Tag Archives: Gamay

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, 5PM-8PM

Nov. 10, 2017

Finally, a beautiful, blustery fall day! We’ve been waiting for this. Maybe not quite this cold and windy, but it sure puts us in the mood for the big feasts and cozy feel of fall.

On that note, we’re tasting some more (not just for) Thanksgiving wines tonight. The pet-nat makes a statement and is a good conversation starter; the skin-contact Pinot Gris is delicious and beautifully packaged. Serve the two together and it’ll look like Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart are your personal shoppers. The other two wines in the line up are classic, humble, and easy-drinking. The perfect grab-a-bottle-and-go wines. All the notes are below.

Whalers Brewing from South Kingstown, RI is in the shop tomorrow, don’t forget to swing by!

Also, Veterans Day is observed today, so we don’t want to forget to give a shout-out to everyone who has served. It’s a tough job. We just sell booze.

Cheers and see you soon!

Supernatural Wine Co. ‘The Super-Nat’ Pétillant Naturel of Sauvignon Blanc, 2017, NZ 

Supernatural Wine Co makes certified organic, (practicing biodynamic since 2015) naturally vinified, low sulphur white, orange, and sparkling wines from a north-facing hillside estate in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. Soils are lime-rich clay with volcanic influence, and the vines are around 15 years old. Hayden Penny has been the winemaker here since 2013. Hayden has made wine in Sonoma and Napa, Marlborough in New Zealand, the Yarra Valley in Australia, Toro in Spain, and in southern Bulgaria. He’s a fan of cool climate styles, and minimal intervention.

The Super Nat is a fun and funky (and super fresh) choice for your fall festivities. Pét-Nats are bottled before the first fermentation is finished, which allows carbon dioxide to be produced via the natural sugars in the grapes, giving the wines a gentle fizz. The scary label on this one will add a touch of drama to your table!

Kelley Fox Maresh Vineyard Pinot Gris, Dundee Hills, OR

Kelley Fox created her small winery with her father Gus Stearns. The first vintage was 2007, and was just 100 cases. Annual production as of 2016 was 2000 cases, all from two vineyards: Maresh, and Demeter-certified biodynamic Momtazi Vineyard. Kelley might be an overachiever; she has a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Biology from Texas AM University. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with dual degrees in Biochemistry and Biophysics from Oregon State University and was admitted to the PhD program in Biochemistry. In 2000, she decided to take a different path, and dedicated herself full-time to making wine.

Wines here are not manipulated at all. They are fermented with wild yeasts and no additives or enzymes are ever used. Kelley picks on biodynamically favorable days, and makes biodynamic preparations herself.

Here are Kelley’s slightly condensed notes on this wine: …These self-rooted vines were planted in 1991 on the northeast corner of the farm facing Mt. Hood, and the energy there is joyful and beautiful.…Pinot gris is not one of my favorites, and I wonder why. All of these years tasting the fruit in the vineyard, I have found nothing but delight. But this is Maresh Vineyard, and I know that that alone is enough to produce a Gris that I might like. I wondered before deciding how to approach it whether this dark pink Pinot grape really wants to be pressed off of its skins right after picking. Its true nature just might be that of a dark pink wine. That is why I fermented it on its skins. I might have gone a little too far fermenting it 100% whole cluster. In fact, I fermented it exactly like I ferment my Pinot. It was fermented in two macrobin fermentors. I did one pigeage a day, and pressed to taste at dryness. After settling, though, I racked it into a concrete amphora tank for élevage until bottling, and I allowed a natural, complete malolactic fermentation.

Depending on the lighting, the colour is either deep pink or medium peachy-pink like a sunset. It is very clear and light-reflecting, bordering on effulgent. At this time (July 2017), it smells like peaches and peach skins. I love the nose. There is both the fruit and the good kind of green that is that of something living and fresh. It is rather minerally and saline, too, and this is certainly not a fruit forward, tooty fruity fruit bomb by a long stretch. In the mouth, the fruit is there, but the frame can sometimes deliver a sucker punch, depending on one’s palate and sensibilities. I seem to notice this a lot more than anyone who has tried it so far. In six months or so, the fruit will emerge more fully from behind the frame, the minerals, and the slight salinity. The texture is classically Maresh Vineyard silky, and the finish is long. It is best served chilled.

