Meet the Winemaker! Nicolas Roumagnac of Domaine Roumagnac, Friday, May 18th

In the shop, 5PM -8PM

Nicolas heads to Fortnight after he pours here, so double your fun, and go there too!

Domaine Roumagnac, Fronton, France

Dating from 1880, Domaine Roumagnac is a domain of 14 ha (hectares), located in the village of Villematier, on the western border of the Fronton appellation, on the Tarn river side. The appellation is located just outside of Toulouse to the northwest and is a slightly inclined series of terraces between the Garonne and Tarn rivers, composed of ice age deposits of alluvial soil. The primary and indigenous grape variety of the region is the fragile Negrette. There are competing theories as to the grape’s history/origin but the “romantic” one is that the grape variety appeared during the 12th century under the name “Mavro” (black in Greek), when it was brought back from Cyprus by the knights of the order of Saint-Jean of Jerusalem. What is true is that Negrette is found rarely outside of Fronton where it thrives in the warm and dry “continental” climate of the area.

Nicolas Roumagnac joined his uncle in 2008 to become the fourth generation to work on the estate. He is the first to sell the domain’s wines in bottle. The estate has soils that cover the three types of alluvial soil generally found in the appellation: boulbenes (compressed sand/clay mixture), rougets (clay soils with deposits of flint, “silex”) and graves (gravel deposits.) The Roumagnac’s grow Negrette 7ha, Syrah 2ha, Cabernet Franc 2ha, Cabernet Sauvignon 1ha and Gamay 2 ha, and have paid great attention to marrying the particular grape type with the optimal soil type. They farm sustainably and are members of “La Charte Qualité”.

Rosé Authentique 2017

Domaine Roumagnac Rosé Authentique is a blend of 50% Négrette, 25% Syrah, 20% Gamay and 5% mix of Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc. The Negrette brings its highly aromatic qualities to the wine and its beautiful color while the Syrah, Gamay and Cabernets add complexity and spice to the blend. The grapes are harvested during the night in order to preserve their aromatic freshness after which the wine sees a short maceration in the saignée method. The wine is taken only from the first pressing giving it a purity of expression and a transparent coppery-pink color. The nose is of red berry and citrus fruits (red currants and grapefruit) while the palate is persistent and beautifully balanced.

Rouge “Authentique” 2016

The Rouge “Authentique” is a blend of 50% Negrette, 25% Syrah,   13% Cabernet Sauvignon and 12% Cabernet Franc. The varieties   are fermented separately in resin vats with a maceration of   about   two weeks. Press wine from Negrette and Cabernet   Sauvignon   are  added and a first assemblage is made before   winter. After a   natural settling of the wine, a final blend is made in the spring. The wine matures for up to 15 months in fiber vats and is neither filtered nor fined.

Ô Grand R 2015

The Ô Grand R is a cuvée that represents a rich expression of the Roumagnac vineyard. It is produced from the “graviers” soils of the third terrace. It is one of the rare “prestige” cuvées that is not matured in barrels. A breath of fresh air! It is a blend of 50% Negrette, old vines, and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon. The grape varieties are vinified separately in resin tanks with skin maceration lasting two/three weeks. An assemblage is made just after fermentation and the wine is left to mature in vat for 10 months. It is racked a number of times before bottling but left unfiltered and un-fined.

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop 5-8PM

May 11, 2018

Nigl Gruner Veltliner Freiheit 2016, Kremstal, Austria

Weingut Nigl is a 25 hectare property in the Krems Valley on the edge of the Seftenberg mountain. While technically in Kremstal, it’s important to note that the the difference between this region and Wachau, to the west, is merely political; the geology is very similar, with both on terroir of primary rock, or gneiss. But because of the forested mountains of Seftenberg, Nigl experiences cooler nights than Wachau, and greater diurnal swings, therefore the growing season is longer, and the wines can develop more depth and character.

The Nigl family has been farming in Kremstal for over 200 years but Martin Nigl is a first generation winemaker. He started out in 1985, after convincing his family to stop selling their small quantity of fruit to the local co-op and to instead bottle it themselves. The vineyards are ideally situated on terraces of Seftenberg’s southwest facing slopes, as well as some old-vine (75+ years) vineyards of mostly Gruner in the village of Krems. Martin never uses herbicides or insecticides, plants cover crops of legumes and herbs, and even avoids copper (frequently used in biodynamic farming), which he considers detrimental to his vines and soil.

Freiheit (which means freedom — the vineyards are believed to be some of the first privately owned in the valley, not controlled by the Church or a feudal estate) is sourced from 4 different vineyards in the hills above Krems. Martin works almost all in stainless steel, doesn’t de-stem, and uses only native yeast. We like Terry Theise’s tasting notes: It’s sternly loessy but not “sweetly” so; it even has power, and a lovely nubby texture, with aromas and flavors of lentil and sorrel and barley, with a faro starchiness. We sell a lot of it, and if you’re a long-time buyer I promise you, you’ll take the first sip of this and think WTF got into this?

