Wine Club - November 2017

Welchriesling – Weingut Schmelzer (2015)

Winemaker: Georg Schmelzer
Soil: High Calcium Clay
Age of Vines: 20 yrs

Grape Variety(s): Welchriesling
Style: Dry White
Region: Gols, Burgenland, Austria

In Eastern Austria, not too far from Bratislava, Slovakia is situated the small village of Gols. Within the larger Burgenland appellation, the culture in Gols sets itself apart by being completely committed to biodynamic vineyard practices and natural wine throughout the village. Leading that effort is Georg Schmelzer, who not only makes fantastic wines, but prepares and grows biodynamic treatments for the entire area. They work the vineyards according to Demeter guidelines and thus exceed the requirements of organic wine
growing by far! They not only do without the use of pesticides and chemical pesticides, but also use many biodynamic preparations to stimulate the soil and maintain the health of the vines. The aim is not maximization, but the harmonization and support of nature in its fertility - year after year. Raise your hand if you’ve heard of Welchriesling!....yeah, that’s what I thought. It isn’t related to Riesling, so that’s a little confusing. This wine is made in stainless steel with no added sulphur and a lot of time on the lees (dead yeasts) to give it quite a bit of body and creamy texture. Hope you enjoy!

Tempranillo – Cerro La Barca (2016)


Winemaker: Juan Lopez
Soil: Clay and Limestone Slate and Clay
Age of Vines: 50 yrs

Grape Variety(s): Tempranillo
Style: Dry Red
Region: Extremadura, Spain
Created in 2003 by two young winemakers, after several years working in the wine world in different parts of Spain they decided to start a new project to make their own wines. Bodegas Cerro La Barca produces wines from Organic Agriculture, made with forgotten grapes of Extremadura. We work with the best winemakers in our region, who share the same principles of organic production: soil care, non-use of chemical synthesis products, favoring the implantation of auxiliary fauna, etc.
The vineyard has special characteristics. For instance, the soil is slate and not very deep, a peculiarity that complicates the cultivation. For this reason, we opted for a work of biodiversity, instead of tillage, through the sowing of legumes among the grapes. In spring, just before sprouting, they are mowed and incorporated to the land producing an important contribution to the green cover. This is the only work done on the soil of this vineyard.
Lovely red fruits and violets on the nose...lots of roses too! A great little tempranillo from one of the few producers in this part of Spain committed to natural practices.

Wine Club - October 2017

Marcotte – Domaine Cazottes (2016)

Winemaker: Laurent Cazottes
Soil: High Calcium Clay
Age of Vines: 20 yrs

Grape Variety(s): Broucol, Duras
Style: Dry Red
Region: Gaillac, France

Domaine Laurent Cazottes is located in Gaillac, in the Tarn department in the commune of Villeneuve-sur-Vère. Husband and wife, Laurent and Marina, are known for making exceptional, artisan eau de vie from various fruits they organically farm. They also make gorgeous wine from old vine Gaillac grape varieties: Mauzac, Braucol and Duras. Their wine, like their eau de vie, is certified organic and treated with great care. These are honest, well- made, and well-priced wines for everyday drinking.

The Marcotte Rouge is one of our new staff favorites. It reminds me of a rustic, Loire Valley Cabernet Franc  In general, the southwest of France is  a region where you can find
tremendous value with the right producer. Enjoy this with a hearty stew and a fireplace!

Bajondillo – Jiménez Landi (2016)

Winemaker: José Jiménez-Landi
Soil: Clay and Limestone Sandy and Granitic
Age of Vines: 25 yrs

Grape Variety(s): Garnacha, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon
Style: Dry Red
Region: Méntrida, Spain
Bodegas Jiménez – Landi is a family Project which arises passion from the vineyards and the countryside. The winery is located in MÉNTRIDA, a village of great wine tradition (some of the references to the vineyards in the area date back to XII century) located west of MADRID (53 kilometers) north of Toledo, in the foothills of the SIERRA DE GREDOS.
Jimenez-Landi was established in an old manor. The oldest parts of the property date back to the sixteenth century. Jose Jimenez-Landi’s ancestors made wine an old cave where they keep a family cemetery marked by old bottles. The current incarnation of the family winery was founded in 1963. Until recently, they weren’t professionally dedicated to making wine. They have utilized the family heirloom old vine Garnacha for their own consumption and for their friends to enjoy.
“ The goal of the finished wines is balance, freshness, finesse, elegance, and depth. We want to develop honest wines that represent our philosophy and characteristics of our plots and varieties located in the villages of Méntrida and Real de San Vincente. The most important thing is that the wines represent the varieties, the local nature and the soils.”
Bajondillo is a unique blend of Garnacha, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon aged in both barrel and stainless steel.

Wine Club - September 2017

Tu Vin Plus Aux Soirees – Fabien Jouves (2016)

Winemaker: Fabien Jouves
Soil: High Calcium Clay
Age of Vines: 20 yrs

Grape Variety(s): Cabernet Franc & Malbec
Style: Dry Red
Region: Cahors, France

At just 30 years old, Fabien Jouves is from an old farming family in Causse. He became a winemaker in 2006, creating Mas del Périé on the highest slopes of Cahors. In that region, Malbec (cot) is the king of grape varietals. Located at the junction between Quercy and Cahors, parcel selection was an obvious choice to maximize the different characters of Malbec. This expression of terroir is reinforced by a biodynamic agriculture which respects life, plants, humans and their environment.

You’re probably wondering about the name of this wine. It’s a play on words in French that basically means, “Your wine is not welcome to the party.” This refers to the fact that Cabernet Franc, a grape with old tradition in Cahors, is no longer permitted to be included in wines that are labeled AOC Cahors. If you follow French wine at all, this is one example of the never-ended dispute and frustrations with the labeling/approval authorities there!
The vinification process occurs naturally, without any additives. The grapes are fermented with the whole cluster for about 7 days in cement and then age in old barrels for 6 months before bottling. This is one of my favorite wines we work with. It’s kind of playful and serious at the same time and really just enjoyable to drink anytime.

Sikele Bianco – Tenuta dei Fossi (2015)

Winemaker: Paternó Sisters
Soil: Limestone
Age of Vines: 25 yrs

Grape Variety(s): Grecanico
Style: Dry Orange Wine
Region: Noto, Sicily

Cantina Marilina is an organic wine-making company in the South East of Sicily, Noto. Founded in 2001, it is now run by the Paternó family: the two sisters Marilina and Federica, whose philosophy is based on an absolute respect for the land. Mediterranean climate with a fortunate geographical location and calcareous soils are factors that enhance the quality of the grapes, along with a philosophy oriented reinterpretation of the traditional production methods: historic vineyards, concrete tanks, wilting in the sun. The winery can be found in the surrounding area of Noto, a city which, included in the world heritage list UNESCO is a beating hub for history and culture. Immersed between natural gems of South Eastern Sicily, the faunistic oasis of Vendicari, Marzamemi, Portopalo di Capo Passero and Isola delle Correnti, the zone falls under two denominations of origin: DOC Noto and DOC Eloro. This allows for the production of absolutely unique wines which boast strong characteristics of the area. The Sikele Bianco is made is fermented and aged in cement tanks. The grapes actually are macerated (skins in juice) like a red wine, so this technically is an “orange” wine, which you’ll notice when you pour it in the glass. Really one of the most accessible orange wines in the world and a treat to enjoy, great as we head into fall!

