Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, Heatwave Edition

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.

Click here for newsletter and notes!

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM

July 12, 2019

Shiba Wichern Auxerrois 2017, Willamette Valley, Oregon

Notes courtesy of Chris Wichern: “Our main goals are balance and elegance. As it turns out a great way to do this is via minimal intervention during ferment and cellaring. On the other hand it requires that we spend a lot of time in the vineyard during the growing season and during harvest for field sorting. One thing that Akiko (Shiba) insists on doing differently from a very big portion of the industry -big or small- is actually work the vineyards ourselves. Our grapes don’t grow in picking bins on flatbed trucks. She refuses to hire a crew to do the field work. Almost every step is done by Akiko, friends & family, and me. This gives Akiko such a high level of control and understanding of the grapes, the importance of which should not be under estimated.

Finally, Akiko much like the Japanese cliché, observes, learns and collects what she deems to be the best practices for wine-making. Implementing what she learns is not always easy and sometimes doesn’t work out as we expect, but that is also key to the learning process. Over the past 5 harvests we have worked out a lot of kinks. Give us about 20-25 more years and we might actually admit to knowing what we are doing…”

Auxerrois is widely planted in Alsace, where it is frequently blended with Pinot Blanc, although rarely named on labels. It’s slightly fuller, and lower acid than Pinot Blanc, and is also popular in Luxembourg, where it’s appreciated as a low acid white. This Willamette Auxerrois is leesy and yeasty, a little bit like the Shiba rosé we all know and love. It’s light and floral too, and is perfect on a table full of summery fare.

Domaine Romuald Petit, Bourgogne Blanc Chardonnay 2018, Saint-Vérand, France

This 7-hectare estate is made up of small plots of different age & origin that are farmed without chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides. There are young vines planted by winemaker Romuald Petit, and others over a hundred years old. Each parcel produces grapes with very different qualities that are vinified separately & assembled just before bottling.

Old vines combined with heavy clay and fossil rich limestone soils add depth and mineral intensity to this un-oaked chardonnay. After vinification it’s left on its lees for 8 months, adding further textural nuances and preserving freshness and acidity.

Domaine Eugene Carrel Vin de Savoie Rosé 2018, Savoie, France

We tasted this wine when it first arrived back in April. We just got another stack so we’re tasting it again!

Domaine Eugene Carrel is located in Savoie, in eastern France, in the village of Jongieux. It’s situated on 59 acres of steep slopes on the Chavaz Mountain. This is where the French Alps begin, and it is a region famous for cheese, vermouth, and part of the Tour de France bike race.

Winemaker Olivier Carrel represents the third generation to run the estate. They grow all the traditional varieties here including Jacquere, Altesse, Gamay, Pinot, and Mondeuse on steep slopes they work by hand, sustainably, with the goal of fostering healthy, biodiverse vineyards. Domaine Carrel is poured in every restaurant and bistro in Savoie.

This wine is mostly Gamay with about 20% Mondeuse, which which adds juicy, peppery notes to this light & fruity sipper.

COS Nero di Lupo 2015, Sicily

COS winery was founded in 1980 by three friends, Giambattista Cilia, Giusto Occhipinti, and Cirino Strano; the initials of their last names form the winery’s name. The winery itself dates back to the 1880s, when demand for Sicilian wine was high due to phylloxera not yet reaching the island. COS put the appellation of Cerasuolo di Vittorio on the map, and is most well known for Pithos Rosso, which is aged in amphora instead of oak. They have never used any chemicals at COS, and have been practicing biodynamic farming and winemaking since 2000, and have been certified organic since 2007.

Nero di Lupo is 100% Nero d’Avola sourced from estate vineyards of 15-20 year old vines, planted at 300 meters elevation. Spontaneous fermentation takes place in concrete tanks with indigenous yeast; the wine is further aged in concrete for approximately 1 year, and another few months in bottle before release. This is a softly fruity, balanced wine, with notes of cherry and smoke.

