Tag Archives: Rhode Island

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

March 23, 2018

Vía de la Plata Cava Brut Nature NV 

In 1985, Aniceto Mesías was the first producer in Extremadura to become part of the D.O. Cava. Now three other producers in the region have joined him, and although he is no longer working in the cellars, Aniceto has left his legacy in the capable hands of Luis Miguel Calleja. Luis Miguel worked for years at some of the regions large co-ops, and was eager to make wines of quality rather than quantity. The vineyards, which are controlled by Via de la Plata, are farmed traditionally and non-invasively, and are planted to Macabeo, Parellada and Chardonnay. All work in the underground cellar is by hand, in the traditional Champagne method.

This Cava is 70% Macabeo and 30% Parellada, aged on the lees for 9 to 25 months before being disgorged. It’s medium-bodied, dry, and delicately fruity, with tiny bubbles making for an elegant Cava experience.

Tanganelli Anatrino Bianco 2015, Tuscany

We tasted the Tanganelli rosso last week, tonight we’ll taste the white. Producer notes from the importer: Hidden on the outskirts of Castiglion Fiorentino, in the eastern corner of Tuscany is the tiny farm of Marco Tanganelli.  Marco is first and foremost an agriculturalist, garnering a regional reputation as the best source of advice when it comes to tending vines.  Carlo Tanganelli, Marco’s father, established an agricultural nursery over 40 years ago in order to preserve and propagate the local grape, olive and orchard varieties.  The Tanganelli family always made wine, mostly for themselves and locals but didn’t start to bottle and sell their wine until the late 90’s.

Today Marco farms some 5 hectares of very old trebbiano, malvasia and sangiovese vines, with some new plantings being made in the past few years on some high altitude terraces far above the village.  Marco’s wines are made in the mold of the old-school Tuscan peasant style wines, yet they show the care and skill of a true craftsman.  Natural fermentations, long elevage and zero or minimal sulfur are paramount methods of Tanganelli.

The two white wines, Anatrino and Anatraso both come from one very old vineyard that’s about 3 hectares in size.  It is believed, both by Marco and the University of Siena, that these are the oldest parcels of trebbiano and malvasia in Tuscany; many vines are nearly 110 years old and the entire plot has never been touched by chemicals or pesticides…a rare find anywhere in Tuscany or Italy for that matter.

Anatrino (little duck) is skin-contact malvasia and trebbiano. Some vintages of this wine are wilder than others, but this one is just darned tasty. It’s an orange wine with roughly one week of skin contact; it’s savory, aromatic, orange-essence(d), herbal-tea inflected, layered, and elegantly textured. We had a glass at Oberlin with their black pepper linguine and it was perfecto!

MicroBio Correcaminos Rosé 2017, Castilla y León

We just got the new vintage of this natural favorite by Ismael Gozalo, the Wizard of Verdejo. Here’s what importer Alvaro de la Viña has to say about Ismael: “he practices his sorcery in his medieval underground cellar located in his native town of Nieva. Barrels, fudres, anforas, damejeannes, stainless…young, old, skin contact, sparkling, biological and oxidative aging…you name it, he’s got it…Ismael’s family owns some of the oldest (between 100-200 years old) ungrafted pre-phylloxera vines, most of which in the town of Nieva, province of Segovia between 800-900 meters of altitud. Characterized by it’s sandy soils, these head trained vines have never seen any chemicals over the different generations that have cared for them.”

This rosé is mostly old-vine Tempranillo, and it is like biting into a ripe, juicy cherry. It’s soft and enveloping, like a wine snuggie, which we could all probably use right about now. The finish has a slight oxidative note, which lends it a little dash of intrigue. All around gluggability. Unfiltered / unsulfured.

