Tag Archives: no sulfur

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

Nov. 10, 2017

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

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

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

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

Cheers and see you soon!

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

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

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

Kelley Fox Maresh Vineyard Pinot Gris, Dundee Hills, OR

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

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

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

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

Romuald Petit Chiroubles 2016, Beaujolais

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

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

Chateau la Rame Bordeaux Rouge 2015

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

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

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

Oct. 27, 2017

Shinn Estate Coalescence 2016, North Fork, NY

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

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

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

Vincent Willamette Valley Chardonnay 2015

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

Vincent Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2015

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

Bernard Vallette Gamay ‘Cuvée Centenaire’ 2014

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

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

August 26, 2016

It all started with a Twitter message nearly four years ago. We were in NY, at another industry tasting, when our attention was turned to Alvaro de la Viña, and his small Spanish portfolio of “Vinos Vivos – wines that are intact and alive”. We made attempts to get these wines, but every attempt turned into a dead end. Until now. We just received our first drop of Alvaro’s wines, and we pretty much feel like kids on Christmas morning. We know how special all of these wines are, and how limited most of them are, so we feel extra lucky to have them in our shop. We’re opening up four wines tonight, including a Cava, because clearly we need some bubbles to celebrate! Feel free to join us in welcoming the Selections de la Viña portfolio to Campus – and here’s to patience, perseverance, and Alvaro’s willingness to share!

Cheers!

Vía de la Plata Cava Brut Nature NV

In 1985, Aniceto Mesías was the first producer in Extremadura to become part of the D.O. Cava. Now three other producers in the region have joined him, and although he is no longer working in the cellars, Aniceto has left his legacy in the capable hands of Luis Miguel Calleja. Luis Miguel worked for years at some of the regions large co-ops, and was eager to make wines of quality rather than quantity. The vineyards, which are controlled by Via de la Plata, are farmed traditionally and non-invasively, and are planted to Macabeo, Parellada and Chardonnay. All work in the underground cellar is by hand, in the traditional champenoise method.

This Cava is 70% Macabeo and 30% Parellada, aged for 9 to 25 months before being disgorged. We can’t wait to toast with it!

Marenas Viñedo y Bodega “Montepilas” 2015 Andalusia

José Miguel Márquez is one of the youngest winemakers in Montilla, a town in the heart of Andalusia known for producing both fortified and unfortified wines in the style of sherry, usually known simply as Montilla. The white grapes planted on his 6 hectares are Montepila, Moscatel and Pedro Ximenez. In 1998, in an effort to recover a lost tradition, José Miguel was the first in the region to replant red grapes. Now he also works (mostly) with Monastrell, Tempranillo, Syrah and Pinot Noir.

José Miguel works naturally both in the vineyard and the cellar, with zero additives and no sulfur. He uses grass and cover crops to prevent soil erosion and give life to the soil through the diversity of plantings. Yields in this region, and on this property, are exceptionally low.

Montepilas is a skin-fermented, unfiltered, unfined, no sulfur white that gets everything right. It’s a little nutty (yeah, kind of funky too, but here we’re talking actual nuts, like almonds and walnut skin); it’s slightly oxidative but not oxidized; it’s clean, balanced, perfect acid, hints at peaches and bread crust – and then has an ever-so-slight sherried finish. We dig it. Only 250 cases produced, as far as we know. Like we said, we’re lucky to have some in our shop.

MicroBio Correcaminos Red 2015, Castilla y León

Ismael Gozalo is known locally as “El Mago de las Verdejos” or the Wizard of Verdejo. Take a look at his cellar, and you’ll see why. Is that wine or are we in a Game of Thrones episode?

microbio

The importers words say it best: “he practices his sorcery in his medieval underground cellar located in his native town of Nieva. Barrels, fudres, anforas, damejeannes, stainless…young, old, skin contact, sparkling, biological and oxidative aging…you name it, he’s got it…Ismael’s family owns some of the oldest (between 100-200 years old) ungrafted pre-phylloxera vines, most of which in the town of Nieva, province of Segovia between 800-900 meters of altitud. Characterized by it’s sandy soils, these head trained vines have never seen any chemicals over the different generations that have cared for them”.

