Tag Archives: Cabernet Franc

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

Sept. 9th, 2016

teutonic-rieslingTeutonic Crow Valley Vineyard Riesling 2015, Willamette Valley, OR

Last week we tasted Teutonic Jazz Odyssey, a fun, off-dry blend perfect for hot days and spicy food. Tonight we’re tasting this more serious single vineyard Riesling. Just about all of Teutonic’s wines are single vineyard (with the exception of maybe one). They are all dry farmed and made in a precise, Germanic style. Total production is extremely low (only 500 cases) so we are ever so grateful to have such an assortment on our shelves – this is another producer that we tried to get into RI for a few years, so it’s extra special that there’s finally a little bit to share.

Read more about them here.

Crow Valley is a high elevation vineyard in the foothills of the Willamette Valley coastal mountain range. It’s old vines planted at high elevation, where the cold growing conditions allow for a long hang time. This is the Teutonic MO; old vines, cold climate, high elevation, dry farmed, old wood and wild yeast. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s very similar to Mosel winemaking, from whence they draw their inspiration (and they also import wine from Mosel and make wine in Mosel, so the love affair is deep and real!). Teutonic is also a member of the DRC (Deep Roots Coalition), a group that promotes “sustainable and terroir-driven viticulture without irrigation”.

This Riesling shows pure, precise, no-holds-barred, spot on balanced winemaking. The character of the terroir shines through in all the Teutonic wines; do yourself a favor and grab a bottle before they’re all gone!

Cerro La Barca Vegas Altas Eva de los Santos, 2015, 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.

Importer notes: 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.

cintreLaurent Herlin “Cintré” Sparkling Rosé of Cabernet Franc

Laurent Herlin worked as a computer engineer for 12 years before dropping that career in 2008 and dedicating himself to wine. After taking classes in Beaune and working at various domaines, he purchased 5 hectares in Bourgueil, which he farms biodynamically.

To ensure quality, the grapes are sorted twice; first in the vineyard, and then on the sorting table. Harvest is manual, fermentations are with indigenous yeast, in steel or cask. As a dedicated environmentalist, Laurent only uses recycled glass in his production.

Laurent’s wines are said to “exude happiness” and after tasting Tsoin Tsoin, and now Cintré, we can definitively say that that statement is not hyperbole. Cintré is 100% Cabernet Franc from 25 year old vines and it is a mouthful of fizzy joy. It’s also classic Loire Valley cab franc: violets, raspberries, and pencil shavings dance around luscious strawberry notes and are neatly wrapped up in a long, long finish with just the slightest touch of gamey goodness.

Domaine Jérôme Jouret “Pas a Pas” 2015, Ardèche

Domaine Jérôme Jouret is a 12 hectare, relatively new, family winery in the southern Ardèche, a region on the right bank of the Rhône river, between the northern and southern Rhône valley. Burgundian Louis Latour was a pioneer here, most notably with his Grande Ardéche Chardonnay. Jérome Jouret works minimally, by hand, with extremely low yields and little to nu sulfur. The ancient, organic vines here are planted on steep and stony slopes. The high elevation and cool climate means that the grapes have a longer hang time, which leads to heady aromatics and purity of fruit.

Pas a Pas is a blend of 65% Carignan, 15% Alicante, 20% Grenache from 35 to 55 year old vines planted on clay and limestone. It’s fermented in stainless steel and bottled without filtration. This is a lovely wine, with fresh fruit and brambly notes. Lower alcohol and lively acidity means this one takes a chill quite nicely.

Read this week’s newsletter here. 

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

August 5, 2016

TAMI’ is a joint negociant project between Arianna Occhipinti, a young, natural-wine maker (niece of the “O” in COS Wines”) and some friends and neighbors, including her boyfriend, the owner of Tami wine bar in Siracusa. TAMI utilizes high quality fruit from Vittoria; this project allows Ariana to bring more organic wines to market, at prices closer to every day than her other wines.

100% Grillo, a grape used in Marsala, this wine is gorgeously aromatic, with tropical fruit and citrus mingling with ripe stone-fruit. The finish is long, dry and mineral-driven. Have it as an aperitif, with light appetizers, with shellfish and seafood, or risotto.

TAMI’ Nero d’Avola IGT Sicilia Rosso 2014, Italy

This 100% Nero d’Avola is dark and spicy, with black pepper and a touch of earthiness. Grill and swill.

Domaine Olga Raffault Chinon “Les Barnabés” 2014

Olga Raffault took over all duties on this estate from her husband Pierre, after his sudden death in 1947. The mother of two young children at the time, she realized she needed help, and found it in Ernest Zenninger, a German prisoner-of war. Ernest could not fathom the meaning of the war, and soon formed a deep friendship with the Raffault family, whom he considered his protectors. Ernest devoted his life to the vines and making wine, and vowed to instill his knowledge and foster a love of winemaking in the younger Raffaults.

