Tag Archives: wine tasting

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

Oct. 13, 2017

We’re starting with a new vintage of an old favorite: Romuald Petit Bourgogne Blanc Chardonnay 2016

This 7-hectare estate is made up of small plots of different age & origin that are farmed without chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides. There are young vines planted by winemaker Romuald Petit, and others over a hundred years old. Each parcel produces grapes with very different qualities that are vinified separately & assembled just before bottling.

Old vines combined with heavy clay and fossil rich limestone soil add depth and mineral intensity to this un-oaked chardonnay. After vinification it’s left on its lees for 8 months, adding further textural nuances and preserving freshness and acidity.

Laurence et Rémi Dufaitre ‘Prémices’ Beaujolais 2016

100% Gamay from 50-70 year old vines; grapes are hand-harvested and fermented and aged in concrete, with minimal sulfur. Light and easy, floral and elegant, this is still serious Beaujolais, but a touch less serious than Dufaitre’s Brouilly and Cotes de Brouilly.

Notes from the importer: Rémi makes wines in a classic carbonic style, using whole bunches, which are carefully sorted to avoid broken grapes or rot. He adds some carbon dioxide gas to protect the grapes at the beginning of fermentation, and does not use any temperature control. He avoids foot stomping the grapes unless he sees some volatility starting to creep in. His goal is to have as little juice in the tank as possible. He also performs routine analysis to see how the yeast is performing and whether or not there is any volatility. Remi makes all his wines with the same method, thus we can really see and taste the differences between the sites, with minor differences in the elevage of each cuvée. He tastes each cuvée before bottling, and may decide to add between zero and 2 mg of sulfur, depending on how stabile he judges the wine to be.

Domaine Vincent Paris, Collines Rhodaniennes Syrah Sélection, 2016

1997 was Vincent Paris’ first vintage, and now, at 43 years old, he produces up to 3,000 cases per year on his 8 hectare estate (he owns 6 hectares, rents 2), with 20% of that coming to the states. Paris doesn’t have an underground cellar, as his facility is located on a shallower water table, so he makes his classic, elegant wines out of an above ground, industrial warehouse. He’s in the process of building his own wine-making facility on the land where he grows apricots.

Vincent is the nephew of Robert Michel, who is a respected winemaker in Cornas, and from whom Vincent rents vines. He inherited most of his vines from his grandfather, and some of those are 90 years old. They are located mostly along the southeast facing Cornas slope and a small lot in St. Joseph. He farms sustainably, organically, and biodynamically (depending on the plot—Cornas Granit 30 is biodynamic). All fruit is destemmed, and he uses only steel tanks for vinification. Only native yeast is used in the fermentation process and no new wood is ever incorporated, but some of his wines are matured in old oak for up to a year. Wines are bottled unfiltered and unfined.

This syrah is from young Crozes Hermitage vines from multiple parcels with varied exposure. The grapes are 100% destemmed, then undergo temperature controlled fermentation to preserve the vibrant fruit, followed by 9 months aging in tank. This is a bang for your buck, welcome to fall wine.

Vincent Paris Cornas Granit 30, 2014

Granit 30 is Syrah from young vines (10-20 years old) grown at the bottom and the top of the slope. The ’30’ refers to the degree of the slope; the ‘Granit’ is rather self-explanatory. This is a beautiful Cornas from a rising star. It’s pure, dark-fruited, earthy, peppery…

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

–with Peter Buckley of Vineyard Road, Friday, September 22nd.

All notes courtesy of the distributor:

Cellers de Can Suriol, Reserva Brut Nature (2013)

Appellation: Cava • Subzone: Alt Penedès • Climate: Mediterranean • Varieties: 40% Macabeo, 30% Xarlel-lo, 30% Parellada  • Soil: Calcareous Clay • Elevation: 250-350 meters • Vine Age: 25 years • Pruning: Espaldera • Farming: Certified Organic

The Suriol family has lived and made wine in the same masia, the Castell de Grabuac, in Penedès since the 15th century. They produce Cavas and still wines using traditional, non-interventionist methods, indigenous grape varieties vinified by parcel with native yeasts, local chestnut wood for barrel aging, and corks from the local forest. The results are some of the most complex and layered Penedès wines that we have tasted.

