Tag Archives: champagne

Memorial Weekend Tastings in the Shop

Friday, May 25, 2018, we have back to back tastings.

3-5PM: Willie’s Superbrew pours their two new brews.

5-8PM: our regularly scheduled Friday wine tasting (notes are below).

Saturday, 3-6PM: Wakefield’s Whalers Brewing in the shop.

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop

Gaston Chiquet Cuvée Tradition Brut 1er Cru NV
Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir

We couldn’t improve upon the importer and Terry Thiese notes for this wine, so here they are: Nicolas Chiquet farms 23 heactares in the Valle de la Marne in the villages of Ay, Dizy, Hautvillers and Mareuil-sur-Ay. All of the fruit (including that which is used in the non-vintage cuvée) comes from premiere and grand cru grapes. Nicolas does not employ any oak aging at Gaston Chiquet; he believes that concentration, fruit maturity and malolactic fermentation impart enough body and texture to make aging in barrel unnecessary.

Terry Thiese notes: “In essence this wine combines the pumpernickel-sweetness of Meunier with a walnutty richness typical of this part of the Marne, and what makes it most wonderful is that it’s both extremely articulate and openly friendly. It is class defined and enacted. If you think such qualities are “mainstream”, shame on you. Such qualities are rare, my friend, and you do not have the privilege to take them for granted. It’s 40% PM, 35% CH and 20% PN. There’s 30% reserve wine, which includes some 2011, which one does—alas—notice. Otherwise the wine is saltier than usual, with somewhat more power and length.” 45 months on the lees.

Domaine Cheveau Saint Véran “Terroir Davayé” 2016

Domaine Cheveau was established in 1950 by André Cheveau; today his two grandsons run the estate, which is situated on 14 hectares around Solutré-Pouilly, and extends into Davayé in the Maconnais, and Saint Amour in Beaujolais. No fertilizers are used and all harvesting is done by hand; the wines are fermented and vinified parcel by parcel. Total estate production is fewer than 5,000 cases.

This Saint Veran is 100% Chardonnay from younger vines of 15 to 20 years of age. It’s sourced from vineyards in the village of Davayé, part of the Saint Veran appellation. It’s fermented and aged in stainless steel for eight or so months before being bottled. Dry, finessed, understated, and produced in very small quantities, so only about 100 cases make it to the US annually.

Domaine Lucien Crochet Sancerre Rosé 2017

Lucien Crochet was formally established when Lucien Crochet married the daughter of Lucien Picard, joining the two estates of Lucien Picard and André Crochet (Lucien’s father). Lucien Picard was one of the first growers to bottle his own wine in Sancerre, and then sell them primarily to restaurants in Paris. Over 30 years, Lucien Crochet expanded upon his father-in-law’s work, and expanded the domaine as well, so that it is now over 38 hectares, 29 of which are planted to Sauvignon Blanc, 9 to Pinot Noir. The vines are planted on clay and limestone, and they’ve been farmed organically since 1989.

Only 6% of Sancerre is rosé, mostly because making good wine from red grapes in Sancerre is best left to very good producers, preferably with help from warmer weather. This is one of those rare instances where climate change makes things better.

Domaine Joseph Dorbon Arbois Rouge Trousseau Vielle Vigne 2013, Jura

Joseph Dordon established his domaine in 1996 with about 3 hectares of vineyards in AOC Arbois, situated in the village of Vadans. His vines are planted on hillsides, facing south, at approximately 1000 feet altitude. Though he’s not yet certified organic, he works as responsibly as possible, avoiding chemicals, hand-harvesting, hoeing by horse, allowing weeds to grow…

This old vine (40+ years) Trousseau is de-stemmed and fermented for 15 or so days with the pulp, and then aged for one year in stainless steel, to keep the freshness of Trousseau. The importer notes state that this wine is “open and delicious with fresh, tart fruit, underlying notes of dried herbs and a light, tannic backbone. The color is an attractive pale red tinged with a slight orange hue. High-toned and bright, this wine could easily be confused for a red Burgundy from the Hautes Cotes de Beaune.” Capable of aging for 10-15 years. And they have a very cute cottage for rent.

Here’s a cool article in The Guardian about natural wine…it mentions trailblazer Marcel Lapierre, whose 2017 Morgon we just got a case of yesterday, now produced by his son Mathieu and daughter Camille.

