Tag Archives: natural wine

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

February 9, 2018

Capriades “Piege a Filles” Rose Methode Ancestrale, Vin de France, Touraine

At Capriades Pascal Potaire grows Chenin Blanc, Menu Pineau, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Gamay, Côt, Cabernet Franc, & Pineau D’Aunis. The organically farmed grapes are from 7 hectares, 2 of which are owned by the domaine, the remainder from local organic vineyards in Touraine that are worked and harvested, but not owned, by Capriades. Piège à Filles” rosé is mostly Gamay, with small amounts of Côt, Cab Franc, and Pineau D’Aunis. It has deep flavors of ripe fruit, a savory note, a touch of sweetness, and a mineral streak from the silex, clay, and limestone soils the vines grow upon.

Pascal worked for others before starting his own label in 2000. He was and is all about balance, low alcohol, & high acidity, and wanted to bring the finesse of champagne to naturally fermented sparkling wine. He is happiest in the cellar, so his business partner Moses handles the marketing, and is the public face of the domain.

More info from the importer: The process of making méthode ancestrale sparkling wine is both incredibly simple and incredibly difficult to execute well. First, there’s extensive sorting in the vines. Because the wines are made without sulfur, the grapes have to be perfect; flaws in the grapes will mean bigger flaws in the wine. The juice begins to ferment in tank, and at the opportune moment mid-fermentation, the wines are bottled to complete their fermentation under a crown cap, trapping carbonic gas and giving them their soft, frothy bubbles. It’s both an art and a science bottling at the right time to create wines of varying levels of sweetness, not to mention stability in a category noted for instability and bottle variation.

The wines are riddled before disgorgement using a giropallet, and are disgorged by hand, in some cases twice due to the large amount of deposit in the bottle. Les Capriades maintains unassailable status as the best Domaine at making this style of sensitive yet highly satisfying sparkling wine. Total case production is 3,000.

Thorigny Vouvray Sec 2015

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.

Christine et Gilles Paris Morgon Douby 2016

5 hectares, organically farmed Beaujolais-Villages, Chiroubles, Morgon, Régnié, Fleurie. Soils are pink granite, chalk, and sand.

Though Gilles Paris is from Beaujolais, and has been involved with grape growing for much of his life (along with his five brothers) it wasn’t until he met his now ex-wife Christine that he dipped his toes into winemaking. Shortly after meeting Christine, they moved to Chiroubles, where her family had vines. He produced his first wines in 2005, and with each passing vintage he moved closer and closer to natural production. Now all his wines are made without additives of any kind, including zero sulfur. But these wines are clean and delicious. Douby is 100% Gamay from vines averaging 50 years old. It’s vibrant, silky red raspberries and black cherries wrapped up in a granite dress.

Domaine Rois Mages Rully ‘Les Cailloux’ 2015

Anne-Sophie Debavelaere is a native Burgundian who established her domaine in 1984; she now works the property with her son Felix. Her 7 hectares of vines are mostly in Rully, but include some small parcels in Bouzeron and Beaune. Her vineyards are all farmed “lutte raisnonnée”, which isn’t technically organic, but only uses synthetics or chemicals as a last resort. Her winery, a vaulted cellar dug from the Rully hillside , was originally built in 1850 by a local negociant who wanted a cellar similar tho those in Champagne. Anne-Sophie farms three parcels in Rully, the 1er Cru “Les Pierres” and the two lieux dits “Moulin A Vent” and “Les Cailloux”. The 1.8 hectares she owns in the Les Cailloux vineyard are planted mostly to Chardonnay, with just .3h planted to Pinot Noir. Vine density is 8,000 plants per hectare, with an average vine age of over 50 years, and yields are kept very low. The vineyard descends from one of the highest elevations in Rully, and is full of surface stones that absorb the day’s heat, and release it after sunset. Natural herbs and grasses grow between the rows and make the vines compete for nutrients. This, coupled with the rocky soils and dense plantings, contribute to the vines producing very few bunches, and in turn the grapes are ripe, concentrated, complex, and balanced.

