Tag Archives: Basque

Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM, with Grazing Sticks!

June 8, 2018

Tonight we’re joined by Martin from New England Grass Fed Beef, part of the Cloverbud Ranch co-op in Portsmouth RI. We’ll be sampling his “Grazing Sticks” during our wine tasting. Think locally-sourced, artisanal Slim Jims.

 

 

Weingut Keller Riesling Trocken 2015, Rheinhessen, Germany

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.

This Riesling is loaded with notes of peaches, apples, lemons, honey, and honeydew, backed up by refreshing acidity that is tempered by aging on the lees.

We had a bit of a mix up last week and didn’t end up tasting this rosé, so here it is again:

Señoria de Astobiza, Basque Country, Txakoli de Alava D.O.

Xabier Abando was only 15 when his father passed away, but his memories of seeing him working in the vineyards and making wine had a lasting effect upon him. He carried the dream of his own bodega with him over the years, and in 1996 acquired the first two hectares near the town of Okondo that would become his estate. He planted vines, and each year planted more, patiently waiting for the vines to produce grapes suitable to his taste. In 2008, he felt they were ready, and finally built his bodega for what would be his first vintage, and officially establish Señorio de Astobiza. He was 68. Now Xabier and Ana Martin make wine at this small, high-elevation, organically farmed estate.

Astobiza Txakoli de Alava Rosé 2017 is a 50/50 blend of the red grape Hondarrabi Beltza, and the white grape Hondarrabi Zuri. It’s single vineyard, hand-harvested, and estate bottled, without SO2. The red grapes spend a day or so on the skins, giving the wine it’s lovely pink hue. It’s white flower and strawberry scented, with a similar salty, mineral-driven character to the white, along with splashes of citrus and more flowers on the finish. It’s another fine seafood pair…

Pomagrana Trepat 2016, Conca de Barbera, Spain

Fredi Torres was born in Galicia, spent much of his childhood in Switzerland, spent nearly a decade as a DJ in the European house music scene, and then made his way into the wine world (he studied viticulture and winemaking in Switzerland, Burgundy, Argentina, & South Africa) and came full circle back to Spain in 2004, landing finally in Priorat. There he founded Sao del Coster with partners from Switzerland; the focus from the get-go was on organic and biodynamic farming and non-interventionist winemaking. Eventually he and his partners parted ways, and Fredi went on to purchase his own 8.5ha in Priorat. He also farms a nearby 5ha plot in Monsant, has another project on the rocky slopes of Ribeira Sacra with brothers Carlos and Juan Rodríguez, and this one in Conca de Barberá, with his friend Marc Lecha, who was one of the first natural wine retailers in Barcelona.

Pomagrana is from a little-known Spanish grape called Trepat, that’s a bit like Gamay. We think of this as a light red, but some people consider it a rosé; in any event, it can take a chill. On the nose there’s lots of red fruit like strawberries and raspberries (and maybe a touch of tart cranberry) along with an earthy, herbal, woodsy note. On the palate you’ve got more red fruit and tart, crisp acidity. It’s a thirst-quenching, low-alcohol wine that’s perfect for casual meals at a sun-dappled outdoor table, piled with that day’s farmer’s market haul.

Dashe Cellars Old Vine Carignane, Evangelho Vineyard ’Les Enfants Terribles’ 2015, CA

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 carignane is from vines on original rootstock planted in 1890. The vineyard is dry-farmed and the roots extend more than 40 feet through soils of almost pure sand to reach the water table below. The grapes produce wines that are dark, expressive, and complex. The wine spends about 8 months in old, neutral oak barrels. The end result is a vibrant red laced with floral notes like roses and violets, mingling with black cherries and strawberries. The texture is lush and soft, but finishes with lively acidity and crisp minerality.

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5PM-8PM

June 1, 2018

Señoria de Astobiza, Basque Country, Txakoli de Alava D.O.

