July 19, 2019
Tonight’s tasting is all light and summery, and tomorrow Granny Squibb is in the house with some cool cocktail creations made with Rhodium Gin & Vodka from local newcomers Rhode Island Spirits. Swing by, we’ll have the AC cranking.
June 21, 2019
Leigh Ranucci is pouring a selection of French wine from the Wine Traditions portfolio.
Marcel Giraudon Bourgogne Aligoté 2018, Chitry, France
The Giraudon family has been farming and making wine in Chitry (one of four viticultural communes of the Auxerrois) for centuries. Their vineyards are on hillsides of Kimmeridgian chalky marl, the same one finds in Grand Cru Chablis. In fact, in the 19th century the wines of Chitry were sold under the name Chablis. In 1929 they were given the name “Bourgogne des Environs de Chablis”. Currently, they go by Chitry, or Bourgogne Chitry.
Aligoté accounts for only about 5% of Burgundy’s total vineyard area; it’s the region’s little known “other white grape”. In Chitry though, it makes up 40% of vines planted. Marcel Giraudon keeps yields low, harvests by hand, and allows the wine to undergo malolactic fermentation to temper its naturally high acidity. That acidity makes this wine a perfect partner for oysters, fried seafood, & salads.
Domaine du Crêt de Bine “La Cuvée de Florence” 2018 Beaujolais Blanc
The Subrin family farms this 5 hectare property in the village of Sarcy, situated on a high plateau tucked between the Monts Beaujolais and the Monts Lyonnais in the southwest corner of the Beaujolais appellation. The Subrin’s vineyard is planted on granite with significant deposits of quartz and feldspar. On average, the vines are 40 years old. François, Marie-Therèse, and daughter Florence farm organically and biodynamically. To insure maximum health and ripeness for their grapes, they severely limit the yields and harvest late into the growing season.
We tasted a barrel sample of this wine back in March with Florence herself. The chalky, silty minerality of the barrel sample has been complimented by delicately floral characteristics coming to the fore. It’s beautifully balanced and elegant. 100% Chardonnay.
Domaine du Cros Marcillac Rosé, 2018
The appellation of Marcillac is in southwestern France, nestled in the mountain range known as the Massif Central. At 22 hectares, Domaine du Cros is the largest independent producer in the appellation; Philippe Teulier and his family have been instrumental in reestablishing the reputation of Marcillac’s wines. Back in the early 80s, the family (then on its 4th generation in Marcillac) only had one hectare of vines. Since then they have added to their hectares through purchasing and renting. Philippe Teulier’s vines lie at elevations as high as 450 meters on a few different hillsides that surround the village of Clairvaux. Much of his vineyard is terraced and the soil is an iron rich clay known locally as “rougier” with outcroppings of limestone. His wines are made from one grape type, the local grape of Marcillac, Fer Servadou.
This rosé is from 25 year old vines planted on steep slopes of limestone (at the top) and rougier. The grapes are hand-harvested, and once pressed, the skins stay in contact with the juice for 6-12 hours until the desired pink hue is achieved. It’s then fermented in stainless steel and bottled in the spring. It’s a red-fruited, spicy rosé that’s perfect grill-side.
Domaine Billard Père et Fils Hautes Côtes de Beaune Rouge, 2017
Domaine de Billard is made up of 12.5 hectares of organically farmed vineyards in different appellations throughout the Cotes de Beaune. Their largest holdings are in the Hautes Cotes de Beaune with other small plots located in Saint Romain, Saint Aubin 1er Cru, Auxey Duresses, and Beaune. Yields are kept low through the use of cover crops and severe pruning. All the vines are harvested by hand and only indigenous yeasts are used for fermentation. Jérôme’s father sold his wine to the local cooperative, but Jérôme is now estate bottling his entire production.
Note from Wine Traditions: The Billard HCB rouge comes from a plot of 4 hectares of alluvial clay soil. It is extracted by foot pressing, respecting the delicate nature of Pinot Noir, then matured in barrel for 10 months. A rigorous bunch selection is made in the vineyard before harvest ensuring ripe, healthy grapes; resulting in a real purity of Pinot Noir fruit expression.
June 14th, 2019
Plus Willie’s Superbrew pours tomorrow, 3-6PM
And other tastings in the shop, too…scroll to the bottom to see those.
