Author Archives: Campus Fine Wines

Friday and Saturday Tastings in the Shop

Friday, July 13, 2018

WINE TASTING, 5PM-8PM

Domaine Terres Blanches “Les Hospices” Chenin Blanc 2016

This is a small property in Anjou run by husband and wife Benoit and Celine Blet. The couple took over the farm from Bernard Coutel in 2004, became certified organic in 2010, and now work biodynamically. The domaine is 8.5 hectares of densely planted vines on quartz and clay

Les Hospices Chenin is made with grapes picked at the peak of ripeness and without SO2. It’s dry and rich, with pears, apples, beeswax, a little bit of floral/earthy character, and a long, fresh finish. Pair it with fish, shellfish, goat cheese…

Domaine des Cognettes Clisson Muscadet 2012

The village of Clisson is a mini-appellation within Muscadet Sevre et Maine. Brothers Stephane and Vincent Perraud work organically on their small property, as well as patiently. This Muscadet spent 4 and a half years on the lees; it is rich, complex, full of savory fruit and nutty, peppery undertones. The acidity is still vibrant. Enjoy it now…

Domaine Vetriccie Ile de Beauté Corsican Rosé 2017

This domaine has been in the same family since 1966. The sustainably farmed vineyards are spread across 120 hectares in the AOP Vin de Corse, ideally situated between the sea and the mountains. This rosé is a blend of Niellucciu, Sciaccarellu, Grenache and Merlot, picked at night to preserve freshness. It’s all bang for your buck drinkability: cherries, lemon, peaches and fresh acidity and minerality on the finish. Pair it with light apps and salads, simply grilled seafood, meat, and veggies, or nothing but the glass.

Domaine La Réméjeanne “Un Air” Côtes du Rhône Rouge 2016

François Klein established Domaine La Réméjeanne in 1960 on 5 hectares near the town of Bagnols-sur-Cèze in the Gard. It’s now operated by his son Remi, and grandson Olivier. Remi diversified the property with olive groves and fig trees, and worked over the years to convert the domaine to organic farming; it’s now 38 hectares and has been certified organic since 2010.

Un Air is 80% Grenache & 20% Syrah that’s hand-harvested, mostly de-stemmed, and fermented and aged in concrete tanks before being bottled without fining, and with only light filtration. It’s silky and delicious, with notes of raspberries, black cherries, lavender, and other aromatic herbs. It’s another bang for your buck wine that will be perfect grill-side, but is really a year-round, versatile, crowd-pleasing red.

BEER TASTING, SATURDAY July 14, 3PM-6PM

Two Roads Variety Packs!

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

July 6, 2018

Vittorio Bera e Figli Bianco Arcese 2017, Piedmont

Alessandra Bera didn’t wait for her family’s wines to be discovered by a world class importer like Louis/Dressner, in 2002 she got in touch with them herself. Her vigneron friends in France told her that her and her brother Gian Luigi’s style of natural wine making would be a perfect fit. Those friends were none other than Pierre Breton of Bourgueil, Marcel Richaud of Cairanne, Jean-Marie and Thierry Puzelat in Cheverny,  and Claude Maréchal in Burgundy. With friends like that…obviously Vittorio Bera & Figli was added to the portfolio.

The estate, in the Canelli region of Piedmont, dates back to 1785, when Bera’s ancestors purchased land from the Knights of Malta. Cultivation of grapes here goes back to the 13th century, and it’s particularly well known for Moscato. Bera & Figli is in Sant’Antonio di Canelli, within the region of Serra Masio, the most prestigious and ancient of Moscato production areas. By the end of the 18th century and continuing into the 20th century, Moscato was dominated by bulk producers and characterless wines. Bera has always been different, starting with being the first in their region to bottle their own wines.

Arcese is Favorita, Arneis, Cortese, and Sauvignon Blanc (and maybe some Vermentino), from vines that are co-planted and grapes that are co-fermented. The grapes are de-stemmed and ferment spontaneously in concrete tanks without any addition of sulfur. The wine goes through malolactic and rests on its lees for one year (in concrete) and is then bottled with a tiny amount of sulfur, and with a dash of residual sugar; this allows for a final bit of fermentation in the bottle, which gives the wine a little refreshing spritz.

