Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM

February 22, 2019

Botanica Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Ginny Povall, originally from Boston, MA, is farmer & winemaker at Protea Heights Farm in Devon Valley. The property is just over 21 hectares, with 10 dedicated to the national flower, the Protea (this was the 1st farm to plant the flowers in So. Africa, back in the ‘40s) and 5 hectares to vines.

The grapes for this Chenin come from a vineyard high in the mountains of Clanwilliam, 25 miles from the sea at 1600ft elevation. There is no water available, so the vineyards are dry-farmed. The vines are over 50 years old, and produce very little fruit. The wine is 50% barrel fermented & matured in 400 litre french oak barrels.

Presque’Isle Santa Barbara Chardonnay 2016

This wine is from a small, family operation that sustainably farms and focuses on terroir-driven wines and cool-climate sites. This crowd-pleasing Chardonnay is perfectly balanced; its chalky minerality mingles with apples, pears, and honeysuckle…it’s subtly sunny and slightly serious. It’s the wine to serve at the dinner party and the wine to bring to the dinner party.

Jean Foillard Beaujolais-Villages 2017

Jean Foillard is famous for cru Beaujolais, and for being one of the original ‘Gang of Four’ (along with Lapierre, Thevenet, and Breton) who called for a return to the old practices of viticulture and vinification: old vines, no synthetic herbicides or pesticides, harvesting late, rigorous sorting, minimal doses of sulfur dioxide or none at all, and avoiding artificial yeast and chaptalization (added sugar). Foillard briefly made a Nouveau, but decided that rushing a wine to get it to the states by the third Thursday in November just wasn’t his style. Instead, he decided to make Beaujolais-Villages, (2016 was the inaugural vintage). The grapes are sourced from steep, granite hillsides of Beaujolais-Villages, skirting the crus; Foillard took out long-term leases on the properties so that he could farm them himself. Like his other cuvées, this wine is made as naturally as possible, with no added SO2.

Les Tètes Bordeaux Superieur “Lomer”, 2016

Les Tètes is a small wine project run collaboratively by four winemaker friends, Nicolas Grosbois and Philippe Mesnier (of Domaine des Hauts Baigneux) and Baptiste and Vivien Martin. They are located in the village of Le Pressoir in Touraine Azay-le-Rideau in the Loire Valley. Les Tètes is focused on bringing fresh and fruity competitively-priced wines that are grown organically and fermented with native yeasts and with only minimal sulfur added. Les Tétes is “about friendship, and wines you drink with friends.”

Lomer is Merlot and Cabernet Franc, biodynamically farmed, fermented spontaneously in stainless steel, then bottled lightly filtered, unfined, with total sulphites of just 40 mg/L. This wine is earthy, full-bodied, layered, and satisfying.

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

February 8, 2019

Peter from Vineyard Road pours this tasty selection…and perhaps a surprise or two…

German Gilabert Cava Brut Nature, Catalonia, Spain

German Gilabert Cava is part of a José Pastor project called Vinos de Terruños, which was established in 2003 with a philosophy of bringing to market handmade wines of native Spanish varieties, from old, organic, and sustainable vineyards and authentic Spanish wine terroirs. They are usually very reasonably priced.

The grapes used for German Gilabert come from the subzone Alt Penedès, where the highest elevation plots are located. Only native grapes are used (in this case Macabeo and Parellada) and the wine is bottled without added sugar, or Brut Nature. It’s left on the lees for 18 to 20 months before disgorgement.

It’s medium-bodied with tiny bubbles and a citrus-driven character. The finish is dry and elegant. Have it with salty Spanish food.

Angelo Negro & Figli, Roero Arneis Unfiltered 2017, Piedmont, Italy

Importers notes: Since 1670 the Negro family has cultivated vineyards in the Roero hills (northwest of Alba), working to increase the value of this wonderful corner of Piemonte and dedicating wines to the prestigious native vines: Favorita, Arneis, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Bonarda, Dolcetto and Brachetto. Today the estate is run by Giovanni Negro and his family. With some of the best vineyard sites in Roero, Angelo Negro is one of the indisputable legends of the region. Giovanni Negro, the estate’s present owner, produced the first dry Arneis on record in 1971.

This unfiltered Arneis is from 20 year old vines grown on sandy soils at altitudes of 280-320 meters above sea level. The grapes are hand-harvested, macerated for 24 hours, then fermented (no malo) and aged for 6 months in stainless steel, on the lees. The wine is bottled with just a dash of sulfur, and is a unique expression of Arneis. It’s lightly peachy & grapefruity, with a touch of sour apple, and a leesy, mineral-driven finish.

Ampeleia Kepos 2017, Tuscany, Italy

Ampeleia is a joint Tuscan venture by Alto Adige’s Elisabetta Foradori (known for putting Toraldego on the map) and friends Giovanni Podini and Thomas Widmann. Ampeleia is a total of 150 hectares in Maremma, 40 of which are planted with vines at altitudes of 200-600 m above sea level. Farming is biodynamic and wines are made with minimal intervention.

