the finish. Fantastic with mole poblano!
Indret Priorat DOQ La Morera de Montsant 2014 - SUSTAINABLY GROWN
Country: SPAIN / Region: CATALUNYA / Appellation: PRIORAT DOQ / Varietal(s): GARNACHA+CARINENA+CABERNET SAUVIGNON --- This family-owned estate was founded in 1996 by Josep Gomez and his wife Teresa. Located at the highest elevation in Priorat (approximately 900 feet), the dry-farmed grapes here ripen much later than anywhere else, resulting in a mid-October harvest. The entire process is done in sustainable fashion, with organic certification pending. Estate-bottled, from the "Barranc de la Bruixa" vineyard, fermentation takes place in concrete, with 15% of the wine then aged for 5-6 months in oak barrels.This "gentle giant" is a more elegant take on Priorat than many others from the region. Food-friendly, with palate-cleansing freshness, spicy, savory dark fruit, and broad, lingering tannins, this is great with braised rabbit with olives and herbs.
Fjord Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc North Fork Long Island 2014
Country: USA / Region: NEW YORK STATE / Appellation: NORTH FORK LONG ISLAND / Varietal(s): SAUVIGNON BLANC --- Fjord Vineyards is the creation of Matthew Spaccarelli, winemaker at Benmarl Winery across the river in Marlboro. These wines are crafted by Matt 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. A Double Gold winner at the 2015 Hudson Valley Wine & Spirits Competition, Fjord sauvignon blanc is made from selected grapes from the North Fork of Long Island, notably from the sustainably grown Palmer Vineyards managed by esteemed North Fork grower Steve Mudd. Classic herbaceousness and citrus peel on the nose give way to a bright, clean palate, with zesty acidity, more grapefuit and citrus flavors, and a touch of green herbs on the finish. Perfect with salads and cheeses, try this with kale salad with breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and lemon vinaigrette.
Equilibrio 9 Monastrell Jumilla DOP 2014 - SUSTAINABLY GROWN
Country: SPAIN / Region: MURCIA / Appellation: JUMILLA DOP / Varietal(s): MONASTRELL --- Bodega Sierra Norte is a young company founded by a family with three generations of wine making experience. Established in 1914 in Camporrobles, Utiel Requena, Valencia, they now farm 322 hectares of vineyards with a focus on their native grape varieties, bobal and monastrell. The estate practices and is certified for organic viticulture, and seeks to use modern technology in service of the traditions of the Jumilla region. 100% monastrell, the Equilibrio 9 spends nine months in oak. The rustic, full-bodied monastrell grape thrives in the challenging arid conditions, where daytime temperatures are so high that hand-harvesting happens at night. Cabernet lovers will find much to enjoy here: concentrated blackberry and red plum fruit with a savory, juicy finish. Dark and deep, this also enjoys elements of spicy wildflowers and wet gravel on a warm, lingering finish. Fantastic with short ribs or wild rice with smoked paprika, Marcona almonds, roasted piquillo peppers, and Manchego.
ORGANIC FRENCH AND AUSTRIAN CLASSICS
Domaine Meix Foulot Mercurey AOC 2015 - ORGANICALLY GROWN
Country: FRANCE / Region: BURGUNDY / Appellation: MERCUREY AOC / Varietal(s): CHARDONNAY --- Domaine du Meix Foulot has been run by the de Launay family for several generations. Paul de Launay took charge during the 1960s and was joined by his daughter, Agnes, in 1990s, who is now at the helm. Among the most picturesque of Burgundy's domaines, Meix Foulot is perched high atop a hill overlooking the entirety of Mercurey, and possesses an impressive collection of vineyards, 90% of which are planted to pinot noir, with the remainder dedicated to chardonnay. These vineyards are managed as naturally as possible, without herbicides, and rare application of natural compost fertilizer. 100% chardonnay, the Mercurey Blanc isn't bottled until 12 months after harvest, and results in a delicious, old-school rendering of a Burgundian classic. Richly aromatic, this displays white flower, orchard fruit, spice, and nut elements that blossom lusciously in the mouth, emerging as a complex, delicious portrait of elegance. Refined minerality and a beautifully-balanced texture make this a winner with sea scallops with brown butter, capers, and lemon.
Nicolas Haeni "Malmont" Côtes du Rhône Villages AOC Blanc Séguret 2015 - ORGANICALLY GROWN
Country: FRANCE / Region: RHÔNE VALLEY / Appellation: CÔTES DU RHÔNE VILLAGE AOC / Varietal(s): ROUSSANNE --- Malmont was begun in 2002 while Nicolas Haeni was working at Domaine de Cabasse in the village of Seguret in the Rhône. The Haeni family owned some land in the Malmont section of Seguret – a very remote location at high elevation on very steep clay and limestone soils. In 2005, they started intense terracing work, and by 2006 planting had begun (with hydraulics needed to get vines into the rocky terroir), resulting in four hectares of vines that Nicolas works organically by hand. The 2013 vintage was the first, and the wines from this small parcel are those of great vibrancy and finesse, true expressions of the challenging terroir from which they come. This full bodied white, the 2015 vintage, is made from 100% roussanne, fermented with indigenous yeast, and is a stunning example of the minerality, structure, and crispness of Malmont. Waxy, honeyed notes and wildflower aromas meld luxuriously with juicy white stonefruit and delicate citrus. Opulent in texture, it remains lean and focused on the palate, finishing with characteristic intense minerals. A lovely match with autumn vegetable gratin.
Moric Hausmarke Rot Burgenland 2015 - BIODYNAMICALLY GROWN
Country: AUSTRIA / Region: BURGENLAND / Appellation: MITTELBURGENLAND / Varietal(s): ZWEIGELT+BLAUFRANKISCH+PINOT NOIR --- The mad genius behind Moric, Roland Velich approaches his craft with a passion bordering on fanaticism. Describing himself as "hardcore", Roland comes from a winemaking family, and spent several years working with his brother at the family winery, absorbing the process intellectually, but still not quite finding the inspiration he sought. That inspiration came in the form of Burgundies and Barolos, iconic terroir-driven wines that Roland tasted and which compelled him to examine the potential of wines closer to home. He set out to make an Austrian red that would be the equal of those Grand Cru Burgundies, Barolos, and Northern Rhône masterpieces, using the blaufränkisch, zweigelt, and pinot noir grapes that thrive in the challenging Burgenland region. Old vines, meticulous biodynamic viticulture (Roland chooses not to seek organic or biodynamic certification), militant sorting, and relatively primitive winemaking techniques that echo those used in Burgundy all add up to a well-deserved reputation. Moric wines are indeed in a league of their own, unlike anything else in Austria. Intended as a table-style wine, the Hausmarke is composed predominantly of zweigelt (itself a cross between blaufränkisch and St. Laurent), with blaufränkisch and pinot noir making up the balance. The character of this cuvée, however, is very much blaufränkisch, albeit one with a playful bent. Fresh and lively, this explodes with red berries and cassis, accented with notes of crushed herbs and deep, complex forest floor flavors. An everyday wine that could turn every day into a special occasion! Fantastic with egg noodles with mushrooms and shallots, beef goulash with spaetzle, or cassoulet.