Saetti Rosato dell’Emila Frizzante 2017, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Luciano Saetti lives in Modena and makes DOC Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce from the local strain of Salamino, a thick-skinned grape that’s darker-colored and higher in acidity than other Lambrusco grapes. He works organically with vines that his family planted in 1964, and with just grapes, nothing added, and no added sulfur anywhere at any point during production. Production technique is rare for Lambrusco: the grapes are hand-harvested, de-stemmed and crushed in the field in small 100-liter steel containers. Secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle, initiated by the addition of fresh grape must in the spring following the vintage, and is fermented to dryness. The bottles are riddled and disgorged by hand. The wines are dry, earthy, and complex.

Kevin (Kewin) Descombes Beaujolais-Villages “Cuvee Keke” 2017

From the importers website:

Kewin Descombes has de-throned his step-brother Damien Coquelet as the youngest vigneron we work with!

A the ripe old age of 21, Kewin produced his first vintage in 2013. He currently rents 1.15 hectares within the Beaujolais appellation along with 1.6 hectares of Morgon from a retired vigneron who’d previously rented the vines to his father Georges, whom we also import. In addition, Kewin purchased 1.2 hectares of 85 year old Morgon vines in 2013, which produce his Vieilles Vignes. If you’re wondering why father and son (not to mention Damien) do not work together as a family, the answer is two-fold. The first is economic: inheritance laws in France tend to be intensely costly for the benefactor, not to mention an insane amount of administrative paperwork. And if you’ve ever dreaded family get-togethers during the holidays, you can all too easily relate to the second reason: getting along with family is not always easy, and in some cases impossible. While Georges, Damien and Kewin get along, the three have very strong personalities; having their independence gives them the breathing room necessary to avoid butting heads.

Dirty & Rowdy Unfamiliar 2017

We just saw Hardy Wallace last Monday at the Dirty & Rowdy wine dinner at Fortnight. Hardy (Dirty) & Matt Richardson (Rowdy) have been making natural wine in California since the late 2000s. Their wines were amongst the first domestic ones we sought out for our shop, back in 2012, and they were kind enough to send us a few cases. 2017 was a trying year with apocalyptic wildfires being just one component of the trials and tribulations they faced. So Unfamiliar is their first, and hopefully last, “Natural Disaster” wine. It’s 85% Mourvèdre, 10% Syrah, and 5% Grenache from Monterrey, Mendocino, El Dorado, and Amador Counties. It’s fruity, chillable, and crushable.

Producer winemaking notes: 100% whole cluster. Stuck lots restarted. Volatility reduced. Gently filtered. We made the …. out of this wine.

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM

June 29, 2018

Westport Rivers Mayflower Brut Rosé Special Club, Westport, MA

This is a creamy, deeply fruity, slightly toasty, plum and violet flecked methode champenoise rosé sparkler from our neighbors in Massachusetts. It’s Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Pinot Meunier from the 2009 vintage, with a dosage from 2012 special reserve estate red that adds “the subtle grip and pull of barrel-aged dryness”.

Read more about Westport Rivers here.

Leiner Riesling Trocken 2016 (Liter), Pfalz, Germany

Leiner is a 16 hectare biodynamically farmed property in Pfalz, a region that borders Alsace, and like Alsace, is drier and warmer than some of the other classic regions along the Rhine. Most of the soil here is crumbly limestone chalk, imparting the wines with depth and minerality.

This dry Riesling has been a favorite of ours for a while now. It’s got that little classic touch of petrol on the nose, atop a palate of peaches, lime, wet stones, and white flowers. It’s easy, zippy, and super-versatile.

Steininger Rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Kamptal, Austria

The Steininger family farms and makes wine in Kamptal, Austria. Their vines are on bedrock, loess and clay, and the climate here lends itself to clean, precise, mineral-driven wines; summer days are hot, the nights are cool, and autumn tends to be long and sunny. This rosé is another favorite. It’s full of raspberry notes, a little bit of savory spice, it’s lush on the mid-palate but bursting with cool, refreshing acidity.