Wine Club - August 2017

Les Deux Terres – Domaine des Cognettes (2014)

)) Winemaker: Stéphane and Vincnet Perraud
Soil: Weathered Granite and Sandy Pebbles
Age of Vines: 30 yrs

Grape Variety(s): Melon de Bourgogne
Style: Dry White, Sur Lie
Region: Clisson, Musadet, Loire Valley, France

It was pretty cool how it happened. We had visited other wineries earlier that day
and had an Airbnb in the town of Clisson. We arrived at dusk, greeted by our
host and when we told her we were going around visiting vineyards, especially
those working naturally, she stopped and said we MUST walk over (literally next
door) to her neighbor who had a winery and talk with him. It was during harvest
so we really felt like we wanted to set up appointments since everyone was so
busy but she insisted and went inside his tank room and he came out and greeted
us. We talked a bit and then offered to come in and taste through some of the
wines. Before we tasted, I was positive I'd bring start to import the others we had tasted that day..as I enjoyed the wines for sure, but it was undeniable that these “surprise wines” in my hand were superior and on par with some of the best Muscadet wines I had tasted. 3rd generation Muscadet winemakers, brothers Stephane and Vincent Perraud work together just outside of the historic, medieval town of Clisson on 28 hectares. As of 2010, they work all of their vineyards in organic agriculture, harvesting by hand and vinifying their wines naturally, with only native yeasts and minimal sulfur usage. The soils are mainly composed of weathered granite, gabbro (extremely dense and heavy volcanic rock), along with sand, clay, and quartz pebbles. Some say Muscadet is a poor man’s white burgundy. You can definitely grasp that with this wine. Lovely texture and good acidity with a creamy factor and stony minerality. I love this Les Deux Terres with roast chicken or any fish. Drink now or hold another few years!

Hanami – Domaine Bobinet (2016)

Winemaker: Sebastien Bobinet
Soil: Clay and Limestone
Age of Vines: 15-20 yrs

Grape Variety(s): Cabernet Franc
Style: Dry Red
Region: Saumur Champigny, France


Sebastien Bobinet and partner Emeline Calvez are making some of the most exciting wines in the region of Saumur Champigny, renowned for growing Cabernet Franc on the hillside of the Loire River within the Loire Valley of France. In addition to being organic in the vineyard and abstaining from all additives in the cellar, this couple brings a different approach to Cabernet Franc. Their passion for the light and juicy reds of the Beaujolais deeply influences their artistry in the cellar. Don’t get me wrong, they are making serious wines, as you’ll see with the Hanami, but these wines definitely have a bit more of a “juicy” factor not typically present in wines of the region.
2016 Hanami, a fantastic growing vintage, is 100% Cabernet Franc that goes through whole cluster maceration. Instead of the grapes being destemmed and crushed, the clusters are kept whole during fermentation to produce a lighter wine with more of a fruity/juicy flavor. The fermented juice was then barrel aged for about 6 months. We just got this in and are excited to share with you- just 16 cases were allocated for all of Virginia!

Wine club - July 2017

Prestige Cotes du Rhone – Domaine du Jas (2015)

Grape Variety(s): Grenache, Syrah Style: Dry Red

Region: Cotes du Rhone, France

Winemaker: Pierre Pradelle Soil: Granite, Clay

Age of Vines: 20 yrs

Domaine du Jas is located between the Château de Grignan, made famous by Madame de Sévigné and the Castle of Suze la Rousse of the 11th century. The estate has been in the Pradelle family since 1874. It was in 1978 that Raphael Pradelle vinified for the first time his own wine. Soon his sons joined him and Hubert Pradelle began his wine- making business. Like his father before him, he takes care of his vineyard according to the precepts of organic farming and harvesting everything by hand. Effectively respecting nature and passion for wine are the two fundamental principles of his work. Thus, it opts for the AB certification (Organic Farming) in 2001. Today, the Domaine du Jas still has its family and authentic character: Hubert works with his wife Anne-Marie and their eldest son Pierre. In turn, Pierre Pradelle brings his own sensitivity to vine and wine by opening up to Biodynamics. This new approach is based on "the valorization of the soil and the plant in its natural environment thanks to preparations derived from vegetable, animal and mineral materials applied at specific times". The commitment of Pierre and Hubert Pradelle to Biodynamics is explained by successful experiments in practice. Concretely this results in homemade preparations (nettle purine, silica ...) and the respect of the biodynamic calendar to carry out the main works of the vine and the wine. This is a step towards respect for the consumer and the environment.

The blend of Syrah and Grenache offers this wine a complexity of red and black fruits. Fine tannins can be seen in the warmth of the heat, which will melt in the first two years. This wine will evolve towards an animal nose and spices (gray pepper in particular).

Pecorino – Agricola Cirelli (2015)

Grape Variety(s): Pecorino Style: Dry White

Region: Abruzzo, Italy

Winemaker: Francesco Cirelli Soil: Clay and Calcium

Agricola Cirelli is an organic farm certified by IMC, surrounded by 23 hectares of land. All of its production is designed to respect the natural cycles of the olive trees, vineyards, horticultural crops and the animal breeding. Crop rotation, natural fertilization, and free range animal grazing are Agricola Cirelli’s “techniques” of production. This harmonious environment creates olive oil, wine, vegetables, fruit and meats of supreme quality.

The farm grows its food and wine in total respect of organic agriculture. Nature sets the rules and it dictates the rhythm of every activity. The animals’ interaction with the land offer natural grazing and fertilization of the vines, which means there is no need to use harmful chemical substances.

Francesco purchased the land in 2003 right after his graduation in Economics at a prestigious European university. Before this, he was a student at the Italian Navy College. He decided to dedicate himself to organic agriculture because of the profound values of working the land (“Right after God the farmer comes next” he was told once). He is now helped out by his fiancée, Michela.

His 2015 Pecorino is 100% Pecorino, a native grape to the area characterized by higher acidity and as you would expect, a lovely pairing with Pecorino Romano cheese! It is aged in Stainless steel and will suit you remarkably well on a hot summer day! 

Club Little House - June 2017

Cerro Encinas – Bodegas Marenas (2015)

Grape Variety(s): Monastrell

Style: Dry Red

Region: Cordoba, Andalucia, Spain

Winemaker: José Miguel Márquez Soil: Albariza

Age of Vines: 20 yrs

José Miguel Márquez is on a mission to recover the old winemaking traditions of his native town Montilla in Cordoba. As an aficionado of everything natural, genuine, and authentic, he makes sure his vineyards and wines are treated with the same care and respect they deserve. Nothing but fermented juices extracted from the different varieties of grapes, without filtrations or additives of any type. Result being natural wines expressive of their land and climate.

