Tag Archives: Gamay

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!

Click here for more info on events and new arrivals.

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.

Wine Tasting in the Shop Tonight, 5-8PM

Domaine Lattard Roussanne 2011 
Drome-Rhone, France

Domaine Lattard is a producer of zero-sulphur, certified organic wines, operated by Luc & Denis Lattard, who took over the family chicken and vegetable farm in 1995. They planted Gamay, Syrah, Roussanne & Viognier on the 6.3 hectare estate that sits upon cliffs at 350 meters above sea level, on soils of limestone and clay. These are fresh and light wines, that in Denis’ words aren’t ‘pretentious or serious wines, just tasty wine to be enjoyed everyday’.

This is an intriguing, compelling, savory and mineral driven Roussanne. Lovely texture, lots of acidity, very food friendly.

The next three  wines are part of our Thanksgiving suggestions.

Jermann Chardonnay Friuli Venezia Giulia 2011

Jermann was founded in 1881 by Anton Jermann, who came to Friuli by way of Austria and Slovenia. The winery has stayed in the family, though it has grown to encompass over 150 hectares, 30 of which are given over to horticultural crops.

This is an un-oaked chardonnay from 30+ year old vines. It’s rich and fruity, with notes of apples & bananas and a soft, lingering finish.

lattard gamayDomaine Lattard Gamay 2012
see winery bio above.

The Gamay is from a 1.2 hectare plot of 15 year old vines. 100% carbonic maceration, no fining, no filtration, no sulphur, totally GULPABLE! Fresh, juicy, mineral and bright, sometimes (but not always) a little bit of gaminess creeps in on the finish. Serve this with a slight chill; there’s a chance you’ll have to rumble for the last glass of this one too!

pietradolcePietradolce Etna Rosso 2012, Sicily 

Pietradolce is a young winery, founded in 2005, in the Sicilian hill-town of Castiglione di Sicilia, on the northern slopes of Etna. The vineyards here lie between 600 and 900 feet above sea level. The soils are rich in minerals, “a gift” from the local volcano.

This Etna Rosso is 100% Nerello Mascalese, hand-harvested in early October. It’s fermented in stainless steel and then aged for three months in lightly toasted, fine-grained French oak barrels. It’s all mineral upfront, but it soon fleshes out and plums and cherries come to the fore. Often likened to Pinot Noir, this is a red that can go from the antipasto plate to the turkey without missing a beat.

Friday Wine Tasting, 5PM-8PM

Le Colture Prosecco D.O.C di Trevizo “Sylvoz”

This Prosecco is from third generation winemaker Alberto Ruggeri and sourced entirely from his family’s estate vineyards in Valdobbiadene. These vineyards have been in the Ruggeri family since the late 1800’s. To ensure freshness, the estate keeps the Prosecco in tank and bottles to order. This is a soft little sparkler, full of elegant fruit, ripe apples and vibrant acidity.

Domaine de la Patience Chardonnay 2011

This certified organic family estate located in the Costières de Nîmes takes its name from a wild, aromatic herb “La Patience” that can be found throughout the vineyard. After a decade of managing the winemaking at the local cooperative Christophe Aguilar decided it was time to make his own wine. Today Christophe farms 60 hectares of vines, fifty-years ago his grandfather farmed the same soil, with a deep respect & understanding of the terroir.

This is a fruity but dry white, filled with tart & zesty acidity, with lemons and peaches on the nose and palate. It’s a great seafood and chicken pair, or with simple veggie dishes, salads and mild, soft cheeses.

Domaine du Crêt de Bine Beaujolais 2011

François and Marie-Therèse Subrin biodynamically farm 5 hectares of land in the village of Sarcy, in the southwest corner of Beaujolais. The vines average 40 years old and are planted on granite soils rich in quartz. To ensure maximum ripeness, yields are extremely limited & harvest is as late as possible, sometimes stretching into October. No sulfur is used in the production of this wine.

This wine is delicate, with notes of spearmint & chamomile tea mingling with bright red berries and stony minerality. It’s an easy one to toss back.

Primaterra Sangiovese, Sicily

This is an exceptional little everyday value wine from Sicily. The grapes are grown 300 meters above sea level, and the wine is fermented and aged in 30% oak, 70% stainless steel. The Primaterra wines are made to be fruity expressions of their terroir, and that’s exactly what this wine is all about: cherries, subtle spices, fresh acidity, barely there tannins and a pleasant finish. What’s not to like?