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

Dec. 29, 2017

Last tasting of 2017!

Weingut Rita & Rudolf Trossen, Pyramide Pur’us Riesling 2015, Mosel, Germany

Rita and Rudolf Trossen’s vineyards in Mosel are full of slate, which resisted phylloxera, so many of their vines are completely ungrafted and approaching 100 years old. In 1978 they converted their entire estate to biodynamics, well ahead of the trend. In 2010 they decided to take the plunge into natural winemaking with their Pur’us line of wines. This line has no intervention at all, with zero additives, including zero sulfur, and are unfined and unfiltered. They allow their wines to sit on the lees for an extended period of time, all of these factors come together to create a truly unique expression of Riesling in Pyramide Pur’us.

Grapes are of course hand-harvested, then whole bunches are fermented in 1000 liter stainless steel tanks. The tanks are cooled by ambient air, and fermentation takes about 6 months, followed by about 11 more months of aging in tank.

Champagne Perseval-Farge ‘Terre de Sables’ Premier Cru, Montagne de Reims

Notes from the importer: Champagne Perseval-Farge is a 4 hectare estate in the 1er Cru village of Chamery which is in the heart of the Montagne de Reims. The Perseval family traces its roots back to the early 18th century in the village and today it is Benoist and Isabelle Perseval who carry on the tradition. Benoist farms sustainably, what he calls “viticulture integrée” with the commitment of taking care of the land for future generations. The four hectares are planted with 50% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Meunier. In 2004 a small parcel was planted with Arbanne, Petit Meslier and Fromentot (Pinot Gris). Atypical of Champagne, the Perseval’s four hectares are largely in one single parcel with the greater portion being on the mid to upper slope with calcerous-clay soils and the smaller part on the lower slopes with sandy-clay soils. Besides his commitment to sustainability in the vineyard, Benoist has worked to decrease the use of sulfur in his winemaking and at 26 to 35g per liter, his dose level is below 50% of the norm.

The Terre de Sables is a blend of one third each Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. It is also a blend of vintages, with the base of 50% coming from 2006 and the rest a blend of 2007, 2004 and 2001. The cuvee is made from grapes grown on the domain’s sandiest soils and is sharply marked by it, with notes of marine minerals being supported by bright acidity. The Champagne is held “sur lattes” for four years before disgorgement and finished with a dosage of 7g/L.

Domaine La Grange Tiphaine, ‘Rosa Rosé Rosam’ 2016

Notes fro the importer: La Grange Tiphaine was established at the end of the 19th century by Alfonse Delecheneau, followed by three generations: Adrien, Jackie, and currently Damien. Coralie, Damien’s wife, has joined the family as a fully active partner in the life & work of their 10 hectare vineyard. Damien’s talent as a winemaker is evidenced by the multitude of beautifully balanced, elegant, precise, red, white, rosé & sparkling wines that he crafts from five different varieties: Chenin blanc, Côt (Malbec), Gamay, Cabernet Franc, & the ancient & rare Loire variety called Grolleau. The vines are in the AOCs of Touraine Amboise & Montlouis sur Loire. The wines are all different: tender or round, fine or fruit filled, dry or sweet, but they all share the common thread of careful work in the vines that make for beautifully balanced, terroir driven, precise wines. They are certified organic.

Rosa Rosé Rosam is a blend of Gamay, Grolleau, Cot, & Cabernet Franc from vines that average 80 years old. It’s a pet-nat rosé, made via methode ancestrale, and is a fun addition to the holiday season. Off-dry, ripe strawberries and cherries, a little tart & hazy…it’ll look beautiful in your glass.

La Vignereuse, ‘A la Santé des Mécréants’ Duras, Gaillac 2014

Marine Leys farms 5 hectares of hillside vines planted to Duras, Syrah, Braucol, Mauzac, Loin de l’oeil, and Gamay, in the town of Tarn, in Gaillac. Marine comes from a background in film production, and in that role she travelled across Europe. The job also took her to Canada, then Ireland, and eventually Turkey, where she was introduced to the world of wine through her employer, whom she helped plant a vineyard. It’s there that she eventually began working in the cellar and, after studying in Beaune, handled the winemaking as well.