Guilhem et Jean-Hugues Goisot, Saint-Bris “Exogyra Virgula” 2017, Burgundy
Goisot has been hit hard by frost and hail in recent vintages, and has been touch-and-go as far as availability goes (and the ability to continue producing wine). Their 2017 Aligoté vintage was 1/6 of normal. Guilhem Goisot represents the fourth generation to farm this family property (organically and biodynamically), along with his father Jean-Hughes. They are known for their risky late-harvests, made riskier by climate change and the myriad problems it brings with it. The vineyards of 15-50 year-old vines are planted on a ridge of limestone that stretches from Sancerre to Chablis and Champagne.
This Saint Bris is from vines grown on Jurassic soil of kimmeridgien clay with fosilized oyster shells (Exogyra Virgula). Saint Bris is a small AOC within Burgundy, and the only place where Sauvignon Blanc is allowed. Apparently the grape found its way to the region after the phylloxera blight that wiped out Chardonnay. Saint Bris used to be considered part of Chablis, but geographical reassignments post-phylloxera left it to fend for itself. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, since by the 1970s the Sauvignon Blanc here was being recognized for its high quality.
This wine is a delicious, savory, snappy Sauvignon Blanc that weaves garden-green notes with smoke, apple, walnuts, and a slightly oxidative bouquet. It’s a fun Sancerre alternative, and makes for a conversation-piece aperitif, and of course works very well with shellfish, like oysters.
Domaine les Capréoles, Gamay Rosé Cossinelle 2018, Beaujolais
In 2014, Cédric and Catherine Lecareux produced their first vintage on this old property of 3.5 hectares in Regnie-Durette. Two years later they added an additional 2ha of vines. Cédric is a trained agronomist and oenologist who spent 15 years working in the business before acquiring his own property. Everything here is done by hand, naturally, without chemicals, and very little SO2. They are currently working toward Demeter certification, and their wines are vegan-friendly.
This rosé is fruity, youthful, and aromatic, punctuated by red fruit, and zesty acidity.
Chidaine Touraine Rouge 2017, Loire
Francois and Manuela Chidaine operate this second generation estate in Montlouis. The couple has been leaders in the natural wine movement, farming organically and biodynamically for decades. They have embraced no-till farming, known in the US as ”Carbon Farming”, (based on Masanobu Fukuoka’s One Straw Revolution) which involves implementing practices that are known to improve the rate at which CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and converted into plant material and soil organic matter. In addition to a range of blended and single-parcel Montlouis, they also produce a couple of wines from top vineyards in Vouvray, as well as several easy-drinking value wines from purchased grapes from nearby vineyards.
This red is a blend of Cot (Malbec), Cabernet Franc, and Pineau d’Aunis from organic and biodynamically farmed vineyards throughout Touraine. It’s fermented in stainless steel and aged in neutral barrels. Only 350 cases were made of this soft and spicy red. It’s a beautiful deep purple, and has an intriguing nose that hints at violets, cherries, tobacco, and fresh green onions. On the palate there’s ripe dark fruit, black pepper, cassis, and herbs. The finish is pleasantly astringent, with light tannins. This new arrival to our Best Buys table is a versatile crowd-pleaser, with a price-tag to please a crowd as well.
Azimut Negre 2015, Penedes, Spain
Azimut is a project of the Suriol family, known for making estate-grown and bottled organic wine and vintage Cava in the Alt Penedes province of Barcelona, Catalunya. Azimut comes from grapes they purchase from their neighbors, all of whom also farm organically.
The grapes for this wine come from one 5-hectare vineyard situated at 250 meters altitude, on a slight slope with southern exposure and morning and afternoon Mediterranean breezes. It’s a blend of 40% Ull de Llebre (Tempranillo), 20% Garnatxa, 20% Monastrell, 10% Syrah, and 10% Samsó (Carignan). It’s fermented in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts, then goes into concrete tanks for 8-15 months for malolactic fermentation and battonage for 3 months. It’s unfined, filtered through soft-paper, and only lightly sulfured at bottling.
This is a medium-bodied, dark-fruited, earthy, lightly herbal, BBQ-friendly red. Pairs well with a fire pit.
Friday, June 21st, 5-8PM: Leigh Ranucci will pour a selection of wine from the Wine Traditions portfolio, including a Cret de Bine Beaujolais blanc that we tasted with the producer as a barrel sample a few months back. It’s delicious!
Tuesday, June 25th, 4-6:30PM: Ian Augustine pours for the Daylover CSA pickup (see below for info).
