Tag Archives: organic wine

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.

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

January 20th, 2017

Marc Pesnot “La Boheme” Melon de Bourgogne, 2015

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

Harvest is by hand at maximum ripeness. The fruit undergoes a slow manual pressing and rests on its lees for at least 9 months. There’s lots of refreshing acidity in this wine, tempered by pears, green apple, crushed stones and a touch of creaminess. Pairs nicely with shellfish, salads, chicken, and light appetizers.

Château de Brézé Saumur Blanc ‘Clos du Midi’ 2015

Château de Brézé has been around since at least the 15th century, when it was served to royalty and held in the same regard as Château d’Yquem. In the 1600s, the white wines of Château de Brézé were known throughout Europe as Chenin de Brézé.

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 got a 25 year lease and began converting the estate to organic farming. In a little less than a decade, they’ve restored the wines to the heights they achieved centuries ago.

‘Clos du Midi’ is 100% Chenin Blanc from the colder sites on on the Brézé Hill. The upper section of the hill is sandy, while the bottom is richer in clay. Both are atop tuffeau, the chalky limestone rock made up of compressed marine organisms that lived in floating colonies in the prehistoric Turonian era. The differing soil types, coupled with the limestone, create a wine of great tension and depth, with a rounded palate punctuated by lively acidity. This being Chenin, also expect honey, dried fruit, a touch of lemon…it’s a gorgeous wine. Pair it with lobster, shrimp, crab, scallops – all kinds of seafood really, salads with simple viniagrette; it’s versatile and a crowd pleaser.

Fun facts about tuffeau: In addition to being used for the châteaux of royalty and nobility that line the banks of the Loire River, tuffeau also made up the homes of the general population. Carved out of cliff sides and tunneled underground, the snaking network of troglodyte caves was turned into homes for artists, monks, craftspeople, soldiers, farmers, etc. The greatest concentration of troglodyte caves is in Saumur. During the Norman invasions of the 9th and 10th centuries, the caves provided the region with defense and escape routes. The cool, damp, consistent temperature of the caves also makes them great for storing wine (of course) and for mushroom beds.

Piaugier Sablet Cotes-du-Rhone Villages, 2014

Notes from the importer: Alphonse Vautour made his wine in a cellar at the top of a little hill to the south of Sablet – called ‘Les Briguières’ – where he owned 6 hectares of vines. The winery was named ‘Ténébi’, after the old owner of the house.

Alphonse had to go down the hill, his mules loaded with barrels, to wait for the wine merchant to come by. If the merchant didn’t come, or didn’t buy his wine, he had to climb back up with his reluctant mules. So in 1947 he decided to build a new winery on the road below, where the Piaugier cellars are to this day.

Jean-Marc Autran, Alphonse’s great-grandson, took over the winery from his father Marc in 1985. He acquired more vineyards and, with the assistance of his wife Sophie, developed the sale of his wines in bottle. The winery soon became too small and they extended it in 1995 to enable them to mature and store the wines in the best possible conditions. Today, Sophie and Jean-Marc Autran cultivate 3.5 hectares within the Gigondas Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée area, 12.5 hectares in the Sablet AOC and 14 hectares of Côtes du Rhône vineyards. Farming is organic.

Sablet is a blend of Grenache and Syrah from 12.5 hectares of vines that are approximately 25 years old, grown on clay, with limestone and sand. Grapes are hand harvested, destemmed, and fermented in tank with natural yeast. It’s matured for 2 years in used barrique as well as concrete tank, and is the only wine here that is filtered.

It’s bold, spicy, perfumed, with warm-stone minerality and a long, elegant finish.

Claude Courtois Racines 2013, Soings-en-Sologne, Loire valley

Notes from the importer: Claude Courtois has created a small farm which exemplifies what biodynamics is all about in terms of biodiversity and self-sufficiency, although he does not consider himself to be a biodynamic grower. He farms a balanced & completely chemical free 13 hectares of vines in the heart of the VDP Sologne. Courtois also grows organic wheat, which he feeds to his cows. “Nothing comes into my vineyard,” he says, meaning no chemicals ever. He has created a well-balanced, bio-diversity with trees, fruit trees, vines, woods, fields. No pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers, or synthetic chemicals of any kind are allowed on the vines or in the soil of the vineyards. He has his own methods for promoting the diverse life of the soil. The grapes—Gamay, Cabernet Franc, Côt (Malbec), Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc & Pineau d’ Aunis—are harvested by hand & only indigenous yeast are used during fermentation. Claude regards the soil on his farm as a living organism. He lives in harmony with nature & the wines he crafts are a pure & vibrantly alive testament to outstanding Biodynamic winemaking.

