OREGON PINOT GRIS, ORGANIC SPANISH TEMPRANILLO, AND SLOVENIAN REFOSK!
Two new arrivals start off our tasting: the first a vibrant, refreshing pinot gris from young sustainable winery Carlton Cellars, in Oregon's Willamette Valley. Then a new tempranillo, organically grown, proves that the Duero region of Spain can still produce pure, beautiful reds, honestly made and delightful to drink. Finally, from the native refosk (teran) grape, we're pouring a Slovenian red of delicious depth, minerality, and elegance.
Carlton Cellars Pinot Gris Willamette Valley 2014
Country: USA / Region: OREGON / Appellation: WILLAMETTE VALLEY / Varietal(s): PINOT GRIS --- Carlton Cellars was founded in 2003 by Dave Grooters and his wife Robin, who took DIY to a new level, clearing and planting their vineyards by hand. They made their wines in similar fashion at winemaking legend Ken Wright’s Carlton facility, where Dave apprenticed as a vintner for 12 harvests, until 2007, when they converted a pole barn into Carlton Cellars. With a firm belief in environmental stewardship, Carlton Cellars is currently only one of 30 Low Input Viniculture and Enology (LIVE) certified wineries. The Willamette Valley’s cool climate and mineral-rich soils allow for the production of vibrant, food-friendly wines, and this pinot gris is a great example: crisp and refreshing, with aromas of pear, yellow apple, lavender, and minerals. Apple, pear, and melon notes on the palate are supported by lean acidity, making this a perfect match for salads, seared scallops, or grilled arctic char.
Alfredo Maestro "Viña Almate" Castilla y León 2013 - ORGANICALLY GROWN
Country: SPAIN / Region: CASTILLA Y LEON / Appellation: N/A / Varietal(s): TEMPRANILLO --- Making "easy wines with character imprinted with the earth and the vintage, authentic stories transmitted differently each year and not modified by the hand of the man in the cellar." That’s the guiding principle of Alfredo Maestro, who stands out as a breath of fresh air in the Ribera del Duero, a region often dominated by industrial farming and overmanipulated wines. His family came to the winemaking town Peñafiel, in Ribera del Duero, from the Basque Country, and Alfredo planted his first vineyard in 1998. Farming organically from the start, in 2003 he eliminated all additives, including sulfur. The name of that first vineyard is Viña Almate and gives the name to his bodega and to this cuvée. This wine is made from fruit sourced from various plots of tinto fino (tempranillo), of varying vine ages located, in Valtiendas at 1,000 meters elevation, as well as Peñafiel, at 700 meters. The wine is 80% whole cluster fermented in steel vat with 15-20 days of maceration, and spends 4 months in neutral French oak: unfined, unfiltered, and very low in sulfur. The result is a lovely pure and classic medium-full bodied Duero wine with delicious notes of red fruits, flowers, spice, and minerals. A great choice to partner with grilled or roasted meats, try this with lamb chops.
Rojac Istra Slovenija Refosco Slovenska Istra 2013 - CERTIFIED ORGANIC
Country: SLOVENIA / Region: LITTORAL / Appellation: SLOVENSKA ISTRA / Varietal(s): REFOSK --- Refošk or teran, known in Italy as refosco, is an ancient variety native to Istria, most likely in cultivation since Roman times. Rojac’s refosk is grown organically, and displays the intense concentration, silky blackberry fruit, and deep purple color that are the hallmarks of this varietal. The soil where the Rojac family grow their vines imparts a deep mineral structure, resulting in a complex wine with black and red pepper notes and unique aromas of dried rose petals and star anise. This is an exciting expression of Istria’s soil, climate, and culture. Give this a try with miso-marinated steak, savory braised short ribs, or a goat cheese, leek and shallot tart.