In 2012 she moved to Gaillac to work and learn from her winemaker friends at Domaine Plageoles. In 2014, she found the 5 hectares of vines in Andillac and the Vignereuse that now make up La Vignereuse.

A la Santé des Mécréants (which we think translates to “cheers to miscreants”???) is 100% Duras (from 40 year old vines) that’s hand-harvested, fermented in cement, and bottled with barely any sulfur. It’s a humble little wine with crunchy-fresh fruit, white pepper, and a touch of earth and spice.

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

Dec. 22, 2017

Tonight’s wine tasting in the shop will be hosted by Nick Shugrue of Winebow. You may know Nick as a wine-guy about-town; we’re happy to have him pour in our shop this evening, and we think you’ll be very happy with the line up. Don’t miss it!

Ravier Les Abymes 2015

Philippe and Sylvain Ravier have 35 hectares of vines in the Savoie appellations of Apremont, Abymes, Chignin and Saint Jean de la Porte. The estate was established in 1979 by Philippe’s parents; in 1988 Philippe began acquiring more vineyards to bring the property to its current size. In 2014 Philippe’s son joined the operation, and they added a new winery and cellar.

Together they cultivate 10 hectares of Jacquere vineyards in the Les Abymes designation. The vines are situated at 250-300 meters altitude, are between 10 and 60 years of age, and are planted on a variety of soils (including alluvial silt and limestone) that promote good drainage and retain heat. This is a bang for your buck, refreshing white, with a soft texture and crisp flavors of green apple, citrus and jasmine.

Leclerc Briant Champagne Extra Brut Millésime 2009

Notes from the importer: Leclerc Briant was an early adopter of organic practices beginning in the 1960’s and pioneered the concept of single-vineyard Champagne beginning in the 1970’s. Fifth generation vigneron, Pascal Leclerc began following biodynamic principles in 1988, with part of the production Demeter certified since 2003. Today, enologist Hervé Jestin continues the legacy of this visionary house.

24.7 acres of vineyard are spread between the Premier Cru villages of Cumières, Hautvillers, Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, Bisseuil in the Vallée de la Marne, Villers-Allerand and Rilly la Montagne in Montagne de Reims and in the Grand Cru village of Le Mesnil Sur Oger in the Côte des Blancs. Leclerc Briant also holds long term contracts with another 8 hectares of biodynamically farmed vineyards.

Vintage 2009 is produced from 40% Chardonnay; 40% Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Meunier from the Premier Cru village of Cumières. Fermentation and aging for 7-8 months in stainless steel and cement tanks is followed by 80-100 months aging in bottle sur lattes. The wine received a low dosage and is bone dry with just 4 grams per liter of residual sugar. 7,000 bottles produced.

This wine shows unexpected richness for an Extra Brut thanks to 80-100 months aging on its lees before disgorgement and the ripe character that comes with an opulent vintage like 2009. An expansive nose of lemon curd, white flowers and bread notes leads to a palate that shows a mouth coating richness and a lingering saltiness on the finish.

Domaine Eugene Carrel & Fils Savoie Pinot Noir 2015

Notes from the importer/winemaker: Domaine Eugene Carrel is located in the village of Jongieux, in the northern part of the Savoie region, at the beginning of the French Alps. Winemaker Olivier Carrel represents the third generation at the estate. They include all of the traditional varieties of the region, namely Jacquere (sold as Vin de Savoie Jongieux Bench), Altesse, Gamay, Pinot, and the unique red Mondeuse. Domaine Carrel’s customers include virtually every local restaurant from bistros to top Savoie gastronomic destinations.

This is hand-harvested Pinot Noir from vines grown on calcerous clay. In the cellar the bunches are fully destemmed, and fermentation is for 8-12 days, followed by aging on the lees until bottling. This is red-fruited and flowery on the nose, and slightly savory, tannic, and spicy on the palate. Drink now or age for up to seven years.

