Tag Archives: Touraine

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

August, 19, 2016

Jean-François Merieau “L’Arpent des Vaudons” Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Jean-François produces mostly single varietal bottlings, often from single parcels, in the tiny village of Saint-Julien-de-Chédon, in Touraine. He farms his 35 hectare estate organically; many of his vines are quite old (100 year old Pineau d’Aunis, Cot between 50-100 years old). No commercial yeasts are used in any of his wines. This Sauvignon Blanc is from vines of between 10 and 60 years old. It’s fermented and aged for five months in stainless steel before release. We’ve been getting every vintage of this wine since 2013, and the 2015 continues to deliver. It’s smoky and mineral-driven, elegant and clean, with a touch of orange blossom mingling with grassy, herbal notes. Perfect with fresh goat cheese, chicken, fish…

Orsi San Vito “Posca Bianca NV”, Colli Bolognesi, Emilia-Romagna

Vigneto San Vito has been producing high quality wines in this ancient viticultural area for almost 50 years. In 2005, Federico Orsi & Carola Orsi Pallavicino took over the tiny cantina, and subsequently converted it to biodynamic farming. “Bianco Perpetuo, Cuvée Novembre 2015” is a non-vintage, bottled to order blend of mostly Pignoletto. The Orsi’s intent is to make wines with a sense of place, with more guidance than intervention. Vines here are not fertilized or irrigated; fermentations are spontaneous with wild yeast, and wines are bottled without filtering or fining and very little SO2. Their goal is to make wines that are fresh and drinkable and that “celebrate the flavors of the region”.

Domaine des Terres Dorées “L’Ancien” 2015, Beaujolais

Jean-Paul Brun’s domaine is located in Charnay, a village in the Southern Beaujolais in an area known as the “Region of Golden Stones”. Brun is the owner and winemaker at this 40-acre family estate and is well known for his Beaujolais, which he makes with minimal intervention, minimal sulfur, and without the use of industrial yeasts, leading to wines that are elegant & delicate, with purity of fruit, and great character and depth. L’Ancien is old-vine Gamay that is earthy & spicy, full of wild red & black fruits.

Domaine des Sauvaire-Reilhe “Mas Sauvaire” Rouge, 2013, Languedoc

The Sauvaire family has been working the same land, in the same buildings, since the mid 1600s. The 25 hectare estate is planted to traditional southern French varieties, on poor, sandy soils, upon which the vines must work extra hard to find nutrients. Today Hervé Sauvaire works the land in the same way his ancestors did: no pesticides or chemicals, and letting the vineyard “work in conjunction with the land around it, to find balance on its own, without mans help”. The only application he uses in the vineyards is a compost made from his grapes. Harvest is by hand. It’s hands-off in the winery as well, with only wild yeast fermentation in steel and cement.

Mas Sauvaire Rouge is a blend of 70% Carignan, 20% Grenache and 10% Syrah, that until very recently, was seen only on Hervé’s table and that of his family, friends, and local restaurants. It’s a very drinkable wine, with pure red fruit, bright acidity, and a long, silky finish.

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

July 22, 2016

Folk Machine “White Light” 2015, CA

Folk Machine is part of Kenny Likitprakong’s Hobo Wine Company, which he started in 2002, at the age of 26. He grew up in Healdsburg, spending much time at Domaine St. George, the winery owned by his great-uncle Supasit Mahaguna. From the start, Likitprakong set out to make lower sugar, lower alcohol, higher acid, food friendly wines.

White Light is a blend of 50% Tocai Friulano from Mendocino, 30% Riesling from Santa Lucia Highlands, and 20% Verdelho from Suisan Valley. Everything was picked early and fermented in stainless steel without commercial yeast. The final wine is just 11.9% alcohol; it’s light on its feet, a touch salty, and pleasantly aromatic. Pair it with seafood, salads, light summery meals, and Wilco on the stereo.

Les Tètes, “Tete Rosé” 2015, Touraine, France

Les Tètes is a certified organic producer in Touraine, owned and operated by a small group of friends. They describe their wines like this: Les Tètes is about friendship, and wines you drink with friends. We hand-pick the best grapes and keep the vinification completely natural, every step of the way. Fermentation is with wild yeasts only, which allows the purest expression of each varietal. And our wines contain minimal sulfites, for the best flavor and no headaches!

