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

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.