Romuald Petit Chiroubles 2016, Beaujolais

Romuald Petit’s 12-hectare estate is made up of small plots of different age & origin (some are over 100 years old) that are farmed without chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides, and are harvested by hand. Eight hectares are in the village of St. Verand, on the clay-limestone land of the Maconnais. This is where 80% the white wine is made. The other 4 hectares are dedicated to red in Morgon, and  Chiroubles (the latter a small plot of vines he inherited from his mother). Here the Gamay grows on decomposed granite soils so poor they’re referred to locally as “rotten rock”. This adds complexity and finesse to the wines.

Chiroubles sits at the highest elevation in Beaujolais and is therefore picked about a week later than the other crus. This wine is really pretty and velvety. There’s a touch of fresh, spongy earth mingling with red fruit that just makes you want to stick your nose in the glass over and over. It’s a joy to drink and it’s a no brainer for the holiday.

Chateau la Rame Bordeaux Rouge 2015

Chateau La Rame has been in the Armand family for over 100 years. It’s made up of approximately 120 hectares, half of which are leased, the rest is owned. They grow the classics here: Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, with an average vine age of 50 years, and Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a go-to, under $20 Bordeaux. It’s a little spicy, a little earthy, perfectly balanced acidity, nice ripe fruit. Another crowd pleaser!

More notes from the importer: The vineyards for this lovely red are at the base of the hillside vineyards of the estate in the village of Sainte Croix du Mont and are composed of sand, limestone and clay. The grape varieties are Merlot (60%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (40%) and the average age of the vines is thirty (30) years. The wine is fermented and aged in temperature-controlled vats and is bottled usually one year after harvest.

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

Oct. 27, 2017

Shinn Estate Coalescence 2016, North Fork, NY

Established in 2000 by former NYC restaurateurs David Page and Barbara Shinn, Shinn Estate is a certified sustainable family-owned winery & farmhouse, located in North Fork on Long Island.

Coalescence is 51% Sauvignon Blanc, 34% Chardonnay, 11.5% Riesling, 3% Semillon, and 0.5% Pinot Blanc. Grapes are hand harvested, whole cluster pressed, and fermented separately in stainless steel with natural yeast. Minimal sulfur is used in the production.

Zippy, citrusy, fresh and juicy, this is a fun choice for raw oysters and crisp salads.

Vincent Willamette Valley Chardonnay 2015

Vincent Fritzsche established Vincent Winery in 2009. Despite the fact that he shares a name with the winery, he didn’t exactly name it after himself. It was also his uncle’s name, and his maternal grandfathers. But it’s not even named for them! It’s named in honor of the 4th century saint, Vincent of Saragossa, Spain, the patron saint of vintners. Now that that’s settled, here’s the scoop on the winery: It’s small, located in the Eola Hills in Willamette Valley, and operates out of Grochau Cellars. The grapes are all sourced from single vineyards that are responsibly farmed (sometimes organic, sometimes biodynamic) and are produced with minimal intervention. These wines are classic, elegant, finely textured, and perfect on any table. We have a couple cases of the 2015 Chardonnay, which is drinking beautifully right now, with all the acidity rounded out, and the crunchy orchard fruit softened with a streak of creaminess. Once it’s gone, we’ll move on to the 2016, which is delicious as well.

Vincent Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2015

This is a blend of grapes from Ribbon Ridge and Eola Amity Hills; basically whatever doesn’t go into the limited single vineyard bottlings goes into this wine. It’s silky, bright and pure, with food-friendly acidity, and a touch of cinnamon spiciness. We also grabbed more Gamay Noir, which is super-tasty too.