Domaine Eugene Carrel Vin de Savoie Rosé 2017

Domaine Eugene Carrel is located in Savoie, in eastern France, in the village of Jongieux. It’s situated on 59 acres of steep slopes on the Chavaz Mountain. This is where the French Alps begin, and it is a region famous for cheesevermouth, and part of a little bike race.

Winemaker Olivier Carrel represents the third generation to run the estate. They grow all the traditional varieties here including Jacquere, Altesse, Gamay, Pinot, and Mondeuse. Domaine Carrel is poured in every restaurant and bistro in Savoie.

This rosé is 80% Gamay and 20% Mondeuse, a grape that can produce juicy, peppery, flavorful wine when it has to struggle for nutrients, or somewhat insipid wines if the growing conditions are too easy and fertile. Luckily, 20% of this wine had to suffer for our enjoyment. This rosé is kind of tooty-fruity on the nose, but the back end has a bit of grip and a pleasing, blackberry bitterness. We’d pair it with a plate of cheese and the Triplets of Belleville.

Chateau du Breuil ‘Couleurs du Breuil Le Grolleau’  2016, IGP Val de Loire

Chateau du Breuil was established in 1822 in Savennières, near the banks of the Layon. The estate is 30 hectares, 16 of which are planted to Chenin, 10 to Cabernet, 2 to Grolleau Noir, and 1 each of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. The soils are mainly schistous clay in the Layon parcels, and 100% schist in the 2 hectares of Savennières. The property was purchased in 2006 by friends Michel Petitbois and David Vigan, who converted the farming to organic, and are now starting to explore biodynamics.

This is a fun little 100% Grolleau from young vines. It’s a minerally, peppery, fresh-acidity, fruit forward, grill and swill kind of wine.

Dashe Cellars Dry Creek Zinfandel 2014

Husband and wife winemaking team Michael and Anne Dashe focus on producing “exceptional, single-vineyard wines using a traditional, non-industrial approach to winemaking”. Their first vintage was a 1996 Dry Creek Zin. They partner with small growers in Sonoma and Mendocino counties, and surrounding areas, seeking out older vines, steep hillsides, and low-yielding conditions. They avoid chemicals in the vineyards and cellar.

This 2014 Zin is from 5 small family vineyards in center and northern part of Dry Creek Valley. 5% Petite Sirah was added for structure and aging potential. The wine was fermented with native yeast and aged for 10 months in 20% foudre, and 80% older French oak. There’s black pepper, lavender, chocolate and cherries on the nose that follow through to the palate, where they continue to mingle with anise and raspberry.

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM

May 4, 2018

Vignoble du Rêveur Pierres Sauvages Sec 2016, Alsace

Vignoble du Rêveur (The Dreamer’s Vineyard) is the side project of Mathieu Deiss, whose main duties are still working the vineyards and cellar at the family domaine, the famed Domaine Marcel Deiss. Vignoble du Rêveur was established in 2013 with 7 hectares Mathieu inherited from his uncle and his maternal grandfather. The parcels are located mostly in the commune of Bennwihr, just outside the valley of Kaysersberg, and are certified organic and biodynamic. Mathieu vinifies Rêveur and Deiss in the same winery, since, as he puts it, he “simply cannot be in two places at once during harvest”. 

Pierres Sauvages is Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Noir from 1.9 hectares of vines around 45 years old. It’s fermented via spontaneous fermentation in foudre (large oak barrels that hold up to a thousand liters, that are believed to preserve the vineyard character by minimizing both oak extraction and oxidation—they are also expensive, both to purchase and to maintain). It ages for one year on fine lees, and is bottled with minimal sulfur (Riesling Vibrations is bottled with no sulfur, and is available in the shop). The wine is richly aromatic, with peaches, pears, flowers and honey fluttering from the glass. It’s rich on the palate as well, the viscosity balanced by mineral tension and vibrant acidity. Delicious through and through. 

Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau Saint Veran ‘Prelude’ 2016, Burgundy

Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau is a small estate run by Frantz Chagnoleau and his wife Caroline Gon, who has herself been head winemaker at Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon since 2006; she holds two degrees, one in agricultural engineering, and another in oenology. After obtaining her degrees she worked at Newton Vineyards in Napa before returning to France to work with Dominique Lafon. Frantz graduated with a degree in Oenology from Bordeaux University in 2004, and then went on to work for Olivier Merlin at Domaine Merlin in the Mâconnais. The couple’s friendship with Lafon comes through in their elegant, pure, terroir driven wines. Since 2013 all of the vineyards have been certified organic.

Like Lafon, Frantz and Caroline believe in minimal intervention, and use only indigenous yeast. Harvest is by hand, and aging is in old French oak. This Chardonnay evokes the old vines and stony soil of the vineyards; flinty, chalky intensity, mineral-precision, pure and focused flavors of apples and white flowers…this is an elegant bottle of wine. 

