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!

Club Big House - May

Malidea – Iuli (2010) 

Grape Variety(s): Nebbiolo
Style: Dry Red
Region: Monferrato, Piedmont, Italy
Winemaker: Fabrizio Iuli Soil: Calcarious Clay
Age of Vines: 15 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.
Malidea means, ‘bad idea’ in Italian. Fabrizio has a sense of humor that he brings with him in the vineyard and cellar, and when he found out the name of the hill seperating his Barbera vineyards from this Nebbiolo vineyards was named such, he thought it would have a great double meaning, in his words; ‘Whats a better name for a wine to share on a first or second date!’
The Nebbiolo vineyard was planted in 2003, so Fabrizio’s idea was to add his old vine Barbera to this young fruit to give it some backbone and strenght. The marraige of Nebbiolo and Barbera is also nothing new. The acidity and powerful bright fruit that the Barbera brings, together with the Tannins and aromatics of the Nebbiolo makes for a perfect wine marraige... and an ageing potential ‘di paura.’
After 4 vintages of blending these two varieties, we will finally see Fabrizio’s dream of producing a 100% Nebbiolo from Monferrato come true with the 2010 vintage.

Du Rififi A Beaulieu – Bruno Richard (2014)


Grape Variety(s): Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay Style: Dry Petillant Naturel
Region: Saumur Champigny, Loire, France
Winemaker: Bruno Richard Soil: Clay and Limestone Age of Vines: 20 yrs


A wonderful treat distributed by our friend Sebastien Bobinet and Emeline Calvez. This Petillant Natural (aka “PetNat”) is produced by their neighbor in Saumur, Bruno Richard. The “PetNat” style has become popular in recent years within the Natural Wine scene as this sparkling method avoids the need for “dosage” (sugar additions) as it is fermented in the bottle before all the sugars are consumed by yeasts (remember, the bioproduct of fermentation is CO2 -aka bubbly!!).
Du Rififi a Beaulieu is an even blend of Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay, a subtle hint of residual sugar nicely balances the minerality of this sparkling. Super clean and zero SO2 additions. Enjoy with a nice plate of Charcuterie!

Club Little House - April

Bourgogne Blanc – Fanny Sabre (2014) 

Grape Variety(s): Chardonnay Style: Dry White
Region: Burgundy, France
Winemaker: Fanny Sabre Soil: Limestone, Clay
Age of Vines: 25 – 40 yrs


  With only a handful of solo vintages under her belt, Fanny Sabre is already breaking a few rules in Burgundy and turning the region’s notorious old-boys’-club on its head. When her father passed away in 2000, Fanny’s mother wanted to continue running the property she had been working with her late husband since the 1980’s. Then only 16 years old and without any formal training in enology, Fanny began to work under the guidance of natural winemaking visionary Philippe Pacalet, who had come on board to assist the family. Her trial-by-fire paid off and spun the vineyards and wines in a whole new direction.
Fanny ferments in stainless steel, older wooden foudres, and tronconic Austrian vats and she allows most cuvees to mature in older casks. With barely enough space to vinify and age her wines, she has stacked her ancient cellar full while maintaining an impeccable hygiene necessary for successful natural vinifications.
We enjoy the bright acidity and green apple notes of the 2014 Bourgogne Blanc. It’s fabulous with paté and cream sauces!!


Cheverny Rouge – Domaine Tessier (2014)

Grape Variety(s): Gamay, Pinot Noir, Cot Style: Dry Red
Region: Cheverny, Loire Valley, France
Winemaker: Philippe Tessier
Soil: Sand, Poor Clay and Limestone Age ofVines: 15 yrs


 As a reminder...Domaine Tessier was founded in 1961 by Roger Tessier, with his son Philippe taking the reins 20 years later in 1981. They are located in the heart of the Cheverny and Cour Cheverny AOC’s and currently have 23 hectares of vines. This producer should be familiar to you, since we included his Cheverny White in last month’s club!!
The Cheverny Rouge 2014 is a real fruit bomb and just simply delicious. It’s serious and complex enough to be sipped, but so delicious and drinkable that you’ll want more than a glass. This wine is composed of 60% Gamay, 30% Pinot Noir, and 10% Cot (Malbec). The gamay fruit undergoes carbonic maceration, a whole-cluster fermentation aimed less at tannin extraction and more at juiciness. However, the Pinot and Cot are both destemmed and add a nice structure. After fermentation, the wine was aged in tank for about 8 months. 2014 was a nice vintage! This wine was made for a pork chop!

