A couple of months ago a friend in the biz introduced us to Joe Swick and his wines; we’ve been anxiously awaiting their arrival ever since. Joe knows wine. Just check out all the places he’s worked since 2003. Swick Wines is a small winery working out of Medici Vineyard in Newberg, Oregon. The wines are the epitome of low-intervention; they are minimally foot-trod and fermented with wild yeast. Many spend time in neutral French oak, they’re not filtered or fined, and sulfur is kept to a minimum or not used at all. Production is tiny. We got to taste though some of the current releases, including a barrel sample of the 2015 Melon de Bourgogne; the cloudy pour was punctuated by buoyant acidity and rocky, mineral freshness. Tasting Swick wines is like listening to a great record for the first time – they’ve got the hooks and the melodies, wrapped around a core of originality, with the artist humming harmonies in the background. Minimal intervention at its best. Come taste some Swick in the shop tonight.
May 6th, 2016
Guillaume Demoulin’s great-grandfather Eugène bought this eighteenth-century château in 1936, the same year as the establishment of the Tavel AOC. Unfortunately the vineyards were in great disrepair and it wasn’t until 1960 that the vines were producing wines worthy of Demoulin’s standards.
This Tavel is a blend of 45% Grenache, 24% Cinsault, 15% Clairette, 10% Mourvèdre, 6% Syrah, from vines over 30 years old, and planted on sand, marl, limestone, clay and quartz. The wine has a ripe red fruit quality, balanced by Rhone stony-freshness and spicy hillside herbs. Farmed sustainably.
Notes from the producer: Founded by the husband and wife winemaking team of Michael and Anne Dashe, Dashe Cellars crafted its first vintage of Dry Creek Zinfandel in 1996. Since that time, the Dashe’s have focused on producing exceptional, single-vineyard wines using a traditional, non-industrial approach to winemaking.
At Dashe, we are committed to partnering with some of the finest small growers in Sonoma and Mendocino counties and beyond. We focus on crafting wines with a distinctive sense of place and look for that perfect balance of steep hillside vineyards, older vines, and vigor-reducing growing conditions. With almost two decades partnering with many of our growers, we work together to limit yields and reduce or eliminate the use of chemicals in the vineyards. In addition, all harvesting decisions are made by Michael Dashe.
Dashe Dry Creek Zinfandel 2013
Fermented using only the natural yeast and aged for 10 months in older French oak barrels, including 900 gallon French oak casks, which add softness without a lot of oak flavors. Blended with approx 8% Petite Sirah (for structure and aging potential). This is a full-bodied, velvety-soft zin. Lots of blackberries and cassis, chocolate and flowers on the nose. Dark and spicy on the palate, with cherries and hints of licorice and chocolate again.
Producer notes: The Comet is a blend of three wines: a 51-year-old vine Zinfandel from Geyserville, a 130-year-old vine Carignan, and a significant proportion—39% of the blend—of an Alexander Valley Petite Sirah. Together, they make a rich, complex, full-bodied wine with a tremendous depth of flavor.
The Zinfandel and Petite Sirah come from the Todd Brothers Ranch, a steep, red-rock vineyard where the vines struggle to produce a small quantity of grapes, resulting in wines with great intensity and structure. The old-vine Carignan is from the famous Bedrock Vineyard, a vineyard that was originally planted by Generals Sherman and Hooker before the Civil War. The Carignan adds fruit and spice to this luscious, full-bodied wine.
April 15, 2016
Bodega Eladio Santalla “Hacienda Ucediños” Godello 2014, Galicia Spain
Brothers Eladio and Marco Santalla own a restaurant in Galicia named Pulperia El Dorado, where they pair their wines with traditional Galician food, such as pulpo Gallego. Godello is a fine match for this “fair or street-style” octopus, but it also pairs beautifully with other salty, paprika, and olive oil rich dishes.
Godello is grape variety native to north west Spain and northern Portugal. It was rescued from near extinction in the 1980s and produces well-structured, dry whites that some compare to the fine whites of Burgundy. It’s identical to the Portuguese variety known as Gouveio in the Douro and in Dão.
Hacienda Ucediños is 100% estate-grown fruit. It’s clean and fruity, with green apple, pear, a touch of peach and a pleasant green herbaceous quality. A little bit of creaminess on the palate combines with crisp acidity to make this a wine to pair or to sip on its own.
