Tag Archives: rosé

Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM, with Grazing Sticks!

June 8, 2018

Tonight we’re joined by Martin from New England Grass Fed Beef, part of the Cloverbud Ranch co-op in Portsmouth RI. We’ll be sampling his “Grazing Sticks” during our wine tasting. Think locally-sourced, artisanal Slim Jims.

 

 

Weingut Keller Riesling Trocken 2015, Rheinhessen, Germany

Klaus-Peter Keller is considered by many to be one of the best German winemakers; Jancis Robinson calls his wines the “Montrachets of Germany”. But he doesn’t make just high end, hard to find wines; he also makes entry-level wines that are just as meticulously made, but won’t break the bank. The organically farmed vineyards on the slopes of the Rhine River have been in the Keller family since 1789. The soil on these rolling hills is limestone rich, adding mineral intensity, vibrant aromatics, and glass-like purity.

This Riesling is loaded with notes of peaches, apples, lemons, honey, and honeydew, backed up by refreshing acidity that is tempered by aging on the lees.

We had a bit of a mix up last week and didn’t end up tasting this rosé, so here it is again:

Señoria de Astobiza, Basque Country, Txakoli de Alava D.O.

Xabier Abando was only 15 when his father passed away, but his memories of seeing him working in the vineyards and making wine had a lasting effect upon him. He carried the dream of his own bodega with him over the years, and in 1996 acquired the first two hectares near the town of Okondo that would become his estate. He planted vines, and each year planted more, patiently waiting for the vines to produce grapes suitable to his taste. In 2008, he felt they were ready, and finally built his bodega for what would be his first vintage, and officially establish Señorio de Astobiza. He was 68. Now Xabier and Ana Martin make wine at this small, high-elevation, organically farmed estate.

Astobiza Txakoli de Alava Rosé 2017 is a 50/50 blend of the red grape Hondarrabi Beltza, and the white grape Hondarrabi Zuri. It’s single vineyard, hand-harvested, and estate bottled, without SO2. The red grapes spend a day or so on the skins, giving the wine it’s lovely pink hue. It’s white flower and strawberry scented, with a similar salty, mineral-driven character to the white, along with splashes of citrus and more flowers on the finish. It’s another fine seafood pair…

Pomagrana Trepat 2016, Conca de Barbera, Spain

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, has another project on the rocky slopes of Ribeira Sacra with brothers Carlos and Juan Rodríguez, and this one in Conca de Barberá, with his friend Marc Lecha, who was one of the first natural wine retailers in Barcelona.

Pomagrana is from a little-known Spanish grape called Trepat, that’s a bit like Gamay. We think of this as a light red, but some people consider it a rosé; in any event, it can take a chill. On the nose there’s lots of red fruit like strawberries and raspberries (and maybe a touch of tart cranberry) along with an earthy, herbal, woodsy note. On the palate you’ve got more red fruit and tart, crisp acidity. It’s a thirst-quenching, low-alcohol wine that’s perfect for casual meals at a sun-dappled outdoor table, piled with that day’s farmer’s market haul.

Dashe Cellars Old Vine Carignane, Evangelho Vineyard ’Les Enfants Terribles’ 2015, CA

Husband and wife winemaking team Michael and Anne Dashe focus on producing “exceptional, single-vineyard wines using a traditional, non-industrial approach to winemaking”. Their first vintage was a 1996 Dry Creek Zin. They partner with small growers in Sonoma and Mendocino counties, and surrounding areas, seeking out older vines, steep hillsides, and low-yielding conditions. They avoid chemicals in the vineyards and cellar.

This carignane is from vines on original rootstock planted in 1890. The vineyard is dry-farmed and the roots extend more than 40 feet through soils of almost pure sand to reach the water table below. The grapes produce wines that are dark, expressive, and complex. The wine spends about 8 months in old, neutral oak barrels. The end result is a vibrant red laced with floral notes like roses and violets, mingling with black cherries and strawberries. The texture is lush and soft, but finishes with lively acidity and crisp minerality.

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

June 1, 2018

Señoria de Astobiza, Basque Country, Txakoli de Alava D.O.