Baronnie de Coussergues Pays d'Oc IGP Blanc 2016
Country: FRANCE / Region: LANGUEDOC / Appellation: PAYS D'OC IGP / Varietal(s): SAUVIGNON BLANC+ROLLE+ROUSSANNE+ CHARDONNAY --- Founded in 1495 by a land grant from Charles VIII, this old estate has been producing wine for generations. We found them initially under another label called Castelfort. Located in the heart of the Languedoc near Béziers, the estate is blessed with favorable conditions to grow a large variety of grapes, both white and red. This delightful white blend makes a versatile tablemate. Bright citrus and stone fruits mingle with hints of melon, mineral, and wildflowers for a balanced, expressive quaff that plays well with just about any cuisine. An easy- drinking choice with linguine in white clam sauce or saffron jasmine rice topped with creamy chicken korma... and the price makes it even easier!
Plozza Rosso di Valtellina DOC 2011
Country: ITALY / Region: LOMBARDY / Appellation: ROSSO DI VALTELLINA DOC / Varietal(s): NEBBIOLO --- In the far north of Lombardy, almost to the Swiss border, lies the alpine valley of Valtellina, an area with a wine-producing history over 2,000 years old. From the Plozza Vini Tirano co-op, this classic Rosso di Valtellina is garnet in color, with aromas of dried cherries, rose water, tar, and earth. 100% nebbiolo, its mountain origins lend it a relatively light-medium body, with more cherries and currants on the palate, along with gamey, leather notes and a finish of earthy, dusty tannins. Rustic, dry, and clean, this goes beautifully with BBQ, baked beans, or roasted pork loin. One of our new Daily Deals, this is a great introduction to the region, and a great value to boot.
SUPERB TASTING WITH T. EDWARD WINES
Come hang out with our friend John Paul Schultz from T. Edward Wines as he guides you through a fabulous selection of French and Californian wines just in time for cool autumn nights!
Forlorn Hope Verdelho California "Que Saudade" 2014 - SUSTAINABLY GROWN
Country: USA / Region: CALIFORNIA / Appellation: CALIFORNIA / Varietal(s): VERDELHO --- Named by the San Francisco Chronicle as one of its Winemakers to Watch a few years ago, Matthew Rorick is standout even among his peers. A man of seemingly tireless energy, Rorick is a supreme experimenter. Rorick worries little about exactly how the wines will turn out, focusing more on the process, and allowing the wines to reveal their individual personalities along the way. This white is perfect for the transitioning weather of still-warm days with cooler nights. It was barrel-fermented, but in neutral barrels, not imparting oaky flavors but developing texture and complexity. The wine almost hovers somewhere between a white and red wine, offering both acidity and weight with some delicate tannin. Pour this with risotto with patty pan squash and edamame or roast chicken with root vegetables.
Le Haut-Planty "One Musk a Night" VDF 2015 - CERTIFIED ORGANIC
Country: FRANCE / Region: LOIRE VALLEY / Appellation: VIN DE FRANCE / Varietal(s): MELON DE BOURGOGNE --- French organic wine lovers rejoice: Le Haut Planty brings us delicious Muscadet without any added sulfur! In the 1960s, Michel Couillard converted his father's farm into a vineyard, and his sons Alain and Christian spearheaded the conversion to organic viticulture in 2007, becoming certified in 2015. With Alain now at the winemaking helm, the new era of Le Haut-Planty embraces natural winemaking philosophy, while remaining faithful to the traditions of the region. Located in the heart of Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, between the temperate Loire river and the fresh influence of the Atlantic ocean, Le Haut-Planty boasts a site on the most coveted hillside of Le Landreau. Grown on unique black gabbro soil, "One Musk a Night" is a humorous play on words that echoes the quirky spirit of the wine within. Funky and oh-so-tasty, this is Muscadet channeling Jura savagnin! Clementine and tangerine fruit mingle with kumquat notes and a briny minerality. A brilliant match with lobster pasta with herbed cream sauce.
Nicolas Réau Anjou Rouge "Enlèvement Demandé" 2016 - NATURAL WINE
Country: FRANCE / Region: LOIRE VALLEY / Appellation: ANJOU AOC / Varietal(s): CABERNET FRANC --- Nicolas Réau’s love of wine started when he was 8 years old: his grandfather snuck him sips of red wine when his grandmother wasn't looking. Believing one had to come from a vigneron family to pursue a career in winemaking, he trained to become a professional pianist instead, until in 1994 he saw an ad in the school newspaper for a degree in viticulture and began his life's work in wine. In 1998 he took over an estate of 28 ha, but decided in 2001 to keep only the best five ha, eventually replanting an additional two ha. 2002 was Nicolas's first vintage, made with natural yeast and minimal intervention from the start. His personal and professional lives changed dramatically in 2005, when he met Sylvie Augereau, the famous French wine writer and champion of natural wines. She would soon become his wife as well! Through Sylvie, Nicolas became part of the natural wine movement in France, carrying out his first "sans soufre" ('without sulfur') vintage in 2007. Nicolas practices biodynamic viticulture without seeking certification. He believes that in letting the climate and vines guide the work in the vineyard, the essence of the fruit carries through to the finished wine without any additional intervention by the winemaker. His wines are clean, honest, and contain a natural freshness and character that cannot be replicated any other way. This cuvée, called "Enlèvement Demandé" or "Pick up Requested" (the notice that police put on cars to indicate that they are to be towed), comes from the youngest vines on the estate, 20 year old cabernet franc, and is made without sulfur, fining, or filtration. Very balanced and delicate, this has notes of birch bark and mushroom on the nose, and mild tannin, bright acidity, and an elegant spiciness on a core of juicy red berries. A perfect fall red, try this with pork tenderloin with fresh cranberry sauce.
Tensley Syrah "Lite" Santa Barbara County 2014 - ORGANICALLY GROWN
Country: USA / Region: CALIFORNIA / Appellation: SANTA BARBARA COUNTY / Varietal(s): SYRAH --- One of the rising stars of California winemaking, Joey Tensley gained his reputation by focusing on single vineyard syrahs and Rhône blends from Santa Barbara County. Taking advantage of the many micro-climates that the Santa Barbara mountain range provides, Joey cultivates his chardonnay and pinot noir in areas that are close to the ocean, while growing his Rhône varietals – syrah, grenache, and viognier – further inland. This "Lite" syrah comes from a coastal vineyard in Santa Barbara that was harvested at a much lower level of ripeness than typical of the Central Coast. The result is a lower alcohol, Vin de Pays style wine that's deliciously versatile. Deep, dark cassis and blackberry fruit is fabulously vibrant; lush, juicy, and finishing with a tangy acidity that keeps your palate wanting more. Perfect with turkey burgers, pulled pork BBQ, or a simple pasta with tomato sauce.
NEW (SUSTAINABLE) FRENCH CLASSICS!