Chemins de Bassac Isa Rosé 2015, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
Isabelle and Rémy Ducellier own and operate this small, organically certified estate located in Vin de Pays des Côtes de Thongue, which is a collection of 14 villages in the Languedoc. The vineyards are 100 feet above sea level and are influenced greatly by the nearby Mediterranean. The wines of Chemins de Bassac are friendly and easy-going, generous and inviting.
Isa Rosé is a blend of Grenache Noir, Mourvèdre and Syrah. It’s loaded with strawberry, cherry and raspberry; it’s rich and zesty at the same time, the dry finish balancing out the smooth & creamy mid-palate texture. This is another for seafood and spring and summertime fresh and casual meals.
Domaine Rimbert “Les Travers de Marceau” 2014, St. Chinian, France
This is a blend of Carignan, Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvedre from ancient vines that grow in schist rich soils in the highest elevation vineyards in St. Chinian. The grapes are hand-harvested and de-stemmed before being gently pressed. Only indigenous yeasts are used and all the varietals are fermented separately before being blended and bottled with minimal filtration.
Importer notes: Jean-Marie Rimbert, a native of Provence, arrived in the Languedoc nearly twenty-five years ago and managed the vineyards at Château de Flaugergues for five years until he saved up enough money to purchase his first parcels of gnarled ancient vine Carignan that had been nurtured in schist-laden soils for the better part of the last century. Today, Jean-Marie has 20 hectares spread amongst 40 diverse parcels each with different soil compositions and expositions. Berlou has the highest elevation in all of the St. Chinian AOC and is the only place in the region that possesses schist rich soils. From the beginning, his objective was to cultivate vineyards with the utmost respect for the environment and his wines reflect all of the natural beauty, depth and flavor originating from those vines. The wines Jean-Marie crafts are a passionate testament to this region’s multi-dimensionality and ever-expanding potential.
Comando G “La Bruja de Rozas” 2014, Vinos de Madrid, Spain
La Bruja de Rozas is 50-80 year old Grenache, grown on granite, from several organically and biodynamically farmed vineyards. Comando G is 8 hectares and sits at 1100 meters above sea level. Like their single vineyard wines, La Bruja de Rozas is hand harvested, undergoes natural yeast fermentation with a long maceration, followed by five months in 500 liter foudre.
Importer notes: Daniel Landi and Fermando Garcia, friends since college, found themselves working in the area bounded by the Sierra de Gredos: Dani at his family’s estate, Bodegas Jimenez-Landi and Fermando at Bodegas Marañones. Drawn to the mountains and rumors of small, nearly inaccessible vineyard plots located high in the Sierra de Gredos, over time they began purchasing and leasing the best sites they could find, creating their own project, Comando
G in 2008. Along with many of the new innovators in the Priorat, Dani and Fernando are redefining what was previously viewed as a workhorse variety, Garnacha, into something that can rival the elegance and finesse of Pinot in Burgundy or Syrah in Hermitage. Read more here.
March 4th, 2016
La Perla White Rioja, 2014
The La Perla winery is located in Labastida, an area in Rioja that is at a higher elevation and experiences a cooler climate than most of the region, resulting in wines that are higher in acidity and are especially fresh.
Manuel Ruiz is the 2nd generation winemaker here. The wine is a blend of dry-farmed Viura (92%, 30 year old vines), and 8% Malvasia (50+ years old) sourced from independent growers. It’s fermented in stainless steel and is light and easy, a touch tropical, and will be an easy one to toss back all spring and summer. And it’s super cheap too!
De Martino “Viejas Tinajas” Cinsault 2014, Itata Valley, Chile
This 100% Cinsault is made in 100 year old amphorae or tinajas, (earthenware jugs) that the De Martino family salvaged to bring back this old winemaking tradition. The grapes come from unirrigated vineyards in the coastal mountain region of the Itata Valley, about 14 miles from the Pacific. There is little to no intervention in the winemaking process. After destemming, the grapes were fermented for 15 days in amphorae, where they undergo carbonic maceration. It then rests in the same jug and then goes through malolactic fermentation. It’s bottled unfiltered and unfined, with no artificial enzymes or yeasts, and only a small amount of sulfur.
Cinsault is somewhat low in acidity, hence the choice to plant here in the Itata Valley, where the proximity to the ocean, and the cooler climate, help to boost acidity. The wine itself is fresh and lively, tempered by an earthy, floral, herbaceous notes.
Alto 3 Malbec, Catamarca, Argentina
Catamarca is located 515 miles north of Mendoza, and at 4,947 feet, has some of the highest altitude vineyards in the world. Alto 3 practices organic and biodynamic farming. They ferment in concrete tanks and some of their wines go into clay cones which are buried in the ground; winemaker Carlos Arizu does this because the wines will undergo fewer temperature fluctuations and add structure, in his opinion. Fermentation takes longer but he thinks the process produces more complex wines.