Domaine Jean Deydier ‘Les Clefs D’Or’ Chateauneuf du Pape 2015

Notes from the importer: In the late 19th century, Maurice Deydier founded this small estate in Chateauneuf du Pape. In the 1950s, Jean Deydier…planted new vineyards and acquired others, bringing his holding to 15 hectares. In 1957, Jean was awarded the medal of the Chevalier du Merite Agricole for “the loving, artisanal style of production that he brought to the development of his property, and the constant efforts he put to make it better.” Jean Deydier and his son Pierre in turn expanded the estate to its present size of 20 hectares of Chateauneuf du Pape and 12 hectares of Côtes du Rhone Massif of Uchaux. Today, Pierre is aided by his daughter, Laurence, and his nephew, Jean-Francois,

The estate’s holdings are located in Chateauneuf’s greatest vineyards. One is the “Pied Long” on the plateau north of the village of Chateauneuf, dominated by pebbles, and wide gold, round stones, over limestone-clay soil. Their 10 hectares of vines here were planted in the 1950s, with a majority of Grenache and other plantings typical to the appellation. The other part is in the famed “La Crau” vineyard to the east of the village. Here, the estate’s 6 hectares of Grenache and Syrah vines grow on a superbly exposed hillside with a stony, limestone-clay soil. The Grenache vines in La Crau parcel are 120 years old, having been planted in 1896. The domain practices sustainable viticulture. Only native yeasts are used and the wines are bottled without filtration.

The Clefs d’Or Chateauneuf du Pape is sourced from both vineyards. The blend is 65% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre, 10% Syrah and a field blend of 10% Cinsault, Muscardin, Counoise and Vaccarèse which are vinified together. The wine is fermented for 20 days in concrete tanks and then aged in large, 50 hectolitre casks for about one year.

This wine is imbued with scents of ripe red and dark berries, sweet lavender, white pepper, and hillside herbs. It’s smooth, classic Châteauneuf from an outstanding vintage.

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM

December 15, 2017

Champagne Huré Frères L’Invitation Brut NV 

Notes from the importer: As the story goes, Georges Huré rather reluctantly founded the estate in 1960, to satisfy the insistent dreams of his wife Jeanne. The name Huré Frères came about in 1971 when Georges passed on management of the domaine to his three sons—Jean Marie, Marc and Raoul. Since 2008, Raoul’s son, François, has been at the head of the estate after pursuing many other opportunities and inspiring wine regions as a young man. His prior stints include: falling in love with the terroir of Burgundy while obtaining his oenology degree in Dijon, becoming fascinated with biodynamics while working with Jean Pïerre Fleury, and exploring the vineyards of Australia and New Zealand. These experiences allowed François to understand the inherent advantages of both New and Old World wine regions: the traditional farming and respect for terroir of the former and the efficient modern techniques of the latter. Both serve him to create the terroir-driven and focused cuvées that mark the Huré Frères style today.

The domaine’s trademark cuvée is a blend of the three Champagne varieties: 20% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier, from three villages: Montagne de Reims (Ludes and Villedommange), Tardenois (Serzy & Prin) and Vitry (Vavray le Grand), with an average vine age of 35 years. Vineyard methods involve no herbicides, maintenance of natural ground cover, organic composts, and meticulous pruning, thinning, and canopy management. Villages, varieties, and parcels are vinified separately; 25% to 40% reserve wine depending on the year blended in by solera, 3 years aging on the lees.

Domaine Dublère, Bourgogne Blanc Les Millerands 2014

Blair Pethel, formerly a Washington DC-based political and economic journalist, first stumbled across Burgundy in the late 1980s. He was working and living in London at the time, but quickly made it a point to return to this fascinatingly complex region several times a year. During a sabbatical in 1999, he threw himself into a harvest stint, “and after that experience, it was only a question of when and how I was going to become a winemaker here,” says Blair. In 2003, he managed to acquire 3 hectares of vines and made his dream a reality. Read more about him here.

“Le Millerands” comes from a single de-classified plot of 30-40 year old vines in Meursault. Like the rest of the property, no pesticides, fertilizers, or herbicides are used. Fermentation and malolactic are in older oak barrels (less than 10% new oak), followed by 16 months aging, and 2 months blending and settling in stainless steel tank. Bottled unfiltered and unfined, with minimal sulfur.

Domaine Thillardon, Chénas Les Boccards 2015

Paul Henri Thillardon biodynamically farms nearly 6 hectares of vines in Chenas, the smallest of the ten Beaujolais Crus in the far north of the region, situated west of Moulin-A-Vent. His vineyards are located on a plateau around the Catle Boccards in the town of La Chapelle-de-Guinchay where the soil is granitic (pink granite). Aging in oak barrels for 5 months (70%) but no new oak.