Bernard Vallette Gamay ‘Cuvée Centenaire’ 2014

100% biodynamic, hand harvested Gamay from Lachassagne, in southern Beaujolais. This wine is listed only as Vin de France because Bernard refuses to submit his wines for AC status; we love cranky rebels! Cuvée Centenaire refers to the 100 year old vines that make up this estate blend. Soils here are clay and limestone on 6.5 hectares of land that were passed down from Bernard’s grandparents. Grapes are hand harvested and fermented with native yeasts with carbonic maceration, followed by relatively lengthy aging in stainless steel. There are no additives whatsoever in this wine, and just a touch of SO2 at bottling. The wine is gluggable and chuggable when young, but develops layers, spice, and depth with a few years on it. We’re straddling the best of both worlds right now!

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

Oct. 13, 2017

We’re starting with a new vintage of an old favorite: Romuald Petit Bourgogne Blanc Chardonnay 2016

This 7-hectare estate is made up of small plots of different age & origin that are farmed without chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides. There are young vines planted by winemaker Romuald Petit, and others over a hundred years old. Each parcel produces grapes with very different qualities that are vinified separately & assembled just before bottling.

Old vines combined with heavy clay and fossil rich limestone soil add depth and mineral intensity to this un-oaked chardonnay. After vinification it’s left on its lees for 8 months, adding further textural nuances and preserving freshness and acidity.

Laurence et Rémi Dufaitre ‘Prémices’ Beaujolais 2016

100% Gamay from 50-70 year old vines; grapes are hand-harvested and fermented and aged in concrete, with minimal sulfur. Light and easy, floral and elegant, this is still serious Beaujolais, but a touch less serious than Dufaitre’s Brouilly and Cotes de Brouilly.

Notes from the importer: Rémi makes wines in a classic carbonic style, using whole bunches, which are carefully sorted to avoid broken grapes or rot. He adds some carbon dioxide gas to protect the grapes at the beginning of fermentation, and does not use any temperature control. He avoids foot stomping the grapes unless he sees some volatility starting to creep in. His goal is to have as little juice in the tank as possible. He also performs routine analysis to see how the yeast is performing and whether or not there is any volatility. Remi makes all his wines with the same method, thus we can really see and taste the differences between the sites, with minor differences in the elevage of each cuvée. He tastes each cuvée before bottling, and may decide to add between zero and 2 mg of sulfur, depending on how stabile he judges the wine to be.

Domaine Vincent Paris, Collines Rhodaniennes Syrah Sélection, 2016

1997 was Vincent Paris’ first vintage, and now, at 43 years old, he produces up to 3,000 cases per year on his 8 hectare estate (he owns 6 hectares, rents 2), with 20% of that coming to the states. Paris doesn’t have an underground cellar, as his facility is located on a shallower water table, so he makes his classic, elegant wines out of an above ground, industrial warehouse. He’s in the process of building his own wine-making facility on the land where he grows apricots.

Vincent is the nephew of Robert Michel, who is a respected winemaker in Cornas, and from whom Vincent rents vines. He inherited most of his vines from his grandfather, and some of those are 90 years old. They are located mostly along the southeast facing Cornas slope and a small lot in St. Joseph. He farms sustainably, organically, and biodynamically (depending on the plot—Cornas Granit 30 is biodynamic). All fruit is destemmed, and he uses only steel tanks for vinification. Only native yeast is used in the fermentation process and no new wood is ever incorporated, but some of his wines are matured in old oak for up to a year. Wines are bottled unfiltered and unfined.

This syrah is from young Crozes Hermitage vines from multiple parcels with varied exposure. The grapes are 100% destemmed, then undergo temperature controlled fermentation to preserve the vibrant fruit, followed by 9 months aging in tank. This is a bang for your buck, welcome to fall wine.

Vincent Paris Cornas Granit 30, 2014

Granit 30 is Syrah from young vines (10-20 years old) grown at the bottom and the top of the slope. The ’30’ refers to the degree of the slope; the ‘Granit’ is rather self-explanatory. This is a beautiful Cornas from a rising star. It’s pure, dark-fruited, earthy, peppery…

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM: Vineyard Road

May 12, 2017

Tonight Peter Buckley of Vineyard Road is in the shop with two French producers. We’ll taste a couple wines from Gilles Bonnefoy in Cotes de Forez, and another two from Domaine Leliévre in Lorraine.

