October 6, 2017
Finca Parera is a father/son operation, now on its fourth generation of the Parera family. Established in 1892, they have been farming organically since 1999, and biodynamically since 2013 (certified). In addition to grapes, they also grow small plots of cherries, almonds, olives, and an assortment of vegetables. They also keep bees, which provides them with a small amount of honey.
Their vineyards are in the Upper Penedès, a low rainfall area about 350 meters from the sea, and planted on calcareous-clay soil. Some of their vines are around 80 years old.
Clar is Xarel-lo, Gewurztraminer and Chardonnay, fermented with native yeast in cement, and bottled with very little sulfur. It’s fragrant and easy-drinking, and perfect with seafood and savory, earthy vegetables, like white mushrooms, artichokes, and roasted fennel.
Domaine du Viking 2014 Vouvray Tendre
Notes from Jon David Headrick: It is fair to say that Lionel Gauthier is a bit of a misfit in the area. With a shocking patch of blond hair, massive build, and in-your-face intensity, he seems more Scandinavian than Loire. At least that is what his friends thought when they started calling him the “Viking” several years ago. After a few years, the name “Viking” had stuck, so in 1989, Lionel decided to rename the property. Read more about Vouvray and Lionel here.
Every single bunch of grapes on the property is hand-harvested, sorted, destemmed, crushed, and fermented in Lionel’s tiny garage cellar, and left to age in tank and barrels made from local chestnut (according to Lionel, oak imparts too many unwanted flavors to his wines.) Lionel’s style is what he called “Sec Tendre” or “Tender Dry”. This is usually a demi-sec (off dry) bottling with very high acidity. Because most of the vines are planted on flint (silex), the minerality and acidity are startling and stunning. There is a type of mouthwatering acidity that makes drinking these wines all too easy. For lovers of great Austrian and Germain riesling.
Vouvray “Tendre” is 100% Chenin Blanc from the most northern part of the Vouvray AOC and silex (flint) soils. Fermented in tank and aged partially in chestnut barrels. “Tender dry” (tendre) style.
MicroBio Correcaminos Red 2016, Castilla y León
Ismael Gozalo is known locally as “El Mago de las Verdejos” or the Wizard of Verdejo.
The importers words say it best: “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.”
Some might be familiar with Ismael through his role at Ossian in Rueda, where he worked as winemaker and winegrower since its founding in 2004. But MicroBio, his solo project since 1998, is where his passion lies, and that is where you will find him these days.
Correcaminos is 100% Tempranillo from 70 year old vines planted on slate soil, fermented in stainless steel, and bottled unfined and unfiltered, with no added SO2. Correcaminos is juicy and vibrant, with flavors of cherries and plums, earthy-dried spice notes, and a touch of anise. Serve with a slight chill.
Gut Oggau Atanasius 2015
Notes from the importer: Gut Oggau is a project in the small town of Oggau in Burgenland, Austria, started by Eduard and Stephanie Tscheppe in 2007. Before starting the winery, Eduard made conventional wine with his father in Styria, and Stephanie’s family owned and operated the Michelin starred restaurant Taubenkobel. They painstakingly restored the 17th century winery that had been abandoned for 20 years, including its 200-year-old screw press. The vines’ 20-year period of neglect was fortunate, as this allowed for all pesticide and chemical treatments to be washed away. This let them begin working immediately on vines biodynamically, where they are now fully Demeter certified.
When they began to work with the wines in the cellar, they noticed that each wine seemed so alive with its own personality, that they decided to craft labels centered around the personality inside each bottle. Thus they created a family of wines: each wine is given a name of one family member and the artist Jung von Matt draws a face for each label. The detail here is so exacting that Jung actually ages the face on the label each time a new vintage is released. The children, Atanasius, Theodora, and Winifred, are wines that are more forthright, light, bold and energetic. The parents, Joschuari, Emmeram, Timotheus, and Josephine, come from vineyards with a little more direct sun exposure and therefore more ripeness producing wines with more body and power. And finally the grandparents, Mechtild and Bertholdi, are from two single vineyards of older vines that produce the most traditional wines from their lineup. Most of the vineyards are field blended, and therefore there is little mention of grape varieties here, but they do work with 6 main grape varieties– Blaufrankish, Zweigelt Grüner Veltliner, Welchriesling, Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc), and Gewurtzraminer.
Like his sister Theodora, Atanasius has a very affectionate and easy-going nature that is typical of the inhabitants of the Burgenland, and is an attractive young man, but in no way superficial. Despite already being exceptionally popular, he still retains some hidden qualities, which makes him even more interesting. His dream is to one day become an acclaimed world star.
Age of Vines: 35 years
Soil: Gravel and limestone
Zweigelt and Blaunfrankisch
Vinification Method: Grapes are hand harvested and destemmed. Fermentation takes place in used 500, and 1200-liter barrels, and the juice spends about 3 weeks in contact with the skins. The wine goes through elevage in the same barrels for about 12 months, with no batonnage. The wine is bottled unfined, unfiltered, and with zero addition of sulfur.