Racine is a blend of Cabernet franc, Malbec (Côt), Cabernet Sauvignon from 5-15 year old vines grown on clay and limestone. The grapes are hand-harvested, destemmed and gently pressed. Only natural yeasts are used and the juice undergoes an extended maceration. Vinified in barrel and then aged for 18 months in oak.

Tasting Note: Deep purple in the glass with a dark amber rim. The nose is redolent with pounded stones, plum, cherry pit, warm iron and damp chalk. The palate has great depth of dried currant, fig and plum hewn to a deep mineral bed. The wine has lovely acidity, a terrific structure and finishes with red berry fruit and mineral zest.

Pairing: Pan seared duck breast, grilled streak, rabbit stew over polenta and cassoulet.

All the complexity that biodiversity can provide a wine. Racines is Claude’s attempt at creating a wine the way Burgundy was made a hundred years ago, from many different varieties… Racines is a rediscovery, a realization of what great wine once was!

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

January 13, 2017

If you’re not observing “Dryuary” (which would be even more challenging this year, right?!) then you’ll be happy to know that we got a little drop of Jenny & François wines in the shop. Some we’ve had before, some are new to us, all are welcome additions right now. We’ll open some up tonight, so swing by.

Speaking of Jenny & François: our friend Nick Gorevic will be in town pouring wines from the portfolio as guest bartender at Fortnight on Sunday. Should be a good time!

Cheers!

Here’s what we’re tasting:

Notes from the Jenny website:

La Grange Tiphaine Nouveau Nez 2014

La Grange Tiphaine was created at the end of the 19th century by Alfonse Delecheneau, followed by three generations: Adrien, Jackie & now Damien. Coralie, Damien’s wife, has now joined the family as a fully active partner in the life & work of their 10 hectares vineyard. Damien’s talent as a winemaker is evidenced by the multitude of beautifully balanced, elegant, precise red, white, rosé & sparkling wines that he crafts from five different varietals: Chenin blanc, Côt (Malbec), Gamay, Cabernet Franc, & even the ancient & rare Loire variety called Grolleau. The wines are in the AOCs of Touraine Amboise & Montlouis sur Loire. The wines are all different: tender or round, fine or fruit filled, dry or sweet, but they all share the common thread of careful work in the vines that make for beautifully balanced, terroir driven, precise wines. They are certified organic.

Nouveau Nez is natural sparkling Chenin Blanc from young vines, bottled before the end of fermentation.

Les Vignerons D’ Estézargues is a unique co-operative cellar in the small town of Estézargues. Starting in 1995, the ten different growers in this co-op began to vinify their wine separately and make single cuvées from their best plots. Soon they began to practice natural winemaking, becoming one of the first (and perhaps only) co-ops in the world to do so. Les Vignerons D’ Estézargues uses no external yeast, no filtering, no fining and no enzymes in the winemaking process.

Estezargues Les Grand Vignes Blanc 2015

70% Grenache Blanc, 10% Clairette, 10% Bourboulenc, 10% Viognier.

Vinification Method: Hand harvested. No external yeast & no enzymes are employed during winemaking. The bunches are de-stemmed & the fruit undergoes fifteen days of maceration and the wine is stored in enamel-lined tanks for 10 months before it is bottled w/out fining or filtration.

Tasting Note: Pale straw in the glass with shimmering silver highlights. Scents of pear and mellowing yellow apple dominate the nose and are followed by a note of hay and white flowers. The palade is clean and supple with intense flavors of stone fruit & some tropical fruit flavors as well. The wine finishes with notes of dried apricot, white flowers and wet stones.

Pairing: Works beautifully by itself or with chicken, rabbit, & grilled fish dishes.

Estezargues Les Grand Vignes Rouge 2015

100% Cinsault.

Vinification Method: Hand harvested. No external yeast and no enzymes are employed during the winemaking process. The bunches are de-stemmed and the fruit undergoes fifteen days of maceration and the wine is stored in enamel-lined tanks for 10 months before it is bottled without fining or filtration.

Tasting Note: Garnet in the glass with shimmering highlights. Elegant notes of smoky red fruit, violet, sweet herb and a note of baking chocolate. The palate is rich with ripe cherry and berry flavors, and a mineral note that is followed by supple acidity and velvety tannins. This is a very expressive red with a great concentration of fruit and yet it is never overly extracted. The wine finishes with floral notes and a dash of black pepper.

Pairing: Works wonders with grilled chicken and pork, cold cuts, or simply by itself.

