Have a safe and happy holiday weekend!
Friday August 24, 2018
La Boutanche Blanc (Martin Texier) Vin de France, 2015
La Boutanche is a natural wine project started by importer Selection Massale to address the issue of the shortage of natural wines in the $20-and-under price range. These liter-size, screw-top, glou glou wines are from different producers within the Selection Massale portfolio.
Martin Texier is the son of well-known natural winemaker Eric Texier. Martin was studying economics before deciding that perhaps he oughta follow in his father’s footsteps. In between he was also a DJ, and worked in a couple NYC wine shops and a record shop. Now he has five hectares in the Rhone in St.-Julien-en-St.-Alban, planted to traditional red and white Rhone varieties. This white is just one of his Boutanche offerings.
Tiberi “Il Musticco” 2017, Umbria
Tiberi is a small family winery in Umbria, at the heart of Italy. Before 2012 the family used to sell their grapes to other winemakers. Since then they’ve been making their own wines with the help of the godfather of Italian natural wine, Danilo Marcucci. Siblings Frederico and Beatrice Tiberi are fourth-generation winemakers, working vines planted in the ’70s. They do all the good things: organic farming, hand-harvesting, little intervention, no additives or sulfur, etc. Their Il Musticco is a blend of Gamay de Trasimeno (aka Grenache) and Ciliegiolo, bottled and capped before fermentation is finished, giving it a lively effervescence. It’s the color of pomegranate berries, with tart cherries on the nose and palate, balanced by a crisp minerality and a long dry finish.
Here’s a blurb from the importer: Envínate (Wine Yourself) is the brainchild of 4 friends, winemakers Roberto Santana, Alfonso Torrente, Laura Ramos, and José Martínez. This gang of 4 formed back in 2005 while studying enology at the University of Miguel Hernandez in Alicante. Upon graduation, they formed a winemaking consultancy, which evolved into Envínate, a project that focuses on exploring distinctive parcels mainly in the Atlantic-inflected regions of Ribeira Sacra and the Canary Islands. Their collective aim is to make profoundly pure and authentic wines that express the terruño of each parcel in a clear and concise manner. To this end, no chemicals are used in any of the Envínate vineyards, all parcels are picked by hand, the grapes are foot-trodden, and the wines are fermented exclusively with wild yeasts, with a varying proportion of whole grape clusters included. For aging, the wines are raised in old barrels and sulfur is only added at bottling, if needed. The results are some of the most exciting and honest wines being produced in Spain today.
Envínate Benje Tinto 2017
Benje is sourced from several plots of 70 to 105 year old vines (95% Listan Prieto, 5% Tintilla) grown at 1,000-1,200 meters elevation on Tenerife, the largest of the seven Canary Islands. The vineyards are situated high on the northwestern volcanic slopes in and around Santiago del Teide, and are tended by Emilio Ramírez & Envínate. The climate is mild but winds from the Atlantic and Africa, coupled with fluctuations in humidity, present some challenges.
Each parcel is harvested by hand then vinified separately, with some going into concrete, some in small open tubs. They then go together into neutral french oak for malolactic fermentation, then are raised in the same barrels for 8 months without lees stirring or added SO2. It’s bottled unfiltered and clarified using only natural vegetable proteins.
This is high-elevation, volcanic deliciousness. The red fruit and zesty acidity combined with earthy, floral, herbal notes make it pair perfectly with grilled meats, but it can do well with some seafood too and vegetables, especially dishes that utilize smoky paprika. It can handle a bit of peppery heat too.
Envínate Albahra Vinos Mediterraneos 2017
Albahra is named for the vineyard location, and means “small sea”. It comes from a single vineyard that’s divided into 3 parcels at 800 meters elevation in the Almansa region, around the town of Albacete. Almansa is located at the southeastern tip of Castilla-LaMancha, about a four hour drive east of Madrid (and quite a hike from Tenerife). This is 100% Garnacha Tintorera from 30 year old vines. This grape is also known as Alicante Bouschet, and is a hybrid of Garnacha and Petit Bouschet. Unlike most red grapes, the juice of Garnacha Tintorera is dark (that’s what the tintorera indicates) so the wine is dark too, and in this case, soft and spicy. Albahra is fermented 50% whole-cluster in cement vats, then aged for 8 months in the same vats. It’s another versatile food wine, that can also pair well with seafood, as well as with tomatoes, olives, manchego cheese, gazpacho, fennel (raw or roasted), and a host of other mediterranean influenced fare.