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM

June 28, 2019

Peter Buckley from Vineyard Road pouring.

Domaine des Cognettes Clisson Muscadet 2013

The village of Clisson is a mini-appellation within Muscadet Sevre et Maine. The vines (in this case over 60 years old) grow on poor, hard, compact granite with little clay, and a lot of quartz and mica over hard granite.

Brothers Stephane and Vincent Perraud work organically on their small property, as well as patiently. This Muscadet (100% Melon de Bourgogne) is pressed in whole bunches, fermented with native yeasts and very low SO2, with fermentation and aging in underground vats for 44 months. May need decanting…

Domaine Pattes Loup, Burgundy

Notes from the importer: Domaine Pattes Loup is one of the most exciting estates to emerge from Chablis in recent years (Pattes Loup means “wolf’s paws”). Thomas Pico started his tiny estate in Courgis in 2005, just outside of Chablis, under the wing of his friends and fellow organic Chablisiens, Alice and Olivier de Moor. He inherited 2.4 hectares of vines from his family’s estate that had been producing correct, but uninspiring wines. Fortunately, most of his vines were planted by his grandfather in selection massale in the hillsides near Courgis and Preys, the two highest altitude villages within Chablis, with vineyards up to 300 meters. Motivated to take a qualitative leap in a new direction, and against the wishes of his father, he immediately began a program of strict yield control and a conversion to Organic Viticulture—a rarity in Chablis, and a feat of extreme diligence in this often inhospitable vine growing region.

Thomas Pico Blanc, Vin de France 2017

Pico Blanc is Chardonnay, Gros Manseng, and Clairette from organically farmed vineyards, fermented in stainless steel. It’s a touch creamy, with orchard fruits throughout, and fresh acidity on the finish.

Chablis Vent d’Ange 2017

Importer notes: From vines averaging 55 years old mostly selection massale plantings by Pico’s grandfather around the villages Courgis and Preys, south-west of central Chablis. Vineyards are approximately 300 meters high making these two of Chablis highest altitude villages. All vineyard work is done by hand. Yields are kept small at the domaine, approximately 28 hectoliters per hectare.

Pico uses a “champagne press” at the domaine to allow for a very slow and delicate press of the grapes. All juice moves downstairs to the vinification settling room by gravity through a drain at the bottle of the press. All wines are fermented using only indigenous yeasts and élevage is slow and long lasting up to 14 months. A combination of stainless steel and cement eggs are used for the Chablis Vent d’Ange. The juice is racked and blended and will be blended again before bottling. Each parcel is vinified separately and blended after one year of fermentation. Bottled without fining and filtration. It’s aged for 14 months on the lees in a combination of stainless steel, cement egg, and used barrique.

Elisabetta Foradori, Ampeleia Unlitro 2018, IGT Costa Toscana

Elisabetta took over the grape growing and winemaking duties at the family estate in Trentino, Italy, when her father died young in 1985. Since then she has transformed the estate from the ground up, converting to biodynamic viticulture and bringing the region back to valuing quality over quantity.

Ampeleia is a joint venture from Elisabetta and a few friends. Unlitro is a liter of glou-glou. It’s mostly Alicante (Grenache) and some Carignan and Alicante Bouschet from vineyard planted at 200-250 meters above sea level, then fermented and aged for 6 months in cement. Organic, very low SO2. Put a little chill on it, toss it back.

Domaine Guiberteau Saumur Rouge 2018

Importer notes: Romain Guiberteau is the third generation on the estate, and things have changed radically since he took over. Romain’s grandfather was a pillar in the community of Saumur before and after World War II, long serving as the head of the local growers’ coop. That coop long benefited from the grapes grown on Guiberteau’s land until Romain returned from college.