Vineyard Road Selection

Gilles Bonnefoy’s Les Vin de la Madone is situated so far on the Loire River that it’s actually closer to Beaujolais. Côtes du Forez is located on a geological fault formed in the Tertiary Period when Africa pushed into Europe and formed the Alps. There are up to 105 volcanoes in the greater area of AOC Volcanique Du Massif Central; thirty of them are in Côtes du Forez, and Gilles’ vineyards (in both Cotes du Forez and Urfé) are situated around two of them. So volcanic soil plays a big role here. Gilles has been tending vines here since 1997. He biodynamically farms 8 hectares in the village of Champdieu. Seventy-five percent of his vines are planted on volcanic soils of Urfé, the rest are on clay and granite.

Domaine Lelièvre is located in Cotes de Toul, Lorraine. The Lelièvre family goes back generations here, to the time when Romans first planted vines. At one time Cotes de Toul, situated just 60 miles south of the German border, was a thriving wine-production region, covering parts of Alsace and Lorraine. It was famous for Riesling (this makes sense, as it’s located on the western banks of Moselle River–follow it north and you’re in Mosel, Germany) and as a source of base wine for Champagne. Unfortunately the region was ravaged by phylloxera, war, rabid industrialization and poor vineyard management. During the First World War the German occupation, and subsequent liberation by the Allies, left most of the vineyards as battle trenches. The final blow came in 1919, when a law was passed restricting the name champagne to the wines made from grapes grown in the region of Champagne. By 1951 there were only 30 hectares of vineyards left and most of the wine was bottled by negotiants. In 1998, a handful of remaining vignerons fought for and won AOC status. The Lelièvres were one of the producers to champion the region. After the famous 1971 vintage, Jean Lelièvre decided to no longer sell to negotiants and to bottle everything at the estate. From there the family started to rebuild, replant and recapture the glory of Lorraine. It is still an obscure little region, with most of the wine staying within the area, and very little of it leaving France. Lelièvre makes about 1100 cases annually, and they’re one of the most well known producers in the area.

The wines, not necessarily in order:

Madone Sauvignon Gris et Blanc de Madone, VdP Urfé, 2014
60% Sauvignon Blanc and 40% Sauvignon Gris, this is an elegant, clean, mineral-driven beauty. Delicate, rocky, with echoes of Sancerre and Aligoté. Think seafood and summer, should we ever see the sun.

Gamay de Bouze and Gamay Noir de Madone, Gamays sur Volcan VdP Urfé, 2014
A blend of two varieties of teinturier (red-fleshed) Gamay, this is a vibrant wine full of cherries, bright acidity, barely-there tannins, and a touch of dried herbs. Sauçissons, roast chicken, fresh and grilled veggies…

Domaine Lelièvre Gris de Toul Rosé, 2015
A blend of 90% Gamay and 10% Pinot Noir from the producers best plots located in Lucey, Bruley, Blénod les Toul and Buligny. The well-drained clayey slopes are protected from the wet winds coming from the West. Grapes were hand-harvested and vinified separately in stainless steel, matured briefly on the lees, and then assembled just before bottling. This wine is salty, tart, tangy, bright; pink grapefruit up front and a dash of cherry on the finish. Delicious. It might be a little too delicate to handle spicy food, but it’s game for just about anything else. Just fill a glass!

Domaine Lelievre, Sparkling Gamay Rosé Leucquois
Come on, it’s fizzy Gamay with a bunny on the label. Fun, crushable, puts a little hop in your step in the midst of grey days. Glug-glug!