Domaine Victor Sornin Beaujolais 2017

Notes from the importer: Named for the winemaker’s son Victor, it’s a special project from an already-established organic winery based in Régnié-Durette that is run by Frédéric Sornin. The focus here is to make wines that are as natural as possible using the best grapes available.

As such, they have access to very old Gamay vines (40+ years), densely planted (10,000 vines/hectare) to sandy granitic soils. The fields are tended by sheep, and their droppings are the only fertilizer these vineyards will ever see. Everything is hand-harvested, as befits an organic winery, and nature is allowed to run its course with indigenous yeasts doing their work in stainless tanks. The wine then stays in tank until spring, at which time it’s bottled unfined and with just a light filtering.

Victor, who is now 14, participates with Frédéric in all aspects of winemaking. He is a true apprentice, learning at the side of his Papa so he too can one day make great wines on his own. It’s a real treat to watch this young boy grow into his own, and it will be interesting to follow him as he gains experience. But for now, we can enjoy this crisp bright Beaujolais Villages.

Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM, with Grazing Sticks!

June 8, 2018

Tonight we’re joined by Martin from New England Grass Fed Beef, part of the Cloverbud Ranch co-op in Portsmouth RI. We’ll be sampling his “Grazing Sticks” during our wine tasting. Think locally-sourced, artisanal Slim Jims.

 

 

Weingut Keller Riesling Trocken 2015, Rheinhessen, Germany

Klaus-Peter Keller is considered by many to be one of the best German winemakers; Jancis Robinson calls his wines the “Montrachets of Germany”. But he doesn’t make just high end, hard to find wines; he also makes entry-level wines that are just as meticulously made, but won’t break the bank. The organically farmed vineyards on the slopes of the Rhine River have been in the Keller family since 1789. The soil on these rolling hills is limestone rich, adding mineral intensity, vibrant aromatics, and glass-like purity.

This Riesling is loaded with notes of peaches, apples, lemons, honey, and honeydew, backed up by refreshing acidity that is tempered by aging on the lees.

We had a bit of a mix up last week and didn’t end up tasting this rosé, so here it is again:

Señoria de Astobiza, Basque Country, Txakoli de Alava D.O.

Xabier Abando was only 15 when his father passed away, but his memories of seeing him working in the vineyards and making wine had a lasting effect upon him. He carried the dream of his own bodega with him over the years, and in 1996 acquired the first two hectares near the town of Okondo that would become his estate. He planted vines, and each year planted more, patiently waiting for the vines to produce grapes suitable to his taste. In 2008, he felt they were ready, and finally built his bodega for what would be his first vintage, and officially establish Señorio de Astobiza. He was 68. Now Xabier and Ana Martin make wine at this small, high-elevation, organically farmed estate.

Astobiza Txakoli de Alava Rosé 2017 is a 50/50 blend of the red grape Hondarrabi Beltza, and the white grape Hondarrabi Zuri. It’s single vineyard, hand-harvested, and estate bottled, without SO2. The red grapes spend a day or so on the skins, giving the wine it’s lovely pink hue. It’s white flower and strawberry scented, with a similar salty, mineral-driven character to the white, along with splashes of citrus and more flowers on the finish. It’s another fine seafood pair…

Pomagrana Trepat 2016, Conca de Barbera, Spain

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, has another project on the rocky slopes of Ribeira Sacra with brothers Carlos and Juan Rodríguez, and this one in Conca de Barberá, with his friend Marc Lecha, who was one of the first natural wine retailers in Barcelona.

Pomagrana is from a little-known Spanish grape called Trepat, that’s a bit like Gamay. We think of this as a light red, but some people consider it a rosé; in any event, it can take a chill. On the nose there’s lots of red fruit like strawberries and raspberries (and maybe a touch of tart cranberry) along with an earthy, herbal, woodsy note. On the palate you’ve got more red fruit and tart, crisp acidity. It’s a thirst-quenching, low-alcohol wine that’s perfect for casual meals at a sun-dappled outdoor table, piled with that day’s farmer’s market haul.