Club Big House - April

Ste Genevieve Extra Brut – Clos de Vignes du Maynes (2012)

Grape Variety(s): Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Gamay Style: Brut Sparkling
Region: Macon Cruzille, France
Winemaker: Julien Guillot Soil: Clay/Limestone
Age of Vines: 25 – 40yrs


You just learned about about Julien and his operation last month when we brought you a wonderful natural Beaujolais from purchased fruit near his village. This time, it’s one of favorite wines in the entire book, Julien’s sparkling Burgundy, with all fruit from his Clos.
As a reminder, Julien is the 3rd generation winemaker in his family based in an area in southern Burgundy near the town of Macon. His farm was originally started in year 910 by Cluny Monks and was long since a location for growing grapes. Almost incredibly, the land has never been treated with chemicals, leading Julien to believe that he is based on the oldest organically farmed vineyard in France!
The Ste Genevieve Extra Bruit is a masterpiece. I could say it is “Champagne-like,” which it is, but at the same time it is very much its own wine, a sparkling wine from Southern Burgundy that’s incredibly delicious and complex. The fruit is a blend of Chardonnay, Gamay, and Pinot Noir...not exactly a conventional sparkling wine blend! All from the 2012 vintage, the fruit direct pressed, is aged in barrel for about a year, and then without any sugar additions, goes into the bottle and ferments and ages on the lees (dead yeast cells) for another 30 months...making for flavor depth, a creamy profile, and more structure. The wine was then disgorged (yeasts and sediment removed from bottle) earlier this year. Drink this wine with anything...I like it with Charcuterie...or anything. So delicious.


Poudre d’Escampette – Casot des Mailloles (2014)


Grape Variety(s): Grenache, Carignan, Mourvedre Style: Dry Red
Region: Trouillas, Roussillon, France
Winemaker: Alain Castex Soil: Schist
Age of Vines: 75-100+ yrs


A magical wine of which we receive only a few cases each year. Alain Castex was producing some of the most interesting wines in the Roussillon. Unfortunately, he temporarily retired after the 2014 vintage due to family issues. That said, he went out on an extraordinary high note.
With old vines perched on steep cliffs high above the blue waters of the Mediterranean, farming is done all by hand, not by philosophy, but out of necessity. The work is slow, tedious, and extremely inefficient. On top of that, Alain’s near 100 year old vines are sparsely planted and yield extremely little fruit. Where most vigernons would have long abandoned the site or replanted new vines, Alain (and we!) find the wines made as a result of the unique terrior along with organic and hand tended vineyard are rich in expression and character.
The 2014 Poudre d’Escampette is aged for one year in old barrels and then bottled unfiltered and unfined. Lots of spice notes and dark fruit highlight this special wine. Enjoy with any kind of beef...I’m thinking burgers or braised short ribs with a rich sauce.

Club Big House - March

Haut de Balmont – Clos de Vignes du Maynes (2013)


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


Having just spent this past weekend with the energetic Julien Guillot, I am 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 wholecluster
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 2013 vintage was cold, rainy and results and a unique extremely low alcohol, yet intense wine, coming in at just 10.5%. 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. Zero sulphur!

Bourgogne Vezelay Blanc – Les Faverelles (2014)

Winemaker: Patrick Bringer
Soil: Clay / Limestone
Age of Vines: 25 yrs
Grape Variety(s): Chardonnay
Style: Dry Red
Region: Vezelay, Burgundy, France


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 fermented 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. Of the beautiful 14s, the Blanc especially stands out. Fermented and aged in oak, this Chardonnay offers wonderful balance of fruit and acidity and drinks wonderfully now and will also mellow out beautifully
with a few years.

Club Little House - March

Petit Jo – La Roche Buissiere (2013)


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


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.
Petit Jo 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, also in concrete. Only about 10mg/L of SO2 (extremely little) was added to the wine at bottling. This is one of our current favorites!

