TRAVEL OFF THE BEATEN PATH: EXPLORING WINES FROM LESSER-KNOWN GRAPES!
This week we turn the spotlight on grapes that are often overlooked or lesser-known. Featuring two whites, we start our tour of wines less traveled with the melon grape (melon de Bourgogne), grown here in California, but with a long history in France's Loire Valley. Then it's on to New York's own Finger Lakes region, where minimal intervention and small batch wine making is the key to dry, complex riesling from Bloomer Creek Vineyard. (If you enjoyed our feature of fellow New York winery Eminence Road back in the winter, you'll love Bloomer Creek as well!) Our featured red has an equally interesting story, featuring pais, a forgotten grape grown in Chile since the 1700's, written off for years as only suitable for bulk wine, and now making a well deserved comeback as a star in its own right!
Lieu Dit Winery Melon Santa Maria Valley 2014
Country: USA / Region: CALIFORNIA / Appellation: SANTA MARIA VALLEY /
Varietal(s): MELON --- Lieu Dit is the partnership of longtime friends Eric Railsback and Justin Willett. Drawn together by their common interest in wine, after many trips to France, and many more bottles shared together, they founded Lieu Dit in Santa Barbara County in 2011. They focus exclusively on the grape varietals indigenous to the Loire Valley, as the micro-climates and marine based soils of Santa Barbara County are perfectly suited to these grapes as well. Sustainably farmed from old vines planted in the early 70’s, these grapes grow in the sandy soils in an exceptionally breezy part of Santa Maria Valley out at Bien Nacido vineyard. The fruit is pressed, fermented, and aged all in tank to fully express the minerality, freshness, and intensity of this varietal. 100% melon (known as melon de Bourgogne in France), this wine is fresh, crisp, and concentrated, with loads of citrus and crushed stone, and mouthwatering acidity and tension. As the label indicates, this wine just begs to be paired with raw oysters with fresh lemon, steamed clams, grilled shrimp, or even asparagus risotto.
Regular Price: $25.99 Tasting Sale Price: $23.39
Bloomer Creek Vineyard Dry Riesling Finger Lakes Tanzen Dame Auten Vineyard 2013 - ORGANICALLY GROWN
Country: USA / Region: NEW YORK STATE / Appellation: FINGER LAKES / Varietal(s): RIESLING --- Bloomer Creek is a small, family run winery established over 30 years ago by Kim Engle and Debra Bermingham, whose motto is “Wines Made with a Sense of Adventure.” Named after the small creek running behind the 10 acre vineyard on the west side of Cayuga Lake, the focus at Bloomer Creek is firmly on preserving the “sense of place” in their wine through minimal intervention in the winemaking process. No herbicides are used, weed control is done mechanically, and seaweed/fish and compost formulations are used to promote vine health. Harvest is done by hand, with an “Old World” approach to fermentation using indigenous yeast, and the finished wines are not filtered or fined. The results are distinctive, long-lasting wines. This delicate and graceful dry riesling displays floral notes and a hint of petrol on the nose, followed on the palate by excellent minerality and crisp acidity. Pair with mild soft cheeses, chicken, fish tacos, or spicy Asian cuisine.
Regular Price: $24.99 Tasting Sale Price: $22.49
Luyt "Pipeño" Itata Valley 2014 - ORGANICALLY GROWN
Country: CHILE / Region: ITATA / Appellation: ITATA VALLEY / Varietal(s): PAIS --- Luyt wines are small scale, traditionally-made Chilean wines of the most recent harvest, intended to be drunk soon after production. Unique to the regions of the Maule, Itata and Bio-Bío Valleys, some of Chile's most traditional and rural wine regions, this wine is made from organically dry farmed 100+ year old pais (aka mission) grapes, a variety believed to have arrived in Chile on Spanish colonial ships in the 16th century. Although there are around 7,250 hectares of pais planted in Chile, most wine lovers are unaware of it, or know it only as a minor grape suitable only for bulk wines. That’s now changing, thanks in part to producers like Louis-Antoine Luyt, a native of Burgundy, France, who is making fantastic, terroir driven, natural wines, such as this “Pipeño”.100% pais and from 100-250 year old vines, it displays elegant aromas of rose petals, dried spice, red berries, and earth. Medium-bodied and fresh with good structure and acidity through the finish, this would be a great match for freekeh salad with roasted mushrooms and swiss chard, peppercorn-crusted pork loin with bitter greens and mash, or as a contrast to rack of lamb.
Regular Price: $21.99 Tasting Sale Price: $19.79