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 perfet partner for oysters, fried seafood, & salads. It’s lemony, mineral-driven and refreshing – especially on a hot day.
Hobo Wine Company “Camp” Chardonnay 2014, Sonoma County
We tasted Hobo Wine Co. Folk Machine last week; here’s another.
Kenny Likitprakong started Hobo Wine Company in 2002, at the age of 26. He grew up in Healdsburg, spending much time at Domaine St. George, the winery owned by his great-uncle Supasit Mahaguna. Likitprakong sells his wines under three labels: Banyan Wines, Hobo and Folk Machine, all of them under the umbrella of the Hobo Wine Co. He doesn’t own any vines, instead he gets fruit from top sources, although he does farm about an acre of Branham Estate Rockpile Vineyard Zinfandel.
From the start, Likitprakong intended to make lower sugar, lower alcohol, higher acid, more food friendly wiines than what was being produced in California at the time.
The 2014 Chardonnay is 95% from the Lloyd Vineyard in Alexander Valley off of Soda Rock Road and 5% from the Prior Vineyard in Sonoma Valley. The Lloyd portion was harvested in 4 picks, two were early for acid, one in the middle for bright flavors and the fourth was a few weeks later to add some lusher flavors. All lots were whole cluster pressed and then fermented together in stainless steel then transferred to neutral oak barrels for 10 weeks before being racked and prepared for bottling. A delicious, approachable, and affordable wine.
Becker Family Pinot Noir 2011, Pfalz, Germany
Becker Estate is made up of 28 sustainably farmed hectares in Schweigen (in southern Pfalz), on the border of Alsace. Now on its 7th generation, Becker is known as a top producer of German Pinot Noir. Since the vineyards have been in the Becker family, the border between France and Germany has changed many times, the last time in 1945. Now, 70% of their holdings are actually in Alsace; the winery is in Germany. A 1955 accord grants them and five other vineyards the right to continue to call themselves German. In exchange, the French got water rights to the springs of Schweigen and some lumber rights from the local forest.
The 2011 Pinot Noir contains some fruit from the estates top Grosses Gewachs vineyards. Think black cherry, blueberry, cola & cocoa mingling with freshly picked herbs and flowers. Chalky, limestone soil adds a fine mineral edge, and velvety tannins bring it all home.
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.
Dornfelder is a dark-skinned grape created in Germany in 1955 by August Herrold. He crossed Helfensteiner and Heroldrebe to create Dornfelder (the other two varieties were also of his creation). All of this was to produce red grapes that were not as light and pale as traditionally grown in Germany. Dornfelder is now the 2nd most popular grape in the country, behind Pinot Noir.
The 2011 Von Buhl Dornfelder is aromatic, spicy, dry & velvety. It’s fermented in stainless steel and then a portion of it spends a bit of time in barrique, but not enough to overwhelm the wines lively acidity. Have it with grilled meats and vegetables, smoky eggplant, hot dogs, sausages and kraut!