Sclavos Tsaousi 2015, Cephalonia, Greece 

The Sclavos family can trace its roots back over many centuries on the Greek island of Cephalonia. In 1700, a branch of the family emigrated to the Black Sea port of Odessa, where they had contracts for using their privately-owned commercial boats for the distribution of wheat. Records from 1860 show the family owned a large winery and estate in Odessa. In 1919, following the Russian Revolution, the grandfather of present owner Evriviadis Sclavos returned to the family’s 6 hectares in the Paliki peninsula and planted his first vines of Mavrodaphne and Vostilidi, some of which are still bearing fruit today. The mountainous terrain of the area provides a number of microclimates that are ideal for growing a variety of grapes, like those grown at Sclavos. 

The property is situated on limestone and is farmed biodynamically (or homeodynamic, as they call it), and all wines are made the same way: from non-irrigated, low-yielding, original rootstock bush vines, via spontaneous yeast fermentaion, bottled unfined and unfiltered, and with very little sulphur. These are some of the most lo-fi wines produced in Greece. 

100% Tsaousi from vines that are 60 years old, or older, this wine is a little wild; it’s orangey—golden hued, not from skin-contact, but rather from intentionally oxidative style, kind of like a Jura wine, or sherry. It’s herbal, savory, hazy, a bit salty, and finishes like a lemon-edged, Mediterranean sunset. 

Calabretta, ‘Gaio Gaio’ Vino Rosso, Etna

The Calabrettas are the fourth generation farming their family’s seven hectares of nearly 100 year old, ungrafted, organic vines (as well as olive and fruit trees) on the north side of Mt. Etna. In 1997 Massimo and Massimiliano dug a new cellar and winery into the black, volcanic rock, where old oak an indigenous yeast work their magic. Before the new winery, the family only sold its wine in sfuso, or in barrel, to restaurants and private customers, many of whom would travel long distances to pick up their wine. Calabretta is old-school, and is known for long aging; the Etna Rosso ages much like Barolo and Brunello were aged decades ago: in massive, neutral Slavonian oak for 6 to 7 years… They don’t use any chemical herbicides or pesticides, harvest is by hand, and fermentation is with wild yeast. 

Gaio Gaio translates as Joy Joy (Gaio is the nickname of Gaetano Calabretta). It is 100% Nerello Mascalese from 2 plots of young vines, 50% on original rootstock, fermented in wood, and aged on fine lees in Slavonian oak barrels for about 11 months. Cherries and smoke, red berries and earth, medium-bodied, grainy tannins and fresh acidity; this wine is perfect grill-side! 

Domaine Glinavos ‘Vlahiko’ 2013, Zitsa, Greece 

Domaine Glinavos is in the semi‐mountainous region of DO Zitsa, Ioannina, more reminiscent of Austria or Switzerland than Mediterranean Greece. Limestone soils influence the production of wines that tend toward bright acidity and lacy minerality, and the cold winters and cooler summers produce wines that tend to be lower ABV, frequently struggling to achieve 12.5. 

Lefteris Glinavos was one of a handful of rogue winemakers who set out in the 70s to steer Greece away from bulk production and into smaller-scale, boutique winemaking. This group of young winemakers who all hailed from humble, winemaking regions, decided to travel abroad to hone their skills which they would bring back to Greece. Lefteris chose to pursue his studies in Bordeaux, returning in 1978 to establish Domaine Glinavos. Lefteris’ son Thomas is now in charge of the 20 hectare property, made up of multiple, high-elevation plots of indigenous varieties Debina, Vlahiko, and Bekari. 

Vlahiko (which may be blended with a bit of Bekari) has an old-world character, and not just because of the embroidery pictured on the label (for which the region is known). It ages for two years in French oak, and is full of earthy, peppery, spicy notes, as well as what the producer describes as “fresh cut mushroom”, and lots of wild/woodsy-berry goodness, and crackly acidity. Have it with something fatty and salty! 

Friday Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM: Italian Wine with Best Beverage

April 27, 2018

Tonight in the shop, from 5-8PM, Natalie Volpe from Best Beverage will pour tasty Italian wines, two that are brand new to the state. Notes are below.

Tomorrow Farmer Willie’s will be with us from noon-3 with refreshing boozy, ginger beer (and samples of their rebranded, new brew), and this will coincide with the spring Wickenden Street Makers & Merchants Sale, from 11-5.

But wait, there’s more! Gored for Good, a fundraiser for Amos House, is this Sunday, 9-3. If you haven’t signed up to run with the “bulls”, you can still watch, and hit the after party. All for a good cause!

We’re not done yet! Wednesday is going to be warm and sunny and perfect for rosé at Broadway Bistro. Swing by to fill your glass with pink, and forget the troubles of the world!

Cheers!

Perla del Garda Trebbiano di Lugana 2017
and Vino Rosato Rosé Delle Siepi 2017

Perla del Garda was established in 2000 in Lugana, a tiny region on the southern banks of Lake Garda that straddles the provinces of Lombardy and Veneto. It’s not an area exactly known for super-high quality wines, but there are some producers doing some cool things, like these guys. At Perla del Garda, they farm organically, hand-harvest, and the winery is gravity fed.

The white is 100% Trebbiano di Lugana from three vineyards planted on soils of calcareous clay and glacial stones (morainic). It evokes cool lake breezes on a summer day, and the flora and fauna of the region: wild mountain flowers, lemon trees, and buzzy bees….