Pierre Frick Pinot Gris Alsace AOC 2010 - CERTIFIED BIODYNAMIC
Country: FRANCE / Region: ALSACE / Appellation: ALSACE AOC / Varietal(s): PINOT GRIS --- "Wine is not about the mind. It's about music. It's art. It's sensory." - Pierre Frick / Once an aspiring ecologist, Pierre Frick instead found his calling in the vineyards, farming organically since 1970, and biodynamically since 1981. Located in Alsace between Colmar and Guebwiller, Frick farms 12ha of vineyards (1/3 of which are rented), and remains passionately committed to improving and maintaining the health of his vines and land. By choosing to hand harvest with local grape pickers, Frick maintains the social and cultural component of the harvest, while allowing the true expression of the grapes and soil to come through in the cellar. He vinifies with natural yeasts only, and hasn't used chaptalization (the addition of sugar to grape juice before or during fermentation to increase alcohol levels) since the 80's. Wines remain on fine lees for 5-9 months, in oak casks up to a century old, without any additional stirring. Expressive aromatics of quince, pear, and honeyed wildflowers carry through to a full-bodied, velvety palate, redolent with rich pear and light brioche flavors. Good acidity and a generous, lingering finish make this a wonderful match with roasts, hard cheeses, even chicken curry, as well as a fabulous aperitif.
Pierre-Marie Chermette Beaujolais AOC "Origine" Vieilles Vignes 2016 - SUSTAINABLY GROWN
Country: FRANCE / Region: BURGUNDY-BEAUJOLAIS / Appellation: BEAUJOLAIS AOC / Varietal(s): GAMAY --- While Beaujolais has the reputation of being simple, juicy, and chuggable, that does a disservice to the wines produced by masters like Pierre-Marie Chermette. Pierre-Marie and Martine Chermette were among the first in Beaujolais to use sustainable agricultural practices, eschewing chemicals in the vineyard in favor of soil health, low yields, and minimal intervention in the cellar. Wild yeast fermentation, minimal sulfur addition, and no filtration whenever possible are the normal procedures, and the wines are aged in traditional, floor-to-ceiling neutral oak casks. This cuvée was created in 1986 at the urging of Jean Brouilly, a master chef in Tarare who needed a very natural, old-school wine for Easter. From four hectares of old gamay (35-85 year old vines) growing in dark granite soils in St. Vérand, this remains faithful to its traditional beginnings, 30 years later. Shiny ruby in color, it displays a beautiful nose of floral and wild red berry notes (think wild strawberry, raspberry, peony, and white pepper!), that open up gently in the mouth with a silky, refined texture. A touch of spice on the finish makes this an elegant companion to pumpkin and bacon risotto or ratatouille.
BUY CALIFORNIA THIS WEEKEND AND HELP THOSE AFFECTED BY THE WILDFIRES
Like so many of you, we have been frequent visitors to and fans of northern California for years and have friends in the area (coincidentally, on trips this weekend planned well in advance of the fires, Tim will be in Sonoma and Sam in the Bay Area, giving a bit of support to a wounded local economy). And also like you, we've been devastated by what so many have experienced there these last couple of weeks. This weekend, we will donate all net proceeds from the sale of California wines at our shop - Friday, Saturday and Sunday (10/20-10/22) - to North Bay Fire Relief. Come by and pick up some wines from anywhere in California and join so many others in helping those affected by this terrifying destruction.
SUPER SAKE TASTING WITH WORLD SAKE IMPORTS!
Today we welcome Wing Yee from World Sake Imports to pour a taste of Japan!
Akitabare Shunsetsu "Spring Snow" Nama Chozo Honjozo
Country:JAPAN / Region: AKITA PREFECTURE / Appellation: N/A / Varietal(s): Gin no Sei --- This bottle comes to us from Japan's northern Akita prefecture. It's pasteurized only once after pressing and before bottling (most sakes are pasteurized a second time after bottling), which imparts another layer of earthy depth. The aromas and textural balance of "Spring Snow" show best when chilled. Pair this clean-style honjozo with roasted root vegetables tossed in rosemary-lemon salt.
Miyasaka Brewing Company Masumi Okuden Kantsukuri "Mirror of Truth" Junmai
Country: JAPAN / Region: NAGANO PREFECTURE / Appellation: N/A / Varietal(s): HITOGOKOCHI+MIYAMANISHIKI --- "Mirror of Truth" is the ideal bottle for sake novices and aficionados alike. The rice's subtle sweetness shines through best when heated up to 120F (or "joukan" in official sake parlance). Heating the sake to this temperature ramps up the inherent grainy aromatic qualities, sweetness, and umami. We're drinking this with fall miso hot pots and stir-fried pork with ginger and scallion.
Kamoizumi Komekome "Happy Bride"
Country: JAPAN / Region: HIROSHIMA / Appellation: N/A / Varietal(s): HIROSHIMA HATTAN --- Happy Bride by Kamoizumi is a rarity in the sake world -- both low in alcohol and off-dry in style, this sake has stylistic echoes of halbtrocken riesling. Because this sake stakes a great balance between its rounded acidity and just a touch of sweetness, we love it with all kinds of food, from mid-week dumpling night to chicken tagine.
Kamoizumi "Summer Snow" Nigori Ginjo
Country: JAPAN / Region: HIROSHIMA / Appellation: N/A / Varietal(s): HIROSHIMA HATTAN+NAKATE SHINSENNBON--- Nigori is a coarsely filtered style sake which allows unfermented rice particles to remain in the bottle. This technique imparts rich and forward flavors and textures, perfect for hearty fall and winter fare. "Summer Snow" is luxurious in texture with a off-dry, creamy finish.
Maz Caz Costières de Nîmes AOC Blanc 2016 - ORGANICALLY GROWN
Country: FRANCE / Region: RHÔNE VALLEY / Appellation: COSTIÈRES DE NÎMES AOC / Varietal(s): GRENACHE BLANC+ROUSSANNE --- UC Davis graduate Michele d’Aprix is a rapidly rising star in the wine world. After completing her studies in California, she made her way to Bordeaux where she took advantage of the opportunity to be mentored by renowned winemaker Stephane Derenoncourt, before branching out to start her own project in St. Emilion, named Pentimento. Now she has expanded even further, crafting three wines from Costières de Nîmes, the southernmost of the Rhône winegrowing regions. Accorded AOC status in 1986, Costières de Nîmes boasts exceptional gravely soils and a Mediterranean climate that lend the wines juicy ripeness and earthy character, but remains just under the radar enough to yield some great values – like this! "Caz" translates to "crazy in a good way", and her wines are crazy good: honest, juicy, young, and pure. 60% grenache blanc and 40% roussanne, all from hand harvested organically grown grapes, this delicious white is gently pressed and fermented in stainless steel tank to preserve its vibrant fruit character. Fresh, juicy peaches and pears meld with touches of honeysuckle and beeswax, with mouthwatering acidity and elegant minerality that make this a versatile partner to all kinds of cuisines! Take the suggestion on the label and pair with oysters, or enjoy with roast chicken or a bucket of drunken mussels in white wine, butter, and garlic.