Domaine de Clovallon Les Indigenes Rouge 2016, Pays d’Herault 

This is the first vintage of this wine from Alix Roque, who learned how to make wine from her mother Catherine Roque, of Mas d’Alezon in Faugeres. Both of these properties were originally established by Catherine, who is a pioneer in natural winemaking in Languedoc-Roussillon. Clovallon is a certified biodynamic, high-elevation property dense with old vine plantings of indigenous grapes. Here’s the note from the importer, Wine Traditions: The cuvée “Les Indigènes” is produced from a single “clos” of less than a hectare that was planted around two hundred years ago and retains pre-phylloxera vines. As was the custom “back in the day” the vineyard was co-planted with a wide variety of grape types both white and red. Most of the grapes have been identified and include Carignan, Cinsault, Clairette, Grenache, Grenache Blanc. Grenache Gris, Macabeu, Malvasia, Muscat a Petits Grains, Ugni Blanc, Aramon, Terret, and Jacquet. The clos itself sits high above the town of Bedarieux and is accessible only by a narrow lane that winds its way up from the town to the vineyard at the top of the hill. It is hidden from the eye because it is both walled and shielded by fruit trees. To gain entrance to the small vineyard one has to pass through an entrance gate and then a bit further on pass through a doorway framed by a stone arch giving the whole experience a “secret garden” quality. All varieties are co-fermented in old oak foudres using indigenous yeasts and without temperature control. The wine is unfiltered and unfined.

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM

March 16, 2018

Alkoomi Frankland River Rosé, 2017 Australia

Alkoomi is a large property just outside the tiny town of Frankland River, in western Australia’s most isolated wine-growing region. It’s been in the same family since 1946, when it was originally purchased by Vic and Netta Lange as a mixed grain and livestock farm. Their son Merv took over the property when Vic retired, and in 1971, his wife Judy decided to plant one hectare of Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, and a little bit of Shiraz and Malbec. The first vintage was in 1976; instead of selling off their grapes, they decided to build a winery and make the wine themselves. They completed the winery in time for the 1979 vintage, and Merv and Judy went on to become award winning ambassadors for the Frankland River emerging wine region. In 2010, their daughter Sandy took over the property, along with her husband Rod Hallet.

Alkoomi has worked to reduce its carbon footprint in recent years by installing solar panels, and upgrading their tank refrigeration system to make it more efficient. They have a ‘wall-to-wall’ grass policy, which uses clover and rye grass between rows and under vines. The plantings control weeds, encourage diverse soil microbiology, and improve water retention. Weed control in colder months is by grazing sheep.

This rosé is 100% estate grown Petit Verdot that was left on its lees for 4 weeks after fermentation. The tart, fresh, cranberry notes on the entry are tempered by a slight creamy texture mid-palate, then there’s strawberry, violets, and dried herbs to bring it all home. It would be an all-summer-long-sipper, if we could’ve gotten more than three cases. At under 15 bucks, it’s hard to say no to it.

Bethel Heights Oregon Pinot Gris 2015 

This old-school property in Oregon’s Eola-Amity Hills has been a family operation since its founding in 1977. No time to write all the producer notes unfortunately, but here’s a link to the very thorough and descriptive website for background. This is a rich & fruity wine, with perfectly balanced acidity that offsets the intensity, and lends a buoyancy to the depth and creaminess.  It’s a delicious mouthful.

Swick Rosé of Pinot Noir Pétillant Naturel 2017, Willamette Valley, OR

When writing today’s note, we realized that we tasted the 2016 of this exactly one year ago, so it’s a little bit of deja Swick all over again. We’re going to recycle a portion of last year’s note, because recycling is good, and sometimes we’re lazy:

This is Rhode Island, Joe Swick’s home away from home, so we probably don’t need to tell you the Swick story. But if you want it, here’s the short version: http://www.jennyandfrancois.com/wines/usa/joe-swick/#7

This wine is from grapes from nearly 20-year-old vines that are hand-harvested, then pressed as whole bunches. Indigenous yeast fermentation is for 3 weeks in 6—7 year old barrels. The wine was bottled with a small amount of residual sugar, and finished fermenting in the bottle with no filtration and no sulfur added. It was then hand-disgorged, recapped, and sent out into the world. The 2017 is just as vibrant, hazy, and delicious as the 2016. It, too, will be gone before we know it, and too soon.