Rosé delle Siepi is 100% Rebo (a cross of Merlot and Teroldego) from a single vineyard. It’s dry and elegant, evoking the same flora as the white, but in an understated fashion, and with a touch of cherry and wild strawberry tossed in. Both of these wines would be perfect with speck, polenta, mushroom risotto, freshwater fish, and anything olive oily and lemon-flecked.

Tre Monti Vigna Rocca Albana Secco 2017
and Campo di Mezzo Sangiovese Superiore 2016
Romagna

Winemaker Vittorio Navacchia believes in minimal intervention from the vine to the cellar. Certified organic since 2014, Tre Monti is in the process of transitioning to full biodynamic farming. Only estate-grown grapes from their 50 hectares are vinified here. Pebbly, sandy, clay soils give the wines mineral depth and complexity.

Vigna Rocca is 100% Albana di Romagna from three vineyard sites. This is a dry, savory, full-bodied white that hints at honey, peaches, and almonds. Have it with fried seafood, risotto, olives…

Campo di Mezzo is 100% Sangiovese from younger vines, fermented and aged in a combination of stainless steel and glass lined cement. It’s dark and spicy, with palate pleasing notes of sour cherry and violets. Pizza, pasta, burgers, dogs, hard cheeses, cured meat, veggie dishes; this red can easily cover all the bases.

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM

April 20, 2018

Domaine Zafeirakis Malagousia 2016, Tyrnavos, Greece

The Zafeirakis family has been involved with viticulture in Tyrnavos in eastern-central Greece for more than 100 years. Christos Zafeirakis is the fourth generation to continue the family tradition; he got his degree in oenology in Athens in 2000, and then went on to get his master’s from the University of Milan in 2004. Soon after he returned to Greece and continued to make high quality wines from organically farmed vineyards, the same way his father had done. He made the first wines from his private vineyards in 2005.

Malagousia is a white grape rediscovered by oenologist and winemaker Evangelos Gerovassiliou. It yields highly aromatic, full-bodied wines throughout many regions in Greece. This is an elegant wine that evokes flowers and honeysuckle.

Partida Creus SP 2016, Penedes, Spain

Massimo Marchiori and Antonella Gerosa are the couple behind Partida Creus. Originally from Piedmont, the two (who are both architects) moved from Italy to Barcelona because of that city’s rich architecture. In 2000 they sought out a slower and more bucolic lifestyle, so they moved once again, this time to Massís de Bonastre in the Baix Penedés. They started farming, and when they found it difficult to find wines made in a lighter, minimalist style, they began recovering forgotten old vines of local, low-yielding, grape varieties, many of which had been  disqualified or never allowed into the D.O. Partida Creus farms organically, of course, and adds nothing in the cellar, it’s all native yeast fermentation, natural acidity and no sulfur. The wines are fresh and refreshing, with lots of acidity, low alcohol, terroir-driven minerality, and sometimes sherried-nutty-gamey undertones.

SP (lovingly called “Sub Par” on the label) is Subirat Parent, an old, nearly extinct clone of Malvasia that is supposedly native to Penedes, and also known as Alarije in Extremadura, and as Malvasia Riojana in Rioja. The wine is a clear, yellow-green that turns golden with age and tends toward expressions of orange peel, lemon, and floral/tropical aromatics. Fermented spontaneously in steel with native yeast and aged for 6 months in stainless-steel, then bottled unfiltered without any added sulfites.

Shiba Wichern 2015 Rosé of Pinot Noir, Willamette, OR

Akiko Shiba is a young Japanese winemaker who trained in Germany, and is now making gorgeous, minimal-intervention wine in Oregon with her husband Christian Wichern. She originally wanted to be a journalist and report on the world of alcoholic beverages; when she got out of college she worked as an editor for about two years at a culinary magazine called “Ou-sama no Kitchen” (The King’s Kitchen). At the same time that the magazine folded, Christian got a job in Germany, so they moved there together. She ended up working at a bar and getting very immersed in German beer. She began studying beer, but chance and circumstance led her to oenology school; the rest, as they say, is history.

This 2015 Rosé is not an old vintage, the wine is released late and is meant to be enjoyed for at least a few years or more afterward. After primary and malolactic fermentation, it rests on the lees in stainless steel for 8 months. According to the producers notes, “the goal of this extended time sur lies was greater complexity, body and depth, while retaining freshness. The result is a wine with a complex nose combining rich floral, salty and savory tones and a mouthfeel that is tart, bold and at the same time buttery smooth. This wine will refresh in the summer with BBQ and grilled foods, but it will also pair well with spicy Asian food and continue to all the way through Thanksgiving and Christmas with roasted turkey and ham.” All of this is true, but we’d like to add that this rosé smells and tastes like still Champagne, in the best way possible. It’s leesy, yeasty, slightly sherried on the finish…when the wine is just opened it has a touch of funky, tart acidity, but that blows off and rounds out, and reveals its elegant, evolving character.

