Tag Archives: rosé

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM

April 20, 2018

Domaine Zafeirakis Malagousia 2016, Tyrnavos, Greece

The Zafeirakis family has been involved with viticulture in Tyrnavos in eastern-central Greece for more than 100 years. Christos Zafeirakis is the fourth generation to continue the family tradition; he got his degree in oenology in Athens in 2000, and then went on to get his master’s from the University of Milan in 2004. Soon after he returned to Greece and continued to make high quality wines from organically farmed vineyards, the same way his father had done. He made the first wines from his private vineyards in 2005.

Malagousia is a white grape rediscovered by oenologist and winemaker Evangelos Gerovassiliou. It yields highly aromatic, full-bodied wines throughout many regions in Greece. This is an elegant wine that evokes flowers and honeysuckle.

Partida Creus SP 2016, Penedes, Spain

Massimo Marchiori and Antonella Gerosa are the couple behind Partida Creus. Originally from Piedmont, the two (who are both architects) moved from Italy to Barcelona because of that city’s rich architecture. In 2000 they sought out a slower and more bucolic lifestyle, so they moved once again, this time to Massís de Bonastre in the Baix Penedés. They started farming, and when they found it difficult to find wines made in a lighter, minimalist style, they began recovering forgotten old vines of local, low-yielding, grape varieties, many of which had been  disqualified or never allowed into the D.O. Partida Creus farms organically, of course, and adds nothing in the cellar, it’s all native yeast fermentation, natural acidity and no sulfur. The wines are fresh and refreshing, with lots of acidity, low alcohol, terroir-driven minerality, and sometimes sherried-nutty-gamey undertones.

SP (lovingly called “Sub Par” on the label) is Subirat Parent, an old, nearly extinct clone of Malvasia that is supposedly native to Penedes, and also known as Alarije in Extremadura, and as Malvasia Riojana in Rioja. The wine is a clear, yellow-green that turns golden with age and tends toward expressions of orange peel, lemon, and floral/tropical aromatics. Fermented spontaneously in steel with native yeast and aged for 6 months in stainless-steel, then bottled unfiltered without any added sulfites.

Shiba Wichern 2015 Rosé of Pinot Noir, Willamette, OR

Akiko Shiba is a young Japanese winemaker who trained in Germany, and is now making gorgeous, minimal-intervention wine in Oregon with her husband Christian Wichern. She originally wanted to be a journalist and report on the world of alcoholic beverages; when she got out of college she worked as an editor for about two years at a culinary magazine called “Ou-sama no Kitchen” (The King’s Kitchen). At the same time that the magazine folded, Christian got a job in Germany, so they moved there together. She ended up working at a bar and getting very immersed in German beer. She began studying beer, but chance and circumstance led her to oenology school; the rest, as they say, is history.

This 2015 Rosé is not an old vintage, the wine is released late and is meant to be enjoyed for at least a few years or more afterward. After primary and malolactic fermentation, it rests on the lees in stainless steel for 8 months. According to the producers notes, “the goal of this extended time sur lies was greater complexity, body and depth, while retaining freshness. The result is a wine with a complex nose combining rich floral, salty and savory tones and a mouthfeel that is tart, bold and at the same time buttery smooth. This wine will refresh in the summer with BBQ and grilled foods, but it will also pair well with spicy Asian food and continue to all the way through Thanksgiving and Christmas with roasted turkey and ham.” All of this is true, but we’d like to add that this rosé smells and tastes like still Champagne, in the best way possible. It’s leesy, yeasty, slightly sherried on the finish…when the wine is just opened it has a touch of funky, tart acidity, but that blows off and rounds out, and reveals its elegant, evolving character.

G D Vajra, Claret JC Nebbiolo 2016, Langhe, Italy

G.D. Vajra was officially established in 1972 (named after Aldo’s father, Giuseppe Domenico) but the family roots in the region go back over two centuries. Aldo Vajra has been making wine here since the late 60s. Today the estate is close to 60 hectares, 10 of which are planted to Nebbiolo for Barolo production. Farming is organic, grapes are hand-harvested, and aging is done in traditional Slavonian casks. Aldo and Milena’s children Giuseppe, Francesca, and Isidoro are now carrying on the family business and traditions.

This is not your grandfather’s Nebbiolo, it’s your great, great, great, great(?) grandfather’s Nebbiolo. Giuseppe is producing it in the Metodo Ancestrale style that harks back to Thomas Jefferson’s time but slipped out of fashion in the 1950s: fermentation starts in the tank on the skins and finishes in the bottle, creating a slightly off-dry, lightly sparkling wine (the fizz might subside before the bottle is finished). Serve with a slight chill, and this wine will pair perfectly with warm spring and summer days that surely *SURELY* will become a reality. What is even going on anymore? But we’re fans of not waiting for the weather for anything, so toss back this spicy, floral, ripe, ruby-colored throwback with pizza, pasta, salumi, olives, cheese, etc…it’s glou glou.