Le Bout du Monde L’echapée Belle 2014

Edouard Lafitte is a peer of Jean-Francois Nicq (the founding winemaker at Estezargues) and Eric Pfifferling of Domaine l’Anglore. All of these winemakers are known for working with Carbonic Maceration, and we find Edouard’s wines to be consistently some of the best of this style in southern France. The use of carbonic in the hands of the right winemaker can yield a wine of startling finesse and terroir. Le Bout du Monde located in a new burgeoning hotspot of natural winemakers centered around the tiny village of la Tour de France (not to be confused with the more masculine sounding bicycle race, le Tour de France). There are about a dozen young natural winemakers working in this area, but Edouard is one of the first to arrive, back in 1995. One of the first visitors to his winery saw the isolation of this spot and termed it “le bout du monde,” the end of the world. The vistas of the Pyrénées-Orientales mountain ranges framing the vines here completely take your breath away. Edouard says many days when he’s laboring away in the vines under the hot sun and gets fatigued, all he has to do is pause and take a look around him at the natural beauty to become completely revitalized.

60% Syrah, 40% Carignan planted on Gneiss and Granite.

Grapes are hand harvested and fermented whole cluster at low temperature in fiberglass tanks for about 15 days. No pigeage or pumping over is performed. The wine is aged in 7 year old 228 liter barrels for about 7 months, bottled with 1 miligram of sulfur per hectoliter and is unfiltered and unfined.

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

Friday, Dec. 23rd

Balestri Valda Soave Classico 2015, Veneto
Monte Carniga – Sengialta – Campagnola

A family winery spearheaded by Guido Rizzotto, now mostly in the hands of his two children: Laura (on the business side) and Luca (the current winemaker).

100% Garganega from densely planted vines at 500 feet above sea level. What they have to say about themselves: We say no to chemicals and grow our vineyards and olive trees according to the principles of organic viticulture with every agricultural practice being an expression of our deep respect for nature and harmony with our ecosystem. That’s why we started beekeeping with enthusiasm. Our happy bees prove that protecting biodiversity is possible and a duty we take on with pleasure.

Balestri Valda Soave is a perfect starter; it’s light and pretty, with loads of refreshing minerality and delicate fruit.

Mirabella Franciacorta Brut

What’s Franciacorta? Here’s what Walter Speller (Italian correspondent for Jancis Robinson.com) has to say: Franciacorta — important wine region in the hills immediately east of Brescia, with a relatively short history of producing traditional method sparkling wine from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with some Pinot Bianco. Its name is a corruption of the medieval Francae Curtes, Curtes meaning communes and Francae meaning ‘exempt of taxes’, referring to the region’s privileged position at the time…

Franciacorta modelled itself closely on Champagne, while the local consorzio adopted an admirable code of self-regulation for the sparkling wines with production regulations at least as strict as those for the wine’s French model: a minimum vine density of 3,300 vines per ha; tendone and geneva double curtain training systems forbidden; a maximum yield of 65 hl/ha; and fractional pressing. The wines must undergo lees ageing for a minimum of 18 months for non-vintage wines, 30 months for vintage-dated wines, and 60 months for wines labelled Riserva. The Sáten designation refers to a blanc de blancs that has spent at least 24 months on the lees.

Mirabella was established with 11 hectares of land by Teresio Schiavi in 1979; in 1980 two partners joined him and it became a 15 hectare co-op. They now hold more than 40 hectares and refer to themselves as an “agricultural society”. They are certified sustainable and draw 100% of their energy from renewable sources.

Tre Monti Campo di Mezzo 2015, Romagna DOC Sangiovese Superiore

We’ve been fans of Tre Monti Winery for a long time now, going back to when we first met winemaker Vittorio Navacchia six or so years ago. He believes in minimal intervention from the vine to the cellar. Certified organic since 2014, Tre Monti is in the process of transitioning to biodynamic farming. Only estate-grown grapes from their 50 hectares are vinified here. Pebbly, sandy, clay soils give the wines mineral depth and complexity.

This Sangiovese comes from younger vines and is fermented and aged in a combination of stainless steel and glass lined cement. It’s dark and spicy, with palate pleasing notes of sour cherry and violets.

G.D. Vajra Barbera D’Alba 2013, Piedmont Italy

G.D. Vajra was officially established in 1972 (named after Aldo’s father, Giuseppe Domenico) but the family roots in the region go back over two centuries. Aldo Vajra has been making wine here since the late 60s. Today the estate is close to 60 hectares, 10 of which are planted to Nebbiolo for Barolo production. Farming is organic, grapes are hand-harvested, and aging is done in traditional Slavonian casks.

This Barbera spent 14-16 months in cask. It’s rich and dark, with notes of dark plum, violets and tobacco.

