Nov. 4th, 2016
Didier Tripoz took over this 13ha domaine located in the southern part of the Mâcon region in 1989. Catherine & Didier work the land like their families have for generations: they allow grass to grow between the rows and plow regularly to encourage an active biological environment. They practice “lutte raisonée” (the reasoned-fight, or sustainable farming) on vines that average 45 years old.
Clos des Tournons comes from a one hectare plot of 48-year-old vines in a nine-hectare monopole that is sub-divided into 12 different parcels determined by the age of the vines. The grapes are vinified separately in stainless steel and cement vats before blending. This wine is dry & lively, with a bit of stony minerality and crisp apple. The palate fleshes out a bit and hints at what this wine will become with a few years or more of age: a touch of vanilla, honey, and the faintest whiff of butter. Enjoy it with seafood, poultry, mild cheeses and appetizers.
La Clarine Farm, Sierra Nevada Foothills, CA
La Clarine Farm is 10 acres of grapes, goats, dogs, cats, chickens, gophers, and myriad other flora and fauna, situated at 2600 feet elevation in California’s Sierra Nevada Foothills.
We like the ‘about us’ description on their website: Caroline Hoel and Hank Beckmeyer started La Clarine Farm in 2001 and quickly became swamped with work with little monetary gain. Still, they love what they do… Something about that sounds weirdly familiar…we can’t quite put our finger on it… At La Clarine Farm, they make wine as minimally as possible, without chemicals or additives. Fermentations are spontaneous and can sometimes last up to 6 months. Aging is in neutral containers (never any new oak) without sulfur. Only a tiny bit of sulfur is added at bottling, to ensure that the wine makes it unscathed to its varied destinations.
They grow a field blend of various red varieties, including Tempranillo, Syrah, Tannat, Grenache, Negroamaro and Cabernet Sauvignon, and purchase other grapes from vineyards farmed similarly and that they wish they owned.
La Clarine Farm 2015 Jambalaia Blanc
This is a blend of 57% Viognier, 36% Marsanne, 4% Albariño & 3% Petit Manseng from various plots in El Dorado County. It’s whole cluster pressed, tank fermented, and left on the lees for approximately 10 months, then bottled unfiltered and unfined, with barely any SO2– just 15ppm. The Viognier shows through nicely, with lots of peaches and perfume. Full spontaneous malolactic adds weight and depth to the palate. Lively acidity and juicy fruit round out the flavors, and lead into a slightly nutty and gamy finish. 244 cases made.
La Clarine Farm 2015 Jambalaia Rouge
This is a blend of 59% Mourvedre, 21% Marsanne, 15% Grenache, and 5% Syrah from one single little plot on volcanic loam soil. Yields were way down on Grenache this vintage, so a touch of syrah was added. This wine is all about juicy drinkability, bright red fruit, blueberries and blackberries, vibrant acidity and barely there tannins. It takes a little chill quite nicely, and is versatile with a wide variety of foods, from casual pizza and burgers, to roasted poultry and veggie dishes. 500 cases made.
L’enclos des Braves 2013 Les Gourmands Gaillac Rouge
Importer notes: After having worked at other wineries for over 12 years, in 2005 Nicolas Lebrun found the plot he was looking for: L’Enclos des Braves. This small hilly 6 ha (14.82 acres) vineyard was topped with limestone-rich soils and a thick layer of clay, perfect for drainage. The vines were all 20 to 35 years old, and Nicolas took to them like a father to his kids.
Treating them in accordance with Biodynamic principles, he uses only indigenous yeasts, manually harvests everything, and adds barely any SO2 at bottling. Like children, he lets the wines take their time. To put it mildly, he is making beautifully wild and soulful wines with these local grapes.
Les Gourmands Rouge is a blend of Braucol & Duras that’s fermented in cement, then aged in a mixture of mostly cement, and some large old oak. This wine has a savory nose of licorice, cedar, pepper and dark fruit. On the palate it’s savory again, and herbal, with a touch of smoke and meat. The elegant texture evolves as the wine is exposed to air; the finish is long and lip-smacking, with fine tannins goading you to grab just one more helping of that wild boar stew! Or cassoulet, confit, pate…this is a food friendly little wine.
