2014 Berger Gruner Veltliner, Kremstal, Austria
This is a father and son estate on roughly 18 hectares of mostly south-facing vineyards. According to the producer, this Gruner grows on steep loess terraces which emphasize terroir and characterize the landscape of the eastern part of the Kremstal. These terraces store heat during the day and reflect it onto the vines at night producing wines with unique fruity, fresh and bright flavors. They use stainless steel and cultured yeasts in order to get slow fermentation and to preserve CO2; this further ensures the fresh, fruity, and clean flavors we’ve come to expect and love from this producer.
2013 Jean Manciat Macon Charnay Franclieu
The Mâconnais, in southern Burgundy, has been well known as a region for cooperatives and négociants, but back in 1986, this producer was the catalyst for one of our favorite importers to go out in search of comparable wines from other regions in France. Jean Manciat took over this 5.5 hectare estate from his grandfather. He immediately embraced biodiversity in the vineyards by planting different types of grasses between rows, keeping down the need for weeding while avoiding herbicides and soil erosion. He planted new vines from old Pouilly Fuissé rootstock, but also kept as much of the (at the time) 50+ year old vines as possible. He prunes his vines to be up to 50% less productive than others in the Mâconnais, producing wines that are more concentrated, evocative and nuanced than high yielding vines. While Manciat does appreciate wines fermented and aged in oak, he only uses stainless steel in the Franclieu, to best express the “fruity, floral aromas and flinty minerality that characterize the best Chardonnay in the region.”
2011 Chateau de Parenchere Bordeaux Superieur Rouge
This sustainably farmed estate is situated in the eastern edge of the Bordeaux wine growing area, on the borders of the Dordogne and the Lot et Garonne departments. The soil here has a very high clay content, which is unusual for this area and is thought to contribute to the strength and intensity of the wines produced.
This is a large estate of 159 hectares, 63 of which are vineyards. The breakdown of the vines is 50% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon (on the most exposed plots), 9% Cabernet Franc & 1% Malbec. The vines are densely planted and average between 25 and 50 years old.
We’ll also open up a bottle of red from our ever-popular “Best Buys Under $15” section.
2013 Gysler Silvaner Halbtrocken, Rheinhessen, Germany
12 hectares, 8,000 cases annually, certified biodynamic
Notes from the importer: Gysler’s history in Weinheim dates to 1450, with record of winemaking dating to 1750. The windy, cool microclimate of Weinheim, and its red soil dominated by Rotliegend sandstone, allow Gysler to ply a quite unique expression of Riesling from his 12 hectares, in a region planted to many lesser varieties and hybrids.
When Alexander Gysler took the helm from his father abrubtly, changes were made in the vineyard, including the reversal of the plantings of experimental crossings, instead focusing the estate by increased plantings of classic varieties such as Riesling and Sylvaner. Next came Biodynamic conversion and certification by Demeter in 2008, with the intention of helping to reverse the reputation of Rheinhessen wines as high-yielding, overly sweet ‘plonk.’ Fruit is hand harvested, which is rare in the Rheinhessen, and composting and cover cropping have become integral to the health of the estate’s vines – every second row is planted with flowers & herbs. In 2005, Gysler began bottling his wines in only 2 quality levels, estate and S-class, eschewing the pradikät system that portends quality is based predominantly on ripeness. Other changes include employing whole cluster pressing, spontaneous fermentations in stainless steel, eliminating fining and racking, gross lees contact right up until bottling, and abandoning the use of süssreserve. “2008 was the first vintage we did absolutely no handling of the juice,” says Alex Gysler.
And Terry Theise on the wine: Now 100% estate-bottled (Demeter!), and this is a crisp, fine and charming vintage of this perennial value, showing a curious length. Among the best vintages of a wine I’ve known for nearly thirty years(!).
2012 Chateau de Jouclary, Cabardès Rouge
Robert & Pascal Gianesini farm in the Cabardès AOC, on the southernmost outcropping of the Massif Central in south central France. It’s influenced by both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea; AOC laws mandate that a minimum of 40% of the varieties must be “atlantique”: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc and 40% “mediterranean”: Syrah or Grenache.
The 2012 Jouclary rouge is a whole lotta wine for not a whole lotta money. This vintage appears to have more Cab Franc than the 2011, and that is especially apparent on the nose; it’s got tobacco leaf and hints of underbrush mingling with vibrant fruit, earthy complexity, delicate acidity, and a long, lingering finish to boot. It’s a winner!
2013 Domaine Philémon, Gaillac Rouge, Jurançon Noir
Domaine Philémon is a 20 hectare estate located in Villeneuve-sur-Vere, a small village on the Vere river in between Albi and Cordes in the northeast quadrant of the Gaillac appellation. The Vieules family have had a vineyard in Villeneuve since 1804. Today the vineyard is run by Mathieu Vieules who grows wheat, sunflowers and grapes in equal proportions. All of his land is farmed organically with the vineyard being certified in 2013. Mathieu Vieules has twenty hectares of vines in production along the Cordes plateau on south facing slopes with a calcerous soil. They are planted almost entirely to the traditional Gaillac grape varieties: Loin de L’oeil, Mauzac and Muscadelle for the whites, and Braucol (Fer Servadou), Duras and Jurancon Noir for the reds. A good proportion of the vines are more than fifty years old. The vines are trained in the gobelet fashion meaning that they are head pruned and yields are kept exceedingly low; 40 hl/h for the whites and 30hl/h for the reds. The harvest is done entirely by hand.