–with Peter Buckley of Vineyard Road, Friday, September 22nd.
Appellation: Cava • Subzone: Alt Penedès • Climate: Mediterranean • Varieties: 40% Macabeo, 30% Xarlel-lo, 30% Parellada • Soil: Calcareous Clay • Elevation: 250-350 meters • Vine Age: 25 years • Pruning: Espaldera • Farming: Certified Organic
The Suriol family has lived and made wine in the same masia, the Castell de Grabuac, in Penedès since the 15th century. They produce Cavas and still wines using traditional, non-interventionist methods, indigenous grape varieties vinified by parcel with native yeasts, local chestnut wood for barrel aging, and corks from the local forest. The results are some of the most complex and layered Penedès wines that we have tasted.
The Suriol estate is located in the village of Font Rubí in the Alt Penedès, just north of Vilafranca and west of Sant Sadurni d’Anoia, and a one-hour drive from Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea. Their 25 hectares of vineyards are divided up into 20 different microplots and surround the masia, and have been certified organic since 1996. They employ biodynamic practices as well, utilizing native plants for preparations.
All Suriol Cavas are brut nature and vintage dated, and raised on the lees in bottle until order, with the disgorgement date noted on the back label. Fruit for the Cava Brut Nature comes from eight parcels planted in the late 1980’s. The grapes are handharvested, pressed, and fermented in steel vats, transferred to underground concrete vats for malolactic fermentation over the winter, then bottle aged for a minimum of 15 months, although 25-40 months is typically where they find the fruity and yeasty/toasty flavors are in perfect balance. It is a singular Cava with brisk acidity, creamy texture, and flavors of orchard fruits, nuts, fresh bread, and sea salt.
Alvaro Bueno, Benaza Godello (2016)
100% Godello from 20 -40 year old vines at 400 metres elevation. The wine region Monterrei (in Galicia) is located just above Portugal in the province of Ourense. Monterrei is a relatively new D.O. but possesses a long history of winegrowing, and at the moment is experiencing a renaissance in winemaking. The climate is relatively dry and warm for Galicia and more continental than Atlantic. The soils are a mix of clay and alluvial. Wine is fermented in steel and aged for 12 months on the lees.
Dominio del Urogallo, Fanfarria (2015)
Asturias, Spain • Appellation: Cangas • Organic, Biodynamic
Urogallo Fanfarria Tinto is a red wine produced in Cangas by the Dominio de Urogallo winery in Cangas de Narcea, Asturias. Dominio del Urogallo is a project founded by Nicolás Marcos and his partner Fran Asencio in Asturias. Native to Toro, Nico discovered his personal and most revolutionary project in the Cangas area, with native varieties like the Verdejo Tinto or the Albarín Tinta, an Atlantic climate and soil made up of quartz, slate and anthracite. He cultivates the vineyards following the precepts of biodynamic viticulture and takes care of the fruit during production, without filtering or adding anything.
Urogallo Fanfarria Tinto is the freshest wine in the winery, produced with the Mencía and Albarín Negro varieties. The grape is destemmed and ferments in stainless steel tanks, the wine is then decanted into used barrels where malolactic fermentation and stabilization take place for 6 months.
Alfredo Maestro, Viña Almate (2016)
Grower: Alfredo Maestro • Appellation: Vdt Castilla y Léon • Localities: Peñafiel, Valtiendas • Climate: Continental • Grape(s): Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) • Soil(s): River Stones, Clay, Alluvial • Elevation: 700-1,000 meters • Vine Age 10-80 Years Old • Farming: Practicing Organic • Pruning: En Vaso, Espaldera • Production 830 cases
The affable iconoclast Alfredo Maestro established his small bodega in 1998 in his hometown of Peñafiel, Ribera del Duero. Alfredo seeks out neglected vineyards around Castilla y León and Castilla-La Mancha, takes the parcels over, and works them organically. In the cellar, Alfredo works as naturally as anyone we have seen in Spain, eliminating all winemaking additives – including sulfur. Over time, Alfredo has accumulated 9 hectares across Castilla y León and La Mancha along with establishing a second small bodega near Madrid.
This cuvee is meant to express the terroir of Castilla y León in its purest form. Almate is the name of the first vineyard that Alfredo planted and gives the name to his bodega and to Alfredo’s entry-level Duero wine. This cuvee is made from fruit sourced from various plots in Valtiendas, an area located at 1,000 meters just south of the Ribera del Duero, as well as Peñafiel, Ribera del Duero.
Viña Almate comes from 100% Tinto Fino, aka the local clone of Tempranillo grown on river stones, clay, and clay-calcareous soils. Fermented 80% whole-cluster with wild yeasts in steel vats; Raised in neutral French oak for 2-4 months with one racking; Unfined & unfiltered; Very low SO2.