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

Domaine Séguinot-Bordet Bourgogne Blanc 2016

Domaine Séguinot-Bordet was established in 1590 on some of Chablis’ most prime sites. It’s now run by Jean-François Bordet. The winery is modern, and vinification takes place in stainless steel vats, and typically aged 3-5 months on the lees. The 2016 vintage was a tough one, with hail and freezing temps resulting in almost a complete loss of fruit. Jean- François turned to his friends and neighbors to purchase grapes, since not making wine was not an option. This Bourgogne Blanc replaces his village level Chablis. We’re thinking of it as a baby-Chablis, since it hits all the right notes. It’s light and lean, with flinty minerality, a touch of apples and pears, and a dash of salinity on the long and elegant finish.

Albamar Rias Baixas Albariño 2016

Xurxo (pronounced sure-sho) Alba farms his family’s 2.5 hectares, and sources from an additional 10 hectares. He farms (and makes sure his farmers farm) as naturally as possible; all wines are fermented in his cellar, via spontaneous fermentation with native yeasts. His family has been farming and making albariño in the O Salnés sub-region of Rías Baixas for generations, but it wasn’t until Xurxo finished his oenological studies in 2006 that they started bottling and selling wine under their own name. They still maintain their restaurant and tienda de ultramarinos, a small shop selling local artisanal foods.

This Albariño is sourced from multiple sites on mostly sandy soil. The plots are vinified separately, some in stainless, and some in barrel, then aged on the lees for 6 months. The wine is crisp, salty, finely textured, and perfect as a starter, or with seafood.

Domaine Lelièvre Gris de Toul Rosé 2017 

We’ve been waiting about a year for the new vintage of this rosé, and we’re happy to report it’s just as good as the last! We bought as bunch 🙂

Domaine Lelièvre is located in Cotes de Toul, Lorraine. The Lelièvre family goes back generations here, to the time when Romans first planted vines. At one time Cotes de Toul, situated just 60 miles south of the German border, was a thriving wine-production region, covering parts of Alsace and Lorraine. It was famous for Riesling (this makes sense, as it’s located on the western banks of Moselle River–follow it north and you’re in Mosel, Germany) and as a source of base wine for Champagne. Unfortunately the region was ravaged by phylloxera, followed by rabid industrialization and poor vineyard management. Then came the First World War, German occupation, and liberation by the Allies—all of which left most of the vineyards as battle trenches. The final blow came in 1919, when a law was passed restricting the name champagne to the wines made from grapes grown in the region of Champagne. By 1951 there were only 30 hectares of vineyards left and most of the wine was bottled by negotiants. In 1998, a handful of remaining vignerons fought for and won AOC status. The Lelièvres were one of the producers to champion the region. After the famous 1971 vintage, Jean Lelièvre decided to no longer sell to negotiants and to bottle everything at the estate. From there the family started to rebuild, replant and recapture the glory of Lorraine. It is still an obscure little region, with most of the wine staying within the area, and very little of it leaving France. Lelièvre makes about 1100 cases annually, and they’re one of the most well known producers in the area.

Gris de Toul is a blend of 90% Gamay and 10% Pinot Noir from the producers best plots located in Lucey, Bruley, Blénod les Toul and Buligny. The well-drained clayey slopes are protected from the wet winds coming from the West. Grapes were hand-harvested and vinified separately in stainless steel, matured briefly on the lees, and then assembled just before bottling. This wine is delicate and pretty, with touch of tart citrus, like pink grapefruit, and ripe cherry.

Fredi Torres “Classic” Priorat 2016

Fredi Torres was born in Galicia, spent much of his childhood in Switzerland, spent nearly a decade as a DJ in the European house music scene, and then made his way into the wine world (he studied viticulture and winemaking in Switzerland, Burgundy, Argentina, & South Africa) and came full circle back to Spain in 2004, landing finally in Priorat. There he founded Sao del Coster with partners from Switzerland; the focus from the get-go was on organic and biodynamic farming and non-interventionist winemaking. Eventually he and his partners parted ways, and Fredi went on to purchase his own 8.5ha in Priorat. He also farms a nearby 5ha plot in Monsant, and he recently started a project with two friends in Galicia, where they are restoring old vines on treacherously steep and rocky slopes of Ribeira Sacra.

All Fredi’s wines are fermented with native yeast, no fining or filtering, and only the tiniest amount of sulfur at bottling. The goal is to make wines with bright acidity, pure fruit and low alcohol (for Priorat). This wine is Grenache, Carignan, Syrah, and Macbeu; it’s approachable and fresh, with notes of strawberry, plum, and pomegranate. It’s also deep, lush, and generous, with the perfect backbone of granite-minerality and acidity.

