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

December 21, 2018

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.

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

September 14, 2018

Tetramythos Winery, Patras, Greece

Tetramythos was founded in 1999 by brothers Aristides and Stathios Panos. The winery is located on the Peloponnese peninsula on the southernmost part of the Greek mainland, near the tiny town of Ano Diacopto (population 300ish), while the vineyards are in Ano Diacopto and amongst the nearby villages of Aegialia. The brothers grow both indigenous and international varieties on limestone-rich vineyards planted at up to 1,000 meters elevation on the slopes of Mount Aroania. This high elevation ensures great swings in diurnal temperature, which in turn ensures ripeness balanced with freshness and acidity. Tetramythos is certified organic, low-intervention, and low sulfites.

Roditis Natur 2017

Roditis Natur is from a single vineyard of 46+ year old Roditis vines planted at 850 meters in the village of Ano Diacopto. The vines are dry-farmed and low yielding. The wine is made using only the free-run must (juice from the first gentle pressing) and fermented for 5 months with wild yeasts, and undergoes spontaneous malolactic fermentation. It’s bottled unfiltered with just a touch of SO2.

This wine is a mouthful of delicious, minerally, leesy, limestone-lemon, crisp apple, dusty chalk, leesy again…bone-dry, just keeps giving. You don’t need food with this, but if you wanted it, seafood is a natural pair, or poultry with salty, crispy skin, sheep or goat cheese, an olive plate, stuffed grape leaves, tzatziki, vegetables grilled and drizzled with oil and vinegar…there are options!

Domaine des Terres Dorées Beaujolais Blanc 2016

Jean-Paul Brun’s domaine is located in Charnay, a village in the Southern Beaujolais in an area known as the “Region of Golden Stones”. Brun is the owner and winemaker at this 40-acre family estate and is well known for his Beaujolais, which he makes with minimal intervention, minimal sulfur, and without the use of industrial yeasts, leading to wines that are elegant & delicate, with purity of fruit, and great character and depth.

This chardonnay is from vines planted in 1983 on sandy, limestone-rich clay soil. The grapes are hand-harvested, de-stemmed, and fermented in vat via natural yeasts. It goes through full malo and is aged on the lees in stainless and concrete until the spring following harvest. It’s bottled with just a touch of sulfur. This wine is like a bottle of sunshine. On the nose you’ll find apples, pears, beeswax, and that precise, limestone minerality. On the palate it’s full-bodied but crisp, with apples again, as well as dried flowers, on a long, mineral-driven finish. This is another versatile white that can be drunk with or without food. There probably won’t be any left by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, but this would be that kind of crowd-pleasing, food-friendly wine.

Domaine de l’Aumonier Touraine Cuvée Louis 2014

Sophie & Thierry Chardon farm their 47 hectares in the village of Couffy organically (certified). They started in 1996 with 10 hectares purchased from retired winemakers. Their vineyards are now split between 26 hectares on the slopes around Couffy, on soils of clay and flint, and 21 hectares around the village of Mareuil sur Cher, on soils of chalk and clay.

Cuvée Louis is a blend of Cabernet Franc and Malbec from 3 hectares of hillside vineyards on clay-limestone and flint. Up to 3 weeks of carbonic maceration gives the wine a fresh, fruity, and juicy personality. This is a gluggable, easy-drinking little red. You can put a slight chill on it, but the aromas and flavors will easily take this wine through the fall, and it will happily sit on a table of roasted chicken and veggies, and other casual fare.

Tetramythos Agiorgitiko 2017

-see producer notes above-

The grapes for this wine come from a north-facing single vineyard of young vines that are low-yielding and dry farmed. It’s a dark, plummy, aromatic red that pairs well with grilled meat and vegetables, pizza & pasta, and traditional Greek food like Pastitsio and Moussaka. Agiorgitiko is sometimes called St. George and is Greece’s most widely planted and commercially successful grape. It does best at high altitudes, and is used for everything from rosé to dark, robust reds.

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop

August 31, 2018

Gobelsburg Gruner Veltliner 2017, Kamptal, Austria

The estate and Castle Gobelsburg has been controlled by 19 different families between 1074 (when it was created by the Monks of Zwetti) and 1786, when it was absorbed into the Kammern Winery. Two hundred years later, in 1996, Eva and Michael Moosbrugger were granted the winemaking and viticultural contract; with Willi Bründlmayer’s assistance, the winery soon became a leader in quality, and Michael Moosbrugger was recognized as a top German winemaker. Farming here is organic, a practice the monks of Zwetti began in the 1950s.

This Gruner is dry, leesy, and elegant, with notes of white pepper & green pears.

La Boutanche Rosé (Andi Knauss) 2017, Wurttemberg-Remstal, Germany

La Boutanche is a natural wine project started by importer Selection Massale to address the issue of the general lack of natural wines in the $20-and-under price range. These (mostly, but not this one) liter-size, screw-top, glou glou wines are from different producers within the Selection Massale portfolio. They’re what you’d expect: organic, low intervention, native yeast fermentations, low-to-no sulfur, super-drinkable.

Andi Knauss is the first to seriously pursue winemaking at this domain in the Baden village of Strümpfelbach. The domain has been in his family for generations, but most of the winemaking was done here as a hobby, after finishing shifts at the local Mercedes Benz factory. Andi has upped the game and dedicated himself to the craft full-time. The property is 14 hectares planted to Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Kerner, Muller Thurgau, Trollinger, Lemberger, Pinot Noir, and Merlot. Andi works organically and minimally in the vineyards and the cellar, with natural fermentations, and little to no sulphur. This rosé is tangy, zesty, clean, and refreshing.

Château Combel la Serre Cahors ‘Le Pur Fruit du Causse’ 2017, Cahors, France

Julien Ilbert’s family has had vines in Cahors for many generations, but they always sold off their grapes to negociants, and grains took up a lot of their property, so wine was not the focus of their endeavors. In 1998 Julien struck out to start his own estate, but got sidetracked when he became Mathieu Cosse’s main source for high quality Malbec, known locally as Auxerrois, or Côt. Julien’s Château Combel la Serre was created in 2005, with 25 hectares of Malbec on a clay-limestone plateau. Cahors appellation requires that the wine be 70% auxerrois, but Julien believes it should be 100%, so he’s chosen not to plant Negrette and Tannat (the other traditional varieties). The property is certified organic since 2015, but has been practicing organic since its creation.

Le Pur Fruit du Causse is vinified and aged in cement and is juicy, approachable, fruit-forward, and delicious.

Slavcek Črno Red Cuvée 2016, Vipava Valley, Slovenia

The history of the Slavcek family winery goes back to 1769, when records indicate that it was called “Slavčevih”, or Nightingale. The family runs a farm and an inn, and they only serve what they grow. They have 10 hectares on terraced banks on the edge of the Vipava Valley. They are uniquely situated in an area that is influenced by the Alps and the Mediterranean, and surrounded by forests full of birds (including the nightingale, hence the label). The hilltop vineyards are close enough to the sea to benefit from cool Mediterranean breezes. The farming is biodynamic, and the winemaking is vegan (no animal proteins are used in the fining process), and barrels used for aging are made of local acacia and oak.

Črno is 40% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Refosco, and 10% Barbera from vines planted in 1994. The wine is fermented and aged for 12 months in 50% oak / 50% stainless steel. It lively and spicy, with red berry juiciness, and a little bit of smoky earth.