Many are familiar with Ismael through his role at Ossian in Rueda, where he worked as winemaker and winegrower since its founding in 2004. But MicroBio, his solo project since 1998, is where his passion lies, and that is where you will find him these days.

Correcaminos is 100% Tempranillo from 70 year old vines planted on slate soil, fermented in stainless steel, and bottled unfined and unfiltered, with no added SO2. Correcaminos is juicy and vibrant, with flavors of cherries and plums, earthy-dried spice notes, and a touch of anise. Serve with a slight chill.

Marenas Cerro Encinas Tinto 2014, Monastrell, Andalusia

See producer note above.

Cerro Encinas Tinto is 100% Monastrell (Mourvedre) fermented with indigenous yeasts for 15 days in stainless steel, where it then macerates for 20 to 40 days until it’s transferred to American and French oak for 6 to 12 months of aging. This wine is a bit of a beast. It’s opaque, and the nose is intense – kind of a smoky, petrol-y, thing going on. On the palate it’s big, dark and imposing, with coffee, figs, savory spices, and chewy tannins. Apply protein and this beast reveals its softer side. This wine is also unfiltered, unfined and with no added SO2. Approx. 400 cases produced.

Swick Wine Tasting in the Shop, Friday, May 13th. 5pm -8pm

Joe Swick

Joe Swick

A couple of months ago a friend in the biz introduced us to Joe Swick and his wines; we’ve been anxiously awaiting their arrival ever since. Joe knows wine. Just check out all the places he’s worked since 2003. Swick Wines is a small winery working out of Medici Vineyard in Newberg, Oregon. The wines are the epitome of low-intervention; they are minimally foot-trod and fermented with wild yeast. Many spend time in neutral French oak, they’re not filtered or fined, and sulfur is kept to a minimum or not used at all. Production is tiny. We got to taste though some of the current releases, including a barrel sample of the 2015 Melon de Bourgogne; the cloudy pour was punctuated by buoyant acidity and rocky, mineral freshness. Tasting Swick wines is like listening to a great record for the first time – they’ve got the hooks and the melodies, wrapped around a core of originality, with the artist humming harmonies in the background. Minimal intervention at its best. Come taste some Swick in the shop tonight.

Cheers!

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

Fausto Cellario with custom-label Barbera Frizzante

Fausto Cellario with custom-label Barbera Frizzante

This week, we just can’t get enough of a good thing! Our special Tuesday tasting with Piemonte producer Fausto Cellario and SelectioNaturel was a smashing success! But many of our Friday regulars were sad to miss this line-up, so we’re bringing it back tonight. Unfortunately, we can’t come close to Fausto’s charm and personal experience with the wines, but we’ll do our best. We may even break out a fake Italian accent, if that helps.

Fausto & Cinzia Cellario are 3rd generation winemakers in the village of Carru` on the western outskirts of the Langhe, in Piedmont, Italy. They only work with local, indigenous grapes & uphold local winemaking traditions both in the vineyard & the cellar. They have 30 hectares spread across 5 different vineyard sites, including some in Novello, Monforte, and Dogliani; they are considered to be Dolcetto specialists. Work here is organic & all the fermentations take place with indigenous yeasts. Sulfur is only added in tiny quantities at bottling, if necessary.

2014 Cellario Langhe Favorita

Favorita is an old white grape variety indigenous to Langhe & Roero. It is genetically identical to Pigato and Vermentino from Liguria. The grape does well in poor, sandy soils and makes for fresh, floral and fruity wines, sometimes with a touch of saltiness. The 2014 is a bit fuller and fruitier than the 2013, and is it possible we like it even more? Yes it is.

2014 Cellario Langhe Dolcetto

Cellario Dolcetto is fresh, bright & juicy, with pure, vibrant fruit, like plums and cherries. This is a wine for pizza, pasta & casual meals, but this happy little red could easily find a place on your holiday table. It has just the right balance of juiciness and acidity to be the foil to fatty fall/winter fare.

2014 Cellario Barbera Frizzante

This is the 2nd Barbera Frizzante we get to have in our shop, and we couldn’t be happier. Hey, we’re a place that stacks Grignolino – we got this! This dry, effervescent little red is a Lambrusco lovers dream; the light sparkling is the result of a refermentation in the bottle. If you want to look like you know what you’re doing, drink it chilled out of a mason jar, like Piedmontese old-timers and hipsters do.

