How is it already December? And the second week of December to boot?!? We’re a little slow to get our holiday acts together (surprise!) but that’s only because the best acts are usually improvised. Uh-huh. So keep that in mind if we’re devoid of ribbons and bows for a while – we’re working on it!
We’re also working on a couple of things that we think are pretty cool. We’ve been talking about this first idea for a while but are finally getting around to making Wine Tasting To Go kits. These will be available starting tomorrow and will include 6 bottles of wine with a focus on varietals and regions. We will provide tasting and pairing notes, a fancy (fine, it’s cardboard) carrying case, and a 10% discount. Put a bow on it and it makes a fine gift too!
The second idea, and this is maybe a little weird –perhaps it’s just our sleep deprived brains making us think it’s a good idea– but we’re calling it: Write Your Own Damned Shelf Talker. So we have these tags all over the store, and we try to keep up with the notes but sometimes it’s a daunting task. Many, many months ago we realized that we have some seriously smart and witty customers who would often blurt out the best comments about wine with seemingly no effort. Some of these were pure poetry, such as the one uttered last night by Jed Leach of Opt Eyewear; he channeled Bukowski with this reference to Domaine des Sablonnettes “Les Copines Aussi”:
I love this wine. First it punches me in the face and then it wants to snuggle up. I can’t tell if I’m being mugged or loved.
What?!? That was pure genius! It definitely brought this idea we’ve been kicking around back to the front burner. We’re still working out the logistics, but keep an eye out for when we launch it – which should be any day now!
Friday Wine Tasting, 5-8PM
François Cazin Cour-Cheverny “Cuvée Renaissance”
Cheverny is a small AOC in the Loire Valley, just northeast of Touraine, that has been producing wines since the 6th century. Many varietals are planted here, including Pinot Noir, Gamay, Cabernet, and Côt (or Malbec), for the reds. and Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc & Menu Pineau for the whites.
Cour-Cheverny is a tiny appellation within Cheverny, and its claim to fame (if one can call it that) is the obscure Romorantin grape, that has been grown here since the 16th century. This is a high acid, highly mineral varietal that can be rough and nearly unapproachable in mediocre vintages, but when ripe, and in the hands of a good producer, it creates wines that are bursting with apricots & roasted nuts balanced by crisp minerality and refreshing acidity.
There aren’t many producers working with this grape, but within this small club, François Cazin is one of the most well known & highly regarded. He works with extremely low-yielding vines (40 hl/ha) that are 80 + years old. He bottles unfiltered & by gravity. In very ripe vintages, when grapes undergo Noble Rot, he vinifies some of his Romorantin off-dry, and calls it Cuvée Renaissance. This wine is fermented in stainless-steel, then aged for 12 months in barrel. It is a dense and honeyed wine, but the acidity still shines through. Try it with a gooey, french cheese plate!
Domaine des Terres Dorées Methode Ancestrale “FRV 100” Sparkling Gamay
We love Jean-Paul Brun’s wines. Here is another that will surprise you with its simple, straightforward, no frills (despite the disco label!) deliciousness. Domaine des Terres Dorées is located in Charnay, a village in southern Beaujolais known as the “Region of Golden Stones”. Brun is the owner and winemaker at this 40-acre family estate and is well known for his Beaujolais, which he makes without the use of industrial yeasts and with minimal sulfur.
FRV is sparkling Gamay that has residual sweetness because it was bottled before fermentation was complete, and the second fermentation is spontaneous using only the lees from the first fermentation (Methode Ancestrale). This is the perfect little fizz to sip on while wrapping presents late at night, while hosting holiday brunches, or anytime you want to be surrounded with a little sparkly, pink happiness.
Domaine Olga Raffault Chinon “Les Picasses” 2007
100% Cabernet Franc
Since Olga’s death a few years ago, the estate has been run by her granddaughter Sylvie and her husband Eric de la Vigerie. The ‘Les Picasses’ vineyard is made up of 50+ year old Cabernet Franc vines grown on a steep slope rising up from the riverbank. The soils are alluvial clay with a chalk limestone base, which lends the wine, which is full of dark fruits and cassis, a backbone of minerality and acidity. All of the grapes on the domaine are hand-harvested. This particular wine is fermented in stainless-steel, then aged in larger neutral oak, or chestnut, which is a traditional barrel used in the region. The Picasses spends two to three years in oak, and is released about 4 years after the vintage. It is a complex, rustic wine, with layered fruit of cherries and citrus mingling with earthy aromas, the tannins made soft and pleasant by the years spent in oak. This is definitely a wine to grab while it’s available. Which won’t be for long!
Clos de la Roilette Fleurie 2012
The Clos de la Roilette, in the village of Fleurie, covers nine hectares of one of the best slopes in the Beaujolais Crus. The clos has an eastern exposure, borders the Moulin-à-Vent appellation, and produces wines that are beautiful when young and have the capacity to age 5-10 years, depending on the vintage.
There’s a horse on the label because back in the 20s, when the Fleurie appellation was created, the landowner at the time was infuriated that he lost his Moulin-à-Vent status under which the clos had been classified. He created a label using an image of his racehorse, Roilette, and created the name Clos de la Roilette, refusing to mention Fleurie at all. He went a step further and vowed not to sell any of his wine in France, instead selling them to Switzerland, Germany and England. We love that stubborn, fighting spirit!
Roilette gallops on as one of the best cru Beaujolais on the market. 2012 was an extremely tough vintage with hailstorms, damaging frosts, end of season rains – many producers lost 50% or more of their crops. So we consider ourselves very lucky to get any of this vintage at all.
This wine has a rich mouthfeel, with cassis & dark cherries on the palate, and a refreshing & zesty finish. It can rival Pinot Noir any day of the week. Pair with roast chicken, saucisson, and crusty bread and butter.
This week Goose Island’s 2013 Bourbon County Stout came and mostly went. We still have the original in 4-packs and singles, and a few coffee stout and barleywine singles. Hurry! We also got some of Stone’s limited Smoked Porter with vanilla beans. Longtrail released a new IPA this week called Limbo, hopped with Australian and Pacific Northwest hops. Harpoon’s Bronze King barleywine came in this week, and we also got another case of Allagash’s Merveilleux which would make a marvelleux x-mas gift for the beer geek on your list. Some more Fantome beers rolled in, too. We have their Noel, Pissenlit — brewed with dandelions, and the extra sour Brise-BonBons.
Saturday Beer Tasting, 4-7PM
This week’s beer tasting is a bit of an un-themed hodgepodge. We’re tasting Sixpoint’s new and colorful Global Warmer, Two Roads Holiday Ale, and Beersel Blonde and Lager from 3 Fonteinen.
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