Olga’s son Jean took over from Ernest in the 80s; since Olga’s death half a decade ago, the estate has been run by her granddaughter Sylvie and her husband Eric de la Vigerie. Raffault wines are extremely age-worthy and some of the best examples of Cabernet Franc. They are longtime favorites of discerning restaurants and wineshops.

“Les Barnabés” is made from younger vines planted on sand and gravel, farmed without herbicides or pesticides. They are hand picked and fermented in whole clusters in stainless steel. This wine is fresh and fruity, with raspberry, brambles, blackcurrant and violets. Put a little chill on it and enjoy. It is delicious.

We’ll open up one more wine. TBD.

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

July 29, 2016

Giordano Lombardo Gavi di Gavi di San Martino DOCG 2015, Piedmont, Italy

This is a 20 hectare Demeter certified estate that straddles the border between Piedmont and Liguria. The indigenous Cortese vines are grown on volcanic soils of clay and limestone, rich in iron and magnesium. After hand-harvesting, the grapes are pressed whole and left to macerate on their skins for a short time. The wine is bottled after resting on the lees for three to five months. This is a very pretty wine, with a delicate nose and lots of mineral freshness. This wine is so food friendly. Believe us, it’s the most food friendly wine you’ll ever taste! Especially if what you’re eating is lighter fare, like salads, crudo, white fish and shellfish…

Bodegas Mustiguillo Mestizaje Blanco 2014, Valencia, Spain

This wine is mostly Merseguera, a rare, almost lost, Spanish variety that gets little respect. Merseguera has been around for a long time, but it’s not often appreciated for its subtle charms. The Merseguera for this wine, however, was grafted onto 40 year Bobal rootstock, then planted at 2700 feet elevation. The Bobal can’t grow at this altitude, but the Merseguera thrives. Still, for some, the Merseguera is a little too neutral and not worthy of a single-varietal wine of its own – and really, (some people say) isn’t it just coasting on the coattails of the Bobal rootstock? So the winemakers at Mustiguillo did what people do when they want to make something great: they enlisted the support of other grapes that would bolster the Merseguera, that would help this underestimated wine get a place on your table – enter Viognier and Malvasia, adding soft and flowery nuances to the taut and reserved Merseguera. They are better together, and together they are glorious with lobster.

Mestizaje is from organically farmed grapes that are fermented with wild yeast in stainless steel, and left on the lees for a short amount of time. This is a generous in the mouth wine, with live-wire acidity that tiptoes around fleshy tropical fruit, and mingles happily with apricots, honey and flowers. It’s a well-rounded, versatile wine that will work just as well with the lighter fare of spring and summer as it will with the richer fare of fall and winter.

Béatrice & Pascal Lambert “Les Terraces” Chinon 2014

Béatrice & Pascal started making wine together on their property back in 1987. Like many, they were inspired by Nicolas Joly, and by the early 2000s were practicing organic farming and winemaking; by 2005 they were certified biodynamic. They propagate vines through selection massale and interplant with mustard, oats, rapeseed and rye. The Cabernet Franc vines for this Chinon are between 10 and 25 years old and grow on soils of gravel, calcareous clay, limestone, and flint. Grapes are hand-harvested, and fermented in concrete, with wild yeast and no sulfur.

This is a lovely Chinon for under $20. It hits all the right notes for lovers of Loire Cab Franc – bright fruit, vibrant acidity, earthy-herbal-musky nose…with a hint of violets and velvety, soft tannins. It loves a little chill.

Domaine Guillot-Broux Macon-Cruzille 2014, Bourgogne Rouge

The Guillot family has been making wine in Cruzille since 1954; by 1991, their tiny one-hectare estate had expanded under the brothers Ludovic, Patrice & Emmanuel, and became the first vineyard in Burgundy to be certified organic. In 2000, after the death of their father, Emmanuel took over winemaking duties. He is now head of the “CGAB” or Confederation of Organic Growers in Burgundy” and one of the creators of a graphic novel about rediscovering lost vines. The estate is now approximately 16 hectare spread over a number of small vineyards in the Mâconnais villages of Cruzille, Grevilly, Pierreclos and Chardonnay.

The vineyards are planted to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Gamay on eastern facing slopes of clay and limestone. The 60-90 year old Gamay, however, is planted on granite. Yields are kept low through high density planting; Emmanuel’s goal is to have as few grapes per vine as possible, to concentrate the flavors of the wine. Current yields are around 30-55 hectoliters per hectare.