Alto 3 Malbec is alas not one of the wines that goes into cone, but it’s still pretty special. It’s hand-harvested, estate-grown fruit (as are all the wines here). After fermentation in concrete, it goes into French and American oak casks for 6 months. It’s then bottled unfiltered and unfined. This wine is rich & smooth, with mocha, plums, raspberry and tobacco. The finish is long with notes of licorice and spice.
Iconic Wine “Sidekick” Chardonnay
From the producers website:
The SK Series from Iconic Wine represents the finest wine we could create at everyday drinking value. We work with multiple vineyard sources from around northern California, as far north as Anderson Valley to as far south as Lodi. This allows us every year to assure we pull the best fruit for the price depending on the vintage, creating a trustworthy wine and perfect companion to you day to day adventures.
Iconic was founded on a love of Chardonnay. It was the very first wine we ever made, and we are very picky when it comes to this great grape. Like our flagship Chardonnay, Heroine, the focus is on fresh bright fruit and minerality. The grapes are slowly pressed over a long gentle pressing before fermented in vertical, temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine is apricot and white peach and full of floral aromatics.
Qupé “A Modern White” 2014 Central Coast Blend
Qupé calls itself a “modern stone age winery”. Started in 1981 by original Rhone Ranger Bob Lindquist, Qupé is so named to honor the Chumash, the indigenous people of the Golden State’s Central Coast and Channel Islands. The word means poppy, a plant traditionally used for food and medicine. Bob and his wife Louisa Sawyer Lindquist are skilled in biodynamics, and their Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard is certified Demeter Biodynamic and Stellar Organic.
“A Modern White” is a blend of Chardonnay, Viognier & Marsanne. The Viognier was harvested slightly late for richness and a touch of sweetness. The Chardonnay and Marsanne were harvested a bit early for freshness, crispness and acidity. This is a food friendly, ripe and fruity (though not sweet) white wine with lots of richness, body and depth.
Hobo Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel, 2013
Kenny Likitprakong started Hobo Wine Company in 2002, at the age of 26. He grew up in Healdsburg, spending much time at Domaine St. George, the winery owned by his great-uncle Supasit Mahaguna. Kenny’s father Somchai was also involved at the winery, having been summoned there by Mahaguna while studying in NY.
Likitprakong sells his wines under three labels: Banyan Wines, Hobo and Folk Machine, all of them under the umbrella of the Hobo Wine Co. He doesn’t own any vines, instead he gets fruit from top sources, although he does farm about an acre of Branham Estate Rockpile Vineyard Zinfandel.
Fromthe start, Likitprakong intended to make lower sugar, lower alcohol, higher acid, more food friendly wiines than what was being produced in California at the time. In 2008, Gary Branham said that Likitprakong was “already doing more avant-garde things than most people do in their whole careers.”
Producers notes: The Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel is an “appellation wine” and we attempt to make a wine that represents what we think the appellation is; rich, but not overripe, fruit-forward, but not a bomb, structured, but not tannic. The 2013 is a blend of Treborce, Larrick, Wellstone, and Branham Vineyards. We continue to cover the geographical and climatic diversity that the appellation has to offer from the far North Rockpile part of the Dry Creek Valley to the Southern most border of the appellation. It is our belief that the multiple sites and climates and soil types give us a representation of the appellation and a variety of different expressions and flavors.
Brea Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 “Margarita Vineyard” Paso Robles
Brea is a project between winemaker Chris Brockway of Broc Cellars and Tim Elenteny of TE Imports. This wine is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc & 5% Petit Verdot planted on granitic shale and uplifted seabed. Farming is sustainable, fermentation is spontaneous, and the wine spends 20 months in 100% used French oak barrels. Margarita Vineyard is located at 1000 ft elevation and 15 miles from the Pacific. Some consider this area too cool to make Cabernet, but the cooler maritime climate means a longer growing season. The resulting wine is elegant, soft, refined. Not so much a California powerhouse as a subtle expression of minerality and terroir. It’s really pretty gorgeous.
Di Lenardo Pinot Grigio Ramato “Gossip” 2014
The Di Lenardo estate produces wines from its four large (150 hectares) family owned vineyards situated in Ontagnano, in the heart of the Friuli region in the foothills of the Alps, as well as from rented vineyards in Aquileia and Manzano. The estate was established in 1878, and has been for many years now under the direction of winemaker Massimo “Max” Di Lenardo. All the fruit here is hand-harvested and the winery is 100% solar powered.