Mas de Libian "Vin de Pétanque" Vin de France 2016 - CERTIFIED BIODYNAMIC
Country: FRANCE / Region: RHÔNE VALLEY / Appellation: VIN DE FRANCE / Varietal(s): GRENACHE+SYRAH+MOURVEDRE+COUNOISE+VACCARÈSE --- Mas de Libian has been a working farm since 1670, and has remained in the Thibon family since its inception; nowawdays helmed by Hélène Thibon! Farmed biodynamically since the 1960s, this entry level red is a fantastic value in natural wine! This grenache-driven stunner also boasts mourvèdre, syrah, and small amounts of counoise and another southern Rhône native, vaccarèse. "Pétanque" is a popular Provençal game of boules, and this wine is meant to be drunk young with friends in casual settings. Fermented exclusively in concrete tank, it's bottled unfiltered, with the barest smidgen of sulfur added at bottling (it sees no other sulfur.) Gorgeous aromatics of red flowers, orange rind, and grenadine perfume the air, leading to juicy, electrifying flavors of blackberry, spice, and hints of lavender and thyme. Mouthwateringly succulent, crunchy, and fresh, this is fantastic slightly chilled with olive bread, saucisson, hard cheeses, and good friends!
SUPER TASTING WITH MFW WINE CO.
Today we welcome Annika Adelmann from MFW Wine Co. to pour a selection of new wines and cider to enjoy over the long weekend!
Art + Science "West Valley" Cider 2015
Country: USA / Region: OREGON / Appellation: N/A / Varietal(s): BLEND --- Art + Science is an innovative winery/cidery located just south of Portland, Oregon. Kim Hamblin is the artist, Dan Rinke is the winemaker, and together they're making some of the most interesting bottles in the Northwest (both wine and cider)! Based at the Roshambo Art Farm—a rock quarry, music venue, and working farm—their vineyards are planted in nearby Willamina. This beautiful new cider uses fruit foraged from neighbors in the West Valley (including Sheridan, Willamina, Amity, Rickreal, and Perrydale). 99% apples, 1% quince, wild-fermented and bottle-conditioned, with no sulfur or sugar added, the owl and apple on the label symbolizes the clean, crisp, floral elements of the cider within. This is dry and tart, with hints of exotic flowers and herbs, yeasty funkiness, and a touch of sweet citrus. A winner with cider amateurs and acolytes alike, open this with three-squash gratin!
Domaine de Saint Pierre Chardonnay Les Brûlées Arbois AOC 2015 - CERTIFIED ORGANIC
Country: FRANCE / Region: JURA / Appellation: ARBOIS AOC / Varietal(s): CHARDONNAY --- Fabrice Dodane enjoys decades of experience in winemaking, studying enology in Beaune and working several years at the cooperative in Pupillin, before beginning to work at Domaine de Saint Pierre in 1989 as manager. Fabrice took over the estate entirely in 2011 after the untimely death of the former owner. The domaine is based in the small town of Matheny and covers approximately 6 hectares in the Arbois and Côtes du Jura AOCs with the vines planted in the region's famed limestone and marl soils. Saint Pierre achieved organic certification (Ecocert) in 2012. All wines are fermented with native yeasts either in tank or neutral barrel, with white wines produced in both styles of the region (the traditional sous voile style, under a veil of yeast, or the topped-up or ouillé style, as is the case for this cuvée). Balanced and clean, this displays lovely elements of caramelized pear, lemon curd, and baked apple on a beautiful medium-rich body. An elegant blend of fruit expression and minerality, this drinks almost too easily! Try it with lemon and thyme roasted chicken with caramelized apples and onions.
Roland Pignard Cuvée Tradition Morgon AOP 2014 - CERTIFIED BIODYNAMIC
Country: FRANCE / Region: BURGUNDY-BEAUJOLAIS / Appellation: MORGON AOC / Varietal(s): GAMAY --- Steeped in winemaking his whole life, Roland Pignard took over the family estate in 1977 and immediately began a shift towards organic practices. In 2004, he and his wife Joëlle sold off most of the estate, retaining only 4.5 hectares to focus on better farming practices, and eventually received organic (Ecocert) and then biodynamic (Demeter) certification. His vineyards are tilled by horse-drawn implements to avoid soil compaction and rely on biodynamic preparations. Harvest is done by hand, and the same crew of 20 returns year after year, a consistency which is very important to Roland. The barest minimum of sulfur is used, preserving the subtle, pure fruit tones of the wine. This Morgon is aged in small, old barriques, and displays luscious crushed cherry, cherry pit, and baking spice aromas and flavors. It's all perfectly accented with bright acidity and an elegant graphite minerality that leads gracefully into earthy tannins on the finish. A brilliant match with steak au poivre.
Antica Casa Scarpa Barbera d'Asti DOCG "Casa Scarpa" 2014 - SUSTAINABLY GROWN
Country: ITALY / Region: PIEDMONT / Appellation: BARBERA D'ASTI DOCG / Varietal(s): BARBERA --- One of the great historic producers of Italy, Antica Casa Vinicola Scarpa has been producing traditional, classic wines in the Monferrato hills of southeast Piedmont for over 150 years, with organically farmed vineyards in both the Monferrato and the Langhe. Mario Pesce cemented Scarpa’s reputation in the late 20th century, and today Maria Pier Zola and her family carry on his tradition of aging all the wines for years (sometimes decades) before release. "Traditional" often equates to "rustic" but that's far from the case here; this extra aging lends even their everyday wines a unique elegance! Scarpa specializes in barbera (it accounts for 40% of production), and this everyday "gusta della casa" (house-style) barbera is far from ordinary. The fruit comes from Poderi Bricchi, Scarpa's 50 hectare estate vineyard in Castel Rocchero, in the very heart of the Monferrato, and fermentation and aging both take place in stainless steel tanks. Held at least a year in tank, the wine then spends a minimum additional six months (usually much longer) in bottle before release. Classically styled, it bursts with tangy cranberry and tart red cherry flavors, with sun-bright acidity and well integrated tannins. Refreshing and zingy, this is endlessly versatile at the table, able to pair with everything from antipasti and salumi to vegetable and pasta dishes (with or without tomato sauce).
FALL FAVORITES, NEW AND CLASSIC!
Domaine Dupont Cidre Bouché Brut de Normandie 2015
Country: FRANCE / Region: NORMANDY / Appellation: CIDRE BOUCHE DE NORMANDIE / Varietal(s): BLEND --- Domaine Dupont was one of the first cideries we ever visited, and remains among our favorites! Their estate and orchards are beautiful and extensive, and the Dupont family is as endearing as the incredibly extensive line of ciders, Calvados and Pommeau they produce. One of the top producers in the Pays d’Auge, Normandy’s best region for Calvados, the Duponts have even extended their influence to the Hudson Valley, particularly sharing their knowledge with the producer of Hudson Valley Farmhouse ciders. This is their traditional bottling, cidre bouché simply refers to being under cork. All of their ciders are vintage-dated; just like wines, ciders exhibit different characteristics with each harvest. Indigenous yeast-fermented in stainless steel, this cider is a pleasure, fresh and dry, you’ll detect apples in several forms, off the tree, in a pie, simmered with a touch of caramel. Taste one of the classics, alongside cider-braised chicken, cabbage and apples.