Today, Romain oversees the organic farm and does all the winemaking at the estate. His vines date back to the years just after World War II and include some of the prime sites in and around Saumur. Romain’s father Robert, a medical doctor, assisted in the transformation of the estate and you are likely to meet him at a tasting, explaining the history of the wines and the vines his mother and father planted.

Cabernet Franc from 3 parcels of over 60 year old vines grown on limestone. 100% de-stemmed, indigenous yeast fermentation. Aged for 6 months in tank.

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

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!

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

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.

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM

All organic French wines with Vineyard Road.

April 26, 2019

Domaine de l’enclos Chablis, Burgundy 2017

Domaine de l’enclos is a 29 hectare property (partly certified organic, and in conversion) run by brothers Romain and Damien Bouchard. Romain and Damien grew up working in the cellar with their father, Pascal Bouchard. In 2005 they bought the tiny, defunct Domaine de la Grande Chaume, and started making certified, organic Chablis in a small corner of their father’s cellar. Roughly 10 years later Pascal sold his winery, passing along the proceeds of the sale to his two sons, who then had to find a new winery and equipment. Two years later they purchased this property. The average vine age is 30 years old, with some over 50 years old. 

The estate is located in the heart of Chablis and was once the home of monks from the Abby of Pontigny. There’s a large building built in the 1800s, and a new cellar, partly underground, built in 2016. 2016 was in fact the first vintage vinified here, in the new gravity fed cellar, released in 2018. The property employs 12 people year-round, which doubles at harvest. All fermentation is in stainless steel with indigenous yeast, with finishing is in stainless and french oak of varying age. There’s minimal sulfur additions at pressing and bottling.

This Chablis is from Chardonnay vines planted between 1975 and 2005 on soils of clay and limestone. It’s citrus and mineral driven, with beautiful texture and floral notes throughout.  

Les Terres Blanches BB Rosé 2018

This is a small property in Anjou run by husband and wife Benoit and Celine Blet. The couple took over the farm from Bernard Coutel in 2004, became certified organic in 2010, and now work biodynamically / naturally. The domaine is 8.5 hectares of densely planted vines on quartz and clay. This rosé is all Gamay, grown on sandstone, fermented with wild yeast, and a miniscule touch of sulfur at bottling only. This wine, while technically “natural” is not funky. It’s clean, dry, stony, delicate (elegant even, despite the picnic table label), mineral-driven, and refreshing. When it’s allowed to warm up just a bit, the texture fleshes out and softer, riper fruit emerges. It’s a pretty wine. 

Domaine D’Ouréa, Tire Bouchon, Rhone 2015

In 2010, after apprenticing at Domaine Romanée Conti in Burgundy, and Turley Wine Cellars in California (not too shabby of a resumé there!), Adrien Roustan, then 24, took over 9 hectares from his father who grew and sold grapes to the local co-op. The property is now 15 hectares of Vacqueyras and high-elevation Gigondas plots (at 400 meters to 520 meters, they are the highest elevation vines in the appellation, and the yields are tiny). Farming is certified organic.  

The Tire Bouchon is a unique blend of mostly Grenache, with a balance of Carignan, Syrah, and two ancient, unauthorized varieties, Aramon Noir and Oeillade Noire, planted by Adrien’s grandfather. The vines are all within Vaucluse, but  the inclusion of Aramon and Oeillade mean that the wine can’t use the appellation designation and must be labeled Vin de France. All the fruit is de-stemmed and fermented with indigenous yeast in cement vats, and then aged for 6 more months in cement. It’s bottled unfiltered. It’s a lively, perfumed, and youthful red, loaded with fresh fruit and hillside herbs. It’s a steal at under 15 bucks. 