The Suriol estate is located in the village of Font Rubí in the Alt Penedès, just north of Vilafranca and west of Sant Sadurni d’Anoia, and a one-hour drive from Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea. Their 25 hectares of vineyards are divided up into 20 different microplots and surround the masia, and have been certified organic since 1996. They employ biodynamic practices as well, utilizing native plants for preparations.

All Suriol Cavas are brut nature and vintage dated, and raised on the lees in bottle until order, with the disgorgement date noted on the back label. Fruit for the Cava Brut Nature comes from eight parcels planted in the late 1980’s. The grapes are handharvested, pressed, and fermented in steel vats, transferred to underground concrete vats for malolactic fermentation over the winter, then bottle aged for a minimum of 15 months, although 25-40 months is typically where they find the fruity and yeasty/toasty flavors are in perfect balance. It is a singular Cava with brisk acidity, creamy texture, and flavors of orchard fruits, nuts, fresh bread, and sea salt.

Alvaro Bueno, Benaza Godello (2016)

100% Godello from 20 -40 year old vines at 400 metres elevation. The wine region Monterrei (in Galicia) is located just above Portugal in the province of Ourense. Monterrei is a relatively new D.O. but possesses a long history of winegrowing, and at the moment is experiencing a renaissance in winemaking. The climate is relatively dry and warm for Galicia and more continental than Atlantic. The soils are a mix of clay and alluvial. Wine is fermented in steel and aged for 12 months on the lees.

Dominio del Urogallo, Fanfarria (2015)

Asturias, Spain • Appellation: Cangas • Organic, Biodynamic

Urogallo Fanfarria Tinto is a red wine produced in Cangas by the Dominio de Urogallo winery in Cangas de Narcea, Asturias. Dominio del Urogallo is a project founded by Nicolás Marcos and his partner Fran Asencio in Asturias. Native to Toro, Nico discovered his personal and most revolutionary project in the Cangas area, with native varieties like the Verdejo Tinto or the Albarín Tinta, an Atlantic climate and soil made up of quartz, slate and anthracite. He cultivates the vineyards following the precepts of biodynamic viticulture and takes care of the fruit during production, without filtering or adding anything.

Urogallo Fanfarria Tinto is the freshest wine in the winery, produced with the Mencía and Albarín Negro varieties. The grape is destemmed and ferments in stainless steel tanks, the wine is then decanted into used barrels where malolactic fermentation and stabilization take place for 6 months.

Alfredo Maestro, Viña Almate (2016)

Grower: Alfredo Maestro • Appellation: Vdt Castilla y Léon • Localities: Peñafiel, Valtiendas • Climate: Continental • Grape(s): Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) • Soil(s): River Stones, Clay, Alluvial • Elevation: 700-1,000 meters • Vine Age 10-80 Years Old • Farming: Practicing Organic • Pruning: En Vaso, Espaldera • Production 830 cases

The affable iconoclast Alfredo Maestro established his small bodega in 1998 in his hometown of Peñafiel, Ribera del Duero. Alfredo seeks out neglected vineyards around Castilla y León and Castilla-La Mancha, takes the parcels over, and works them organically. In the cellar, Alfredo works as naturally as anyone we have seen in Spain, eliminating all winemaking additives – including sulfur. Over time, Alfredo has accumulated 9 hectares across Castilla y León and La Mancha along with establishing a second small bodega near Madrid.

This cuvee is meant to express the terroir of Castilla y León in its purest form. Almate is the name of the first vineyard that Alfredo planted and gives the name to his bodega and to Alfredo’s entry-level Duero wine. This cuvee is made from fruit sourced from various plots in Valtiendas, an area located at 1,000 meters just south of the Ribera del Duero, as well as Peñafiel, Ribera del Duero.

Viña Almate comes from 100% Tinto Fino, aka the local clone of Tempranillo grown on river stones, clay, and clay-calcareous soils. Fermented 80% whole-cluster with wild yeasts in steel vats; Raised in neutral French oak for 2-4 months with one racking; Unfined & unfiltered; Very low SO2.