As with most winemakers, his life revolves around each harvest but it’s the passion and dedication he lives them with that set José Miguel apart. It’s as if his wines were his children and each one of their personalities a product of that vintage. He’s actually named wines from certain vintages after his daughters or nephews. It’s no surprise that when he sold his first bottle of wine, he felt like he was shipping one of his kids off to boarding school. Although one of the youngest producers in the region, he is making some of the most exciting wines in the region and recovering other indigenous varieties like Montepila amongst many other projects that are in the works.

If this story sounds familiar...you’re right. We told you about Marenas last month. We just can’t get enough of these wines and wanted to show off one of his reds. This Monastrell (also known as Mouvedre in other areas of the world) has a freshness and drinkability that is just begging for summer consumption! Pair with Grilled steak (or portabella) with Provencal spice rub and fennel with lemon and shaved parmesan.

Clar – Finca Parera (2015)

Grape Variety(s): Xarello/Chardonnay/Geewurztraminer

Style: Dry White

Region: Penedes, Spain

Finca Parera is located in the upper Penedes region, characterized by its calcareous clay soils. Rubén converted his family’s 10h estate from organic to biodynamic farming, continuing the natural process into the cellar while applying the same practice to their cherries, almonds, olives, and vegetables, obtaining the rather grueling Demeter certification on their first visit. He was born into a family of farmers but it wasn’t until he finished his viticultural and oenological studies that they started making wines of their own.

His 2015’s are simply fantastic. In a short period of time he’s evolved from making textbook wines to making wines of terruño, seeking drinkability without compromising depth and complexity. His entry level white, red, and rosé are super fun to drink while his 2014 acacia aged Xarello might be one of the most interesting expressions of the grape we’ve ever tasted. It’s the first wine he makes without adding SO2. I’d bet the same professors who told him it couldn’t be done would even take their hats off to this wine. Long live the diseducation of Ruben Parera!

“Clar” is a rather atypical blend of grapes. The reason for this is the farm used to only sell it’s grape (not make wine) and was paid more for international varieties like Chardonnay. They are in the process of converting the vineyard back to native varieties (like Xarello), but still have some lingering older vines that they incorporated into this wine. All that said, it’s awesome! A nice little stainless steel aged wine that is super versatile with food. Just hint of SO2 is used at bottling to retain optimal freshness.  Pair with Vietnamese spring rolls.

Club Little House - May 2017

Montepilas – Bodegas Marenas (2015)

Winemaker: José Miguel Márquez

Soil: Albariza

Age of Vines: 20 yrs

Grape Variety(s): Montepila

Style: Dry White

Region: Cordoba, Andalucia, Spain

José Miguel Márquez is on a mission to recover the old winemaking traditions of his native town Montilla inCordoba. As an aficionado of everything natural, genuine, and authentic, he makes sure his vineyards and wines are treated with the same care and respect they deserve. Nothing but fermented juices extracted from the different varieties of grapes, without filtrations or additives of any type. This results in natural wines expressive of their land and climate.

As with most winemakers, his life revolves around each harvest but it’s the passion and dedication he lives them with that set José Miguel apart. It’s as if his wines were his children and each one of their personalities a product of that vintage. He’s actually named wines from certain vintages after his daughters or nephews. It’s no surprise that when he sold his first bottle of wine, he felt like he was shipping one of his kids off to boarding school. Although one of the youngest producers in the region, he is making some of the most exciting wines in the region and recovering other indigenous varieties like Montepila amongst many other projects that are in the works. We are simply bonkers over this wine. We had never had Montepila before (or heard of it) and this is just the hit of the spring for us. 3,000 bottles produced, aged and stainless steel the whole time. One of the purest wines we’ve ever had.

Laguzelle – Domaine Benjamin Taillandier (2016)

Winemaker: Benjamin Taillandier

Soil: Clay and Limestone

Age of Vines: Age of Vines: 3015-20 yrs yrs

Grape Variety(s): Grenache/Cinsault/Carignan

Style: Dry Red

Region: Minervois, Languedoc, France

After finishing winemaking school, Benjamin spent some time working in a conventional winery. In 2004, however, he met natural winemaker Jean-Baptiste Senat and began working with him in his cellar. He was influenced by Senat’s ideas and techniques. After his stage ended, he knew that he wanted to make his wine with a similar philosophy one day.

In 2007 he settled in his family’s hometown of Caunes-Minnervois, which sits between the ancient city of Carcassone and The Montagne Noir. He purchased 5.7ha of Grenache Noir, Syrah, Cinsault, Terret Gris and began working it organically, eventually converting all of it over to biodynamics. Each year he added a plot to his estate and now he works 9.5 ha all by hand and now fully Ecocert certified. He also runs a terrific wine bar downtown called Cantine du Curé which is open during the summer tourist season.

Benjamin feels that many of the wines in the Minnervois AOC are too concentrated and alcoholic, and works hard to make wines that, while full flavored, are lighter, fresher and lower in alcohol than most average wines from the Languedoc. Indeed, there is a level of liveliness in this wines that you seldom see in the wines of the region, Benjamin is happily introducing people to the concept of Minervois "vin de soif.”

If this story sounds familiar for some of you...you’re right! We introduced you to another of his wines, “Vini Viti Bibi” back in March. Luguzelle is somewhat similar but a hair bit lighter and more fresh fresh fresh! Try chilling it down just a tad and enjoy with a nice dinner outside.

 

 

Club Little House - April 2017

“Comtesse” Bordeaux Blanc – Chateau L’Escart (2016) 

  • Grape Variety(s): Semillon/Sauvigon Blanc
  • Style: Dry White
  • Region: Bordeaux, France
  • Winemaker: Damien Laurent
  • Soil: Clay and Limestone
  • Age of Vines: 20 yrs

   A brand new wine and producer for us! We just recently expanded many selections in Southwest France and are so very excited to carry a Bordeaux producer who is practicing all Biodynamic in the vineyard and making great wine! It’s really quite rare to see organic farming practices in this region dominated by mass-produced, export-driven wines.
Like many Bordeaux estates, Damien Laurent is a multi-generational farmer and winemaker. His estate, Chateau L’Escart dates back to the 1600s and boasts a long tradition of winemaking. It wasn’t until recently that Damien abandoned the norm for the area and converted his entire vineyard to Biodynamic and Organic viticulture. The reason...more than anything, because they were convinced it made better wine. Additionally, they have a humble understanding that they must treat the land in a way that will preserve it for their children and many generations to come. Bravo!
The “Comtesse” Bordeaux Blanc is quite exceptional. Bordeaux is not really known for its whites and even Damien grows just a little plot of Semillon and Sauvignon, producing just 1,500 bottles of this lovely mineral-driven aperitif wine. Super fresh, yet pleasantly round. We love this wine for the spring!