G D Vajra, Claret JC Nebbiolo 2016, Langhe, Italy

G.D. Vajra was officially established in 1972 (named after Aldo’s father, Giuseppe Domenico) but the family roots in the region go back over two centuries. Aldo Vajra has been making wine here since the late 60s. Today the estate is close to 60 hectares, 10 of which are planted to Nebbiolo for Barolo production. Farming is organic, grapes are hand-harvested, and aging is done in traditional Slavonian casks. Aldo and Milena’s children Giuseppe, Francesca, and Isidoro are now carrying on the family business and traditions.

This is not your grandfather’s Nebbiolo, it’s your great, great, great, great(?) grandfather’s Nebbiolo. Giuseppe is producing it in the Metodo Ancestrale style that harks back to Thomas Jefferson’s time but slipped out of fashion in the 1950s: fermentation starts in the tank on the skins and finishes in the bottle, creating a slightly off-dry, lightly sparkling wine (the fizz might subside before the bottle is finished). Serve with a slight chill, and this wine will pair perfectly with warm spring and summer days that surely *SURELY* will become a reality. What is even going on anymore? But we’re fans of not waiting for the weather for anything, so toss back this spicy, floral, ripe, ruby-colored throwback with pizza, pasta, salumi, olives, cheese, etc…it’s glou glou.

Meet the Winemaker, Ethan Joseph of Iapetus Wine Co.

Wednesday, April 18th, 5-6:30PM

Tonight in the shop, 5-6:30PM, meet Ethan Joseph, head winemaker at Shelburne Vineyards, and its sub-label Iapetus, which we’ll taste this evening. Iapetus is a new, experimental, place-driven project of minimalist wine-making named after the ancient ocean that once covered the present-day Champlain Valley. This is how it’s pronounced and here’s an article on Shelburne & Iapetus if you’re looking to dig in a little more before meeting Ethan tonight. We hope you can swing by for a taste of these cool New England wines.

Ethan heads to Fortnight after visiting with us, so there’s extra opportunity to get to know these wines and the winemaker.

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5PM – 8PM

April 6, 2018

Domaine Oudin Chablis 2016

Nathalie and Isabella Oudin are the proprietors of this domaine in Chichée, a small village of 350 people, and just a handful of winemakers. The two took over from their parents, Jean-Claude and Christiane, who moved from Paris in 1988. Christiane’s family had 2 hectares of chardonnay vines, the grapes from which they would sell to negociants. For ten years, Jean-Claude continued to work in Paris during the week, and tended to the vines on weekends. The domaine is now about 8 hectares of 30 to 70 year old vines, planted on clay and limestone, with southern exposures. Farming here is without chemicals, and the harvest is by hand. Fermentation is in stainless steel with natural yeast, and the wine rests on the lees for a year or more.

This is the main cuvée of the domaine, with the grapes coming from across multiple sites. We feel quite lucky to get this Chablis, since the 2016 yield was down by as much as 50% across the region due to frost and hail. Despite the extreme weather, the wines produced are classic, with acidity, alcohol, body, and fruit concentration all in balance. There’s some malo here softening up the citrus, saline and limestone notes. It’s an elegant wine, ready to drink or cellar for 4-5 years.

Domaine de l’Aumonier Touraine Rosé 2017

Domaine de l’Aumonier has a mini-manifesto on their website:

The Domaine de l’Aumonier it’s,
mainly a love story, singular …
work every moment,
a search for meaning in our actions,

the respect for life and our environment, because we are one,
the way of reason because it is inconceivable to overcome,

the pleasure of creating and composing each year, with what nature gives us.

And this quote by Antoine de St Exupery: ” We do not inherit the Earth from our parents, we borrow it from our children.”

So it’s no surprise that Sophie & Thierry Chardon farm their 47 hectares in the village of Couffy organically (certified). They started in 1996 with 10 hectares purchased from retired winemakers. Their vineyards are now split between 26 hectares on the slopes around Couffy, on soils of clay and flint, and 21 hectares around the village of Mareuil sur Cher, on soils of chalk and clay. This rosé is a blend of Cabernet Franc and Gamay from three hectares on their southern slopes. It’s delicate and floral, with notes of honeysuckle, and tart, refreshing citrus.

La P’Tite Vadrouille 2016

We managed to snag another drop of this wine, which we love.

This is a side project for Domaine du Mortier, a 9 hectare, certified biodynamic property located in Saint Nicolas de Bourgeuil. Brothers Fabien and Cyril Boisard were quite young when they started Domaine du Mortier nearly ten years ago. And while they don’t hail from a long line of winemakers, they do employ the most traditional method of propagating vines: Selection Massale, a labor intensive and time consuming practice of selecting the best vines in a vineyard and propagating through cuttings. Their wines are made and bottled with little to no SO2.

Heavy frost in 2016 left the brothers needing grapes (it was a tough vintage across the board), so they sourced from friends growing organically in Bordeaux. La P’Tite Vadrouille is 55% merlot and 45% Cabernet Franc from vines planted along the Dordogne. They picked the grapes themselves and then brought them back to Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil in a refrigerated truck, where the grapes then underwent a 12 day maceration with semi-carbonic fermentation, producing a lively wine with bright fruit aromas. Unfortunately this vineyard also froze in 2017, so they’ll have to source again for next year.