Farmer Fizz Friday with Vineyard Road, Dec. 16, 5PM – 8PM

Domaine Huet Vouvray Pétillant, Loire, France

Domaine Huet was established in 1928, but Vouvray has been known as a Chenin Blanc producing region since the 9th century, and many of its great vineyards were known by the 14th century. The domaine only exists because its founder, Victor Huet, was a Parisian bistro owner who fled the city due to “shattered lungs and nerves” after the first World War, and settled here in the Loire. Victor’s son Gaston worked with his father from the very beginning, and built the domaine’s legacy over nearly six decades, despite being in a German POW camp for five years. Gaston retired in 2009; since then Huet has been led by Jean-Bernard Berthomé, who officially joined Huet in 1979.

This sparkling wine is 100% hand-harvested Chenin Blanc from biodynamically farmed vineyards. It competes with true Champagne in elegance, texture, and flavor. It’s a beautiful wine that will make any occasion a little more special.

José Dhondt NV Brut Blanc de Blanc

José Dhondt produced his first cuvée in 1974. The family’s 6 hectares are split over several parcels, equally divided between the Côte des Blancs and the Sézannes regions, and planted to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The average age of the vines is 25 years, though some are around 60 years old. While they don’t claim to be organic, chemicals are avoided as much as possible. Yields are kept extremely low, and harvesting is as late as possible. The estate produces a little over 4,000 cases annually; a small amount of the harvest goes to Möet and other houses.

José Dhondt Blanc de Blanc is precise, delicate, and refined. Very suave, very delicious.

Camille Savès Cuvée Brut Carte Blanche Premier Cru

The Savès family has lived in Bouzy (we wish we lived in Bouzy!) since 1894. Eugène Savès founded the estate when he married Anaïs Jolicoeur, the daughter of a wine producer from the village. Eugène was an agricultural engineer by trade, and his love of the land and wine steered him into wine production. Since then, his children Louis, Camille, and Hervé have carried on his traditions. Now Hervé tends the family’s 10 hectare Grand Cru and Premier Cru vineyard.

Carte Blanche is 75% Pinot Noir from Bouzy, Ambonnay and Tours-sur-Marne, and 25% Chardonnay from Tauxières. It’s full-bodied and leesy, with apples, pears, a touch of kirsch, and a beautiful fine-beaded texture. This is a bubbly for the dinner table; it’s always good to remember what a powerful pairing partner we have in Champagne.

Virgile Lignier-Michelot Bourgogne Rouge 2014, Côte de Nuits, France

Virgile Lignier is the third generation of his family to work the vines of this 8 hectare estate in the village of Morey St.Denis. Virgile began working the property with his father Maurice in 1988; while Maurice was a good winemaker, he always sold all of his grapes to local negociants. Virgile convinced him to start bottling his own wine in 1992, and each year they’d keep more for themselves, until 2002 when the domaine became entirely estate grown and bottled.

Virgile’s wines are ripe but balanced; silky, elegant and well structured. This Bourgogne Rouge is delicious with beef stews, bean casseroles, and simple roasted chicken.

Saturday Tastings in the Shop: Farmer Willie’s and Selections de la Viña

Dec. 10th, 2016

We have two back-to-back tastings in the shop:

3pm-6pm: Farmer Willie’s will be here with their alcoholic ginger beer, and Nantucket’s Hurricane Rum. Let’s see what they mix up!

6pm-8pm: Ana & Alvaro from Selections de la Viña are in the shop with a sampling from their natural Spanish wine portfolio. After we taste here we’re heading over to Fortnight, for a Selections de la Viña bar takeover!  Sounds like a great night in PVD!

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop: L’Acino, Rayos Uva, Cornelissen, Pimpine

Dec. 9, 2016

L’Acino IGP Calabria Bianco “Chora” 2014

L’Acino is the communal effort of three friends (a film director, a historian, and a lawyer – in previous lives) to express the possibilities of Calabrian terroir with grapes indigenous to the region, and winemaking true to nature. The three friends started with one hectare of vines purchased from an old farmer in 2006; the property is right on the border of the Pollino national park, the largest natural park in Italy. As happens in nature, so happens in their vineyards: plantings are varied and diverse, creating a happy, healthy ecosystem. They then purchased a nearby 1.5 hectare parcel of the local red grape Magliocco (also in the shop, positively gluaggable). But they really wanted to get a parcel they could start from scratch, that had never had vines planted on it before. In 2007 they found a sandy plateau where they planted Magliocco and Mantonico from massale, much of it in franc de pied (on French rootstock). The Chora Bianco and Rosso come from this parcel.