Fusco – Bodegas Albamar (2015)

Grape Variety(s): Mencia
Style: Dry Red
Region: Galicia, Ribeira Sacra, Spain
Winemaker: Xurxo Alba
Soil: Slate
Age of vines: 20 years

  If Sally sells seashells by the sea shore, Xurxo Alba of Albamar makes albariño and mencia (two grapes) al alba del mar (next to the sea). If it were up to me, I’d stop right here. There’s really not much more to say. It’s what he was born to do. It’s what he knows best.
His cellar is in Cambados, next door to his parents’ restaurant and tienda de ultramarinos, a small shop selling local artesanal foodstuffs. His family has been farming and making albariño in the O Salnés sub-region of Rías Baixas for generations but it wasn’t until Xurxo finished his oenological studies that they started bottling and commercializing their own wines in 2006. They own about 2.5 hectares but source from about a total of 10 spread throughout this region dominated by smallholdings. Xurxo wishes they owned more but like theirs, neighboring vineyards have been passed along from generation to generation and working them is a way of life. It’s a hobby. It’s what people do on their free time. It’s a lifestyle that money can’t buy.
He farms and makes sure his farmers farm as naturally as possible, as much as the region permits. In the cellar, spontaneous fermentations with native yeasts are a common denominator in all of his wines. Whether he works the lees or uses oak is on a wine by wine basis, vintage by vintage.
We are fortunate enough to get a bit of the only red white he makes, a lovely Mencia aged in Stainless...just super fresh and versatile. One o

Club Little House - March

Bianco – Tenuta La Favola (2015) 

  • Grape Variety(s): Grillo-Catarrato
  • Style: Dry White
  • Region: Noto, Sicily, Italy
  • Winemaker: Corrado and Valeria Gurrieri
  • Soil: High Calcareous
  • Age of Vines: 10 yrs

The estate stands upon a hill in the far right-end corner of Sicily, just outside of the town of Noto, near Siracusa. When Corrado goes down the northern side of the hill to reach the olive grove, Mt. Etna salutes him. If he goes down along the southern side, all he can see is the deep blue of the seas in front of him. The paths among the vineyards are calcareous-white and at night time with a full-moon, the land shines. He’s not completely wrong when he says he lives in paradise. He has inherited this land from his mother who left it to him, second of four brothers.

It’s no surprise that he decided to farm them organically, or when he dedicated some of his land in order to experiment on his vines. Nor was it strange when he decided to use only green energy and not to have production residuals. Every day he spends hours in the vineyards looking at his vines thinking about new methods or new utensils. If you’re puzzled about the perfectionism and maniacal attention with which he looks at his sprouts, Corrado will just look at you like saying: “How can I possibly behave differently? How else could it be?”

The 2015 Bianco is a fairly typical blend for the area of Grillo and Catarrato. Like their other wines, the Bianco is raised entirely in stainless steel (no oak). This is a wine begging for some fresh seafood or a festive paella which would pair perfectly with the pleasant salinity of the wine. 

Vini Viti Bibi – Domaine Benjamin Taillandier (2015)

  • Grape Variety(s): Grenache/Cinsault/Carignan
  • Style: Dry Red
  • Region: Minervois, Languedoc, France
  • Winemaker: Benjamin Taillandier
  • Soil: Clay and Limestone

After finishing winemaking school, Benjamin spent some time working in a conventional winery. In 2004, however, he met natural winemaker Jean-Baptiste Senat and began working with him in his cellar. He was influenced by Senat’s ideas and techniques. After his stage ended, he knew that he wanted to make his wine with a similar philosophy one day.


In 2007 he settled in his family’s hometown of Caunes-Minnervois, which sits between the ancient city of Carcassone and The Montagne Noir. He purchased 5.7ha of Grenache Noir, Syrah, Cinsault, Terret Gris and began working it organically, eventually converting all of it over to biodynamics. Each year he added a plot to his estate and now he works 9.5 ha all by hand and now fully Ecocert certified. He also runs a terrific wine bar downtown called Cantine du Curé which is open during the summer tourist season. 

Benjamin feels that many of the wines in the Minnervois AOC are too concentrated and alcoholic, and works hard to make wines that, while full flavored, are lighter, fresher and lower in alcohol than most average wines from the Languedoc. Indeed, there is a level of liveliness in this wines that you seldom see in the wines of the region, Benjamin is happily introducing people to the concept of Minervois "vin de soif".


Vini Viti Bibi is made with a blend of destemmed grapes (left whole) and allowed to macerate (soak juice with skins) in cold temperatures for 12 days which promotes freshness. The wine is then aged for about 8 months in stainless steel. One of our favorites here at Native Selections!

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Club Little House - February

Pipeño País – Cacique Maravilla (2015) 

  • Grape Variety(s): País
  • Style: Dry Red
  • Region: Yumbel, Bio Bio Valley, Chile
  • Winemaker: Miguel Morago
  • Soil: Clay and Sand
  • Age of Vines: 250 yrs

  Manuel's humble vineyard has been part of his family since 1776. His ancestor, Francisco Gutierrez migrated to Yumbel (Bio Bio) from Spain in search of gold. He helped found the city of Yumbel, and was given the name Cacique Maravilla, meaning "Great Chief," by the indigenous Mapuche tribes. Manuel inherited 90 acres of land of volcanic soils, with 30 acres of 250 year old Pais vines. He took over the vineyard in 2009 and continues to follow his family’s tradition that were passed down one generation to the next, to make wine naturally with minimal human intervention. Unfortunately, his old adobe winery was destroyed by the 2010 earthquake. He now ferments his wines in Roble Chileno (Chilean wood) for open fermentation and leaves his wines in fiberglass vats for a short time before bottling.
1 Full Liter of 100% País from estate vines planted in 1766 awaits you. Naturally-vinified with ambient yeasts and no filtration. The grapes are fermented in very old 1000L Raulí (Chilean wood) open barrels. The wine is light and rustic...very drinkable with characteristics of earth, cherry, and spice.
In case you were wondering, vino Pipeño consists of a very short fermentation and aging process to result in a light and flavorful wine. Pipeño is a traditional wine made with the Pais grape, the first grape brought by the Spaniards. Chilean farmers would drink Pipeño long before Cabernet or Carmenere were brought to Chile by the French.

Food Pairings: 

  • Chicken saltimbocca
  • Pasta y fagioli
  • Classic cassoulet

 Premices - La Roche Buissiere (2014)

  • Grape Variety(s): Grenache/Syrah
  • Style: Dry Red
  • Region: Rhone, France
  • Winemaker: Antoine & Lawrence Joly
  • Soil: Clay, Silt, and Limestone
  • Age of Vines: 25 years

Located northeast of Vaison-La-Romaine in the southern Côtes du Rhone, Antoine and Lawrence Joly work 18 hectare of organic vineyards making some of our favorite wines in the region. They maintain a freshness and lightness in their wines by dedicating themselves to very intense vineyard work that allows them to harvest earlier than several other producers in their area, resulting in less concentrated and lower alcohol wines.
Antoine's family has run the estate since the early 1970's (his grandfather was a beekeeper in the area and his father Pierre returned to live a more simple life after his involvement in the Parisian student riots of 1968). Pierre was a pioneer of organic viticulture in the Rhone and the vineyards have been certified since the 1980s, although he sold most of the grapes to the local co-op when he started. Antoine and Lawrence took over in 1999 and, since 2003, have vinified 100% of the harvest themselves.
Premices is a wonderfully juicy and surprisingly refreshing (given that it’s from the Rhone). The grapes are fermented in concrete and aged for about 8 months. Carbonic maceration here! Zero sulfur is added to this wine...just pure juice!