Cheverny Blanc – Domaine Tessier (2014)


Winemaker: Philippe Tessier
Soil: Sand, Poor Clay
Age of Vines: 20 yrs
Grape Variety(s): Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Menu Pineau
Style: Dry White
Region: Cheverny, Loire Valley, France Domaine Tessier was founded in 1961 by Roger Tessier, with his son Philippe taking the reins 20 years later in 1981. They are located in the heart of the Cheverny and Cour Cheverny AOC’s and currently have 23 hectares of vines. 

The vineyard exists in a microclimate that keeps the vineyards cool, situated between the Loire River and the forest of Cheverny, Chambord and Solange and has been Ecocert certified since 1998. Philippe believes that a wine should be the expression of the place from which it comes and should reflect the climatic conditions of the year as well as the vigneron that produces it, while also respecting the life of the soil and the environment. He believes that it should give pleasure but must also be sound and healthy, alive and digestible and above all, it should be a natural wine.
The Cheverny Blanc is fruity and zippy with a great acidity! Aged in tank for 6 months, the wine goes through malolactic fermentation, yielding a creamy texture. We love this wine with skin-on chicken or any cream based dishes!
 

Club Little House - February

Riesling – Dirler-Cadé (2011)


Winemaker: Jean and Ludivine Dirler
Soil: Clay
Age of Vines: 30-40 yrs
Grape Variety(s): Riesling
Style: Dry White
Region: Alsace, France


Certified Biodynamic since 1998, Jean and Ludvine Dirler are 5th generation grape farmers and
winemakers, producing mainly dry Rieslings from super steep slopes in the upper Alsace. 2011 was a difficult year and with very low-yields resulting in extraordinary wines for the vintage. As a bonus, this "basic" Riesling was supplemented with juice from the Grand Cru of Kitterlé as they did not feel it was good enough to be labeled as Grand Cru this vintage.
Pale straw-green. Fresh aromas of apricot and green apple. Then bright and fresh in the mouth, with suave flavors of apple and pear leading to a persistent, spicy finish. This has above-average texture and depth for entry-level Riesling.


Varetuo – Barranco Oscuro (2013)


Winemaker: Eddy Oosterlinck
Soil: Stony Schist and Clay
Age of Vines: 20 yrs
Grape Variety(s): Tempranillo
Style: Dry Red
Region: Andalucia, Spain


Manuel Valenzuela has been a pioneer in Spain producing natural wines. He arrived with his family in 1979 to Barranco Oscuro, a cortijo (farm) in La Alpujarra, one of the poorest places of Spain with the sole motivation of doing a new life in the countryside after become tired of the big city. At that time, the land was covered mainly with almond trees, but the cellar was full of wine from the owner before, who kept the vineyards for himself. Manuel had to plant a new vineyard to keep making wine. The land was never worked with chemicals and keep so was the aim of Manuel who became a respected leader in organic farming.
The 12 hectares of vines are located on the top of the Sierra de la Contraviesa, the viticultural region at a highest altitude in Europe, between Sierra Nevada and the Mediterranean sea. All of them growing organically and unirrigated. The altitude, with the summit being 1368 meters above sea level, a mediterranean mountain climate, the low rainfalls and poor soils of schists and clays result in very low yields and very rich juices.
The 2013 Varetuo is fresh, smooth, and a bit spicy, with tangy, herbal falvors of strawberry, crabapples, juicy tomato, and sea salt, with delicate tannins. Fermented with whole clusters and native yeasts and aged in old French Oak barrels for 12 months. The vineyards sit at 1,250 meters in elevation. No sulfur additions...super delicious!

Club Big House - February

Contadino – Frank Cornelissen (2014)

Winemaker: Frank Cornelissen
Soil: Volcanic
Age of Vines: 40+ yrs
Grape Variety(s): Mainly Nerello Mascalese
Style: Dry Red
Region: Mt. Etna, Sicily
Frank Cornelissen is the owner of 12 hectares of vines rather high up on Mount Etna. Uniquely, he has been involved in wine his entire life. As the son of a wine broker in Belgium, he had the opportunity to be immersed in wine on a professional level from a very young age. Frank went on to produce his first wine in 2001 when he started with only 1.5 hectares of vines.