Dashe Cellars Old Vine Carignane, Evangelho Vineyard ’Les Enfants Terribles’ 2015, CA

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 carignane is from vines on original rootstock planted in 1890. The vineyard is dry-farmed and the roots extend more than 40 feet through soils of almost pure sand to reach the water table below. The grapes produce wines that are dark, expressive, and complex. The wine spends about 8 months in old, neutral oak barrels. The end result is a vibrant red laced with floral notes like roses and violets, mingling with black cherries and strawberries. The texture is lush and soft, but finishes with lively acidity and crisp minerality.

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

June 1, 2018

Señoria de Astobiza, Basque Country, Txakoli de Alava D.O.

Xabier Abando was only 15 when his father passed away, but his memories of seeing him working in the vineyards and making wine had a lasting effect upon him. He carried the dream of his own bodega with him over the years, and in 1996 acquired the first two hectares near the town of Okondo that would become his estate. He planted vines, and each year planted more, patiently waiting for the vines to produce grapes suitable to his taste. In 2008, he felt they were ready, and finally built his bodega for what would be his first vintage, and officially establish Señorio de Astobiza. He was 68. Now Xabier and Ana Martin make wine at this small, high-elevation, organically farmed estate.

Astobiza Txakoli de Alava Blanco 2016 is 90% Hondarrabi Zuri & 10% Petit Courbu, and like the label says, it’s single vineyard, hand-harvested, and estate bottled (without SO2). It’s fresh and vibrant, salty and mineral-driven, with tart green apple, ripe pear, zesty grapefruit, and refreshing acidity. Oysters, seafood, and semi-soft cheeses are good pairs.

*Astobiza Txakoli de Alava Rosé 2017 is a 50/50 blend of the red grape Hondarrabi Beltza, and the white grape Hondarrabi Zuri (also single vineyard, hand-harvested, and estate bottled (without SO2). The red grapes spend a day or so on the skins, giving the wine it’s lovely pink hue. It’s white flower and strawberry scented, with a similar salty, mineral-driven character to the white, along with splashes of citrus and more flowers on the finish. It’s another fine seafood pair…

*oops, had to replace this rosé with Semeli Mountain Sun Agiorgitiko rosé. Not enough Txakoli!

Domaine Glinavos ‘Paleokerisio’ Traditional Semi-Sparkling Orange Wine, 2016, 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 racy 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.

Paleokerisio is 97% Debina and 3% Vlahiko (a local red grape) harvested at the end of September and first couple weeks of October. The de-stemmed grapes ferment on the skins for about 12 days in oak casks. In the spring, the second fermentation takes place in closed tanks, producing the gentle sparkle. The wine is bottled without additives, and when there is still a touch of residual sugar. This is a savory, honey-hued wine. Pleasant oxidative notes mingle with butter, apple, vanilla, & clove. Have it with salty cured fish (the producer suggests Greek caviar, known as Botargo and Epirotic pies), savory and semi-sweet tarts, feta and olives, and lots of fried seafood.

Vina Štekar Cabernet Sauvignon Kakovostno 2015, Goriška Brda, Slovenia

Jure Štekar is the current winemaker on this 10 hectare family property that was established in 1985 (Goriška Brda and Italy’s Collio are one region, divided only by bureaucracy, post WWII). Jure took over from his father Roman, who learned everything he knew from his father Emil. While the winery was officially founded in 1985, the family’s roots go back centuries here, and it’s said that their farmhouse was the first house built in the small village of Snežatno back in 1771. Štekar is organically certified, and they do not use any chemicals in the vineyards or the cellar. The grapes are hand-harvested and fermented with naturally occurring yeast. Wines are bottled unfiltered, without sulfur, and with consideration of the position of the moon.

This is single vineyard (Početrtka) Cabernet Sauvignon from vines that are about 20 years old. The grapes are de-stemmed and then macerate for 20-25 days before being transferred to 500l Slovenian oak casks for 12-14 months. It’s soft & plummy, with Mediterranean herbs, leather, sour cherries, and fine-grained tannins.

 

Memorial Weekend Tastings in the Shop

Friday, May 25, 2018, we have back to back tastings.

3-5PM: Willie’s Superbrew pours their two new brews.

