Tag Archives: Morphos

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

January 19, 2018

Vincent Grall Sancerre “Cuvée Tradition”, France 

Vincent Grall is the second smallest producer in this Loire region, making wine in his garage from his 3.8 hectares of vines. The production is split between two cuvées that are vinified and aged differently, depending on the soil type. Cuvée Tradition is primarily from the silex soils around the main hill of Sancerre, Le Plateau. It’s made entirely in stainless. While not certified, Vincent practices organic farming, and harvesting is by hand.

This is a delicious, go-to Sancerre for us. It’s layered with ripe stone fruit, but cut with a bracing acidity, and long, flinty finish. It’s simultaneously fruity, tangy, and herbaceous. All the good stuff!

Oyster River Wine Growers Morphos Rosé Petillant Naturel, Maine

Oyster River is a nearly 100% self-sustaining farm in Warren, Maine. Brian Smith is the winemaker here, if you can call him a wine“maker”, since his approach is about as hands off as you can get. Fermentation is spontaneous, with native yeast, and lasts a long time
in their cold winery, heated only with wood from their farm. Sparkling wines and ciders here are unsulphured and bottled unfiltered.

This fizzy rosé is fresh and yeasty, a little minerally, dry but with a touch of sweetness. It’s a people pleaser, great as an aperitif or with brunch, mild cheeses, and light meals.

Julien Pilon, Collines Rhodaniennes Syrah de l’Autre Rive, 2014

Julien Pilon is originally from the northern Rhone but does not hail from a winemaking family. Instead, after attending school for oenology and viticulture, he worked for Pierre Cuilleron for two years, then at Mas Amiel, then Terra Remota in Spain, followed by four years in Rousillon with Pierre Gaillard. While in his early 30s, after gaining 10 years of experience, he decided he wanted to create his own domaine. With the high price of affordable vineyards, that’s easier said than done. So he started with a negociant business that focused on the whites of the northern Rhone – Viognier, Condrieu, Saint Joseph blanc, Crozes Hermitage blanc, Hermitage blanc and Saint Peray. He now has 4.5 hectares of vineyards, and also makes a small amount of VDP Syrah and Côte Rôtie. 2010 was his first vintage.

This syrah is briny, rich, smooth, and super tasty.

Daniel Ramos Zerberos Castilla y León ‘El Altar’ 2014

Notes (mostly) from the importer: Some of you may have heard of him, some of you maybe not. For those of you that have, he needs no introduction. For the rest, let’s just say that Daniel Ramos is the OG of the GdG. For most of you, that probably means nothing. GdG stands for Garnacha de Gredos, an association of small producers in the Gredos mountain range which encompasses parts of 3 different wine regions: Castilla y León, Madrid, and Méntrida. They’re focus is on organic farming and autochthonous grape varieties of the region, mainly Garnacha and Albillo Real. With a growing number of producers and a wide variation of styles within the group, Daniel represents the old school both in his viticulture and vinification. In our opinion, he’s making some of the purest and most representative wines of the region. They don’t call him the Garnacha whisperer for nothing!

Daniel and his wife Pepi bought their fist 4.5 hectares in 2007. It’s hot and dry here, but a minimum altitude of 800 meters provides a welcome foil to the high temps. The vines are all 50 to 100 years old, planted on slopes too steep for anything but horses and hand harvesting. All wines are fermented with native yeast and macerated for long periods of time. Fermentation is in concrete, clay amphora, or old, neutral oak. There is no filtering or fining, and only a small amount of sulfur at bottling.

El Altar is from old-vine Garnacha planted on granitic sandy soils with large chunks of quartz. It’s full of red fruit like cherries and raspberries, mingling with wild herbs and flowers.

Wine Tasting in the shop Friday, 5-8PM (and one on Saturday too!)

Here’s what we’re tasting Friday:

Oyster River Winegrowers “Morphos” Petillant Naturel 2014, Maine
Oyster River is a nearly 100% self-sustaining farm in Warren, Maine. Brian Smith is the winemaker here, if you can call him a wine “maker”, since his approach is about as hands off as you can get. Fermentation is spontaneous, with native yeast, and lasts a long time in their cold winery; they only heat with wood from their farm, and they keep it chilly! Read more about the farm here. Sparkling wines and ciders here are unsulphured and bottled unfiltered.

Morphos is a natural sparkling wine that is a blend of grapes from the farm in Maine and select vineyards in NY. It’s bottled before fermentation is complete, and since it’s unfiltered, it’s cloudy, yeasty and “full of life”. Did we mention it’s cloudy? Really cloudy. You might want to gently swirl the bottle while you drink to incorporate the sediment–although it’s a pretty tasty experience to just toss back the glassful of hazy goodness too! Morphos has lots of green apple, loads of zesty acidity, and it’s wicked tart. Have it with oysters, of course! And soft cheeses too.

Kosovec Skrlet 2012, Moslavina, Croatia

Skrlet is a local varietal, indigenous to central Croatia, mostly in the wine producing region of Moslavina, where Ivan Kosovec’s small, organically farmed estate is located. Ivan is responsible for bringing attention back to this rare, hard to find grape (there are only 70 acres in the world planted to Skrlet). And apparently Ivan is a total badass. 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, running it on generators until the country could get him some juice for his juice! So yeah, Skrlet, another way to say labor of love. This is a bracing, refreshing wine, with lots of minerality, flowers, a light touch of honey and citrus on the finish. Fans of dry Riesling and Muscadet will find a lot to love here. Have it with seafood, salads, white meat, and anything in the briny, salty, citrusy family.

Dominique Piron “Coteaux Bourguignons” Gamay, 2013

Dominique Piron is a 14th generation winemaker based primarily out of Morgon, in Beaujolais. Here he brings us a one liter bottle of Gamay from the relatively newly minted “Coteaux Bourguignons” or, hills of Burgundy.

This is one big bottle of bad influence. It’s a floozy and a Lothario, all smooth moves and batting lashes…This is the wine that keeps you up well past your bedtime with its come-hither fruit and silky innuendos. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Schlossmuhlenhoff Dornfelder Trocken 2012, Rheinhessen, Germany

Another liter, this dry German red will slap some sense into you after all your exploits with your fabulous new French friend. Mein Gott im himmel, get a hold of yourself! This wine is solid; it’s hearty but light on its feet, a touch staid and serious, but sweet flowers on the nose woo & entice. It comes through in stand-up fashion on the palate: black currants, dried spices, and a snappy mineral edge…this Dornfelder is cool all the way through.

And Saturday, 3-5PM
Elsa Ladguie, daughter of Fronton producer Philippe Laduguie of Domaine de Saint-Guilhem, will be here to discuss the wines and give us the dirt on these big, rustic, earthy wines, and the cool backstory of how one French transplant to Providence finally got these wines into the states. Do yourself a favor: buy a big steak, or short ribs, and grab a bottle of one of the three wines we’ll have on hand (or one of each!). You won’t be disappointed!