Les Cailloux is Pinot Noir fermented in tank with its natural yeasts at cool temperatures, and matured in barrel (just 10% new) for at least a year. An average vintage produces fewer than 150 cases. This is delicious, classic, silky-smooth Pinot Noir.

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.

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 5-8PM AND Saturday Wine Tasting 3-6PM

Nov. 3, 2017

Chartrand Imports tasting on Friday; Domaine des Terrisses on Saturday:

Justin DeWalt of Chartrand Imports will be in the shop Friday from 5-8PM with a selection of organic French wines. Chartrand is located in Rockland, Maine, and specializes in organic wines from small producers. Justin will have wine from two producers this evening; both of these producers have also been in the shop before: Fred Niger of Domaine de l’ecu and John Bojanowski of Clos du Gravillas.

Saturday in the shop, instead of our usual 3-6PM beer tasting, we’ll meet Alain and Brigitte Cazottes of Domaine des Terrisses, a Gaillac producer imported by Wine Traditions.

We hope you can swing by to meet these guys, and get a jump on wine for your fall feasts and holiday treats (even though these warm temps are seriously messing with our autumnal mojo!).

Cheers and see you soon! Tonight’s wine notes are below.

Friday, 5-8PM

Domaine de l’Ecu is a 22 hectare property in the Sèvre et Maine region of the Muscadet appellation. Guy Bossard was the 5th generation to farm the domaine, which he worked alongside his wife Annie Thuaud. They were leaders in Muscadet, and many credit them (along with a handful of other producers, like Pepiere) for making the region what it is today. Guy was farming organically by the early 70s, and biodynamically since 1986. In 2009 they partnered with Fred Niger, and continued to make stellar wines from older vines (average of 50 years). The soils here are mostly made up of three metamorphic rocks: Gneiss, Orthogneiss and Granite. While the Gneiss soil produces Muscadet that is light and fruity, made to be consumed in its youth, Granite and Orthogneiss Muscadets can age beautifully for up to 20 years. In addition to traditional Muscadet, Fred makes a bunch of tiny production, experimental wines; we’ll taste one of those tonight. All of the wines are biodynamic, gravity fed, made with indigenous yeast, and vegan.

Domaine de L’Ecu “La Divina” Method Traditionnelle Brut Sparkling

This fun and fresh sparkling is a blend of Folle Blanche, Melon de Bourgogne, and Chardonnay, with a dash of Cabernet-Franc adding lower tones, depth and complexity. After bottling the wine is fermented a second time with champagne yeasts and left to age on the the lees for at least one year. Perfect to welcome guests, to have with brunch, oysters, and celebrations big and small.

Domaine de l’Ecu Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Cuvée Classique 2016

This Muscadet comes from a blend of younger Melon de Bourgogne vines on the estate, grown on silex and metamorphic rock. It’s aged on the lees in underground, glass-tile lined vats for 10 to 12 months. It’s rocky, minerally, and leesy. Another great aperitif, and also a go-to for raw bars, salads, and simply prepared white fish like sole and cod.

Domaine de l’Ecu Mephisto [Cabernet Franc] Vin de France 2014

This is a zero-sulphur cab franc from vines grown an granite. After being destemmed and spending 12 days fermenting on the skins, Mephisto ages in a combination of amphora and old barrels for 15 months. Only 200 cases are produced. This is an intriguing wine that opens up to reveal a peppery, briny, yet elegant personality.

Clos du Gravillas ‘Sous les Cailloux des Grillons’ 2015

Kentucky native and Brown alum John Bojanowski, and his wife Nicole, own and operate this Languedoc estate. They work organically in Saint Jean de Minervois, a gateway village to the Parc Natural du Haut Languedoc, an area of thousands of hectares of protected mountains, canyons and scrubland that is a migratory haven for birds of prey. Their 8.5 hectares of vineyards are on a dry, rocky plateau of white gravel. The summer days are sunny and warm, and the nights are cooled by breezes blowing down from the Montagne Noire, making the conditions perfect for ripe, balanced wines.

