Tag Archives: organic wine

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

August 4th, 2017

All Vini Conestabile Della Staffa

Notes condensed from the SelectioNaturel site: An arranged marriage in the 1700s brought together the Conestabile and Della Staffa families. The Conestabile family originated in Orvieto, the southwestern corner of Umbria, just north of Rome; the Della Staffa family dates back to antiquity and is from Perugia, close to the winery. The two noble families were interested in consolidating property and influence in what was a very poor region. In the 1800s, the property totaled over 700 hectares of agricultural land, with 100 hectares under vine. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, Conestabile della Staffa was the most important winery in the area, producing 10,000 hectoliters of wine per vintage. Remnants of this winemaking history can be seen in the castle located at the top of the hill in the village of Monte Melino. Danilo Marcucci makes the wine here, on the property he shares with his wife Alessandra.

Quoting SelectioNaturel: In the 1920’s the hamlet of Monte Melino was home to over 20 small families, each relatives of the Counts of the Conestabile della Staffa. Danilo’s wife, Alessandra is the descendant (great granddaughter) of one of these Counts. The village essentially was a self-sufficient commune/fiefdom at that point. Work and profit sharing among the families was divided equally in all sectors of the farming; raising cows, growing and drying tobacco, making wool & silk, a cobbler, a school, a metalworker, and of course olive oil and wine.

In the post-World War era wine production dramatically decreased due to the reduced workforce for farming as people moved into the cities. The last produced vintage from the old cantina was in 1956. From 1956 until 2015 no wine was produced on the property, instead the grapes were sold off to the local co-op for this entire period.

Today Conestabile della Staffa is literally being reborn, re-envisioned by the work of Danilo Marcucci. It’s an undertaking of epic proportions. Over 12 hectares of vines, many of which have been in disrepair for over a decade, but were planted in the early 1970’s. Luckily the land was never touched by chemicals.

The wines are made in the most natural way, adhering to methods that Danilo has learned over the course of 20+ years of winemaking and farming experience from some of Italy’s great ‘masters’ (Lino Maga, Eduardo Valentini, Cappellano, Vittorio Mattioli and others).  Native grapes (grechetto, trebbiano, ciliegiolo sangiovese, Gamay del Trasimeno, canaiolo, sagrantino) are the backbone of the property, a truly inspirational project with a bright future. No yeast, no chemical corrections, no sulfur. “No technology”, as Danilo would say.

The wines we’re tasting:

Brioso Rosato Frizzante: Sangiovese rosé. Direct press. Partial primary fermentation in stainless steel before early bottling and refermentation in bottle. Not disgorged. No sulfur. Crown cap finish.

Conestabile Bianco: Trebbiano and malvasia. No skin contact. Natural fermentation w/o temperature control in open-top resin vats (500 liters). Aged in fiberglass and/or stainless steel. No sulfur.

Conestabile Rosato: Cabernet franc. Direct press, ‘fior di mosto’. Natural fermentation w/o temperature control in open-top resin vats (500 liters). Aged in fiberglass. No sulfur.

Conestabile Rosso: Sangiovese. De-stemmed, 4 day maceration on the skins before pressing and aging in fiberglass. No sulfur.

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

July 28, 2017

In addition to tonight’s tasting, Deirdre Heekin of La Garagista will visit us this Tuesday, August 1st, from 5-6:30pm for a wine tasting and book signing. We hope you can join us to taste these acclaimed, tiny-production Vermont wines. 

H&M Hofer Gruner Veltliner 2016, Wienviertel, Austria

Hofer is a 20-hectare, family-operated, certified organic estate, with top sites in Freiberg and Kirchlissen. In addition to vines, they grow organic grains (rye, barley, and alfalfa) for consumption and as cover crops. Wienvertiel is Austria’s largest growing region and is known for commodity wines; the high quality wines of Hofer stand out & raise the bar. All Hofer wines are produced using grapes that are destemmed, macerated for a short time, and fermented in stainless steel to preserve freshness and acidity. This wine is a liter of refreshing deliciousness. It’s herbal, dry, white-peppery (common in Gruner) with citrus-like acidity and a touch of stony minerality. Too easy to toss back. Have it with seafood, scrambled eggs, sushi, salads…it’s got most stuff covered, except for maybe super-spicy. A little spicy is ok!