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

January 27, 2017

Becker Family Pinot Gris 2014, Pfalz, Germany

Becker Estate is made up of 28 hectares in Schweigen (in southern Pfalz), on the border of Alsace. Now on its 7th generation, Becker is known as a top producer of Pinot Noir in Germany. Since the vineyards have been in the Becker family, the border between France and Germany has changed many times, the last time in 1945. Now, 70% of their holdings are actually in Alsace; the winery itself is in Germany. A 1955 accord grants them and five other vineyards the right to continue to call themselves as German. In exchange, the French got water rights to the springs of Schweigen and some lumber rights from the local forest.

This Pinot Gris is aromatic and full of citrus, apples and tropical fruit. Pair it with root vegetables, creamy squash soups, and as a foil for spicy food.

Keller Riesling Trocken 2015, Rheinhessen, Germany

…Keller has inspired an entire generation of young winemakers and single-handedly given birth to a Renaissance in the Rheinhessen. Storied vineyards that were all but forsaken – Kirchspiel, Hubacker, Morstein and Abtserde to name a few – are now seen as holy ground for Riesling and command some of the highest prices for dry wines in Germany. Read more from the importer here.

This Riesling has lots of acidity, tempered by aging on the lees. Peaches, apples, lemons, honey and honeydew all bounce around on your palate. Delicious.
Domaine des Pothiers Référence Gamay 2015, Côte Roannaise, Loire

Domaine des Pothiers is one of the oldest estates in the appellation. The Paires family has been here for over 300 years; as well as tending nine hectares of vines, the family also raises cattle. They are certified organic since 2010, and also practice biodynamic farming, though not certified.

Référence is 100% hand-harvested Gamay grown on granite. It’s soft and round, aromatic, brambly, with lots of raspberry, strawberry, and cherry. The finish has the slightest touch of tannins. It’s gluggable.

Mas D’Alezon “Le Presbytère” 2015 Faugères

Catherine Roque is a pioneer in Faugères. She has two high elevation properties totaling 17 hectares: Mas D’Alezon, and Domaine du Clovallon, which she co-runs with her daughter Alix Roque. Catherine saw the promise in this somewhat unsung region in the Languedoc, and planted varieties that aren’t typical, such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Petit Manseng, Reisling, Viognier, Roussanne, Clairette and Petite Arvine. She fully embraced biodynamic farming, and now both of her properties adhere to the practice. Her wines are produced with indigenous yeast, without sulfur, and are bottled unfiltered and unfined.

Mas d’Alezon focusses on grapes that are native to the region. Presbytère is 80% Grenache from 70 year old vines, with the remainder a blend of Syrah and Mourvèdre, from 80 year-old vines. This is a silky wine, ripe with cherries & plums, balanced by earth & dried hillside herbs, and finishing with a touch of gaminess and soft tannins.

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

August, 19, 2016

Jean-François Merieau “L’Arpent des Vaudons” Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Jean-François produces mostly single varietal bottlings, often from single parcels, in the tiny village of Saint-Julien-de-Chédon, in Touraine. He farms his 35 hectare estate organically; many of his vines are quite old (100 year old Pineau d’Aunis, Cot between 50-100 years old). No commercial yeasts are used in any of his wines. This Sauvignon Blanc is from vines of between 10 and 60 years old. It’s fermented and aged for five months in stainless steel before release. We’ve been getting every vintage of this wine since 2013, and the 2015 continues to deliver. It’s smoky and mineral-driven, elegant and clean, with a touch of orange blossom mingling with grassy, herbal notes. Perfect with fresh goat cheese, chicken, fish…

Orsi San Vito “Posca Bianca NV”, Colli Bolognesi, Emilia-Romagna

Vigneto San Vito has been producing high quality wines in this ancient viticultural area for almost 50 years. In 2005, Federico Orsi & Carola Orsi Pallavicino took over the tiny cantina, and subsequently converted it to biodynamic farming. “Bianco Perpetuo, Cuvée Novembre 2015” is a non-vintage, bottled to order blend of mostly Pignoletto. The Orsi’s intent is to make wines with a sense of place, with more guidance than intervention. Vines here are not fertilized or irrigated; fermentations are spontaneous with wild yeast, and wines are bottled without filtering or fining and very little SO2. Their goal is to make wines that are fresh and drinkable and that “celebrate the flavors of the region”.

