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.
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 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.
We are Aaron and Cara Mockrish. We live, farm, and grow wines in Oregon House, California, nestled in the North Yuba AVA of the Sierra Foothills.
Both originally from the east coast, various life turns found us farming vegetables, sheep, and other things in Northern California where we were lucky enough to meet Gideon and Saron ofClos Saron. We fell in love with winegrowing and they took us under their wing, helping us produce our first small vintage in 2015 and teaching us how to work in the vineyard and stomp grapes. Shortly after, we were able to secure access to a large portion of the Renaissance Vineyards, where we have been growing wine since 2016.
Our farming is influenced in part by Joel Salatin, Rudolf Steiner, and Masanobu Fukuoka, but mostly by our own observations and hard lessons throughout each season. We currently live and make our wines adjacent to the vineyards and are able to walk to work, where we are helped by our dogs, sheep, chickens, and cats.
And more from Aaron, as supplied in an email to Olmstead Wine in MA–lightly edited for length. We are very grateful for these beautifully written notes, and for those labels. Wow!
The vineyards: I could talk for about an hour answering these questions fully. For the most part we listened to Gideon about which blocks to farm. Apart from his memories, we are also able to taste vertical Renaissance wines from any block on the property between 1994-2006 at basically no cost to us. This is helpful. When and where we did ignore Gideon’s advice, we usually regretted it and abandoned it since then.
We farm Sauvignon Blanc, Roussanne, Syrah, Cabernet, Merlot, and a small block of Grenache. There is also Semillon in our lease but we let Dani Rozman farm it along with some other blocks for his project “la onda”. The parcels are very different from each other and sometimes even from themselves.
Exposure to the sun (north south east west etc) is the most important factor in our area due to the power of the sun and the heat-storing properties of the granite slopes. The ground is mostly granite which collects heat all day. Eastern facing slopes are 20 degrees cooler at night than western facing slopes. East = elegance, west= power, tannins, roughness. This is a general rule…again I could talk forever about this ….
Winemaking: Initially we made wines in exact Clos Saron style, however within the realm of Clos Saron there are more and less extracted wines. We never attempted to make a “stone soup” style Syrah although it’s a favorite of mine. We communicated with him early on in the process (2015) that we wanted to produce a slightly lighter, fresher, less extracted wine and he helped us to accomplish that. We typically macerate a day or two less than Clos Saron in any given situation. He (Gideon) will often say that the only real decisions in “our style” are 1) when to pick 2) when to press 3) when to bottle. Frenchtown tends to do all of these things sooner than Clos Saron.
We follow the perfectly underripe strawberry rule rather than the avocado rule. We are just as stringent in our standards, but aim for perfectly underripe as opposed to perfectly ripe. We don’t like big wines.
Our cellar work and timing is almost identical to Clos Saron…one big difference is that we use a basket press rather than a bladder press. There are pros and cons to both. We very intentionally use a basket press. My main reason is that it can be cleaned thoroughly and easily with water. Period. Punch downs twice a day. Gentle as possible. More like mush-downs.
Cecilia Rosé 2017
It’s Cara’s middle name. She is a Gemini which is the constellation in the sky on the label. Every label has an animal, color, geometric shape, constellation and these all relate to our concept of the cuvée. Cecelia is about the duality of the bee and star thistle in our area. An invasive and obnoxious poison-tipped weed which is also the only food the bees have during the hot season when all the other vegetation dries up.
The Syrah and SB are picked within a day of each other. The SB is stomped, the Syrah stomped and pressed into the SB. They coferment on the SB skins and stems for about half the time that “tickled pink” receives. With all our whites (in the white and in the rosé) we do not macerate…they are on the skins and stems only until we see the first signs of fermentation. Then it is immediately pressed. This creates a “skin soak”. The difference between this and a normal skin contact wine or orange wine is that there is only extraction in the presence of water (juice) but no extraction in the presence of ethanol. You extract very different compounds with water than with a solvent like ethanol (juice becoming wine).
Because the SB (for both the Pearl Thief and Cecelia) is the first fruit we pick and the winery space is not yet buzzing with yeast, it can often take as long as 5-7 days before fermentation begins so it is a long soak. By the second week of harvest there is so much yeast activity in the winery that most fruit will begin to ferment within 36 hours of stomping.
As with everything else, it goes into neutral French oak on its gross lees until it’s “when to bottle”, typically 6-8 months for Cecelia. In ‘17 we added 22ppm SO2 at bottling
This cellar approach was something we came up with because we wanted to make a rosé with structure and age-ability but not so tannic that we had to wait a year to release it. Partly stylistic and partly economic decision.