2013 Barbera “Sabinot”

Barbera was once known as ‘the people’s wine’ of Piedmont, because of its versatility and its abundant production. It can make anything from light and spritzy wine (see above) to deep, dark, brooding wines, that need years of cellaring before they’re ready to drink. The grape ripens relatively late, but maintains high levels of refreshing acidity.

Sabinot is the name of an old plot of Barbera vines in Dogliani, and it’s here that they get the grapes for this wine. This is a little more serious than Cellario’s Dolcetto; it’s deeper, the flavors more concentrated, the tannins a bit more pronounced. It’s still plummy, and fruit-driven, but it’s like the older brother who’s seen some stuff, whereas the Dolcetto is still all wide-eyed and innocent. We love them both.

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.

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM

Champagne David Coutelas Brut Cuvée Tradition 

8 hectares/under 5,000 cases annually

The Coutelas family has been growing grapes in the Marne Valley since before the French Revolution, but they didn’t start bottling their own Champagne until 1910. The Cuvée Tradition is from the village of Villers-sous-Chatillon and is 50% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir & 25% Pinot Meunier, fermented in oak (no malolactic) with 9g of residual sugar. It’s a blend of three vintages; the base vintage is 2008. This is a lively champagne with loads of citrus and lemon zest with a touch of almond and apples on the finish. Refreshing from start to finish, it’s the perfect match for fancy brunches and the festive ringing in of the new year.

Domaine Cheveau Macon Fuisse “Les Grandes Bruyeres” 2012

Domaine Cheveau was established in 1950 by André Cheveau; today his two grandsons run the estate, which is situated on 14 hectares around Solutré-Pouilly, and extends into Davayé in the Maconnais and Saint Amour in the Beaujolais. All harvesting is done by hand and the wines are fermented and vinified parcel by parcel. Total estate production is less than 5,000 cases.

Notes from the importer: Approximately 6000 bottles are produced annually from 40 year-old vines in the village of Fuissé. Planted to limestone-clay soils, these vineyards produce a typically generous, rich wine from this village famed for its ideal setting that yields some of the finest wines of the Maconnais.  In this instance, after fermentation, the wine is raised in stainless steel but left in contact with the fine lees for one year.  Virtually the entire production of this wine is dedicated to the US market.

Chateau Thivin Cote de Brouilly 2013, Beaujolais

Chateu Thivin, built into the side of an ancient volcano, is the oldest estate on Mont Brouilly, dating back to the 15th century; it has been in the Geoffray family since 1877 and has hosted many famous writers & journalists over time. The writer Richard Olney is responsible for introducing importer Kermit Lynch to the estate, proclaiming it the best producer in all of Beaujolais. Farming here is organic (conversion will be complete by 2020) and the vines are an average of 50 years old, with some over 90.

The Cote de Brouilly comes from 8.5 hectares that sit upon the steep, blue-stone slopes of Mont Brouilly. This wine can be enjoyed in its youth, but can also age for close to a decade. Right now it is fresh and floral, with notes of wild strawberry and black pepper. Have it with terrines & paté, roasted poultry, duck breast and goat cheese.

La Roche Bussiere Flonflons 2012, Cotes du Rhone

Importer notes on the estate: Located northeast of Vaison-La-Romaine in the southern Côtes du Rhone, Antoine and Lawrence Joly work 18 hectare of organic vineyards making some of our favorite wines in the region. They maintain a freshness and lightness in their wines by dedicating themselves to very intense vineyard work that allows them to harvest earlier than several other producers in their area, resulting in less concentrated and lower alcohol wines.

Antoine’s family has run the estate since the early 1970s (his grandfather was a beekeeper in the area and his father Pierre returned to live a more simple life after his involvement in the Parisian student riots of 1968). Pierre was a pioneer of organic viticulture in the Rhone and the vineyards have been certified since the 1980s, although he sold most of the grapes to the local co-op when he started. Antoine and Lawrence took over in 1999 and, since 2003, have vinified 100% of the harvest themselves.

Flonflons is mostly Syrah and Grenache from 2.5 hectares of vines averaging 25 years old. It’s fermented and aged in concrete and bottled unfiltered and unfined with little to no sulfur.