Tag Archives: chenin blanc

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

January 20th, 2017

Marc Pesnot “La Boheme” Melon de Bourgogne, 2015

Marc Pesnot organically farms 13 hectares of fifty year old Melon de Bourgogne vines near the city of Nantes, on the western edge of the Loire. His old vines thrive in schist rich soils, adding depth and character to his wines.

Harvest is by hand at maximum ripeness. The fruit undergoes a slow manual pressing and rests on its lees for at least 9 months. There’s lots of refreshing acidity in this wine, tempered by pears, green apple, crushed stones and a touch of creaminess. Pairs nicely with shellfish, salads, chicken, and light appetizers.

Château de Brézé Saumur Blanc ‘Clos du Midi’ 2015

Château de Brézé has been around since at least the 15th century, when it was served to royalty and held in the same regard as Château d’Yquem. In the 1600s, the white wines of Château de Brézé were known throughout Europe as Chenin de Brézé.

In 2009, the new owner of the estate asked Yves Lambert and his son, Arnaud, from Domaine de Saint-Just, to manage the estate. They got a 25 year lease and began converting the estate to organic farming. In a little less than a decade, they’ve restored the wines to the heights they achieved centuries ago.

‘Clos du Midi’ is 100% Chenin Blanc from the colder sites on on the Brézé Hill. The upper section of the hill is sandy, while the bottom is richer in clay. Both are atop tuffeau, the chalky limestone rock made up of compressed marine organisms that lived in floating colonies in the prehistoric Turonian era. The differing soil types, coupled with the limestone, create a wine of great tension and depth, with a rounded palate punctuated by lively acidity. This being Chenin, also expect honey, dried fruit, a touch of lemon…it’s a gorgeous wine. Pair it with lobster, shrimp, crab, scallops – all kinds of seafood really, salads with simple viniagrette; it’s versatile and a crowd pleaser.

Fun facts about tuffeau: In addition to being used for the châteaux of royalty and nobility that line the banks of the Loire River, tuffeau also made up the homes of the general population. Carved out of cliff sides and tunneled underground, the snaking network of troglodyte caves was turned into homes for artists, monks, craftspeople, soldiers, farmers, etc. The greatest concentration of troglodyte caves is in Saumur. During the Norman invasions of the 9th and 10th centuries, the caves provided the region with defense and escape routes. The cool, damp, consistent temperature of the caves also makes them great for storing wine (of course) and for mushroom beds.

Piaugier Sablet Cotes-du-Rhone Villages, 2014

Notes from the importer: Alphonse Vautour made his wine in a cellar at the top of a little hill to the south of Sablet – called ‘Les Briguières’ – where he owned 6 hectares of vines. The winery was named ‘Ténébi’, after the old owner of the house.

Alphonse had to go down the hill, his mules loaded with barrels, to wait for the wine merchant to come by. If the merchant didn’t come, or didn’t buy his wine, he had to climb back up with his reluctant mules. So in 1947 he decided to build a new winery on the road below, where the Piaugier cellars are to this day.

Jean-Marc Autran, Alphonse’s great-grandson, took over the winery from his father Marc in 1985. He acquired more vineyards and, with the assistance of his wife Sophie, developed the sale of his wines in bottle. The winery soon became too small and they extended it in 1995 to enable them to mature and store the wines in the best possible conditions. Today, Sophie and Jean-Marc Autran cultivate 3.5 hectares within the Gigondas Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée area, 12.5 hectares in the Sablet AOC and 14 hectares of Côtes du Rhône vineyards. Farming is organic.

Sablet is a blend of Grenache and Syrah from 12.5 hectares of vines that are approximately 25 years old, grown on clay, with limestone and sand. Grapes are hand harvested, destemmed, and fermented in tank with natural yeast. It’s matured for 2 years in used barrique as well as concrete tank, and is the only wine here that is filtered.

It’s bold, spicy, perfumed, with warm-stone minerality and a long, elegant finish.

Claude Courtois Racines 2013, Soings-en-Sologne, Loire valley

Notes from the importer: Claude Courtois has created a small farm which exemplifies what biodynamics is all about 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, 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 & only indigenous yeast are used during fermentation. Claude regards the soil on his farm as a living organism. He lives in harmony with nature & the wines he crafts are a pure & vibrantly alive testament to outstanding Biodynamic winemaking.

Racine is a blend of Cabernet franc, Malbec (Côt), Cabernet Sauvignon from 5-15 year old vines grown on clay and limestone. The grapes are hand-harvested, destemmed and gently pressed. Only natural yeasts are used and the juice undergoes an extended maceration. Vinified in barrel and then aged for 18 months in oak.