Cotillion Carignan/Zinfandel 2016
The Cotillion was the first wine we ever made in ’15. It was our “payment” in return for working at Clos Saron for a full year. Gideon made it with us by our side in his cellar. It is made exactly as Gideon would make it. We use this cuvée to experiment with new vineyards, varietals, and winemaking approaches. It’s a place for us to learn. The Cotillion changes pretty drastically from year to year.
The original meaning of the word was a four person formal French dance that was a pre-cursor to the American Square dance. A formalized way for boys and girls to interact. In America a Cotillion is a coming of age ceremony for high society girls around 10 years old where they wear frilly dresses and demonstrate their good table manners. It’s a weird east coast rich person thing. (Cara is from CT and I grew up in NYC).
The Cotillion is always cofermented. We helped Gideon make Pleasant Peasant and Blue Cheer, both of which have Carignan from Jessie’s grove from 2014 onwards. Whenever I went down with him to get the fruit I always noticed that there was a block of Zinfandel right next to the the Carignan and I always wanted to make a coferment of the two.
3.5 to 4 days maceration as opposed to 4.5-6 for something like the pleasant peasant. Jessie’s grove is cool in the sense that the vines are super old and full of character but that’s about where the awesomeness ends in my opinion. The farming is not philosophically in line with ours and the soil is tortured for lack of a better word. I think it makes great wine but we no longer work with the fruit.
Waypoint Pinot Noir 2016, Carlton Hill Vineyard, Yamhill-Carlton, Oregon
We interned at Big Table Farm In 2015 and have friends up in Oregon for many years. It was influential on us. We met David (Polite, of Carlton Hill Vineyard) through our friend of many years Jay McDonald who runs EIEIO winery up there. He and David moved out there together 30 years ago.
We made this crazy wine in order to understand our winemaking better. What would happen if we picked Oregon Pinot at 22.5 brix with our method and then applied the Gideon style to it. Base soils vs acid. Limestone vs granite etc. David allows us an unprecedented amount of control in our picking and his farming is excellent. The fruit is pristine.
We macerate longer simply because we can. With foothills fruit and specifically renaissance fruit, over extraction is a real danger for us. The wines would be great but they would take too long to be drinkable and we would go bankrupt in the process. Kind of like what happened to Renaissance.
Therefore with most of our wines our decision to press is based upon tannin development rather than the wine going dry and needing to protect it. In the case of the Pinot from Oregon we are not afraid of any level of tannin, only that the tannins are harmonious. We press when the wine is close to dry and barrel it down so that we do t have oxidation issues.
19 Harts Syrah 2016
The ‘15 and ‘16 19 Harts are worlds apart. In ‘15 we got access to Renaissance at the 11th hour and the fruit was much riper than we would have liked. We had to “make” the wine. In ‘16 we took over the farming and we grew the wine. The ‘16 is much leaner, more angular and I much prefer it. LOL. I wish we could wait a few years to release it. Four day maceration. Roussanne cofermented.
Pearl Thief 2017
In ‘16 we used Viognier from Lodi (bockish) because we had to. The Renaissance vineyards were in a terrible state and we had to make drastic decisions for the future health of the vines that greatly limited yield. In ‘17 the vines responded to our efforts and we grew the whole cuvée at Renaissance ourselves. We used Roussanne instead of Viognier simply because that’s what is growing there. The Sauvignon Blanc and Roussanne ripen almost 6 weeks apart so a typical cofermentation is not possible but the SB and Roussanne go into barrel together in the final proportions so they finishing fermenting and spend their lives in barrel together.
In ‘18 we followed the same process as as ‘17 with very similar results…soon to be bottled.
Our general thoughts on cofermenting and especially blending varietals together that are non-traditional have nothing to do with stylistic winemaking ideas or intentional choices (ie percentage of Sauvignon Blanc vs Roussanne). They are practical results of our farming and a desire to express a particular slopes terroir. The SB and Roussanne grow on the same slope and they happened to create a 60/40 percentage in ‘17 based upon how many boxes of each we were able to pick.
I can say that we feel our “winemaking decisions” happen mostly in the vineyard from January to May. It is human nature to want to “make the wines” or put “your signature” on them with cellar work. We try and resist that. Of course it’s tempting to deviate from what Gideon taught us and find our own style, so to speak, but so far we are content to throw ourselves into the farming and make our own decisions about when to pick, press and bottle. As time has gone by the wines are tasting more and more like Frenchtown wines, whatever that means.
Sorry for typos. Been writing this intermittently on my phone while tying the Syrah on slope 19.
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.
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….
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.
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.
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.
