Tag Archives: Rhode Island Wine shop

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

January 20th, 2017

Marc Pesnot “La Boheme” Melon de Bourgogne, 2015

Marc Pesnot organically farms 13 hectares of fifty year old Melon de Bourgogne vines near the city of Nantes, on the western edge of the Loire. His old vines thrive in schist rich soils, adding depth and character to his wines.

Harvest is by hand at maximum ripeness. The fruit undergoes a slow manual pressing and rests on its lees for at least 9 months. There’s lots of refreshing acidity in this wine, tempered by pears, green apple, crushed stones and a touch of creaminess. Pairs nicely with shellfish, salads, chicken, and light appetizers.

Château de Brézé Saumur Blanc ‘Clos du Midi’ 2015

Château de Brézé has been around since at least the 15th century, when it was served to royalty and held in the same regard as Château d’Yquem. In the 1600s, the white wines of Château de Brézé were known throughout Europe as Chenin de Brézé.

In 2009, the new owner of the estate asked Yves Lambert and his son, Arnaud, from Domaine de Saint-Just, to manage the estate. They got a 25 year lease and began converting the estate to organic farming. In a little less than a decade, they’ve restored the wines to the heights they achieved centuries ago.

‘Clos du Midi’ is 100% Chenin Blanc from the colder sites on on the Brézé Hill. The upper section of the hill is sandy, while the bottom is richer in clay. Both are atop tuffeau, the chalky limestone rock made up of compressed marine organisms that lived in floating colonies in the prehistoric Turonian era. The differing soil types, coupled with the limestone, create a wine of great tension and depth, with a rounded palate punctuated by lively acidity. This being Chenin, also expect honey, dried fruit, a touch of lemon…it’s a gorgeous wine. Pair it with lobster, shrimp, crab, scallops – all kinds of seafood really, salads with simple viniagrette; it’s versatile and a crowd pleaser.

Fun facts about tuffeau: In addition to being used for the châteaux of royalty and nobility that line the banks of the Loire River, tuffeau also made up the homes of the general population. Carved out of cliff sides and tunneled underground, the snaking network of troglodyte caves was turned into homes for artists, monks, craftspeople, soldiers, farmers, etc. The greatest concentration of troglodyte caves is in Saumur. During the Norman invasions of the 9th and 10th centuries, the caves provided the region with defense and escape routes. The cool, damp, consistent temperature of the caves also makes them great for storing wine (of course) and for mushroom beds.

Piaugier Sablet Cotes-du-Rhone Villages, 2014

Notes from the importer: Alphonse Vautour made his wine in a cellar at the top of a little hill to the south of Sablet – called ‘Les Briguières’ – where he owned 6 hectares of vines. The winery was named ‘Ténébi’, after the old owner of the house.

Alphonse had to go down the hill, his mules loaded with barrels, to wait for the wine merchant to come by. If the merchant didn’t come, or didn’t buy his wine, he had to climb back up with his reluctant mules. So in 1947 he decided to build a new winery on the road below, where the Piaugier cellars are to this day.

Jean-Marc Autran, Alphonse’s great-grandson, took over the winery from his father Marc in 1985. He acquired more vineyards and, with the assistance of his wife Sophie, developed the sale of his wines in bottle. The winery soon became too small and they extended it in 1995 to enable them to mature and store the wines in the best possible conditions. Today, Sophie and Jean-Marc Autran cultivate 3.5 hectares within the Gigondas Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée area, 12.5 hectares in the Sablet AOC and 14 hectares of Côtes du Rhône vineyards. Farming is organic.

Sablet is a blend of Grenache and Syrah from 12.5 hectares of vines that are approximately 25 years old, grown on clay, with limestone and sand. Grapes are hand harvested, destemmed, and fermented in tank with natural yeast. It’s matured for 2 years in used barrique as well as concrete tank, and is the only wine here that is filtered.

It’s bold, spicy, perfumed, with warm-stone minerality and a long, elegant finish.