Sous les Cailloux des Grillons is a blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Grenache, Counoise, Terret Gris and Mourvèdre. It’s deliciously smooth and ripe, with red fruit and refreshing acidity that make it quite food friendly.

Little bit of trivia: this wine is named for the crickets on the property. From the producer: In St. Jean, the soil is only white gravel; in our youngest vines, under these rocks innumerable crickets find shade from the scorching Mediterranean sun. At night they come out to play, (and during the day, they are under the rocks).

SATURDAY WINE TASTING IN THE SHOP, 3-6PM

Meet the producers, Alain and Brigitte Cazottes of Domaine des Terrisses

Notes from the importer: Spread out around the town of Albi, the Gaillac vineyards extend over 73 communes along the Tarn river. The appellation includes significantly different terroirs, the results of different geological strata, which include limestone plateaus, hillside vineyards with limestone and clay soils and alluvial plains with soils of gravel and sand. The climate is more Mediterranean than Atlantic and the vineyards benefit from a warm and dry autumn. The wines can have a balance of concentration and restraint that is rare and the appellation’s local grape varieties enhance the originality of Gaillac’s wines.

Domaine des Terrisses has been the property of the Cazottes family since 1750. The vineyard is situated along the “Premiere Cotes” of Gaillac, the hillsides facing south-southwest toward the Tarn river. The vineyard is planted almost entirely with the traditional grape varieties of the region; Mauzac and Len de L’ehl for the whites and Braucol and Duras for the reds. Domaine des Terrisses offers a wide range of wines which is typical of the Gaillac appellation and is a reminder of the region’s long historical and cultural links with wine.

We’ll taste new to RI wines from Domaine des Terrisses.

 

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…

Spanish Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5PM – 8PM

–with Peter Buckley of Vineyard Road, Friday, September 22nd.

All notes courtesy of the distributor:

Cellers de Can Suriol, Reserva Brut Nature (2013)

Appellation: Cava • Subzone: Alt Penedès • Climate: Mediterranean • Varieties: 40% Macabeo, 30% Xarlel-lo, 30% Parellada  • Soil: Calcareous Clay • Elevation: 250-350 meters • Vine Age: 25 years • Pruning: Espaldera • Farming: Certified Organic

The Suriol family has lived and made wine in the same masia, the Castell de Grabuac, in Penedès since the 15th century. They produce Cavas and still wines using traditional, non-interventionist methods, indigenous grape varieties vinified by parcel with native yeasts, local chestnut wood for barrel aging, and corks from the local forest. The results are some of the most complex and layered Penedès wines that we have tasted.

The Suriol estate is located in the village of Font Rubí in the Alt Penedès, just north of Vilafranca and west of Sant Sadurni d’Anoia, and a one-hour drive from Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea. Their 25 hectares of vineyards are divided up into 20 different microplots and surround the masia, and have been certified organic since 1996. They employ biodynamic practices as well, utilizing native plants for preparations.

All Suriol Cavas are brut nature and vintage dated, and raised on the lees in bottle until order, with the disgorgement date noted on the back label. Fruit for the Cava Brut Nature comes from eight parcels planted in the late 1980’s. The grapes are handharvested, pressed, and fermented in steel vats, transferred to underground concrete vats for malolactic fermentation over the winter, then bottle aged for a minimum of 15 months, although 25-40 months is typically where they find the fruity and yeasty/toasty flavors are in perfect balance. It is a singular Cava with brisk acidity, creamy texture, and flavors of orchard fruits, nuts, fresh bread, and sea salt.

Alvaro Bueno, Benaza Godello (2016)

100% Godello from 20 -40 year old vines at 400 metres elevation. The wine region Monterrei (in Galicia) is located just above Portugal in the province of Ourense. Monterrei is a relatively new D.O. but possesses a long history of winegrowing, and at the moment is experiencing a renaissance in winemaking. The climate is relatively dry and warm for Galicia and more continental than Atlantic. The soils are a mix of clay and alluvial. Wine is fermented in steel and aged for 12 months on the lees.

