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.