Pierre Olivier Bonhomme “Le Telquel”, Vin de France (Touraine)

LE TELQUEL translates to ‘as it is’, but sounds like the french word for dachshund, hence the wiener dog on the label. Originally made by natural-wine trailblazer Thierry Puzelat (of Clos du Tue-Boeuf) and Pierre-Olivier Bonhomme, Pierre-O has been solely making the wine since 2011, and since 2014, only his name has graced the label. Read more about all that here.

Every release is slightly different, but we’re pretty sure this is a blend of mostly Gamay, with some Grolleau and maybe some Pineau D’Aunis from vines planted on flint. The wine is aged in wooden tanks and bottled in the spring. It’s light & spicy, with tangy fruit and lots of acidity. Put a slight chill on it for the complete vin de soif experience. Au naturale, unfiltered, etc…

La P’Tite Vadrouille 2016

This is a side project for Domaine du Mortier, a 9 hectare, certified biodynamic property located in Saint Nicolas de Bourgeuil. Brothers Fabien and Cyril Boisard were quite young when they started Domaine du Mortier nearly ten years ago. And while they don’t hail from a long line of winemakers, they do employ the most traditional method of propagating vines: Selection Massale, a labor intensive and time consuming practice of selecting the best vines in a vineyard and propagating through cuttings. Their wines are made and bottled with little to no SO2.

Heavy frost in 2016 left the brothers needing grapes, so they sourced from friends growing organically in Bordeaux. La P’Tite Vadrouille is 55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Franc from vines planted along the Dordogne. They picked the grapes themselves and then brought them back to Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil in a refrigerated truck, where the grapes then underwent a 12 day maceration with semi-carbonic fermentation, producing a lively wine with bright fruit aromas. Unfortunately this vineyard also froze in 2017, so they’ll have to source again for next year. The life of winemakers is often a tough one.

Domaine Elodie Balme Cotes du Rhone Rouge 2015

Elodie Balme began her foray into wine making at just 19 years old, when she quit her wine sales job to study viticulture and oenology. As part of her coursework, she was placed with Marcel Richaud, a pioneer of biodynamics in the southern Rhone. The two became friends, and Elodie was inspired to go deeper into organic and biodynamic winemaking. With Marcel her mentor, Elodie founded her domaine at 23 years old.

2006 was her first vintage, which she produced from four hectares belonging to her father Bernard, who had been a viticulturist his whole life. Until Elodie joined him in farming and production, he had worked his property conventionally. Elodie has eliminated pesticides and herbicides entirely in most of the 14 hectares she farms (there are a couple stubborn parcels that still get one treatment per year) and Bernard has stopped using systemic treatments on all 28 hectares. They are getting closer to 100% organic every year. The grapes from the other 14 hectares that Elodie doesn’t farm are sold to local co-ops.

Fermentation is spontaneous with native yeast. and the wines are vinified and aged in concrete, with no added sulfur during production. The wines do get a tiny dose at bottling.

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Partida Creus Tasting Tonight with Álvaro de la Viña, 5PM-8PM

Friday, July 14, 2017

Álvaro from Selections de la Viña is in the shop tonight with new arrivals from Partida Creus. We even got a few mags of BS, which, if you’re gonna call a wine BS, it really should come in a mag. We tried it last night and it is so damn good. We only have three bottles so we won’t be sampling this one, but Fortnight might still have some available by the glass…even though you should really just buy the mag 🙂

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 which turn into a bouquet of fresh flowers with a little bit of bottle age. These wines are living things, and each stage of their development offers new and endearing traits. Selections de la Viña also sells out of these wines before they even land in the states, so don’t miss this chance to taste them and grab some for yourself. We might have to keep a mag of BS for ourselves though….

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

June 16, 2017

Val de Mer Petit Chablis 2015

Val de Mer is Patrick Piuze’s second winery, co-owned with François Moutard, of Champagne Moutard. Patrick Piuze made wine in Chablis for more than a decade for producers such as Olivier Leflaive, Verget, and Jean‐Marc Brocard; in 2008 he started his own label. Demand for his wine was great, especially in the US, but Patrick was not interested in increasing production. He had an idea of doing another small project of the same quality just for the US market, but he didn’t have the capital to make this happen. Then in 2010 François Moutard purchased a few hectares of vineyards in Tonnerre, a village about 20 minutes outside of Chablis. François asked Patrick to help manage the vineyards and make the wine, and out of this partnership, Val de Mer was created. Farming here is the same, essentially organic, though not certified, and the winemaking is very similar at both properties: hand-harvesting, spontaneous fermentation, and élèvage in used barrels for 1er Cru and Grand Cru, and tanks for entry-level. Some of you are probably familiar with the non-dosage Cremant, which we’ve been loving since last fall… But now for the bad news: Val de Mer was hit hard by hail last year, and the future of the property is not certain. We’ve purchased what’s available to us, but there’s no guarantee of procuring the wine in the future. This is what divides the small farmer from the factory producer, and why we’ll continue to support the little guy every chance we get; when mother nature comes stomping through their vineyards, these producers can’t call on their investors and lab managers to make it right, they live and die by that year’s harvest, and sometimes they can’t recover. And every year, the wild weather and hail just seems to get worse and worse. Anyway, enjoy this wine (and the sparkling) while you can, and remember that these winemakers aren’t trying to build empires, they’re just doing what they love and sharing what they love with us.