Domaine Heitz-Lochardet Connivence (Armand Heitz + Alex Foillard), Coteaux Bourguignons 2017

Domaine Heitz-Lochardet was established in 1857 by the Nie-Vantey family, owners of many vineyards from Santenay to Clos de Vougeot. After the phylloxera epidemic many of the vineyards were sold, but Georges Lochardet, a wine merchant, kept some of the best Cote de Beaune vineyards in the family. The estate was around 20ha when he passed away, and left half of the vineyards to his son Armand Lochardet, who went on to have three children – Bernard, Catherine and Brigitte – amongst whom the vineyards were further divided. In 1983 Brigitte married Christian Heitz, and together they founded Heitz-Lochardet, which they farmed organically, in Chassagne-Montrachet, Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru, Meursault, Pommard and Volnay. Additionally there is a small amount of Bourgogne Rouge and Blanc. For roughly 25 years, the vineyards were fully contracted to Joseph Drouhin.

In 2011, Brigitte and Christian’s son Armand returned after studying oenology, took over operation of the domaine, and began converting the property to fully biodynamic practices. He was guided by consulting oenologist Ludovic Pierrot, who had himself spent eight years at Domaine Leflaive working alongside Anne-Claude Leflaive, a pioneer in biodynamic farming in Burgundy. 2013 was their first vintage. All of the wines are fermented whole cluster, as Armand believes that a wine’s essence is “derived from the totality of the vine. Each component of the vine, from roots to leaves to stems, skins and pulp, plays an important role in a living wine.”

Each year Armand makes a wine with a good friend, as a joint-venture. 2017 it was Connivence, a 50/50 blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay, that Armand made with Alex Foillard, son of Jean, of Beaujolais fame. This is a lovely, fresh & light red, full of charm and vibrant fruit.  

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM

March 22, 2019

Pearl Morissette Chardonnay “Cuvée Dix Neuvième” 2013, Ontario, Canada

This Chardonnay is from the 19th Street Vineyard, planted in 1999, in Ontario’s Twenty Mile Bench appellation. The vines are planted on loam over limestone and the wine was was fermented and raised with very low SO2 in a combination of cement egg, demi-muid, and new-barrique. 

Here’s an excerpt from an Eric Asimov piece on the producer last year in the NYT: 

Mr. Morissette, whose wines are both idiosyncratic and remarkable, never imagined he would be making wine on the Niagara Peninsula. He grew up south of Montreal, “in one of the worst places in the world, a suburb,” he said. His family did not drink wine, but he was inspired by novels and old French movies in which joyful, witty scenes set around meals always seemed to include wine.

After traveling around Europe and spending several years in New York, he returned to Montreal, where he learned to be a sommelier at Laloux, a longtime bistro with an excellent wine list. There he was introduced to the Beaujolais of Marcel Lapierre, the Sancerres of Vatan and Cotat, the Cornas of Clape and the Hermitage of Chave.

“I call these wines my liquid mentors,” he said.

Tired of restaurants, he found work in Burgundy with Frédéric Mugnier at Domaine Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier, known best for its ethereal Chambolle-Musignys, just as Mr. Mugnier was taking charge full time. He also worked with Christian Gouges of Domaine Henri Gouges, which makes austere, long-lived Nuits-St.-Georges.

Read the whole article here.

Charles Joguet Chinon Rosé 2018, Loire, France

Charles Joguet left his life as an artist and sculptor to take over his family’s domain in 1957. Until then, all the grapes were sold to negociants; Charles ended this practice, and dedicated himself to producing single vineyard bottlings from what he knew would be considered premier cru and grand cru vineyards in other regions. He made a name for himself and became one of the most highly regarded producers in the region. 

Today Kevin Fontaine is the producer, closely following Charles’ path and philosophies. He still vinifies plots separately, and farming is organic. This rosé is 100% Cabernet Franc from roughly 30 year-old vines planted on sandy soil. It’s fermented in stainless steel and does not undergo malolactic fermentation, in order to retain the freshness of the fruit. It just came in, and we haven’t even tasted it yet, so we’ll open it up together and see what it’s got! 

