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!