This Macon-Cruzille is 100% Gamay from vineyards spread across 3 hectares, fermented in older oak with wild yeast and very little sulfur. Most of the wines here are bottled without fining or filtration. These are graceful, expressive, mineral driven wines. We’re happy to have this one (and a couple others) on our shelves again.

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

July 22, 2016

Folk Machine “White Light” 2015, CA

Folk Machine is part of Kenny Likitprakong’s Hobo Wine Company, which he started 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. From the start, Likitprakong set out to make lower sugar, lower alcohol, higher acid, food friendly wines.

White Light is a blend of 50% Tocai Friulano from Mendocino, 30% Riesling from Santa Lucia Highlands, and 20% Verdelho from Suisan Valley. Everything was picked early and fermented in stainless steel without commercial yeast. The final wine is just 11.9% alcohol; it’s light on its feet, a touch salty, and pleasantly aromatic. Pair it with seafood, salads, light summery meals, and Wilco on the stereo.

Les Tètes, “Tete Rosé” 2015, Touraine, France

Les Tètes is a certified organic producer in Touraine, owned and operated by a small group of friends. They describe their wines like this: Les Tètes is about friendship, and wines you drink with friends. We hand-pick the best grapes and keep the vinification completely natural, every step of the way. Fermentation is with wild yeasts only, which allows the purest expression of each varietal. And our wines contain minimal sulfites, for the best flavor and no headaches!

No headaches for The Heads! Rosé Head is 60% Grolleau and 40% Gamay, from vines that average 25 years, grown on clay and limestone. This is an enticing little wine. Low alcohol, sweet fruit, some funky grolleau/gamay antics. Yum.

Domaine du Mortier “Les Pins” 2014, Bourgueil

Domaine du Mortier is a 9 hectare, certified biodynamic property located in Saint Nicolas de Bourgeuil, owned and operated by brothers Fabien and Cyril Boisard. Here the brothers employ the most traditional method of propagating vines: Selection Massale, a labor intensive and time consuming practice of selecting the best vines in a vineyard and propagating through cuttings. They also promote eco-diversity in their vineyards, by planting diverse crops amongst the vines. With this level of discipline and commitment, they always produce top notch wines.

Les Pins is 100$ Cabernet Franc from one parcel of 60 year old vines, grown on clay and chalk. The grapes are hand harvested, and then the whole bunches go into 50 hectoliter oak vats for a traditional fermentation at low temperature (usually lasts about 20 days). They use the lees from the previous vintage to start the fermentation. The bottom of the tank is lined with boxes so that the fresh grapes are not in contact with any of the juice at the bottom. The wine then stays in tank until it’s bottled with only 15mg per liter of sulfur. Les Pins, like all wines here, is bottled unfiltered and unfined.

Bodegas Lecea “Corazon de Lago” Rioja, 2014

Bodegas Lecea is a multi-generational producer in Rioja, Spain. They have 25 hectares of vines that average 25 years old, but the vines for their Crianza and Reserva wines are at least 50 years old.

Corazon de Lago is hand harvested and then made via carbonic maceration, which is unusual in Rioja, but results in a wine that blends bright, clean and fruity characteristics with darker, earthier and spicier tones.

Wine Tasting in the Shop with Adam Wilson of European Cellars

Friday, Dec. 4th, 5pm-8pm

Françoise Bedel Brut “Dis, Vin Secret” NV

Located in Western Marne Valley in the village of Crouttes-Sur-Marne (as far west as you can go and still be in Champagne), Francoise Bedel is one of Champagne’s biggest proponents of Pinot Meunier and one of the 1st in the region to practice biodynamic viticulture – no non-organic treatments have been used on her vines since 1997. She arrived at her decision to convert to organic, and then biodynamic farming, when her son Vincent was sick for many years as a child and didn’t respond to traditional medicine. Eventually she sought out the help of homeopaths and finally found relief for her son. As she learned more about homeopathic medicine, she implemented more of the practices into her daily life, culminating in her taking the approach in the vineyard and cellar as well. Today, her son Vincent is healthy and has taken over most of the winemaking duties. Their Champagnes are highly sought after examples of Pinot Meunier.

“Dis, Vin Secret” is 96% Pinot Meunier and 4% Chardonnay from younger vines planted on soils of chalk, gravel, clay, and grey schist in some parcels. It’s fermented in tank, aged partially in barrel, and then left to rest for at least five years; even the entry level, non-vintage cuvées don’t leave the cellar until 5 years after harvest. Always zero-dosage, Dis, Vin Secret is a gorgeous example of savory Pinot Meunier minerality, and rich, lees-y depth and complexity. It’s a beautiful wine.