2012 was the first vintage of Di Lenardo Ramato, and only about 1600 cases are made each year. We’ve carried every vintage in the shop, and this 2014 just arrived, so we just have to crack it open!
Ramato is an old-school style of Pinot Grigio, made by allowing the grape skins to stay in the mix with the juice during the maceration. This contact with the skins gives the wine its ramato, or copper-pink hue. Sometimes called a baby orange wine, Ramato-style wines are more compellingly aromatic and texturally interesting than a Pinot Grigio made without skin contact. They’re also quite food friendly, especially with seafood.
Clos de la Roilette, Fleurie 2014
Clos de la Roilette covers nine hectares of one of the best slopes in the Beaujolais Crus. The clos (walled estate, although there’s no wall here…) borders the Moulin-à-Vent appellation and produces wines known both for their youthful beauty and for their ability to age gracefully. Depending on the vintage, the wines here can typically be laid down for 5, 10 years, or more.
Fernando Coudert bought the estate in 1967; since the mid-80s, his son Alain has been making the wines. The terroir (mainly clay and manganese), and the age of their vines (upwards of 40 years) contribute to the richness and depth of their wines. Farming here is by hand and lutte raisonnée (sustainable, or reasoned fight). Vinification is the traditional, semi-carbonic Beaujolais style with indigenous yeast.
The 2014 vintage was a little rough at first but was saved by bright and sunny weather in August and September. This wine is a reflection of the vintage: it’s pure, bright fruit, light on its feet, and balanced. It may not be one to put away for a decade, but it could handle 5 or so years just fine. Or drink it now. Why not?
Catherine & Pierre Breton Bourgueil “Trinch!” 2013, Loire
The Bretons were on the forefront of the natural wine movement in the Loire back in the early 90s. Their organically farmed vineyards are now moving toward biodynamic certification.
Trinch! (“Cheers” in German) is from a 5 hectare plot of 30 year-old Cabernet Franc vines grown on gravel. Hand-harvested, wild yeast, little to no sulphur (like all Breton wines), and vilified in stainless steel, this is the Breton Bourgueil meant for earlier consumption and casual bistro-style meals.
December 11, 2015
Domaine de la Pepiere “Les Gras Moutons” 2014 Muscadet-Sèvre et Maine
Marc Ollivier and Rémi Branger make serious, age-worthy Muscadet from old vines from original rootstock. And 2014 was arguably one of the best Loire vintages ever, so we’re expecting their wines to achieve mythic status!
Gras Moutons means “fat sheep” and is from a plot of land where the soil is mostly gneiss (course-grained; feldspar, quartz, and mica). All the vineyards at Pepiere are farmed sustainably at a minimum, and some are 100% organic. All grapes are hand-harvested, only wild yeasts is used, and sulfur is used only in small doses. Extended lees contact is a given.
Enjoy this wine now, for it’s salty, green apple twang and leesy, mineral purity. Lay another couple down and see how it evolves.
Cascina degli Ulivi VdT “Semplicemente Vino” “Bellotti” Bianco 2014, Piedmont
Biodynamic, naturally made wines since 1985. This Cortese is wildly delicious. It is NOT fizzy, even though it’s bottled under crown cap. It IS gorgeously aromatic, with notes of butter, ripe apples, orange oil and walnuts. There is also a Semplicemente Rosso, and yup, it’s as good as the white!
This property is a full-working 100% biodynamic farm, with a restaurant and accommodations for visitors.
Stefano Bellotti says this about natural wine:
I’ve always said that our force is the truth. When you start drinking natural wine, or eating natural cheese, natural bread, natural food… When you start eating REAL food, products from the earth that have a true link to their terroir, you don’t go back.
2014 Pierre Olivier Bonhomme “Le Telquel”, Touraine
LE TELQUEL translates to ‘as it is’, but sounds like the french word for dachshund, hence the wiener dog on the label. Originally made by natural-wine trailblazers Thierry Puzelat and Pierrot Bonhomme, the 2014 vintage marked the first to bear the name “Domaine Pierre Olivier Bonhomme”. Pierre has been solely making the wine since 2011, so it was time that his name graced the label.
There’s never been a time we haven’t loved this wine. Lithe, brambly, a little bit funky, and only 11.5% abv. Glug-Glug!