The vineyards for this wine are located in the Ribera del Duero and Valtiendas, where the climate is harshly continental with cold winters, hot days and cold nights during the ripening season, which gives wines with robust fruit and brisk acidity if the grapes are picked at the right time. The biggest threat to viticulture is frost in the spring and fall. The short growing season is ideal for Tempranillo, an early ripening grape.

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

September 1, 2017

Caneva da Nani Prosecco Col Fondo

These are the notes Wine Wizard Kat Cummings wrote a few months back, after her trip to Italy with SelectioNaturel. We’re using them again! Caneva da Nani’s Prosecco Col Fondo is made from 40 yr old glera vines grown the village of Guia high up in the Valdobbiadene of the Veneto. As glera is very vigorous, the Canello family find good equilibrium in pruning to four sticks, and produce 135 hectoliters/hectare (farming 4.5 hectares total). Soil is heavy clay (argile) on steep terraced hillsides.

Fermentation is done in glass lined cement tanks made in the 1960s. Massimo does very few rackings (2-3), choosing to stir the lees in lieu of racking or adding sulfites. Plus the biscotto di afreddimento! I just love the idea of a cooling cookie inside these epic cement tanks.

70% of Caneva’s production goes into their col fondo wine, although they also make a brut and a metodo clasico. Selection is done in the cellar, and they choose the base wine for col fondo by looking for a wine that can go through malolactic fermentation and finish dry. So they are looking for base wine with more body, that is softer and rounder.

They do multiple bottling runs because of space (or lack thereof), with the first bottling at end of December and last at end of May. The col fondo referments in bottle, on the lees, in 30 days stored in the cellar at 17-19 degrees celsius (basically they just crank the heat in the cantina and let the yeasts do their work). It needs a full 60 days to go through malo (which gets rid of harsh acids and absorbs the funky yogurt aromas), then finishes with 3 atmospheres of pressure.

I LOVE this wine because of its ethereal quality, it has a soft persistent bubble like a gentle cloud. It’s all pear and green apple and stone fruit and saffron, and develops an interesting salinity the longer it is aged in bottle. Plus it’s so good with a meat party.

The rest of the notes are mostly from the importer, Selections de la Viña.

Cerro La Barca Vegas Altas Eva de los Santos, 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.

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.

Cerro La Barca Vegas Altas Tempranillo, Ribera del Guadiana, Spain

Fermented using indigenous yeasts in stainless steel vats where the wines naturally decant without filtration until bottling.

This is an everyday priced winner. Dry and fruity with pleasant tannins. Good for grilling and swilling.

Companon Arrieta Rioja Alavesa “Herrigoia” Tempranillo, 2016

Who would have thought that when we started our company we would import wines from Rioja? Not us, that’s for sure. In a sense the Bordeaux of Spain, it’s a region that never really caught our attention. There’s a few historic houses that haven’t changed over the years and have maintained their identity by making wines the same way over generations but the rest are questionable. We tried but finding wines that moved us and weren’t taken already was a difficult task, like finding a needle in a haystack. Luckily, along the wine route we stumbled across Gorka and Itxaso of Compañón Arrieta. They are at the head of a rejuvenation of the region, young winegrowers recovering their families old vineyards and making wines like they used to.

Their estate is made up of 4 ha spread across 17 mini parcels, all of which bush pruned vines averaging 50 years of age under organic certification. These vineyards have been in their family for three generations but it wasn’t until 1982 that they built their bodega and started making wine. Unfortunately they weren’t bottling it, but selling it in bulk to some of the bigger houses like CVNE, El Coto, Marqués de Riscal, etc. In 2010, with Gorka and Itxaso at the helm, they started bottling their own wines under the Herrigoia label. The name is a reference to the part of Lanciego where their bodega and most of their vineyards are located. In Basque herri means town and goia means up, translated let’s just say it means uptown higher grounds resulting in fresh wines with great acidity.

Herrigoia is mostly Tempranillo, with some Viura and Malvasia, made via carbonic maceration. Delicious with cured meat and poultry.

