Tag Archives: Bordeaux

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop: L’Acino, Rayos Uva, Cornelissen, Pimpine

Dec. 9, 2016

L’Acino IGP Calabria Bianco “Chora” 2014

L’Acino is the communal effort of three friends (a film director, a historian, and a lawyer – in previous lives) to express the possibilities of Calabrian terroir with grapes indigenous to the region, and winemaking true to nature. The three friends started with one hectare of vines purchased from an old farmer in 2006; the property is right on the border of the Pollino national park, the largest natural park in Italy. As happens in nature, so happens in their vineyards: plantings are varied and diverse, creating a happy, healthy ecosystem. They then purchased a nearby 1.5 hectare parcel of the local red grape Magliocco (also in the shop, positively gluaggable). But they really wanted to get a parcel they could start from scratch, that had never had vines planted on it before. In 2007 they found a sandy plateau where they planted Magliocco and Mantonico from massale, much of it in franc de pied (on French rootstock). The Chora Bianco and Rosso come from this parcel.

The bianco is a blend of Mantonico, Guernaccia Bianca, Pecorello, and Greco Bianco. It’s lively, fresh, youthful, fruity and fun. Organic, wild yeast, minimal sulfur only at bottling.

Olivier Riviere Rayos Uva Rioja, 2015

Olivier Rivière was born and raised in Cognac, studied enology in Bordeaux (with an emphasis on biodynamic farming), and gained practical experience in Bordeaux and Burgundy. He had plans to set up a domaine in Fitou, in the Languedoc, but when those fell through, he went to consult in Spain instead.

Olivier rents, farms or owns vineyards in Rioja Alta, Rioja Baja, Rioja Alavesa and Arlanza. He first came to Spain in 2004 to help Telmo Rodriguez convert to biodynamics. In 2006 he started his own project, but because of the high cost of land in Rioja, he traded his farming abilities for access to grapes from the best sites he could find. In 2009 he joined Luis Arnedo at Bodegas Lacus and found a more permanent home to expand his repertoire of wines.

Rayos Uva is made from Tempranillo, Graciano and Garnacha (in some vintages), sourced from the sandy, gravelly and alluvial soils of Rioja Baja. It’s fermented whole berry with indigenous yeasts and aged for about 9 months in stainless steel, foudre and cement tanks. Olivier purchases these grapes from Bodegas Lacus, where he oversees the winemaking. Ramos Uva is vibrant, pure, ripe and fruity, with notes of flowers and citrus, and a long, silky finish.

Frank Cornelissen Rosso del Contadino 2015

Frank Cornelissen was a Belgian wine novice in the year 2000 when he landed on the side of a volcano in Sicily, and made a big splash in the natural wine world. Until then, Etna wines were mostly sold in bulk, and certainly weren’t being taken seriously. Cornelissen, along with Andrea Franchetti of Passopisciaro and Marc de Grazia of Tenuta delle Terre Nere, were newcomers bringing attention to the potential of Etna wines. Since then he’s evolved and learned from his sometimes combustible environment. He mixes the modern (gasp! fiberglass tanks!) with an unrivaled minimalist ethos; from the producers website:

Our farming philosophy is based on our acceptance of the fact that man will never be able to understand nature’s full complexity and interactions. We therefore choose to concentrate on observing and learning the movements of Mother Earth in her various energetic and cosmic passages and prefer to follow her indications as to what to do, instead of deciding and imposing ourselves. Consequently this has taken us to avoiding all possible interventions on the land we cultivate, including any treatments, whether chemical, organic, or biodynamic, as these are all a mere reflection of the inability of man to accept nature as she is and will be.

Cornelissen has 15 high-elevation hectares on the side of the mountain, 12 are planted to vine, 1 to olives. Biodiversity is key, and local fruit trees are interplanted with the vines, which probably keep the kept bees happy. New plantings are via selection massale, from pre-phylloxera vines. Yields are low.

Producer notes: Contadino is a field-blend of mostly Nerello Mascalese (85%) with other local varietals from all our old vine vineyards: Nerello Capuccio, Allicante Boushet, Minella nera, Uva Francesa and Minella bianco. Our Contadino expresses Etna as made in a traditional way of blending different varietals: fragrant, elegant, structured with personality.

Here’s a recent Cornelissen article from the NY Times.

Château Pimpine Bordeaux, Cotes de Francs, 2013

Château Pimpine is the second wine from Château Le Puy, a biodynamic property on the Right Bank of Bordeaux. Château Le Puy has been farming biodynamically since the early 1900s, so long that they don’t think it’s any big deal, it’s just the way they’ve always done things. Even so, they have all the certifications.