Claude Courtois Racines 2013, Soings-en-Sologne, Loire valley

Notes from the importer: Claude Courtois has created a small farm which exemplifies what biodynamics is all about 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, 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 & only indigenous yeast are used during fermentation. Claude regards the soil on his farm as a living organism. He lives in harmony with nature & the wines he crafts are a pure & vibrantly alive testament to outstanding Biodynamic winemaking.

Racine is a blend of Cabernet franc, Malbec (Côt), Cabernet Sauvignon from 5-15 year old vines grown on clay and limestone. The grapes are hand-harvested, destemmed and gently pressed. Only natural yeasts are used and the juice undergoes an extended maceration. Vinified in barrel and then aged for 18 months in oak.

Tasting Note: Deep purple in the glass with a dark amber rim. The nose is redolent with pounded stones, plum, cherry pit, warm iron and damp chalk. The palate has great depth of dried currant, fig and plum hewn to a deep mineral bed. The wine has lovely acidity, a terrific structure and finishes with red berry fruit and mineral zest.

Pairing: Pan seared duck breast, grilled streak, rabbit stew over polenta and cassoulet.

All the complexity that biodiversity can provide a wine. Racines is Claude’s attempt at creating a wine the way Burgundy was made a hundred years ago, from many different varieties… Racines is a rediscovery, a realization of what great wine once was!

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

January 13, 2017

If you’re not observing “Dryuary” (which would be even more challenging this year, right?!) then you’ll be happy to know that we got a little drop of Jenny & François wines in the shop. Some we’ve had before, some are new to us, all are welcome additions right now. We’ll open some up tonight, so swing by.

Speaking of Jenny & François: our friend Nick Gorevic will be in town pouring wines from the portfolio as guest bartender at Fortnight on Sunday. Should be a good time!

Cheers!

Here’s what we’re tasting:

Notes from the Jenny website:

La Grange Tiphaine Nouveau Nez 2014

La Grange Tiphaine was created at the end of the 19th century by Alfonse Delecheneau, followed by three generations: Adrien, Jackie & now Damien. Coralie, Damien’s wife, has now joined the family as a fully active partner in the life & work of their 10 hectares vineyard. Damien’s talent as a winemaker is evidenced by the multitude of beautifully balanced, elegant, precise red, white, rosé & sparkling wines that he crafts from five different varietals: Chenin blanc, Côt (Malbec), Gamay, Cabernet Franc, & even the ancient & rare Loire variety called Grolleau. The wines are in the AOCs of Touraine Amboise & Montlouis sur Loire. The wines are all different: tender or round, fine or fruit filled, dry or sweet, but they all share the common thread of careful work in the vines that make for beautifully balanced, terroir driven, precise wines. They are certified organic.

Nouveau Nez is natural sparkling Chenin Blanc from young vines, bottled before the end of fermentation.

Les Vignerons D’ Estézargues is a unique co-operative cellar in the small town of Estézargues. Starting in 1995, the ten different growers in this co-op began to vinify their wine separately and make single cuvées from their best plots. Soon they began to practice natural winemaking, becoming one of the first (and perhaps only) co-ops in the world to do so. Les Vignerons D’ Estézargues uses no external yeast, no filtering, no fining and no enzymes in the winemaking process.

Estezargues Les Grand Vignes Blanc 2015

70% Grenache Blanc, 10% Clairette, 10% Bourboulenc, 10% Viognier.

Vinification Method: Hand harvested. No external yeast & no enzymes are employed during winemaking. The bunches are de-stemmed & the fruit undergoes fifteen days of maceration and the wine is stored in enamel-lined tanks for 10 months before it is bottled w/out fining or filtration.

Tasting Note: Pale straw in the glass with shimmering silver highlights. Scents of pear and mellowing yellow apple dominate the nose and are followed by a note of hay and white flowers. The palade is clean and supple with intense flavors of stone fruit & some tropical fruit flavors as well. The wine finishes with notes of dried apricot, white flowers and wet stones.