Tasting Note: Deep purple in the glass with a dark amber rim. The nose is redolent with pounded stones, plum, cherry pit, warm iron and damp chalk. The palate has great depth of dried currant, fig and plum hewn to a deep mineral bed. The wine has lovely acidity, a terrific structure and finishes with red berry fruit and mineral zest.

Pairing: Pan seared duck breast, grilled streak, rabbit stew over polenta and cassoulet.

All the complexity that biodiversity can provide a wine. Racines is Claude’s attempt at creating a wine the way Burgundy was made a hundred years ago, from many different varieties… Racines is a rediscovery, a realization of what great wine once was!

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.

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.

Thanksgiving Wine Club

Thanksgiving Wine Club kits are available for pick up or delivery.

Included in the 6 pack (one bottle of each)
or case (two bottles of each) of the following:

whites:
2014 Éric Chevalier Chardonnay
2013 Christophe Thorigny Vouvray Sec
2013 Birichino Malvasia

reds:
2013 Foretal Beaujolais Julienas
2012 GD Vajra Langhe Rosso
2013 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir

Wine Club Prices

6-pack / 10% discount: $103.44
Case / 15% discount: $195.38

Tasting Notes & Free Delivery Included
Thanksgiving week deliveries will take place Sunday through Tuesday.

 

THANKSGIVING WINE CLUB 2015 THANKSGIVING WINE CLUB 2015

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM

Dry Creek Vineyard Dry Chenin Blanc 2013, Clarksburg

Dry Creek Vineyard, established in 1972, is a family owned and operated winery. At a time when bigger and industrialized often rules the day, Dry Creek Vineyards has gone in the opposite direction. They’ve cut their production by 50%, they derive power from solar panels and are effectively off-the-grid. They’ve spearheaded the sustainability movement in Dry Creek Valley; they utilize cover crops and limit the use of sulfur. In 2013, the winery partnered with the Sonoma County Water Agency in the Creekside Restoration Project along the Dry Creek. This project provides needed habitat for the endangered Coho and Steelhead salmon.

This wine is so easy to drink, it might be a little dangerous! It’s creamy & tropical profile is balanced by bright acidity and spicy fruit. Rich in melon, pineapple, flowers and orange zest, with just the slightest hint of sweet fruit, it’s the perfect foil for spicy foods, but it’s just fine on it’s own as well. It’s a satisfying little sipper.

Casey Flat Ranch “Open Range” Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Casey Flat Ranch is part longhorn cattle ranch, (6,000 acres), part vineyard, (24 acres) situated at 2,000 feet above Capay Valley in the Vaca Mountains, east of Napa Valley. Winemaker Laura Barrett makes wines that exemplify this region: richly textured, spicy, and full of character and zesty acidity. Farming is sustainable and production is small: just 1600 cases of this Sauvignon Blanc were produced.

Extended skin contact gives this wine a lush texture, while the zesty citrus notes of grapefruit & lemon keep it lively. This is definitely a full-bodied Sauvignon Blanc, one you want to drink with a meal. It can keep pace with buttery lobster and scallops, grilled fish, fried chicken

Domaine Rimbert Le Mas au Schiste 2010, St. Chinian

Importer notes: Jean-Marie Rimbert, a native of Provence, arrived in the Languedoc nearly twenty-five years ago and managed the vineyards at Château de Flaugergues for five years until he saved up enough money to purchase his first parcels of gnarled ancient vine Carignan that had been nurtured in schist-laden soils for the better part of the last century. Today, Jean-Marie has 20 hectares spread amongst 40 diverse parcels each with different soil compositions and expositions. Berlou has the highest elevation in all of the St. Chinian AOC and is the only place in the region that possesses schist rich soils. From the beginning, his objective was to cultivate vineyards with the utmost respect for the environment and his wines reflect all of the natural beauty, depth and flavor originating from those vines. The wines Jean-Marie crafts are a passionate testament to this region’s multi-dimensionality and ever-expanding potential.

Varietals: 40% Carignan, 30% Syrah, 30% Grenache. 60 year old vines.

Vinification Method: Grapes are hand-harvested and destemmed before they are gently pressed. Only indigenous yeasts are used, the different varieties are fermented separately in tank. One third of the cuvee is aged in old oak before the final wine is blended. The wine is bottled using gravity and undergoes a slight filtration.

Tasting Note: Ruby in the glass with shimmering highlights. The nose is redolent with red and black fruit scents; cherry cordial, blueberry jam and crushed stones that are backed by a slight suggestion of black olive and hummus. The palate is elegant and generous with loads of elegant red and black fruit flavors steeped in dynamic mineral-infused cocoa tones.

Pairing: herb encrusted roast chicken, grilled steak, grilled lamb chops.