Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM

May 31, 2019

Gramona “La Cuvee” Gran Reserva Brut Cava 2013, Penedes, Spain

The Gramona family winemaking history goes back to 1816 in Penedes; in 1921 the Gramona name began to appear on bottles of Cava. Today they are one of the few remaining family owned estates, most others have been purchased by large corporations over the last 50 or so years. Jaume Gramona is in charge of viticulture and winemaking. Grapes are sourced from 124 hectares of vineyards that are farmed biodynamically – 60 hectares that the Gramona family owns and 64 hectares of purchased fruit from growers that are practicing biodynamics under the Alianzas por la Terra, an organization created by Gramona to promote biodynamics in the Penedès.

Wines here receive long aging. Almost 90% of Cava in general is aged for just 9 months before release; at Gramona, wines are aged for a minimum of 30 months, and one, Enoteca, is aged for 12-15 years. This 2013 Gran Reserve was aged for 43 months before being disgorged. It’s 70% Xarello, 30% Macabeo bottled with 5 grams of sugar. It’s medium-bodied, lively, with notes of stone fruit, lemon peel, butter, and spices.  

Teutonic Foiled Cucumber and Candied Mushroom

Teutonic focuses on single vineyard, single varietal wines that are dry farmed and made in a precise, Germanic style.

The Teutonic MO is old vines, cold climate, high elevation, dry farmed, old wood and wild yeast. Or, as proprietors Olga and Barnaby Tuttle put it: old and cold, high and dry, wood and wild. They are inspired by the wines of Mosel, Germany, where they also happen to make wine, and they import wine from the region as well. The combination of old vines and dry farming means that vines go super deep into the earth in search of nutrients, and therefore absorb layers of terroir-driven flavors. Teutonic is a member of the DRC (Deep Roots Coalition), a group that promotes “sustainable and terroir-driven viticulture without irrigation”. 

Producer notes: 

2018 Foiled Cucumber, White Wine, Pear Blossom Vineyard, Columbia Gorge

Foiled Cucumber is our gateway wine. Once you try it, you’ll need more of our wines. It’s crisp, light and refreshing and beautifully aromatic, with notes of honeydew melon. What is this white wine? It’s 100% Gewurztraminer! Why “Foiled Cucumber?” Watch Spinal Tap (again).

2018 Candied Mushroom, Willamette Valley

This wine is 100% Riesling from Crow Valley Vineyard. The fruit arrived toward the end of harvest with 100% botrytis (aka Noble Rot). We macerated it on its skins for four days before pressing it off. Then the wine was inoculated with a flor yeast. It’s medium dry in sweetness level and off-the-charts in flavor! We don’t know when we can make something like this again.

Sesti Rosato 2018, Tuscany, Italy

Giuseppe Maria “Giugi” Sesti is a Venetian who studied music, art, and astronomy, the last becoming his profession. He met his wife Sarah in North Wales, and in 1975 moved to Tuscany, where they bought the abandoned ruins of the hamlet and castle of Argiano. They slowly cleared the land and restored the buildings, had four children, and Giugi continued to write books on astronomy and act as vice-director of a local Baroque opera festival. At the same time he spent his spare time in local wine cellars and vineyards, absorbing knowledge wherever he went. In 1991 he planted his own vineyards. In 1999 Giugi and Sarah’s only daughter Elisa joined the estate full time, working in the vineyards and making wine. They work organically and biodynamically, and produce about 5,000 cases annually.

The Sesti Rosato is 100% Sangiovese from Brunello di Montalcino grapes, but picked earlier than grapes destined for Brunello. Think of this like a chillable light red, or a more serious, substantial rosé. It’s dry, a little grippy, with dusty earth aromas, and a bit of cherries and violets. Bright acidity makes it a perfect pair for salty cured meats, olives, and hard cheeses.  

Gaspard Cabernet Franc 2017, Loire Valley

Gaspard is a Jenny  & François house label. The grapes are sourced from a winemaker in the Loire Valley who makes the wines to their specifications. 

This is 100% Cabernet Franc from 25-60 year old vines planted on clay and limestone. Grapes are hand-harvested and destemmed. The juice remains in contact with the skins for 5-6 weeks. Elevage takes place in cement tanks for a gentle introduction of oxygen to soften the wine. The wine is bottled lightly filtered with a small addition of sulfur. 

Beer Tasting Saturday, 3-6PM

We’ll pour Whalers Blockstar and Foolproof Mango Vango, along with another summer-friendly brew. 

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

And: Smuttynose pouring in the shop tomorrow, 3PM-6PM

May 24, 2019

Holiday weekend hours: Friday & Saturday, 10am-10pm. Sunday & Monday, noon-6PM.

