2013 Schloss Schönborn “Not Normal” Riesling, Rheingau, Germany
We love Riesling, but bring us one called “Not Normal” and you really have our attention! This might need to be our wine mascot! The Schönborn family traces its roots back 27 generations on this estate, to 1349, though family documents put them their as early as the 13th century. This is the oldest estate in Germany, and one of the oldest in Europe. Farming practices have remained pretty much the same since the beginning; though not certified organic, they avoid chemicals and call themselves sustainable and manage their vineyards “in tune with nature”. Over 90% of their 50 hectares of vineyards are planted to Riesling.
“Not Normal” is named as such because it undergoes malolactic fermentation and has extended lees contact, which is…not normal, for Riesling anyway. And after making wine for nearly 700 years, you get to call your wine whatever the hell you want. This is a pretty cool wine. The texture is rich and full (due to the malo & lees) but there’s a deep, rocky mineral quality here, along with flowers and orchard fruit. It’s balanced, bright & pretty darned delightful.
2014 Chateau L’Eperonniere Rosé de Loire
Mathieu Tijou, son of Pierre-Yves and Brigitte Tijou of Chateau Soucherie, launched his career as an independent vigneron at Chateau L’Eperonniere with the 2007 vintage. The family had owned the larger Chateau Soucherie for generations, and effectively traded it for this smaller one, just down the road. The vineyards are situated on both sides of the Loire, overlooking the Layon. Mathieu now owns the “Croix Picot” vineyard in the Savennieres appellation, and the remaining vineyards are in the Anjou & Coteaux du Layon appellations.
This dry Rosé is mostly Cabernet Franc with a touch of Grolleau. It just arrived today, so we’ll try it together!
2013 Chateau Cambon Beaujolais
Chateau Cambon is a cult-Beaujolais baby; it’s the creation of three of the most well-known names in the region: (the late) Marcel Lapierre, Jean-Claude Chanudet (w/wife Genevieve) and Joseph Chamonard.
This 13 hectare biodynamic estate sits between Morgon and Brouilly. The three parcels that make up the estate were planted in 1914, upon soils that are a mix of argile-granite and calcerous sand. After fermentation with wild yeasts, the wines rest in 200 year old oak foudres and are bottled with little or no SO2. This is pure Gamay. Fresh and juicy cherries and strawberries, tempered by an earthy streak. The old vines add depth and minerality. Have it with coq au vin, as a seafood red, with lightly spicy foods, or all on its own.
2013 Domaine Matin Calme “Mano a Mano” Roussillon
Domaine Matin Calme was established by Véronique Souloy and Anthony Guix in 2006. The Carignan and Grenache Noir vines here are more than 100 years old, planted on soils of granite, schist and gneiss. Because the domaine is situated at such high elevation (over 1500 feet above sea level) they are able to grow fully mature grapes without high alcohol levels.
Matin Calme is certified organic and no SO2 is used in the fermentation process, and usually none at bottling. The yields are tiny, only 20 hl/ha, and the wines are never filtered or fined. Mano a Mano is 60% Grenache/40% Carignan, made via semi-carbonic maceration in stainless steel.