Pairing: Works beautifully by itself or with chicken, rabbit, & grilled fish dishes.

Estezargues Les Grand Vignes Rouge 2015

100% Cinsault.

Vinification Method: Hand harvested. No external yeast and no enzymes are employed during the winemaking process. The bunches are de-stemmed and the fruit undergoes fifteen days of maceration and the wine is stored in enamel-lined tanks for 10 months before it is bottled without fining or filtration.

Tasting Note: Garnet in the glass with shimmering highlights. Elegant notes of smoky red fruit, violet, sweet herb and a note of baking chocolate. The palate is rich with ripe cherry and berry flavors, and a mineral note that is followed by supple acidity and velvety tannins. This is a very expressive red with a great concentration of fruit and yet it is never overly extracted. The wine finishes with floral notes and a dash of black pepper.

Pairing: Works wonders with grilled chicken and pork, cold cuts, or simply by itself.

Le Bout du Monde L’echapée Belle 2014

Edouard Lafitte is a peer of Jean-Francois Nicq (the founding winemaker at Estezargues) and Eric Pfifferling of Domaine l’Anglore. All of these winemakers are known for working with Carbonic Maceration, and we find Edouard’s wines to be consistently some of the best of this style in southern France. The use of carbonic in the hands of the right winemaker can yield a wine of startling finesse and terroir. Le Bout du Monde located in a new burgeoning hotspot of natural winemakers centered around the tiny village of la Tour de France (not to be confused with the more masculine sounding bicycle race, le Tour de France). There are about a dozen young natural winemakers working in this area, but Edouard is one of the first to arrive, back in 1995. One of the first visitors to his winery saw the isolation of this spot and termed it “le bout du monde,” the end of the world. The vistas of the Pyrénées-Orientales mountain ranges framing the vines here completely take your breath away. Edouard says many days when he’s laboring away in the vines under the hot sun and gets fatigued, all he has to do is pause and take a look around him at the natural beauty to become completely revitalized.

60% Syrah, 40% Carignan planted on Gneiss and Granite.

Grapes are hand harvested and fermented whole cluster at low temperature in fiberglass tanks for about 15 days. No pigeage or pumping over is performed. The wine is aged in 7 year old 228 liter barrels for about 7 months, bottled with 1 miligram of sulfur per hectoliter and is unfiltered and unfined.

Farmer Fizz Friday with Vineyard Road, Dec. 16, 5PM – 8PM

Domaine Huet Vouvray Pétillant, Loire, France

Domaine Huet was established in 1928, but Vouvray has been known as a Chenin Blanc producing region since the 9th century, and many of its great vineyards were known by the 14th century. The domaine only exists because its founder, Victor Huet, was a Parisian bistro owner who fled the city due to “shattered lungs and nerves” after the first World War, and settled here in the Loire. Victor’s son Gaston worked with his father from the very beginning, and built the domaine’s legacy over nearly six decades, despite being in a German POW camp for five years. Gaston retired in 2009; since then Huet has been led by Jean-Bernard Berthomé, who officially joined Huet in 1979.

This sparkling wine is 100% hand-harvested Chenin Blanc from biodynamically farmed vineyards. It competes with true Champagne in elegance, texture, and flavor. It’s a beautiful wine that will make any occasion a little more special.

José Dhondt NV Brut Blanc de Blanc

José Dhondt produced his first cuvée in 1974. The family’s 6 hectares are split over several parcels, equally divided between the Côte des Blancs and the Sézannes regions, and planted to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The average age of the vines is 25 years, though some are around 60 years old. While they don’t claim to be organic, chemicals are avoided as much as possible. Yields are kept extremely low, and harvesting is as late as possible. The estate produces a little over 4,000 cases annually; a small amount of the harvest goes to Möet and other houses.