Domaine Clos de l’Elu Anjou Blanc 2013

Domaine de l’Elu is an old 22 hectare property taken over in 2008 by Thomas Carsin and Gregoire du Bouexic. Thomas was a consultant in Champagne and Provence when this domaine became available. He and Gregoire jumped at the chance to purchase it and put their farming and winemaking philosophies into practice. They grow eight different varieties here including Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Gamay, Pineau d’Aunis, and Grolleau. New plantings are done via selection massale, farming is organic (transitioning to biodynamic), harvest is by hand, only wild yeast is used, and none of the wines are filtered or fined. Sulphur is avoided, and only used in tiny amounts when deemed necessary.

Anjou Blanc is 100% Chenin Blanc, aged for 12 months in 400L French oak. It’s pure and expressive, with ripe orchard fruit, bright lemony acidity, a touch of salinity and chalky minerality, all wrapped around that gorgeous, full Chenin texture.

Domaine Clos de l’Elu “L’Aiglerie” Anjou Rouge, Loire, 2013

See full note above.
Most of the red wines here are whole cluster fermentations, macerations are long and the wines age in tank, barrel or amphorae. L’Aiglerie is 100% Cabernet Franc, semi-carbonic, no sulphur added. It’s ripe and bright while retaining the earthy, slightly vegetal, nervy minerality of Cab Franc.

Domaine Saint Nicolas Fièfs Vendéens “Reflets” Rouge 2014
60% Pinot Noir, 30% Gamay, 10% Cab Franc

Domaine Saint Nicolas sits at the extreme southern end of the Loire delta, just south of Muscadet. Fièfs Vendéens is a tiny viticultural area right on the Atlantic; the wines of Saint Nicolas are all about the place, in this case, the soil (slate, schist and silex) and the sea. Thierry Michon works old vines of Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Groslot, Pinot Noir, Negrette, and Cabernet Franc. He farms biodynamically, and has taken the added step of purchasing parcels of land around his vineyards to work as buffer zones against the non-organic compounds some of his neighbors might use. He is one of the few winemakers in the region to age his wines in barrel. The wines of Saint Nicolas are pure like a new sheet of glass, and evocative of the sea and the mineral laden soils upon which the vines are grown.

Click here to read this week’s newsletter.

Pop-Up Wine Illustration by Evan Larson, RISD & Campus alum.

Pop-Up Wine Illustration by Evan Larson, RISD & Campus alum.

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

2014 Domaine de la Pépiere Muscadet-Sèvre et Maine sur Lie

Marc Ollivier is one of the best producers of Muscadet that we’ve ever encountered. His Muscadet has lees contact until the time of bottling, which is the traditional way to make Muscadet, but has become the exception. Ollivier hand harvests, uses natural yeasts & bottles with a very light filtration. The vineyards are 40+ years old & all from original stock; there isn’t a single clonal selection in the vineyards.

This wine never, ever fails to deliver. It’s a rocky, salty, twangy, lip-smacky, refreshing bottle of goodness!

2014 Domaine Rimbert “Petit Cochon Bronzé Rosé”, St. Chinian, Languedoc

It’s hard to ever say no to this little piggy. This rosé is made from a blend of Cinsault & Syrah, from vines of about 60 years old. The grapes are harvested at maximum ripeness and immediately de-stemmed, then gently crushed and fermented with natural yeast. The skins are removed from the vats 36 hours after pressing, lending this rosé its beautifully intense pink color. This wine is typically light and spicy, with bright red fruit, like cherries and a strawberries, and a clean and zesty finish.

2014 Domaine Rimbert “Cousin Oscar” Vin de France (St. Chinian)

He’s back! Made from Jean-Marie Rimbert’s organically farmed young vine Cinsault, this wine is synonymous with summer around the shop. Oscar likes a light chill, to maintain his suave sense of cool.

2014 Domaine du Mortier “Brain de Folie” St Nicolas de Bourgeuil

Domaine du Mortier is a 9 hectare vineyard located in the Saint Nicolas de Bourgeuil AOC, which lies between Angers and Tours. Brothers Fabien and Cyril Boisard were quite young when they started Domaine du Mortier nearly ten years ago. They don’t come from a family with a long wine making history, but you would never know that when tasting their pure, silky and elegant wines. All are bottles unfiltered & unfined. The vines are cultivated via Selection Massale, a labor intensive and time consuming practice of selecting the best vines in a vineyard and propagating through cuttings.

Brain de Folie is apparently slang for hangover, but this is a light Loire Valley Cab Franc, so how bad can it be? Two weeks of carbonic maceration lend this wine its refreshing, food friendly, totally quaffable character. Porch-pounder!