Tag Archives: organic 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.

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

Dec. 22, 2017

Tonight’s wine tasting in the shop will be hosted by Nick Shugrue of Winebow. You may know Nick as a wine-guy about-town; we’re happy to have him pour in our shop this evening, and we think you’ll be very happy with the line up. Don’t miss it!

Ravier Les Abymes 2015

Philippe and Sylvain Ravier have 35 hectares of vines in the Savoie appellations of Apremont, Abymes, Chignin and Saint Jean de la Porte. The estate was established in 1979 by Philippe’s parents; in 1988 Philippe began acquiring more vineyards to bring the property to its current size. In 2014 Philippe’s son joined the operation, and they added a new winery and cellar.

Together they cultivate 10 hectares of Jacquere vineyards in the Les Abymes designation. The vines are situated at 250-300 meters altitude, are between 10 and 60 years of age, and are planted on a variety of soils (including alluvial silt and limestone) that promote good drainage and retain heat. This is a bang for your buck, refreshing white, with a soft texture and crisp flavors of green apple, citrus and jasmine.

Leclerc Briant Champagne Extra Brut Millésime 2009

Notes from the importer: Leclerc Briant was an early adopter of organic practices beginning in the 1960’s and pioneered the concept of single-vineyard Champagne beginning in the 1970’s. Fifth generation vigneron, Pascal Leclerc began following biodynamic principles in 1988, with part of the production Demeter certified since 2003. Today, enologist Hervé Jestin continues the legacy of this visionary house.

24.7 acres of vineyard are spread between the Premier Cru villages of Cumières, Hautvillers, Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, Bisseuil in the Vallée de la Marne, Villers-Allerand and Rilly la Montagne in Montagne de Reims and in the Grand Cru village of Le Mesnil Sur Oger in the Côte des Blancs. Leclerc Briant also holds long term contracts with another 8 hectares of biodynamically farmed vineyards.

Vintage 2009 is produced from 40% Chardonnay; 40% Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Meunier from the Premier Cru village of Cumières. Fermentation and aging for 7-8 months in stainless steel and cement tanks is followed by 80-100 months aging in bottle sur lattes. The wine received a low dosage and is bone dry with just 4 grams per liter of residual sugar. 7,000 bottles produced.

This wine shows unexpected richness for an Extra Brut thanks to 80-100 months aging on its lees before disgorgement and the ripe character that comes with an opulent vintage like 2009. An expansive nose of lemon curd, white flowers and bread notes leads to a palate that shows a mouth coating richness and a lingering saltiness on the finish.

Domaine Eugene Carrel & Fils Savoie Pinot Noir 2015

Notes from the importer/winemaker: Domaine Eugene Carrel is located in the village of Jongieux, in the northern part of the Savoie region, at the beginning of the French Alps. Winemaker Olivier Carrel represents the third generation at the estate. They include all of the traditional varieties of the region, namely Jacquere (sold as Vin de Savoie Jongieux Bench), Altesse, Gamay, Pinot, and the unique red Mondeuse. Domaine Carrel’s customers include virtually every local restaurant from bistros to top Savoie gastronomic destinations.

This is hand-harvested Pinot Noir from vines grown on calcerous clay. In the cellar the bunches are fully destemmed, and fermentation is for 8-12 days, followed by aging on the lees until bottling. This is red-fruited and flowery on the nose, and slightly savory, tannic, and spicy on the palate. Drink now or age for up to seven years.

Domaine Jean Deydier ‘Les Clefs D’Or’ Chateauneuf du Pape 2015

Notes from the importer: In the late 19th century, Maurice Deydier founded this small estate in Chateauneuf du Pape. In the 1950s, Jean Deydier…planted new vineyards and acquired others, bringing his holding to 15 hectares. In 1957, Jean was awarded the medal of the Chevalier du Merite Agricole for “the loving, artisanal style of production that he brought to the development of his property, and the constant efforts he put to make it better.” Jean Deydier and his son Pierre in turn expanded the estate to its present size of 20 hectares of Chateauneuf du Pape and 12 hectares of Côtes du Rhone Massif of Uchaux. Today, Pierre is aided by his daughter, Laurence, and his nephew, Jean-Francois,

The estate’s holdings are located in Chateauneuf’s greatest vineyards. One is the “Pied Long” on the plateau north of the village of Chateauneuf, dominated by pebbles, and wide gold, round stones, over limestone-clay soil. Their 10 hectares of vines here were planted in the 1950s, with a majority of Grenache and other plantings typical to the appellation. The other part is in the famed “La Crau” vineyard to the east of the village. Here, the estate’s 6 hectares of Grenache and Syrah vines grow on a superbly exposed hillside with a stony, limestone-clay soil. The Grenache vines in La Crau parcel are 120 years old, having been planted in 1896. The domain practices sustainable viticulture. Only native yeasts are used and the wines are bottled without filtration.