José Dhondt Blanc de Blanc is precise, delicate, and refined. Very suave, very delicious.

Camille Savès Cuvée Brut Carte Blanche Premier Cru

The Savès family has lived in Bouzy (we wish we lived in Bouzy!) since 1894. Eugène Savès founded the estate when he married Anaïs Jolicoeur, the daughter of a wine producer from the village. Eugène was an agricultural engineer by trade, and his love of the land and wine steered him into wine production. Since then, his children Louis, Camille, and Hervé have carried on his traditions. Now Hervé tends the family’s 10 hectare Grand Cru and Premier Cru vineyard.

Carte Blanche is 75% Pinot Noir from Bouzy, Ambonnay and Tours-sur-Marne, and 25% Chardonnay from Tauxières. It’s full-bodied and leesy, with apples, pears, a touch of kirsch, and a beautiful fine-beaded texture. This is a bubbly for the dinner table; it’s always good to remember what a powerful pairing partner we have in Champagne.

Virgile Lignier-Michelot Bourgogne Rouge 2014, Côte de Nuits, France

Virgile Lignier is the third generation of his family to work the vines of this 8 hectare estate in the village of Morey St.Denis. Virgile began working the property with his father Maurice in 1988; while Maurice was a good winemaker, he always sold all of his grapes to local negociants. Virgile convinced him to start bottling his own wine in 1992, and each year they’d keep more for themselves, until 2002 when the domaine became entirely estate grown and bottled.

Virgile’s wines are ripe but balanced; silky, elegant and well structured. This Bourgogne Rouge is delicious with beef stews, bean casseroles, and simple roasted chicken.

Saturday Tastings in the Shop: Farmer Willie’s and Selections de la Viña

Dec. 10th, 2016

We have two back-to-back tastings in the shop:

3pm-6pm: Farmer Willie’s will be here with their alcoholic ginger beer, and Nantucket’s Hurricane Rum. Let’s see what they mix up!

6pm-8pm: Ana & Alvaro from Selections de la Viña are in the shop with a sampling from their natural Spanish wine portfolio. After we taste here we’re heading over to Fortnight, for a Selections de la Viña bar takeover!  Sounds like a great night in PVD!

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

Sept. 23, 2016

Marco Felluga Collio Bianco “Just Molamatta” 2015

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.

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

brut-0Sept. 16, 2016

Domaine Grosbot Barbara Brut 0 2011, Saint Pourçain

Domaine Grosbot-Barbara is 6.5 hectares in the center of France, in Alliers, a region known for the prized oak trees used in barrel production. The history of the vineyards in this area date back to before the Romans, when the Phoenicians settled here and planted vines. The heyday of the region was in the 13th and 14th centuries when the wines of St. Pourçain were highly esteemed and favored by Popes, royalty and aristocracy alike. This domaine practices “Lutte Raisonnée” farming and refrains from the use of synthetic treatments unless the vines are under great duress, and then only the minimal amount would be used.

Brut 0 is 100% Gamay, left on the lees for four years – and like the name plainly states, it is zero dosage. This is a wine that lovers of fizzies and fine Champagne will really dig; it’s precise, it’s got depth, a beautiful leesy quality, a bit of red-fruit à la Gamay, and very approachable price tag.

More Teutonic! We just can’t get enough:
Teutonic Wine Co. David Hill Vineyard Silvaner, 2015

Teutonic focuses on single vineyard, single varietal wines that are dry farmed and made in a precise, Germanic style.

The Teutonic MO is old vines, cold climate, high elevation, dry farmed, old wood and wild yeast. Or, as they put it: old and cold, high and dry, wood and wild. They are inspired by the wines of Mosel, Germany, where they also happen to make wine, and they import wine from the region as well. Proprietors Olga and Barnaby Tuttle found a tiny amount of 40 year old Silvaner vines in Willamette Valley’s David Hill Vineyard. The combination of old vines and dry farming means that vines go super deep into the earth in search of nutrients, and therefore absorb layers of terroir-driven flavors. The resulting wine is more about minerality than fruit, with a touch of fresh apple and spice. It might be too soon to think Thanksgiving, but any of the Teutonic wines would be so at home on a table full of turkey, stuffing and sweet potatoes. Let’s hope there’s some left! Silvaner production is fewer than 100 cases.

