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.