Broadside Merlot Paso Robles Margarita Vineyard 2014
Country: USA / Region: CALIFORNIA / Appellation: PASO ROBLES / Varietal(s): MERLOT --- The first solar-powered winery in Paso Robles, Broadside remains committed to sustainability; acquiring fruit from sustainably managed vineyards, recapturing water used in the cellar for irrigation, and utilizing green packaging. Sourced from the renowned Margarita Vineyard in Paso Robles (in California's Central Coast region, where Bordeaux varietals like this merlot thrive in the coastal climate), this wine is harvested early to preserve freshness, and aged in neutral French oak. Red cherry, pomegranate, and plum aromas pick up notes of vanilla, cloves, and leather on the palate, while fine tannins on the finish make this a versatile match for mushroom burgers or black bean empanadas.
TASTE WITH TIM GAGNON FROM SELECTION MASSALE
We're pleased to welcome Tim Gagnon from Selection Massale to pour an array of French, Corsican, and Canadian (yes, Canadian!) wines today!
Clos Marfisi "Grotta di Sole" Patrimonio AOC 2016
Country: FRANCE / Region: CORSICA / Appellation: PATRIMONIO AOC / Varietal(s): VERMENTINO --- A breathtaking Mediterranean island (off the west coast of Italy, just north of Sardinia), Corsica has a winemaking tradition that's over 2,500 years old, but only recently gaining popularity here in the US. Patrimonio is the largest appellation of Corsica, covering 400 hectares with half owned by the two largest producers, and the other half split amongst 30 smaller growers. Clos Marfisi is one of those small family estates, now run by brother and sister Mathieu and Julie, the fifth generation of winemakers to do so. Clos Marfisi’s vineyards (which Mathieu and Julie's father Touissant planted about 40-50 years ago) rise from the Mediterranean on steep slopes that shimmer white with large chunks of broken limestone. Additionally, the estate remains planted to local grape varietals and has never been touched by pesticides or herbicides. This impressive commitment to organic viticulture continues today, and the 2018 vintage will be certified Bio. In the cellar native yeasts spark fermentation and sulfur levels are kept to a bare minimum. 100% vermentino, this delectable white is pale straw colored, with enticing aromas of white flowers, citrus, unripe stone fruits, and a touch of honey. Bright, refreshing citrus on the palate mingles with white peach flavors, mouthwatering acidity and minerality that goes on forever. A winner with anything from the sea, try this with grilled branzino or a lobster boil!
Pearl Morissette Niagara Vineyards Riesling "Cuvée Sputnik" 2016
Country: CANADA / Region: ONTARIO / Appellation: NIAGARA PENINSULA VQA / Varietal(s): RIESLING --- World-class wines from Ontario, Canada?! Enter winemaker François Morissette, who's delighting palates and blowing minds with his sophisticated offerings in an uncompromising quest to make wine that speaks strongly of terroir while transcending boundaries. In his words, “I don’t make wine for Ontario, I make wine for the world." Classically-trained, François spent a year in his early 20s working for Domaine Alain Gras in Saint-Romain, learning about the traditional winemaking methods of the region. He returned to Quebec and worked towards becoming a sommelier (while building some of the most ambitious wine lists in Quebec and Ontario), before the lure of the vineyards pulled him back to France to pursue winemaking full time in Burgundy. After 7 years in the Côte d'Or, he decided to make his own wines, not in France, but on the Niagara Peninsula, utilizing hand-harvested grapes with native yeast fermentation and minimal filtration and sulfur usage. Partnering with Mel Pearl, a Toronto developer, Pearl Morissette became a reality and after waiting almost a year to get our hands on the delicious results, we're excited to taste them with you! "Cuvée Sputnik" is 100% riesling, and displays lovely transparency and delicacy. Inviting aromas of tropical flowers, fresh limes, and spice yield to a gently-textured palate that finishes with a lengthy kick of zesty salinity. An energizing aperitif, this also complements seafood such as snapper with tomatillo and lime.
Pearl Morissette Niagara Vineyards Pinot Noir "Jeunes Vignes" 2016
Country: CANADA / Region: ONTARIO / Appellation: CREEK SHORE VQA / Varietal(s): PINOT NOIR --- This "Young Vines" pinot noir brings a rock and roll mentality to the table! Hand-harvested from the Home Farm vineyard, this bursts with classic pinot noir aromas of fresh cherries and cracked pepper. Exuberently juicy with savory, dark spices and suave tannins, this handsome northern stranger is one you'll find hard to put down! Open this with just about anything- from wild Atlantic salmon to ham and butter on baguette!
Maison Blanche "Le Colombier de la Métairie" Montagne St. Emilion AOC 2014 - CERTIFIED BIODYNAMIC
Country: FRANCE / Region: BORDEAUX / Appellation: MONTAGNE ST EMILION AOC / Varietal(s): CABERNET FRANC+MERLOT --- Nicolas Despagnes comes from a family of vignerons with winemaking roots that go back three centuries. The estate was planted in 1875, and encompasses 40 hectares in Montagne, Saint-Emilion. Nicolas has been farming organically since 2006, and worked tirelessly to obtain not just organic certification (Agriculture Bio and BioCoherence in 2008 and 2010, respectively) but biodynamic certification by Demeter in 2013. His approach in the cellar is similarly respectful and straightfoward, with native yeast fermentation and very little sulfur added. 60% cabernet franc, 40% merlot, this cuvée rests for 15 months in a combination of cement vats and barrel. Young, fresh, and supple, this is old-school Bordeaux at heart, dark and seductive with black currant, plum, earth, tobacco, and leather nuances. Open now with wild mushroom poutine or age for 3-5 years.
Jelu Estate Torrontés San Juan 2015 - ORGANICALLY GROWN
Country: ARGENTINA / Region: CUYO / Appellation: SAN JUAN / Varietal(s): TORRONTES+CHENIN BLANC+ VIOGNIER --- The torrontés grape is planted in other parts of the world, namely Spain, however nowhere is it more important than in Argentina. This is the country’s most planted white grape variety. Known for producing aromatic wines, the grape is a perfect match for the arid climate of Argentina. Jelu means "sun" in the native Huarpe language, and this delicious fall arrival comes from organically-tended grapes grown at high altitude in the Zonda Valley. A very fragrant and flavorful white, with delicate aromas of white peach and honeysuckle, and layers of lychee on the palate, this has enough acidity to refresh a stewed chicken, or soy marinated tofu with greens and brown rice.
Weingut Weninger Sopron 2013
Country: HUNGARY / Region: SOPRON / Appellation: SOPRON / Varietal(s): KÉKFRANKOS --- With a 2,000 year-old history of grape-growing, Hungarian wine culture brings together traditions from Central Asia, Roman practices, and methods from Western Europe. Favored by royal courts across Europe by the 16th century, it was not phylloxera (so often the scourge of winemaking in continental Europe), but instead the Communist period following World War II that hurt the quality and reputation of Hungarian wines by collectivizing production. Today, 20 years after the re-establishment of private wineries, Hungary is experiencing a wine renaissance. Sopron, located in the foothills of the Alps just across the border from Austria is a premier region for red wine production. This kekfrankos (or blaufränkisch) is versatile for every occasion; dark and delicate, with a nose of blue and black berries accented by fermented tea, sandalwood and green peppercorn spice. Supple texture with gentle acidity and a saline minerality finish elegantly on fine, persistent tannins and a hint of shishito pepper. A versatile choice, try it with summer goulash with ground chicken and zucchini.
