July 1, 2016
Oyster River Villager White, ME
Oyster River is a nearly 100% self-sustaining farm in Warren, Maine, with a very hands-off approach to winemaking. Fermentation is spontaneous with native yeast, and lasts a long time in their cold winery; they only heat with wood from their farm, and they keep it chilly! Sparkling wines and ciders are unsulphured and bottled unfiltered.
Villager White is a 50/50 blend of Serval Blanc and Cayuga, sourced from Serenity Vineyard in the Seneca Lake region of NY. This is a German-influenced easy sipper, that’s off-dry with refreshing acidity.
Weingut Schnaitmann Evoe Rosé 2015, Württemberg, Germany
Weingut Schnaitmann has been in the same family for over 600 years; Rainer Schnaitmann began making wine here in 1997. In 2007 he was chosen as newcomer of the year by Gault-Millau/German Wine Guide and then the estate won the European Pinot Cup two years in a row, a feat no one achieved before or since. Weingut Schnaitmann is farmed organically (certified since 2014) and fermentations are 90% with wild yeast. The 25 hectares of vineyards are planted to 25% Riesling, 25% Lemberger, 20% Pinot Noir, 8% Sauvignon Blanc, 6% Pinot Gris and 16% other (which includes some Pinot Meunier) on soils of gypsum, marl and red sandstone.
Evoe Rosé is mostly Pinot Noir with most likely some Pinot Meunier and Lemberger (aka: Blaufrankisch). It’s deliciously spicy and floral, a little bit of orange and pomegranate mingle nicely with grapefruit, wildflowers and fresh herbs. Don’t drink it too cold or you’ll miss the gentle nuances…
Viña Maitia “Aúpa” Pipeño, Chile
Viña Maitia is a little gem in Chile’s southern Maule Valley. It’s owned and operated by husband and wife David Marcel (vigneron) and Loreta Garau (enologist). David hails from Irouleguy in French Basque country; he met Loreta in Chile, and together they are putting Chile’s traditional (if not indigenous) grapes back on the map, so to speak. Their 10 hectare estate is made up of old vines (at least 120 years old, some older than 150 years) that are farmed without intervention. The focus is on Pais, Carignane, and Malbec. Pais (aka: Listan Negro or Criolla Grande that originated in the Canary Islands) is the mission grape that was brought over by the Spanish in the 1500s. It’s mostly associated with Chilean jug wines that were enjoyed by campesinos (peasant farmers), but David and Loreta saw its potential to be a true “wine of place” and were intrigued with how expressive it could be when made from old, low-yielding vines. Though David prefers the term “ancestral” to “natural”, his wines are just grapes, made with no additives and little to no sulphur.
Aupa Pipeño is 70% Pais and 30% Carignane. The Carignane is whole cluster fermented and the wine is lightly filtered before bottling. If this is anything like what the campesinos were drinking back in the day, then pass the jug! It’s fruity and floral, with a little bit of clove and fresh herbs, a touch of brambles, and the slightest whisper of tannins…drink it with a slight chill, and drink it all summer long.
Veronica Ortega “Quite” Bierzo 2014, Spain
Veronica Ortega grew up in Cadiz, a little coastal town in the Sherry producing region of Jerez. She doesn’t come from a wine making family, but took an interest in wine early on; she first began dipping her toes into winemaking in Priorat, where she worked alongside Alvro Palacios and Daphne Glorian. She then made her way to Burn Cottage in Central Otago, Niepport in the Douro, and then to France, where she learned from greats like Domaine Combier in Croze-Hermitage, and Comte Armand and Domaine Romanée Conti in Burgundy. That’s not a bad resumé.
When she returned to Spain she worked for many years alongside Raul Perez in Bierzo, and in Bierzo she has remained. Here she organically farms 5 hectares of 80 year old (mostly) Mencia vines planted on calcareous clay and granitic sand. The climate in Bierzo straddles cool maritime Galicia and hot Central Spain. These conditions are perfect for producing Mencia that expresses the qualities of fine Pinot Noir and Syrah; in the right hands the grape produces wines that are reflective of the terroir, that are refreshing and bright, savory and complex.
Like all wines here, Quite is made from hand harvested grapes. It’s about 30-50% whole cluster fermented via spontaneous fermentation with wild yeast, in large oak vats. It spends about 4 months in 2nd and 3rd fill French oak. Quite is a delicate, floral, silky and elegant.