Vinca Minor Old Vine Carignan, Mendocino 2016

Jason Charles worked as a photographer in the US, Mexico and Europe, then waited tables in NYC, where he became interested in wine. He then worked vineyards in Bordeaux and the Sonoma Coast before starting the Vinca Minor label. He’s a believer in organic farming and works as naturally as possible, using only indigenous yeast and never filtering or fining, and bottling with minimal sulfur. This wine is from 85 year old vines that are dry-farmed on a property that has been tended by the same family for over four generations. It’s fermented 85% whole-cluster in neutral french oak. It’s spicy, high-toned and herbal, with red fruits & flowers throughout.

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5pm – 8pm

Domaine Séguinot-Bordet Bourgogne Blanc 2016

Domaine Séguinot-Bordet was established in 1590 on some of Chablis’ most prime sites. It’s now run by Jean-François Bordet. The winery is modern, and vinification takes place in stainless steel vats, and typically aged 3-5 months on the lees. The 2016 vintage was a tough one, with hail and freezing temps resulting in almost a complete loss of fruit. Jean- François turned to his friends and neighbors to purchase grapes, since not making wine was not an option. This Bourgogne Blanc replaces his village level Chablis. We’re thinking of it as a baby-Chablis, since it hits all the right notes. It’s light and lean, with flinty minerality, a touch of apples and pears, and a dash of salinity on the long and elegant finish.

Albamar Rias Baixas Albariño 2016

Xurxo (pronounced sure-sho) Alba farms his family’s 2.5 hectares, and sources from an additional 10 hectares. He farms (and makes sure his farmers farm) as naturally as possible; all wines are fermented in his cellar, via spontaneous fermentation with native yeasts. His family has been farming and making albariño in the O Salnés sub-region of Rías Baixas for generations, but it wasn’t until Xurxo finished his oenological studies in 2006 that they started bottling and selling wine under their own name. They still maintain their restaurant and tienda de ultramarinos, a small shop selling local artisanal foods.

This Albariño is sourced from multiple sites on mostly sandy soil. The plots are vinified separately, some in stainless, and some in barrel, then aged on the lees for 6 months. The wine is crisp, salty, finely textured, and perfect as a starter, or with seafood.

Domaine Lelièvre Gris de Toul Rosé 2017 

We’ve been waiting about a year for the new vintage of this rosé, and we’re happy to report it’s just as good as the last! We bought as bunch 🙂

Domaine Lelièvre is located in Cotes de Toul, Lorraine. The Lelièvre family goes back generations here, to the time when Romans first planted vines. At one time Cotes de Toul, situated just 60 miles south of the German border, was a thriving wine-production region, covering parts of Alsace and Lorraine. It was famous for Riesling (this makes sense, as it’s located on the western banks of Moselle River–follow it north and you’re in Mosel, Germany) and as a source of base wine for Champagne. Unfortunately the region was ravaged by phylloxera, followed by rabid industrialization and poor vineyard management. Then came the First World War, German occupation, and liberation by the Allies—all of which left most of the vineyards as battle trenches. The final blow came in 1919, when a law was passed restricting the name champagne to the wines made from grapes grown in the region of Champagne. By 1951 there were only 30 hectares of vineyards left and most of the wine was bottled by negotiants. In 1998, a handful of remaining vignerons fought for and won AOC status. The Lelièvres were one of the producers to champion the region. After the famous 1971 vintage, Jean Lelièvre decided to no longer sell to negotiants and to bottle everything at the estate. From there the family started to rebuild, replant and recapture the glory of Lorraine. It is still an obscure little region, with most of the wine staying within the area, and very little of it leaving France. Lelièvre makes about 1100 cases annually, and they’re one of the most well known producers in the area.

Gris de Toul is a blend of 90% Gamay and 10% Pinot Noir from the producers best plots located in Lucey, Bruley, Blénod les Toul and Buligny. The well-drained clayey slopes are protected from the wet winds coming from the West. Grapes were hand-harvested and vinified separately in stainless steel, matured briefly on the lees, and then assembled just before bottling. This wine is delicate and pretty, with touch of tart citrus, like pink grapefruit, and ripe cherry.

Fredi Torres “Classic” Priorat 2016

Fredi Torres was born in Galicia, spent much of his childhood in Switzerland, spent nearly a decade as a DJ in the European house music scene, and then made his way into the wine world (he studied viticulture and winemaking in Switzerland, Burgundy, Argentina, & South Africa) and came full circle back to Spain in 2004, landing finally in Priorat. There he founded Sao del Coster with partners from Switzerland; the focus from the get-go was on organic and biodynamic farming and non-interventionist winemaking. Eventually he and his partners parted ways, and Fredi went on to purchase his own 8.5ha in Priorat. He also farms a nearby 5ha plot in Monsant, and he recently started a project with two friends in Galicia, where they are restoring old vines on treacherously steep and rocky slopes of Ribeira Sacra.