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

August 25, 2017

Stop by tonight between 5pm & 8pm to meet Barbara Selig and Ed Addiss, the people behind Wine Traditions, and of course to taste their wine too! We’ll have a selection from Burgundy, Jura, Côtes du Forez, and Faugères. Notes are below.

Giraudon Bourgogne Aligoté 2016, Chitry 

The Giraudon family has been farming and making wine in Chitry (one of four viticultural communes of the Auxerrois) for centuries. Their vineyards are on hillsides of Kimmeridgian chalky marl, the same one finds in Grand Cru Chablis. In fact, in the 19th century the wines of Chitry were sold under the name Chablis. In 1929 they were given the name “Bourgogne des Environs de Chablis”. Currently, they go by Chitry, or Bourgogne Chitry.

Aligoté accounts for only about 5% of Burgundy’s total vineyard area; it’s the regions little known “other white grape”. In Chitry though, it makes up 40% of vines planted. Marcel Giraudon keeps yields low, harvests by hand, and allows the wine to undergo malolactic fermentation to temper its naturally high acidity. That acidity makes this wine a perfect partner for oysters, fried seafood, & salads.

Domaine de la Touraize “Terres Bleues” Savagnin 2015, Arbois

Notes from WT: André-Jean and Héléana Morin own the 12 hectare estate, Domaine de la Touraize in Arbois, Jura. André-Jean is the eighth generation to farm in Arbois, a village which in 1936, was among the very first wine producing areas to receive AOC status from the French government.

The domain takes its name from a small parcel of vines on a steep hillside called “La Touraize”. This was the only parcel of vines that André-Jean’s grandfather kept after World War 1. André-Jean’s father expanded the family’s vineyards and continued his father’s practice of selling his grapes to the local cooperative. In 2010 André-Jean decided to begin estate bottling his production, and built a small winery on the edge of town. Each year, he produces more wine in bottle, with the goal of bottling 100% of his production. André-Jean’s 12 hectares are divided into parcels in many “lieux-dits” that surround the village of Arbois, including La Touraize, Les Corvées, La Flandre and Les Petits Curoulets. André-Jean began farming organically in 2016 and is in conversion to gain certification. With the exception of some young Savagnin vines, all of the vineyards are hand harvested. All wines are fermented with indigenous yeasts and the total SO2 in the wines ranges from 2g to 6g.

The cuvée “Terres Bleues” is produced from 100% Savagnin. It is made from young vines in the “lieu dit” Sur la Regole which give an average yield of 30hl/h. Savagnin is an old variety with origins in the Franche-Comté and northwest of France. It is connected to the Traminer grape which Jancis Robinson suggests is a clonal variation. It is also related to the Pinot variety. It is thick skinned, late ripening and acidic. The Savagnin bunches are hand harvested and put into small bins to avoid any damage to the grapes. They are left intact and and gently pressed by a pneumatic press. The fermentation begins in stainless steel for 2/3 days after which the fermenting juice is put into 500L foudres to finish the alcoholic and malo-lactic fermentations.The wine is further matured in the foudres for ten months. The aging is “sur lie” with no racking or batonnage (stirring of lies). The wine is topped off every week.

Domaine Verdier-Logel “La Volcanique” 2016, Côtes du Forez

Notes from WT: The Côtes du Forez appellation is located between the Loire and Allier rivers in the center of France. Domaine Verdier-Logel is the leading estate of this small and obscure appellation where vineyards are few and far between. The Côtes du Forez hillsides are foothills of the volcanic mountains of the Massif Central and have soils of granite and volcanic composition. Due to the difficult climate only parcels with the best exposition and soils are planted to grapevines. The appellation’s laws mandate Gamay as the sole grape to be used and Verdier-Logel produces separate wines from volcanic soils “Volcanique” and granite soils “Cuvée des Gourmets“. These soils impart a rich earthy fragrance to the wines which combines well with the elegant fruitiness of the gamay grape.