Sundström Cider "Greater Lake Ontario Lot 15" 2015
Country: USA / Region: NEW YORK STATE / Appellation: HUDSON
VALLEY / Varietal(s): NORTHERN SPY+MANCHURIAN CRAB --- This is the third year Leif Sundström has been making his amazing ciders, and luckily for us, unlike his first year, he actually made enough to sell! Leif produces ciders that are a combination of select wild harvest apples, heirlooms, cider apple varieties and several species of crab apples in an effort to make vinous, age-able ciders that speak of place. This cider is made of 90% Northern Spy (an heirloom apple varietal originally discovered in upstate NY), and 10% Manchurian crabapples from the greater Lake Ontario area, one of New York State's acclaimed apple growing regions (along with our own Hudson Valley). Bright and zesty, this offers clean apple fruit and palate-cleansing acidity on a burst of celebratory bubbles with a savory finish. A winner with cider-braised chicken with a touch of cream and thyme.
Jean Louis Moissenet-Bonnard "Les Chazots" Bourgogne AOC 2014 - ORGANICALLY GROWN
Country: FRANCE / Region: BURGUNDY / Appellation: BOURGOGNE AOC / Varietal(s): CHARDONNAY --- Looking for an affordable introduction to wines of the great Côtes de Beaune village of Pommard? Look no further than this Bourgogne Blanc from Jean-Louis Moissenet-Bonnard! This Burgundy comes from a single plot (Les Chazots), and shows the precision and unity of terroir combined with exacting winemaking. The domaine has been in the family for eight generations, and Jean-Louis took over winemaking in 1988, with the idea of putting into practice the philosophies he learned from his parents, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Now assisted by his daughter Emmanuelle-Sophie, Jean-Louis farms using the ‘lutte raisonnée’ method, avoiding herbicides and pesticides, plowing in order to help the vines dig deep to extract the richness of the soil, and maintaining biodiversity and mycorrhization through grass/groundcover around the rows. Grapes are harvested by hand, sorted and completely destemmed. Fermentation utilizes indigenous yeast, and the wine is then aged over 12 months in older neutral oak barrels to preserve its inherent freshness. A fantastic value, this is a wine of finesse and character, full of red apple, pear, and apricot fruit. Notes of white flowers and white peach are joined by fine acidity and a clean, lingering finish that all comes together in an absolutely elegant package! Jean-Louis bottles his wines unfiltered and they are delicious to drink now but will also age beautifully. Open this with soft cheeses, grilled trout, or risotto.
Maison Jessiaume Bourgogne AOC Rouge 2014
Country: FRANCE / Region: BURGUNDY / Appellation: BOURGOGNE AOC / Varietal(s): PINOT NOIR --- Built in 1850, Domaine Jessiaume sits invitingly at the entrance to the small spa town of Santenay. It comprises over 37 acres, with large plots in Santenay, important holdings in the Premiers Crus of Auxey Duresses Les Ecusseaux and Volnay Les Brouillards, and a prime section of Beaune Les Cent Vignes vineyard. Domaine Jessiaume seeks to create elegant, subtle wines with well-integrated tannins, using methods that respect the environment. These methods include low yields, as well as harvesting and vinifying in accordance with the phases of the lunar cycle. Light garnet in color, this pinot noir spends 12 months aging in French oak barrels and 3 months in stainless steel prior to bottling. A beautiful bouquet of red cherries and blackcurrants with subtle accents of woody spice yields to morello cherries and raspberries on the palate. Supple in texture, a generous mouthfeel gives this a luxurious air, with refined tannins contributing to an elegant finish. Beautifully crafted, this shines with grilled arctic char, eggplant, zucchini, and peppers. Wonderful to drink now, this also will age gracefully over the next 5 years. A truly affordable classic!
Le Haut-Planty "Au Gré du Vin" Gwin Evan 2015 - CERTIFIED ORGANIC
Country: FRANCE / Region: LOIRE VALLEY / Appellation: VIN DE FRANCE / Varietal(s): MELON DE BOURGOGNE --- French organic wine lovers rejoice: "Gwin Evan", which means "I drink wine" in Gaelic, is Muscadet without any added sulfur! In the 1960s, Michel Couillard converted his father's farm into a vineyard, and his sons Alain and Christian spearheaded the conversion to organic viticulture in 2007, becoming certified in 2015. With Alain now at the winemaking helm, the new era of Le Haut-Planty embraces natural winemaking philosophy, while remaining faithful to the traditions of the region. Located in the heart of Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, between the temperate Loire river and the fresh influence of the Atlantic ocean, Le Haut-Planty boasts a site on the most coveted hillside of Le Landreau. All this adds up to a delicious new arrival: fresh, crisp, and minerally, with hints of zesty lemon. Give this a try with crab spaghetti with lemon gremolata!
Maz Caz Costières de Nîmes AOC Rouge 2015 - ORGANICALLY GROWN
Country: FRANCE / Region: RHÔNE VALLEY / Appellation: COSTIÈRES DE NÎMES AOC / Varietal(s):GRENACHE+SYRAH+MOURVEDRE --- UC Davis graduate Michele d’Aprix is a rapidly rising star in the wine world. After completing her studies in California, she made her way to Bordeaux where she took advantage of the opportunity to be mentored by renowned winemaker Stephane Derenoncourt, before branching out to start her own project in St. Emilion, named Pentimento. Now she has expanded even further, crafting three wines from Costières de Nîmes, the southernmost of the Rhône winegrowing regions. Accorded AOC status in 1986, Costières de Nîmes boasts exceptional gravely soils and a Mediterranean climate that lend the wines juicy ripeness and earthy character, but remains just under the radar enough to yield some great values – like this! "Caz" translates to "crazy in a good way", and these wines are crazy good: honest, juicy, young, and pure. 70% grenache, 15% syrah, 15% mourvèdre, this fresh red is frighteningly easy to drink! Fermented in stainless steel with natural yeast, this sees no oak, and bursts with succulent dark, juicy fruit. Seductive aromas of violets, blackberries, raspberries, currants, and a whiff of smoke yield to a palate that is smooth and silky, with layers upon layers of character and bright, mouthwatering acidity. A serious wine that doesn't take itself too seriously (as the label indicates!), grilled pork chops are an easy match, but this works with just about anything – think lamb sliders, charcuterie, hard cheeses, or burgers!
Fishkill Farms "Treasury Cider" Lightly Sparkling 2015
Country: USA / Region: NEW YORK STATE / Appellation: N/A / Varietal(s): BLEND --- Last year marked the first time Fishkill Farms commercially released a series of hard ciders. Using some of their best fruit from their Eco Certified and organically grown apples, they sought a classically produced cider. To this end they enlisted the help of fellow cider makers with the traditional rack and cloth press, fermented at a cool temperature at a slow pace to gently coax the flavors from the fruit. This cider is a blend of Jonamac, Golden Delicious, Idared and Empire apples with a small amount of Goldrush and Liberty. Crisp and dry, the cider has notes of green apple, herbs and delicate floral touches. This is perfect for afternoons snacking on olives, almonds, cheese and perhaps some charcuterie.
