Tag Archives: Italian Wine

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM

April 20, 2018

Domaine Zafeirakis Malagousia 2016, Tyrnavos, Greece

The Zafeirakis family has been involved with viticulture in Tyrnavos in eastern-central Greece for more than 100 years. Christos Zafeirakis is the fourth generation to continue the family tradition; he got his degree in oenology in Athens in 2000, and then went on to get his master’s from the University of Milan in 2004. Soon after he returned to Greece and continued to make high quality wines from organically farmed vineyards, the same way his father had done. He made the first wines from his private vineyards in 2005.

Malagousia is a white grape rediscovered by oenologist and winemaker Evangelos Gerovassiliou. It yields highly aromatic, full-bodied wines throughout many regions in Greece. This is an elegant wine that evokes flowers and honeysuckle.

Partida Creus SP 2016, Penedes, Spain

Massimo Marchiori and Antonella Gerosa are the couple behind Partida Creus. Originally from Piedmont, the two (who are both architects) moved from Italy to Barcelona because of that city’s rich architecture. In 2000 they sought out a slower and more bucolic lifestyle, so they moved once again, this time to Massís de Bonastre in the Baix Penedés. They started farming, and when they found it difficult to find wines made in a lighter, minimalist style, they began recovering forgotten old vines of local, low-yielding, grape varieties, many of which had been  disqualified or never allowed into the D.O. Partida Creus farms organically, of course, and adds nothing in the cellar, it’s all native yeast fermentation, natural acidity and no sulfur. The wines are fresh and refreshing, with lots of acidity, low alcohol, terroir-driven minerality, and sometimes sherried-nutty-gamey undertones.

SP (lovingly called “Sub Par” on the label) is Subirat Parent, an old, nearly extinct clone of Malvasia that is supposedly native to Penedes, and also known as Alarije in Extremadura, and as Malvasia Riojana in Rioja. The wine is a clear, yellow-green that turns golden with age and tends toward expressions of orange peel, lemon, and floral/tropical aromatics. Fermented spontaneously in steel with native yeast and aged for 6 months in stainless-steel, then bottled unfiltered without any added sulfites.

Shiba Wichern 2015 Rosé of Pinot Noir, Willamette, OR

Akiko Shiba is a young Japanese winemaker who trained in Germany, and is now making gorgeous, minimal-intervention wine in Oregon with her husband Christian Wichern. She originally wanted to be a journalist and report on the world of alcoholic beverages; 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, Christian got a job in Germany, so they moved there together. 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.

This 2015 Rosé is not an old vintage, the wine is released late and is meant to be enjoyed for at least a few years or more afterward. After primary and malolactic fermentation, it rests on the lees in stainless steel for 8 months. According to the producers notes, “the goal of this extended time sur lies was greater complexity, body and depth, while retaining freshness. The result is a wine with a complex nose combining rich floral, salty and savory tones and a mouthfeel that is tart, bold and at the same time buttery smooth. This wine will refresh in the summer with BBQ and grilled foods, but it will also pair well with spicy Asian food and continue to all the way through Thanksgiving and Christmas with roasted turkey and ham.” All of this is true, but we’d like to add that this rosé smells and tastes like still Champagne, in the best way possible. It’s leesy, yeasty, slightly sherried on the finish…when the wine is just opened it has a touch of funky, tart acidity, but that blows off and rounds out, and reveals its elegant, evolving character.

G D Vajra, Claret JC Nebbiolo 2016, Langhe, Italy

G.D. Vajra was officially established in 1972 (named after Aldo’s father, Giuseppe Domenico) but the family roots in the region go back over two centuries. Aldo Vajra has been making wine here since the late 60s. Today the estate is close to 60 hectares, 10 of which are planted to Nebbiolo for Barolo production. Farming is organic, grapes are hand-harvested, and aging is done in traditional Slavonian casks. Aldo and Milena’s children Giuseppe, Francesca, and Isidoro are now carrying on the family business and traditions.

This is not your grandfather’s Nebbiolo, it’s your great, great, great, great(?) grandfather’s Nebbiolo. Giuseppe is producing it in the Metodo Ancestrale style that harks back to Thomas Jefferson’s time but slipped out of fashion in the 1950s: fermentation starts in the tank on the skins and finishes in the bottle, creating a slightly off-dry, lightly sparkling wine (the fizz might subside before the bottle is finished). Serve with a slight chill, and this wine will pair perfectly with warm spring and summer days that surely *SURELY* will become a reality. What is even going on anymore? But we’re fans of not waiting for the weather for anything, so toss back this spicy, floral, ripe, ruby-colored throwback with pizza, pasta, salumi, olives, cheese, etc…it’s glou glou.

Tastings are Fun

Our fall in-shop tastings have been a blast!

Joe Swick, pouring some Pacific Northwest magic.

Joe Swick (in plaid), pouring some Pacific Northwest magic.

Alvaro from Selctions de la Viña teaching us all about Spanish natural wine.

Alvaro from Selctions de la Viña teaching us all about Spanish natural wine.

Garret Vandermolen of The Sorting Table kicking off Farmer Fizz Fridays on November 18th. Grower-Champagne is the only Champagne worth drinking!

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Matt Mollo of SelectioNaturel, pouring small production, lo-fi wines from Italy.

verde-vineyards

It’s Giacomo (Jim) Verde of RI’s own Verde Vineyards and Meng!