Tanganelli Cibreo Rosso, Tuscany

These notes from the importer sum it all up perfectly: Hidden on the outskirts of Castiglion Fiorentino, in the eastern corner of Tuscany is the tiny farm of Marco Tanganelli.  Marco is first and foremost an agriculturalist, garnering a regional reputation as the best source of advice when it comes to tending vines.  Carlo Tanganelli, Marco’s father, established an agricultural nursery over 40 years ago in order to preserve and propagate the local grape, olive and orchard varieties.  The Tanganelli family always made wine, mostly for themselves and locals but didn’t start to bottle and sell their wine until the late 90’s.

Today Marco farms some 5 hectares of very old trebbiano, malvasia and sangiovese vines, with some new plantings being made in the past few years on some high altitude terraces far above the village.  Marco’s wines are made in the mold of the old-school Tuscan peasant style wines, yet they show the care and skill of a true craftsman.  Natural fermentations, long elevage and zero or minimal sulfur are paramount methods of Tanganelli.

The two white wines, Anatrino and Anatraso both come from one very old vineyard that’s about 3 hectares in size.  It is believed, both by Marco and the University of Siena, that these are the oldest parcels of trebbiano and malvasia in Tuscany; many vines are nearly 110 years old and the entire plot has never been touched by chemicals or pesticides…a rare find anywhere in Tuscany or Italy for that matter.

Cibreo is mostly Sangiovese and Merlot, and a little but of Syrah. It’s named after a restaurant, which takes its name from an iconic Tuscan dish made from rooster. It’s medium-bodied, food-friendly, and satisfying.

Friday Tasting in the Shop; South American Wines: 5PM – 8PM

December 1, 2017

Meet Nieves Edwards, who represents Clos de Luz (where her brother is winemaker) and Andes Plateau. We’re tasting all reds this evening, on the mid-to-upper end of the price range (thinking gifts) from $24 to $60. Notes are below.

Clos de Luz Valle del Colchagua Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Massal 1945’, 2014

Clos de Luz Valle del Colchagua Carmenere ‘Massal 1945’, 2014

Notes from the importer: Clos de Luz is a family winery located in Almahue Valley, known as the birthplace of Carmenere in Chile – Carmenere represents 75% of the plantings. Winemaker Gabriel Edwards currently runs his family domaine. The estate, bought by his great grandfather in 1892, now spreads over 33 hectares of vineyards, planted in 1945 by Gabriel’s grandmother, Luz. They are some of the oldest Carmenere vineyards in Chile, and probably in the world. The grapes were being sold for more than 20 years to Casa Lapostolle, until Gabriel decided to return to Chile and make his own wine.

Almahue Valley is located 70 miles South East of Santiago, 40 miles from the Pacific Ocean and 28 miles from the Andes Mountains. The viticulture history of the valley started in the XVIIth century during the Spanish colonization era. Modern viticulture started in 1933, when Gabriel’s ancestors planted French grape varieties such as what they thought was Merlot but later was discovered to be Carmenere, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Climate: rain reaches to up to 22 inches during the winter, on average. The growing season (Oct-April) offers beautiful days and warm temperatures with no rain. There are cool breezes in the afternoon and night time temperatures are cold. A wide temperature fluctuation between day and night allows to obtain high concentration in color and tannin. The grapes ripen slowly and reach ideal maturity while retaining a high level of natural acidity, ensuring a long aging potential.

The domaine’s vineyards are 100% ungrafted and certified organic by Ceres. Because Chile is isolated from the phylloxera, they are planted “franc de pied”, giving a unique character to the wines. The vineyards are also 100% Massal selection from old vineyards, as opposed to a large majority of vineyards planted using clonal selection (all genetically identical plants). Massal selection consists in selecting good and healthy vines, and then propagating them from cuttings. This method preserves the natural diversity of the plants. The vineyards are plowed by horses, as the twisted trunks of the old vines make it impossible to use a tractor.