Picq Chablis AOC Dessus La Carrière 2015
Country: FRANCE / Region: BURGUNDY / Appellation: CHABLIS AOC / Varietal(s): CHARDONNAY --- In the world of white wine chardonnay is often considered at the head of the class. One of the reasons is due to the region of Chablis, an area that produces chardonnay that is unlike any other region. The wines of Chablis are imbued with a distinct minerality, a flavor that marks the wines with a stony salinity. For generations the Picq family have been vinifying wine in the small village of Chichée. Today three siblings operate the estate, each taking a role in continuing the family names. While a new generation has taken control the style of wines has remained classic. Much of the work is done in the vineyard, with intense pruning and crop thinning over the course of the growing season. This creates fruit with remarkable character, concentrated and expressive. Additionally, a hands-off approach in the cellar aids in the expression of the fruit: native yeast fermentations and the absence of oak help define these wines. Dessus La Carrière is blend of two lieux-dits, but gives the impression of more expensive 1er Cru bottling. Aromatic of white flowers and hints of lemon zest, this wine offers a concentrated minerality with depth and layers of evolving flavor. This will certainly enjoy a year or two in cellar but is calling for scallops with citrus or pilaf studded with herbs.
Scribe Pinot Noir Rosé Sonoma 2016
Country: USA / Region: CALIFORNIA / Appellation: SONOMA / Varietal(s): PINOT NOIR --- Scribe Winery in Sonoma was founded in 2007 on a property that had been a pioneer in winemaking since before Prohibition. It is managed by fourth generation California farmers (and brothers), Andrew and Adam Mariani, with the mission of producing vibrant, terroir-driven wines. Adam and Andrew believe that the best wines come from vineyards managed in harmony with the ecosystems they co-exist in, resulting in site-specific wines that reflect a sense of time and place, where neither pesticides nor herbicides are used. Carrying this philosophy over into non-interventionist winemaking methods, the results are wines that distinctly express the vineyards they originate from. 100% pinot noir from the southwest slope of Arrowhead Mountain, this elegant rosé is redolent with ripe watermelon and blood orange fruit. Wonderfully dry and refreshing, this is fabulous with late summer/early fall dishes, such as chicken and grilled corn chowder.
Yves Cuilleron Syrah Collines Rhodaniennes IGP 2016
Country: FRANCE / Region: RHÔNE VALLEY / Appellation: COLLINES RHODANIENNES IGP / Varietal(s): SYRAH --- The Cuilleron domaine was founded in 1920 and has been home to several generations of winemakers since. Located in the hamlet of Verlieu, part of the town of Chavanay, Yves Cuilleron took over ownership of the domaine in 1987 and has focused on modernization, building a brand new facility and acquiring additional vineyard property, where he practices mostly organic vineyard techniques. Yields are rigorously controlled, and grapes are harvested by hand, as most of the vineyards are heavily terraced, making mechanization impossible. Cuilleron has become one of the stars of the northern Rhône where syrah is king, but viognier is certainly a revered monarch in its own right. Cuilleron gained fame for the latter, but also produces exceptional red wines as well. This pure syrah is simply delicious. Harvested from vineyards just outside the St. Joseph appellation, it is spicy but generously fruitful with soft tannins. A great choice for sausages or roasted eggplant tart.
Waitsburg Cellars Chenin Blanc Old Vine "The Aromatics: Chevray" 2013
Country: USA / Region: WASHINGTON STATE / Appellation: COLUMBIA VALLEY / Varietal(s): CHENIN BLANC --- Waitsburg Cellars is the collaborative effort of Seattle Times and Wine Enthusiast wine critic Paul Gregutt and winemakers Jon Zimmerman and Ron Bunnell, and this delicious new white displays their Vouvray-esque take on chenin blanc from Washington. The grapes for this cuvée come from 30-year old Upland Vineyard and Roza Hills in the Yakima Valley, and are fermented in neutral oak for four months. Slightly evocative of a barrel-fermented chardonnay, it bursts with aromas of toast, dusty Golden Delicious apple, and hints of lemongrass and beeswax. A luxurious round palate of white peach, caramelized pineapple, and dried apricot yields to a bone dry finish with touches of warm lime peel and biscuit. A lovely accompaniment to flaky white fish, tofu stir fry, or quiche. [DAILY DEAL]
Château la Grolet Côtes de Bourg AOC 2015 - NATURAL WINE
Country: FRANCE / Region: BORDEAUX / Appellation: CÔTES DE BOURG AOC / Varietal(s): MERLOT+CABERNET FRANC --- Located in the northern right bank of Bordeaux, in the Côtes du Bourg, winemaker Jean-Luc Hubert and family are committed to making soulful, old-school wines. Just across the Gironde River from Margaux, Hubert's chateau is a certified biodynamic estate, relying on organic and natural methods to work the old vines, and vinifying in accordance with lunar cycles, with no added yeasts or enzymes. The result may be your new fall favorite: quintessential old world style at an amazing value! Subtle use of oak lends this young wine an earthy complexity and depth. Perfumed aromas of violet, coffee, truffle, dark berries, and cedar yield to savory currant, blackberry, and plum flavors that caress the palate with soft acidity and velvety tannins. Lingering notes of smoke, earth, and spicy vanilla make this a versatile and hard-to-put-down choice! Pair with a hearty mushroom stew or just curl up with a cozy sweater and a cheese platter!
Tilted Shed Ciderworks "Inclinado" Sidra-Style 2014
Country: USA / Region: CALIFORNIA / Appellation: SONOMA COUNTY / Varietal(s): N/A --- This week we're kicking off the tasting with a delicious dry cider from Tilted Shed Ciderworks in Sonoma, CA. Founded in 2011 by husband and wife team Scott Heath and Ellen Cavalli, Tilted Shed highlights the Russian River Valley's rich apple heritage (often eclipsed by its famed wines!). "Inclinado" translates to "tilted" in Spanish, and this is an homage to Spanish sidra, complete with light spritz and mouthwatering tang! Produced from 100% Gravenstein apples, Inclinado is a slightly hazy yellow-gold hue. Fermentation takes place using wild yeast, which lends it the characteristic Spanish sidra tang on the palate. More than a tart quaff, however, this delights with lovely high-toned floral notes, hints of crushed herbs, and sweet orange aromas. Velvety tannins in the mouth support acidity that's refreshing but not overwhelming. Complex and interesting, this displays subtle earthy apple flavors and splashes of zesty lemon and lime on the finish. Drink it lightly chilled with pork, charcuterie, salmon, and aged cheeses - or tapas of course!
Regis Bouvier Rosé Marsannay AOC 2016 - SUSTAINABLY GROWN
Country: FRANCE / Region: BURGUNDY / Appellation: MARSANNAY AOC / Varietal(s): PINOT NOIR --- Burgundy’s hallowed Côte de Nuits isn't necessarily the first place you'd think of for rosé, but Régis Bouvier in Marsannay proves himself a master of all three colors of wine – white, red, and rosé, producing perhaps among the finest examples of Burgundian pinot noir rosé we've seen! Lesser-known among Burgundy's appellations, Marsannay has a centuries-old history of winemaking, as far back as the 14th century. Bouvier's vineyards boast prime locations in Marsannay, some of them premier-cru quality. Combined with his talent in the cellar, the results are stunning, and a great value. This rosé elegantly captures the weightless grace of Burgundian pinot, with notes of white citrus, watermelon, dried cranberries, spiced fresh berries, and crushed seashells. Wonderfully dry and refreshing, this is fabulous with end of summer BBQ fare. Try it with grilled shrimp, corn, and avocado salad!