AOC Petit Chablis forms one of the rings of the Chablis area, with soils dating from the Tithonian age (152-145 million years ago), a little more recent than those of the other appellations in the region. The soil is usually hard, brown limestone, and sometimes silty or sandy. The wine is 100% Chardonnay, and typically tangy and evocative of the sea, even though the AOC is inland. Flowers, flint and citrus on the nose are coupled with a little bit of fatness on the palate that’s balanced by refreshing acidity. This is a perfect seafood wine: sushi, sashimi, shrimp, lobster, oysters…it’s a lovely little white.

Marc Pesnot (Domaine de la Sénéchalière) “Miss Terre” Melon de Bourgogne 2015

Marc Pesnot organically farms 13 hectares of fifty-plus year old Melon de Bourgogne vines near the city of Nantes, on the western edge of the Loire, in the Muscadet appellation. His old vines thrive in schist rich soils, adding depth and character to his wines.

Miss Terre is from vines that are 50 to 80 years old. This wine is set apart from Pesnot’s other melon de bourgogne, La Boheme, because it undergoes malolactic fermentation, which adds a touch of softness to this minerally wine, as well as depth and substance. There’s still lots of lively acidity, along with savory notes and pithy fruit on the finish.

Gauthier (Domaine de Bel Air) Bourgueil “Jour de Soif” 2015

Catherine and Pierre Gauthier have been making wine on their 18 hectare property in the heart of Bourgueil since 1979. They’ve been certified organic since 2000, and in 2005 their son Rodolphe officially joined the domaine, ensuring their lineage for at least the next generation. They were friends with famed and too-soon-departed Didier Dagueneau, who recommended these “masters of cab franc” to a US importer. Work in the vineyard and the cellar is all by hand and meticulous. Their cellar was in fact carved directly out of one of their vineyards, providing it with natural temperature control. All fermentation is with native yeast.

Jour de Soif is meant for early consumption. It’s soft, dark fruit, refreshing acidity, pretty violets and subtle foliage notes. Put a little chill on it and enjoy.

Triennes, Provençal Rouge “St. Auguste” 2013

Jacques Seysses, founder of Domaine Dujac, and Aubert de Villaine, co-owner of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, are the partners behind this 46 hectare property established in 1989 in Provence. Just a little bit of name recognition there….this is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot from organically farmed vines grown on clay and limestone. It’s fermented in stainless steel, then aged for 12 months in french barrels seasoned at Domaine Dujac. It’s lightly fined, and unfiltered.

This wine is pretty delicious. Lots of raspberry, blackberry, with a touch of black licorice and fresh black tea leaves. It’s got body, depth and fine tannins. This is your cozy wine for cool nights, but it would also be lovely with sunny southern french fare, like a big bowl of bouillabaisse.

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM: Vineyard Road

May 12, 2017

Tonight Peter Buckley of Vineyard Road is in the shop with two French producers. We’ll taste a couple wines from Gilles Bonnefoy in Cotes de Forez, and another two from Domaine Leliévre in Lorraine.

Vineyard Road Selection

Gilles Bonnefoy’s Les Vin de la Madone is situated so far on the Loire River that it’s actually closer to Beaujolais. Côtes du Forez is located on a geological fault formed in the Tertiary Period when Africa pushed into Europe and formed the Alps. There are up to 105 volcanoes in the greater area of AOC Volcanique Du Massif Central; thirty of them are in Côtes du Forez, and Gilles’ vineyards (in both Cotes du Forez and Urfé) are situated around two of them. So volcanic soil plays a big role here. Gilles has been tending vines here since 1997. He biodynamically farms 8 hectares in the village of Champdieu. Seventy-five percent of his vines are planted on volcanic soils of Urfé, the rest are on clay and granite.