5-8PM: our regularly scheduled Friday wine tasting (notes are below).

Saturday, 3-6PM: Wakefield’s Whalers Brewing in the shop.

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop

Gaston Chiquet Cuvée Tradition Brut 1er Cru NV
Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir

We couldn’t improve upon the importer and Terry Thiese notes for this wine, so here they are: Nicolas Chiquet farms 23 heactares in the Valle de la Marne in the villages of Ay, Dizy, Hautvillers and Mareuil-sur-Ay. All of the fruit (including that which is used in the non-vintage cuvée) comes from premiere and grand cru grapes. Nicolas does not employ any oak aging at Gaston Chiquet; he believes that concentration, fruit maturity and malolactic fermentation impart enough body and texture to make aging in barrel unnecessary.

Terry Thiese notes: “In essence this wine combines the pumpernickel-sweetness of Meunier with a walnutty richness typical of this part of the Marne, and what makes it most wonderful is that it’s both extremely articulate and openly friendly. It is class defined and enacted. If you think such qualities are “mainstream”, shame on you. Such qualities are rare, my friend, and you do not have the privilege to take them for granted. It’s 40% PM, 35% CH and 20% PN. There’s 30% reserve wine, which includes some 2011, which one does—alas—notice. Otherwise the wine is saltier than usual, with somewhat more power and length.” 45 months on the lees.

Domaine Cheveau Saint Véran “Terroir Davayé” 2016

Domaine Cheveau was established in 1950 by André Cheveau; today his two grandsons run the estate, which is situated on 14 hectares around Solutré-Pouilly, and extends into Davayé in the Maconnais, and Saint Amour in Beaujolais. No fertilizers are used and all harvesting is done by hand; the wines are fermented and vinified parcel by parcel. Total estate production is fewer than 5,000 cases.

This Saint Veran is 100% Chardonnay from younger vines of 15 to 20 years of age. It’s sourced from vineyards in the village of Davayé, part of the Saint Veran appellation. It’s fermented and aged in stainless steel for eight or so months before being bottled. Dry, finessed, understated, and produced in very small quantities, so only about 100 cases make it to the US annually.

Domaine Lucien Crochet Sancerre Rosé 2017

Lucien Crochet was formally established when Lucien Crochet married the daughter of Lucien Picard, joining the two estates of Lucien Picard and André Crochet (Lucien’s father). Lucien Picard was one of the first growers to bottle his own wine in Sancerre, and then sell them primarily to restaurants in Paris. Over 30 years, Lucien Crochet expanded upon his father-in-law’s work, and expanded the domaine as well, so that it is now over 38 hectares, 29 of which are planted to Sauvignon Blanc, 9 to Pinot Noir. The vines are planted on clay and limestone, and they’ve been farmed organically since 1989.

Only 6% of Sancerre is rosé, mostly because making good wine from red grapes in Sancerre is best left to very good producers, preferably with help from warmer weather. This is one of those rare instances where climate change makes things better.

Domaine Joseph Dorbon Arbois Rouge Trousseau Vielle Vigne 2013, Jura

Joseph Dordon established his domaine in 1996 with about 3 hectares of vineyards in AOC Arbois, situated in the village of Vadans. His vines are planted on hillsides, facing south, at approximately 1000 feet altitude. Though he’s not yet certified organic, he works as responsibly as possible, avoiding chemicals, hand-harvesting, hoeing by horse, allowing weeds to grow…

This old vine (40+ years) Trousseau is de-stemmed and fermented for 15 or so days with the pulp, and then aged for one year in stainless steel, to keep the freshness of Trousseau. The importer notes state that this wine is “open and delicious with fresh, tart fruit, underlying notes of dried herbs and a light, tannic backbone. The color is an attractive pale red tinged with a slight orange hue. High-toned and bright, this wine could easily be confused for a red Burgundy from the Hautes Cotes de Beaune.” Capable of aging for 10-15 years. And they have a very cute cottage for rent.

Here’s a cool article in The Guardian about natural wine…it mentions trailblazer Marcel Lapierre, whose 2017 Morgon we just got a case of yesterday, now produced by his son Mathieu and daughter Camille.

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.