The vineyards for this wine are located in the Ribera del Duero and Valtiendas, where the climate is harshly continental with cold winters, hot days and cold nights during the ripening season, which gives wines with robust fruit and brisk acidity if the grapes are picked at the right time. The biggest threat to viticulture is frost in the spring and fall. The short growing season is ideal for Tempranillo, an early ripening grape.
(special preview hour 5pm-6pm with purchase of First Sip Ticket)
Explore the delicious variety of natural wine in the raw beauty of a historic, reclaimed industrial space while raising funds for the Steel Yard and its programs.
Campus Fine Wines and the Steel Yard share the core belief in a world made by hands, where production is crafted and producers are connected to their audience, enriching our lives and creating cultural and economic value. For this 4th installment, we’ll include small seminars with importers and producers (in a separate tent from the main tasting) to offer more chances to get to know these wines.
New Harvest Coffee has offered up complimentary espresso shots for the duration of the event, Unkle Thirsty will be spinning tunes, there will be a blacksmithing demonstration by Yardie & instructor, Nick Tomlin, and an interactive art installation by Tara Ebsworth
Here are some of the importers and producers pouring:
Álvaro de la Viña / Selections de la Viña
Michel Abood / Vinotas Selections
Joe Swick / Swick Wines
Eleanor Léger / Eden Ciders
Matt Mollo / SelectioNaturel
Christopher Piana / Fable Farm Fermentory
Many more portfolios and producers will be represented, such as MFW, Wine Traditions, Paris Wine Co, José Pastor, SelectioNaturel, Frank Cornelissen, JD Headrick…and more!
Snacks and small bites provided by Fortnight, Bywater, Narragansett Creamery, North Bakery, Seven Stars Bakery. Participating vendors include Ocean State Oyster Fest, Weenie Wizard and Pat’s Pastured.
Tickets are $50 in advance
$60 at the door
$75 for First Sip Special Preview Hour, 5pm-6pm, limited to 50 people
Get your tickets here
Here’s a sneak peek at Saturday’s line up:
Table 1 : Wine Traditions: Leigh Ranucci
Le Val de la Chevre Cidre Fermier Brut
Domaine de la Touraize Les Moulins Arbois 2015
Domaine Castera Jurancon Sec Tauzy 2015
Mas d’Alezon Cabretta Blanc 2012
Domaine des Miquettes Madloba 2013
Domaine de la Touraize Ploussard La Cabane 2015
Domaine de Clovallon Pinot Noir 2015
Mas d’Alezon Faugers Presbytere 2015
Table 2: Wine Wizards
Clos Saron Carte Blanche 2015
Broc Cellars Amore Rosso 2016
La Clarine Farm Piedi Grandi 2015
Francois Pinon Le Vouvray 2016
Bonhomme Le Telquel Rouge 2016
Domaine des Terres Dorees Cote de Brouilly 2015
Agnes et Renee Mosse Bois Rouge 2015
Domaine du Mortier La Ptite Vaudrille 2016
Grange Tiphane Ad Libitum 2016
Domaine du Mortier Bourgueil Dionysus 2015
Domaine Olga Raffault Chinon Le Picasses 2011
Chateau Le Puy Emilien 2012
Domaine des Terres Dorees FRV100
Table 3 : Selections de la Vina : Ana & Alvaro de la Vina
MicroBio Wines Nieva York Pet Nat Blanco 2016
Clos Lentiscus Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature 2013
Clos Lentiscus Rose Brut Nature 2013
Vegas Altas Blanco 2016
Finca Parera Clar 2016
Ton Rimbau Stol N 2013
Clos Lentiscus Perill Blanc 2015
Vegas Altas Tinto 2016
Vinificate Mahara 2014
MicroBio Wines Correcaminos Tinto 2016
Clos Lentiscus Perrill Tinto 2010
Kiko Calvo Bigardo 2016
Antonio Madeira Vinhas Velhas 2014
Table 4 : SelecioNaturel: Matt Mollo
Cantina Ribela Ribolie Frizzante 2016
Cantina Furlani Rosato Frizzante 2016
Conestablie della Staffa Brioso Rosato Frizzante 2016
Conestablie della Staffa Conestabile Bianco 2016
Cantina Furlani Bianco 2016
Collecapretta Terre dei Preti 2014
Collecapretta Rosato 2016
Lamoresca Nerocapitano 2016
Conestablie della Staffa Conestabile Rosso 2016
Paterna il Rosso 2016
Collecapretta Lautizo 2015
Campanino Rosso degli Appennini 2016
Table 5 : Eric Solomon/JD Headrick – Adam Wilson
Johanna Cecillon Cidre Divona 2015
Louis Bovard Cuvee Noe Aigle Chasselas 2013
Domaine de la Fruitiere Clisson Muscadet 2014