Food Pairings:

  • apero with cured meats
  • Shepherds pie
  • Braised lamb with roasted root veggies

 

Club Little House - January

Haut de Balmont – Clos de Vignes du Maynes (2014)

  • Grape Variety(s): Gamay
  • Style: Dry Red
  • Region: Beaujolais Leynes
  • Winemaker: Julien Guillot
  • Soil: Granite
  • Age of Vines: 90 yrs

 Early last year, when we were with Julien Guillot, we were reminded of his intense passion for the craft as well as the almost unbelievable history his vineyard. With remnants of an old Roman wall on his southern Burgundy property, an 1100-year-old winemaking heritage dating back to the powerful medieval monks of Cluny, and nothing but selection massale to replant the vineyards (no clones), the Guillot family has every reason to believe that they are the oldest organically farmed winery in France. Julien Guillot is the contemporary steward of this land, worked by his family since 1954.
Julien takes his role quite seriously. In 1998, he took the farming practices one step deeper into biodynamic viticulture. He is such an enthusiastic student of history that in 2009 and 2010, he reenacted a medieval harvest and the transportation of the barrels by oxcart to Cluny 9 months later.
The grapes are harvested by hand and fermented in old oak foudres. Fruit undergoes partial whole- cluster fermentation, without any additional sulfur or foreign yeast cultures, and Julien leaves the finished wines unfined and unfiltered to showcase the layers of fruit. The 2014 vintage was mild, and yet at such a high elevation, the alcohol levels on this wine always trend low. The Beaujolais Leynes comes from a small, high altitude parcel of old vines farmed just a few miles from Julien’s Clos. Serve cool and enjoy with charcuterie, chicken, and pork dishes. We’ve had this wine for a little bit in the warehouse and it’s only gotten better. We’re talking SERIOUS Beaujolais here folks. Zero sulphur!

Dry Cider - Oyster River Winegrowers (2015)

  • Grape Variety(s): Apples! (York, Northern Spy, Mac)
  • Style: Dry
  • Region: Warren, Maine
  • Winemaker: Brian Smith
  • Soil: Stone/Clay
  • Age of Trees: 10 years+


We were excited to be introduced recently to Maine wine and cider producer: Brian Smith of Oyster River Winegrowers, located about an hour north of Portland. Brian and his family make beautiful ciders and sparkling wines, farming their property without a tractor, but instead with a horse and plow. Their winery production is equally as "low-tech." Brian works without any force carbonation or filters. Every wine and cider is hand bottled, bottled-conditioned, and made without additives, truly an artisanal product.
Even better, Brian's ciders are the best we have ever tasted at this price point. The short growing season allows for less ripening than you'd see in Virginia apples/cider, so the alcohol trends a tad lower (7%) and the natural acidity is kicked up a notch.
The 2015 Dry Cider is a blend of Maine apples grown by Oyster River and their neighbor. We don't know of a better bottle-conditioned dry cider at this price- a 7% ABV glugger that is unfined/unfiltered/unsulfited and super fresh!

Club Little House - December

Les Tetes – “Tete Nat” Rosé Sparkling (2015) 

  • Grape Variety(s): Gamay/Grolleau
  • Style: Petillant Naturel Rosé (Natural Sparkling)
  • Region: Tourraine, Loire Valley, France
  • Winemaker: Les Tetes Collective
  • Soil: Clay/Limestone
  • Age of Vines: 25 yrs

We introduced you all to the red a few months back. As a reminder, this is a little project started by 4 people in Azay-le-Rideau, which is in Tourraine within the Loire Valley of France. This is a cool little appellation that’s having something of a renaissance mostly thanks to Quintin Bourse, the guy from Sot de l’Ange. Anyway, now there is more than one winery available from A-L-R, which is cool. This is a partnership between a handful of different winemakers that have primary wine projects but are doing this on the side to be able to make something at a really competitive price and move a bit of volume. The wines are really well made.
This wine is made from a blend of Gamay and Grolleau from a tiny parcel with low yields. This is one of their best wines in my opinion. The wine is made in a natural sparkling method, also called Petililant Naturel or Methode Ancestral. This was the original way to make sparkling wine, catching the wine before fermentation is over and allowing it to finish in the bottle, thus creating CO2.
We thought this would be delicious enjoyed over the holidays. Honestly, it pairs with everything. 

Tenuta Dei Fossi – Nero d’Avola (2012)

  • Winemaker: Paternó Sisters
  • Soil: Limestone Clay and Limestone
  • Age of Vines: 25 yrs
  • Grape Variety(s): Nero d’Avola
  • Style: Dry Red
  • Region: Noto, Sicily

Cantina Marilina is an organic wine-making company in the South East of Sicily, Noto. Founded in 2001, it is now run by the Paternó family: the two sisters Marilina and Federica, whose philosophy is based on an absolute respect for the land. Mediterranean climate with a fortunate geographical location and calcareous soils are factors that enhance the quality of the grapes, along with a philosophy oriented reinterpretation of the traditional production methods: historic vineyards, concrete tanks, wilting in the sun.

The winery can be found in the surrounding area of Noto, a city which, included in the world heritage list UNESCO, is a beating hub for history and culture. Immersed between natural gems of South Eastern Sicily, the faunistic oasis of Vendicari, Marzamemi, Portopalo di Capo Passero and Isola delle Correnti, the zone falls under two denominations of origin: DOC Noto and DOC Eloro. This allows for the production of absolutely unique wines which boast strong characteristics of the area. The Sikelé Nero d’Avola is made is fermented and aged in cement tanks, maintain a freshness in the wine, despite the age (2012). One of the best values in our portfolio of wines, we think this would best pair with beef over the winter.

Club Little House - November

Hirotake Ooka – Le Canon Rouge (2015)

  • Grape Variety(s): Syrah/Grenache
  • Style: Dry Red
  • Region: Northern Rhone, France
  • Winemaker: Hirotake Ooka
  • Soil: Micah/Granite
  • Age of Vines: 30 yrs

Hirotake began studying Chemistry and Biology in Japan but decided midway through his studies that he wanted to make wine and left home for oenology school in Bordeaux. While in school he became enamored with the wines of the Northern Rhone and upon graduation approached Theirry Allemand for a position, but none were available. He ended up working with winemaker Jean-Louis Grippat and when Grippat’s vines were acquired by Guigal, Hirotake worked his way up to Chief of Vineyard Management for Hermitage and St. Joseph vines for all of the Grippat and Vallouit estates. At this time he was also spending his weekends working with Allemand, and was becoming more and more convinced that wine should be made without additives. When a position opened in the early 2000’s with Allemand, Hirotake left Guigal and at the same time he purchased a few vines and a winery in the town of St. Peray.
He produced his first vintage in 2001 from vineyards that were not worked at all and that had absolutely no vine treatments, not even ones allowed in organic viticulture. Hirotake prefers to let the vines grown on their own, undisturbed.
His winery is equally magical, with his wine cellar-cave carved into the side of a mountain providing intense humidity. Some barrels even have mushrooms growing on them and Hirotake considers this environment to be an advantage! These natural elements are all part of the terroir of the cellar and an essential part of his wine.