Xabier Abando was only 15 when his father passed away, but his memories of seeing him working in the vineyards and making wine had a lasting effect upon him. He carried the dream of his own bodega with him over the years, and in 1996 acquired the first two hectares near the town of Okondo that would become his estate. He planted vines, and each year planted more, patiently waiting for the vines to produce grapes suitable to his taste. In 2008, he felt they were ready, and finally built his bodega for what would be his first vintage, and officially establish Señorio de Astobiza. He was 68. Now Xabier and Ana Martin make wine at this small, high-elevation, organically farmed estate.

Astobiza Txakoli de Alava Blanco 2016 is 90% Hondarrabi Zuri & 10% Petit Courbu, and like the label says, it’s single vineyard, hand-harvested, and estate bottled (without SO2). It’s fresh and vibrant, salty and mineral-driven, with tart green apple, ripe pear, zesty grapefruit, and refreshing acidity. Oysters, seafood, and semi-soft cheeses are good pairs.

*Astobiza Txakoli de Alava Rosé 2017 is a 50/50 blend of the red grape Hondarrabi Beltza, and the white grape Hondarrabi Zuri (also single vineyard, hand-harvested, and estate bottled (without SO2). The red grapes spend a day or so on the skins, giving the wine it’s lovely pink hue. It’s white flower and strawberry scented, with a similar salty, mineral-driven character to the white, along with splashes of citrus and more flowers on the finish. It’s another fine seafood pair…

*oops, had to replace this rosé with Semeli Mountain Sun Agiorgitiko rosé. Not enough Txakoli!

Domaine Glinavos ‘Paleokerisio’ Traditional Semi-Sparkling Orange Wine, 2016, Zitsa, Greece

Domaine Glinavos is in the semi‐mountainous region of DO Zitsa, Ioannina, more reminiscent of Austria or Switzerland than Mediterranean Greece. Limestone soils influence the production of wines that tend toward bright acidity and racy minerality, and the cold winters and cooler summers produce wines that tend to be lower ABV, frequently struggling to achieve 12.5.

Lefteris Glinavos was one of a handful of rogue winemakers who set out in the 70s to steer Greece away from bulk production and into smaller-scale, boutique winemaking. This group of young winemakers who all hailed from humble, winemaking regions, decided to travel abroad to hone their skills which they would bring back to Greece. Lefteris chose to pursue his studies in Bordeaux, returning in 1978 to establish Domaine Glinavos. Lefteris’ son Thomas is now in charge of the 20 hectare property, made up of multiple, high-elevation plots of indigenous varieties Debina, Vlahiko, and Bekari.

Paleokerisio is 97% Debina and 3% Vlahiko (a local red grape) harvested at the end of September and first couple weeks of October. The de-stemmed grapes ferment on the skins for about 12 days in oak casks. In the spring, the second fermentation takes place in closed tanks, producing the gentle sparkle. The wine is bottled without additives, and when there is still a touch of residual sugar. This is a savory, honey-hued wine. Pleasant oxidative notes mingle with butter, apple, vanilla, & clove. Have it with salty cured fish (the producer suggests Greek caviar, known as Botargo and Epirotic pies), savory and semi-sweet tarts, feta and olives, and lots of fried seafood.

Vina Štekar Cabernet Sauvignon Kakovostno 2015, Goriška Brda, Slovenia

Jure Štekar is the current winemaker on this 10 hectare family property that was established in 1985 (Goriška Brda and Italy’s Collio are one region, divided only by bureaucracy, post WWII). Jure took over from his father Roman, who learned everything he knew from his father Emil. While the winery was officially founded in 1985, the family’s roots go back centuries here, and it’s said that their farmhouse was the first house built in the small village of Snežatno back in 1771. Štekar is organically certified, and they do not use any chemicals in the vineyards or the cellar. The grapes are hand-harvested and fermented with naturally occurring yeast. Wines are bottled unfiltered, without sulfur, and with consideration of the position of the moon.

This is single vineyard (Početrtka) Cabernet Sauvignon from vines that are about 20 years old. The grapes are de-stemmed and then macerate for 20-25 days before being transferred to 500l Slovenian oak casks for 12-14 months. It’s soft & plummy, with Mediterranean herbs, leather, sour cherries, and fine-grained tannins.

 

Memorial Weekend Tastings in the Shop

Friday, May 25, 2018, we have back to back tastings.