All Fredi’s wines are fermented with native yeast, no fining or filtering, and only the tiniest amount of sulfur at bottling. The goal is to make wines with bright acidity, pure fruit and low alcohol (for Priorat). This wine is Grenache, Carignan, Syrah, and Macbeu; it’s approachable and fresh, with notes of strawberry, plum, and pomegranate. It’s also deep, lush, and generous, with the perfect backbone of granite-minerality and acidity.

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5pm – 8pm

March 23, 2018

Vía de la Plata Cava Brut Nature NV 

In 1985, Aniceto Mesías was the first producer in Extremadura to become part of the D.O. Cava. Now three other producers in the region have joined him, and although he is no longer working in the cellars, Aniceto has left his legacy in the capable hands of Luis Miguel Calleja. Luis Miguel worked for years at some of the regions large co-ops, and was eager to make wines of quality rather than quantity. The vineyards, which are controlled by Via de la Plata, are farmed traditionally and non-invasively, and are planted to Macabeo, Parellada and Chardonnay. All work in the underground cellar is by hand, in the traditional Champagne method.

This Cava is 70% Macabeo and 30% Parellada, aged on the lees for 9 to 25 months before being disgorged. It’s medium-bodied, dry, and delicately fruity, with tiny bubbles making for an elegant Cava experience.

Tanganelli Anatrino Bianco 2015, Tuscany

We tasted the Tanganelli rosso last week, tonight we’ll taste the white. Producer notes from the importer: Hidden on the outskirts of Castiglion Fiorentino, in the eastern corner of Tuscany is the tiny farm of Marco Tanganelli.  Marco is first and foremost an agriculturalist, garnering a regional reputation as the best source of advice when it comes to tending vines.  Carlo Tanganelli, Marco’s father, established an agricultural nursery over 40 years ago in order to preserve and propagate the local grape, olive and orchard varieties.  The Tanganelli family always made wine, mostly for themselves and locals but didn’t start to bottle and sell their wine until the late 90’s.

Today Marco farms some 5 hectares of very old trebbiano, malvasia and sangiovese vines, with some new plantings being made in the past few years on some high altitude terraces far above the village.  Marco’s wines are made in the mold of the old-school Tuscan peasant style wines, yet they show the care and skill of a true craftsman.  Natural fermentations, long elevage and zero or minimal sulfur are paramount methods of Tanganelli.

The two white wines, Anatrino and Anatraso both come from one very old vineyard that’s about 3 hectares in size.  It is believed, both by Marco and the University of Siena, that these are the oldest parcels of trebbiano and malvasia in Tuscany; many vines are nearly 110 years old and the entire plot has never been touched by chemicals or pesticides…a rare find anywhere in Tuscany or Italy for that matter.

Anatrino (little duck) is skin-contact malvasia and trebbiano. Some vintages of this wine are wilder than others, but this one is just darned tasty. It’s an orange wine with roughly one week of skin contact; it’s savory, aromatic, orange-essence(d), herbal-tea inflected, layered, and elegantly textured. We had a glass at Oberlin with their black pepper linguine and it was perfecto!

MicroBio Correcaminos Rosé 2017, Castilla y León

We just got the new vintage of this natural favorite by Ismael Gozalo, the Wizard of Verdejo. Here’s what importer Alvaro de la Viña has to say about Ismael: “he practices his sorcery in his medieval underground cellar located in his native town of Nieva. Barrels, fudres, anforas, damejeannes, stainless…young, old, skin contact, sparkling, biological and oxidative aging…you name it, he’s got it…Ismael’s family owns some of the oldest (between 100-200 years old) ungrafted pre-phylloxera vines, most of which in the town of Nieva, province of Segovia between 800-900 meters of altitud. Characterized by it’s sandy soils, these head trained vines have never seen any chemicals over the different generations that have cared for them.”

This rosé is mostly old-vine Tempranillo, and it is like biting into a ripe, juicy cherry. It’s soft and enveloping, like a wine snuggie, which we could all probably use right about now. The finish has a slight oxidative note, which lends it a little dash of intrigue. All around gluggability. Unfiltered / unsulfured.

Domaine de Clovallon Les Indigenes Rouge 2016, Pays d’Herault 

This is the first vintage of this wine from Alix Roque, who learned how to make wine from her mother Catherine Roque, of Mas d’Alezon in Faugeres. Both of these properties were originally established by Catherine, who is a pioneer in natural winemaking in Languedoc-Roussillon. Clovallon is a certified biodynamic, high-elevation property dense with old vine plantings of indigenous grapes. Here’s the note from the importer, Wine Traditions: The cuvée “Les Indigènes” is produced from a single “clos” of less than a hectare that was planted around two hundred years ago and retains pre-phylloxera vines. As was the custom “back in the day” the vineyard was co-planted with a wide variety of grape types both white and red. Most of the grapes have been identified and include Carignan, Cinsault, Clairette, Grenache, Grenache Blanc. Grenache Gris, Macabeu, Malvasia, Muscat a Petits Grains, Ugni Blanc, Aramon, Terret, and Jacquet. The clos itself sits high above the town of Bedarieux and is accessible only by a narrow lane that winds its way up from the town to the vineyard at the top of the hill. It is hidden from the eye because it is both walled and shielded by fruit trees. To gain entrance to the small vineyard one has to pass through an entrance gate and then a bit further on pass through a doorway framed by a stone arch giving the whole experience a “secret garden” quality. All varieties are co-fermented in old oak foudres using indigenous yeasts and without temperature control. The wine is unfiltered and unfined.