 Torre al Tolfe - Chianti Colle al Sensei

  • Grape Variety(s): Sangiovese, Canaiolo,
  • Style: Dry Red
  • Region: Chianti Colli Senesi, Italy (Siena)
  • Winemaker: Sergio Lo Jaconco
  • Soil: Sand and Clay
  • Age of Vines: 8 – 15 yrs


   Dating back to 1316, this beautiful little borgo has not only an important place in winemaking history but in the history and development of the region in general, due to its strategic location during the ever-lasting feudal wars between Siena and Florence. Visiting the estate is like stepping back in history, with little changed over the centuries, and with the ancient ‘torre’ still standing proudly over the Villa and other remaining buildings. What has changed is the winemaker, and how the vines are grown. Sergio Lo Jacono took over the winemaking and running of the estate in 2002, and before agreeing and signing a contract with the owners, he insisted that the estate be converted to 100% organic farming. The cellar has also remained the same, except for the fact that the wines are now made with natural yeasts. The cellar is still filled with cement tanks and old botti where the chianti is aged. La Torre Alle Tolfe is a well polished and cared for version of the rustic chianti that we used to know and love. The estate sits within the confines of Chianti Colli Senesi, noted on the 2014 label.

Club Little House - October

Elemental Sparkling – Vinyes Singulars (2015)

Grape Varieties: Macabeu, Xarello

Style: Petlliant Natural

Region: Penedes, Spain

Winemaker: Ignasi Segui

Soil: Clay

Age of Vines: 45-65 yrs

Ignasi Segui is the grower, producer, sales, delivery of Vinyes Singulars, a small project born in 2012, but its roots go back to the year 1405,  the first documented harvesting by his family in the Penedes. The wines are the result of a selection of the oldest vineyards on the property (the younger going to the Organic Cava houses in the area). Employing both Traditional and Ancestral methods in his winemaking, Ignasi produces small lot, tiny vineyard labels like the “Elemental” in addition to the more widely distributed and approachable Cava Brut Nature (carried on the shelf at Little House).
This is a great little sparkling made the original or “ancestral” way of making sparkling wine. That is, the primary fermentation of alcohol finishes in the bottle after it is closed, resulting in the release of CO2 and the creation of bubbles in the wine! Generally, with wines made like this, there’s a tad bit of residual sweetness as well as sediment.
I love the personality of this wine and find it to have a lot of elegance and interesting notes to explore while enjoying this bottle. No sulfur was added, allowing it to maintain optimal freshness and expressiveness along with being straight-up delicious!

Rouge – Les Tetes (2015)

Grape Variety(s): Grolleau, Cabernet Franc

Style: Dry Red

Region: Loire Valley, France

Winemaker: Grower Collective

Soil: Clay and Limestone

Age of Vines: 25 yrs

This is the result of a little project started by 4 people in Azay-le-Rideau, a cool little appellation that’s having something of a renaissance mostly thanks to Quintin Bourse, the guy from Sot de l’Ange. Now there is more than one winery available from A-L-R, which is cool. Les Tetes is a partnership between a handful of different winemakers that have primary wine projects, but are doing this on the side to sell at a really competitive price.. The result of their input is a wine that is really well made.
Les Tetes is mainly Cabernet Franc with a bit of Grolleau (a grape mostly just seen in this area of the world) aged in steel tanks. Red fruit on the nose with some spice, a full juicy palate with a slight acidity and a very beautiful bouquet. Best drinking right now while it’s young. We love the purity and freshness of this wine. 

Club Little House - September

Fravolato – Tenuta La Favola (2015) 

Grape Variety(s): Frappato Style: Dry Red

Region: Noto, Sicily, Italy

Winemaker: Corrado and Valeria Gurrieri Soil: High Calcareous

Age of Vines: 10 yrs

The estate stands upon a hill in the far right-end corner of Sicily, just outside of the town of Noto, near Siracusa. When Corrado goes down the northern side of the hill to reach the olive grove, Mt. Etna salutes him. If he goes down along the southern side, all he can see is the deep blue of the seas in front of him. The paths among the vineyards are calcareous-white and at night time with a full-moon, the land shines. He’s not completely wrong when he says he lives in paradise. He has inherited this land from his mother who left it to him, second of four brothers.

It’s no surprise that he decided to farm them organically, or when he dedicated some of his land in order to experiment on his vines. Nor was it strange when he decided to use only green energy and not to have production residuals. Every day he spends hours in the vineyards looking at his vines thinking about new methods or new utensils. If you’re puzzled about the perfectionism and maniacal attention with which he looks at his sprouts, Corrado will just look at you like saying: “How can I possibly behave differently? How else could it be?”

The 2015 Fravolato is 100% Frappato, a native grape to the area, from fairly young vines on the estate. Like their other wines, the Fravolato is raised entirely in stainless steel (no oak). It is meant to be drunk young and is just a fabulous, versatile wine that I think is perfect for the changing season. The nose is just gorgeous and the finish will have it begging for some food, think Lasagna or anything off the grill.

Rosé – Domaine Lattard (2014)

Grape Variety(s): Syrah Style: Dry Rosé

Region: Rhone, France

Winemaker: Denis Lattard

Soil: Clay and Limestone Age of Vines: 15-20 yrs

Those of you who were part of the Club back in July, may remember a juicy Summer Gamay from the same producer. Now he’s back! And hands down, no kidding, this wine is the staff favorite of our whole portfolio right now. This rosé is out of this world flavorful! Forget what you heard about rosé needing to be drunk fresh, in the year it was made. This 2014 Rosé of Syrah is something like watermelon strawberry juice that is memorable and flat out delicious. I was first introduced to this wine in New York about a year ago after stumbling into a Chinese restaurant and enjoying it with some spiciy noodles. It blew us away and now we’re so lucky to have it to sell. Now...a bit more about the winemakerJ

After finishing his degree in oenology in 1995, Denis Lattard took over his family’s chicken and vegetable farm located in the heart of Ardèche or the Drôme, in Southern France. The farm had been previously covered in vines and this signified to Denis a different potential of this special terroir. He began to plant Gamay, Syrah, Roussanne, and Viognier vines on the 15 acre estate.

Today, the certified organic vines live in a dramatic environment of limestone and clay soils at 350m elevation on chiseled cliffs. Since 2007, he has added zero sulfites to his wines. The style of the wines tend to be light and fresh, allowing his terroir and the grapes’ true characteristics to shine through. Denis doesn’t want to produce pretentious or serious wines, just tasty wine to be enjoyed every day. Certified organic the estate now produces 15000 bottles a year. 