Andes Plateau 700 Red Blend 2014, Central Valley, Chile

Andes Plateau is inspired by the the altitude, colors, sky and terroir of the Andes Mountain range.

After working for two years at San Pedro Vineyards in Chile, enologist Felipe Uribe got his Masters in viticulture and enology from the Polytechnic University in Madrid. He then returned to Chile where he was assistant winemaker at Santa Helena Vineyard. From there he went to work at La Crema, then back to Chile where he was assistant winemaker at DeMartino, before becoming chief winemaker at Miravalle Vineyard.

700 is a red blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Syrah, 2% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Carignan. It’s fresh as the mountain air, and imbued with mint, black pepper, and crunchy black fruit. Organic.

Bodega Chacra, Pinot Noir Cincuenta y Cinco, Patagonia, Argentina

Notes are from the importer, and here’s a nice New York Times article on the producer. And here’s a podcast.

Bodega Chacra is located in the Rio Negro Valley of northern Patagonia. The property’s location in the arid central Argentine desert is tempered by the confluence of the Neuquen and Limay Rivers, both of which flow from the Andes and converge in the Rio Negro.

The climate is dry and the area gets an average of seven inches of rainfall annually. This aridity, coupled with the natural barrier of the surrounding desert, results in a complete absence of phylloxera. The soil of the Rio Negro Valley, an ancient riverbed composed of limestone, sand, and clay, coupled with the Valley’s pristine pollution-free air and tremendous luminosity, makes for ideal conditions to grow Pinot Noir.

In 2004, Piero Incisa della Rocchetta purchased the first of Bodega Chacra’s vineyards, a property with an existing, though abandoned, vineyard planted in 1932. This vineyard of gnarled and ungrafted Pinot Noir vines was later added to a neighboring vineyard of vines planted in 1955. From these two old vine vineyards, Piero produces two distinct single vineyard Pinot Noirs. They are named “Treinta y Dos” and “Cincuenta y Cinco” after the dates of their respective plantings.

Cincuenta y Cinco comes from vineyards planted in 1955 which gently rest on a sea of pebbles, typical in riverbed soils. It is fermented with its whole bunches at very low temperatures, enhancing the floral characteristics of the wine. It is essential 90% whole cluster with the rest of the stems used to make the pied de cuve. Cincuenta y Cinco has the most tension of all of Piero’s wines. It is aged in a combination of mostly neutral oak barrels and cement.

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

Oct. 13, 2017

We’re starting with a new vintage of an old favorite: Romuald Petit Bourgogne Blanc Chardonnay 2016

This 7-hectare estate is made up of small plots of different age & origin that are farmed without chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides. There are young vines planted by winemaker Romuald Petit, and others over a hundred years old. Each parcel produces grapes with very different qualities that are vinified separately & assembled just before bottling.

Old vines combined with heavy clay and fossil rich limestone soil add depth and mineral intensity to this un-oaked chardonnay. After vinification it’s left on its lees for 8 months, adding further textural nuances and preserving freshness and acidity.

Laurence et Rémi Dufaitre ‘Prémices’ Beaujolais 2016

100% Gamay from 50-70 year old vines; grapes are hand-harvested and fermented and aged in concrete, with minimal sulfur. Light and easy, floral and elegant, this is still serious Beaujolais, but a touch less serious than Dufaitre’s Brouilly and Cotes de Brouilly.

Notes from the importer: Rémi makes wines in a classic carbonic style, using whole bunches, which are carefully sorted to avoid broken grapes or rot. He adds some carbon dioxide gas to protect the grapes at the beginning of fermentation, and does not use any temperature control. He avoids foot stomping the grapes unless he sees some volatility starting to creep in. His goal is to have as little juice in the tank as possible. He also performs routine analysis to see how the yeast is performing and whether or not there is any volatility. Remi makes all his wines with the same method, thus we can really see and taste the differences between the sites, with minor differences in the elevage of each cuvée. He tastes each cuvée before bottling, and may decide to add between zero and 2 mg of sulfur, depending on how stabile he judges the wine to be.