Pimpine, and Le Puy, are located in Saint-Cibard and share the same soils of clay, flint and limestone as many of Bordeaux’s most prized vines. The vineyards sit at 110 meters, on the same plateau as Saint-Emilion and Pomerol.

Jean-Pierre Amoreau and his son Pascal make the wine here and at Le Puy. The blend is mostly Merlot, with some Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. Of course everything is done by hand, there are no added sulfites, sugars or yeasts during fermentation, and the wine is bottled unfiltered and unfined. The finished wine is rather traditional: balanced, elegant, herbal and fresh.

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

December 18th, 2015

Gift Worthy Wines

Cool wines for gift giving!

Donkey & Goat Lily’s Cuvée Pétillant Naturel Chardonnay 2014

Donkey & Goat Winery is owned and operated by Jared & Tracey Brandt in Berkeley, California. They make natural wines from sustainably and organically farmed vineyards in Sierra Nevada, Mendocino and Napa. Lily’s Cuvée is 90% Chardonnay, 8% Roussanne, 2% who-knows. It’s fun, easy to drink, slightly rich, a touch sweet, pleasantly fizzy.

Éric Texier “Adele” Cotes du Rhone Blanc, 2014

Éric Texier came to wine without any family connection or romantic, multi-generational story. In 1992, after years as a nuclear scientist, he opted to follow his passion for wine and formally study viticulture and oenology at Bordeaux University. He read a lot, visited winemakers around the world, and worked in Burgundy with Jean-Marie Guffens, at Verget. There he learned the benefits of minimal-intervention wine-making: native yeasts, little to no herbicides, no machines, etc…

As a beginner, he was unable to afford his own vineyards, so he became a négociant, buying only from small growers philosophically aligned with himself. He has since acquired plots in Côte Rôtie and Condrieu in the northern Rhône, and replanted several hectares in long-forgotten Brézème with Syrah and Roussanne. All of his wines are aged in the underground 16th-century cellar at his home in Charnay-en-Beaujolais.

Adele is mostly Clairette with the remainder Marsanne, fermented in cement tanks with native yeasts. It rests for about 8 months on its lees, without sulfur, and is bottled unfiltered and unfined. Very little sulfur (25 ppm) is used at bottling. Buoyant and aromatic, with notes of apricots and pears, and a rounded texture punctuated by refreshing acidity.

Broc Carbonic Carignan, 2014, Alexander Valley

Chris Brockway makes site-specific wines out of a “low-wattage” urban winery in Berkeley, CA (the same winery as Donkey & Goat). He produces natural wines, with a minimal SO2. This Carignan is from a 130 year old vineyard on decomposed sandy soils, which make it impossible for phylloxera to survive. These are some of the last remaining self-rooted vines in the state. The wine is made via-carbonic maceration, allowing the yeasts to begin to ferment the grape sugars from the inside out. After fermentation, it rests in neutral oak and concrete tanks for 10 months. This wine is lively, complex, savory and herbal. It’s vibrantly delicious.

Chateau Haut Segottes Saint Emilion Grand Cru 2008

Chateau Haut Ségottes is owned and operated by Danielle Meunier, the fourth generation of her family to oversee this nine hectare estate in the heart of the Saint Emilion appellation. The entire estate is within the Grand Cru appellation, and is planted 60% to Merlot, 35% to Cabernet Franc, and 5% to Cabernet Sauvignon. Although the majority of wines produced in Saint Emillion are Merlot dominant, approximately 65% of this blend is Cabernet Franc. The Cabernet Franc dominance produces a wine that is structured and age worthy. Chateau Haut Segottes spends 18 months in barrel, approximately 20% of which are new. Wines are then bottled unfiltered. Total estate production is about 3,000 cases.

Wine Traditions Tasting in the Shop!

Friday, Nov. 6th, 5pm-8pm

From the Wine Traditions website: Wine Traditions, LTD. imports wine from France produced from independent, family owned vineyards located throughout France’s many wine growing regions. We champion appellations that receive too little acclaim and have sought out vignerons and vigneronnes whose deep respect and commitment toward their land result in wines that convey a sense of place. Stylistically, we seek wines that balance intensity with delicacy and are wines of good character rather than caricatures of good wine. We hope these wines will bring you pleasure.

Christophe Thorigny Vouvray Sec 2013

Christophe Thorigny is the 4th generation to farm this 10.5 hectare estate in Vouvray. Most of the grapes here are sold off to local negociants, which makes the small amount of estate-bottled wines that much more special. Christophe farms with minimal intervention and keeps yields low with sever pruning throughout the growing season. The vines are planted on chalky and flinty clay covering a think layer of limestone, and those mineral, rocky notes come through in the wine. This is dry, focussed Chenin Blanc, with notes of honeysuckle, oranges and lemons on a long and elegant finish.