Berger Zweigelt 2013, Austria

This is a 14 hectare father/son estate, half of which consists of south-facing loess terraces. Vines are planted to 50% Grüner Veltliner, 10% Riesling, 10% Welschriesling, 20% Zweigelt, 10% other varieties.

All the wines here are vinified in stainless steel, and with cultured yeasts to get slow fermentations that preserves CO2 and fresh, fruity and clean flavors. This zweigelt is a go to. Bright, juicy, versatile and a liter!

Azienda Monteversa Versacinto Rosso 2012, Veneto

versacintoFilippo Voltazza runs his small family vineyard in the Euganean Hills, just west of Venice. Vineyards here are packed into terraced rows, at heights up to 600 meters.

Versacinto Rosso is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot, grapes that are indigenous enough, since Napoleon brought the varieties to the region roughly 200 years ago. Filippo’s family used to sell their grapes to local wineries, to be used in their best bottlings, until they took back all their vines in 2006. Now their 17 hectares face in all four directions to maximize exposure. The vines are densely planted to 4,000 per hectare on chalky-clay volcanic soil. Farming is organic, harvesting is by hand, and all the wine is fermented and aged in cement, then bottled unfiltered and unfined.

This is a lovely wine; mineral driven, dark fruit, a touch herbal, balanced and elegant.

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

Sept. 9th, 2016

teutonic-rieslingTeutonic Crow Valley Vineyard Riesling 2015, Willamette Valley, OR

Last week we tasted Teutonic Jazz Odyssey, a fun, off-dry blend perfect for hot days and spicy food. Tonight we’re tasting this more serious single vineyard Riesling. Just about all of Teutonic’s wines are single vineyard (with the exception of maybe one). They are all dry farmed and made in a precise, Germanic style. Total production is extremely low (only 500 cases) so we are ever so grateful to have such an assortment on our shelves – this is another producer that we tried to get into RI for a few years, so it’s extra special that there’s finally a little bit to share.

Read more about them here.

Crow Valley is a high elevation vineyard in the foothills of the Willamette Valley coastal mountain range. It’s old vines planted at high elevation, where the cold growing conditions allow for a long hang time. This is the Teutonic MO; old vines, cold climate, high elevation, dry farmed, old wood and wild yeast. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s very similar to Mosel winemaking, from whence they draw their inspiration (and they also import wine from Mosel and make wine in Mosel, so the love affair is deep and real!). Teutonic is also a member of the DRC (Deep Roots Coalition), a group that promotes “sustainable and terroir-driven viticulture without irrigation”.

This Riesling shows pure, precise, no-holds-barred, spot on balanced winemaking. The character of the terroir shines through in all the Teutonic wines; do yourself a favor and grab a bottle before they’re all gone!

Cerro La Barca Vegas Altas Eva de los Santos, 2015, Ribera del Guadiana, Spain

Ribera del Guadiana is in Extremadura, a region located in south-western Spain on the border of Portugal. Extramadura has been known as a place for bulk wine production, but some pioneers are finding unique new wines here. Cerro La Barca is the first organic producer in the region. They have 38 hectares of Tempranillo and the nearly extinct Eva de los Santos.

Importer notes: Juan Sojo and Ángel Luis González are like brothers from different mothers. One minute they’re arguing and the next they’re toasting to another harvest. They studied oenology together and ever since have been making wines together. Ángel Luis comes from a background in agriculture while Juan comes from a background in science. Both so different, but yet complement each other so well.