Dominio del Urogallo, Fanfarria (2015)

Asturias, Spain • Appellation: Cangas • Organic, Biodynamic

Urogallo Fanfarria Tinto is a red wine produced in Cangas by the Dominio de Urogallo winery in Cangas de Narcea, Asturias. Dominio del Urogallo is a project founded by Nicolás Marcos and his partner Fran Asencio in Asturias. Native to Toro, Nico discovered his personal and most revolutionary project in the Cangas area, with native varieties like the Verdejo Tinto or the Albarín Tinta, an Atlantic climate and soil made up of quartz, slate and anthracite. He cultivates the vineyards following the precepts of biodynamic viticulture and takes care of the fruit during production, without filtering or adding anything.

Urogallo Fanfarria Tinto is the freshest wine in the winery, produced with the Mencía and Albarín Negro varieties. The grape is destemmed and ferments in stainless steel tanks, the wine is then decanted into used barrels where malolactic fermentation and stabilization take place for 6 months.

Alfredo Maestro, Viña Almate (2016)

Grower: Alfredo Maestro • Appellation: Vdt Castilla y Léon • Localities: Peñafiel, Valtiendas • Climate: Continental • Grape(s): Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) • Soil(s): River Stones, Clay, Alluvial • Elevation: 700-1,000 meters • Vine Age 10-80 Years Old • Farming: Practicing Organic • Pruning: En Vaso, Espaldera • Production 830 cases

The affable iconoclast Alfredo Maestro established his small bodega in 1998 in his hometown of Peñafiel, Ribera del Duero. Alfredo seeks out neglected vineyards around Castilla y León and Castilla-La Mancha, takes the parcels over, and works them organically. In the cellar, Alfredo works as naturally as anyone we have seen in Spain, eliminating all winemaking additives – including sulfur. Over time, Alfredo has accumulated 9 hectares across Castilla y León and La Mancha along with establishing a second small bodega near Madrid.

This cuvee is meant to express the terroir of Castilla y León in its purest form. Almate is the name of the first vineyard that Alfredo planted and gives the name to his bodega and to Alfredo’s entry-level Duero wine. This cuvee is made from fruit sourced from various plots in Valtiendas, an area located at 1,000 meters just south of the Ribera del Duero, as well as Peñafiel, Ribera del Duero.

Viña Almate comes from 100% Tinto Fino, aka the local clone of Tempranillo grown on river stones, clay, and clay-calcareous soils. Fermented 80% whole-cluster with wild yeasts in steel vats; Raised in neutral French oak for 2-4 months with one racking; Unfined & unfiltered; Very low SO2.

The vineyards for this wine are located in the Ribera del Duero and Valtiendas, where the climate is harshly continental with cold winters, hot days and cold nights during the ripening season, which gives wines with robust fruit and brisk acidity if the grapes are picked at the right time. The biggest threat to viticulture is frost in the spring and fall. The short growing season is ideal for Tempranillo, an early ripening grape.

Campus Fine Wines Presents Raw Wine at The Steel Yard

Saturday, September 16th, 6-9PM
(special preview hour 5pm-6pm with purchase of First Sip Ticket)
Don’t pay more at the door; buy your tickets early.

RawWine2017Poster_Final2Explore the delicious variety of natural wine in the raw beauty of a historic, reclaimed industrial space while raising funds for the Steel Yard and its programs.

Campus Fine Wines and the Steel Yard share the core belief in a world made by hands, where production is crafted and producers are connected to their audience, enriching our lives and creating cultural and economic value. For this 4th installment, we’ll include small seminars with importers and producers (in a separate tent from the main tasting) to offer more chances to get to know these wines.

