Tag Archives: wine tasting

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.

Tastings in the Shop for Memorial Day/Brown Grad Weekend 2017!

This is always one of the busiest weekends of the year for us, and it’s also one of the most fun. This Friday will be extra-special (and extra fun!) since we’ll have the guys from Farmer Willie’s with us, followed by a French wine tasting with Leigh of Wine Traditions. Our Saturday beer tasting will feature a visit from CT’s Thimble Island Brewing Co. Swing on by, grab some sips. And happy graduation, happy long weekend!

FRIDAY 3-5PM: FARMER WILLIE’S Alcoholic Ginger Beer 

FRIDAY 5-8PM WINE TRADITIONS with Leigh Ranucci

SATURDAY 3-6PM: THIMBLE ISLAND BREWING

Farmer Willie's

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wine Traditions

Friday Wine Tasting in the shop, 5-8PM

May 19, 2017

Domaine Philemon Perlé Gaillac Blanc 

perle

Perlé Gaillac Blanc is all fresh deliciousness. It’s 60% Loin de L’oeil, 20% Muscadelle and 20% Sauvignon Blanc. The property in southwest France has been in the Vieules family for over 200 years; today Mathieu Vieules grows wheat, sunflowers and grapes in equal proportion.

This wine is the perfect aperitif or accompaniment to warm-weather food: it’s lively, citrusy, ever-so-slightly spritzy, and balanced out by a bit of garden herbs and green apple. And it’s well under 15 bucks.

 

AJ Adam Riesling Trocken 2015, Mosel 

Here’s a good telling of the Andreas Adam story. And here are more notes from the importer (clearly we’re too hot for writing): This Estate Trocken (Gutsriesling) is entirely from Dhron. Like a good Bourgogne Blanc it’s sourced from several top vineyards to make a wine that speaks to the vintage, region and style of the producer. The fruit harvested was very clean and at about 79 oechsle, similar to his Hofberg Kabinett. Fermented with spontaneous yeast in stainless steel and a bit of old fuder, the fermentation stopped at 7 grams of RS, “where it finds it’s balance”.

Champagne Moutard Brut Grand Cuvée NV

The Moutard family has been farming in Buxeuil, in the Côte des Bar since 1642, and has been making wine since 1927. In addition to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, they also grow heirloom varieties Petit Meslier and Arbanne on their 20 hectares of vines. Grand Cuvée is 100% Pinot Noir, and like all the champagne produced at Moutard, it spends a minimum of 3 years on the lees. It’s a rich, ripe, and approachable style, with nuts and brioche on the nose, and a creamy texture. At under $40, it’s very affordable farmer fizz.

Étienne Courtois L’Icaunais 2013, Loire

Notes from the importer:  Claude Courtois has created a small farm which exemplifies what biodynamic is in terms of biodiversity and self-sufficiency, although he does not consider himself to be a biodynamic grower. He farms a balanced & completely chemical free 13-hectares of vines in the heart of the VDP Sologne. Courtois also grows organic wheat, which he feeds to his cows. “Nothing comes into my vineyard,” he says, meaning no chemicals ever. He has created a well-balanced, bio-diversity with trees, fruit trees, vines, woods, and fields. No pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers, or synthetic chemicals of any kind are allowed on the vines or in the soil of the vineyards. He has his own methods for promoting the diverse life of the soil. The grapes—Gamay, Cabernet Franc, Côt (Malbec), Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc & Pineau d’ Aunis—are harvested by hand and only indigenous yeasts are used during fermentation. Claude regards the soil on his farm as a living organism. He lives in harmony with nature and the wines he crafts are a pure and vibrant testament to outstanding Biodynamic winemaking.

Claude, who is growing older, has started to pass off the winemaking to his son Etienne, who is already showing immense promise…read more.

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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