Clos de L’elu Anjou Blanc 2015
Domaine de la Noblaie Chinon Rose 2016
Domaine St. Nicolas Pinot Noir Fief Vendéens 2016
Clos de L’elu Maupiti 2016
Chateau Mourre du Tendre Cotes du Rhone Cuvee Paul 2014
Table 6 : Vinotas – Michel Abood
Monteversa Primaversa Veneto IGT Frizzante 2016
Laurent Herlin Cintre Rose Pet Nat
Il Farneto Rio Rocca Spergle 2015
Cellier de Baraterie Paroxysme Rouge Vin de Savoie 2015
Domaine Victor Sornin Beaujolais Villages Naturel 2016
Domaine des Mas Sauvaire Rouge 2014
L’enclos des Braves Gaillac Rouge 2012
Domaine Emile Grelier Bordeaux 2016
Table 7 : Eden Ciders – Eleanor Leger
Eden Ciders Sparkling Cider Dry 375ml
Eden Ciders Imperial 11° Rose Cider 375ml
Eden Ciders Heirloom Blend Ice Cider 375ml
Table 8 : Best Beverage / MFW
Domaine des Rebourgeres Cache Cache Brut
Domaine des Gandines Cremant de Bourgogne
Clos de Moulin de la Gustais Muscadet 2015
Vincent Grall Sancerre 2016
Domaine Gandines Vire-Clesse Chardonnay 2015
Domaine des Pothieres Gamay 2015
Chateau la Colombiere Vinum Negrette
Nicolas Gonin Persan 2013
Table 9 : Vineyard Road
Arratzain Basque Sidra Natural
Cellers de Can Suriol, Reserva Brut Nature
Domaine Andre & Mireille Tissot Cremant du Jura Extra Brut
Domaine Huet Vouvray Petillant
Guimaro Ribeira Sacra Blanco 2015
Giles Bonefoy Urfe Forez Sauvignons Gris et Blancs
Guilhem et Jean-Hugues Goisot, Aligote 2014
Caves Jean Bourdy, Côtes du Jura Blanc 2011
Anne Sophie Dubois Fleurie Les Cocottes 2016
Bret Brothers, Beaujolais Leynes Glou de Jeff 2014
Clos du Moulin Aux Moines Bourgogne Rouge Aux Seurrets 2014
Envinate Benje Tinto Canary Islands 2015
Alfredo Maestro El Rey del Glam 2016
Alfredo Maestro El Marciano 2016
Table 10 : Wine Bros
La Garagista Vinu Jancu 2015
La Garagista Nouveau Rouge 2016
Cornelissen Munjebel Bianco 2015
Frank Cornelissen Munjebel Rosso 2015
Frank Cornelissen Rosso del Contadino 2015
Table 11 : Swick Wines – Joe Swick
Swick Wines Verdelho Columbia Valley Washington 2016
Swick Wines Chardonnay 2016
Swick Wines Grenache Columbia Valley 2016
Swick Wines Malbec Columbia Valley 2016
Swick Wines Mourvedre Columbia Valley 2016
Swick Wines Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2016
Swick Wines Cancilla “Hibernation” Pinot Noir 2015
Table 12 : Fable Farm Fermentory, VT – Christopher Piana
Betula Marc Flip Top 500ml
Koan Sour Apple 500ml
Perry “Pyrus” 500ml
Traditional “Fluxion Ancestral II” 750m
September 1, 2017
Caneva da Nani Prosecco Col Fondo
These are the notes Wine Wizard Kat Cummings wrote a few months back, after her trip to Italy with SelectioNaturel. We’re using them again! Caneva da Nani’s Prosecco Col Fondo is made from 40 yr old glera vines grown the village of Guia high up in the Valdobbiadene of the Veneto. As glera is very vigorous, the Canello family find good equilibrium in pruning to four sticks, and produce 135 hectoliters/hectare (farming 4.5 hectares total). Soil is heavy clay (argile) on steep terraced hillsides.
Fermentation is done in glass lined cement tanks made in the 1960s. Massimo does very few rackings (2-3), choosing to stir the lees in lieu of racking or adding sulfites. Plus the biscotto di afreddimento! I just love the idea of a cooling cookie inside these epic cement tanks.
70% of Caneva’s production goes into their col fondo wine, although they also make a brut and a metodo clasico. Selection is done in the cellar, and they choose the base wine for col fondo by looking for a wine that can go through malolactic fermentation and finish dry. So they are looking for base wine with more body, that is softer and rounder.
They do multiple bottling runs because of space (or lack thereof), with the first bottling at end of December and last at end of May. The col fondo referments in bottle, on the lees, in 30 days stored in the cellar at 17-19 degrees celsius (basically they just crank the heat in the cantina and let the yeasts do their work). It needs a full 60 days to go through malo (which gets rid of harsh acids and absorbs the funky yogurt aromas), then finishes with 3 atmospheres of pressure.