Château La Hase Bordeaux 2016

Owned by Jean-Yves Millaire, this is a one hectare property planted to mostly Merlot (60%), then the rest Cab Franc and Cab Sauvignon. Farming is organic, and weeding is by horse and plow. All the grapes are hand-harvested, and this wine is fermented and aged in French oak for 10 months. 

This is a satisfying and inexpensive everyday Bordeaux. It’s medium-bodied, a touch earthy and smoky, dark-fruit and iron flecked, and a little bit of tannins on the finish. 

Heinrich RED 2015, Neusiedlersee, Austria

Gernot and Heike Heinrich founded their winery in 1990 with just one hectare, steadily growing to the 90 they have today. They farm biodynamically, and were certified (via Respekt) in 2006.

All the wines here are fermented spontaneously and often left on the skins for several weeks, followed by extended time on the lees, usually in neutral oak casks. Gernot says, “we give the wines plenty of time to mature, the time that hardly anyone has today; it is above all else time that shapes our wines.”

RED is their entry level wine and is a soft, fruity blend of Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch, and St. Laurent that’s aged for 12 months in 500 litre oak casks. It pairs nicely with roast chicken, eggs and veggies with paprika, earthy mushrooms….

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM

March 1, 2019

Patricia Green Cellars, Willamette Valley, Oregon

Patricia Green Cellars is located on a 52 acre estate in the Ribbon Ridge Appellation of the Willamette Valley. It was purchased in 2000 by Patty Green and Jim Anderson, a duo with over 50 years combined winemaking experience, with the intention of assembling “the strongest collection of well-farmed, high-quality sites with great reputations in the entire state”. Emphasis here is on a broad selection of vineyard designated Pinot Noir from across Ribbon Ridge, Dundee Hills, and the Chehalem Mountain appellations, as well as some experiments in Sauvignon Blanc, and the dry Muscats we’ll be tasting. Unfortunately Patty passed away unexpectedly in 2017, so Jim Anderson, a Maine native, is now sole proprietor. He’s also the winemaker, along with Matthew Russell, who joined the winery in 2007.

From the winery: “Patty wanted to make things naturally. That is not to say that we make natural wines or are seen in any way as a natural wine winery even though we probably operate in a way that would easily include us in that spectrum (for whatever that is worth). She felt that from the right sites everything was already available to make wines that were interesting, unique and soulful. She wasn’t a technocrat on wines and never felt like math and science were the answers to getting from fruit to wine. They helped in the process but you needed to enter with a feeling for the vineyard so that you could allow that expression to be revealed in the resulting wine. If you go in with the idea that you know how to “make” the wine or even really have a conception of what you want that wine to be like stylistically then you aren’t going about things the correct way to begin with.”

Dry Muscat Ottonel, Oak Grove Vineyard 2016

Winemaker’s notes: Muscat Ottonel is a white wine grape variety that is a member of the Muscat family. It is most notable for its use in dessert wines from Austria, Romania, Croatia and Serbia as well as dry wines from Alsace and Hungary. We have produced this exotic varietal in a bone-dry style showcasing its elegance and fragrance of pear blossoms and white flowers. This is generally a lower acid grape and while it is far from high in acid it has a nice lift and snap to it that makes for a refreshing, almost thirst-quenching sort of beverage.

Dry Muscat Ottonel “Marie” 2016

This is another dry muscat, but this time fermented on the skins and aged in concrete. As the label implies, it’s like a rock wrapped in orange peels. It’s low-alcohol, but not sweet. It’s mineral-driven, flowery, unique, and intriguing… Marie was Patty’s middle name, and this wine is a tribute to her.