Zev Rovine says, "Frank is obsessive over details in an effort to make wines that truly express terroir with perspective. He is a meticulous vineyard worker and keeps an extremely clean and organized cellar. The evolution in his wines are intriguing as well. Earlier vintages were linear, angular, precise, and full of minerality. He has often said that in the early days his goal was to create liquid stone. His wines have softened with time now striking balance between fruit and dynamic minerality."


"Our farming philosophy is based on our acceptance of the fact that man will never be able to
understand nature s full complexity and interactions. We therefore choose to concentrate on observing and learning the movements of Mother Earth in her various energetic and cosmic passages and prefer to follow her indications as to what to do, instead of deciding and imposing ourselves. Consequently this has taken us to avoiding all possible interventions on the land we cultivate, including any treatments, whether chemical, organic, or biodynamic, as these are all a mere reflection of the inability of man to accept nature as she is and will be." – Frank Cornellisen


Carignan – Broc Cellars (2014)


Winemaker: Chris Broc
Soil: Sand
Age of Vines: 120 yrs
Grape Variety(s): Carignan
Style: Dry Red
Region: Alexander Valley, California


The grapes for this wine come from a very special vineyard site. Chris is proud to say that he saved this vineyard from “Cabernetification” by preventing the now 120 year old Carignan vines on the site from being ripped up. These are vines that are planted on their original root stock – a true rarity as the majority of vines in the world today have been grafted due to phylloxera.

Club Little House - January

 

Les Quartz – Domaine de Juchepie (2010)

Grape Variety(s): Chenin Blanc
Style: Noble Sweet
Region: Coteaux du Layon-Faye, Loire Valley

When the magnificently mustachioed hardware merchant, Eddy Oosterlinck-Bracke, and his wife, Mileine, moved from Belgium to buy a small farmhouse in the Coteaux du Layon of the Loire Valley in 1985, they had no intention of making wine anything more than a hobby. It didn’t take long before they caught the bug, and over the course of 15 years, they converted their vineyards to organic farming and expanded their holdings from a few vineyard rows to 6 hectares of land. In 2007, they started to work with biodynamics as well. But these late-in-life vignerons have also brought the wisdom of their years and a good spoonful of skepticism to their new-found path. Although they have adopted these strict farming practices after testing the results on their vines, they still treat the organic movement with some apprehension. For Eddy, it’s not about the hype—it’s about simply making the best of what his terroir has to give. 

Quite unique to their area is the annual occurrence of the botrytis fungus.  With grapes hanging on the vines late into the fall, the grey mold called botrytis infects the clusters, and over the course of several weeks and months leaves the berries shriveled with an extremely concentrated, sweet and complex juice.  When we visited Eddy in late September of 2015, the fungus was just beginning to appear on the fruit (see picture). A more well-known area where botrytis occurs is Sauternes.     

Juchepie’s “Les Quartz” is from botrytized Chenin Blanc from the 2010 vintage, then aged for two and a half years in barrel.  It is best served chilled and pairs extremely well with blue cheese, savory dishes, vanilla ice cream, and foie gras.  This is hands down one of our favorite wines and a real treat.  

Sur La Root – Lilian and Sophie Bauchet (2013)

Winemaker: Lilian & Sophie Bauchet

Soil: Sandy Granite

Age of Vines: 30-40 yrs

Grape Variety(s): Gamay

Style: Dry Red

Region: Fleurie, Beaujolais, France

This may sound like a similar story for those of you who recall Laureano Serres from the October Club Wine.  Alas, the dream of making natural wine consumed yet another big city IT worker.  After laboring for years in Paris, Lilian and Sophie Bauchet relocated to the Beaujolais region, where they found a lovely 8 acre vineyard plot in the hills of Fleurie.  They grow only the Gamay grape, which is farmed organically and then also vinified naturally.  

Sur La Root is Lilian and Sophie’s first cuvee with zero sulphur additions, which allows the wine an uncompromised freshness and lift.  The grapes are fermented whole cluster in concrete vats with native yeasts, gently pressed, and then aged for a year in barrel.  This wine is crying out for cured meats!