Domaine Vincent Paris, Collines Rhodaniennes Syrah Sélection, 2016

1997 was Vincent Paris’ first vintage, and now, at 43 years old, he produces up to 3,000 cases per year on his 8 hectare estate (he owns 6 hectares, rents 2), with 20% of that coming to the states. Paris doesn’t have an underground cellar, as his facility is located on a shallower water table, so he makes his classic, elegant wines out of an above ground, industrial warehouse. He’s in the process of building his own wine-making facility on the land where he grows apricots.

Vincent is the nephew of Robert Michel, who is a respected winemaker in Cornas, and from whom Vincent rents vines. He inherited most of his vines from his grandfather, and some of those are 90 years old. They are located mostly along the southeast facing Cornas slope and a small lot in St. Joseph. He farms sustainably, organically, and biodynamically (depending on the plot—Cornas Granit 30 is biodynamic). All fruit is destemmed, and he uses only steel tanks for vinification. Only native yeast is used in the fermentation process and no new wood is ever incorporated, but some of his wines are matured in old oak for up to a year. Wines are bottled unfiltered and unfined.

This syrah is from young Crozes Hermitage vines from multiple parcels with varied exposure. The grapes are 100% destemmed, then undergo temperature controlled fermentation to preserve the vibrant fruit, followed by 9 months aging in tank. This is a bang for your buck, welcome to fall wine.

Vincent Paris Cornas Granit 30, 2014

Granit 30 is Syrah from young vines (10-20 years old) grown at the bottom and the top of the slope. The ’30’ refers to the degree of the slope; the ‘Granit’ is rather self-explanatory. This is a beautiful Cornas from a rising star. It’s pure, dark-fruited, earthy, peppery…

Spanish Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5PM – 8PM

–with Peter Buckley of Vineyard Road, Friday, September 22nd.

All notes courtesy of the distributor:

Cellers de Can Suriol, Reserva Brut Nature (2013)

Appellation: Cava • Subzone: Alt Penedès • Climate: Mediterranean • Varieties: 40% Macabeo, 30% Xarlel-lo, 30% Parellada  • Soil: Calcareous Clay • Elevation: 250-350 meters • Vine Age: 25 years • Pruning: Espaldera • Farming: Certified Organic

The Suriol family has lived and made wine in the same masia, the Castell de Grabuac, in Penedès since the 15th century. They produce Cavas and still wines using traditional, non-interventionist methods, indigenous grape varieties vinified by parcel with native yeasts, local chestnut wood for barrel aging, and corks from the local forest. The results are some of the most complex and layered Penedès wines that we have tasted.

The Suriol estate is located in the village of Font Rubí in the Alt Penedès, just north of Vilafranca and west of Sant Sadurni d’Anoia, and a one-hour drive from Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea. Their 25 hectares of vineyards are divided up into 20 different microplots and surround the masia, and have been certified organic since 1996. They employ biodynamic practices as well, utilizing native plants for preparations.

All Suriol Cavas are brut nature and vintage dated, and raised on the lees in bottle until order, with the disgorgement date noted on the back label. Fruit for the Cava Brut Nature comes from eight parcels planted in the late 1980’s. The grapes are handharvested, pressed, and fermented in steel vats, transferred to underground concrete vats for malolactic fermentation over the winter, then bottle aged for a minimum of 15 months, although 25-40 months is typically where they find the fruity and yeasty/toasty flavors are in perfect balance. It is a singular Cava with brisk acidity, creamy texture, and flavors of orchard fruits, nuts, fresh bread, and sea salt.