I LOVE this wine because of its ethereal quality, it has a soft persistent bubble like a gentle cloud. It’s all pear and green apple and stone fruit and saffron, and develops an interesting salinity the longer it is aged in bottle. Plus it’s so good with a meat party.
The rest of the notes are mostly from the importer, Selections de la Viña.
Cerro La Barca Vegas Altas Eva de los Santos, Ribera del Guadiana, Spain
Ribera del Guadiana is in Extremadura, a region located in south-western Spain on the border of Portugal. Extramadura has been known as a place for bulk wine production, but some pioneers are finding unique new wines here. Cerro La Barca is the first organic producer in the region. They have 38 hectares of Tempranillo and the nearly extinct Eva de los Santos.
Juan Sojo and Ángel Luis González are like brothers from different mothers. One minute they’re arguing and the next they’re toasting to another harvest. They studied oenology together and ever since have been making wines together. Ángel Luis comes from a background in agriculture while Juan comes from a background in science. Both so different, but yet complement each other so well.
Fermented using indigenous yeasts in stainless steel vats where the wines naturally decant without filtration until bottling. The Eva de los Santos is from vines that are up to 80 years old. It’s flowery, fruity and perfumed on the nose, but the palate is a little more intense, with a pronounced crushed stone quality.
Cerro La Barca Vegas Altas Tempranillo, Ribera del Guadiana, Spain
Fermented using indigenous yeasts in stainless steel vats where the wines naturally decant without filtration until bottling.
This is an everyday priced winner. Dry and fruity with pleasant tannins. Good for grilling and swilling.
Companon Arrieta Rioja Alavesa “Herrigoia” Tempranillo, 2016
Who would have thought that when we started our company we would import wines from Rioja? Not us, that’s for sure. In a sense the Bordeaux of Spain, it’s a region that never really caught our attention. There’s a few historic houses that haven’t changed over the years and have maintained their identity by making wines the same way over generations but the rest are questionable. We tried but finding wines that moved us and weren’t taken already was a difficult task, like finding a needle in a haystack. Luckily, along the wine route we stumbled across Gorka and Itxaso of Compañón Arrieta. They are at the head of a rejuvenation of the region, young winegrowers recovering their families old vineyards and making wines like they used to.
Their estate is made up of 4 ha spread across 17 mini parcels, all of which bush pruned vines averaging 50 years of age under organic certification. These vineyards have been in their family for three generations but it wasn’t until 1982 that they built their bodega and started making wine. Unfortunately they weren’t bottling it, but selling it in bulk to some of the bigger houses like CVNE, El Coto, Marqués de Riscal, etc. In 2010, with Gorka and Itxaso at the helm, they started bottling their own wines under the Herrigoia label. The name is a reference to the part of Lanciego where their bodega and most of their vineyards are located. In Basque herri means town and goia means up, translated let’s just say it means uptown higher grounds resulting in fresh wines with great acidity.
Herrigoia is mostly Tempranillo, with some Viura and Malvasia, made via carbonic maceration. Delicious with cured meat and poultry.
August 25, 2017
Stop by tonight between 5pm & 8pm to meet Barbara Selig and Ed Addiss, the people behind Wine Traditions, and of course to taste their wine too! We’ll have a selection from Burgundy, Jura, Côtes du Forez, and Faugères. Notes are below.
Giraudon Bourgogne Aligoté 2016, Chitry
The Giraudon family has been farming and making wine in Chitry (one of four viticultural communes of the Auxerrois) for centuries. Their vineyards are on hillsides of Kimmeridgian chalky marl, the same one finds in Grand Cru Chablis. In fact, in the 19th century the wines of Chitry were sold under the name Chablis. In 1929 they were given the name “Bourgogne des Environs de Chablis”. Currently, they go by Chitry, or Bourgogne Chitry.
Aligoté accounts for only about 5% of Burgundy’s total vineyard area; it’s the regions little known “other white grape”. In Chitry though, it makes up 40% of vines planted. Marcel Giraudon keeps yields low, harvests by hand, and allows the wine to undergo malolactic fermentation to temper its naturally high acidity. That acidity makes this wine a perfect partner for oysters, fried seafood, & salads.
Domaine de la Touraize “Terres Bleues” Savagnin 2015, Arbois
Notes from WT: André-Jean and Héléana Morin own the 12 hectare estate, Domaine de la Touraize in Arbois, Jura. André-Jean is the eighth generation to farm in Arbois, a village which in 1936, was among the very first wine producing areas to receive AOC status from the French government.