Domaine Lelièvre is located in Cotes de Toul, Lorraine. The Lelièvre family goes back generations here, to the time when Romans first planted vines. At one time Cotes de Toul, situated just 60 miles south of the German border, was a thriving wine-production region, covering parts of Alsace and Lorraine. It was famous for Riesling (this makes sense, as it’s located on the western banks of Moselle River–follow it north and you’re in Mosel, Germany) and as a source of base wine for Champagne. Unfortunately the region was ravaged by phylloxera, war, rabid industrialization and poor vineyard management. During the First World War the German occupation, and subsequent liberation by the Allies, left most of the vineyards as battle trenches. The final blow came in 1919, when a law was passed restricting the name champagne to the wines made from grapes grown in the region of Champagne. By 1951 there were only 30 hectares of vineyards left and most of the wine was bottled by negotiants. In 1998, a handful of remaining vignerons fought for and won AOC status. The Lelièvres were one of the producers to champion the region. After the famous 1971 vintage, Jean Lelièvre decided to no longer sell to negotiants and to bottle everything at the estate. From there the family started to rebuild, replant and recapture the glory of Lorraine. It is still an obscure little region, with most of the wine staying within the area, and very little of it leaving France. Lelièvre makes about 1100 cases annually, and they’re one of the most well known producers in the area.

The wines, not necessarily in order:

Madone Sauvignon Gris et Blanc de Madone, VdP Urfé, 2014
60% Sauvignon Blanc and 40% Sauvignon Gris, this is an elegant, clean, mineral-driven beauty. Delicate, rocky, with echoes of Sancerre and Aligoté. Think seafood and summer, should we ever see the sun.

Gamay de Bouze and Gamay Noir de Madone, Gamays sur Volcan VdP Urfé, 2014
A blend of two varieties of teinturier (red-fleshed) Gamay, this is a vibrant wine full of cherries, bright acidity, barely-there tannins, and a touch of dried herbs. Sauçissons, roast chicken, fresh and grilled veggies…

Domaine Lelièvre Gris de Toul Rosé, 2015
A blend of 90% Gamay and 10% Pinot Noir from the producers best plots located in Lucey, Bruley, Blénod les Toul and Buligny. The well-drained clayey slopes are protected from the wet winds coming from the West. Grapes were hand-harvested and vinified separately in stainless steel, matured briefly on the lees, and then assembled just before bottling. This wine is salty, tart, tangy, bright; pink grapefruit up front and a dash of cherry on the finish. Delicious. It might be a little too delicate to handle spicy food, but it’s game for just about anything else. Just fill a glass!

Domaine Lelievre, Sparkling Gamay Rosé Leucquois
Come on, it’s fizzy Gamay with a bunny on the label. Fun, crushable, puts a little hop in your step in the midst of grey days. Glug-glug!

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Friday Tasting in the Shop, 5PM-9PM

March 24, 2017

Weingut Keller Gruner Silvaner Trocken 2015, Rheinhessen, Germany

Klaus Peter and Julia Keller’s dry Rieslings are considered by many to be amongst the greatest expressions of the grape; Jancis Robinson calls them the “Montrachets of Germany”. But they don’t make just high end, hard to find wines; they also make entry-level wines that are just as meticulously made, but won’t break the bank – like this one. The organically farmed vineyards on the slopes of the Rhine River have been in the Keller family since 1789. The soil on these rolling hills is limestone rich, adding mineral intensity, vibrant aromatics, and gem-like purity. Gruner Silvaner is what they call Silvaner here (literally “Green Silvaner”, and not the same grape as Austria’s Gruner Veltliner). Silvaner is the offspring of Savagnin, a grape mostly known for vin jaune in the Jura, and Traminer, aka Savagnin Blanc (a relative of Gewurtztraminer).

This 2015 Silvaner is beautifully balanced and bursting with flowers, peaches, and stony mineral freshness. It will pair perfectly with spring, should it arrive.

Swick Rosé of Pinot Noir Pétillant Naturel 2016, Willamette Valley, Oregon

This is Rhode Island, Joe Swick’s home away from home, so we probably don’t need to tell you the Swick story. But if you want it, here’s the short version.

In any event, we are really happy to snag some of this Pét-Nat rosé. We tasted the barrel sample with Joe back in October, and loved it then for its juicy, grapefruity fabulousness. This is day-drinking fizzy, and it would be a go-to summer bottle, but alas, there will be none left. Only 33 cases were produced, so get it now or don’t get it at all.