Weingut Beurer, Rot Trocken 2017, Württemberg, Germany

The Beurer family has farmed land just outside of Stuttgart for generations, growing grapes and making wine that ended up in local co-op productions. In 1997, Jochen Beurer, his wife Marion, and father Sigfried struck out on their own, making and bottling wine for themselves––the first two years were out of a garage. In 2003 Jochen started experimenting with organic viticulture and spontaneous fermentation. Over the next few years he converted to fully biodynamic farming and natural winemaking. Relying upon spontaneous fermentation means that Jochen is usually the last to pick his grapes in cooler years. His wines take their time, and decide what to do and when, and usually include malolactic. Often fermentations are still ongoing in February or March, having gone dormant during the winter, and waking up again in spring. We brought in four of these wines (Riesling, Weiss, Trollinger, and this Rot Trocken) and they are all singularly delicious.

Rot Trocken is a blend of Spätburgunder, Cabernet Dorio, Dornfelder, and Portugieser vinified separately then aged in small oak barrels for seven months. It’s another low abv, at just 11%, but it’s got so much character: dark, spicy fruit, soft & velvety texture, long & savory finish. It’s a bottle you’ll slurp down too quick if you’re not paying attention!

Broadside Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Paso Robles, CA

From the producer: Broadside produces wines focused on purity and true varietal expression. We favor balance and simplicity, giving consumers a window to the promise of the central coast and varietal character. Our winemaking employs a natural approach in that our wines are minimally handled to best express the grape, site and vintage. We harvest at lower sugars and use little to no new oak to create wines of balance and finesse that make sense on the dinner table.

Founder/viticulturist Stephanie Terrizzi holds degrees in enology, chemistry, and Plant science. Stephanie manages vineyard operations and is a prominent force for bio-organic viticulture in Paso Robles and the central coast, recently nominated for winegrape grower of the year in San Luis Obispo County.

Founder/winemaker Brian Terrizzi made wine in Italy for several years, then in Sonoma, and Santa Barbara County. Brian and Stephanie settled in Paso Robles to start their own production. Along with the Italian-inspired wines under their Giornata label (also in Paso Robles), Brian approaches winemaking at Broadside with a minimalist, refined touch.

The grapes are from Paso Robles Santa Margartia Ranch, Estrella, and San Juan District AVAs. 2016 brought near-normal precipitation for the first time in years, following a substantial drought throughout California. Healthy soils and reinvigorated vines produced a balanced crop of flavorful fruit across all of our vineyard sources. The 2016 Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon highlights the strong vintage with plenty of dark berry-focused fruit, earthy notes and toasty mocha/caramel oak.

Domaine de Piaugier Gigondas 2014

Jean-Marc Autran, took over the winery from his father Marc in 1985, who had previously inherited it from his father, Alphonse. Jean-Marc acquired more vineyards and, with the assistance of his wife Sophie, developed the sale of his wines in bottle. The winery soon became too small and they extended it in 1995 to enable them to mature and store the wines in the best possible conditions. Today, Sophie and Jean-Marc cultivate 3.5 hectares within the Gigondas AOC, 12.5 hectares in the Sablet AOC and 14 hectares of Côtes du Rhône vineyards. Farming is organic.

Only about 250 cases were made of this wine, and we grabbed what was left in RI––just under a case and a half. 2014 was a difficult year that demanded a lot of attention and selection from growers. The cool summer resulted in some under-ripe Grenache in some vineyards, and rain in September led to botrytis elsewhere. While this Gigondas had the challenge of being from grapes grown in vineyards on the cooler side of the Dentelles de Montmirail, the wine itself is a beauty, which is a testament to the skill of the producer. It’s a blend of mostly Grenache, followed by Mourvedre, then Syrah, from 40-45 year old vines planted on limestone, clay, and sand. The grapes were hand-harvested and vinified with natural yeast in oak, then aged in a combo of foudres and barrels. It’s an elegant wine, not all about power (like the ripe 2015s) but instead about structure, finesse, texture, and terroir. It’s in a beautiful spot right now, and while it still has time to develop, it’s one to drink sooner rather than a decade from now. We love it.