The domain takes its name from a small parcel of vines on a steep hillside called “La Touraize”. This was the only parcel of vines that André-Jean’s grandfather kept after World War 1. André-Jean’s father expanded the family’s vineyards and continued his father’s practice of selling his grapes to the local cooperative. In 2010 André-Jean decided to begin estate bottling his production, and built a small winery on the edge of town. Each year, he produces more wine in bottle, with the goal of bottling 100% of his production. André-Jean’s 12 hectares are divided into parcels in many “lieux-dits” that surround the village of Arbois, including La Touraize, Les Corvées, La Flandre and Les Petits Curoulets. André-Jean began farming organically in 2016 and is in conversion to gain certification. With the exception of some young Savagnin vines, all of the vineyards are hand harvested. All wines are fermented with indigenous yeasts and the total SO2 in the wines ranges from 2g to 6g.
The cuvée “Terres Bleues” is produced from 100% Savagnin. It is made from young vines in the “lieu dit” Sur la Regole which give an average yield of 30hl/h. Savagnin is an old variety with origins in the Franche-Comté and northwest of France. It is connected to the Traminer grape which Jancis Robinson suggests is a clonal variation. It is also related to the Pinot variety. It is thick skinned, late ripening and acidic. The Savagnin bunches are hand harvested and put into small bins to avoid any damage to the grapes. They are left intact and and gently pressed by a pneumatic press. The fermentation begins in stainless steel for 2/3 days after which the fermenting juice is put into 500L foudres to finish the alcoholic and malo-lactic fermentations.The wine is further matured in the foudres for ten months. The aging is “sur lie” with no racking or batonnage (stirring of lies). The wine is topped off every week.
Domaine Verdier-Logel “La Volcanique” 2016, Côtes du Forez
Notes from WT: The Côtes du Forez appellation is located between the Loire and Allier rivers in the center of France. Domaine Verdier-Logel is the leading estate of this small and obscure appellation where vineyards are few and far between. The Côtes du Forez hillsides are foothills of the volcanic mountains of the Massif Central and have soils of granite and volcanic composition. Due to the difficult climate only parcels with the best exposition and soils are planted to grapevines. The appellation’s laws mandate Gamay as the sole grape to be used and Verdier-Logel produces separate wines from volcanic soils “Volcanique” and granite soils “Cuvée des Gourmets“. These soils impart a rich earthy fragrance to the wines which combines well with the elegant fruitiness of the gamay grape.
Mas d’Alezon Presbytère 2015, Faugères
Catherine Roque is a pioneer in Faugères. She has two high elevation properties totaling 17 hectares: Mas D’Alezon, and Domaine du Clovallon, which she co-runs with her daughter Alix Roque. Catherine saw the promise in this somewhat unsung region in the Languedoc, and planted varieties that aren’t typical, such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Petit Manseng, Reisling, Viognier, Roussanne, Clairette and Petite Arvine. She fully embraced biodynamic farming, and now both of her properties adhere to the practice. Her wines are produced with indigenous yeast, without sulfur, and are bottled unfiltered and unfined.
Mas d’Alezon focusses on grapes that are native to the region. Presbytère is 80% Grenache from 70 year old vines, with the remainder a blend of Syrah and Mourvèdre, from 80 year-old vines. This is a silky wine, ripe with cherries & plums, balanced by earth & dried hillside herbs, and finishing with a touch of gaminess and soft tannins.
August 18, 2017
Special thanks to staff member Ian Augustine for writing this week’s tasting notes.
Cantina Ribelà ‘Ribolie’ 2016, Lazio, Italy
You know the saying: When in Fox Point, do as the Romans do. Or at least that’s what I always say. Twelve miles south of Rome lies the ancient town of Frascati, set upon the volcanic slopes of the Colli Albani. This is where the wine of the Ancient Romans came from. The soils here are volcanic in origin, making them very fertile, porous and rich in potassium. Grapes grow like crazy here, and thus the region is best known for growing grapes of quantity rather than quality. But that’s not to say there isn’t some beautiful wine being made here. When one of the largest producers in Frascati began selling off vast swaths of their land about ten years ago, aspiring young winemakers Chiara and Daniele Bianchi bought some and began to farm it organically and biodynamically. They inherited about 2 hectares of vines planted with mostly Malvasia, and Trebbiano that range from 25 to 60 years old. The grapes are grown alongside parcels of olive trees, as well as cherries, apricots, peaches, and apples.
Their first vintage was in 2014, and from the get-go they have produced some truly stunning wines. We find ourselves now embracing the 2016 ‘Ribolie,’ a frizzante of Malvasia, Trebbiano, Bombino, and Bellone. In keeping with ancient traditions, this sparkling receives it’s first fermentation in open-top steel vats to encourage the presence of indigenous yeasts, and is then fermented for a second time in the bottle. The result is lively and expressive, with notes of wild flowers and fresh peach. It’s also got a pretty savory/funky side, in my opinion. This stuff is totally delicious to just sip on, but even better with some olives, smoked meats, or just a good pizza.
