Happy New Year everyone—what a year!! We’re open 11-8 today, so swing on by for your festive needs. Thanks for being a part of the fun in 2018; here’s to peace, love, drinks and understanding in 2019. 🍾💥🕊
Put on your galoshes, hop those puddles, and be thankful we don’t have to shovel! Rain or shine, we’ve got a great tasting lined up this evening with Peter from Vineyard Road. Notes are below.
We’re also having a special tasting on Sunday with Christin from Wine Bros., from 12:30 – 2pm. She’ll be pouring fizzies from Massachusetts and Maine. Swing on by, it’ll be fun!
Cheers! Merry Christmas! Safe Travels!
Hild Morio-Muskat Secco 2016
Matthias Hild farms 5 hectares of old, terraced parcels in Upper-Mosel, a place a bit more known for quantity over quality, with most of the grapes going to cooperatives. Unlike the famed slate vineyards of lower Mosel, the vineyards here are mostly on limestone. And where Riesling makes up over 60% grapes planted in Mosel, Hild specializes in underdog grapes like Elbling, and this Morio-Muskat. Hild works his vineyards responsibly and is on the way toward organic certification.
This is a lightly fizzy, subtly sweet, snacking on apps, cooking dinner, greeting guests, wrapping presents, eating leftovers, just-one-more-little-sip-before-bed kind of wine.
Champagne Christophe Mignon Brut Nature NV
Christophe Mignon comes from a long line of farmers and winemakers in Le-Mesnil-le-Huttier This area in the Vallée de la Marne is known for its high percentage of Pinot Meunier, which is particularly well suited to the deep clay and chalky Tuffeaux soils that dominate the terrain. Christophe’s approach to farming is sometimes called the Mignon Method; it combines biodynamics, phytotherapy, homeopathy, and geobiology. He describes nature as a Rubik’s Cube, always offering up new challenges, so therefore he changes up his farming approach accordingly. He’s followed the lunar calendar for 20 years, allowing the moon’s cycles to dictate his work in the vineyards and in the cellar. He says “the moon for a vigneron is like a metronome for a musician.” To ensure low yields and the highest possible quality, he employs just one person per hectare. He prefers his wines on the drier side, so grapes are picked at optimum ripeness, thus allowing little to no dosage, and he uses very little sulfur.
This 100% Pinot Meunier is a 50/50 blend of two recent vintages, aged 24 months in bottle and finished without dosage. It’s dry and mineral driven, floral, expressive, red fruit scented, balanced and elegant.
Pierre Morey Bourgogne Blanc 2014
Domaine Pierre Morey is 11 hectares in Meursault planted to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Aligote. The family traces its roots back here to 1793. They’ve been certified organic since 1992 and biodynamic since 1997. All of their wines are 100% de-stemmed, fermented with indigenous yeasts, not fined and/or filtered for reds, rarely for whites. In addition to his duties at his own property, from 1988 to 2008, Pierre was cellar master and manager at Domaine Leflaive in Puligny-Montrachet. Pierre’s daughter Anne Morey has been working with her father over the last few years and is now co-manager.
This Bourgogne Blanc is from 1.76ha of multiple parcels in Meursault (Les Millerands, En Monatine, Les Herbeux, Les Malpoiriers) on deep clay-limestone soils. It spends 16-20 months aging in older oak barrels and is bottled by gravity. This wine is floral, lightly spiced, balanced acidity, with notes of apples, pears, and honeysuckle on a classic rich Meursault palate.
Burlotto Dolcetto d’Alba 2017, Piedmont, Italy
Established in 1850 by Giovan Battista Burlotto, aka The Commendatore, presently G.B. Burlotto is a family run estate. The Commendatore’s great niece Marina Burlotto manages the winery. Her husband, Giuseppe Alessandria, manages the vineyards, and their son, Fabio, is the winemaker and in charge of marketing.
Note from the importer: Burlotto owns 15 hectares of vineyards at 280 to 360 meters elevation, located near the river Tanaro in Verduno, the northern most estate in Barolo. In the cellar Fabio works traditionally, selected wines are foot crushed, with minimal intervention, harvested grapes are destemmed, natural yeast ferments, extended skin contacts, and manual punch downs. The cooler night time temperatures of Verduno and meticulous work in the vineyards and in the cellar have enabled this estate to produce elegant, profound wines now considered among the very finest in Piedmont.
Domaine Jean-Marc et Thomas Bouley Hautes-Côtes de Beaune Rouge 2015
This 8.5 hectare property in Volnay & Côte de Beaune is farmed organically by father and son team Jean-Marc and Thomas Bouley. The grapes for this Hautes-Côtes de Beaune Rouge are from just under one hectare planted in 1979, 1980, 1999, and 2002.
The vineyards are on a south-facing hillside above Volnay, at 380m altitude, on red clay (oxidized iron) and limestone soil
Vinification: 100% de-stemmed, cold maceration in concrete or stainless steel tank. 2-3 weeks’ total tank time. 1 year aging on fine lees in older oak barrels.