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Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM

January 25, 2019

Domaine Buronfosse Cotes du Jura Blanc ‘Les Belemnites’ 2012, Jura, France

Peggy & Jean-Pascal Buronfosse farm 4.5 hectares in a hamlet in the Jura foothills. Jean-François Ganevat and Julien Labet are their neighbors and friends, from whom they got help and advice when they were first starting out back in the early 2000s. They work naturally in the vineyard and cellar, avoiding additives and using only a touch of SO2, when at all. 

This white is a blend of Savagin and Chardonnay that spent 18 months on the lees. It’s lightly nutty (like walnuts) and salty, with oyster-shell minerality, and briny acidity. The fruit leans more toward apple and some subtle citrus. It’s beautifully fresh for 2012. Pair with shellfish, or try it with comte, the famous cheese of the region.

Here’s a website with a lot of info on the producers, but nothing on this particular wine.

Château de Trinquevedel 2017, Tavel, France

We’re fans of rosé in winter, and this one is particularly well-suited to cooler temps. We have a special price on this 2017, as well as a few others in the shop. They’re not our overstock, we’re buying more because they’re good, they’re on sale, and we love a deal! 

Guillaume Demoulin’s great-grandfather Eugène bought this eighteenth-century Southern Rhone château in 1936, the same year as the establishment of the Tavel AOC. Unfortunately the vineyards were in great disrepair and it wasn’t until 1960 that the vines were producing wines worthy of Demoulin’s standards. Tavel is the only A.O.C. entirely made up of rosé, so no red or white wine can bear the name of the cru. No more than sixty percent of the final blend can be made up of Grenache. 

This Tavel is a blend of 45% Grenache, 24% Cinsault, 15% Clairette, 10% Mourvèdre, and 6% Syrah from vines over 30 years old, planted on sand, marl, limestone, clay, and quartz. Fermentation is for 20 days in cement, then it’s aged in enamel-lined tanks and stainless steel for 6-9 months. The wine has a ripe red fruit quality, balanced by Rhone stony-freshness and spicy hillside herbs. Farmed sustainably.

Tenuta Ormanni, Chianti 2015, Tuscany, Italy

This 13th century estate has been in the Brini Batacchi family for the last 200 years and is today overseen by Paolo Brini Batacchi and his daughter Paola. It’s located between the towns of Poggibonsi and Castellina in Chianti and covers 597 acres, of which 168 are vineyards planted to Sangiovese. Fun fact: mention of this property and the Ormanni family can be found in Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy.

This Chianti is 95% Sangiovese and 5% Merlot that’s fermented and aged in cement for 12 months. It’s traditional and tasty, with notes of sour cherry, strawberries, oregano, and dried flowers. The tannins are light and fine-grained, and the acidity is fresh and food-friendly. Have it with what you’d expect: cured meats and cheeses, pasta with sauce (meat or tomato), roasted eggplant, polenta with mushrooms….   

Alfredo Maestro Viña Almate 2016 , Castilla y León, Spain

Alfredo Maestro’s family came from Basque Country to Castilla y León, on Spain’s northwestern border with Portugal. Alfredo grew up amongst vines and winemaking, and was always interested in pursuing winemaking himself. His first vintage was in 1998. He always farmed organically, but in the beginning, he farmed in “textbook” style, to make “correct” wines according to the Ribera del Duero wine-minds of the time. This meant using cultured yeasts, acids, enzymes, color enhancers, etc…This changed in the early 2000s when it occurred to him that it didn’t make any sense to farm organically and then use chemicals in the cellar. By 2003 he was making wine without any additives at all, including sulfur. This he says, is “to better tell the story of the land.” 

Viña Almate is 100% Tempranillo from 10-80 year-old vines in Peñafiel and Valtiendas, planted at 700 to 1000 meters elevation. It’s fermented in stainless steel, then aged for two to four months in neutral French oak. It’s an unfiltered, unfined, full-bodied, floral, spicy, satisfying red that will pair nicely with most things roasted and grilled.

Cheers!