Mas d’Alezon Presbytère 2015, Faugères

Catherine Roque is a pioneer in Faugères. She has two high elevation properties totaling 17 hectares: Mas D’Alezon, and Domaine du Clovallon, which she co-runs with her daughter Alix Roque. Catherine saw the promise in this somewhat unsung region in the Languedoc, and planted varieties that aren’t typical, such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Petit Manseng, Reisling, Viognier, Roussanne, Clairette and Petite Arvine. She fully embraced biodynamic farming, and now both of her properties adhere to the practice. Her wines are produced with indigenous yeast, without sulfur, and are bottled unfiltered and unfined.

Mas d’Alezon focusses on grapes that are native to the region. Presbytère is 80% Grenache from 70 year old vines, with the remainder a blend of Syrah and Mourvèdre, from 80 year-old vines. This is a silky wine, ripe with cherries & plums, balanced by earth & dried hillside herbs, and finishing with a touch of gaminess and soft tannins.

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

August 11, 2017

Weingut Keller, 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.

We’re tasting two new arrivals from Keller tonight: 2016 Riesling Trocken and Scheurebe Kabinett (Scheurebe is a cross of Riesling and Sylvaner). These are pre-orders, just arrived, so we’ll be tasting them for the first time too. Keller doesn’t disappoint!

Tiberio Cerasuolo D’Abruzzo 2016, Abruzzo, Italy

When Riccardo Tiberio found a 60 year old plot of Trebbiano Abruzzese vines back in the late 90s, he knew he had stumbled upon something special. Most Trebbianos in the region are made from the far less exciting Trebbiano Toscano, but Riccardo knew what the grape was capable of achieving through masters like Emilio Pepe and Valentini. In 2000 Riccardo bought the 8 hectares of old vines, along with 31 more acres suitable for farming. He then planted indigenous varieties matched to the different soils of the vineyards: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Trebbiano Abruzzese, and Aglianico, were planted along with Pecorino and Moscato di Castiglione clones from ancient vines in the area. The first vintage was released in 2004, and in 2008 Riccardo turned over the winery to his daughter Cristiana, who now makes the wine, and son Antonio, he farms the vineyards. At this point the farming is a mixture of sustainable, organic, and biodynamic, depending upon the site. Cristiana has quite the resumé, having worked with Jacques Selosse, Nicolas Joly, and Egon Muller, to name just a few.

The Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo is from 52 year old Montepulciano vines (selection massal) planted on 4 hectares of limestone at 1200 feet elevation. The fruit is picked early to preserve freshness and acidity, and then left in tank with only 20 minutes of skin contact, which is surprising, given its vibrant color and depth of flavors. This is a wine for the dinner table; it’s concentrated, fine-grained, and full of cherries, rhubarb, raspberries and spice, with a dash of orange zest and flowers. This is a rosé to drink year round, and will in fact evolve over the next year, if you can put some away for later.

North Hill Pinot Noir 2014, Willamette Valley, Oregon

Eve and Bill Holloran purchased a heritage vineyard in Dundee and another large parcel of land in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA in 1999. Their first harvest was 500 cases of Riesling, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, produced in a converted horse barn. Bill is in fact credited with starting the “garagiste” movement in Oregon. Since 2005, Mark La Gasse has been the winemaker here, and Vincente Mora has managed the vineyards since 2013. Farming is sustainable, organic and biodynamic.

North Hill is a 2nd label for Holloran Vineyard that offers a very drinkable, solid Willamette Pinot Noir at a solid price. It’s elegant, smooth, balanced, and food-friendly.

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

July 28, 2017

In addition to tonight’s tasting, Deirdre Heekin of La Garagista will visit us this Tuesday, August 1st, from 5-6:30pm for a wine tasting and book signing. We hope you can join us to taste these acclaimed, tiny-production Vermont wines. 

H&M Hofer Gruner Veltliner 2016, Wienviertel, Austria

Hofer is a 20-hectare, family-operated, certified organic estate, with top sites in Freiberg and Kirchlissen. In addition to vines, they grow organic grains (rye, barley, and alfalfa) for consumption and as cover crops. Wienvertiel is Austria’s largest growing region and is known for commodity wines; the high quality wines of Hofer stand out & raise the bar. All Hofer wines are produced using grapes that are destemmed, macerated for a short time, and fermented in stainless steel to preserve freshness and acidity. This wine is a liter of refreshing deliciousness. It’s herbal, dry, white-peppery (common in Gruner) with citrus-like acidity and a touch of stony minerality. Too easy to toss back. Have it with seafood, scrambled eggs, sushi, salads…it’s got most stuff covered, except for maybe super-spicy. A little spicy is ok!