Wednesday, June 26th, 5-7PM: Ismael Gozalo of Microbio and Ariana Rolich will pour wines they make (Ismael) and import (Ariana).
Friday, June 28th, 5-8PM: Peter Buckley will pour a selection of wines from the Vineyard Road portfolio.
Pop in to one or all of these tastings, the cool stuff will be flowing!
Tuesdays, 4-6:30PM, through October
Daylover is a food and wine project by Ian Augustine that is anchored by a curated, experimental CSA. Vegetables, flowers and herbs come from a garden that is located at Osamequin Farm in Seekonk, MA, which is host to an emergent cooperative farming project. Every Tuesday from 4-6:30PM, Ian will offer a tasting of a few wines alongside the CSA pickup. The wines will aim to compliment that week’s CSA share, but also the garden/market hauls of those not participating in the Daylover CSA. From time to time he may also have some extra flowers or vegetables for sale. Come taste! And follow on Instagram @day_lover.
Don’t forget: Father’s Day is this Sunday; if you’re in the market for a drinkable gift, we’ve got something for every taste and price-point, from traditional, to nerdy, to fine and rare. We’re here and happy to help you find the perfect present!
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.
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.
Thanksgiving picks with Peter from Vineyard Road.
Champ Divin, Crémant du Jura Zero Dosage, France (2014)
Domaine Champ Divin is a 5ha property located on the Jura Mountain’s ‘premier plateau’. It was founded in 2008 by Valerie and Fabrice Closset-Gaziaux, who both have degrees in soil and earth sciences. They worked for years as biodynamic consultants in South Africa and around France before returning home to the Jura. Here they grown Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Savagnin os shale, silty clay, and limestone in the village of Gevingey. Of course farming here is biodynamic, and wine-making is as hands-off as possible, with native yeast fermentations and limited sulfur use. Harvest is by hand and as late as possible to optimize phenolic ripeness.
This crémant is a co-fermentation of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir. It undergoes full malolactic fermentation in steel and then spends a minimum of 12 months in bottle on the lees before disgorgement. Although it’s zero dosage, it’s full of ripe fruit like pear, lime, green apple, and peach, and delicate flowers, like honeysuckle. It’s medium-bodied and and has a beautiful, ripe texture, punctuated by brisk minerality. This is a perfect sparkler to get the party started.
Arnaud Lambert ‘Brézé’ Clos du Midi Saumur Blanc, France (2017)
Château de Brézé has been around since at least the 15th century, when it was served to royalty and held in the same regard as Château d’Yquem. In the 1600s, the white wines of Château de Brézé were known throughout Europe as Chenin de Brézé.
In 2009, the new owner of the estate asked Yves Lambert and his son, Arnaud, from Domaine de Saint-Just, to manage the estate. They got a 25 year lease and began converting the estate to organic farming. In a little less than a decade, they’ve restored the wines to the heights they achieved centuries ago.
‘Clos du Midi’ is 100% Chenin Blanc from the colder sites on on the Brézé Hill. The upper section of the hill is sandy, while the bottom is richer in clay. Both are atop tuffeau, the chalky limestone rock made up of compressed marine organisms that lived in floating colonies in the prehistoric Turonian era. The differing soil types, coupled with the limestone, create a wine of great tension and depth, with a rounded palate punctuated by lively acidity, and balanced with notes of honey, dried fruit, and touch of lemon…it’s a gorgeous wine that always over delivers.
Anne-Sophie Dubois, ‘Les Cocottes’ Fleurie, France (2017)
Anne-Sophie Dubois comes from the Champagne region in France. Her parents have 3 hectares in Sezanne, but when they wanted to expand and offer their two kids more opportunities, they purchased an 8-hectare plot in Fleurie, where most of the vines had quite a bit of age on them, some exceeding 60 years old. Anne-Sophie took over this domaine in 2007, after internships at Roblet-Monnot in Volnay, and at various Champagne producers. Her early years here were marked with difficulty due to hail decimating her vines. But she persisted. She farms organically, and has a delicate touch in the cellar, with an emphasis on elegance and purity of fruit. Her wines undergo long macerations, fermentations are with wild yeasts, and there is no new oak, no filtration or fining, and no pumping – just gravity.
Les Cocottes is the only cuvée Anne-Sophie Dubois vinifies whole cluster *with* carbonic maceration (the remainder are traditionally fermented, in the Burgundian style, without carbonic). “Les Cocottes” means “the chicks”, and this is what Anne-Sophie drinks when she’s kicking back with her friends. It’s a fruit-forward style that doesn’t sacrifice any character; it’s full of raspberries, cherries, and other red berries, along with crackling minerality, earthy pepper notes, and fresh & zesty acidity. It’s fun and gluggable.