It’s from grapes that are hand-harvested, then pressed as whole bunches. Indigenous yeast fermentation is for 3 weeks in 6-year old barrels. The wine was bottled with a small amount of residual sugar, and finished fermenting in the bottle with no filtration and no sulfur added. It was then hand-disgorged, recapped, and sent out into the world.

Domaine La Réméjeanne “Les Chèvrefeuilles” Côtes du Rhône Rouge 2014

François Klein established Domaine La Réméjeanne in 1960 on 5 hectares near the town of Bagnols-sur-Cèze in the Gard. It’s now operated by his son Remi, and grandson Olivier. Remi diversified the property with olive groves and fig trees, and worked over the years to convert the domaine to organic farming; it’s now 38 hectares and has been certified organic since 2010.

Les Chèvrefeuilles is 70% Syrah, 10% Grenache and Mourvedre, 5% old-vine Carignan, and 5% Marselan (a cross of cabernet sauvignon and grenache noir). This wine is soft and fruity up front with blackberries, a touch of plums, and hints of chocolate and mint. Tannins are fine-grained, and the finish is long and pleasant. Pair it with poultry, grilled meat, roasted vegetables; the fresh and fruity character can handle a bit of spice and umami too.

Domaine de la Noblaie “Les Temps des Cerises” Chinon 2014

This property, 24 hectares situated at one of the highest points in Chinon, dates back to the 15th or 16th century. The domaine now houses four generations of the same family; Jérome Billard is the current winemaker. He earned his chops as an intern at Chateau Petrus in Bordeaux, and Dominus in California. He returned to Chinon and the family domaine in 2003; in 2005 the property was certified organic.

Aside from the high slopes upon which it is situated, Noblaie also sits upon soils of limestone, clay and chalk. All harvests are carried out by hand, and by the same crew year after year. The wines here are fermented and aged in stainless steel, some in barrel, and some in chalk vats carved out of the earth. That’s pretty darned cool.

Les Temps des Cerises (Cherry time!) is from vines averaging 30 years old, grown on tuffeau. Wild yeast fermentation, 8 months in tank, no sulfur during production, little to none added at bottling. This is pure Loire Cab Franc, with all the telltale traits you know and love: medium-bodied, with a little bit of raspberry, a touch of lead pencil, a dash of brambly forrest floor, and sure, cherries too.

Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5pm – 8pm

Friday, March 3, 2017

Elvio Tintero Vino Rosato
90% Barbera, 5% Moscato, 5% Favorita

Cantine Elvio Tintero was founded in 1900 by Frenchman Pierre Tintero, when he happened upon the small estate while looking for work in Piedmont. The vineyards were already being worked alone by a young widow named Rosina. The two married, had children, and the estate remains in the same family today. The vines are sustainably farmed and all vinification is in stainless steel.

This is a fun, fruity and lively (gentle) frizzante from young vines planted on clay, limestone and tufa. It’s produced and bottled by vintage, (this one is 2016) but because Tintero sources from different parts of Piedmont, there is no specific DOC, and therefore vintage dating is not allowed. This wine is bottled unfiltered.

Les Vins Pirouettes ‘Tutti Frutti de Stéphane’ Binner & Co. 2014, Alsace

Importer notes: Les Vins Pirouettes is a project launched by Christian Binner, that brings affordable natural wines to the table, and at the same time helps organic and biodynamic grape growers in Alsace move away from selling their grapes to cooperatives towards making and bottling natural wines. Each cuvée is made at a young growers winery. They supply the grapes and Christian supplies his 20 years of expertise in making natural wine in Alsace, and of course his marketing and distribution savvy. Each cuvée will feature the name of the grower on the bottle.

Tutti Frutti is a blend of Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, Auxerrois, Pinot Blanc and Muscat grown on limestone silt, from vines about 40 years old. Grapes are hand harvested, de-stemmed, and fermented with indigenous yeast and zero sulfur. The wine stays on its lees for several months before being bottled without sulfur, filtering or fining. Tutti Frutti is all about texture and orchard fruit.

Azienda Agricola Al Di La Del Fiume ‘Fricandò’ Albana, 2015, Emilia-Romagna

We first tasted this wine back in October, and we continue to love it! It just got some bigger love than ours though, with a little shout out in the Feiring Line: “Hate apple cider in your wine? Then pass, but if like me this is a non-issue, you’ll find plenty of enjoyment here. Macerated in anfora for up to three months, there’s a lot of tannin from the thick skins and a lot of complexity. This is a full on lovely wine with a plush crustiness in the texture and blushing apricot.”