No headaches for The Heads! Rosé Head is 60% Grolleau and 40% Gamay, from vines that average 25 years, grown on clay and limestone. This is an enticing little wine. Low alcohol, sweet fruit, some funky grolleau/gamay antics. Yum.

Domaine du Mortier “Les Pins” 2014, Bourgueil

Domaine du Mortier is a 9 hectare, certified biodynamic property located in Saint Nicolas de Bourgeuil, owned and operated by brothers Fabien and Cyril Boisard. Here the brothers employ the most traditional method of propagating vines: Selection Massale, a labor intensive and time consuming practice of selecting the best vines in a vineyard and propagating through cuttings. They also promote eco-diversity in their vineyards, by planting diverse crops amongst the vines. With this level of discipline and commitment, they always produce top notch wines.

Les Pins is 100$ Cabernet Franc from one parcel of 60 year old vines, grown on clay and chalk. The grapes are hand harvested, and then the whole bunches go into 50 hectoliter oak vats for a traditional fermentation at low temperature (usually lasts about 20 days). They use the lees from the previous vintage to start the fermentation. The bottom of the tank is lined with boxes so that the fresh grapes are not in contact with any of the juice at the bottom. The wine then stays in tank until it’s bottled with only 15mg per liter of sulfur. Les Pins, like all wines here, is bottled unfiltered and unfined.

Bodegas Lecea “Corazon de Lago” Rioja, 2014

Bodegas Lecea is a multi-generational producer in Rioja, Spain. They have 25 hectares of vines that average 25 years old, but the vines for their Crianza and Reserva wines are at least 50 years old.

Corazon de Lago is hand harvested and then made via carbonic maceration, which is unusual in Rioja, but results in a wine that blends bright, clean and fruity characteristics with darker, earthier and spicier tones.

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

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.

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

Monmousseau “Ammonite” Cremant de Loire Extra Brut

We tasted the still version of this a few weeks back. Here’s the sparkling: 

Chateau Gaudrelle was 1st established in 1537. It’s located in the heart of the Loire Valley and the property overlooks the Loire River. Owner and winemaker Alexandre Monmousseau’s family has run the 20 hectare estate since his grandfather purchased it in 1931. Alexandre makes sparkling, dry and sweet wine from the Chenin Blanc grape as well as a sparkling rosé from Grolleau and Cabernet Franc. Most of the vines were planted around the time his family took over the estate. Yields are kept extremely low to concentrate flavor, all the grapes are hand-harvested, fermentation is with inigenous yeast and is long, cold and slow.

Ammonite is named for a type of fossil prevalent in the soils here (they look like a nautilus). This Chenin Blanc based cremant is dry and racy, tart and refreshing!

Chateau du Rouét Rosé Cotes de Provence

We’ve been saying it for months now: the 2014 rosé’s are all killer, and the Rouét is no exception. Chateau de Rouét has been in the same family since the French revolution; in fact, former proprietor Marquis de Villeneuve supplied wines to the court of Louis XVI. This rosé is from vines planted in 1927, on the slopes of the Esterel mountain. It’s a blend of Grenache & Syrah, made in the saignée method (“bleeding” off the juice after a short contact with the skins). The bouquet is elegant yet fruity; on the palate, it’s dry and zesty, with notes of wild berries & hillside herbs. More please!

2013 Domaine de l’Aumonier “Les Chardons” Touraine Gamay

Domaine de l’Aumonier was founded in 1996 by husband and wife Sophie and Thierry Chardon. They organically farm 115 acres of vines that average 25 years old. We’re totally digging this Gamay. Bright, tart, minerally, earthy, delicious.

Kosovec Frankovka, Sisak-Moslavina, Croatia

We tasted Kosovec Skrlet a few weeks back, here’s the Frankovka, aka: Blaufrankisch.

Ivan Kosovec runs a small, organically farmed estate in the wine growing region of Moslavina, Croatia. He clearcut the 3.5 hectare forest BY HAND, BY HIMSELF, dug up the earth to make sure the soil was pristine, then worked the winery for 6.5 years without electricity, living in a cabin with only a generator for electricity.

This is 100% Frankovka, fermented with wild yeast in stainless steel and bottled unfiltered. Smooth, fruity, peppery: Grill, swill, repeat.