Club Little House - August

Il Casolare Bianco –Fattoria San Lorenzo (2015)

Grape Variety(s): Verdicchio

Style: Dry White

Region: Marche, Italy

Winemaker: Natalino Crognaletti Soil: Sand and Clay

Age of Vines: 25 yrs


  Fattoria San Lorenzo is a family operation dedicated to the production of organic and biodynamic wines in the farm that Natalino Crognaletti inherited from his father Gino, whom in his turn had inherited it from his father Enrico. Enrico was also a master cooper, and Gino spent his life selecting old clones of Verdicchio from ancient vineyards called alberate.
Natalino, together with his mother, Vera Biondini, manages the vineyards
which are situated in Montecarotto where Natalino was born and raised,
and in the nearby communes Ostra, Ostra Venere, and Corinaldo. Natalino lives on the estate with his wife, son, mother and the numerous farm animals for which he names his wines!
All the vineyards are organically and biodynamically farmed, and all the agricultural operations are made by human hand in order to preserve the plants, the soil, and the environment. Natalino is also in charge of the soil management and the winemaking operations.
Il Casolare Bianco is one of 5 of Natalino’s interpretations of the Verdicchio grape. Fermented and aged in concrete tanks, it’s a the perfect ‘apertivo’ wine served just under room temperature (not too cold). Cheers!


Bourgogne Vezelay Rouge – Les Faverelles (2014)

 

Grape Variety(s): Pinot Noir, Cesar

Style: Dry Red

Region: Vezelay, Burgundy, France

Winemaker: Patrick Bringer Soil: Clay / Limestone

Age of Vines: 25 yrs


Formerly a bookseller in Paris for 20 years, Patrick and his wife now live in the north Burgundian village of Asquins where she is also the mayor. They farm 6 hectares (15 acres) of vines in the Vezelay appellation, an even split of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with a small amount of the ancient grape Cesar for blending. Not only do they work organically, but Asquins is also certified organic, which means no chemicals or pesticides are allowed in the village at all.
Patricks is very committed to Biodynamic viticulture, and they are also recently Ecocert certified. Grapes are handpicked, fermented on indigenous yeasts and are not chapitalized or filtered and aged 9-12 months in old oak. The cool climate of the region means that even in warmer vintages like 2009 the Bringer’s still make wines that are merely 12.5% in alcohol, retaining all freshness and delicacy.
The elegant “Rouge” is mainly Pinot Noir (the chief grape of Burgundy), with a bit of the native Cesar grape blended in. Aged in neutral barrel, this light bodied red Burgundy offers wonderful balance of fruit and acidity and drinks wonderfully now and will also mellow out beautifully with a few years.

Club Little House - July

Clisson – Domaine des Cognettes (2010)


Grape Variety(s): Melon de Bourgogne
Style: Dry White, Sur Lie
Region: Clisson, Musadet, Loire Valley, France
Winemaker: Stéphane and Vincnet Perraud Soil: Weathered Granite
Age of Vines: 60-80 yrs


   It was pretty cool how it happened, we had visited other wineries earlier that day and had an Airbnb in the town of Clisson. We arrived at dusk...greeted by our host and when we told her we were going around visiting vineyards, especially those working naturally, she stopped and said we MUST walk over (literally next door) to her neighbor who had a winery and talk with him. It was during harvest so we really felt like we wanted to set up appointments since everyone was so busy but she insisted and went inside his tank room and he out and greeted
us. We talked a bit and then offered to come in and taste through some of the
wines. Before we tasted, I was positive I'd bring start to import the othes we had tasting that day..as I enjoyed the wines for sure, but it was undeniable that these “surprise wines” in my hand were superior and on par with some of the best Muscadet wines I had tasted.
3rd generation Muscadet winemakers, brothers Stephane and Vincent Perraud work together just outside of the historic, medieval town of Clisson on 28 hectares. As of 2010, they work all of their vineyard in organic agriculture, harvesting by hand and vinifying their wines naturally, with only native yeasts and minimal sulfur usage. The soils are mainly composed of weathered granite, gabbro (extremely dense and heavy volcanic rock), along with sand, clay, and quartz pepples.
Taken from select parcels on weathered granite from the older vines, with extended lees aging for an impressive 51 MONTHS in underground glass-lined tanks, the Clisson is the Estate’s top cuvee. This wine is only made in ideal vintages. A dream with fish or almost any seafood. I just had it with a whole Rockfish this weekend!


Gamay – Domaine Lattard (2014)

Grape Variety(s): Gamay Style: Dry Red
Region: Rhone, France
Winemaker: Denis Lattard Soil: Clay and Limestone Age of Vines: 15-20 yrs


 After finishing his degree in oenology in 1995, Denis Lattard took over his family’s chicken and vegetable farm located in the heart of Ardèche or the Drôme, in Southern France. The farm had been previously covered in vines and this signified to Denis a different potential of this special terroir. He began to plant Gamay, Syrah, Roussanne, and Viognier vines on the 15 acre estate.
Today, the certified organic vines live in a dramatic environment of limestone and clay soils at 350m elevation on chiseled cliffs. Since 2007, he has adds zero sulfites to his wines. The style of the wines tend to be light and fresh, allowing his terroir and the grapes’ true characteristics to shine through. Denis doesn’t want to produce pretentious or serious wines, just tasty wine to be enjoyed everyday. Certified organic the estate now produces 15000 bottles a year.
The Gamay is a light and refereshing red, enjoyed chilled and consumed fairly soon after opening. Wonderful with pork or a steak tartare.

Club Little House - June

Piak! – Domaine Bobinet (2015)

  • Grape Variety(s): Cabernet Franc
  • Style: Dry Red
  • Region: Saumur Champigny, Loire Valley, France
  • Winemaker: Sébastien Bobinet + Emeline Calvez
  • Soil: Clay and Limestone
  • Age of Vines: 20 – 30 yrs

he natural wine movement is coming of age in the Loire Valley, thanks in part to upstart Sébastien Bobinet and his partner, a professional dancer-turned-vigneronne, Eméline Calvez. Heavily influenced by the godfather of natural winemaking, Jules Chauvet of the Beaujolais, and under the guidance of the Loire’s renowned Foucault brothers of Clos Rougeard, the two have added momentum to the revitalization of the AOC Saumur-Champigny. While Sébastien has long been regarded as a rising star of the region, his collaboration with Eméline since 2011—a talent in her own right—has cemented the cult status of the domaine’s wines.
Their winemaking approach is strongly influenced by the Beaujolais, generally characterized by lighter body wines made with little or no skin maceration (less tannins) and an emphasis on drinkability. A unique approach indeed in Cabernet Franc driven Saumur Champigny, known for astringent, almost harsh tannin and
earthbound wines. The philosophy is a treat and we were able to experience it first-
hand in a visit to the Domaine last Fall, seeing how much care and passion goes
into the vineyards and the winemaking process. 2015 Piak! is a new project wine from the couple. The name comes from the sound your mouth makes when it’s thirsty and your tongue sticks to the roof of the mouth...PIAK! This was a standout vintage for the region, more full and fruity than normal. Still a hint of astringency known to Cabernet Franc, Piak was fermented in Concrete, sees a brief neutral oak treatment, and is released only about 4 motnhs after harvest. Delicious with roasted or smoked chicken!