3-5PM: Willie’s Superbrew pours their two new brews.

5-8PM: our regularly scheduled Friday wine tasting (notes are below).

Saturday, 3-6PM: Wakefield’s Whalers Brewing in the shop.

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop

Gaston Chiquet Cuvée Tradition Brut 1er Cru NV
Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir

We couldn’t improve upon the importer and Terry Thiese notes for this wine, so here they are: Nicolas Chiquet farms 23 heactares in the Valle de la Marne in the villages of Ay, Dizy, Hautvillers and Mareuil-sur-Ay. All of the fruit (including that which is used in the non-vintage cuvée) comes from premiere and grand cru grapes. Nicolas does not employ any oak aging at Gaston Chiquet; he believes that concentration, fruit maturity and malolactic fermentation impart enough body and texture to make aging in barrel unnecessary.

Terry Thiese notes: “In essence this wine combines the pumpernickel-sweetness of Meunier with a walnutty richness typical of this part of the Marne, and what makes it most wonderful is that it’s both extremely articulate and openly friendly. It is class defined and enacted. If you think such qualities are “mainstream”, shame on you. Such qualities are rare, my friend, and you do not have the privilege to take them for granted. It’s 40% PM, 35% CH and 20% PN. There’s 30% reserve wine, which includes some 2011, which one does—alas—notice. Otherwise the wine is saltier than usual, with somewhat more power and length.” 45 months on the lees.

Domaine Cheveau Saint Véran “Terroir Davayé” 2016

Domaine Cheveau was established in 1950 by André Cheveau; today his two grandsons run the estate, which is situated on 14 hectares around Solutré-Pouilly, and extends into Davayé in the Maconnais, and Saint Amour in Beaujolais. No fertilizers are used and all harvesting is done by hand; the wines are fermented and vinified parcel by parcel. Total estate production is fewer than 5,000 cases.

This Saint Veran is 100% Chardonnay from younger vines of 15 to 20 years of age. It’s sourced from vineyards in the village of Davayé, part of the Saint Veran appellation. It’s fermented and aged in stainless steel for eight or so months before being bottled. Dry, finessed, understated, and produced in very small quantities, so only about 100 cases make it to the US annually.

Domaine Lucien Crochet Sancerre Rosé 2017

Lucien Crochet was formally established when Lucien Crochet married the daughter of Lucien Picard, joining the two estates of Lucien Picard and André Crochet (Lucien’s father). Lucien Picard was one of the first growers to bottle his own wine in Sancerre, and then sell them primarily to restaurants in Paris. Over 30 years, Lucien Crochet expanded upon his father-in-law’s work, and expanded the domaine as well, so that it is now over 38 hectares, 29 of which are planted to Sauvignon Blanc, 9 to Pinot Noir. The vines are planted on clay and limestone, and they’ve been farmed organically since 1989.

Only 6% of Sancerre is rosé, mostly because making good wine from red grapes in Sancerre is best left to very good producers, preferably with help from warmer weather. This is one of those rare instances where climate change makes things better.

Domaine Joseph Dorbon Arbois Rouge Trousseau Vielle Vigne 2013, Jura

Joseph Dordon established his domaine in 1996 with about 3 hectares of vineyards in AOC Arbois, situated in the village of Vadans. His vines are planted on hillsides, facing south, at approximately 1000 feet altitude. Though he’s not yet certified organic, he works as responsibly as possible, avoiding chemicals, hand-harvesting, hoeing by horse, allowing weeds to grow…

This old vine (40+ years) Trousseau is de-stemmed and fermented for 15 or so days with the pulp, and then aged for one year in stainless steel, to keep the freshness of Trousseau. The importer notes state that this wine is “open and delicious with fresh, tart fruit, underlying notes of dried herbs and a light, tannic backbone. The color is an attractive pale red tinged with a slight orange hue. High-toned and bright, this wine could easily be confused for a red Burgundy from the Hautes Cotes de Beaune.” Capable of aging for 10-15 years. And they have a very cute cottage for rent.

Here’s a cool article in The Guardian about natural wine…it mentions trailblazer Marcel Lapierre, whose 2017 Morgon we just got a case of yesterday, now produced by his son Mathieu and daughter Camille.

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!

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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.