Alvaro Bueno, Benaza Godello (2016)

100% Godello from 20 -40 year old vines at 400 metres elevation. The wine region Monterrei (in Galicia) is located just above Portugal in the province of Ourense. Monterrei is a relatively new D.O. but possesses a long history of winegrowing, and at the moment is experiencing a renaissance in winemaking. The climate is relatively dry and warm for Galicia and more continental than Atlantic. The soils are a mix of clay and alluvial. Wine is fermented in steel and aged for 12 months on the lees.

Dominio del Urogallo, Fanfarria (2015)

Asturias, Spain • Appellation: Cangas • Organic, Biodynamic

Urogallo Fanfarria Tinto is a red wine produced in Cangas by the Dominio de Urogallo winery in Cangas de Narcea, Asturias. Dominio del Urogallo is a project founded by Nicolás Marcos and his partner Fran Asencio in Asturias. Native to Toro, Nico discovered his personal and most revolutionary project in the Cangas area, with native varieties like the Verdejo Tinto or the Albarín Tinta, an Atlantic climate and soil made up of quartz, slate and anthracite. He cultivates the vineyards following the precepts of biodynamic viticulture and takes care of the fruit during production, without filtering or adding anything.

Urogallo Fanfarria Tinto is the freshest wine in the winery, produced with the Mencía and Albarín Negro varieties. The grape is destemmed and ferments in stainless steel tanks, the wine is then decanted into used barrels where malolactic fermentation and stabilization take place for 6 months.

Alfredo Maestro, Viña Almate (2016)

Grower: Alfredo Maestro • Appellation: Vdt Castilla y Léon • Localities: Peñafiel, Valtiendas • Climate: Continental • Grape(s): Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) • Soil(s): River Stones, Clay, Alluvial • Elevation: 700-1,000 meters • Vine Age 10-80 Years Old • Farming: Practicing Organic • Pruning: En Vaso, Espaldera • Production 830 cases

The affable iconoclast Alfredo Maestro established his small bodega in 1998 in his hometown of Peñafiel, Ribera del Duero. Alfredo seeks out neglected vineyards around Castilla y León and Castilla-La Mancha, takes the parcels over, and works them organically. In the cellar, Alfredo works as naturally as anyone we have seen in Spain, eliminating all winemaking additives – including sulfur. Over time, Alfredo has accumulated 9 hectares across Castilla y León and La Mancha along with establishing a second small bodega near Madrid.

This cuvee is meant to express the terroir of Castilla y León in its purest form. Almate is the name of the first vineyard that Alfredo planted and gives the name to his bodega and to Alfredo’s entry-level Duero wine. This cuvee is made from fruit sourced from various plots in Valtiendas, an area located at 1,000 meters just south of the Ribera del Duero, as well as Peñafiel, Ribera del Duero.

Viña Almate comes from 100% Tinto Fino, aka the local clone of Tempranillo grown on river stones, clay, and clay-calcareous soils. Fermented 80% whole-cluster with wild yeasts in steel vats; Raised in neutral French oak for 2-4 months with one racking; Unfined & unfiltered; Very low SO2.

The vineyards for this wine are located in the Ribera del Duero and Valtiendas, where the climate is harshly continental with cold winters, hot days and cold nights during the ripening season, which gives wines with robust fruit and brisk acidity if the grapes are picked at the right time. The biggest threat to viticulture is frost in the spring and fall. The short growing season is ideal for Tempranillo, an early ripening grape.

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop – All SelectioNaturel

June 9, 2017

We’re excited about tonight’s line-up of SelectioNaturel wines, and grateful to importer Matt Mollo, and Wine Wizards rep Kat Cummings for providing us with such colorful notes for this newsletter; they make us feel like we’re there!