New Harvest Coffee has offered up complimentary espresso shots for the duration of the event, Unkle Thirsty will be spinning tunes, there will be a blacksmithing demonstration by Yardie & instructor, Nick Tomlin, and an interactive art installation by Tara Ebsworth

Here are some of the importers and producers pouring:

Álvaro de la Viña / Selections de la Viña
Michel Abood / Vinotas Selections
Joe Swick / Swick Wines
Eleanor Léger / Eden Ciders

Matt Mollo / SelectioNaturel

Christopher Piana / Fable Farm Fermentory

Many more portfolios and producers will be represented, such as MFW, Wine Traditions, Paris Wine Co, José Pastor, SelectioNaturel, Frank Cornelissen, JD Headrick…and more!

Snacks and small bites provided by Fortnight, Bywater, Narragansett Creamery, North Bakery, Seven Stars Bakery. Participating vendors include Ocean State Oyster Fest, Weenie Wizard and Pat’s Pastured.

Tickets are $50 in advance
$60 at the door
$75 for First Sip Special Preview Hour, 5pm-6pm, limited to 50 people
Get your tickets here 

Here’s a sneak peek at Saturday’s line up:

Table 1 : Wine Traditions: Leigh Ranucci
Le Val de la Chevre Cidre Fermier Brut
Domaine de la Touraize Les Moulins Arbois 2015
Domaine Castera Jurancon Sec Tauzy 2015
Mas d’Alezon Cabretta Blanc 2012
Domaine des Miquettes Madloba 2013
Domaine de la Touraize Ploussard La Cabane 2015
Domaine de Clovallon Pinot Noir 2015
Mas d’Alezon Faugers Presbytere 2015

Table 2: Wine Wizards
Clos Saron Carte Blanche 2015
Broc Cellars Amore Rosso 2016
La Clarine Farm Piedi Grandi 2015
Francois Pinon Le Vouvray 2016
Bonhomme Le Telquel Rouge 2016
Domaine des Terres Dorees Cote de Brouilly 2015
Agnes et Renee Mosse Bois Rouge 2015
Domaine du Mortier La Ptite Vaudrille 2016
Grange Tiphane Ad Libitum 2016
Domaine du Mortier Bourgueil Dionysus 2015
Domaine Olga Raffault Chinon Le Picasses 2011
Chateau Le Puy Emilien 2012
Domaine des Terres Dorees FRV100

Table 3 : Selections de la Vina : Ana & Alvaro de la Vina
MicroBio Wines Nieva York Pet Nat Blanco 2016
Clos Lentiscus Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature 2013
Clos Lentiscus Rose Brut Nature 2013
Vegas Altas Blanco 2016
Finca Parera Clar 2016
Ton Rimbau Stol N 2013
Clos Lentiscus Perill Blanc 2015
Vegas Altas Tinto 2016
Vinificate Mahara 2014
MicroBio Wines Correcaminos Tinto 2016
Clos Lentiscus Perrill Tinto 2010
Kiko Calvo Bigardo 2016
Antonio Madeira Vinhas Velhas 2014

Table 4 : SelecioNaturel: Matt Mollo
Cantina Ribela Ribolie Frizzante 2016
Cantina Furlani Rosato Frizzante 2016
Conestablie della Staffa Brioso Rosato Frizzante 2016
Conestablie della Staffa Conestabile Bianco 2016
Cantina Furlani Bianco 2016
Collecapretta Terre dei Preti 2014
Collecapretta Rosato 2016
Lamoresca Nerocapitano 2016
Conestablie della Staffa Conestabile Rosso 2016
Paterna il Rosso 2016
Collecapretta Lautizo 2015
Campanino Rosso degli Appennini 2016

Table 5 : Eric Solomon/JD Headrick – Adam Wilson
Johanna Cecillon Cidre Divona 2015
Louis Bovard Cuvee Noe Aigle Chasselas 2013
Domaine de la Fruitiere Clisson Muscadet 2014
Clos de L’elu Anjou Blanc 2015
Domaine de la Noblaie Chinon Rose 2016
Domaine St. Nicolas Pinot Noir Fief Vendéens 2016
Clos de L’elu Maupiti 2016
Chateau Mourre du Tendre Cotes du Rhone Cuvee Paul 2014