Domaine Gautheron Chablis 2014

Alain Gautheron is the 5th generation to cultivate vines on this 25 hectare property in the village of Fleys, in vineyards that are chock full of fossilized snails. In fact, the people of Fleys were once called “Gougueys” the local word for snail, because of all the snail fossils here. That’s just a fun fossil fact for you!

Gautheron Chablis is all bang for the buck. It’s stainless steel fermented, then left on its’ lees for 9 months before bottling, which gives it a pleasing texture. It has a crisp and stony character that reflects the chalky soil upon which the grapes are grown. Subtle floral and orchard fruit notes add complexity and depth.

Domaine de Foretal Julienas 2013

Domaine de Foretal is an 8 hectare estate situated in the small village of Vauxrenard, located between Fleurie and Chenas, in the northern Beaujolais. The Perrauds have been growing grapes here for five generations. Since 2000, Jean-Yves Perraud has tended to the property; he’s introduced a number of sustainable farming practices, including cover crops and finding alternatives to chemical herbicides and pesticides.

This Julienas is from 30 year-old vines grown on sandy, granite soil. The grapes are hand-harvested and fermentation is semi-carbonic in stainless steel. The wine is floral and aromatic, with strawberries and light spices, and vibrant, refreshing acidity and minerality.

Chateau Chabiran Rouge 2012 Bordeaux Superieur

This chateau is situated in a high plateau just outside Fronsac, which is said to be one of the best sites in all of Bordeaux Superieur. It benefits from well drained soils of local blue clay and red gravel. The vineyard is planted with 90% merlot & 10% cabernet sauvignon. Harvest is done by hand, as late as possible, to ensure maximum ripeness. It is stainless steel and cement tank fermented, with a long maceration and partial barrel/partial tank aging. Chabiran is a full-bodied wine, with rich lush flavors of plum, cherries, chocolate, and velvety tannins on the finish.

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM

Éric Chevalier Muscadet Côtes de Grand Lieu Sur Lie 2012

This 25-hectare property sits upon rocky soils rich in granite, quartz, sand and silt. The fruit for this wine is hand-harvested from 6 hectares of 50-year-old vines, then fermented with native yeasts in underground glass-lined cement tanks. The wine is left on its lees and is never racked or filtered.

We love this wine for its stony, saline notes, as well as its texture & refreshing acidity. It’s pairs perfectly with oysters, of course, but is also a good match for all kinds of seafood, as well as poultry & salads.

Tremonti Barbera Frizzante 2012, Emilia Romagna

Cool things are happening here in the land of Lambrusco, and Tre Monti winery is at the forefront of those cool things. Only estate-grown grapes are vinified here. Winemaker Vittorio Navacchia believes in minimal intervention from the vine to the cellar. To that end, all of the vineyards are managed according the principles of sustainable viticulture, which mandates inter-row cover-cropping and the lowest possible use of chemicals. Tre Monti is in the process of transitioning to biodynamic farming.

The vines of the Tre Monti estates are planted in pebbly, sandy, clay soils giving the wines mineral depth and complexity. This Barbera is fizzy, dry, and fruity. Perfect for salami or other cured meats–and for getting the party started.

Carlin de Paolo Grignolino Piemonte 2013

Carlin de Paolo is a 4th generation family winery in Piedmont. The figure on the label is Carlin, son of great grandfather Paolo. Carlin is described as “an indefatigable worker, bent from the hard work carried out in the vineyards for many years. However he was always joyful, with his fist clenched as a sign of determination and always striding forward. The work of the soil, the love for the family, a life full of sacrifices, his trousers patched, and an open heart”. Aw, we wish we knew him!

Grignolino is a grape indigenous to Piedmont. This wine is so light in color it’s almost a rosé, but it packs a punch. It’s all tart cranberry, cherry and minerally earth mingling with a touch of orange zest. It’s got a little bit of a hard edge to it, but it’s not at all unpleasant. It’s vibrant acidity makes it a fantastic food pairing wine. We had it with chorizo, red beans and potatoes and it certainly did the trick!

Chateau Tire Pé “Diem” Bordeaux 2013

David and Hélène Barrault have been organically farming this small estate since 1997. This wine is 100% Merlot grown on clay and limestone. It’s hand-harvested, de-stemmed, cool fermented, and aged for 8-10 months in concrete before being bottled unfiltered. This vintage leads with iron, iodine & earthy notes but it fleshes out and brings on the soft fruit and elegant tannins on the finish. It’s a good cheap date wine, works with steak, chicken, pasta….it’s pretty versatile really!