Fondo Bozzole Foxi Trebbiano Romagnolo 2015

Matt’s notes: Brothers Franco and Mario Accorsi are farmers at heart, more specifically they primarily cultivate orchards filled with local varieties of pears and apples. The farm was run by their grandfather Ezio who raised cows and produced cheese sold in the local markets around south eastern Lombardy. Today Franco and Mario have integrated orchard fruit production with several small parcels of old vineyards and focus on producing wines from near-lost indigenous varieties of lambrusco. All the vineyard work is done organically (certified), yields are limited and natural fermentations and low sulfur additions are key to their production. The OltrePo` Mantovano is, as the name suggests, on the banks of the Po` River Valley to the south of the village of Mantova. Soils are clay and limestone mixed with alluvial deposits left by the river. This unique and tiny DOC is the only appellation outside of Emilia-Romagna that produces true lambrusco.

Kat’s tasting notes: The thing that appeals most to me about Foxi is that it’s an entirely new experience every time I drink it. I always forget just how much I love it. It’s fresh and lively and immediate but also a little round and ever-so-slightly caramel. And dangerously easy to drink. Better to have two bottles. Also don’t you want to sing that Fergie song about it and say “foxi” instead of “flossy”

G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S

Rabasco Vino Rosato Cancelli 2016

Kat’s notes: Iole Rabasco is magic. She grows mostly old-vine Montepulciano (with some old-vine Trebbiano and olives and magic fagioli perle thrown in for good measure) on her 10 hectare estate in the hills of Pianella. Another wonderfully magical thing to know: there are crazy old (think 130 year old) olive trees right outside her front door. I know because I saw them when her family generously welcomed a group of loopy, wine-weary travelers into their home this spring. For dinner we were offered not only the aforementioned perle beans alongside thousands of pastas and meats, BUT ALSO bread baked by Iole’s mom, Giulia, using yeast from the second racking of Salita Rosso, Iole’s red cuvée from the ultra steep La Salita vineyard. But I digress.

Pianella is situated in the north-central corner of Abruzzo, an area blessed with a unique set of micro-climates — the Adriatic is some 40 kilometers away, offering tempering maritime influences, while the base of Gran Sasso flanks the western edge of the Rabasco property. I’m assured that some short months before our March visit there was snow piled everywhere.

No chemicals ever touch Iole’s vines or the wines in her cellar. The Rosato Cancelli is direct press Montepulciano from the Cancelli vineyard site, a bowl that starts at the base of the La Salita slalom run and jumps a small road to climb the more gentle adjacent slope. This wine is part of a serious Abruzzo tradition — no skin maceration as is the custom, a fact belied by its electric raspberry hue. In 2016, Iole opted to ferment the rosato in cement and then age in stainless steel (rather than her classic fiberglass damigiana used in years past), producing a super fresh and vibrant wine laced with tension and electricity. This isn an all year round, family sort of wine, meant for pairing with whatever brings your family to the table. It is pure joy, refined and elegant but still ready to dance barefoot at the end of the night. To recap, it is magic. – Kat Cummings

Ceppaiolo:

Matt’s notes: This tiny property acts as the purest, most rudimentary “laboratory” for Danilo Marcucci’s natural wine designs. Here no compromise is taken. Given the exceedingly small scale of the property, 4 rows of vines that total less than 1 hectare, Danilo and his friend Riccardo can do things on a different wavelength…no time frames, no yielding. The beauty of Ceppaiolo is that it displays the classic “contrasto Italiano” with clarity…plain and simple, Ceppaiolo is a dump. Nothing more then a run down cement farm house that lies mostly in disrepair with bombed out old Fiats and farm equipment scattered around the property. There’s no electricity, no bathroom. Just a 4 rows of some of the oldest, rarest and most ‘antique’ varieties of Umbrian vines, all white, that can be found in the region; trubiano (trebbiano dorato), malvasia bianca, grechetto, fumaiola (a rare variety of verdicchio), uva pecora, san colombana. Winemaking is beyond rudimentary…no pumping, nothing more then 1 old barrel, a couple resin tanks, a cement vat and some demijohns. Here the ‘terroir’ is not the soil or the altitude but the old vine material and the vision of Danilo and Riccardo, basta.

Ceppaiolo Bianco 2105: All the white varieties, harvested fully mature. De-stemmed, skin contact for 2 days. Aged in resin and bottle.

