M&S Ogier d'Ampuis Viognier de Rosine Collines Rhodaniennes IGP 2012
Country: FRANCE / Region: RHÔNE VALLEY / Appellation: COLLINES RHODANIENNES IGP / Varietal(s): VIOGNIER --- Over the last ten years, Stéphane Ogier has earned a name for himself as one of the most respected winemakers in the Northern Rhône. His passion for the vineyards and winemaking combined with his youthful energy have resulted in the estate's rise to cult status, with both his syrah and viognier standing among the best offerings of the region. The La Rosine vineyard is situated between Côte-Rôtie and Condrieu. This barrel-fermented viognier is a beautiful, elegantly restrained rendition of this iconic grape variety. High-toned, with delicate floral elements, it boasts wonderful complexity and length on the palate. Dramatic aromas of apricot, citrus, and pineapple are heightened by racy acidity and notes of white peach and honeysuckle on the palate. Opulent in texture, while still being refreshing, it's absurdly delicious, enjoy on its own, or with creamy baked leeks with garlic, thyme and Gruyère.
Domaine Ledogar "Roug'é Clair" Vin de France 2016 - NATURAL WINE
Country: FRANCE / Region: LANGUEDOC / Appellation: VIN DE FRANCE / Varietal(s): GRENACHE+CARIGNAN+MOURVÈDRE --- Brothers Xavier and Mathieu Ledogar come from a wine growing family, as both their great grandfathers were wine growers to Ferrals Les Corbières. Nature lover Xavier began working the vineyards at 12 years old, and dropped out of agriculture school at 18 to devote himself full time to the domaine. He took over the 22 hectares of the domaine on his own in 1997, building a cellar (previously wine had been sent to the local cooperative), and originally calling the estate Domaine Grand Lauze, before eventually switching to the family name. Brother Mathieu joined him in 2000, and now he and Xavier work together, farming organically (and biodynamically since 2004). Xavier and Mathieu follow moon cycles, use organic fertilizers and plant infusions on the vines. They use a horse to plow the vines and also have some donkeys that assist in weeding. "Roug'é Clair" is now in the third vintage of what started as an experiment during their conversion to organic and biodynamic practices. A mouthwatering blend of grenache, carignan and mourvèdre, the grapes from each different terroir are vinified separately and blended when Xavier thinks they are ready. As bright and lively as its label, it explodes with lovely red cherry and berry fruit, with a decidedly juicy, tangy mouthfeel! Clean and exuberant, it adds intrigue with earthy herbal notes and more generous berries on a lip-smacking finish. Although dangerously quaffable, this is far from simple. Try it with grilled cheese with bacon and tomato... or just about anything!
Clos Fantine Cuvée Tradition Faugères AOC 2015 - NATURAL WINE
Country: FRANCE / Region: LANGUEDOC / Appellation: FAUGÈRES AOC / Varietal(s): CARIGNAN+GRENACHE+SYRAH --- A deep, dark and beguiling wine from Faugères, in the Languedoc. Located just outside of the village of Lenthéric, the 28-hectare Clos Fantine estate is run by three siblings: Carole, Corinne and Olivier Andrieu. They built their winery in 2000, three years after their father (a winemaker with a talent and passion for natural wines) passed away, and have been making natural wines in his honor ever since. All their wines are made from organically grown grapes without any added SO2 and spend 18-20 months in concrete vat, depending on the vintage. A blend of carignan, grenache and syrah, this is a funky, earthy expression of blackberries and red currants, with touches of crushed herbs, smoke, and minerals. Complex and rustic, this makes a great match with grilled meats, or hearty, earthy stews.
Peppucci Umbria IGT "l'Altro Io" 2009
Country: ITALY / Region: UMBRIA / Appellation: UMBRIA IGT / Varietal(s): SAGRANTINO+CABERNET SAUVIGNON --- The Peppucci family happened upon an abandoned Benedictine Monastery in the town of Todi in the early 1980s while looking for a place to settle and raise their children. The vineyards and monastery are on a ridge 400 meters above the town, and the Peppucci family has lovingly restored them over the course of years. The sagrantino grape is a powerhouse – among the most tannic of grape varieties known (picture nebbiolo on steroids!) thanks to its thick skins and low yields. All those tannins make the wine impossibly aggressive and essentially impenetrable without a good bit of age! 85% sagrantino, "Altro Io" is Peppucci's take on a more accessible version, assisted by 15% cabernet sauvignon, as well as extensive aging in wood and in bottle. Nine years old, this still retains serious power, but is inviting to drink now. A dark, brooding wine, this opens with aromas of the deep, dark woods. Black fruits, wood smoke, dried cherries, and a touch of roasted poblano pepper round out the nose before transitioning to a dense, layered palate. Chewy black currant, prune, incense, baking spices and black licorice are deep and lingering in the mouth. Closed out by firm, but no-longer aggressive tannins, and a dose of refreshing acidity, this is a great choice with roast leg of lamb, wild game dishes, or pasta with black truffles. Satisfyingly lush and dense like an old oak tree, if ever there was a wine meant for snowstorms and the dark days of January, this might be it!