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

Oct. 9th, 2015

mont de marie roseMont de Marie “Anatheme” Rosé 2014

Thierry Forestier knew he wanted to be a winemaker from a very young age. But, like many of us, he did what he thought was the sensible thing and went to business school. Three years after graduating, he left his information systems career track behind and in order to pursue his winemaking dreams. In 2004, he pieced together 7.5 hectares of vineyards in Coteaux du Languedoc, in the sub-region known as the Terres de Sommières. He farms without herbicides or pesticides & fermentation takes place with only native yeasts & zero intervention; his wines are bottled unfiltered, unfined and without sulfur.

Mont de Marie Rosé is 100% Aramon from 100 year old vines. This is a funky, fringe wine without all the fanfare, as Mont de Marie tends to fly under the radar a bit. We love this wine for its expressive, intriguing personality. The nose smells of cinnamon and maybe a touch of nutmeg; on the palate it’s ripe, strawberries, vibrant acidity and a spicy kick. This is a rosé that will take you through fall. It’s not big & rich, but it has depth and a compelling umami quality that will pair nicely with autumnal fare. 

Christophe Thorigny Vouvray Sec 2013

Christophe Thorigny is the 4th generation to farm this 10.5 hectare estate in Vouvray. Most of the grapes here are sold off to local negociants, which makes the small amount of estate-bottled wines that much more special. Christophe farms with minimal intervention and keeps yields low with severe pruning throughout the growing season. The vines are planted on chalky and flinty clay covering a thick layer of limestone, and those mineral, rocky notes come through in the wine. This is dry, focussed Chenin Blanc, with notes of honeysuckle, oranges and lemons on a long and elegant finish.

Ciavolich Montepulciano d’Abruzzo “Ancilla” 2013

Since 1853, Azienda Agricola Ciavolich has cultivated grapes from vineyards located in Abruzzo, in south-central Italy. The 44-hectare estate sits between 80 and 400 meters above sea level, with an average vine age of 25 years. Only 3500 cases of “Ancilla” are produced, and the hand-harvested fruit represents the best of their coastal vineyards; any remaining fruit that didn’t make the cut is sold off.

Ancilla is a deep, smooth and flavorful wine that tastes of plums, blackberries, strawberries and cherries. It sees no oak and is vibrant and youthful with light tannins on the finish.

Nerocapitano_ese trcLamoresca Nerocapitano Sicilia 2014

Lamoresca is a tiny, remote estate owned and operated by Filippo and Nancy Rizzo, who met while Filippo was proprietor of a natural wine restaurant in Belgium, one of the first outside of Paris. The 11 hectare farm is mostly olive groves with only 4 hectares planted to vines. It’s located between Etna and Gela on the southern coast of Sicily; the vines grow at 450 meters above sea level, on soils of compressed sandstone mixed with calcium and iron rich clay. Lamoresca is the only winery for roughly 50 square kilometers. It’s worked by hand by Filippo (who spent several vintages making wine with Frank Corenelissen) and his farm-hand Gaetano. The wines here are made without chemicals, fermented without temperature control, and are bottled unfiltered, un-fined, and without sulfur.

Nerocapitano is 100% Frappato that’s lively and full of bright red cherries, Meditteranean herbs and loads of character.

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM

2013 Schloss Hallburg Dry Estate Silvaner, Franken, Germany

This property has been farmed since the 11th century and has been in the von Shönborn family since 1806. It’s a 35 hectare certified organic estate planted mostly to Silvaner, then Riesling & Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, and equal amounts Muller Thurgau, Bacchus & Pinot Noir. Total case production is 20,000 per year. The Hallberger Schlossberg vineyard is biodynamically farmed and produces top quality Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.

This Silvaner is mineral-driven, dry, herbal, racy and elegant.

2014 Éric Texier Chat Fou Cotes-du-Rhone Rosé, France

Éric Texier came to wine without any family connection or romantic, multi-generational story. In fact, he was trained as a nuclear scientist. In 1992, after years in in the world of science, he opted to follow his passion for wine and formally study viticulture and oenology at Bordeaux University. He read a lot, visited winemakers around the world, and worked in Burgundy with wine-savant, Jean-Marie Guffens, at Verget. There he learned the benefits of minimal-intervention wine-making: native yeasts, little to no herbicides, no machines, etc…

As a beginner, he was unable to afford his own vineyards, so he became a négociant, buying only from small growers philosophically aligned with himself. He has since acquired plots in Côte Rôtie and Condrieu in the northern Rhône, and replanted several hectares in long-forgotten Brézème with Syrah and Roussanne. All of his wines are aged in the underground 16th-century cellar at his home in Charnay-en-Beaujolais.

Chat Fou is 100% Cinsault, made using the direct press method and bottled unfiltered with noSO2. While only 11.8% alcohol, it’s dark in color & spicy & complex on the palate. It’s like fresh-picked flowers and strawberries, lightly dusted with dried herbs and crushed pepper. But there’s lots of acidity here too, keeping it lively and thirst-quenching. Serve it chilled and let it flesh out a bit, revealing light tannins on the finish.

2013 Perrini Negroamaro, Salento (Puglia), Italy

Brother and sister Vito and Mila Perrini converted their family’s centuries-old estate to organic farming (now biodynamic) in 1993, way before it was cool. Before that, the family mostly sold their grapes to local négociants, as they didn’t have the means to finance estate-bottled production. Vito and Mila then built an underground cellar, where the cooler fermentation temperatures would aid them in their goal of producing wines of more subtlety and elegance than was normally encountered in the region.

The vines here are 30-35 years old and are spread across hills and along the shoreline. Yields are kept low, grapes are picked by hand and fermented in stainless steel, then aged in stainless and glass-lined tanks. This Negroamaro is silky, perfumed and earthy, with bright notes of blackberries & cherries.