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!