2015 was a hot year, and that comes through in this muscular Beaujolais. The nose reveals notes of ripe black fruits; on the palate, the wine is very round and rich, and finishes with silky tannins. This is a wine to enjoy now, or to lay down for a decade.

Domaine Dublère Beaune 1er Cru Rouge Les Blanches Fleurs 2014

(Importer notes are above)

Pinot Noir from vines planted in 1973. 100% de-stemmed, fermented with indigenous yeast, and aged for 18-20 months in older oak barrels. Bottled without fining or filtration. 2014 was a tough year for red Burgundy, especially in Beaune, with major hail damage for the 3rd year in a row forcing production way down (or eliminating entirely in some places), and difficult weather leading to lighter reds in general. But there are always producers making quality wines, even in the toughest of times. This wine is an example of harnessing every wayward ray of sunshine in an otherwise cloudy, cool, hail-studded, and wet vintage.

Thanksgiving Wine Tasting with Vineyard Road, in the Shop, 5pm – 8pm

Friday Nov. 17, 2017

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Note: Our Saturday tasting (Nov. 18th) will feature Wine Traditions French Cider instead of the usual beer. These ciders are so good with Thanksgiving, it seemed like a good route to go.

Same time, 3PM-6PM!

And here is today’s line up~

Hugues Godmé, Reserve 1er Cru Brut (NV)

Hugues Godmé represents the 5th generation to farm and make wine on his 11 hectare family estate in Verzenay. Although this area is dominated by Pinot Noir, Godmé cultivates Chardonnay on more than half of his holdings, with a balance of 30% Pinot Noir on his Grand-Cru certified sites, and the remaining 20% is Pinot Meunier.  Godmé works biodynamically, and gained organic certification in 2013. Fermentation is with natural yeast (when possible) in enamel-lined tanks and/or oak, such as with this champagne. No fining or filtration.

Godmé Reserve 1er Cru Brut uses a very high proportion of reserve wines, somewhere around 50%, and usually from the previous two to three vintages, adding depth and richness. The Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier come through as vibrant dashes of red fruit on a round and creamy chardonnay base. This is a lovely, lively, aromatic champagne that finishes with great length and finesse.

Alberto Nanclares Rías Baixas Dandelion Albariño 2016

Alberto Nanclares was an economist before he was a winemaker. A native of Basque Country, he left the region and his career behind in 1992, settling in the seaside parish of Castrelo, in close proximity to Cambados, a village well-known for Albariño wines. As luck would have it, the house that Alberto purchased came with a a little bit of vineyard land. At first he farmed this conventionally, but quickly turned away from this in favor of organic and biodynamic farming, a rarity here because of the humid conditions that can lead to viticultural difficulties. Alberto now farms 12 small plots across 2.5 hectares, all trained in the pergola-style (to increase airflow and reduce the chance of fungal conditions). Yields are very low, about half of what the DO Rías Baixas permits. Alberto uses seaweed from the nearby ocean for compost, and doesn’t plow in order to maintain and promote the natural flora and fauna. All the wines are fermented with yeasts from their respective vineyards.

Dandelion is a beautiful, salty, and sun-shiny Albariño. It’s from 30-60 year old vines from multiple plots in and around Cambados, planted on sandy soil over granite. Albariño is a naturally high acid grape, and Alberto embraces this; some in the DO will add potassium in order to soften the wine, but Alberto prefers the raciness of the grape. Most of his wines don’t undergo malolactic fermentation, but they do spend quite some time on the lees, often more than a year, giving the wine textural complexity and a long finish. Very little SO2 is used, mostly a dash at bottling, and wines are bottled without filtering or fining.

Domaine les Capreoles, Regnie Chamodère 2016

Notes from the importer: When Cédric Lecareux and his wife Catherine, native of Beaujolais, discovered the property, it was love at first sight. Located in Regnie-Durette, the wine estate, steeped in history for more than 250 years, charmed them with its old stones and ancient arched cellars. With an existing winery and 3.5 hectares of old Gamay vines surrounding the house, everything was there for them to combine their wine project and family life. They took the plunge and made their first vintage in 2014. Two years later, they bought an additional 2 ha of vines. A trained agronomist and oenologist, Cedric spent nearly 15 years working in the wine business before achieving his dream. Everything he does is hands on and natural; the results are purely-fruited, fresh Beaujolais that remarkably express all the richness of their exceptional terroir. Total production is around 2,500 cases.