Domaine des Terres Dorées “L’Ancien” 2015, Beaujolais

Jean-Paul Brun’s domaine is located in Charnay, a village in the Southern Beaujolais in an area 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 with minimal intervention, minimal sulfur, and without the use of industrial yeasts, leading to wines that are elegant & delicate, with purity of fruit, and great character and depth. L’Ancien is old-vine Gamay that is earthy & spicy, full of wild red & black fruits.

Domaine des Sauvaire-Reilhe “Mas Sauvaire” Rouge, 2013, Languedoc

The Sauvaire family has been working the same land, in the same buildings, since the mid 1600s. The 25 hectare estate is planted to traditional southern French varieties, on poor, sandy soils, upon which the vines must work extra hard to find nutrients. Today Hervé Sauvaire works the land in the same way his ancestors did: no pesticides or chemicals, and letting the vineyard “work in conjunction with the land around it, to find balance on its own, without mans help”. The only application he uses in the vineyards is a compost made from his grapes. Harvest is by hand. It’s hands-off in the winery as well, with only wild yeast fermentation in steel and cement.

Mas Sauvaire Rouge is a blend of 70% Carignan, 20% Grenache and 10% Syrah, that until very recently, was seen only on Hervé’s table and that of his family, friends, and local restaurants. It’s a very drinkable wine, with pure red fruit, bright acidity, and a long, silky finish.

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

Monmousseau “Ammonite” Cremant de Loire Extra Brut

We tasted the still version of this a few weeks back. Here’s the sparkling: 

Chateau Gaudrelle was 1st established in 1537. It’s located in the heart of the Loire Valley and the property overlooks the Loire River. Owner and winemaker Alexandre Monmousseau’s family has run the 20 hectare estate since his grandfather purchased it in 1931. Alexandre makes sparkling, dry and sweet wine from the Chenin Blanc grape as well as a sparkling rosé from Grolleau and Cabernet Franc. Most of the vines were planted around the time his family took over the estate. Yields are kept extremely low to concentrate flavor, all the grapes are hand-harvested, fermentation is with inigenous yeast and is long, cold and slow.

Ammonite is named for a type of fossil prevalent in the soils here (they look like a nautilus). This Chenin Blanc based cremant is dry and racy, tart and refreshing!

Chateau du Rouét Rosé Cotes de Provence

We’ve been saying it for months now: the 2014 rosé’s are all killer, and the Rouét is no exception. Chateau de Rouét has been in the same family since the French revolution; in fact, former proprietor Marquis de Villeneuve supplied wines to the court of Louis XVI. This rosé is from vines planted in 1927, on the slopes of the Esterel mountain. It’s a blend of Grenache & Syrah, made in the saignée method (“bleeding” off the juice after a short contact with the skins). The bouquet is elegant yet fruity; on the palate, it’s dry and zesty, with notes of wild berries & hillside herbs. More please!

2013 Domaine de l’Aumonier “Les Chardons” Touraine Gamay

Domaine de l’Aumonier was founded in 1996 by husband and wife Sophie and Thierry Chardon. They organically farm 115 acres of vines that average 25 years old. We’re totally digging this Gamay. Bright, tart, minerally, earthy, delicious.

Kosovec Frankovka, Sisak-Moslavina, Croatia

We tasted Kosovec Skrlet a few weeks back, here’s the Frankovka, aka: Blaufrankisch.

Ivan Kosovec runs a small, organically farmed estate in the wine growing region of Moslavina, Croatia. He clearcut the 3.5 hectare forest BY HAND, BY HIMSELF, dug up the earth to make sure the soil was pristine, then worked the winery for 6.5 years without electricity, living in a cabin with only a generator for electricity.

This is 100% Frankovka, fermented with wild yeast in stainless steel and bottled unfiltered. Smooth, fruity, peppery: Grill, swill, repeat.