Table 6 : Vinotas – Michel Abood
Monteversa Primaversa Veneto IGT Frizzante 2016
Laurent Herlin Cintre Rose Pet Nat
Il Farneto Rio Rocca Spergle 2015
Cellier de Baraterie Paroxysme Rouge Vin de Savoie 2015
Domaine Victor Sornin Beaujolais Villages Naturel 2016
Domaine des Mas Sauvaire Rouge 2014
L’enclos des Braves Gaillac Rouge 2012
Domaine Emile Grelier Bordeaux 2016

Table 7 : Eden Ciders – Eleanor Leger
Eden Ciders Sparkling Cider Dry 375ml
Eden Ciders Imperial 11° Rose Cider 375ml
Eden Ciders Heirloom Blend Ice Cider 375ml

Table 8 : Best Beverage / MFW
Domaine des Rebourgeres Cache Cache Brut
Domaine des Gandines Cremant de Bourgogne
Clos de Moulin de la Gustais Muscadet 2015
Vincent Grall Sancerre 2016
Domaine Gandines Vire-Clesse Chardonnay 2015
Domaine des Pothieres Gamay 2015
Chateau la Colombiere Vinum Negrette
Nicolas Gonin Persan 2013

Table 9 : Vineyard Road
Arratzain Basque Sidra Natural
Cellers de Can Suriol, Reserva Brut Nature
Domaine Andre & Mireille Tissot Cremant du Jura Extra Brut
Domaine Huet Vouvray Petillant
Guimaro Ribeira Sacra Blanco 2015
Giles Bonefoy Urfe Forez Sauvignons Gris et Blancs
Guilhem et Jean-Hugues Goisot, Aligote 2014
Caves Jean Bourdy, Côtes du Jura Blanc 2011
Anne Sophie Dubois Fleurie Les Cocottes 2016
Bret Brothers, Beaujolais Leynes Glou de Jeff 2014
Clos du Moulin Aux Moines Bourgogne Rouge Aux Seurrets 2014
Envinate Benje Tinto Canary Islands 2015
Alfredo Maestro El Rey del Glam 2016
Alfredo Maestro El Marciano 2016

Table 10 : Wine Bros
La Garagista Vinu Jancu 2015
La Garagista Nouveau Rouge 2016
Cornelissen Munjebel Bianco 2015
Frank Cornelissen Munjebel Rosso 2015
Frank Cornelissen Rosso del Contadino 2015

Table 11 : Swick Wines – Joe Swick
Swick Wines Verdelho Columbia Valley Washington 2016
Swick Wines Chardonnay 2016
Swick Wines Grenache Columbia Valley 2016
Swick Wines Malbec Columbia Valley 2016
Swick Wines Mourvedre Columbia Valley 2016
Swick Wines Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2016
Swick Wines Cancilla “Hibernation” Pinot Noir 2015

Table 12 : Fable Farm Fermentory, VT – Christopher Piana
Betula Marc Flip Top 500ml
Koan Sour Apple 500ml
Perry “Pyrus” 500ml
Sophia 500ml
Traditional “Fluxion Ancestral II” 750m

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

September 1, 2017

Caneva da Nani Prosecco Col Fondo

These are the notes Wine Wizard Kat Cummings wrote a few months back, after her trip to Italy with SelectioNaturel. We’re using them again! Caneva da Nani’s Prosecco Col Fondo is made from 40 yr old glera vines grown the village of Guia high up in the Valdobbiadene of the Veneto. As glera is very vigorous, the Canello family find good equilibrium in pruning to four sticks, and produce 135 hectoliters/hectare (farming 4.5 hectares total). Soil is heavy clay (argile) on steep terraced hillsides.