The word “Capréoles” comes from the Old French and means vine tendrils. Cédric and Catherine chose this name for all it symbolizes: the reference to History and Tradition, the natural support allowing vertical growth of the vine but also the idea of the relationship they want to establish with those who appreciate their work.

Farming/vinification practices: in conversion to organic, will soon be certified. The wines are vegan. The grapes can be destemmed, depending on the years. Open tank fermentation, no pumping over, vinification as natural as possible but always with control – little SO2 added, only after malolactic in tanks.

Shiba-Wichern Willamette Cuvée Pinot Noir 2014

Akiko Shiba is a young Japanese winemaker who trained in Germany, and is now making gorgeous wine in Oregon. She was originally wanted to be a journalist and report on the world of alcohol; when she got out of college she worked as an editor for about two years at a culinary magazine called “Ou-sama no Kitchen” (The King’s Kitchen). At the same time that the magazine folded, Akiko’s husband got a job in Germany, so she moved their with him. She ended up working at a bar and getting very immersed in German beer. She began studying beer, but chance and circumstance led her to oenology school; the rest, as they say, is history.

Willamette Cuvée is a blend of pinot noir from three vineyards, here described by the producer: “Mild red and black fruits from the Havlin Vineyard, smells of summer-forest and black tea from Barrett Hill Vineyard and powerful dark fruits and spices from Eola Springs Vineyard all play well together to make the Willamette Cuvée complex, but not muddled. As the wine breathes the character continues to expand and present more depth.”

Willamette Cuvée was blended after barrel aging in 12% new French Oak for a little over 18 months and has been in the bottle since May 1st, 2016.

*Honorable mention wine we really want to taste, but we’ve maxed out at four: 

Adega Eloi Lorenzo, Ribeiro Blanco Villa Paz (2015)

Javier Monsalve is farmer and winemaker at this small winery in Galicia, started by his grandfather Eloi Lorenzo, in 1976. Javier farms his 5 hectares organically and biodynamically; most of his vines are planted on high altitude terraced slopes, and on soils made up mostly of granite, upon which Treixadura thrives. This wine is a blend of Treixadura, Albariño, Godello, and Torrontés.  It’s soft, easy, aromatic, and perfect for sipping while cheffing up feasts. And it’s called House of Peace, so that’s extra points right there.

Friday Wine Tasting in the shop, 5-8PM

May 19, 2017

Domaine Philemon Perlé Gaillac Blanc 

perle

Perlé Gaillac Blanc is all fresh deliciousness. It’s 60% Loin de L’oeil, 20% Muscadelle and 20% Sauvignon Blanc. The property in southwest France has been in the Vieules family for over 200 years; today Mathieu Vieules grows wheat, sunflowers and grapes in equal proportion.

This wine is the perfect aperitif or accompaniment to warm-weather food: it’s lively, citrusy, ever-so-slightly spritzy, and balanced out by a bit of garden herbs and green apple. And it’s well under 15 bucks.

 

AJ Adam Riesling Trocken 2015, Mosel 

Here’s a good telling of the Andreas Adam story. And here are more notes from the importer (clearly we’re too hot for writing): This Estate Trocken (Gutsriesling) is entirely from Dhron. Like a good Bourgogne Blanc it’s sourced from several top vineyards to make a wine that speaks to the vintage, region and style of the producer. The fruit harvested was very clean and at about 79 oechsle, similar to his Hofberg Kabinett. Fermented with spontaneous yeast in stainless steel and a bit of old fuder, the fermentation stopped at 7 grams of RS, “where it finds it’s balance”.

Champagne Moutard Brut Grand Cuvée NV

The Moutard family has been farming in Buxeuil, in the Côte des Bar since 1642, and has been making wine since 1927. In addition to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, they also grow heirloom varieties Petit Meslier and Arbanne on their 20 hectares of vines. Grand Cuvée is 100% Pinot Noir, and like all the champagne produced at Moutard, it spends a minimum of 3 years on the lees. It’s a rich, ripe, and approachable style, with nuts and brioche on the nose, and a creamy texture. At under $40, it’s very affordable farmer fizz.