Guímaro Blanco 2015, Ribeira Sacra, Spain
The Ribeira Sacra D.O., an appellation of Galicia, is technically a newcomer to the world of Spanish wine. The appellation was only established in 1996, but the Romans were here over 2000 years ago making wine. The slow pace at which this region modernized meant that it all but fell behind in the canon of Spanish winemaking. Winemaking here is pretty intense. The vines are terraced on incredibly steep slopes, meaning that it’s nearly impossible to get machinery near the vines, and thus all work in the vineyard must be done by hand.
The wines of ‘Guímaro,’ made by Pedro Rodríguez were some of the first wines to join the Ribeira Sacra D.O. in 1996. Like all good Galicians, Pedro and his parents keep a mixed vegetable and livestock farm, which of course informs his rustic approach to winemaking. The techniques employed here (in both the vineyard and the cellar) are pretty old-fashioned, including foot treading, open top/wild yeast fermentation, stem inclusion, and only minimal sulfur addition. All grapes are grown organically, and treated as such during production in the cellar.
The 2015 Guímaro Blanco is a wine of un-oaked Godello, grown on sandy slate and granite. It is fresh, bright, and approachable. Somewhat floral and a bit savory on the nose. It drinks semi-dry with a balanced, rounded acidity, finishing out little zing on the back of the palette. There is definitely some salinity here as well. This is the perfect thing to carry you through the rest of grilled summer squash and zucchini season, and I imagine it would pair nicely with virtually any kind of seafood imaginable.
Bisson Ciliegiolo Rosato 2016, Liguria, Italy
Pierluigi Lugano started out his career in wine by trading bulk wines, then becoming a wine merchant, and eventually growing his own grapes. He now works with grapes from several small growers on the Ligurian Coast, in conjunction with his own, to make wine. Similarly to the Ribeira Sacra, the vineyards of the Ligurian Coast are characterized by bold, steep terraces, making it nearly impossible to work with machinery. Many of the grapes in this region were planted by the ancient greeks, and so the vines are remarkably old. Lugano is a total grape nerd, and thus the wines made under his ‘Bisson’ label feature relatively unknown heirloom varietals of grapes that best capture the terroir and growing conditions of the region; grapes such as Cimixià, Bianchetta, and Piago.
This particular rosato is made with a grape called Ciliegiolo (pronounced chilli-gyo-lo), a red grape native to Northern Italy. The color is a juicy, vibrant, out of control hot-pink, and it tastes just like it looks. It’s a bit dry, slightly zesty, and totally delicious with ripe red fruit and notes of candied strawberry. Grab the salami folks, because we’re going to charcuterie town with this one. Or maybe burger town. Either way, make sure there’s some blue cheese around.
Mosse Bois-Rouge 2015, Anjou, Loire Valley, France
The Anjou, an appellation of the southern Loire, is a magical place encompassed by two distinct regions: Anjou Noir and Anjou Blanc. The former is a much larger region composed of darker schist soils, and is famed for it’s production of Cab Franc, Cab Sauv, and Gamay. The latter describes a type of chalky, gravely limestone soil, takes up a much smaller area and is celebrated for it’s production of Chenin Blanc. The winegrowing influence of the appellation dates back 1000 years.
Agnès and René Mosse arrived in Anjou in 1999 and purchased a small estate with about 10 hectares of vines, and now work about 17 of hectares. They work their vines organically and biodynamically, and are certified organic. Their wines represent some of the most exciting natural gems coming out of the Loire these days. They offer a classic and elegant representation of the grapes being used while simultaneously serving up the kind of youthful vibrancy and energetic zing found only in the world of raw wines at the moment.
The 2105 Bois-Rouge is a blend of 75% Cabernet Franc and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is produced from younger vines, and given a short fermentation of only 14 days before bottling. It’s got an approachable barn-yardy bouquet, with a high acidity and almost fizzy mouthfeel. It’s bright, earthy, and very food friendly. I’d pair it with just about anything – a nice tart goat cheese, some garlicky green beans, peppery arugula, steak frites, and so on. Or pizza, because anything pairs with pizza in my book.
August 11, 2017
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.
We’re tasting two new arrivals from Keller tonight: 2016 Riesling Trocken and Scheurebe Kabinett (Scheurebe is a cross of Riesling and Sylvaner). These are pre-orders, just arrived, so we’ll be tasting them for the first time too. Keller doesn’t disappoint!
