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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, 5pm – 8pm

Oct. 20, 2017

Semeli Mantinia Moschofilero 2015

This crisp white comes from the Mantinia region on the Greek Peloponnese Peninsula. It’s 100% Moschofilero grown at relatively high altitudes (650m) with a very floral, citrusy nose. The cool temperatures in these elevated vineyards give the wine a bright acidity that works well with any Mediterranean seafood dish you can chef up.

Gentilini Robola of Cephalonia 2015 

Grown on the island of Cephalonia (or Kefalonia), this white is 100% Robola, a rare, ungrafted, Greek variety. Low yields at high altitudes produce a lively and fresh wine, with orange blossom on the nose balanced by a dry minerality on the finish. Oysters anyone?

Domaine de la Noblaie ‘Les Temps des Cerises’ Chinon 2015

This property is situated at one of the highest points in Chinon, and dates back to the 15th or 16th century. The domaine now houses four generations of the same family; Jérome Billard is the current winemaker. He earned his chops as an intern at Chateau Petrus in Bordeaux, and Dominus in California. He returned to Chinon and the family domaine in 2003 and quickly converted to organic farming.

Noblaie sits upon soils of limestone, clay and chalk. All harvests are carried out by hand, and by the same crew year after year. The wines here are fermented and aged in stainless steel, some in barrel, and some in chalk vats carved out of the earth.

‘Les Temps des Cerises’ is from vines averaging 30 years old, grown on tuffeau. Wild yeast fermentation, 8 months in tank, no sulfur during production, and little to none added at bottling. Pure and fresh, with notes of tobacco, brambly earth, and cherries, of course.

Rojac Istra Refošk Refosco 2014

The Rojac family has been making wine on the Slovenian coast since the 17th century. Uroš Rojac, the King of Refošk, works biodynamically in the vineyard and minimally in the cellar, and champions the native Refošk grape. This is an inky fuller-bodied red with aromas of blackberries and currant, and hints of leather and spice. Roast lamb or beef, pot roast, braised short ribs, you get the idea.

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

July 7, 2017

Schlossgut Diel Riesling Trocken 2015, Nahe, Germany

Caroline is a 6th generation winemaker at her family’s 25 hectare estate in Nahe, Germany. Her father Armin Diel owns the estate, and is well known for his work to promote German wine and food culture. Their steep vineyards sit upon soils of gravel, slate and quartzite, and the wines are known for their precision, clarity, and balance, above all. Viticulture is almost entirely organic, and fermentation is carried out spontaneously in cement. Read more here. 

Weingut Reichsrat von Buhl Spätburgunder Rosé Trocken 2016, Pfalz, Germany

Von Buhl is a 62 hectare organically farmed estate in Pfalz. It was founded in 1849, and was at one point part of the Jordan Estate, a leader in fine German wine production. The Von Buhl estate and its buildings are protected as national monuments. This wine is 100% Pinot Noir. It’s dry (trocken), fresh, flecked with red fruit, and zesty. 

Ampeleia Unlitro 2016, IGT Costa Toscana

Elisabetta Foradori. Elisabetta took over the grape growing and winemaking duties at the family estate in Trentino, Italy, when her father died young in 1985. Since then she has transformed the estate from the ground up, converting to biodynamic viticulture and bringing the region back to valuing quality over quantity. When the website Corkbuzz asked her what her 10-year goals were, this was her answer: “To create an independent agricultural union. To help ease my children into adulthood. To have a garden that can feed all those that come to visit. To be aware and happy every day.” Thumbs up to that. 

Ampeleia is a joint venture from Elisabetta Foradori and a few friends. The Unlitro is, yes, a liter of glou-glou deliciousness. It’s mostly Alicante (Grenache) and some Carignan and Alicante Bouschet from vineyards planted at 200-250 meters above sea level, then fermented and aged for 6 months in cement. Organic, very low SO2. Put a little chill on it, toss it back. 

Brett Brothers Beaujolais-Leynes Glou de Jeff, 2014

Notes from the importer: These young brothers, much praised by the more intelligent press, are incredibly talented. They have the unmistakable, and highly contagious, spark of people who are trying against difficult odds to raise the standards of an appellation. They are neither alone or the first, but they are part of a very small handful of revolutionaries in the Mâconnais. You will find almost no new oak in their cellar; if think you have tasted some, it is just a testimony to the incredible transparency of their style, letting even the taste and aroma of one to three year old barrels through.

This wine is unique for the Bret Brothers as they neither harvested nor vinified it. It was created by Jean-François, “Jeff” Promonet, a winemaker friend just starting his career in Leynes. He was having trouble selling all of his production in 2013, so the Brothers offered to bottle and sell his wine, and continue to do so!

Certified organic, 100% Gamay, 50 year old vines from 400 m altitude, steep, south-facing slopes. Vinification and aging in concrete.

Fümp!Fest at Bucktown! Friday, May 5th!

bucktown fump festRain will force fizzy festivities indoors, but that won’t dampen the fun! Come get fried chicken by the piece or bucket, and fizzy by the glass or bottle!

Wine Wizards and SelectioNaturel will be in attendance, and rumor has it that Fümp t-shirts exist for a lucky few! Show up at Bucktown after 5pm, and pretend you’re on a sunny Italian hillside. Why not?


Thanksgiving Week Hours

Happy Thanksgiving! 

We hope your holiday is filled with fabulous food, fine wine, and your fondest friends and family. Cheers!

Wednesday, Nov. 23rd: 10am to 10pm

Closed Thursday, Nov. 24th: Thanksgiving!

Friday, Nov. 25th: noon – 8pm

A mere sampling of the bounty!

A mere sampling of the bounty!