Xabier Abando was only 15 when his father passed away, but his memories of seeing him working in the vineyards and making wine had a lasting effect upon him. He carried the dream of his own bodega with him over the years, and in 1996 acquired the first two hectares near the town of Okondo that would become his estate. He planted vines, and each year planted more, patiently waiting for the vines to produce grapes suitable to his taste. In 2008, he felt they were ready, and finally built his bodega for what would be his first vintage, and officially establish Señorio de Astobiza. He was 68. Now Xabier and Ana Martin make wine at this small, high-elevation, organically farmed estate.

Astobiza Txakoli de Alava Blanco 2016 is 90% Hondarrabi Zuri & 10% Petit Courbu, and like the label says, it’s single vineyard, hand-harvested, and estate bottled (without SO2). It’s fresh and vibrant, salty and mineral-driven, with tart green apple, ripe pear, zesty grapefruit, and refreshing acidity. Oysters, seafood, and semi-soft cheeses are good pairs.

*Astobiza Txakoli de Alava Rosé 2017 is a 50/50 blend of the red grape Hondarrabi Beltza, and the white grape Hondarrabi Zuri (also single vineyard, hand-harvested, and estate bottled (without SO2). The red grapes spend a day or so on the skins, giving the wine it’s lovely pink hue. It’s white flower and strawberry scented, with a similar salty, mineral-driven character to the white, along with splashes of citrus and more flowers on the finish. It’s another fine seafood pair…

*oops, had to replace this rosé with Semeli Mountain Sun Agiorgitiko rosé. Not enough Txakoli!

Domaine Glinavos ‘Paleokerisio’ Traditional Semi-Sparkling Orange Wine, 2016, Zitsa, Greece

Domaine Glinavos is in the semi‐mountainous region of DO Zitsa, Ioannina, more reminiscent of Austria or Switzerland than Mediterranean Greece. Limestone soils influence the production of wines that tend toward bright acidity and racy minerality, and the cold winters and cooler summers produce wines that tend to be lower ABV, frequently struggling to achieve 12.5.

Lefteris Glinavos was one of a handful of rogue winemakers who set out in the 70s to steer Greece away from bulk production and into smaller-scale, boutique winemaking. This group of young winemakers who all hailed from humble, winemaking regions, decided to travel abroad to hone their skills which they would bring back to Greece. Lefteris chose to pursue his studies in Bordeaux, returning in 1978 to establish Domaine Glinavos. Lefteris’ son Thomas is now in charge of the 20 hectare property, made up of multiple, high-elevation plots of indigenous varieties Debina, Vlahiko, and Bekari.

Paleokerisio is 97% Debina and 3% Vlahiko (a local red grape) harvested at the end of September and first couple weeks of October. The de-stemmed grapes ferment on the skins for about 12 days in oak casks. In the spring, the second fermentation takes place in closed tanks, producing the gentle sparkle. The wine is bottled without additives, and when there is still a touch of residual sugar. This is a savory, honey-hued wine. Pleasant oxidative notes mingle with butter, apple, vanilla, & clove. Have it with salty cured fish (the producer suggests Greek caviar, known as Botargo and Epirotic pies), savory and semi-sweet tarts, feta and olives, and lots of fried seafood.

Vina Štekar Cabernet Sauvignon Kakovostno 2015, Goriška Brda, Slovenia

Jure Štekar is the current winemaker on this 10 hectare family property that was established in 1985 (Goriška Brda and Italy’s Collio are one region, divided only by bureaucracy, post WWII). Jure took over from his father Roman, who learned everything he knew from his father Emil. While the winery was officially founded in 1985, the family’s roots go back centuries here, and it’s said that their farmhouse was the first house built in the small village of Snežatno back in 1771. Štekar is organically certified, and they do not use any chemicals in the vineyards or the cellar. The grapes are hand-harvested and fermented with naturally occurring yeast. Wines are bottled unfiltered, without sulfur, and with consideration of the position of the moon.

This is single vineyard (Početrtka) Cabernet Sauvignon from vines that are about 20 years old. The grapes are de-stemmed and then macerate for 20-25 days before being transferred to 500l Slovenian oak casks for 12-14 months. It’s soft & plummy, with Mediterranean herbs, leather, sour cherries, and fine-grained tannins.