Sept. 23, 2016
Marco Felluga is considered to be one of the highest quality estates in Collio. The family history goes back to the 1800s in Istria, a peninsula in the Adriatic Sea at the junction of Croatia, Slovenia and Italy. In the 1930s,Giovanni Felluga moved to Friuli; Marco, the youngest of his seven children, continued the family business and in 1956 founded the estate that bears his name.
“Just Molomatta” is a blend of Pinot Bianco, Friulano, and Ribolla Gialla. from vineyards located in Molomatta. It’s fermented in stainless steel then left on the lees for about 6 months. This is a pleasantly perfumed wine with flavors of apples and pears balanced by a slightly salty note. It’s lushly textured, balanced and elegant.
Forlorn Hope “Nodosaur” 2014, Calaveras County, CA
The phrase ‘forlorn hope’ is from the mid-16th century Dutch expression ‘verloren hoop’, which originally denoted a band of soldiers picked to begin an attack, many of whom would not survive. Over the years it’s come to mean more of a persistent hope that’s never to be fulfilled. Producer Mathew Rorick explains his reasons behind the name: we love the longshots. We love the outsiders, the lost causes, the people/projects/ideas abandoned as not having a chance in the world. We love the longshots because we’re all about tenacity, we relish a challenge, and – we admit it – we love us a good tussle… (these wines are) rare creatures from appellations unknown and varieties uncommon, these wines are our brave advance party, our pride and joy – our Forlorn Hope.
Producer notes: The Nodosaur is a vineyard blend of fruit grown on our estate Rorick Vineyard at 2000′ elevation in Calaveras County. The 2014 vintage is a blend of Picpoul, Verdelho, Albariño, and a dashing of Muscat. All fruit was hand harvested; a portion of each was foot tread prior to pressing to increase aromatic depth and textural intensity. The wine was fermented in a combination of open top fermentor, stainless steel, and 500L puncheon; it saw 14 months elevage before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Brightly aromatic and fiercely structured, it bears the cut and definition that have become hallmarks of wines grown on our limestone and schist soils. 207 cases produced
Fedellos do Couto “Lomba Dos Ares” 2014, Ribeira Sacra
A Galician blend of Mencía, Mouratón, Garnacha Tintorera, Caiño, Bastardo sourced from 70 year old, high elevation, organically farmed vines on the slopes of the Bibei River. Fedellos (brats) do Couto is a young project (2013 was their first vintage) started by four friends with with backgrounds in wine: Luis Taboada (whose family has owned the 12th century manor (couto) on the 4 hectare property for generations); viticulturist Pablo Soldavini, and winemakers Curro Barreño and Jesús Olivares. Pablo is an advocate of organic farming; Curro and Jesús come from Sierra de Gredos, a mountainous region in central Spain, where they worked with winemakers Dani Landi and Fernando Garcia, of Comando G.
All harvesting here is done by hand. The grapes for Lomda dos Ares are fermented in whole bunches with indigenous yeasts at low temperatures, then aged in neutral French oak, mainly 500L demi-muids. The wine is expressive and fresh, with a slatey, savory minerality and a satisfying depth and richness.
La Querciolina “Istriciaia”, DOC Maremma, 2011
La Querciolina is a side project for bothers Lorenzo and Luciano Sassetti, who bought this previously abandoned farm in 1999. In 2000 they began reclaiming the land and replanting the vineyards with indigenous varieties. The Sasetti family goes back four generations in Tuscany, and in that time they have always farmed without chemicals. Like the mother estate, Pertimali di Livio Sassetti, La Querciolina is also certified organic. Maremma gained DOC status in 2011.
Istriciaia, which translates to “the place where the porcupine lives” is a blend of 80% Sangiovese and 20% Ciliegiolo. Cherries, blackberries and flowers, a fine-grained texture and bright and buoyant acidity, make this wine ever so delicious.
July 22, 2016
Folk Machine “White Light” 2015, CA
Folk Machine is part of Kenny Likitprakong’s Hobo Wine Company, which he started 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. From the start, Likitprakong set out to make lower sugar, lower alcohol, higher acid, food friendly wines.