Fermented using indigenous yeasts in stainless steel vats where the wines naturally decant without filtration until bottling. The Eva de los Santos is from vines that are up to 80 years old. It’s flowery, fruity and perfumed on the nose, but the palate is a little more intense, with a pronounced crushed stone quality.

cintreLaurent Herlin “Cintré” Sparkling Rosé of Cabernet Franc

Laurent Herlin worked as a computer engineer for 12 years before dropping that career in 2008 and dedicating himself to wine. After taking classes in Beaune and working at various domaines, he purchased 5 hectares in Bourgueil, which he farms biodynamically.

To ensure quality, the grapes are sorted twice; first in the vineyard, and then on the sorting table. Harvest is manual, fermentations are with indigenous yeast, in steel or cask. As a dedicated environmentalist, Laurent only uses recycled glass in his production.

Laurent’s wines are said to “exude happiness” and after tasting Tsoin Tsoin, and now Cintré, we can definitively say that that statement is not hyperbole. Cintré is 100% Cabernet Franc from 25 year old vines and it is a mouthful of fizzy joy. It’s also classic Loire Valley cab franc: violets, raspberries, and pencil shavings dance around luscious strawberry notes and are neatly wrapped up in a long, long finish with just the slightest touch of gamey goodness.

Domaine Jérôme Jouret “Pas a Pas” 2015, Ardèche

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. Jérome Jouret works minimally, by hand, with extremely low yields and little to nu 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.

Pas a Pas is a blend of 65% Carignan, 15% Alicante, 20% Grenache from 35 to 55 year old vines planted on clay and limestone. It’s fermented in stainless steel and bottled without filtration. This is a lovely wine, with fresh fruit and brambly notes. Lower alcohol and lively acidity means this one takes a chill quite nicely.

Read this week’s newsletter here. 

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

August 5, 2016

TAMI’ is a joint negociant project between Arianna Occhipinti, a young, natural-wine maker (niece of the “O” in COS Wines”) and some friends and neighbors, including her boyfriend, the owner of Tami wine bar in Siracusa. TAMI utilizes high quality fruit from Vittoria; this project allows Ariana to bring more organic wines to market, at prices closer to every day than her other wines.

100% Grillo, a grape used in Marsala, this wine is gorgeously aromatic, with tropical fruit and citrus mingling with ripe stone-fruit. The finish is long, dry and mineral-driven. Have it as an aperitif, with light appetizers, with shellfish and seafood, or risotto.

TAMI’ Nero d’Avola IGT Sicilia Rosso 2014, Italy

This 100% Nero d’Avola is dark and spicy, with black pepper and a touch of earthiness. Grill and swill.

Domaine Olga Raffault Chinon “Les Barnabés” 2014

Olga Raffault took over all duties on this estate from her husband Pierre, after his sudden death in 1947. The mother of two young children at the time, she realized she needed help, and found it in Ernest Zenninger, a German prisoner-of war. Ernest could not fathom the meaning of the war, and soon formed a deep friendship with the Raffault family, whom he considered his protectors. Ernest devoted his life to the vines and making wine, and vowed to instill his knowledge and foster a love of winemaking in the younger Raffaults.

Olga’s son Jean took over from Ernest in the 80s; since Olga’s death half a decade ago, the estate has been run by her granddaughter Sylvie and her husband Eric de la Vigerie. Raffault wines are extremely age-worthy and some of the best examples of Cabernet Franc. They are longtime favorites of discerning restaurants and wineshops.

“Les Barnabés” is made from younger vines planted on sand and gravel, farmed without herbicides or pesticides. They are hand picked and fermented in whole clusters in stainless steel. This wine is fresh and fruity, with raspberry, brambles, blackcurrant and violets. Put a little chill on it and enjoy. It is delicious.

We’ll open up one more wine. TBD.