The Clefs d’Or Chateauneuf du Pape is sourced from both vineyards. The blend is 65% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre, 10% Syrah and a field blend of 10% Cinsault, Muscardin, Counoise and Vaccarèse which are vinified together. The wine is fermented for 20 days in concrete tanks and then aged in large, 50 hectolitre casks for about one year.

This wine is imbued with scents of ripe red and dark berries, sweet lavender, white pepper, and hillside herbs. It’s smooth, classic Châteauneuf from an outstanding vintage.

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM

December 15, 2017

Champagne Huré Frères L’Invitation Brut NV 

Notes from the importer: As the story goes, Georges Huré rather reluctantly founded the estate in 1960, to satisfy the insistent dreams of his wife Jeanne. The name Huré Frères came about in 1971 when Georges passed on management of the domaine to his three sons—Jean Marie, Marc and Raoul. Since 2008, Raoul’s son, François, has been at the head of the estate after pursuing many other opportunities and inspiring wine regions as a young man. His prior stints include: falling in love with the terroir of Burgundy while obtaining his oenology degree in Dijon, becoming fascinated with biodynamics while working with Jean Pïerre Fleury, and exploring the vineyards of Australia and New Zealand. These experiences allowed François to understand the inherent advantages of both New and Old World wine regions: the traditional farming and respect for terroir of the former and the efficient modern techniques of the latter. Both serve him to create the terroir-driven and focused cuvées that mark the Huré Frères style today.

The domaine’s trademark cuvée is a blend of the three Champagne varieties: 20% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier, from three villages: Montagne de Reims (Ludes and Villedommange), Tardenois (Serzy & Prin) and Vitry (Vavray le Grand), with an average vine age of 35 years. Vineyard methods involve no herbicides, maintenance of natural ground cover, organic composts, and meticulous pruning, thinning, and canopy management. Villages, varieties, and parcels are vinified separately; 25% to 40% reserve wine depending on the year blended in by solera, 3 years aging on the lees.

Domaine Dublère, Bourgogne Blanc Les Millerands 2014

Blair Pethel, formerly a Washington DC-based political and economic journalist, first stumbled across Burgundy in the late 1980s. He was working and living in London at the time, but quickly made it a point to return to this fascinatingly complex region several times a year. During a sabbatical in 1999, he threw himself into a harvest stint, “and after that experience, it was only a question of when and how I was going to become a winemaker here,” says Blair. In 2003, he managed to acquire 3 hectares of vines and made his dream a reality. Read more about him here.

“Le Millerands” comes from a single de-classified plot of 30-40 year old vines in Meursault. Like the rest of the property, no pesticides, fertilizers, or herbicides are used. Fermentation and malolactic are in older oak barrels (less than 10% new oak), followed by 16 months aging, and 2 months blending and settling in stainless steel tank. Bottled unfiltered and unfined, with minimal sulfur.

Domaine Thillardon, Chénas Les Boccards 2015

Paul Henri Thillardon biodynamically farms nearly 6 hectares of vines in Chenas, the smallest of the ten Beaujolais Crus in the far north of the region, situated west of Moulin-A-Vent. His vineyards are located on a plateau around the Catle Boccards in the town of La Chapelle-de-Guinchay where the soil is granitic (pink granite). Aging in oak barrels for 5 months (70%) but no new oak.

2015 was a hot year, and that comes through in this muscular Beaujolais. The nose reveals notes of ripe black fruits; on the palate, the wine is very round and rich, and finishes with silky tannins. This is a wine to enjoy now, or to lay down for a decade.

Domaine Dublère Beaune 1er Cru Rouge Les Blanches Fleurs 2014

(Importer notes are above)

Pinot Noir from vines planted in 1973. 100% de-stemmed, fermented with indigenous yeast, and aged for 18-20 months in older oak barrels. Bottled without fining or filtration. 2014 was a tough year for red Burgundy, especially in Beaune, with major hail damage for the 3rd year in a row forcing production way down (or eliminating entirely in some places), and difficult weather leading to lighter reds in general. But there are always producers making quality wines, even in the toughest of times. This wine is an example of harnessing every wayward ray of sunshine in an otherwise cloudy, cool, hail-studded, and wet vintage.

Friday Tasting in the Shop; South American Wines: 5PM – 8PM

December 1, 2017

Meet Nieves Edwards, who represents Clos de Luz (where her brother is winemaker) and Andes Plateau. We’re tasting all reds this evening, on the mid-to-upper end of the price range (thinking gifts) from $24 to $60. Notes are below.