Étienne Courtois L’Icaunais 2013, Loire

Notes from the importer:  Claude Courtois has created a small farm which exemplifies what biodynamic is in terms of biodiversity and self-sufficiency, although he does not consider himself to be a biodynamic grower. He farms a balanced & completely chemical free 13-hectares of vines in the heart of the VDP Sologne. Courtois also grows organic wheat, which he feeds to his cows. “Nothing comes into my vineyard,” he says, meaning no chemicals ever. He has created a well-balanced, bio-diversity with trees, fruit trees, vines, woods, and fields. No pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers, or synthetic chemicals of any kind are allowed on the vines or in the soil of the vineyards. He has his own methods for promoting the diverse life of the soil. The grapes—Gamay, Cabernet Franc, Côt (Malbec), Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc & Pineau d’ Aunis—are harvested by hand and only indigenous yeasts are used during fermentation. Claude regards the soil on his farm as a living organism. He lives in harmony with nature and the wines he crafts are a pure and vibrant testament to outstanding Biodynamic winemaking.

Claude, who is growing older, has started to pass off the winemaking to his son Etienne, who is already showing immense promise…read more.

Farmer Fizz Friday with Vineyard Road, Dec. 16, 5PM – 8PM

Domaine Huet Vouvray Pétillant, Loire, France

Domaine Huet was established in 1928, but Vouvray has been known as a Chenin Blanc producing region since the 9th century, and many of its great vineyards were known by the 14th century. The domaine only exists because its founder, Victor Huet, was a Parisian bistro owner who fled the city due to “shattered lungs and nerves” after the first World War, and settled here in the Loire. Victor’s son Gaston worked with his father from the very beginning, and built the domaine’s legacy over nearly six decades, despite being in a German POW camp for five years. Gaston retired in 2009; since then Huet has been led by Jean-Bernard Berthomé, who officially joined Huet in 1979.

This sparkling wine is 100% hand-harvested Chenin Blanc from biodynamically farmed vineyards. It competes with true Champagne in elegance, texture, and flavor. It’s a beautiful wine that will make any occasion a little more special.

José Dhondt NV Brut Blanc de Blanc

José Dhondt produced his first cuvée in 1974. The family’s 6 hectares are split over several parcels, equally divided between the Côte des Blancs and the Sézannes regions, and planted to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The average age of the vines is 25 years, though some are around 60 years old. While they don’t claim to be organic, chemicals are avoided as much as possible. Yields are kept extremely low, and harvesting is as late as possible. The estate produces a little over 4,000 cases annually; a small amount of the harvest goes to Möet and other houses.

José Dhondt Blanc de Blanc is precise, delicate, and refined. Very suave, very delicious.

Camille Savès Cuvée Brut Carte Blanche Premier Cru

The Savès family has lived in Bouzy (we wish we lived in Bouzy!) since 1894. Eugène Savès founded the estate when he married Anaïs Jolicoeur, the daughter of a wine producer from the village. Eugène was an agricultural engineer by trade, and his love of the land and wine steered him into wine production. Since then, his children Louis, Camille, and Hervé have carried on his traditions. Now Hervé tends the family’s 10 hectare Grand Cru and Premier Cru vineyard.

Carte Blanche is 75% Pinot Noir from Bouzy, Ambonnay and Tours-sur-Marne, and 25% Chardonnay from Tauxières. It’s full-bodied and leesy, with apples, pears, a touch of kirsch, and a beautiful fine-beaded texture. This is a bubbly for the dinner table; it’s always good to remember what a powerful pairing partner we have in Champagne.

Virgile Lignier-Michelot Bourgogne Rouge 2014, Côte de Nuits, France

Virgile Lignier is the third generation of his family to work the vines of this 8 hectare estate in the village of Morey St.Denis. Virgile began working the property with his father Maurice in 1988; while Maurice was a good winemaker, he always sold all of his grapes to local negociants. Virgile convinced him to start bottling his own wine in 1992, and each year they’d keep more for themselves, until 2002 when the domaine became entirely estate grown and bottled.

Virgile’s wines are ripe but balanced; silky, elegant and well structured. This Bourgogne Rouge is delicious with beef stews, bean casseroles, and simple roasted chicken.

