Tag Archives: Sancerre

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

January 19, 2018

Vincent Grall Sancerre “Cuvée Tradition”, France 

Vincent Grall is the second smallest producer in this Loire region, making wine in his garage from his 3.8 hectares of vines. The production is split between two cuvées that are vinified and aged differently, depending on the soil type. Cuvée Tradition is primarily from the silex soils around the main hill of Sancerre, Le Plateau. It’s made entirely in stainless. While not certified, Vincent practices organic farming, and harvesting is by hand.

This is a delicious, go-to Sancerre for us. It’s layered with ripe stone fruit, but cut with a bracing acidity, and long, flinty finish. It’s simultaneously fruity, tangy, and herbaceous. All the good stuff!

Oyster River Wine Growers Morphos Rosé Petillant Naturel, Maine

Oyster River is a nearly 100% self-sustaining farm in Warren, Maine. Brian Smith is the winemaker here, if you can call him a wine“maker”, since his approach is about as hands off as you can get. Fermentation is spontaneous, with native yeast, and lasts a long time
in their cold winery, heated only with wood from their farm. Sparkling wines and ciders here are unsulphured and bottled unfiltered.

This fizzy rosé is fresh and yeasty, a little minerally, dry but with a touch of sweetness. It’s a people pleaser, great as an aperitif or with brunch, mild cheeses, and light meals.

Julien Pilon, Collines Rhodaniennes Syrah de l’Autre Rive, 2014

Julien Pilon is originally from the northern Rhone but does not hail from a winemaking family. Instead, after attending school for oenology and viticulture, he worked for Pierre Cuilleron for two years, then at Mas Amiel, then Terra Remota in Spain, followed by four years in Rousillon with Pierre Gaillard. While in his early 30s, after gaining 10 years of experience, he decided he wanted to create his own domaine. With the high price of affordable vineyards, that’s easier said than done. So he started with a negociant business that focused on the whites of the northern Rhone – Viognier, Condrieu, Saint Joseph blanc, Crozes Hermitage blanc, Hermitage blanc and Saint Peray. He now has 4.5 hectares of vineyards, and also makes a small amount of VDP Syrah and Côte Rôtie. 2010 was his first vintage.

This syrah is briny, rich, smooth, and super tasty.

Daniel Ramos Zerberos Castilla y León ‘El Altar’ 2014

Notes (mostly) from the importer: Some of you may have heard of him, some of you maybe not. For those of you that have, he needs no introduction. For the rest, let’s just say that Daniel Ramos is the OG of the GdG. For most of you, that probably means nothing. GdG stands for Garnacha de Gredos, an association of small producers in the Gredos mountain range which encompasses parts of 3 different wine regions: Castilla y León, Madrid, and Méntrida. They’re focus is on organic farming and autochthonous grape varieties of the region, mainly Garnacha and Albillo Real. With a growing number of producers and a wide variation of styles within the group, Daniel represents the old school both in his viticulture and vinification. In our opinion, he’s making some of the purest and most representative wines of the region. They don’t call him the Garnacha whisperer for nothing!

Daniel and his wife Pepi bought their fist 4.5 hectares in 2007. It’s hot and dry here, but a minimum altitude of 800 meters provides a welcome foil to the high temps. The vines are all 50 to 100 years old, planted on slopes too steep for anything but horses and hand harvesting. All wines are fermented with native yeast and macerated for long periods of time. Fermentation is in concrete, clay amphora, or old, neutral oak. There is no filtering or fining, and only a small amount of sulfur at bottling.

El Altar is from old-vine Garnacha planted on granitic sandy soils with large chunks of quartz. It’s full of red fruit like cherries and raspberries, mingling with wild herbs and flowers.

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM

Mestres 1312 Brut Reserva Cava

The history of Mestres goes back to 1312, when they were negociants. In 1607, the first documents show up with Mestres as vine growers & owners of the “Heretat Mas Coquet” vineyard. In the 1600s, they started construction on the winery in San Sadurni d’Anoia, in Penedes, Spain & finally finished it in 1861. In 1959, they were the first producer to register the word Cava, and labeled their bottles ‘vins de cava’ (wines made in cave). They have only ever used indigenous grapes: Xarel.lo, Parellada and Macabeu, harvested from their own 74 acres of vineyards, which sit at nearly 700 feet above sea level and are some of the oldest in the area.

Nothing has changed here since the very beginning. All methods carried out are organic, from the vineyards to the cellar, and everything is done by hand, including riddling. All second fermentations and aging are under cork. The minimum amount of time any wine stays in cave is 20 months.

1312 is 30% Macabeu, 30% Xarel.lo and 40% Parellada. This is an elegant Cava, with notes of flowers, sandalwood, citrus and herbs. The bubbles are persistent and delicate. This is a delicious addition to any meal or festive occasion.

Alphonse Dolly “Cuvée Silex” Sancerre 2013

This Sancerre is from a small, family-owned organic domaine just outside the village of Thauvenay, one of Sancerre’s 14 communes in the southeast section of the appellation. It’s 100% Sauvignon Blanc from grapes around 35-40 years old, grown on silex, or flint. It is indeed flinty, crisp and minerally, with citrus peel and flowers throughout.

G.D. Vajra Langhe Rosso 2011, Piedmont Italy

G.D. Vajra was officially established in 1972 but the family roots in the region go back over two centuries. The estate sits 400 meters above sea level in the village of Vergne, in the commune of Barolo. Some of these vineyards were in the family since the 1920s but were given to sharecroppers after WWII. Aldo returned in the late 60s and reclaimed the family legacy. Today the estate is over 40 hectares, 10 of which are planted to Nebbiolo for Barolo production. Aldo and his wife Milena worked the vineyards and made the wine during those early years, while Aldo also worked as a professor of oenology during the day in nearby Alba. Now their sons Giuseppe & Isidoro are assistant winemakers preparing to carry on the family tradition. Farming here is organic, grapes are hand-harvested, and aging is done in traditional Slavonian casks.

The Langhe Rosso is a blend of Nebbiolo, Dolcetto & Barbera, with small amounts of Albarossa, Freisa and Pinot Noir. It’s fruity, floral and spicy, with a touch of brambly underbrush and black pepper. It’s lively and bright with pleasant tannins on the finish. It’s a perfect bistro-style wine!

G.D. Vajra Dolcetto d’Alba 2013

The grapes for this Dolcetto are from Vajra`s vineyards located in Coste di Vergne, Fossati and Pascolo in the Barolo region, and the Ravera vineyard in the Nerollo region. The vines were planted from 1982 to 2002 on soil that is a mix of limestone and marl. Fermented and aged in stainless steel, this wine is fresh and aromatic, with notes of violets, hay, cherries and thyme. It’s elegant, with refined tannins on a long, smooth finish. Aldo describes it thusly: It is a wine that gives life! If people knew how good, digestible, and humanizing it was, they would drink it every day.

A wine that gives life and humanizes? Let’s get an IV pump for the world!