Pierre Olivier Bonhomme “Le Telquel”, Vin de France (Touraine)

LE TELQUEL translates to ‘as it is’, but sounds like the french word for dachshund, hence the wiener dog on the label. Originally made by natural-wine trailblazer Thierry Puzelat (of Clos du Tue-Boeuf) and Pierre-Olivier Bonhomme, Pierre-O has been solely making the wine since 2011, and since 2014, only his name has graced the label. Read more about all that here.

Every release is slightly different, but we’re pretty sure this is a blend of mostly Gamay, with some Grolleau and maybe some Pineau D’Aunis from vines planted on flint. The wine is aged in wooden tanks and bottled in the spring. It’s light & spicy, with tangy fruit and lots of acidity. Put a slight chill on it for the complete vin de soif experience. Au naturale, unfiltered, etc…

La P’Tite Vadrouille 2016

This is a side project for Domaine du Mortier, a 9 hectare, certified biodynamic property located in Saint Nicolas de Bourgeuil. Brothers Fabien and Cyril Boisard were quite young when they started Domaine du Mortier nearly ten years ago. And while they don’t hail from a long line of winemakers, they do 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. Their wines are made and bottled with little to no SO2.

Heavy frost in 2016 left the brothers needing grapes, so they sourced from friends growing organically in Bordeaux. La P’Tite Vadrouille is 55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Franc from vines planted along the Dordogne. They picked the grapes themselves and then brought them back to Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil in a refrigerated truck, where the grapes then underwent a 12 day maceration with semi-carbonic fermentation, producing a lively wine with bright fruit aromas. Unfortunately this vineyard also froze in 2017, so they’ll have to source again for next year. The life of winemakers is often a tough one.

Domaine Elodie Balme Cotes du Rhone Rouge 2015

Elodie Balme began her foray into wine making at just 19 years old, when she quit her wine sales job to study viticulture and oenology. As part of her coursework, she was placed with Marcel Richaud, a pioneer of biodynamics in the southern Rhone. The two became friends, and Elodie was inspired to go deeper into organic and biodynamic winemaking. With Marcel her mentor, Elodie founded her domaine at 23 years old.

2006 was her first vintage, which she produced from four hectares belonging to her father Bernard, who had been a viticulturist his whole life. Until Elodie joined him in farming and production, he had worked his property conventionally. Elodie has eliminated pesticides and herbicides entirely in most of the 14 hectares she farms (there are a couple stubborn parcels that still get one treatment per year) and Bernard has stopped using systemic treatments on all 28 hectares. They are getting closer to 100% organic every year. The grapes from the other 14 hectares that Elodie doesn’t farm are sold to local co-ops.

Fermentation is spontaneous with native yeast. and the wines are vinified and aged in concrete, with no added sulfur during production. The wines do get a tiny dose at bottling.

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Partida Creus Tasting Tonight with Álvaro de la Viña, 5PM-8PM

Friday, July 14, 2017

Álvaro from Selections de la Viña is in the shop tonight with new arrivals from Partida Creus. We even got a few mags of BS, which, if you’re gonna call a wine BS, it really should come in a mag. We tried it last night and it is so damn good. We only have three bottles so we won’t be sampling this one, but Fortnight might still have some available by the glass…even though you should really just buy the mag 🙂

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 which turn into a bouquet of fresh flowers with a little bit of bottle age. These wines are living things, and each stage of their development offers new and endearing traits. Selections de la Viña also sells out of these wines before they even land in the states, so don’t miss this chance to taste them and grab some for yourself. We might have to keep a mag of BS for ourselves though….

