Tag Archives: organic wine

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!

 

 

Tastings are Fun

Our fall in-shop tastings have been a blast!

Joe Swick, pouring some Pacific Northwest magic.

Joe Swick (in plaid), pouring some Pacific Northwest magic.

Alvaro from Selctions de la Viña teaching us all about Spanish natural wine.

Alvaro from Selctions de la Viña teaching us all about Spanish natural wine.

Garret Vandermolen of The Sorting Table kicking off Farmer Fizz Fridays on November 18th. Grower-Champagne is the only Champagne worth drinking!

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Matt Mollo of SelectioNaturel, pouring small production, lo-fi wines from Italy.

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It’s Giacomo (Jim) Verde of RI’s own Verde Vineyards and Meng!

Friday, Oct. 28th: Joe Swick in the Shop

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Joe Swick! What more do you need to know? Ok, fine, Joe makes “Pacific Northwest-inspired wines crafted by intuition”. What does that mean? It means that Joe has been making wine for about a decade and a half, so he kind of knows what he’s doing. It’s not about techniques and test tubes, it’s about simply-made wines that reflect a time and a place and all the myriad influences of a vintage. But that’s just what we think. Come in tonight and ask Joe yourself!

 

Alvaro de le Viña in the shop tonight, 5 – 8PM

Firday, Oct. 21, 2016

Be sure to stop by the shop to meet and taste with Alvaro de la Viña, of Selections de la Viña. We’ll be opening up some fantastic natural Spanish wines. Cheers!
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Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5pm – 8pm

Oct. 7, 2016

Chateau Graville Lacoste Graves Blanc, 2013

75% Sémillon, 20% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Muscadelle

Hervé Dubourdieu makes white bordeaux and Sauternes on his 13 hectare property. Founded in 1890, the vineyards are just across the road from 1st Growth Chateau Climens, and on a similar soil of calcerous clay, fissured rock, red iron, limestone, and flinty gravel. He farms sustainably. This wine is made from 50 year old vines, it’s dry and elegant, rich and minerally, with a very aromatic nose and a long, clean finish. This is a lovely go-to bottle for all kinds of fare, but pairs especially well with fish, chicken and creamy sauces.

Marc Pesnot “La Boheme” Melon de Bourgogne, 2015

Marc Pesnot organically farms (converting to biodynamic) 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 here is by hand, and 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.

Vin de Pays de Vaucluse Rouge “Cuvée Kermit Lynch” 2015

This wine is made by the Leydier family of Domaine de Durban in Beaumes-de-Venise. Famous for their Muscat, the Leydier’s sustainably farm 55 hectares of vineyards and also make Gigondas and Beaumes-de-Venise Rouge. The property, surrounded by pine trees that protect it from mistral winds, has been a working farm since 1159; it sits at high elevation with a cooler micro-climate than the rest of the southern Rhone, which lends freshness and finesse to the wines. The Vaucluse Rouge is the wine the family drinks by the jugful. t’s vibrant, fresh and fruity, with a touch of tannins on the finish.

Clos Bagatelle “Jardin de Bagatelle” Saint Chinian Rouge 2012

This is a Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre blend from a brother and sister team. Christine and Luc Simon took over from their mother, Marie-Françoise, who ran the estate since 1963. Christine and Luc are meticulous in the vineyards and the cellar. Vines are planted on clay-limestone soil, with some shale plots. Summers are hot and dry, resulting in small grapes with thick skins. In the case of Jardin de Bagatelle, these conditions lead to a wine that is full of warm-stone minerality and dark, spicy fruit, with a touch of garrigue. Perfect for cooler nights and heartier dishes.