Filippo Voltazza runs his small family vineyard in the Euganean Hills, just west of Venice. Vineyards here are packed into terraced rows, at heights up to 600 meters. Filippo’s family used to sell their grapes to local wineries, to be used in their best bottlings, until they took back all their vines in 2006. Now their 17 hectares face in all four directions to maximize exposure. The vines are densely planted to 4,000 per hectare on chalky-clay volcanic soil. Farming is organic, harvesting is by hand, and most of the wine is fermented and aged in cement, then bottled unfiltered and unfined.
Primaversa is a gently fizzy pet-nat of Moscato Giallo fermented in stainless steel. It’s dry and herbal, a bit honeyed and nutty.
Angelo Paternò worked for 25 years as the winemaker and technical director for the Sicilian wineries Cantine Settesoli and Duca di Salaparuta before purchasing 60 hectares of his own on a hill in the southeastern Sicilian province of Siracusa. He thought this land represented one of the best viticultural areas in Sicily.
Angelo’s daughters Marilina and Federica are now in charge of the property, although Angelo still helps in the cellar. They grow organically and favor minimal intervention and no additives in the winemaking process. They are influenced by local natural winemaker Frank Cornelissen. 35 hectares of their vineyards are planted to grape varieties such as Nero d’Avola, Grecanico, Muscat Blanc, Moscato Giallo, Insolia, Merlot, Tannat, Viognier, and Chardonnay. The rest of the vineyards are various flora to encourage a diverse ecosystem.
Sikele Bianco Terre Siciliane IGP 2016
Sikele Bianco is 100% Grecanico (aka: Garganega, of Soave) that’s macerated on the skins for 13 hours before pressing, followed by fermentation and six months’ aging in concrete. It’s unfiltered, unfined, and is bottled with just a dash of SO2.
This orange (in color) wine is quite aromatic and actually smells a bit like oranges, and nuts, with a brisk, salty-air influence wound throughout. It has a beautifully rich texture, and is full of sweet & savory spices, peaches, and the same brisk-salty sensation that’s on the nose.
Sikele Rosso Terre Siciliane IGP 2012
Sikele Rosso is 100% Nero d’Avola, fermented and aged in concrete for 9 months, also bottled unfiltered, unfined, and with just a dash of SO2. 2012 was a very hot and dry vintage across southern Italy and Sicily, but it was saved from producing hot clunkers by cooler temps and rain right before harvest time. This wine is aging quite nicely, with the red fruit becoming less primary, tobacco notes emerging, and a stony-minerality throughout.
G.D. Vajra Langhe Rosso 2016, Piedmont, Italy
G.D. Vajra was officially established in 1972 but the family roots in the region go back over two centuries. The estate, well-known and respected for Barolo, sits 400 meters above sea level in the village of Vergne, in the commune of Barolo. Today the estate is over 40 hectares, 10 of which are planted to Nebbiolo for Barolo production. Farming here is organic, grapes are hand-harvested, and aging is done in traditional Slavonian casks.
The Langhe Rosso is a blend of Barbera, Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, Freisa, Pinot Noir, and Albarossa. Grapes are fermented separately in stainless steel, then aged for 12-16 months before blending, followed by 3 months in bottle before releasing. It’s fruity, floral and spicy, with a touch of brambly underbrush and black pepper. It’s lively and bright, and a perfect dinner party wine.
Put on your galoshes, hop those puddles, and be thankful we don’t have to shovel! Rain or shine, we’ve got a great tasting lined up this evening with Peter from Vineyard Road. Notes are below.
We’re also having a special tasting on Sunday with Christin from Wine Bros., from 12:30 – 2pm. She’ll be pouring fizzies from Massachusetts and Maine. Swing on by, it’ll be fun!
Cheers! Merry Christmas! Safe Travels!
Hild Morio-Muskat Secco 2016
Matthias Hild farms 5 hectares of old, terraced parcels in Upper-Mosel, a place a bit more known for quantity over quality, with most of the grapes going to cooperatives. Unlike the famed slate vineyards of lower Mosel, the vineyards here are mostly on limestone. And where Riesling makes up over 60% grapes planted in Mosel, Hild specializes in underdog grapes like Elbling, and this Morio-Muskat. Hild works his vineyards responsibly and is on the way toward organic certification.
This is a lightly fizzy, subtly sweet, snacking on apps, cooking dinner, greeting guests, wrapping presents, eating leftovers, just-one-more-little-sip-before-bed kind of wine.