The bianco is a blend of Mantonico, Guernaccia Bianca, Pecorello, and Greco Bianco. It’s lively, fresh, youthful, fruity and fun. Organic, wild yeast, minimal sulfur only at bottling.

Olivier Riviere Rayos Uva Rioja, 2015

Olivier Rivière was born and raised in Cognac, studied enology in Bordeaux (with an emphasis on biodynamic farming), and gained practical experience in Bordeaux and Burgundy. He had plans to set up a domaine in Fitou, in the Languedoc, but when those fell through, he went to consult in Spain instead.

Olivier rents, farms or owns vineyards in Rioja Alta, Rioja Baja, Rioja Alavesa and Arlanza. He first came to Spain in 2004 to help Telmo Rodriguez convert to biodynamics. In 2006 he started his own project, but because of the high cost of land in Rioja, he traded his farming abilities for access to grapes from the best sites he could find. In 2009 he joined Luis Arnedo at Bodegas Lacus and found a more permanent home to expand his repertoire of wines.

Rayos Uva is made from Tempranillo, Graciano and Garnacha (in some vintages), sourced from the sandy, gravelly and alluvial soils of Rioja Baja. It’s fermented whole berry with indigenous yeasts and aged for about 9 months in stainless steel, foudre and cement tanks. Olivier purchases these grapes from Bodegas Lacus, where he oversees the winemaking. Ramos Uva is vibrant, pure, ripe and fruity, with notes of flowers and citrus, and a long, silky finish.

Frank Cornelissen Rosso del Contadino 2015

Frank Cornelissen was a Belgian wine novice in the year 2000 when he landed on the side of a volcano in Sicily, and made a big splash in the natural wine world. Until then, Etna wines were mostly sold in bulk, and certainly weren’t being taken seriously. Cornelissen, along with Andrea Franchetti of Passopisciaro and Marc de Grazia of Tenuta delle Terre Nere, were newcomers bringing attention to the potential of Etna wines. Since then he’s evolved and learned from his sometimes combustible environment. He mixes the modern (gasp! fiberglass tanks!) with an unrivaled minimalist ethos; from the producers website:

Our farming philosophy is based on our acceptance of the fact that man will never be able to understand nature’s full complexity and interactions. We therefore choose to concentrate on observing and learning the movements of Mother Earth in her various energetic and cosmic passages and prefer to follow her indications as to what to do, instead of deciding and imposing ourselves. Consequently this has taken us to avoiding all possible interventions on the land we cultivate, including any treatments, whether chemical, organic, or biodynamic, as these are all a mere reflection of the inability of man to accept nature as she is and will be.

Cornelissen has 15 high-elevation hectares on the side of the mountain, 12 are planted to vine, 1 to olives. Biodiversity is key, and local fruit trees are interplanted with the vines, which probably keep the kept bees happy. New plantings are via selection massale, from pre-phylloxera vines. Yields are low.

Producer notes: Contadino is a field-blend of mostly Nerello Mascalese (85%) with other local varietals from all our old vine vineyards: Nerello Capuccio, Allicante Boushet, Minella nera, Uva Francesa and Minella bianco. Our Contadino expresses Etna as made in a traditional way of blending different varietals: fragrant, elegant, structured with personality.

Here’s a recent Cornelissen article from the NY Times.

Château Pimpine Bordeaux, Cotes de Francs, 2013

Château Pimpine is the second wine from Château Le Puy, a biodynamic property on the Right Bank of Bordeaux. Château Le Puy has been farming biodynamically since the early 1900s, so long that they don’t think it’s any big deal, it’s just the way they’ve always done things. Even so, they have all the certifications.

Pimpine, and Le Puy, are located in Saint-Cibard and share the same soils of clay, flint and limestone as many of Bordeaux’s most prized vines. The vineyards sit at 110 meters, on the same plateau as Saint-Emilion and Pomerol.

Jean-Pierre Amoreau and his son Pascal make the wine here and at Le Puy. The blend is mostly Merlot, with some Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. Of course everything is done by hand, there are no added sulfites, sugars or yeasts during fermentation, and the wine is bottled unfiltered and unfined. The finished wine is rather traditional: balanced, elegant, herbal and fresh.

Thanksgiving Week Hours

Happy Thanksgiving! 

We hope your holiday is filled with fabulous food, fine wine, and your fondest friends and family. Cheers!

Wednesday, Nov. 23rd: 10am to 10pm

Closed Thursday, Nov. 24th: Thanksgiving!

Friday, Nov. 25th: noon – 8pm

A mere sampling of the bounty!

A mere sampling of the bounty!