2015 in Burgundy was a very good vintage for reds, and this is a lovely wine to drink now or lay down for a few years. Cherry, cranberry, a touch rustic, a little bit savory…it’ll be perfect on a holiday table or as a gift for the Burgundy or Pinot Noir lover.
Come to Campus to meet Ariana Rolich and taste through some delicious wine she’s importing through her new endeavor, AR Wines.
Notes from Ariana:
RUBEN DIAZ (SIERRA DE GREDOS) Rubén Díaz is a proud son of Cebreros, the historic heart of the Sierra de Gredos, and a vital connector between the region’s most important producers and top vineyard sites. Díaz is the leading force in the Gredos for sustaining local winemaking traditions (in particular, his vinos de tonel, raised both oxidatively and biologically, some dating back to the 1800s) and for pushing the limits experimenting with the region’s unique white varieties and forgotten zones of old-vine, high-altitude red Grenache. His white wines, made from Chasselas Doré and Albillo Real, exhibit a range of styles: fresh and light, skin-macerated, sous-voile, oxidative, and many combinations thereof. His reds are pure Garnacha grown on granite and schist that exhibit the power and precision for which Sierra de Gredos is gaining fame.
Rubén Díaz 2016 Sierra de Gredos Cebreros “Finca La Coronilla” Albillo + Chasselas DoréAlbillo Real and Chasselas Doré grow side-by-side in Finca La Coronilla, a 70-year-old vineyard planted at 630m on decomposed granitic sands in the historic village of Cebreros. In 2016, a long and rainy spring gave way to a very hot summer. Albillo Real was picked first for this wine, with 7-8 days on the skins before being pressed to a single used French barrel. After 12-13 days, the Chasselas was added, following five days of skin maceration.
Rubén Díaz 2015 Sierra de Gredos Cebreros “Fiorel-la” Albillo Crianza Biologica (Saca 2017)Fiorel-la is 100% Albillo Real from two vineyards planted on decomposed granitic sands in the village of Cebreros: one is 70 years old in a zone called Las Dehesillas; the other (contributing a mere 60L of wine) is a tiny, even older vineyard in a zone called Vamoscoso. Fiorel-la was fermented with five days of skin contact, then raised in stainless steel under a light layer of flor until September 2016, at which time 300L of wine was racked into barrel to age in a special cellar that Díaz devotes to his vinos de tonel. The remaining 400L (the part that became Fiorel-la) was returned to stainless steel, where its thin veil of flor resumed. In essence, this Fiorel-la bottling is a freezeframe of one of Rubén Díaz’s long-aged vinos de tonel in its youth.
ORLY LUMBRERAS (SIERRA DE GREDOS, RIBEIRA SACRA,RIBEIRO) A sound engineer by training, Orly Lumbreras’ passion for music infuses his wine labels, his analogies for farming, and his winemaking processes alike. When Lumbreras was learning to make wine, Alfredo Maestro was his first cellar mate, and it was Maestro who introduced him to the austere, highest-elevation, outer reaches of the Alto Alberche winegrowing zone in the Sierra de Gredos. He operates on instinct in adopting vineyards, which commits him to farming extremely challenging sites in virtually untouched corners of the Gredos, including long-abandoned vineyards that may never yield fruit again. Most recently, this instinct has led him to take on the nearly impossible task of learning to farm organically in Galicia, where he collaborates with friends in Ribeira Sacra and Ribeiro to make some of his most interesting wines yet from Mencía, Sousón, Caiño, Treixadura, and more.
Orly Lumbreras Viñador 2016 Sierra de Gredos Navalmoral de la Sierra “MilaGritos” Garnacha100% Garnacha from three parcels (60-75 years old) planted on decomposed granitic sandy soil at 1000m altitude in Navalmoral de la Sierra (in a zone called Navamelque). Harvested at the end of September, 90% destemmed, fermented in concrete vats with soft foot-treading during the first few days, and thereafter merely keeping the cap moist. Macerated for 3-4 weeks then pressed a few days after completion of alcoholic fermentation to fourth-use 225L barrels for five months before blending and bottling. (25mg/L total SO2)
Orly Lumbreras Viñador 2016 Ribeira Sacra (non-DO) “Vertixe” MencíaVertixe (“Vertigo”) is 100% Mencía from 60-year-old vines planted on slate soils at 600m altitude, on a slope leading down to the river Sil in the village of Trasmonte (population: 11 people) in the Ribeira Sacra. Viticulturist José Aira has always worked this vineyard organically. Since meeting Orly Lumbreras in 2015, he has started incorporating biodynamic methods as well. Harvested on September 24th, fermented with 30% stems in open vats, foot-trodden, with four months in used barrel (third-use). (39mg/L total SO2)
Champagne José Michel NV Brut Tradition
José Michel Champagne has somewhat of a cult following. This small house began in 1847; five generations later José & Nicole work pretty much like 5 generations ago: by hand, traditionally, with respect for the environment. José Michel is certified “Level 3” the top level of certification in Haute Valeur Environmentale. Initiated in 2011, HVE is a global approach to preserving the environment that does not certify the quality of a product, but the environmental quality of a farm. José and Nicole are also founding members of “Tresors de Champagne”, or “Special Club” (we carry this as well). Created in 1971 the Club Trésors was the first association of wine makers in Champagne to advocate an approach to viticulture based on the utmost standards of quality.