Kepos is a blend of Grenache, Carignano, and Alicante Bouschet from vineyards closest to the sea. The grapes were hand-harvested from mid-September to early October, then fermented and aged in cement for 11 months. It’s medium-weight, precise, dried-herb-scented, floral, complex, and well-structured.

Luigi Giordano Langhe Rosso 2017, Piedmont, Italy

Distributor’s notes: A stone’s throw from Barbaresco’s village centre among the hills that frame the Tanaro River’s sinuous course, at the very heart of Piedmont’s wine country, the winery and its vineyards were founded by Giovanni Giordano in the 1930s during a time of profound crisis in the Italian wine world. After a period of growing and selling grapes, Giovanni’s son, Luigi, made the bold decision to vinify his own grapes in 1960. Luigi Giordano is now a fourth-generation winery whose vineyards are planted in some of Barbaresco’s most prestigious crus, including Asili and Montestefano. One particular Barbaresco bottling from the cru of Cavanna showcases the winery’s elegant, hands-off style of winemaking and currently represents the only single-vineyard cru of its kind on the market. Since 2000, Luigi has been aided in the running of the winery by two of his daughters, Laura and Silvia – both of whom are as passionate about wine making as their dad and grandad before them.

Langhe Rosso is Nebbiolo and Arneis from vineyards situated within the Barbaresco zone. After fermentation the wine ages for 3-4 months in oak casks. It’s full-bodied and balanced, lightly spicy and full of cherries, dried plums, and dried flowers.

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM

February 1, 2019

Monteversa Primaversa 2015, Veneto

Filippo Voltazza runs his small family vineyard in the Euganean Hills, just west of Venice. Vineyards here are packed into terraced rows, at heights up to 600 meters. Filippo’s family used to sell their grapes to local wineries, to be used in their best bottlings, until they took back all their vines in 2006. Now their 17 hectares face in all four directions to maximize exposure. The vines are densely planted to 4,000 per hectare on chalky-clay volcanic soil. Farming is organic, harvesting is by hand, and most of the wine is fermented and aged in cement, then bottled unfiltered and unfined. 

Primaversa is a gently fizzy pet-nat of Moscato Giallo fermented in stainless steel. It’s dry and herbal, a bit honeyed and nutty.  

Cantina Marilina & Federica Paternò Sikele Bianco and Sikele Rosso, Sicily, Italy

Angelo Paternò worked for 25 years as the winemaker and technical director for the Sicilian wineries Cantine Settesoli and Duca di Salaparuta before purchasing 60 hectares of his own on a hill in the southeastern Sicilian province of Siracusa. He thought this land represented one of the best viticultural areas in Sicily.

Angelo’s daughters Marilina and Federica are now in charge of the property, although Angelo still helps in the cellar. They grow organically and favor minimal intervention and no additives in the winemaking process. They are influenced by local natural winemaker Frank Cornelissen. 35 hectares of their vineyards are planted to grape varieties such as Nero d’Avola, Grecanico, Muscat Blanc, Moscato Giallo, Insolia, Merlot, Tannat, Viognier, and Chardonnay. The rest of the vineyards are various flora to encourage a diverse ecosystem. 

Sikele Bianco Terre Siciliane IGP 2016

Sikele Bianco is 100% Grecanico (aka: Garganega, of Soave) that’s macerated on the skins for 13 hours before pressing, followed by fermentation and six months’ aging in concrete. It’s unfiltered, unfined, and is bottled with just a dash of SO2. 

This orange (in color) wine is quite aromatic and actually smells a bit like oranges, and nuts, with a brisk, salty-air influence wound throughout. It has a beautifully rich texture, and is full of sweet & savory spices, peaches, and the same brisk-salty sensation that’s on the nose. 

Sikele Rosso Terre Siciliane IGP 2012

Sikele Rosso is 100% Nero d’Avola, fermented and aged in concrete for 9 months, also bottled unfiltered, unfined, and with just a dash of SO2. 2012 was a very hot and dry vintage across southern Italy and Sicily, but it was saved from producing hot clunkers by cooler temps and rain right before harvest time. This wine is aging quite nicely, with the red fruit becoming less primary, tobacco notes emerging, and a stony-minerality throughout. 

G.D. Vajra Langhe Rosso 2016, Piedmont, Italy

G.D. Vajra was officially established in 1972 but the family roots in the region go back over two centuries. The estate, well-known and respected for Barolo, sits 400 meters above sea level in the village of Vergne, in the commune of Barolo. Today the estate is over 40 hectares, 10 of which are planted to Nebbiolo for Barolo production. Farming here is organic, grapes are hand-harvested, and aging is done in traditional Slavonian casks.

The Langhe Rosso is a blend of Barbera, Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, Freisa, Pinot Noir, and Albarossa. Grapes are fermented separately in stainless steel, then aged for 12-16 months before blending, followed by 3 months in bottle before releasing. It’s fruity, floral and spicy, with a touch of brambly underbrush and black pepper. It’s lively and bright, and a perfect dinner party wine.