Rosa Luna – La Collina Cooperative (2015) 

  • Grape Variety(s): Lambrusco Salamino
  • Style: Rosé Sparkling
  • Winemaker: Co-op of 12 winemakers
  •   Soil: Sand and Limetsone
  • Region: Emilia Romagna, Italy
  • Age of Vines: 15-20 yrs


The story of “La Collina” began in 1975 when 12 young lads, full of dreams, started a new and a very unusual project and experience. They started an agricultural cooperative in order to live like an extended family. They also dreamt about helping the less fortunate struggled with drug addictions.


The cooperatives main activities are:
1)In the farm they grow vegetables, vines, fruit, cereals, fodder; we also have livestock: oxen and pigs. They process all these product to obtain wine, flour, pasta, meat, poultry, sausages and honey.
2)They organize educational fieldtrips.
3)They realized the dream to have a rehab community for young adults with drug addictions.

It seems Lambrusco is making a comeback, and for good reason... the acidity of this wine, combined with the bubbles can wash down perfectly the buttery sauce of any pasta, and stand up to rich meats at the same time. It is a perfect food wine... and has existed more or less as we know it today since 1567.

   

Club Big House - June

Quarterons – Sébastien Riffault (2013)

  • Grape Variety(s): Sauvignon Blanc
  • Style: Dry White
  • Region: Sancerre, France
  • Winemaker: Sébastien Riffault
  • Soil: Clay and Limestone
  • Age of Vines: 30 yrs


   His wines are unique in the Sancerre world, but a strong reflection and true test of his vineyards and soil. Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc is known for its intense minerality, crisp texture and citrus quality. Riffault’s Sancerre wines are not like the mainstream ones, but none the less delicious, while showcasing his 2 hectares near Sury-en-Vaux. Sebastien Riffault, son of winemaker Etienne Riffault, began his own label in 2002. The big difference between him and the rest of Sancerre is his belief in biodiversity and biodynamic principals and natural winemaking. These principals are rare to find in Sancerre where many vines and wines are made with chemicals and manipulation.
The Vineyard: An array of plants, flowers and grass are planted in his vineyards to increase biodiversity and encourage good insects. He uses horse to plow, so the soil is carefully tilled and in the right places, which increases the amount and variety of life in the soil. Absolutely no fertilizers or chemicals are used, and his wines are certified organic by l’intégralité du Domaine en Culture Biologique, certifiée par Bureau Veritas Certification. He is a member of The Association of Vins Naturels and The Renaissance Group of Appellations.
The Winemaking: Riffault takes the natural approach here as well. Riffault leaves his grapes on the vine extremely late in order to get them completely ripe usually affected by botrytis. The wines are fermented in large, old barrels with wild yeast (except Les Quarterons is fermented in stainless steel). In spite of the crisp, intense acidity, all of the wines undergo complete malolactic fermentation. The wines are aged on their lees. They are never chaptalized or acidified. His wines are not filtered or fined. A tiny amount of sulfur is added to Les Quarterons at time of bottling. Wines are bottled by gravity. Drink with a rich, fatty dish!

Merlot – Roark Wine Co (2014)

 

  • Grape Variety(s): Merlot
  • Style: Dry Red
  • Region: Santa Ynez Valley, Ballard Canyon
  • Winemaker: Ryan Roark
  • Soil: Sand
  • Age of Vines: 25 yrs

 Ryan grew up in Texas. After attending Texas A&M, he apprenticed in several wineries in New Zealand before settling in Central California working with a vineyard management company. After a few years, Ryan started buying fruit from some of his favorite vineyards to make tiny batches of wine in what would become Roark Wine Company. Now six years in and full time with his winery, Ryan and his wife Jenn still only produce about 1,500 cases of wine per year from a combination of purchased fruit and from vineyards they organically farm themselves.
The 2014 Merlot is made with fruit that Ryan and Jenn farm themselves on a vineyard located in the Santa Ynez Valley of Santa Barbara County, CA. Given Ryan’s background, he places a special emphasis on particulars in the vineyard, especially when it comes time to harvest. Rather uniquely, they will harvest in 3-5 stages, cluster by cluster, in order to achieve the desired balance of ripeness and acidy NATURALLY, so that there is no need for manipulation in the cellar. This Merlot is aged for 16 months in neutral oak and is absolutely delicious with just about anything off the grill.

Club Little House - May

Rossore – Iuli (2012) 

Grape Variety(s): Barbera
Style: Dry Red
Region: Monferrato, Piedmont, Italy
Winemaker: Fabrizio Iuli Soil: Calcarious Clay
Age of Vines: 20 – 40 yrs


The blend of hospitality learned and inherited from his mother and 40 years in the family restaurant, combined with his love of agriculture and the land fed by his father and grandfather – finished with the touch of his artistic hand, Fabrizio Iuli alone along with some help from Dad driving the tractor, creates wines that are like he is; warm and intelligent, easy going, a friend everyone wants to have, and that do not cease to invoke a smile!
The winery is located in a small little town called Montaldo which is in the somewhat undiscovered region of Monferrato in Piedmont. To name only a few of the many varieties, Monferrato is home to Moscato, Fresia, Grignolino, Dolcetto and of course Barbera. Fabrizio calls himself a “barberista,” for his love, focus, and dedication to the Barbera grape. In addition to the mixed and poor soil type in the vineyards (which helps the strength and vigor of his vines), there is more importantly a vein of limestone that runs directly through his property – which gives an amazing acidity and special character to his wines.
Aged as long as it needs to in used barrel, Fabrizio lets the wine tell him when it’s ‘done.’ Natural yeasts, and Fabrizio has also recently stopped topping the barrels as much, letting the wine go into slight reduction which he believes adds to the complexity in the finished wine. No recipe to aging time, each vintage is different and hence each ‘child’ will be given the time he needs.


Rosé – Bodegas Vega de Tera (2015)


Grape Variety(s): Prieto Picudo Style: Dry Rosé
Region: Castilla y Leon, Spain
Winemaker: Xavier Iturria Soil: Sand and Clay
Age of Vines: 80 yrs


A fairly new project from a Spanish engineer and his father-in-law, Miguel Rigil has set out on a mission to make affordable quality, organic and biodynamic wines in central Spain.
The vineyards are located in Toro and Brime of Urz. The origin of Toro wine is said to be pre-Roman, with references in several literary works, including by Góngora, Quevedo, and the Archpriest of Hita. As they were spared from phylloxera, the old vineyards have been preserved and Vega de Tera is able to work with ungrafted plants, making the wines true to type.
The 2015 Rosé is made with local variety, Prieto Picudo, and sees 4 days on the skins and a few months aging in Stainless Steel. Save it for a hot day!