Sept. 25, 2015
Romain Chamiot Apremont 2014, Savoie
Savoie is a region in eastern France on the Swiss border, in the foothills of the Alps. The landscape is alpine, with mountains, lakes, and vines planted mostly in the flatter parts of the region, though some are planted on slopes and hillsides. Much of the soil is dotted with large stones that are the result of years of avalanches.
Chamiot is a multi-generation 7 ha estate, nearly all planted to Jacquere, with vines ranging in age from 40 to 80 years. Most of the vineyards are on slopes, and handpicked. Jacquère is the common white grape of Savoie. Chamiot’s Jacquere is dry, delicate, lightly scented, herbal, pleasantly green and exceedingly pure.
Domaine La Piffaudiere Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Touraine
Olivier Bellanger has apprenticed under some of the Loire’s best vignerons, including Philippe Tessier (for 5 years) and Jean-François Merieau (for one harvest). In 2008 he got the opportunity to purchase his own 6 ha estate, but it didn’t have a cellar or wine making facility, since the previous owner only grew grapes for the local cooperative. He has since converted the domain to organic farming, and works naturally in a nearby cellar, which he purchased in 2012. He uses a friends facility to crush.
This Sauvignon Blanc is grown on sandy, flinty soils. It sits on its lees for 3 months in 500 liter casks (no new oak) and is bottled unfined, lightly filtered, and with very little SO2. It’s bone dry, elegantly textured, and balanced.
Domaine La Piffaudiere Mon Tout Rouge 2013
Mon Tout rouge is a blend of 60% Côt (Malbec) and 40% Gamay, also grown on sandy, flinty soils. After fermentation with indigenous yeast, the Cot stays in 2 year old barrels for 11 months; the Gamay sees no oak at all. This is a light, mineral driven wine with bright red fruit & lively acidity. It’s refreshing from start to finish.
Monsecco Vespolina “Barbatasso”, Colline Novaresi 2012, Piedmont
Monsecco was established in 1872 in the Novara hills of Gattinara, in Piedmont. In the 19th century, there was more Nebbiolo planted here than Langhe, and the wines were more highly prized than either Barolo or Barbaresco. The region experienced a bit of a decline for a while, until 1990, when it was awarded DOCG status. Monsecco itself was purchased by the Zanetta family in 1993. They ended up owning five hectares of vineyards and rent an additional three hectares, where only Nebbiolo, Vespolina, Uva Rara and Croatina are planted.
Recent DNA profiling has shown that Vespolina is an offspring of Nebbiolo. One rarely finds a varietal bottling of it, as it is usually blended with Nebbiolo or Bonarda. The Barbatasso is floral, earthy, peppery & intriguing.