Didier Tripoz took over this 13ha domaine located in the southern part of the Mâcon region in 1989. Catherine & Didier work the land like their families have for generations: they allow grass to grow between the rows and plow regularly to encourage an active biological environment. They practice “lutte raisonée” (the reasoned-fight, or sustainable farming) on vines that average 45 years old.
Clos des Tournons comes from a one hectare plot of 48-year-old vines in a nine-hectare monopole that is sub-divided into 12 different parcels determined by the age of the vines. The grapes are vinified separately in stainless steel and cement vats before blending. This wine is dry & lively, with a bit of stony minerality and crisp apple. The palate fleshes out a bit and hints at what this wine will become with a few years or more of age: a touch of vanilla, honey, and the faintest whiff of butter. Enjoy it with seafood, poultry, mild cheeses and appetizers.
La Clarine Farm, Sierra Nevada Foothills, CA
La Clarine Farm is 10 acres of grapes, goats, dogs, cats, chickens, gophers, and myriad other flora and fauna, situated at 2600 feet elevation in California’s Sierra Nevada Foothills.
We like the ‘about us’ description on their website: Caroline Hoel and Hank Beckmeyer started La Clarine Farm in 2001 and quickly became swamped with work with little monetary gain. Still, they love what they do… Something about that sounds weirdly familiar…we can’t quite put our finger on it… At La Clarine Farm, they make wine as minimally as possible, without chemicals or additives. Fermentations are spontaneous and can sometimes last up to 6 months. Aging is in neutral containers (never any new oak) without sulfur. Only a tiny bit of sulfur is added at bottling, to ensure that the wine makes it unscathed to its varied destinations.
They grow a field blend of various red varieties, including Tempranillo, Syrah, Tannat, Grenache, Negroamaro and Cabernet Sauvignon, and purchase other grapes from vineyards farmed similarly and that they wish they owned.
La Clarine Farm 2015 Jambalaia Blanc
This is a blend of 57% Viognier, 36% Marsanne, 4% Albariño & 3% Petit Manseng from various plots in El Dorado County. It’s whole cluster pressed, tank fermented, and left on the lees for approximately 10 months, then bottled unfiltered and unfined, with barely any SO2– just 15ppm. The Viognier shows through nicely, with lots of peaches and perfume. Full spontaneous malolactic adds weight and depth to the palate. Lively acidity and juicy fruit round out the flavors, and lead into a slightly nutty and gamy finish. 244 cases made.
La Clarine Farm 2015 Jambalaia Rouge
This is a blend of 59% Mourvedre, 21% Marsanne, 15% Grenache, and 5% Syrah from one single little plot on volcanic loam soil. Yields were way down on Grenache this vintage, so a touch of syrah was added. This wine is all about juicy drinkability, bright red fruit, blueberries and blackberries, vibrant acidity and barely there tannins. It takes a little chill quite nicely, and is versatile with a wide variety of foods, from casual pizza and burgers, to roasted poultry and veggie dishes. 500 cases made.
L’enclos des Braves 2013 Les Gourmands Gaillac Rouge
Importer notes: After having worked at other wineries for over 12 years, in 2005 Nicolas Lebrun found the plot he was looking for: L’Enclos des Braves. This small hilly 6 ha (14.82 acres) vineyard was topped with limestone-rich soils and a thick layer of clay, perfect for drainage. The vines were all 20 to 35 years old, and Nicolas took to them like a father to his kids.
Treating them in accordance with Biodynamic principles, he uses only indigenous yeasts, manually harvests everything, and adds barely any SO2 at bottling. Like children, he lets the wines take their time. To put it mildly, he is making beautifully wild and soulful wines with these local grapes.
Les Gourmands Rouge is a blend of Braucol & Duras that’s fermented in cement, then aged in a mixture of mostly cement, and some large old oak. This wine has a savory nose of licorice, cedar, pepper and dark fruit. On the palate it’s savory again, and herbal, with a touch of smoke and meat. The elegant texture evolves as the wine is exposed to air; the finish is long and lip-smacking, with fine tannins goading you to grab just one more helping of that wild boar stew! Or cassoulet, confit, pate…this is a food friendly little wine.