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

July 29, 2016

Giordano Lombardo Gavi di Gavi di San Martino DOCG 2015, Piedmont, Italy

This is a 20 hectare Demeter certified estate that straddles the border between Piedmont and Liguria. The indigenous Cortese vines are grown on volcanic soils of clay and limestone, rich in iron and magnesium. After hand-harvesting, the grapes are pressed whole and left to macerate on their skins for a short time. The wine is bottled after resting on the lees for three to five months. This is a very pretty wine, with a delicate nose and lots of mineral freshness. This wine is so food friendly. Believe us, it’s the most food friendly wine you’ll ever taste! Especially if what you’re eating is lighter fare, like salads, crudo, white fish and shellfish…

Bodegas Mustiguillo Mestizaje Blanco 2014, Valencia, Spain

This wine is mostly Merseguera, a rare, almost lost, Spanish variety that gets little respect. Merseguera has been around for a long time, but it’s not often appreciated for its subtle charms. The Merseguera for this wine, however, was grafted onto 40 year Bobal rootstock, then planted at 2700 feet elevation. The Bobal can’t grow at this altitude, but the Merseguera thrives. Still, for some, the Merseguera is a little too neutral and not worthy of a single-varietal wine of its own – and really, (some people say) isn’t it just coasting on the coattails of the Bobal rootstock? So the winemakers at Mustiguillo did what people do when they want to make something great: they enlisted the support of other grapes that would bolster the Merseguera, that would help this underestimated wine get a place on your table – enter Viognier and Malvasia, adding soft and flowery nuances to the taut and reserved Merseguera. They are better together, and together they are glorious with lobster.

Mestizaje is from organically farmed grapes that are fermented with wild yeast in stainless steel, and left on the lees for a short amount of time. This is a generous in the mouth wine, with live-wire acidity that tiptoes around fleshy tropical fruit, and mingles happily with apricots, honey and flowers. It’s a well-rounded, versatile wine that will work just as well with the lighter fare of spring and summer as it will with the richer fare of fall and winter.

Béatrice & Pascal Lambert “Les Terraces” Chinon 2014

Béatrice & Pascal started making wine together on their property back in 1987. Like many, they were inspired by Nicolas Joly, and by the early 2000s were practicing organic farming and winemaking; by 2005 they were certified biodynamic. They propagate vines through selection massale and interplant with mustard, oats, rapeseed and rye. The Cabernet Franc vines for this Chinon are between 10 and 25 years old and grow on soils of gravel, calcareous clay, limestone, and flint. Grapes are hand-harvested, and fermented in concrete, with wild yeast and no sulfur.

This is a lovely Chinon for under $20. It hits all the right notes for lovers of Loire Cab Franc – bright fruit, vibrant acidity, earthy-herbal-musky nose…with a hint of violets and velvety, soft tannins. It loves a little chill.

Domaine Guillot-Broux Macon-Cruzille 2014, Bourgogne Rouge

The Guillot family has been making wine in Cruzille since 1954; by 1991, their tiny one-hectare estate had expanded under the brothers Ludovic, Patrice & Emmanuel, and became the first vineyard in Burgundy to be certified organic. In 2000, after the death of their father, Emmanuel took over winemaking duties. He is now head of the “CGAB” or Confederation of Organic Growers in Burgundy” and one of the creators of a graphic novel about rediscovering lost vines. The estate is now approximately 16 hectare spread over a number of small vineyards in the Mâconnais villages of Cruzille, Grevilly, Pierreclos and Chardonnay.

The vineyards are planted to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Gamay on eastern facing slopes of clay and limestone. The 60-90 year old Gamay, however, is planted on granite. Yields are kept low through high density planting; Emmanuel’s goal is to have as few grapes per vine as possible, to concentrate the flavors of the wine. Current yields are around 30-55 hectoliters per hectare.

This Macon-Cruzille is 100% Gamay from vineyards spread across 3 hectares, fermented in older oak with wild yeast and very little sulfur. Most of the wines here are bottled without fining or filtration. These are graceful, expressive, mineral driven wines. We’re happy to have this one (and a couple others) on our shelves again.

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.