After a few years of tasting Jurançon Noir from tank and begging Mathieu Vieules to bottle it separately, he finally agreed in 2013. The grapes are hand harvested and put into the cement fermentation tank in whole clusters for a semi-carbonic fermentation with indigenous yeasts. The Jurançon Noir is an old variety local to the southwest of France. According to Jancis Robinson, it is a cross between Folle Blanche and Cot (Malbec). To produce quality wine this vigourous variety must be severely pruned and then it will produce dark, spicy and slightly bitter wine that is 11% alc, when fully ripe. The bottles are sealed with a crown cap.
This Saturday we’re tasting the Route of all Evil, a black ale from Two Roads, Harpoon’s Winter Warmer, and 2x Presso, a double milk stout with coffee beans and lemon peel from Southern Tier. Ho ho ho!
Mestres 1312 Brut Reserva Cava
Nothing has changed here since the very beginning. All methods carried out are organic, from the vineyards to the cellar, and everything is done by hand, including riddling. All second fermentations and aging are under cork. The minimum amount of time any wine stays in cave is 20 months.
1312 is 30% Macabeu, 30% Xarel.lo and 40% Parellada. This is an elegant Cava, with notes of flowers, sandalwood, citrus and herbs. The bubbles are persistent and delicate. This is a delicious addition to any meal or festive occasion.
Alphonse Dolly “Cuvée Silex” Sancerre 2013
This Sancerre is from a small, family-owned organic domaine just outside the village of Thauvenay, one of Sancerre’s 14 communes in the southeast section of the appellation. It’s 100% Sauvignon Blanc from grapes around 35-40 years old, grown on silex, or flint. It is indeed flinty, crisp and minerally, with citrus peel and flowers throughout.
G.D. Vajra Langhe Rosso 2011, Piedmont Italy
G.D. Vajra was officially established in 1972 but the family roots in the region go back over two centuries. The estate sits 400 meters above sea level in the village of Vergne, in the commune of Barolo. Some of these vineyards were in the family since the 1920s but were given to sharecroppers after WWII. Aldo returned in the late 60s and reclaimed the family legacy. Today the estate is over 40 hectares, 10 of which are planted to Nebbiolo for Barolo production. Aldo and his wife Milena worked the vineyards and made the wine during those early years, while Aldo also worked as a professor of oenology during the day in nearby Alba. Now their sons Giuseppe & Isidoro are assistant winemakers preparing to carry on the family tradition. Farming here is organic, grapes are hand-harvested, and aging is done in traditional Slavonian casks.
The Langhe Rosso is a blend of Nebbiolo, Dolcetto & Barbera, with small amounts of Albarossa, Freisa and Pinot Noir. It’s fruity, floral and spicy, with a touch of brambly underbrush and black pepper. It’s lively and bright with pleasant tannins on the finish. It’s a perfect bistro-style wine!
G.D. Vajra Dolcetto d’Alba 2013
The grapes for this Dolcetto are from Vajra`s vineyards located in Coste di Vergne, Fossati and Pascolo in the Barolo region, and the Ravera vineyard in the Nerollo region. The vines were planted from 1982 to 2002 on soil that is a mix of limestone and marl. Fermented and aged in stainless steel, this wine is fresh and aromatic, with notes of violets, hay, cherries and thyme. It’s elegant, with refined tannins on a long, smooth finish. Aldo describes it thusly: It is a wine that gives life! If people knew how good, digestible, and humanizing it was, they would drink it every day.
A wine that gives life and humanizes? Let’s get an IV pump for the world!
Roederer Estate Brut, Anderson Valley, CA
Roederer Estate was established in 1982 by Jean-Claude Rouzaud, then president of Louis Roederer, and 5th generation descendant of the founder. Rouzaud believed that estate-owned vineyards were essential for producing top quality wine, so he searched for years before purchasing this 580-acre Anderson Valley vineyard. They only grow Chardonnay and Pinot Noir here. Farming is organic and biodynamic. They are highly selective here and only about 70% of the pressed juice makes it into the final cuvée. The addition of reserve wines defines the Roederer style, which is known for its“body, finesse and depth of flavor”.
Kruger-Rumpf Riesling Trocken 2013, Nahe, Germany
You may remember this from our Thanksgiving picks. We realized we never got around to tasting it in the shop, but it is so good, we’re doing it now! Kruger-Rumpf was founded in 1790 and nearly 200 years later, in 1984, Stefan Rumpf took over the estate. Now, Stefan’s son Georg helps out with the operation. Farming is sustainable, harvest is by hand, and fermentation is short to preserve the fresh fruit character of the wine. This Riesling is pristine & dry (trocken). On the nose you get roses and peaches; on the palate it’s a tangy, twangy, sweet and sour symphony. The finish is lush and lip-smackingly delicious!
2013 Broc Carignan, Alexander Valley, CA
Chris Brockway makes site-specific, natural wines out of a “low-wattage, urban winery”.
This wine is from sustainably-grown Carignan, made via carbonic maceration (common in Beaujolais). This technique produces wines that are vivid, lively and totally crushable.
2012 Paterna Chianti Colli Aretini DOCG
Here’s another wine from SelectioNaturel and boy do we love it! Read about the producer here (three hippy couples and some “old toothless Italian guys”-ha!) and then come try the wine. It’s that lovely, rustic, dusty Sangiovese (mostly) that we just want to drink and drink and drink….with some old toothless Italian guys! Sounds like heaven.