Here’s the link to this week’s newsletter.

Bisson Glera Vino Frizzante 2018

Enoteca Bisson was born in 1978 when Pierluigi Lugano fell in love with the wines of the Ligurian coastline. He began as a trader in small lots of bulk wine, later became a wine merchant, and finally a grower in his own right. He now splits his time between his busy wine shop in Chiavari, the wine cellar, and his vineyards.

This is declassified Prosecco that Pierluigi is able to make because of his friend Eli Spagnol, who is he proprietor of Torre Zecchei in Valdobbiadene. Pierluigi works hand in hand with quality growers some 400 kilometers to the northeast of his hometown. While most of the more commercial wine labeled as Prosecco is sourced from flat, machine-worked land in the plains below the foothills, the wine sourced from the Valdobbiadene appellation is from steeply-sloped hillsides in the series of valleys ranging east from the village. The landscape necessitates that everything in the vineyards is done by hand, including harvest. Glera is the grape, hence the name. It isn’t labelled “Prosecco” because it’s under crown-cap, which isn’t allowed if one also wants to carry the name. 

Bone-dry, floral, fresh, mineral-saline-acidity…you want a cold bottle of this when you’re sitting seaside snacking on crustaceans. It’s also perfect with salads, soft and salty cheeses, basil and tomatoes…it’s lip smacking. 

Chateau Barouillet Bergerac “Bergecrac” Blanc Sec 2017

Vincent Alexis is the latest of eight generations to grow vines and make wine on this large estate in Bergerac, in southwestern France, located barely 50 km from Saint Emilion. His father and grandfather still work with him on the hundred-plus acres. Vincent has returned the domaine to traditional, organic practices in the vineyard and the cellar (they gained organic certification in 2014), and while not certified biodynamic, they work according to the lunar calendar. Tiny quantities of sulfites are the only additive he allows, he pays meticulous attention to each vine, and practices rigorous cleanliness in the cellar. Depending on the style, wines are raised in a mixture of stainless-steel tanks, concrete vats, amphorae, and barrels old and new. Wood is used primarily for its controlled oxidative action rather than any vanilla or toast flavoring.

Bergercrac is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris, Sémillon and Chenin Blanc planted on clayey and calcareous soils. It’s matured in tank on the fine lees, and is bottled without filtration. It’s marked by a leesy, yeasty quality, (slightly toasted on the finish), as well as flowers, peaches, honeysuckle, and citrus. Think seafood, salads, smoked fish….

Fichet Bourgogne Aligoté 2017

Jean Philippe Fichet began as a grower in Merseault 1981, but he didn’t own his vineyards. He lost his contracts in the early 90s, and was forced to begin again from scratch. Now he’s often on his tractor from dusk ’til dawn tending his series of lieu-dits. He believes wine should reflect its terroir, so most of his productions are from single vineyards.  He practices severe winter pruning, rather than green harvesting, to keep his yields low. He is patient and gentle with his wines; élevage lasts 18 months, and he employs little new oak or aggressive lees stirring. 

This Aligote is primarily sourced from the village of Meursault, from a vineyard replanted in 1991. Fermentations take place in barrel and tank. It’s bracing, dry, and scented with green apple and lime. Seafood (again), poultry, and salads are ideal pairings.

Domaine Rollin Hautes Cotes de Beaune Rouge 2016

Domaine Rollin is a 4th generation estate across five separate communes: Pernand Vergelesses, Savigny les Beaune, Echevronne, Aloxe Corton and Chorey les Beaune. In 1955, Maurice Rollin, who had beed a vineyard worker like his father before him, decided to start bottling and selling wine from the family vineyard holdings. He mostly sold to a small group of private clients, but he garnered enough success to purchase a parcel in the “Ile des Vergelesses”, one of the top vineyards of Pernand. By the mid 80s the family had accumulated 10 hectares and stopped selling any holdings to negociants. The estate is now 12 hectares and produces about 5,000 cases in total per year. While not certified organic, treatments in the vineyard are avoided unless absolutely necessary; grapes are hand-harvested and fermentation is with indigenous yeasts. Since 2003, Maurice’s grandson Simon has been winemaker here, after taking over from his father Remi.

This Hautes Cote de Beaune Rouge is from vineyards in Pernand Vergelesses and Echevronne. It’s aged in small old barrels and bottled a few months earlier than other reds of the domaine to preserve freshness and fruitiness. Only about 300 cases come into the US annually.  

