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

August, 19, 2016

Jean-François Merieau “L’Arpent des Vaudons” Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Jean-François produces mostly single varietal bottlings, often from single parcels, in the tiny village of Saint-Julien-de-Chédon, in Touraine. He farms his 35 hectare estate organically; many of his vines are quite old (100 year old Pineau d’Aunis, Cot between 50-100 years old). No commercial yeasts are used in any of his wines. This Sauvignon Blanc is from vines of between 10 and 60 years old. It’s fermented and aged for five months in stainless steel before release. We’ve been getting every vintage of this wine since 2013, and the 2015 continues to deliver. It’s smoky and mineral-driven, elegant and clean, with a touch of orange blossom mingling with grassy, herbal notes. Perfect with fresh goat cheese, chicken, fish…

Orsi San Vito “Posca Bianca NV”, Colli Bolognesi, Emilia-Romagna

Vigneto San Vito has been producing high quality wines in this ancient viticultural area for almost 50 years. In 2005, Federico Orsi & Carola Orsi Pallavicino took over the tiny cantina, and subsequently converted it to biodynamic farming. “Bianco Perpetuo, Cuvée Novembre 2015” is a non-vintage, bottled to order blend of mostly Pignoletto. The Orsi’s intent is to make wines with a sense of place, with more guidance than intervention. Vines here are not fertilized or irrigated; fermentations are spontaneous with wild yeast, and wines are bottled without filtering or fining and very little SO2. Their goal is to make wines that are fresh and drinkable and that “celebrate the flavors of the region”.

Domaine des Terres Dorées “L’Ancien” 2015, Beaujolais

Jean-Paul Brun’s domaine is located in Charnay, a village in the Southern Beaujolais in an area known as the “Region of Golden Stones”. Brun is the owner and winemaker at this 40-acre family estate and is well known for his Beaujolais, which he makes with minimal intervention, minimal sulfur, and without the use of industrial yeasts, leading to wines that are elegant & delicate, with purity of fruit, and great character and depth. L’Ancien is old-vine Gamay that is earthy & spicy, full of wild red & black fruits.

Domaine des Sauvaire-Reilhe “Mas Sauvaire” Rouge, 2013, Languedoc

The Sauvaire family has been working the same land, in the same buildings, since the mid 1600s. The 25 hectare estate is planted to traditional southern French varieties, on poor, sandy soils, upon which the vines must work extra hard to find nutrients. Today Hervé Sauvaire works the land in the same way his ancestors did: no pesticides or chemicals, and letting the vineyard “work in conjunction with the land around it, to find balance on its own, without mans help”. The only application he uses in the vineyards is a compost made from his grapes. Harvest is by hand. It’s hands-off in the winery as well, with only wild yeast fermentation in steel and cement.

Mas Sauvaire Rouge is a blend of 70% Carignan, 20% Grenache and 10% Syrah, that until very recently, was seen only on Hervé’s table and that of his family, friends, and local restaurants. It’s a very drinkable wine, with pure red fruit, bright acidity, and a long, silky finish.

Tasting Texier Cotes du Rhone and Meyer-Nakel Rosé in the Shop, 5pm – 8pm

adele texier Éric Texier “Adele” Cotes du Rhone Blanc, 2014

Éric Texier came to wine without any family connection or romantic, multi-generational story. In 1992, after years as a nuclear scientist, he opted to follow his passion for wine and formally study viticulture and oenology at Bordeaux University. He read a lot, visited winemakers around the world, and worked in Burgundy with Jean-Marie Guffens, at Verget. There he learned the benefits of minimal-intervention wine-making: native yeasts, little to no herbicides, no machines, etc…

As a beginner, he was unable to afford his own vineyards, so he became a négociant, buying only from small growers philosophically aligned with himself. He has since acquired plots in Côte Rôtie and Condrieu in the northern Rhône, and replanted several hectares in long-forgotten Brézème with Syrah and Roussanne. All of his wines are aged in the underground 16th-century cellar at his home in Charnay-en-Beaujolais.

Adele is mostly Clairette with the remainder Marsanne, fermented in cement tanks with native yeasts. It rests for about 8 months on its lees, without sulfur, and is bottled unfiltered and unfined. Very little sulfur (25 ppm) is used at bottling. Buoyant and aromatic, with notes of apricots and pears, and a rounded texture punctuated by refreshing acidity.

Meyer-Näkel Spatburgunder Rosé 2015, Ahr, Germany

This is a Pinot Noir based rosé from the Ahr Valley in Germany. Winemaking in Ahr goes back at least to the time of the Romans, 1,000 years ago, but there’s evidence to suggest the cultivation of vines back to the year 770. The region has been known for growing red varieties since the 13th century, and specifically for Pinot Noir (Spatburgunder) since the 18th century. This 19-hectare eco-friendly estate has been in the same family for 5 generations. Winemaker Werner Näkel has taken his show on the road in recent years and also produces wine in Stellenbosch, South Africa and in the Douro in Portugal.

This is a beautifully produced rosé. It’s elegant, precise, perfect.

Here’s what Jancis Robinson has to say about this producer: It would not be exaggerating to say that Meyer-Näkel makes some of the most outstanding Spätburgunder in Germany – Werner Näkel was Gault Millau’s winegrower of the year in 2004, and won Decanter’s International Pinot Noir trophy amid a host of worthy rivals from Burgundy, New Zealand and Oregon. I had a chance to taste his wines at The WineBarn’s annual tasting earlier this year (2010) and was bowled over by their elegance.

Éric Texier “Chat Fou” Cotes du Rhone Rouge 2014

This is a light and lively blend of mostly Grenache and some white Rhone varieties from Eric’s biodynamically farmed vineyard in St-Julien. Roughly a 3rd of the Grenache is fermented in large wooden vats, with the remainder in stainless. This is a fresh, spicy, perfumed and peppery red. It can handle a little chill, and is perfect for sipping on its own, or with bistro-style meals and meats & veggies off the grill.