Tag Archives: Oyster River Wine Growers

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

July 1, 2016

Oyster River Villager White, ME

Oyster River is a nearly 100% self-sustaining farm in Warren, Maine, with a very hands-off approach to winemaking. Fermentation is spontaneous with native yeast, and lasts a long time in their cold winery; they only heat with wood from their farm, and they keep it chilly! Sparkling wines and ciders are unsulphured and bottled unfiltered.

Villager White is a 50/50 blend of Serval Blanc and Cayuga, sourced from Serenity Vineyard in the Seneca Lake region of NY. This is a German-influenced easy sipper, that’s off-dry with refreshing acidity.

Weingut Schnaitmann Evoe Rosé 2015, Württemberg, Germany

Weingut Schnaitmann has been in the same family for over 600 years; Rainer Schnaitmann began making wine here in 1997. In 2007 he was chosen as newcomer of the year by Gault-Millau/German Wine Guide and then the estate won the European Pinot Cup two years in a row, a feat no one achieved before or since. Weingut Schnaitmann is farmed organically (certified since 2014) and fermentations are 90% with wild yeast. The 25 hectares of vineyards are planted to 25% Riesling, 25% Lemberger, 20% Pinot Noir, 8% Sauvignon Blanc, 6% Pinot Gris and 16% other (which includes some Pinot Meunier) on soils of gypsum, marl and red sandstone.

Evoe Rosé is mostly Pinot Noir with most likely some Pinot Meunier and Lemberger (aka: Blaufrankisch). It’s deliciously spicy and floral, a little bit of orange and pomegranate mingle nicely with grapefruit, wildflowers and fresh herbs. Don’t drink it too cold or you’ll miss the gentle nuances…

Viña Maitia “Aúpa” Pipeño, Chile

Viña Maitia is a little gem in Chile’s southern Maule Valley. It’s owned and operated by husband and wife David Marcel (vigneron) and Loreta Garau (enologist). David hails from Irouleguy in French Basque country; he met Loreta in Chile, and together they are putting Chile’s traditional (if not indigenous) grapes back on the map, so to speak. Their 10 hectare estate is made up of old vines (at least 120 years old, some older than 150 years) that are farmed without intervention. The focus is on Pais, Carignane, and Malbec. Pais (aka: Listan Negro or Criolla Grande that originated in the Canary Islands) is the mission grape that was brought over by the Spanish in the 1500s. It’s mostly associated with Chilean jug wines that were enjoyed by campesinos (peasant farmers), but David and Loreta saw its potential to be a true “wine of place” and were intrigued with how expressive it could be when made from old, low-yielding vines. Though David prefers the term “ancestral” to “natural”, his wines are just grapes, made with no additives and little to no sulphur.

Aupa Pipeño is 70% Pais and 30% Carignane. The Carignane is whole cluster fermented and the wine is lightly filtered before bottling. If this is anything like what the campesinos were drinking back in the day, then pass the jug! It’s fruity and floral, with a little bit of clove and fresh herbs, a touch of brambles, and the slightest whisper of tannins…drink it with a slight chill, and drink it all summer long.

Veronica Ortega “Quite” Bierzo 2014, Spain

Veronica Ortega grew up in Cadiz, a little coastal town in the Sherry producing region of Jerez. She doesn’t come from a wine making family, but took an interest in wine early on; she first began dipping her toes into winemaking in Priorat, where she worked alongside Alvro Palacios and Daphne Glorian. She then made her way to Burn Cottage in Central Otago, Niepport in the Douro, and then to France, where she learned from greats like Domaine Combier in Croze-Hermitage, and Comte Armand and Domaine Romanée Conti in Burgundy. That’s not a bad resumé.

When she returned to Spain she worked for many years alongside Raul Perez in Bierzo, and in Bierzo she has remained. Here she organically farms 5 hectares of 80 year old (mostly) Mencia vines planted on calcareous clay and granitic sand. The climate in Bierzo straddles cool maritime Galicia and hot Central Spain. These conditions are perfect for producing Mencia that expresses the qualities of fine Pinot Noir and Syrah; in the right hands the grape produces wines that are reflective of the terroir, that are refreshing and bright, savory and complex.

Like all wines here, Quite is made from hand harvested grapes. It’s about 30-50% whole cluster fermented via spontaneous fermentation with wild yeast, in large oak vats. It spends about 4 months in 2nd and 3rd fill French oak. Quite is a delicate, floral, silky and elegant.

Wine Tasting in the shop Friday, 5-8PM (and one on Saturday too!)

Here’s what we’re tasting Friday:

Oyster River Winegrowers “Morphos” Petillant Naturel 2014, 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; they only heat with wood from their farm, and they keep it chilly! Read more about the farm here. Sparkling wines and ciders here are unsulphured and bottled unfiltered.

Morphos is a natural sparkling wine that is a blend of grapes from the farm in Maine and select vineyards in NY. It’s bottled before fermentation is complete, and since it’s unfiltered, it’s cloudy, yeasty and “full of life”. Did we mention it’s cloudy? Really cloudy. You might want to gently swirl the bottle while you drink to incorporate the sediment–although it’s a pretty tasty experience to just toss back the glassful of hazy goodness too! Morphos has lots of green apple, loads of zesty acidity, and it’s wicked tart. Have it with oysters, of course! And soft cheeses too.

Kosovec Skrlet 2012, Moslavina, Croatia

Skrlet is a local varietal, indigenous to central Croatia, mostly in the wine producing region of Moslavina, where Ivan Kosovec’s small, organically farmed estate is located. Ivan is responsible for bringing attention back to this rare, hard to find grape (there are only 70 acres in the world planted to Skrlet). And apparently Ivan is a total badass. He clearcut the 3.5 hectare forest BY HAND, BY HIMSELF, dug up the earth to make sure the soil was pristine, then worked the winery for 6.5 years without electricity, running it on generators until the country could get him some juice for his juice! So yeah, Skrlet, another way to say labor of love. This is a bracing, refreshing wine, with lots of minerality, flowers, a light touch of honey and citrus on the finish. Fans of dry Riesling and Muscadet will find a lot to love here. Have it with seafood, salads, white meat, and anything in the briny, salty, citrusy family.

Dominique Piron “Coteaux Bourguignons” Gamay, 2013

Dominique Piron is a 14th generation winemaker based primarily out of Morgon, in Beaujolais. Here he brings us a one liter bottle of Gamay from the relatively newly minted “Coteaux Bourguignons” or, hills of Burgundy.

This is one big bottle of bad influence. It’s a floozy and a Lothario, all smooth moves and batting lashes…This is the wine that keeps you up well past your bedtime with its come-hither fruit and silky innuendos. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Schlossmuhlenhoff Dornfelder Trocken 2012, Rheinhessen, Germany

Another liter, this dry German red will slap some sense into you after all your exploits with your fabulous new French friend. Mein Gott im himmel, get a hold of yourself! This wine is solid; it’s hearty but light on its feet, a touch staid and serious, but sweet flowers on the nose woo & entice. It comes through in stand-up fashion on the palate: black currants, dried spices, and a snappy mineral edge…this Dornfelder is cool all the way through.

And Saturday, 3-5PM
Elsa Ladguie, daughter of Fronton producer Philippe Laduguie of Domaine de Saint-Guilhem, will be here to discuss the wines and give us the dirt on these big, rustic, earthy wines, and the cool backstory of how one French transplant to Providence finally got these wines into the states. Do yourself a favor: buy a big steak, or short ribs, and grab a bottle of one of the three wines we’ll have on hand (or one of each!). You won’t be disappointed!