Farmer Fizz Fridays at Campus

 

Friday, Dec. 2nd, 5-8PM: Wine Traditions with Leigh Ranucci

Friday, Dec. 16th, 5-8PM: Vineyard Road with Nick Cobb

We’re celebrating the season with Grower-Champagne again! Stop in for a chance to taste these beauties, made in small lots, by real people.

Support a Farmer: Drink Farmer Fizz!

Farmer Fizz Fridays

 

 

 

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

Thanksgiving Picks!

Les Vignerons D’ Estézargues “Les Grandes Vignes” Cotes du Rhone Blanc, 2014

70% Grenache Blanc, 10% Clairette, 10% Bourboulenc, 10% Viognier

Les Vignerons D’ Estézargues is a unique co-operative cellar in the small town of Estézargues. Starting in 1995, the ten different growers in this co-op began to vinify their wine separately and make single cuvées from their best plots. Soon they began to practice natural winemaking, becoming one of the first (and perhaps only) co-ops in the world to do so. Les Vignerons D’ Estézargues uses no external yeast, no filtering, no fining and no enzymes in the winemaking process.

Les Grandes Vines is from vines that vary in age from 20 to 80 years, grown on red clay and stone. This wine is rich and fruity up front, with apples, pears, apricots, flowers and hay. Just when you think it might get a little too ripe and rich, an arc of acidity and minerality comes in to balance this shimmering glass of gold. This is the perfect foil to all the rich and sweet that happens on the Thanksgiving table.

Chateau d'ÉpireChateau d’Epiré Savennieres 2014

We put this wine in last week’s newsletter, so we’re recycling the note here. We blew through the first stack, so this is one to grab quick if you want it.

This wine is a RIDICULOUS value and you should just buy it. It’ll work with Thanksgiving, it’ll work with your Feast of the Seven Fishes, it’ll work with Chinese; it’s Chenin!

Grand Cru Epiré Savennieres is one of the oldest and most famous properties in the AOC. The domaine works primarily three parcels: La Croix Picot, Le Parc, and Le Hu-Boyau, the last situated just above another famous vineyard, La Coulée de Serrant, which we also have in the shop, but at many, many times the price (granted, it’s a different beast than this one, but still). If you were in France, you would be drinking filtered Chateau d’Epiré, but importer Kermit Lynch insists that all the d’Épire cuvées that he imports be unfiltered. We don’t mind a little sediment around here!

Qupé “A Modern Red” 2013

qupe modern redQupé calls itself a “modern stone age winery”. Started in 1981 by original Rhone Ranger Bob Lindquist, Qupé is so named to honor the Chumash, the indigenous people of the Golden State’s Central Coast and Channel Islands. The word means poppy, a plant traditionally used for food and medicine. Bob and his wife Louisa Sawyer Lindquist are skilled in biodynamics, and their Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard is certified Demeter Biodynamic and Stellar Organic.

A Modern Red is a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre, sourced from vineyards in Paso Robles, Edna Valley, Santa Maria Valley and Santa Ynez. This is an entry level wine in the Qupé portfolio, geared toward delivering American-grown Rhone-style wines at an everyday price. This wine is full of dark fruit and spices, it’s soft and smooth, with pleasant tannins on a long finish. It’ll stand up to all kinds of food, from roasted poultry, to grilled meats and veggies, to spicy tomato-based dishes.

LIOCO IndicaLIOCO “Indica” 2013 Mendocino Red

From the producers website: LIOCO is the result of a years-long conversation between Matt Licklider (a seasoned wine import specialist) and Kevin O’Connor (former wine director at Michelin Two-Star Spago-Beverly Hills) about whether California could produce a true “wine of origin.”

Campus notes: Indica is a field blend of Carignan, Petite Sirah, and Grenache harvested on one day, co-fermented in an open top vat, and put into neutral oak. It’s fresh, spicy, floral, inviting, full of dark fruit and earth, and relatively low in alcohol, leaving you free to drink more! Indica is also the name of a high quality strain of Marijuana, for whatever that’s worth!

Read this week’s newsletter here: Thanksgiving Wine Club; New Farmer Fizz; NOUVEAU!! Two Roads Beer Tasting!