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, 5PM-8PM

June 16, 2017

Val de Mer Petit Chablis 2015

Val de Mer is Patrick Piuze’s second winery, co-owned with François Moutard, of Champagne Moutard. Patrick Piuze made wine in Chablis for more than a decade for producers such as Olivier Leflaive, Verget, and Jean‐Marc Brocard; in 2008 he started his own label. Demand for his wine was great, especially in the US, but Patrick was not interested in increasing production. He had an idea of doing another small project of the same quality just for the US market, but he didn’t have the capital to make this happen. Then in 2010 François Moutard purchased a few hectares of vineyards in Tonnerre, a village about 20 minutes outside of Chablis. François asked Patrick to help manage the vineyards and make the wine, and out of this partnership, Val de Mer was created. Farming here is the same, essentially organic, though not certified, and the winemaking is very similar at both properties: hand-harvesting, spontaneous fermentation, and élèvage in used barrels for 1er Cru and Grand Cru, and tanks for entry-level. Some of you are probably familiar with the non-dosage Cremant, which we’ve been loving since last fall… But now for the bad news: Val de Mer was hit hard by hail last year, and the future of the property is not certain. We’ve purchased what’s available to us, but there’s no guarantee of procuring the wine in the future. This is what divides the small farmer from the factory producer, and why we’ll continue to support the little guy every chance we get; when mother nature comes stomping through their vineyards, these producers can’t call on their investors and lab managers to make it right, they live and die by that year’s harvest, and sometimes they can’t recover. And every year, the wild weather and hail just seems to get worse and worse. Anyway, enjoy this wine (and the sparkling) while you can, and remember that these winemakers aren’t trying to build empires, they’re just doing what they love and sharing what they love with us.

AOC Petit Chablis forms one of the rings of the Chablis area, with soils dating from the Tithonian age (152-145 million years ago), a little more recent than those of the other appellations in the region. The soil is usually hard, brown limestone, and sometimes silty or sandy. The wine is 100% Chardonnay, and typically tangy and evocative of the sea, even though the AOC is inland. Flowers, flint and citrus on the nose are coupled with a little bit of fatness on the palate that’s balanced by refreshing acidity. This is a perfect seafood wine: sushi, sashimi, shrimp, lobster, oysters…it’s a lovely little white.

Marc Pesnot (Domaine de la Sénéchalière) “Miss Terre” Melon de Bourgogne 2015

Marc Pesnot organically farms 13 hectares of fifty-plus year old Melon de Bourgogne vines near the city of Nantes, on the western edge of the Loire, in the Muscadet appellation. His old vines thrive in schist rich soils, adding depth and character to his wines.

Miss Terre is from vines that are 50 to 80 years old. This wine is set apart from Pesnot’s other melon de bourgogne, La Boheme, because it undergoes malolactic fermentation, which adds a touch of softness to this minerally wine, as well as depth and substance. There’s still lots of lively acidity, along with savory notes and pithy fruit on the finish.

Gauthier (Domaine de Bel Air) Bourgueil “Jour de Soif” 2015

Catherine and Pierre Gauthier have been making wine on their 18 hectare property in the heart of Bourgueil since 1979. They’ve been certified organic since 2000, and in 2005 their son Rodolphe officially joined the domaine, ensuring their lineage for at least the next generation. They were friends with famed and too-soon-departed Didier Dagueneau, who recommended these “masters of cab franc” to a US importer. Work in the vineyard and the cellar is all by hand and meticulous. Their cellar was in fact carved directly out of one of their vineyards, providing it with natural temperature control. All fermentation is with native yeast.

Jour de Soif is meant for early consumption. It’s soft, dark fruit, refreshing acidity, pretty violets and subtle foliage notes. Put a little chill on it and enjoy.

Triennes, Provençal Rouge “St. Auguste” 2013

Jacques Seysses, founder of Domaine Dujac, and Aubert de Villaine, co-owner of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, are the partners behind this 46 hectare property established in 1989 in Provence. Just a little bit of name recognition there….this is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot from organically farmed vines grown on clay and limestone. It’s fermented in stainless steel, then aged for 12 months in french barrels seasoned at Domaine Dujac. It’s lightly fined, and unfiltered.

This wine is pretty delicious. Lots of raspberry, blackberry, with a touch of black licorice and fresh black tea leaves. It’s got body, depth and fine tannins. This is your cozy wine for cool nights, but it would also be lovely with sunny southern french fare, like a big bowl of bouillabaisse.