Agnès & René Mosse Anjou Blanc 2015
Agnès & René Mosse were managers of a wine bar/wine shop in Tours before they decided to give up retail and city life in favor of the country, and wine production. They bought their estate in Anjou in 1999, replanted many vineyard blocks, and adopted organic and biodynamic farming practices.
This wine is 100% Chenin Blanc from younger vines (planted in 2000, 2001, and 2002) on four different parcels of Mosse vineyards. The vineyards are on southwest facing slopes and planted on soils of clay, sand and gravel atop a bed of schist. Grapes are hand-harvested, carefully sorted, and then left to ferment naturally in small wooden barrels. The wine goes through both alcoholic and malolactic fermentation, and then ages in barrel for 12 months. It’s texturally gorgeous, rich and soft but with beautiful acid and mineral presence (a dash of residual sugar balances out the acid), a little nutty, a touch smoky…it’s just delicious. Think scallops and rich seafood, herb-crusted goat cheese and soft cow’s milk cheese, squash and sweet corn…Yum.
Clos Saron, Sierra Nevada Foothills
Tickled Pink 2014
Out of the Blue 214
Gideon Beinstock and Saron Rice are husband and wife owners and famers of Clos Saron in California’s Sierra Foothills, which they established in 1999, after decades of experience in viticulture, winemaking and farming.
Here, Gideon describes how it all began: “It all started with a half acre of Cabernet Sauvignon, planted in the “wrong” place. Early in 1995, my wife Saron and I were asked by our friend Leonard if we wanted to take over his small (0.5 acre) vineyard and make some wine for ourselves… By then, I suspected that the reason his home-made Cabernet-Merlot blend tended to fall firmly on the leaner and meaner side, had more to do with the unusually cool micro-climate in which he planted his vines than with the very humble way he was making them in the tiny rustic stone cellar he built with his own hands. I asked if he would let us experiment with grafting it over to Pinot Noir, a grape variety famous for its affinity to such conditions. He said yes, and Saron proceeded to graft these 400 vines to Pinot; we also doubled the vineyard density by “own-rooting” a Pinot vine between every two grafted ones. This is how our “Old Block” came to be. Three years later Leonard sold us this piece of land and Clos Saron was born.”
The Sarons “Home Vineyard” as they call it, is now 2.5 acres, and planted with 4500 own-rooted Pinot Noir vines. While the Sierra Nevada Foothills isn’t known for Pinot production, this vineyard enjoys a microclimate that is beneficial to producing “a distinctive, expressive rendition of this variety”. The vineyard is situated at 1500-1600ft altitude, on clay-loam topsoil, and a subsoil that is a mixture of decomposed granite, volcanic ash, granitic rocks and quartz. The earth is pure, uncontaminated, and alive with earthworms and microorganisms.
In addition to the Home Vineyard, Clos Saron has branched out (and up; their Stone Soup vineyard is at 2000 feet elevation) over the years. In 2011 they also started planted 2.5 acres directly connected to their Home Vineyard; they had some setbacks due to drought, but in 2015 they completed planting varieties including Sauvignon Blanc, Roussanne, Viognier, Riesling, Petit Manseng, Syrah, Trousseau, Mondeuse, and more Pinot Noir. While they wait for these vines to be ready, they work with trusted friends and grape growers for some of their other cuvées, which brings us to this rosé.
Tickled Pink, full description from the producer: A co-fermentation of Syrah/Graciano/Viognier, this is our first rose to have been entirely stomped by foot. After a short two-day maceration, the red fruit was pressed onto the Viognier and completed fermentation on the white skins/stems. The wine was aged in barrel for 15 months before bottling. It is immediately fascinating in its subtlety and aromatic intricacy, and has the potential to age as well as our red wines.
The grapes for this wine were grown by Markus Bokisch in low rolling hills east of Galt, California. The soil is decomposed granite, washed down from the Sierra Mountains. 120 cases produced.
Out of the Blue Cinsault 2014
The 2014 (98% Cinsault, 2% Syrah) is our last vintage of this wine… This vintage has its tell-tale mesmerizing floral/spicy nose, with a bit more stuffing and tannin than in the past. The acidity is outstanding this year, which is not to be taken for granted for Cinsault. It has the potential to age for a decade or two, for those who can keep their hands off it… 190 cases produces, 30 ppm total sulfites added at bottling.
Envinate Táganan Vinos Atlanticos Tinto 2014, Tenerife
Notes from José Pastor: Envínate Real Wine from Real Folks
Envínate (Wine Yourself) is the brainchild of 4 friends, winemakers Roberto Santana, Alfonso Torrente, Laura Ramos, and José Martínez. This gang of 4 formed back in 2005 while studying enology at the University of Miguel Hernandez in Alicante. Upon graduation, they formed a winemaking consultancy, which evolved into Envínate, a project that focuses on exploring distinctive parcels mainly in the Atlantic-inflected regions of Ribeira Sacra and the Canary Islands. Their collective aim is to make profoundly pure and authentic wines that express the terruño of each parcel in a clear and concise manner. To this end, no chemicals are used in any of the Envínate vineyards, all parcels are picked by hand, the grapes are foot-trodden, and the wines are fermented exclusively with wild yeasts, with a varying proportion of whole grape clusters included. For aging, the wines are raised in old barrels and sulfur is only added at bottling, if needed. The results are some of the most exciting and honest wines being produced in Spain today.
Táganan – The old local name for the vineyard area located on the northeast side of Tenerife. In this area, the vineyards are planted “wild” on primary volcanic rock, on cliffs just above the Atlantic Ocean. The vineyards are very old and are mix planted with many different native grape varieties. Due to the rugged and difficult terrain, all farming has to be done by hand, and harvest is usually performed with the help of animals in order to be able to transport the grapes.
We almost didn’t want to open this one; we’re tempted to save what’s left for ourselves. But fine, we’ll share! What else can we say, this wine is so damned delicious. It’s a blend of Listan Negro, Listan Gaucho, Malvasia Negra, and a bunch of other unidentifiable grapes from vines about 100 years old. The northern coast of Tenerife has a rather temperate climate, allowing the grapes to ripen with moderate alcohol levels, while retaining acidity. The biggest challenges here come from strong winds from the Atlantic and Africa, and fluctuations in humidity. In any event, all the Envinate wines we tasted were evocative, complex, earthy, sublime; there’s all kinds of umami going on here, the texture is silky goodness, there’s a bit of rocky mineral, salty twang, that certain-something you get with volcanic wines…it’s just so good. We had it with portabello mushrooms sautéed in palo cortado sherry and it was a match made in heaven.