Ceppaiolo Rosso 2014: Sangiovese, Vernaccia rossa, canaiolo. 10 days skin maceration, aged in old barrel and bottle. No sulfur.

Here’s the whole newsletter.

Tastings in the Shop for Memorial Day/Brown Grad Weekend 2017!

This is always one of the busiest weekends of the year for us, and it’s also one of the most fun. This Friday will be extra-special (and extra fun!) since we’ll have the guys from Farmer Willie’s with us, followed by a French wine tasting with Leigh of Wine Traditions. Our Saturday beer tasting will feature a visit from CT’s Thimble Island Brewing Co. Swing on by, grab some sips. And happy graduation, happy long weekend!

FRIDAY 3-5PM: FARMER WILLIE’S Alcoholic Ginger Beer 

FRIDAY 5-8PM WINE TRADITIONS with Leigh Ranucci

SATURDAY 3-6PM: THIMBLE ISLAND BREWING

Farmer Willie's

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wine Traditions

Friday Wine Tasting in the shop, 5-8PM

May 19, 2017

Domaine Philemon Perlé Gaillac Blanc 

perle

Perlé Gaillac Blanc is all fresh deliciousness. It’s 60% Loin de L’oeil, 20% Muscadelle and 20% Sauvignon Blanc. The property in southwest France has been in the Vieules family for over 200 years; today Mathieu Vieules grows wheat, sunflowers and grapes in equal proportion.

This wine is the perfect aperitif or accompaniment to warm-weather food: it’s lively, citrusy, ever-so-slightly spritzy, and balanced out by a bit of garden herbs and green apple. And it’s well under 15 bucks.

 

AJ Adam Riesling Trocken 2015, Mosel 

Here’s a good telling of the Andreas Adam story. And here are more notes from the importer (clearly we’re too hot for writing): This Estate Trocken (Gutsriesling) is entirely from Dhron. Like a good Bourgogne Blanc it’s sourced from several top vineyards to make a wine that speaks to the vintage, region and style of the producer. The fruit harvested was very clean and at about 79 oechsle, similar to his Hofberg Kabinett. Fermented with spontaneous yeast in stainless steel and a bit of old fuder, the fermentation stopped at 7 grams of RS, “where it finds it’s balance”.

Champagne Moutard Brut Grand Cuvée NV

The Moutard family has been farming in Buxeuil, in the Côte des Bar since 1642, and has been making wine since 1927. In addition to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, they also grow heirloom varieties Petit Meslier and Arbanne on their 20 hectares of vines. Grand Cuvée is 100% Pinot Noir, and like all the champagne produced at Moutard, it spends a minimum of 3 years on the lees. It’s a rich, ripe, and approachable style, with nuts and brioche on the nose, and a creamy texture. At under $40, it’s very affordable farmer fizz.

Étienne Courtois L’Icaunais 2013, Loire

Notes from the importer:  Claude Courtois has created a small farm which exemplifies what biodynamic is in terms of biodiversity and self-sufficiency, although he does not consider himself to be a biodynamic grower. He farms a balanced & completely chemical free 13-hectares of vines in the heart of the VDP Sologne. Courtois also grows organic wheat, which he feeds to his cows. “Nothing comes into my vineyard,” he says, meaning no chemicals ever. He has created a well-balanced, bio-diversity with trees, fruit trees, vines, woods, and fields. No pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers, or synthetic chemicals of any kind are allowed on the vines or in the soil of the vineyards. He has his own methods for promoting the diverse life of the soil. The grapes—Gamay, Cabernet Franc, Côt (Malbec), Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc & Pineau d’ Aunis—are harvested by hand and only indigenous yeasts are used during fermentation. Claude regards the soil on his farm as a living organism. He lives in harmony with nature and the wines he crafts are a pure and vibrant testament to outstanding Biodynamic winemaking.

Claude, who is growing older, has started to pass off the winemaking to his son Etienne, who is already showing immense promise…read more.

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!