Bichi, La Flama Roja, Mexico (2017)
Notes from the importer: Mexico has a centuries-long history of winemaking that has mostly gone under the radar. Spanish conquistadores planted vines in the early 1500’s, before both Chile and Argentina, and Baja California represents about 90% of the vines in the entire country due to the ideal climate and geography. Brothers Noel & Jair Tellez, with the help of Chilean (by way of Burgundy) winemaker Louis-Antoine Luyt, are producing amazingly fresh and energetic wines from very old, recently recovered vineyards of Misión (aka Listán Prieto), Rosa del Peru (aka Moscatel Negro), Tempranillo and Carinena, among other varieties. Bichi means “naked” in some parts of northern Mexico, and for Téllez and Luyt, it thus seemed like an appropriate name to give their new natural wine project. Based at the Téllez family ranch in Tecate, just over the border from California, Bichi farms 10 hectares of their own Tecate vineyards biodynamically and collaborates with a growing family of organic farmers working vineyard land in Tecate and around Valle de Guadalupe. The majority of the vines are head-trained and all are dry-farmed, handharvested, fermented with native yeast, and aged in neutral barrel or vat so that the emphasis is on each wine’s Mexican terruño.
Flama Roja comes from the Téllez family’s high elevation (2500 feet) home vineyard in Tecate – young vines of Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, and Nebbiolo, which they planted themselves in 2004 and farm biodynamically, just like their vegetable and herb gardens. The grapes were harvested by hand, de-stemmed and co-fermented in locally made concrete tinajas with 30 days of maceration, raised in a mix of steel tank and used French barrels over winter, and bottled without fining or filtration and only 10ppm of added SO2. Flama Roja is a well-structured, medium-bodied Pacific red wine with bright acidity, red/black fruit and firm tannins. 333 cases produced.
September 28, 2018
Bohigas Catalonia Xarel-lo 2017
The Bohigas family traces its roots back to the 13th century at this site in Catalonia. In the 1930s the great-uncle of the current owner (Jordi Casanovas Bohigas) started making Cava, for which they became well-known. The 110 acres are planted to 10 varieties and are farmed organically, and grapes are harvested by hand.
This Xarel-lo is an easy drinking wine, with mango, lime, apples, and a leesy, stony finish.
Garo’Vin Vin de France “Lunatic” Chenin Blanc 2016
Cedric Garreau is a “micro-vigneron” with just under 3 hectares of vines around Beaulieu-sur-Layon. He makes tiny amounts of wine in a small stone building across from his home at the edge of the vineyards, which are all certified organic. Cedric’s winemaking is traditional, with mostly old, used equipment that he gets from his larger neighbors when they buy the new stuff.
The Chenin vines from this parcel are 35 years old and grow in purple schist soils. The wine is just grapes, nothing added, no sulfur at any point. Aging is 10 months in barrel. This is a big, aromatic, dry Chenin Blanc that’s full of honey, herbs, citrus and smoke.
Domaine Thillardon “Raisin Libre” Beaujolais 2017
Paul Henri Thillardon biodynamically farms nearly 6 hectares of vines in Chenas, the smallest of the ten Beaujolais Crus in the far north of the region, situated west of Moulin-A-Vent. His vineyards are located on a plateau of pink granite around the Castle Boccards in the town of La Chapelle-de-Guinchay. Raisin Libre is Gamay fermented with indigenous yeast and via 100% carbonic maceration. It’s fresh, fruity, and gluggable.
Domaine du Chapitre “Mon Plasir”, IGP Coteaux de l’Ardèche 2016
Frédéric Dorthe runs his family’s 20ha of vineyards located on the right bank of the Rhône River in the town of Saint-Marcel d’Ardèche. His family has had long-standing contracts to sell most of the fruit to negociants and other winemakers, but Fred keeps some grapes for himself, from which he makes tiny amounts of drinkable, humble little wines, like “Mon Plasir”. All wines here are aged in cement with no additives except a dash of SO2 at bottling.
Mon Plasir is 60% Grenache, 30% Cinsault, and 10% Syrah from vines at least 40 years old. It’s another easygoing wine, light, and fruity, but earthy too. The producer’s website calls it a “Wine of conviviality” which sounds about right. Only 440 cases produced.