Domaine La Réméjeanne “Un Air” Côtes du Rhône Rouge 2018

François Klein established Domaine La Réméjeanne in 1960 on 5 hectares near the town of Bagnols-sur-Cèze in the Gard. It’s now operated by his son Remi, and grandson Olivier. Remi diversified the property with olive groves and fig trees, and worked over the years to convert the domaine to organic farming; it’s now 38 hectares and has been certified organic since 2010. 

Un Air is 70% Grenache & 30% Syrah that’s hand-harvested, mostly de-stemmed, and fermented and aged in concrete tanks before being bottled without fining, and with only light filtration. It’s silky and delicious, with notes of raspberries, black cherries, lavender, and other aromatic herbs. It’s a bang-for-your-buck grill-friendly wine. 

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

Muscadet, Seafoam, Champagne, Beaujolais…

May 17, 2019

Jean Pascal Aubron “Cuvée Elegance Muscadet 2016

Since 1843, Jean Pascal Aubron’s family has been tending their vineyards around the town of Vallet, outside of Nantes, near the Atlantic Coast. They own 11 hectares (about 27.19 acres) of the acclaimed Grand Fief de l’Audigère, a lieux-dit which sits on gabbro (volcanic rock) deposits, allowing the full expression of the Melon de Bourgogne grape while maintaining its legendary acidity. This results in a beautiful, rich, leesy, stony, salty Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine sur Lie.

Seafoam White Wine 2017, Columbia Gorge, Oregon

Teutonic focuses on single vineyard, single varietal wines that are dry farmed and made in a precise, Germanic style.

The Teutonic MO is old vines, cold climate, high elevation, dry farmed, old wood and wild yeast. Or, as proprietors Olga and Barnaby Tuttle put it: old and cold, high and dry, wood and wild. They are inspired by the wines of Mosel, Germany, where they also happen to make wine, and they import wine from the region as well. The combination of old vines and dry farming means that vines go super deep into the earth in search of nutrients, and therefore absorb layers of terroir-driven flavors. Teutonic is a member of the DRC (Deep Roots Coalition), a group that promotes “sustainable and terroir-driven viticulture without irrigation”. 

Producer note: This is our attempt to Muscadet from Pinot Noir! This vintage our Seafoam is a bit darker, looks like a vin gris. It’s a dry, crisp wine that begs for oysters and other seafood dishes. The vineyard we used this year is Pear Blossom Vineyard located in the Columbia Gorge.

Champagne Yves Ruffin Extra Brut NV

Notes from the importer: Champagne Yves Ruffin is a tiny producer located to the northeast of Epernay, in a small town called Avenay Val d’Or, part of the Marne Valley. Their tiny holdings (2.72 hectares, or 6.72 acres) are planted 40% to Pinot Noir and 60% to Chardonnay. The densely-planted vines (7500 vines/hectare, or 1.1m x 1.1m plantings) have been certified Organic since 1971, one of the oldest domaines to do so.  In addition, all their holdings are rated Premier Cru.  Everything is done by hand, from the harvesting to the winemaking.  Grapes are pressed using a traditional vertical Coquard press, and fermentation takes place in old acacia and oak barrels.  At bottling, the wine is unfined and slightly filtered.

The house is currently run by Sylvie Ruffin, widow to Thierry, who passed in 2008.  With the help of friends and family, she has kept traditions alive and maintained the quality of the domaine’s wines.

Extra-Brut is 20% Pinot Noir and 80% Chardonnay, has a slight dosage of 2 grams, and is a blend of the 2008, 2009 and 2010 vintages.  Light yet crisp and with a beautiful mouthfeel, it’s a gorgeous bottle of bubbly.

Laurence et Rémi Dufaitre ‘Prémices’ Beaujolais 2018

Rémi and his wife Laurence began purchasing vines around Brouilly and Cote de Brouilly in the early/mid 2000s. By 2006 they were farming organically and harvesting their first vintage. They began by selling the grapes to the local co-op, while waiting for the indigenous yeast population to be healthy and active enough to make their own wine. The first vintage under the Dufaitre name was 2010. Jean Foillard, of the original Beaujolais Gang of Four, tasted Rémi’s wines and immediately recognized his winemaking talent. He took him under his wing and introduced him to movers and shakers in the Parisian natural wine scene, where the wines gained a cult following, and are now staples on hip restaurant lists. 

From the importers website: 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.

The Prémices is a parcel of Beaujolais-Villages vines and the grapes are fermented and aged in concrete tanks, with a very short maceration. This is an easy drinking light style of wine. The flower bud on the label represents that this wine is the first flowery taste of the new vintage. It’s easy drinking and lighter than the Brouilly and Cotes de Brouilly, but it is anything but a simple wine. The lightness and elegance of this wine is balanced with a healthy dose of minerality and complexity that make this one for serious gamay drinkers.