White Light is a blend of 50% Tocai Friulano from Mendocino, 30% Riesling from Santa Lucia Highlands, and 20% Verdelho from Suisan Valley. Everything was picked early and fermented in stainless steel without commercial yeast. The final wine is just 11.9% alcohol; it’s light on its feet, a touch salty, and pleasantly aromatic. Pair it with seafood, salads, light summery meals, and Wilco on the stereo.
Les Tètes, “Tete Rosé” 2015, Touraine, France
Les Tètes is a certified organic producer in Touraine, owned and operated by a small group of friends. They describe their wines like this: Les Tètes is about friendship, and wines you drink with friends. We hand-pick the best grapes and keep the vinification completely natural, every step of the way. Fermentation is with wild yeasts only, which allows the purest expression of each varietal. And our wines contain minimal sulfites, for the best flavor and no headaches!
No headaches for The Heads! Rosé Head is 60% Grolleau and 40% Gamay, from vines that average 25 years, grown on clay and limestone. This is an enticing little wine. Low alcohol, sweet fruit, some funky grolleau/gamay antics. Yum.
Domaine du Mortier “Les Pins” 2014, Bourgueil
Domaine du Mortier is a 9 hectare, certified biodynamic property located in Saint Nicolas de Bourgeuil, owned and operated by brothers Fabien and Cyril Boisard. Here the brothers 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. They also promote eco-diversity in their vineyards, by planting diverse crops amongst the vines. With this level of discipline and commitment, they always produce top notch wines.
Les Pins is 100$ Cabernet Franc from one parcel of 60 year old vines, grown on clay and chalk. The grapes are hand harvested, and then the whole bunches go into 50 hectoliter oak vats for a traditional fermentation at low temperature (usually lasts about 20 days). They use the lees from the previous vintage to start the fermentation. The bottom of the tank is lined with boxes so that the fresh grapes are not in contact with any of the juice at the bottom. The wine then stays in tank until it’s bottled with only 15mg per liter of sulfur. Les Pins, like all wines here, is bottled unfiltered and unfined.
Bodegas Lecea “Corazon de Lago” Rioja, 2014
Bodegas Lecea is a multi-generational producer in Rioja, Spain. They have 25 hectares of vines that average 25 years old, but the vines for their Crianza and Reserva wines are at least 50 years old.
Corazon de Lago is hand harvested and then made via carbonic maceration, which is unusual in Rioja, but results in a wine that blends bright, clean and fruity characteristics with darker, earthier and spicier tones.
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.
June 3, 2016
This sparkling rosé is from third generation winemaker Alberto Ruggeri and sourced entirely from his family’s estate vineyards in Valdobbiadene. These vineyards have been in the Ruggeri family since the late 1800s. It’s a blend of Merlot and Chardonnay, fermented in stainless steel, and kept in tank until ready to ship. It’s fresh, bright and dry and makes for the perfect toast.
The Lieubeau family owns Domaine de la Fruitiere which is certifiedTerra Vitis. They farm over 40 hectares of Melon de Bourgogne on the granite for which the region is known. The domaine also produces Vin de Pays from Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. They keep yields as low as possible in order to emphasize varietal expression and not be overtaken by acid. All the vines are planted in rock, usually sheer cliffs, through which the vines must dig for meters to get at sources of water that are awash in wet rock. For this reason the wines of Fruitiere are quite evocative of rock and mineral, and are insanely clean and pure.
This 2014 Vignes Blanches is a blend of Melon de Bourgogne, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. It is so delicious. Just get it in your glass. It’s perfectly balanced, subtle – with notes of green apple and lemon – a touch salty, rocky for sure, and the texture (elegant, silty) just brings it all home. Get yourself some oysters and down this baby. When the 2014 is all gone, the 2015 is hot on its heels. It’s just a tad riper, but still hitting all the right notes.
This is a father and son estate on roughly 18 hectares of mostly south-facing vineyards. This Gruner grows on 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.
So we know we just went on about the Fruitiere, but this 2015 Gruner is so delicious too!! We can love more than one thing at one time. Again, the 2015 is riper, and that just emphasizes the fruit, here peaches, citrus, is that a little bit of banana? Maybe… But the mineral notes are still popping, it’s still light and refreshing and oh-so food friendly. It’s a no brainer, and it’s a liter.