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM

March 16, 2018

Alkoomi Frankland River Rosé, 2017 Australia

Alkoomi is a large property just outside the tiny town of Frankland River, in western Australia’s most isolated wine-growing region. It’s been in the same family since 1946, when it was originally purchased by Vic and Netta Lange as a mixed grain and livestock farm. Their son Merv took over the property when Vic retired, and in 1971, his wife Judy decided to plant one hectare of Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, and a little bit of Shiraz and Malbec. The first vintage was in 1976; instead of selling off their grapes, they decided to build a winery and make the wine themselves. They completed the winery in time for the 1979 vintage, and Merv and Judy went on to become award winning ambassadors for the Frankland River emerging wine region. In 2010, their daughter Sandy took over the property, along with her husband Rod Hallet.

Alkoomi has worked to reduce its carbon footprint in recent years by installing solar panels, and upgrading their tank refrigeration system to make it more efficient. They have a ‘wall-to-wall’ grass policy, which uses clover and rye grass between rows and under vines. The plantings control weeds, encourage diverse soil microbiology, and improve water retention. Weed control in colder months is by grazing sheep.

This rosé is 100% estate grown Petit Verdot that was left on its lees for 4 weeks after fermentation. The tart, fresh, cranberry notes on the entry are tempered by a slight creamy texture mid-palate, then there’s strawberry, violets, and dried herbs to bring it all home. It would be an all-summer-long-sipper, if we could’ve gotten more than three cases. At under 15 bucks, it’s hard to say no to it.

Bethel Heights Oregon Pinot Gris 2015 

This old-school property in Oregon’s Eola-Amity Hills has been a family operation since its founding in 1977. No time to write all the producer notes unfortunately, but here’s a link to the very thorough and descriptive website for background. This is a rich & fruity wine, with perfectly balanced acidity that offsets the intensity, and lends a buoyancy to the depth and creaminess.  It’s a delicious mouthful.

Swick Rosé of Pinot Noir Pétillant Naturel 2017, Willamette Valley, OR

When writing today’s note, we realized that we tasted the 2016 of this exactly one year ago, so it’s a little bit of deja Swick all over again. We’re going to recycle a portion of last year’s note, because recycling is good, and sometimes we’re lazy:

This is Rhode Island, Joe Swick’s home away from home, so we probably don’t need to tell you the Swick story. But if you want it, here’s the short version: http://www.jennyandfrancois.com/wines/usa/joe-swick/#7

This wine is from grapes from nearly 20-year-old vines that are hand-harvested, then pressed as whole bunches. Indigenous yeast fermentation is for 3 weeks in 6—7 year old barrels. The wine was bottled with a small amount of residual sugar, and finished fermenting in the bottle with no filtration and no sulfur added. It was then hand-disgorged, recapped, and sent out into the world. The 2017 is just as vibrant, hazy, and delicious as the 2016. It, too, will be gone before we know it, and too soon.

Tanganelli Cibreo Rosso, Tuscany

These notes from the importer sum it all up perfectly: Hidden on the outskirts of Castiglion Fiorentino, in the eastern corner of Tuscany is the tiny farm of Marco Tanganelli.  Marco is first and foremost an agriculturalist, garnering a regional reputation as the best source of advice when it comes to tending vines.  Carlo Tanganelli, Marco’s father, established an agricultural nursery over 40 years ago in order to preserve and propagate the local grape, olive and orchard varieties.  The Tanganelli family always made wine, mostly for themselves and locals but didn’t start to bottle and sell their wine until the late 90’s.

Today Marco farms some 5 hectares of very old trebbiano, malvasia and sangiovese vines, with some new plantings being made in the past few years on some high altitude terraces far above the village.  Marco’s wines are made in the mold of the old-school Tuscan peasant style wines, yet they show the care and skill of a true craftsman.  Natural fermentations, long elevage and zero or minimal sulfur are paramount methods of Tanganelli.

The two white wines, Anatrino and Anatraso both come from one very old vineyard that’s about 3 hectares in size.  It is believed, both by Marco and the University of Siena, that these are the oldest parcels of trebbiano and malvasia in Tuscany; many vines are nearly 110 years old and the entire plot has never been touched by chemicals or pesticides…a rare find anywhere in Tuscany or Italy for that matter.

Cibreo is mostly Sangiovese and Merlot, and a little but of Syrah. It’s named after a restaurant, which takes its name from an iconic Tuscan dish made from rooster. It’s medium-bodied, food-friendly, and satisfying.