Friday August 3, 2018
We got a small drop of new Louis/Dressner and we’re tasting some of it tonight. We also got a tiny amount of 1996 Peter Lauer Saar Riesling Sekt (not Dressner) disgorged in May of this year. This Champagne method bubbly is left on the lees for over 20 years, is hand-riddled and disgorged, and is pretty special. Read more about Lauer here. We also got some 2013 Sekt, if you can’t get enough fizzy Lauer. Here’s the tasting line-up:
Immich-Batterieberg Detonation Riesling 2016 Mosel, Germany
This is one of Mosel’s oldest estates, established in 911 by a Carolingian monastery, which the Immich family took over in the 1400s. Sometime during the 1800s, Carl August Immich wanted to expand into the barren hillside. So doing what people do, he blasted it with a cannon. It took 5 years, but finally the terraced “Batterieberg” (“Battered Mountain”) vineyard was born, and the estate gained its current name: Immich-Batterieberg. Sadly in 1989 the property was sold off and the winery’s traditional approach was abandoned for a modern style. Almost 20 years later, in 2007, Immich-Batterieberg filed for bankruptcy. But! Cue the trumpets: Bahmp Bah Baaahhh! Enter Gernot Kollmann (and two investors) in 2009, who restored the estate to its former glory. Gernot’s winemaking emphasizes terroir, utilizes little to no manipulation, and focuses on dry riesling. 2016 is the first vintage of Detonation and is an homage to Carl August Immich. While some of the fruit is from estate vineyards, more is handpicked and purchased from steep, sustainably farmed growing sites around the towns of Drohn and Oberemmeler. In the winery the grapes ferment via indigenous yeast and age on the lees in large neutral oak casks, and a little bit of stainless steel, and the wine is bottled with very little sulfur. Terry Thiese says “2016 does not appear to have a dark side…it is almost never not delicious, almost never ungainly, unbalanced or unappealing. I can hardly remember a more adorable vintage.” We’re down with that.
Éric Texier “Adele” Cotes du Rhone Blanc, 2017, France
Éric Texier came to wine without any family connection or romantic, multi-generational story. In 1992, after years as a nuclear scientist, he opted to follow his passion for wine and formally study viticulture and oenology at Bordeaux University. He read a lot, visited winemakers around the world, and worked in Burgundy with Jean-Marie Guffens, at Verget. There he learned the benefits of minimal-intervention wine-making: native yeasts, little to no herbicides, no machines, etc…
As a beginner, he was unable to afford his own vineyards, so he became a négociant, buying only from small growers philosophically aligned with himself. He has since acquired plots in Côte Rôtie and Condrieu in the northern Rhône, and replanted several hectares in long-forgotten Brézème with Syrah and Roussanne. All of his wines are aged in the underground 16th-century cellar at his home in Charnay-en-Beaujolais.
Adele is mostly Clairette with the remainder Marsanne, fermented in cement tanks with native yeasts. It rests for about 8 months on its lees, without sulfur, and is bottled unfiltered and unfined, with very little sulfur at bottling.
La Stoppa Trebbiolo Rosso 2016, Emilia-Romagna
La Stoppa is a 50 hectare property founded in the late 19th century by a lawyer named Gian-Marco Ageno. Of the 50 hectares, about 30 are planted to vines, and the rest is forest (and the remains of a medieval tower). In 1973, with no winemaking or growing exerience, Elena Pantaleoni’s father purchased the property. In 1991 Elena joined her father in working the estate, and at that same time began farming organically (they were certified in 2008). The previous owner had planted non-native varieties like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Tokay, Pinot Gris, Grechetto, and Pinot Noir which were not suited to the soils or the climate of the region; it wasn’t until 1996 that these were ripped up and replanted with Bonarda, Barbera, and Malvasia.
Elena Pantaleoni now works with winemaker Giulio Armani to make minimal intervention, real wines true to place and grape. Fermentation is with native yeast with no added sulfur, skin-contact is lengthy, and the wines are bottled unfiltered and unfined. Fermentations and aging take place in stainless steel (for entry level wines like this Trebbiolo), concrete, and Slavonian and French oak barrels (not new). Elena has chosen to use IGT classification instead of DOC so that she has freedom to work around the regulations regarding varieties, geography, and production techniques.
Trebbiolo Rosso is Barbera and Bonarda (AKA: Croatina, NOT Bonarda Piemontese, or the Bonarda from Argentina) from younger vines of 5-20 years that grow on heavy clay soils. The grapes are destemmed and fermented on the skins for 20 days in stainless steel, and further aged in stainless. The name Trebbiolo comes from the nearby river and valley known as Trebbia. This wine is lovely and lively, with fresh red berries and ripe cherries throughout.
Éric Texier A.O.C Côtes du Rhône “Brézème” Red 2016
-see producer note above.
100% Syrah from 25 year old vines on rocky southwest facing slopes of clay and limestone. It’s vinified whole cluster and aged for 15 months in concrete vats. This wine is lush and full with notes of cocoa, black cherries, brambly earth, and dashes of citrus.