This 100% Cinsault is made in 100 year old amphora 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 amphora, where they undergo carbonic maceration. It then rests in the same jug and is 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 savory but fresh, with lively acidity alongside earthy, floral, herbaceous notes.
May 27, 2016
We’ve got a little bit of symbolism happening in tonight’s tasting. We open with a French sparkler, and everyone knows that sparkling wine denotes celebrations and all things good and happy. We close our tasting with Forlorn Hope Mataro, in honor of Memorial Day. The phrase ‘forlorn hope’ is from the mid-16th century Dutch expression ‘verloren hoop’, which originally denoted a band of soldiers picked to begin an attack, many of whom would not survive. Over the years it’s come to mean more of a persistent hope that’s never to be fulfilled. Either way, it’s a strange name for a wine, but it makes sense, as producer Mathew Rorick describes it: we love the longshots. We love the outsiders, the lost causes, the people/projects/ideas abandoned as not having a chance in the world. We love the longshots because we’re all about tenacity, we relish a challenge, and – we admit it – we love us a good tussle… (these wines are) rare creatures from appellations unknown and varieties uncommon, these wines are our brave advance party, our pride and joy – our Forlorn Hope.
That resonates with us on so many levels…from the personal sacrifice to the championing of the underdog – the story is real.
Cheers, congratulations, and Happy Memorial Day from all of us at Campus!
Louis de Grenelle “Platine” NV Brut, Crémant de Loire, Saumur
Created in 1859, this is one of the oldest (and last) family owned sparkling wine houses in Saumur. Platine is a hand-harvested blend of 85% Chenin Blanc, 10% Chardonnay & 5% Cabernet Franc from limestone hillsides outside of Saumur. It’s made in the Champagne-method and aged for at least 18 months before being bottled at 7 grams dosage. This is a bang for your buck bubbly, with stones and hay, lemons and pears, a fine bead, and a delicate and delicious finish.
Pépière 2014 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Clos des Briords
2014 Loire Valley whites have been a real treat, and 2014 Clos de Briords is no exception. Marc Ollivier is tops in his field and it shows with this wine. It’s from 3 hectares of old vines planted on the granite of Chateau Thébaud. He hand harvests, uses natural yeasts, and the wine stays in contact with the lees until time of bottling (about 7 months). It’s then bottled with a very light filtration. 2014 is a bit rounder and richer than previous vintages. An average spring through July was followed by a cold and humid August. The risk of rot was very high, through the end of August, when dry, sunny weather emerged and lasted through October. This allowed the grapes to mature with high sugar and his acidity. The result here is a wine that is incredibly balanced, splashed with bright citrus, texturally appealing, and stony/salty on the finish, just how you want it.
Cuilleron 2015 VdP Collines Rhodaniennes Rosé Sybel
From the importers website: The Cuilleron family domaine, located in the hamlet of Verlieu (part of the town of Chavanay) was founded several generations ago (1920). Yves Cuilleron’s grandfather was the first to bottle wine for commercial purposes in 1947. Antoine Cuilleron, the uncle and immediate predecessor of Yves, assumed control of the domaine in 1960 and significantly increased the percentage of wine bottled at the estate and extended the scope of the domaine. Yves assumed full ownership and direction of the domaine in 1987 and, since that time, has built an entirely new facility while at the same time acquiring additional vineyard property. The domaine is now…52 hectares of vineyards that cover multiple appellations, including principally, Condrieu, Saint Joseph Rouge and Blanc, Cote Rotie, Saint Péray and a series of Vin de Pays from the Collines Rhodaniennes.
This is a smooth and round rosé, dry but full of ripe red fruit. It’s only 12.5% abv, but it feels much richer than that. It has the fruit and balance to sip on its own, but the weight and acidity to be a refreshing gulp between bites.
Calaveras County, CA
From the producers website: The Forlorn Hope wines were born to connect the thread between California’s boundless viticultural potential and its diverse viticultural history. In addition to the vines my family and I farm, I work with a handful of growers across the north of the state whose plantings might otherwise be misfits: the uncommon sites and varieties that pay tribute to California’s eclectic and often unexpected viticultural heritage. Taking cues from the stones and soil, I endeavor to interrupt the natural development of each of these wines as little as possible in order that the character and uniqueness of each vineyard site may take center stage.
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.
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.