The 11 hectares José Michel vineyards are spread throughout three villages along the Cotes D’Epernay. The upper vineyards on the summit of the hills have more clay in the soil and are planted to Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. This producer is quite well-known for Pinot Meunier, and is said to rival Krug in quality (at way, way, way less money). The middle and lower vineyards on the slopes have a calcareous soil and are planted to Chardonnay (planted in 1958). Fermentations are carried out in old oak casks or enameled steel vats. The wines undergo a malolactic fermentation and the dosage “liqueur d’expedition” is minimal.
The non-vintage Brut is a blend in which the 70% Pinot Meunier forms the base and 30% Chardonnay adds complexity and finesse. In addition to the base vintage (typically 2 years old), the NV Brut benefits from being blended with reserve wines that are often 4 or 5 years old. The Champagne is typically 2+ years “sur lattes” with a dosage of 9 grams.
Lauer Saar Riesling Barrel X, Mosel, Germany 2016
We’ve been on the Lauer train for a few years now, especially Barrel X, which just landed on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 list. Congrats! Florian Lauer makes dry and off-dry Rieslings with less residual sugar than some of his neighbors, like Egon Müller and Hanno Zilliken. The focus is precision, minerality, finesse, and purity of fruit. He utilizes natural-yeast fermentations, allowing his wines to “find their own balance”. Most of his grapes are sourced from small parcels and sub-parcels on the hillside of the Ayler Kupp. Lauer bottles based on “fass”, or cask numbers that are often aligned with the names of pre-1971 vineyard names. From importer Vom Boden:
Though the many vineyards of this mountain were unified (obliterated?) under the single name “Kupp” with the 1971 German wine law, it has been Florian’s life’s work to keep the old vineyard names alive, to keep these voices alive. He has been fighting this fight since his first vintage in 2005 and only with an update to the law in 2014 can he now legally use the older vineyard names such as Unterstenberg, Stirn, Kern and Neuenberg… in addition to the expanses of the Kupp, Lauer farms two other important sites, the Saarfeilser directly across the river and the precipitous, cliff-vineyard Schonfels, a bit upstream from the other two sites. Florian also recently cleared and replanted the famous Lambertskirch, just a stone’s throw from Schonfels.
Barrel X is Lauer’s appellation level wine (his version of Bourgogne Blanc) sourced from three different villages of the Saar. It’s off-dry and full of orange-blossom, ripe citrus, precise minerality, brisk acidity…it’s a versatile food wine, happily pairing with nearly everything.
Domaine Louis Boillot & Fils, Moulin-à-Vent Vieilles Vignes 2014
This magical little Moulin-à-Vent is our spirit animal. It’s a Boillot-Barthod Beaujolais collaboration that makes you swear you’re drinking Burgundy. We bought all that was left of the 2014 vintage.
Note from the importer: Louis Boillot’s emerging position in the Burgundy firmament is not accidental. Despite having created his domaine only a decade ago, he came armed with some of the oldest and best situated vineyards in Burgundy – thanks to four generations of Boillots having acquired prime sites in Volnay and Gevrey Chambertin. In just one decade, Louis’ domaine has become one of the most admired small estates in the Côte d’Or. The turning point came in the mid-2000s, when he and his partner-the supremely talented Ghislaine Barthod-built a cave together in Chambolle-Musigny.
This brought two of Burgundy’s most gifted winemakers together – working and tasting side by side – with the alchemy you’d expect. The vineyard management was also combined, with Louis responsible for not only his own vines, but those of Ghislaine as well.
Boillot is a master with more than 30 years of experience – using no chemical fertilizers or weed killers, and meticulously pruning for balanced yields. His winemaking is equally timeless, featuring extended, gentle extractions and a limited use of new barrels. His style is marked by an inexorable march towards increasingly refined and transparent wines. At the heart of his style is a profound respect for the terroir of his old vines. The wines that Louis makes from his priceless vines are like Burgundy used to be: gentle, subtle, pure, precise and highly nuanced, their complexity and sensuality growing with age.
Charles Helfenbein, Côtes du Rhône Saint-Julien-en-Saint-Alban, 2015
Charles Helfenbein holds degrees in oenology and viticulture and has been making wine in northern outposts of Cotes du Rhone since 2007. He took over the vines and cellar work that his uncle had started in the Drôme in 2000. He has roughly two hectares of Syrah vines on the steep, southwest facing slopes of Brézème where the soils are primarily clay and limestone, and the slopes of the village of St-Julien-en-St-Alban, where the soils are poor, crumbly granite. He’s one of only three winemakers making wine here. He farms with “respect for nature and preserving the environment”, but is not certified organic.
The St-Julien-en-St-Alban (and the Brezeme, also in stock) is raised in 450L demi-muid barrels that allows the wine air to breathe without contributing excessive oaky aromas or flavors. It’s smoky, black-peppery, bacon-y, balanced, structured, utterly drinkable northern-Rhone Syrah. It’s bound to please.