“The Farm Beyond the River” is a small, biodynamically farmed, 27 hectare property, 3 of which are planted to Albana and Barbera. Everything here is done by hand & without chemicals or additives.

Fricando is amphora fermented & macerated Albana, a rare, thick-skinned grape indigenous to Bologna. Whole clusters are added to terracotta vessels where it slowly ferments, and then the wine is bottled unfined, unfiltered and unsulfured. As a skin-fermented wine, Fricando pours a deep, brilliant amber. Along with the cidery notes, it’s also umami driven, and pleasantly oxidative. Don’t over chill, a little cool will do.

Poderi Cellario È Rosso, Piedmont

Fausto & Cinzia Cellario are 3rd generation winemakers in the village of Carru` on the western outskirts of the Langhe. They focus on indigenous grapes, farm entirely organically, and only use wild yeasts. Sulfur is avoided, but may be added in tiny quantities at bottling, if at all.

È Rosso is a liter of Barbera grown at high altitude. It’s gluggable and slurpable, full of berries, spice, woodsy earth and subtle tannins – and under crown-cap for easy access!

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

February 3, 2017

Il Farneto Rio Rocca Spérgle Frisant

The name Rio Rocca comes from a valley in the province of Reggio Emilia. Spergle is an old grape variety (dating back to at least the 15th century) from the Scandiano Hills in Emilia Romagna. It was on the verge of extinction until a farmer decided to resurrect it.

Il Farneto is 8 hectares of biodiverse land and vineyards, farmed biodynamically. Spergle Frisant is made from grapes that are hand-harvested and carefully sorted. It’s unfiltered, contains little to no sulfur, and fermented with only naturally occurring yeast. It’s light and pretty, with pithy citrus notes of fresh grapefruit. It’s a lovely brunch wine or starter.

Domaine des Gandines Viré Clessé ‘Terroir de Clessé’ 2015

Domaine des Gandines is located in the middle of Maconnais, and was created by Joseph Dananchet in 1925. It is still small, now only 1.5 hectares, and still in the same family. They practice biodynamic farming, were certified organic in 2009, and say that their entire harvest is done by hand, “in a good mood”. That’s important!

Terroir de Clessé is from grapes from small vineyards in the village of Clessé. The wine is made and aged on fine lees for 12 months in 5000L barrels. It’s ripe, concentrated, and full of hazelnuts, apples, apricots, and sunshine.

Château de Brézé ‘Clos Mazurique’ Saumur Rouge 2015

We tasted the white in the shop a few weeks back; here’s the red.

Château de Brézé has been around since at least the 15th century, when it was served to royalty and aristocracy. In the 1600s, the white wines of Château de Brézé were known throughout Europe simply as Chenin de Brézé, and were held in the same regard as Sauternes and Chateau d’Yquem, to the extent that royals exchanged them annually. The Chateau just outside of Saumur is also designated as a UNESCO world heritage site.

In 2009, the new owner of the estate asked Yves Lambert and his son, Arnaud, from Domaine de Saint-Just, to manage the estate. They immediately began converting the 25 hectare property to organic farming. In a little less than a decade, they’ve restored the wines to the heights they achieved centuries ago.

‘Clos Mazurique’ is 100% Cabernet Franc grown on silty soil atop limestone rock, and fermented in concrete. It’s lively, friendly, brambly, and elegantly textured.

Masseria Guttarolo Lamie Delle Vigne 2015, Puglia, Italy

Cantine Cristiano Guttarolo is located in the former stables of an old stone farmhouse in Gioia del Colle (Jewel of the Colle), which is itself on the Murge Plateau in Puglia, about 400 meters above sea level. The winery was founded in 2004 and is certified organic, but practices biodynamic farming and natural winemaking. Many of the wines here are made in amphora; all of them are macerated on the skins for 14 – 18 days, with spontaneous fermentations with indigenous yeast, and spontaneous malolactic in the spring. The wines of Guttarolo are elegant and refined, in contrast to the frequently plodding and overripe examples of Primitivo in the region.

Lamie Delle Vigne is from a 1.5 hectare vineyard of 25+ year old vines, planted on limestone and clay. Constant sea winds and cool nights lift the aromatics and add freshness and vibrancy. The grapes are hand-harvested in late September/early October. After fermentation, it’s aged in stainless steel, then bottled without fining, filtration, or sulfur. It’s salty, sunny, and full of fresh, fleshy fruit. Have it with spaghetti and meatballs, puttanesca, hard Italian cheese, and antipasto.