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

June 30, 2017

Tegernseerhof Gruner Veltliner Federspiel 2016, Wachau, Austria

Notes from the importer and producer: Martin Mittelbach is the sixth generation to lead this winery. It is his declared goal to use the vineyards’ enormous potential to produce unique and distinguished wines: “Following ancient traditions, we select our grapes for their agility and vitality. Quality comes before quantity. Our wines reflect our values: they impress through their expression of vineyard and grape variety rather than their alcohol of sugar content. Their finesse comes naturally from a combination of soil, climate, and traditional viticulture.”

This wine comes from up to 50 year old vines planted on sandy soil. Apples, pears, flowers and wild herbs are backed up by a lively mineral core and crisp, refreshing acidity.

La Grange de Piaugier Cotes du Rhone Blanc, 2015

Jean-Marc Autran, took over the winery from his father Marc in 1985, who had previously inherited it from his father, Alphonse. Jean-Marc 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 cultivate 3.5 hectares within the Gigondas AOC, 12.5 hectares in the Sablet AOC and 14 hectares of Côtes du Rhône vineyards. Farming is organic.

This is a delicious little white counterpart to the Sablet rouge we’ve been loving for so long. It’s a new addition for Piaugier, and is a blend of mostly Grenache, Roussane and Viognier, fermented and aged in concrete. It’s lush and plush, but not flabby; there’s lots of vibrant acidity here! Honeysuckle and ripe, spiced pear mingle with oranges and crisp apples. It’s a delicious, full-bodied white that will go nicely with creamy dishes with a hint of sweetness, grilled veggies, and shrimp and other seafood.

Château des Sarrins 2016 Rosé, Côtes de Provence

This property is owned by Champagne producer Bruno Paillard. It’s an organic blend of mostly Cinsault along with four other grapes, from a gravity fed winery at 800 feet elevation between Marseille and Nice. It’s light and crisp (just like Bruno’s Champagne!) and red-berry fruit driven. Drink it like we drink rosé: FTW.

Paterna il Rosso 2016, Tuscany

Paterna is a 15 hectare fully functioning farm in the Tuscan hills, established in 1985 by a group of friends looking to get away from the tourist market that Tuscany had become. In addition to grapes (indigenous only), they cultivate local products like cheese, honey, salumi, etc. The farm has been organic since the beginning, but they go beyond that by working naturally in the cellars as well, with only indigenous yeast, and little to no sulfur.

Il Rosso is a blend of Sangiovese and Canaiolo, fermented outdoors in cement tanks, without temperature control. This is a lively wine, with lots of cherry, red fruit, and zesty, food friendly acidity, but also an iron-like streak of minerality and rustic tannins that make it perfect for your outdoor table full of cured meats, cheeses, olives and paisans.

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Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM: Vineyard Road

May 12, 2017

Tonight Peter Buckley of Vineyard Road is in the shop with two French producers. We’ll taste a couple wines from Gilles Bonnefoy in Cotes de Forez, and another two from Domaine Leliévre in Lorraine.

Vineyard Road Selection

Gilles Bonnefoy’s Les Vin de la Madone is situated so far on the Loire River that it’s actually closer to Beaujolais. Côtes du Forez is located on a geological fault formed in the Tertiary Period when Africa pushed into Europe and formed the Alps. There are up to 105 volcanoes in the greater area of AOC Volcanique Du Massif Central; thirty of them are in Côtes du Forez, and Gilles’ vineyards (in both Cotes du Forez and Urfé) are situated around two of them. So volcanic soil plays a big role here. Gilles has been tending vines here since 1997. He biodynamically farms 8 hectares in the village of Champdieu. Seventy-five percent of his vines are planted on volcanic soils of Urfé, the rest are on clay and granite.

Domaine Lelièvre is located in Cotes de Toul, Lorraine. The Lelièvre family goes back generations here, to the time when Romans first planted vines. At one time Cotes de Toul, situated just 60 miles south of the German border, was a thriving wine-production region, covering parts of Alsace and Lorraine. It was famous for Riesling (this makes sense, as it’s located on the western banks of Moselle River–follow it north and you’re in Mosel, Germany) and as a source of base wine for Champagne. Unfortunately the region was ravaged by phylloxera, war, rabid industrialization and poor vineyard management. During the First World War the German occupation, and subsequent liberation by the Allies, left most of the vineyards as battle trenches. The final blow came in 1919, when a law was passed restricting the name champagne to the wines made from grapes grown in the region of Champagne. By 1951 there were only 30 hectares of vineyards left and most of the wine was bottled by negotiants. In 1998, a handful of remaining vignerons fought for and won AOC status. The Lelièvres were one of the producers to champion the region. After the famous 1971 vintage, Jean Lelièvre decided to no longer sell to negotiants and to bottle everything at the estate. From there the family started to rebuild, replant and recapture the glory of Lorraine. It is still an obscure little region, with most of the wine staying within the area, and very little of it leaving France. Lelièvre makes about 1100 cases annually, and they’re one of the most well known producers in the area.