Fermentation is done in glass lined cement tanks made in the 1960s. Massimo does very few rackings (2-3), choosing to stir the lees in lieu of racking or adding sulfites. Plus the biscotto di afreddimento! I just love the idea of a cooling cookie inside these epic cement tanks.

70% of Caneva’s production goes into their col fondo wine, although they also make a brut and a metodo clasico. Selection is done in the cellar, and they choose the base wine for col fondo by looking for a wine that can go through malolactic fermentation and finish dry. So they are looking for base wine with more body, that is softer and rounder.

They do multiple bottling runs because of space (or lack thereof), with the first bottling at end of December and last at end of May. The col fondo referments in bottle, on the lees, in 30 days stored in the cellar at 17-19 degrees celsius (basically they just crank the heat in the cantina and let the yeasts do their work). It needs a full 60 days to go through malo (which gets rid of harsh acids and absorbs the funky yogurt aromas), then finishes with 3 atmospheres of pressure.

I LOVE this wine because of its ethereal quality, it has a soft persistent bubble like a gentle cloud. It’s all pear and green apple and stone fruit and saffron, and develops an interesting salinity the longer it is aged in bottle. Plus it’s so good with a meat party.

The rest of the notes are mostly from the importer, Selections de la Viña.

Cerro La Barca Vegas Altas Eva de los Santos, Ribera del Guadiana, Spain

Ribera del Guadiana is in Extremadura, a region located in south-western Spain on the border of Portugal. Extramadura has been known as a place for bulk wine production, but some pioneers are finding unique new wines here. Cerro La Barca is the first organic producer in the region. They have 38 hectares of Tempranillo and the nearly extinct Eva de los Santos.

Juan Sojo and Ángel Luis González are like brothers from different mothers. One minute they’re arguing and the next they’re toasting to another harvest. They studied oenology together and ever since have been making wines together. Ángel Luis comes from a background in agriculture while Juan comes from a background in science. Both so different, but yet complement each other so well.

Fermented using indigenous yeasts in stainless steel vats where the wines naturally decant without filtration until bottling. The Eva de los Santos is from vines that are up to 80 years old. It’s flowery, fruity and perfumed on the nose, but the palate is a little more intense, with a pronounced crushed stone quality.

Cerro La Barca Vegas Altas Tempranillo, Ribera del Guadiana, Spain

Fermented using indigenous yeasts in stainless steel vats where the wines naturally decant without filtration until bottling.

This is an everyday priced winner. Dry and fruity with pleasant tannins. Good for grilling and swilling.

Companon Arrieta Rioja Alavesa “Herrigoia” Tempranillo, 2016

Who would have thought that when we started our company we would import wines from Rioja? Not us, that’s for sure. In a sense the Bordeaux of Spain, it’s a region that never really caught our attention. There’s a few historic houses that haven’t changed over the years and have maintained their identity by making wines the same way over generations but the rest are questionable. We tried but finding wines that moved us and weren’t taken already was a difficult task, like finding a needle in a haystack. Luckily, along the wine route we stumbled across Gorka and Itxaso of Compañón Arrieta. They are at the head of a rejuvenation of the region, young winegrowers recovering their families old vineyards and making wines like they used to.

Their estate is made up of 4 ha spread across 17 mini parcels, all of which bush pruned vines averaging 50 years of age under organic certification. These vineyards have been in their family for three generations but it wasn’t until 1982 that they built their bodega and started making wine. Unfortunately they weren’t bottling it, but selling it in bulk to some of the bigger houses like CVNE, El Coto, Marqués de Riscal, etc. In 2010, with Gorka and Itxaso at the helm, they started bottling their own wines under the Herrigoia label. The name is a reference to the part of Lanciego where their bodega and most of their vineyards are located. In Basque herri means town and goia means up, translated let’s just say it means uptown higher grounds resulting in fresh wines with great acidity.

Herrigoia is mostly Tempranillo, with some Viura and Malvasia, made via carbonic maceration. Delicious with cured meat and poultry.

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