2014 Perrini Negroamaro, Salento (Puglia), Italy
Brother and sister Vito and Mila Perrini converted their family’s centuries-old estate to organic farming (now biodynamic) in 1993. Before that, the family mostly sold their grapes to local négociants, as they didn’t have the means to finance estate-bottled production. Vito and Mila then built an underground cellar, where the cooler fermentation temperatures would aid them in their goal of producing wines of more subtlety and elegance than was normally encountered in the region.
The vines here are 30-35 years old and are spread across hills and along the shoreline. Yields are kept low, grapes are picked by hand and fermented in stainless steel, then aged in stainless and glass-lined tanks. We’re happy to have this Negroamaro back in stock. It’s a super-affordable crowd pleaser!
Thanksgiving Wine Club kits are available for pick up or delivery.
Included in the 6 pack (one bottle of each)
or case (two bottles of each) of the following:
2014 Éric Chevalier Chardonnay
2013 Christophe Thorigny Vouvray Sec
2013 Birichino Malvasia
2013 Foretal Beaujolais Julienas
2012 GD Vajra Langhe Rosso
2013 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir
Wine Club Prices
6-pack / 10% discount: $103.44
Case / 15% discount: $195.38
Tasting Notes & Free Delivery Included
Thanksgiving week deliveries will take place Sunday through Tuesday.
Nov. 13th, 5pm – 8pm
We continue to flip over this gentle little fizzy. It’s light, refreshing and good anytime of day, and with any meal – or with no meal at all. It’s a blend of Glera from very old clones, Verdiso, Perera, and Bianchetta from massale selection. Col Fondo means ‘on the sediment’ so you can store it upright and enjoy the sediment separately (as they do in Valdobbiadene) or swirl it as you drink so that it’s incorporated throughout. Either way is the right way. The 2014 is so fresh and delicious, we just want to drink it all the time. It’s like a mouth full of crisp apples and pears; it’s super clean, softly sparkling, and all around satisfying. This is just what you need to welcome your holiday guests: it’s fun, interesting, and at just 10% abv, it’s perfect for easing into the party–or for brunch the next day. Practicing biodynamic since 2010. Want to know more? Check out this video of Christian Zago!
Chemins de Bassac Isa White 2014, Languedoc-Roussillon
Isabelle and Rémy Ducellier own and operate this small, organically certified estate located in Vin de Pays Côtes de Thongue, which is a collection of 14 villages in Languedoc. Like Isabelle and Rémy, the wines of Chemins de Bassac are friendly and easy-going, generous and inviting. Together they make and market their wines, with Rémy even designing the labels.
Isa White is a blend of Roussanne and Viognier that is gorgeously aromatic, lushly textured, and popping with flowers, ripe peaches and apricots. It’s beautifully balanced with stony minerality and a touch of orange pith on the long finish.
Domaine Jérôme Jouret La Coulée Douce 2014, Rhone Valley
Domaine Jérôme Jouret is a 12 hectare, relatively new, family winery in the southern Ardèche, a region on the right bank of the Rhône river, between the northern and southern Rhône valley. Burgundian Louis Latour was a pioneer here, most notably with his Grande Ardéche Chardonnay. We’re most familiar with the cult wines of Hervé Souhaut, which we try to have on our shelves whenever we can. Jérome Jouret works much like Souhaut; that is, minimally, by hand, with extremely low yields and little to no sulfur. The ancient, organic vines here are planted on steep and stony slopes. The high elevation and cool climate means that the grapes have a longer hang time, which leads to heady aromatics and purity of fruit. This unsulfured Syrah comes on with clean, vibrant fruit that gives way to smoky, minerally notes, then takes another turn to flowers and fresh tobacco. The texture is refined, as is the experience of drinking this wine.
Domaine du Mortier Graviers 2013, Loire Valley
Domaine du Mortier is a 9 hectare, certified biodynamic property located in Saint Nicolas de Bourgeuil. Brothers Fabien and Cyril Boisard were quite young when they started Domaine du Mortier nearly ten years ago. And while they don’t hail from a long line of winemakers, they do employ the most traditional method of propagating vines: Selection Massale, a labor intensive and time consuming practice of selecting the best vines in a vineyard and propagating through cuttings. With this level of discipline and commitment, it’s no surprise that they always produce top notch wines, from glou-glou to lay-it-down. All wines here are bottled unfiltered and unfined.
Mortier Gravier is 100% Cabernet Franc grown on gravel. Grapes are hand-harvested, fermented with wild yeast in barrel, then aged for 8 months in oak. This is a raspberry and cassis scented wine, with the mineral (gravelly) notes intertwined with juicy fruit, subtle spices and a satisfying roundness on the palate.