Clos de Luz Valle del Colchagua Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Massal 1945’, 2014

Clos de Luz Valle del Colchagua Carmenere ‘Massal 1945’, 2014

Notes from the importer: Clos de Luz is a family winery located in Almahue Valley, known as the birthplace of Carmenere in Chile – Carmenere represents 75% of the plantings. Winemaker Gabriel Edwards currently runs his family domaine. The estate, bought by his great grandfather in 1892, now spreads over 33 hectares of vineyards, planted in 1945 by Gabriel’s grandmother, Luz. They are some of the oldest Carmenere vineyards in Chile, and probably in the world. The grapes were being sold for more than 20 years to Casa Lapostolle, until Gabriel decided to return to Chile and make his own wine.

Almahue Valley is located 70 miles South East of Santiago, 40 miles from the Pacific Ocean and 28 miles from the Andes Mountains. The viticulture history of the valley started in the XVIIth century during the Spanish colonization era. Modern viticulture started in 1933, when Gabriel’s ancestors planted French grape varieties such as what they thought was Merlot but later was discovered to be Carmenere, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Climate: rain reaches to up to 22 inches during the winter, on average. The growing season (Oct-April) offers beautiful days and warm temperatures with no rain. There are cool breezes in the afternoon and night time temperatures are cold. A wide temperature fluctuation between day and night allows to obtain high concentration in color and tannin. The grapes ripen slowly and reach ideal maturity while retaining a high level of natural acidity, ensuring a long aging potential.

The domaine’s vineyards are 100% ungrafted and certified organic by Ceres. Because Chile is isolated from the phylloxera, they are planted “franc de pied”, giving a unique character to the wines. The vineyards are also 100% Massal selection from old vineyards, as opposed to a large majority of vineyards planted using clonal selection (all genetically identical plants). Massal selection consists in selecting good and healthy vines, and then propagating them from cuttings. This method preserves the natural diversity of the plants. The vineyards are plowed by horses, as the twisted trunks of the old vines make it impossible to use a tractor.

Andes Plateau 700 Red Blend 2014, Central Valley, Chile

Andes Plateau is inspired by the the altitude, colors, sky and terroir of the Andes Mountain range.

After working for two years at San Pedro Vineyards in Chile, enologist Felipe Uribe got his Masters in viticulture and enology from the Polytechnic University in Madrid. He then returned to Chile where he was assistant winemaker at Santa Helena Vineyard. From there he went to work at La Crema, then back to Chile where he was assistant winemaker at DeMartino, before becoming chief winemaker at Miravalle Vineyard.

700 is a red blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Syrah, 2% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Carignan. It’s fresh as the mountain air, and imbued with mint, black pepper, and crunchy black fruit. Organic.

Bodega Chacra, Pinot Noir Cincuenta y Cinco, Patagonia, Argentina

Notes are from the importer, and here’s a nice New York Times article on the producer. And here’s a podcast.

Bodega Chacra is located in the Rio Negro Valley of northern Patagonia. The property’s location in the arid central Argentine desert is tempered by the confluence of the Neuquen and Limay Rivers, both of which flow from the Andes and converge in the Rio Negro.

The climate is dry and the area gets an average of seven inches of rainfall annually. This aridity, coupled with the natural barrier of the surrounding desert, results in a complete absence of phylloxera. The soil of the Rio Negro Valley, an ancient riverbed composed of limestone, sand, and clay, coupled with the Valley’s pristine pollution-free air and tremendous luminosity, makes for ideal conditions to grow Pinot Noir.

In 2004, Piero Incisa della Rocchetta purchased the first of Bodega Chacra’s vineyards, a property with an existing, though abandoned, vineyard planted in 1932. This vineyard of gnarled and ungrafted Pinot Noir vines was later added to a neighboring vineyard of vines planted in 1955. From these two old vine vineyards, Piero produces two distinct single vineyard Pinot Noirs. They are named “Treinta y Dos” and “Cincuenta y Cinco” after the dates of their respective plantings.

Cincuenta y Cinco comes from vineyards planted in 1955 which gently rest on a sea of pebbles, typical in riverbed soils. It is fermented with its whole bunches at very low temperatures, enhancing the floral characteristics of the wine. It is essential 90% whole cluster with the rest of the stems used to make the pied de cuve. Cincuenta y Cinco has the most tension of all of Piero’s wines. It is aged in a combination of mostly neutral oak barrels and cement.

Thanksgiving Wine Tasting with Vineyard Road, in the Shop, 5pm – 8pm

Friday Nov. 17, 2017

11 17 17

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. 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.