Tavijn Grignolino Ripasso "G Punk" Vino Rosso 2015 - NATURAL WINE
Country: ITALY / Region: PIEDMONT / Appellation: N/A / Varietal(s): GRIGNOLINO --- Nadia Verrua’s family have been making wines in the hills of Monferrato in the province of Asti for over a century. Still a small family operation, they currently have five hectares of vines planted to local grape varietals, and have always been committed to sustainable growing practices in the vineyards, and natural winemaking techniques in the cellar. Fermentation takes place using wild yeast, and little to no sulfur is added, their philosophy being to let the wines fully express themselves without adding or taking away too much. The resulting wines are crazy, joyful, and delicious! This wildly vibrant grignolino (named Ottavia for Nadia's vigneron father who still works the vines along with her mother) is very gently destemmed and pressed with the berries whole, allowing fermentation to slowly and naturally take place in stainless steel and cement tanks over two months. It is then kept on the lees for a year before being passed over (ripasso) the pressings from the 2016 vintage to restart fermentation, a process that adds depth and body. Pale garnet in color, with beguiling notes of Amarena cherry, this cuvée expertly balances grignolino's characteristic brightness and structure with a saline, oxidative finish. This "punk" is just perfect with lighter fare such as dried sausages and hard cheeses, especially aged asiago!
Wildekrans Cabernet Franc Merlot Bot River WO 2013
Country: SOUTH AFRICA / Region: WESTERN CAPE / Appellation: BOT RIVER WO / Varietal(s): CABERNET FRANC+MERLOT --- The Wildekrans estate lies on the Bot River near the coastal town of Hermanus, where the rocky surroundings provide an ideal environment for rare birdlife – and for wine grapes! With a focus on low yields and respect for the natural processes and ecology of the area, Wildekrans is able to produce distinctive wines full of the character of the region, as evidenced here in this beguiling blend of cabernet franc and merlot. Aged 15 months in old French oak, an inviting, wild nose of funky green pepper, plum, violet, and black olive precedes a broad, generous palate of plum, dark berries, cassis, and more savory woody herbs and olives. Fresh acidity and integrated tannins lend balance, while a savory finish and a touch of smoke make this a winner that begs to be drunk with food. Dark and dangerous, this is delicious now with sausage and peppers, but can be cellared for 3-4 years as well.
Luis Pato Vinhas Velhas Vinho Regional Beira Atlântico 2015
Country: PORTUGAL / Region: BEIRA / Appellation: VINHO REGIONAL BEIRA ATLANTICO / Varietal(s): BICAL+CERCEAL+SERCIALINHO --- Luis Pato (Portuguese for "duck") is perhaps the best-known producer in Bairrada and Beira. Generally recognized as the modernizer who revitalized a struggling region, he is perhaps better viewed as a neo-traditionalist, as his winemaking style remains rooted in the traditions of the area. He is also a champion of indigenous grape varietals, and three of these relatively obscure grapes make an appearance here in this compelling white. 40% bical, 40% cerceal, and 20% sercialinho, this is a late-summer treat: crisp and refreshing with touches of citrus and stonefruit and just a hint of nuttiness. Throw some swordfish kebabs on the grill and enjoy at your next garden party!
La Spinetta "Il Rosé di Casanova" Toscana IGT 2016
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 late 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!
Leth Roter Veltliner Wagram Terrassen 2016
Country: AUSTRIA / Region: WAGRAM / Appellation: WAGRAM / Varietal(s): ROTER VELTLINER --- While we’re familiar with grüner veltliner (a summer picnic favorite named for its green skin), this wine features the lesser-known, and unrelated roter veltliner (as the name suggests, a red-skinned white wine grape.) Native to the Wagram area of Austria, where it is almost exclusively grown, it produces wines with bright, refreshing character, but with a spicy-fruity element. A unique growing region in the northeast of Austria, the Wagram is distinct in its layered topography - up to 20 meters high - of loam, sand, chalk and loess that Ice Age winds blew over the primary rock base of the Danube. These tiny particles of soil covering bedrock allow the grapevine roots to absorb water and minerals even from great depths, eliminating the need for irrigation and chemical fertilizers. The climate brings major day and night temperature differences, together with cool winds that blow over from the Waldviertel, which lend distinct aromas to the grapes. Clean and crisp, with a touch of lemon zest on the nose, concentrated flavors of apple and orchard fruit and a bit more weight on the palate than grüner make this a great pick for drinking with chickpea stew.
Grosjean Vallée d'Aoste DOC "Torrette" 2015 - ORGANICALLY GROWN
Country: ITALY / Region: VALLÉE D'AOSTE / Appellation: VALLÉE D'AOSTE DOC / Varietal(s): PETIT ROUGE+VIEN DE NUS+DOUCET+FUMIN+MAYOLET --- The small, gorgeous Alpine valley of the Vallée d'Aoste sits at the northernmost part of Italy's Piedmont region, just beneath the Swiss Alps, and near the French border as well. The region is a delightful combination of Swiss-German, French, and Italian influences. This DOC is the smallest of Italy's wine regions, and with a focus on relatively obscure indigenous grape varietals, local consumption was prioritized in winemaking, rather than export. All this adds up to a distinctive, delicious style; subtle, lean, and food-friendly. The Grosjean family has been farming in the Alps since the 1700s, using sustainable and organic methods since 1975 (including the use of native yeast for fermentation). Combining the silkiness of French winemaking, Swiss precision and minerality, and the table-readiness of Italian wines, the Torrette demonstrates remarkable balance and versatility. An indigenous blend of 80% petit rouge together with small amounts of vien de Nus, doucet, fumin and mayolet, it is reminiscent in many ways of a top level Morgon. Mouthwatering tart red fruit (cherries, strawberries, and a touch of blackberry) mingles with bright, lively acidity, while light tannins keep it smooth and easy-going. Hints of earth and smoke on the finish add to the mystique. Perfect for serving with turnip and kale gratin with Fontina (itself a traditional Alpine cheese!)
Ferrer Ribière Carignan "Empreinte du Temps" VdP des Côtes Catalanes 2013 - CERTIFIED ORGANIC
Country: FRANCE / Region: ROUSSILLON / Appellation: VIN DE PAYS DES CÔTES CATALANES / Varietal(s): CARIGNAN --- 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 carignan comes from 130 year old vines! This cuvée is titled 'Empreinte du Temps', which translated means 'fingerprint of time'. 100% carignan wines in the Roussillon are unusual, making this an even more unique gem! Of intense depth in color, it has an excellent rich nose of dark fruit, herbs and wild berries. Lots of plum, blueberry, and black currants on the palate are lent a rustic edge. Balanced acidity and chalky, not-aggressive tannins keep this wine fresh and incredibly drinkable, just fabulous with rustic fare like roasted or braised meats, charcuterie, or cheeses.