Champagne Christophe Mignon Brut Nature NV
Christophe Mignon comes from a long line of farmers and winemakers in Le-Mesnil-le-Huttier This area in the Vallée de la Marne is known for its high percentage of Pinot Meunier, which is particularly well suited to the deep clay and chalky Tuffeaux soils that dominate the terrain. Christophe’s approach to farming is sometimes called the Mignon Method; it combines biodynamics, phytotherapy, homeopathy, and geobiology. He describes nature as a Rubik’s Cube, always offering up new challenges, so therefore he changes up his farming approach accordingly. He’s followed the lunar calendar for 20 years, allowing the moon’s cycles to dictate his work in the vineyards and in the cellar. He says “the moon for a vigneron is like a metronome for a musician.” To ensure low yields and the highest possible quality, he employs just one person per hectare. He prefers his wines on the drier side, so grapes are picked at optimum ripeness, thus allowing little to no dosage, and he uses very little sulfur.
This 100% Pinot Meunier is a 50/50 blend of two recent vintages, aged 24 months in bottle and finished without dosage. It’s dry and mineral driven, floral, expressive, red fruit scented, balanced and elegant.
Pierre Morey Bourgogne Blanc 2014
Domaine Pierre Morey is 11 hectares in Meursault planted to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Aligote. The family traces its roots back here to 1793. They’ve been certified organic since 1992 and biodynamic since 1997. All of their wines are 100% de-stemmed, fermented with indigenous yeasts, not fined and/or filtered for reds, rarely for whites. In addition to his duties at his own property, from 1988 to 2008, Pierre was cellar master and manager at Domaine Leflaive in Puligny-Montrachet. Pierre’s daughter Anne Morey has been working with her father over the last few years and is now co-manager.
This Bourgogne Blanc is from 1.76ha of multiple parcels in Meursault (Les Millerands, En Monatine, Les Herbeux, Les Malpoiriers) on deep clay-limestone soils. It spends 16-20 months aging in older oak barrels and is bottled by gravity. This wine is floral, lightly spiced, balanced acidity, with notes of apples, pears, and honeysuckle on a classic rich Meursault palate.
Burlotto Dolcetto d’Alba 2017, Piedmont, Italy
Established in 1850 by Giovan Battista Burlotto, aka The Commendatore, presently G.B. Burlotto is a family run estate. The Commendatore’s great niece Marina Burlotto manages the winery. Her husband, Giuseppe Alessandria, manages the vineyards, and their son, Fabio, is the winemaker and in charge of marketing.
Note from the importer: Burlotto owns 15 hectares of vineyards at 280 to 360 meters elevation, located near the river Tanaro in Verduno, the northern most estate in Barolo. In the cellar Fabio works traditionally, selected wines are foot crushed, with minimal intervention, harvested grapes are destemmed, natural yeast ferments, extended skin contacts, and manual punch downs. The cooler night time temperatures of Verduno and meticulous work in the vineyards and in the cellar have enabled this estate to produce elegant, profound wines now considered among the very finest in Piedmont.
Domaine Jean-Marc et Thomas Bouley Hautes-Côtes de Beaune Rouge 2015
This 8.5 hectare property in Volnay & Côte de Beaune is farmed organically by father and son team Jean-Marc and Thomas Bouley. The grapes for this Hautes-Côtes de Beaune Rouge are from just under one hectare planted in 1979, 1980, 1999, and 2002.
The vineyards are on a south-facing hillside above Volnay, at 380m altitude, on red clay (oxidized iron) and limestone soil
Vinification: 100% de-stemmed, cold maceration in concrete or stainless steel tank. 2-3 weeks’ total tank time. 1 year aging on fine lees in older oak barrels.
2015 in Burgundy was a very good vintage for reds, and this is a lovely wine to drink now or lay down for a few years. Cherry, cranberry, a touch rustic, a little bit savory…it’ll be perfect on a holiday table or as a gift for the Burgundy or Pinot Noir lover.
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.
Who needs wine and pleasant diversions?! We do!! Tonight in the shop, Alvaro de la Viña will be here with not one, not two, but THREE of the winemakers he represents through his importing company Selections de la Viña. We first came across Alvaro back in late 2012 or early 2013, but it took far too long to get his delicious, place-driven, honest wines into little Rhody. Now we have a bunch! Swing by tonight to swirl, sip, and meet the people who make what’s in your glass. You’re bound to find something that would be just right for your holiday table, too.
Our Friday wine tasting is still happening tomorrow, 5-8PM, so save room in the schedule. Nick Zeiser from Wine Wizards (who also reps Selections de la Viña in RI) will be pouring a line-up of Hermann J. Wiemerwines from the Finger Lakes, NY. These too, will pair quite well with the cornucopia of flavors that pile up like autumn leaves on Thanksgiving tables.
And this Saturday in the shop, 3-6PM, Matt Thomas from Sierra Nevada will host our beer tasting.