The wines, not necessarily in order:

Madone Sauvignon Gris et Blanc de Madone, VdP Urfé, 2014
60% Sauvignon Blanc and 40% Sauvignon Gris, this is an elegant, clean, mineral-driven beauty. Delicate, rocky, with echoes of Sancerre and Aligoté. Think seafood and summer, should we ever see the sun.

Gamay de Bouze and Gamay Noir de Madone, Gamays sur Volcan VdP Urfé, 2014
A blend of two varieties of teinturier (red-fleshed) Gamay, this is a vibrant wine full of cherries, bright acidity, barely-there tannins, and a touch of dried herbs. Sauçissons, roast chicken, fresh and grilled veggies…

Domaine Lelièvre Gris de Toul Rosé, 2015
A blend of 90% Gamay and 10% Pinot Noir from the producers best plots located in Lucey, Bruley, Blénod les Toul and Buligny. The well-drained clayey slopes are protected from the wet winds coming from the West. Grapes were hand-harvested and vinified separately in stainless steel, matured briefly on the lees, and then assembled just before bottling. This wine is salty, tart, tangy, bright; pink grapefruit up front and a dash of cherry on the finish. Delicious. It might be a little too delicate to handle spicy food, but it’s game for just about anything else. Just fill a glass!

Domaine Lelievre, Sparkling Gamay Rosé Leucquois
Come on, it’s fizzy Gamay with a bunny on the label. Fun, crushable, puts a little hop in your step in the midst of grey days. Glug-glug!

Click here for more info on events and new arrivals.

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. 

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Forlorn Hope 2014 Mataro, Rorick Vineyard, 

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.

This Mataro (aka: Mourvedre) is floral & savory, with rich fruit and soft tannins. Forlorn Hope wines are versatile pairing partners, since their acidity and freshness won’t overwhelm flavors.

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

May 6th, 2016

tavelChâteau de Trinquevedel 2015, Tavel

Guillaume Demoulin’s great-grandfather Eugène bought this eighteenth-century château in 1936, the same year as the establishment of the Tavel AOC. Unfortunately the vineyards were in great disrepair and it wasn’t until 1960 that the vines were producing wines worthy of Demoulin’s standards.

This Tavel is a blend of 45% Grenache, 24% Cinsault, 15% Clairette, 10% Mourvèdre, 6% Syrah, from vines over 30 years old, and planted on sand, marl, limestone, clay and quartz. The wine has a ripe red fruit quality, balanced by Rhone stony-freshness and spicy hillside herbs. Farmed sustainably.

Dashe Cellars

Notes from the producer: Founded by the husband and wife winemaking team of Michael and Anne Dashe, Dashe Cellars crafted its first vintage of Dry Creek Zinfandel in 1996. Since that time, the Dashe’s have focused on producing exceptional, single-vineyard wines using a traditional, non-industrial approach to winemaking.

At Dashe, we are committed to partnering with some of the finest small growers in Sonoma and Mendocino counties and beyond. We focus on crafting wines with a distinctive sense of place and look for that perfect balance of steep hillside vineyards, older vines, and vigor-reducing growing conditions. With almost two decades partnering with many of our growers, we work together to limit yields and reduce or eliminate the use of chemicals in the vineyards. In addition, all harvesting decisions are made by Michael Dashe.

Dashe Dry Creek Zinfandel 2013

Fermented using only the natural yeast and aged for 10 months in older French oak barrels, including 900 gallon French oak casks, which add softness without a lot of oak flavors. Blended with approx 8% Petite Sirah (for structure and aging potential). This is a full-bodied, velvety-soft zin. Lots of blackberries and cassis, chocolate and flowers on the nose. Dark and spicy on the palate, with cherries and hints of licorice and chocolate again.

Producer notes: The Comet is a blend of three wines: a 51-year-old vine Zinfandel from Geyserville, a 130-year-old vine Carignan, and a significant proportion—39% of the blend—of an Alexander Valley Petite Sirah. Together, they make a rich, complex, full-bodied wine with a tremendous depth of flavor.

The Zinfandel and Petite Sirah come from the Todd Brothers Ranch, a steep, red-rock vineyard where the vines struggle to produce a small quantity of grapes, resulting in wines with great intensity and structure. The old-vine Carignan is from the famous Bedrock Vineyard, a vineyard that was originally planted by Generals Sherman and Hooker before the Civil War. The Carignan adds fruit and spice to this luscious, full-bodied wine.