Tiberio Cerasuolo D’Abruzzo 2016, Abruzzo, Italy
When Riccardo Tiberio found a 60 year old plot of Trebbiano Abruzzese vines back in the late 90s, he knew he had stumbled upon something special. Most Trebbianos in the region are made from the far less exciting Trebbiano Toscano, but Riccardo knew what the grape was capable of achieving through masters like Emilio Pepe and Valentini. In 2000 Riccardo bought the 8 hectares of old vines, along with 31 more acres suitable for farming. He then planted indigenous varieties matched to the different soils of the vineyards: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Trebbiano Abruzzese, and Aglianico, were planted along with Pecorino and Moscato di Castiglione clones from ancient vines in the area. The first vintage was released in 2004, and in 2008 Riccardo turned over the winery to his daughter Cristiana, who now makes the wine, and son Antonio, he farms the vineyards. At this point the farming is a mixture of sustainable, organic, and biodynamic, depending upon the site. Cristiana has quite the resumé, having worked with Jacques Selosse, Nicolas Joly, and Egon Muller, to name just a few.
The Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo is from 52 year old Montepulciano vines (selection massal) planted on 4 hectares of limestone at 1200 feet elevation. The fruit is picked early to preserve freshness and acidity, and then left in tank with only 20 minutes of skin contact, which is surprising, given its vibrant color and depth of flavors. This is a wine for the dinner table; it’s concentrated, fine-grained, and full of cherries, rhubarb, raspberries and spice, with a dash of orange zest and flowers. This is a rosé to drink year round, and will in fact evolve over the next year, if you can put some away for later.
North Hill Pinot Noir 2014, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Eve and Bill Holloran purchased a heritage vineyard in Dundee and another large parcel of land in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA in 1999. Their first harvest was 500 cases of Riesling, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, produced in a converted horse barn. Bill is in fact credited with starting the “garagiste” movement in Oregon. Since 2005, Mark La Gasse has been the winemaker here, and Vincente Mora has managed the vineyards since 2013. Farming is sustainable, organic and biodynamic.
North Hill is a 2nd label for Holloran Vineyard that offers a very drinkable, solid Willamette Pinot Noir at a solid price. It’s elegant, smooth, balanced, and food-friendly.
August 4th, 2017
All Vini Conestabile Della Staffa
Notes condensed from the SelectioNaturel site: An arranged marriage in the 1700s brought together the Conestabile and Della Staffa families. The Conestabile family originated in Orvieto, the southwestern corner of Umbria, just north of Rome; the Della Staffa family dates back to antiquity and is from Perugia, close to the winery. The two noble families were interested in consolidating property and influence in what was a very poor region. In the 1800s, the property totaled over 700 hectares of agricultural land, with 100 hectares under vine. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, Conestabile della Staffa was the most important winery in the area, producing 10,000 hectoliters of wine per vintage. Remnants of this winemaking history can be seen in the castle located at the top of the hill in the village of Monte Melino. Danilo Marcucci makes the wine here, on the property he shares with his wife Alessandra.
Quoting SelectioNaturel: In the 1920’s the hamlet of Monte Melino was home to over 20 small families, each relatives of the Counts of the Conestabile della Staffa. Danilo’s wife, Alessandra is the descendant (great granddaughter) of one of these Counts. The village essentially was a self-sufficient commune/fiefdom at that point. Work and profit sharing among the families was divided equally in all sectors of the farming; raising cows, growing and drying tobacco, making wool & silk, a cobbler, a school, a metalworker, and of course olive oil and wine.
In the post-World War era wine production dramatically decreased due to the reduced workforce for farming as people moved into the cities. The last produced vintage from the old cantina was in 1956. From 1956 until 2015 no wine was produced on the property, instead the grapes were sold off to the local co-op for this entire period.
Today Conestabile della Staffa is literally being reborn, re-envisioned by the work of Danilo Marcucci. It’s an undertaking of epic proportions. Over 12 hectares of vines, many of which have been in disrepair for over a decade, but were planted in the early 1970’s. Luckily the land was never touched by chemicals.
The wines are made in the most natural way, adhering to methods that Danilo has learned over the course of 20+ years of winemaking and farming experience from some of Italy’s great ‘masters’ (Lino Maga, Eduardo Valentini, Cappellano, Vittorio Mattioli and others). Native grapes (grechetto, trebbiano, ciliegiolo sangiovese, Gamay del Trasimeno, canaiolo, sagrantino) are the backbone of the property, a truly inspirational project with a bright future. No yeast, no chemical corrections, no sulfur. “No technology”, as Danilo would say.
The wines we’re tasting:
Brioso Rosato Frizzante: Sangiovese rosé. Direct press. Partial primary fermentation in stainless steel before early bottling and refermentation in bottle. Not disgorged. No sulfur. Crown cap finish.
Conestabile Bianco: Trebbiano and malvasia. No skin contact. Natural fermentation w/o temperature control in open-top resin vats (500 liters). Aged in fiberglass and/or stainless steel. No sulfur.
Conestabile Rosato: Cabernet franc. Direct press, ‘fior di mosto’. Natural fermentation w/o temperature control in open-top resin vats (500 liters). Aged in fiberglass. No sulfur.
Conestabile Rosso: Sangiovese. De-stemmed, 4 day maceration on the skins before pressing and aging in fiberglass. No sulfur.