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Wine Club Descriptions

January Wine Club Release

$68

Sous La Végétal ‘Livia’ 2018

Samos, Greece - Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains

Sous le Végétal is a collaborative wine project between Jason Ligas of Domine Ligas and Patrick Bouju of Domaine la Bohéme. This project finds them on the beautiful island of Samos in Greece, located one mile off the coast of Turkey.

Sous le Végétal actively avoids the industrial farming practices that dominate winemaking in Greece and have opted to do extensive work in the vineyards to restore a healthy permaculture for their vines and the rich assortment of volcanic soils. Their farming practices are biodynamic and organic, down to the utilization of herbs and natural balms to heal and protect the vines.

Each cuvée features Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains. The goal of this project is to show the different expressions of this grape in all of the different microclimates on the island. Every grape is harvested by hand and fermented and aged in a succession of vessels specific to each wine.

In Jason’s words, “This project is entirely geared towards a very specific level of quality, and in order to nourish this project, I rely on the microcosmos, on the infinitely small. Furthermore, I believe in the infinitely slow.”

References / for more info:

https://zrswines.com/wine-producer/sous-le-vegetal/

https://www.rawwine.com/profile/sous-le-vegetal/

https://naturalwine.com/sous-le-vegetal-octave-samos/

 

AmByth 'Sauvignon Blanc O.W.' 2019

Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez, California - Sauvignon Blanc

Between Los Angeles and San Francisco, south of Paso Robles and north of San Luis Obispo, the AmByth vineyards are situated on a saddle ridge atop a nobby hill in the middle of a vortex that is known as the Templeton Gap. Cool Pacific Ocean air filters through the Santa Lucia Mountains along the central coast, which helps keep the vines dry and free of mildews and molds. .

AmByth Estate is Paso Robles’ first winery to produce Demeter Certified Biodynamic Wines. All vineyards are dry-farmed, head-trained, thus reducing dependency on irrigation and energy. They are steeply sloping, requiring much of the work to be accomplished on foot. Varietals include Mourvedre, Grenache, Syrah, Counoise, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier, & Grenache Blanc.

The soil is classical Paso Robles Linne Calodo, a recessed sea bed composed of sandy calcareous clay loam with mineral rich shale and chunks of limestone. AmByth Estate believes in producing wines that are made with minimal intervention: letting the wine make itself. They do not use additives or other winemaking gimmicks to manipulate the fruit that comes from the vineyards. Many factors influence that year’s crop, and they want to taste these influences in the wine. They do not fine or filter and only use native yeasts. The wines are aged in neutral oak barrels, Terracotta amphorae, or white vitrified clay eggs from Australia to express true terroir and varietal characteristics with little manipulation of the aging vessel.

References / for more info:

https://www.ambythestate.com/shoppe/2019-sauvignon-blanc-ow

https://www.ambythestate.com/

 

$48

Les Clos Perdus 'Project 108' 2018

Languedoc, France - Mourvèdre & Carignan

 

Founded in 2003, Les Clos Perdus is a small winery located in the village of Peyriac de Mer, in Corbières. The name "Les Clos Perdus" reflects the discovery of old plots of isolated "lost" vines in the Haute Corbières and Vallée de l'Agly. Many of these small vineyards had been ignored because of their low clipping potential and inability to work in a car.

Today Paul Old and Ben Adams work 16 hectares divided into 35 small plots distributed in three different areas; Corbières maritime, Haute Corbières and Vallée de l'Agly.

The aim was to select particular varieties on particular types of soil and then guide these vineyards towards a balance and health of the grapes with low human intervention. Organic viticulture, biodynamic principles and the structure of the lunar calendar are intrinsic.

Healthy and vibrant fruit is harvested and sorted by hand. The fermentations of wild yeast, accurate extraction and extension of crops with minimal interference allow the production of unique wines that express their place of origin.

“Our belief is that all our wines should represent the year of making and be an expression of the terroir. Good winemaking is being sensitive enough to recognize the quality of a terroir, and skillful enough to allow the terroir to show through in the wine.”

References / for more info:

http://www.drinkokwines.com/les-clos-perdus

https://www.gallienoteca.com/cuvee-141-les-clos-perdus-2018.html

https://www.lesclosperdus.com/

 

Domaine Bibich 'Plavina' 2018

Dalmatia, Croatia - Plavina

Bibich Winery was founded in 1906 in the village of Plastovo, located in the coastal town of Skradin on the Dalmatian coast of Croatia. The Winery first started producing wine primarily for everyday, family consumption. Today, the winery is owned and run by Alen Bibich, one of the most sought after winemakers in Croatia, who has put Skradin on the global wine map. Dalmatia is the only region in Croatia that produces more red wine than white wine, and the Plavina grape is often overshadowed by its bigger brothers — Teran, Babic, Plavac Mali and Crljenak — which is a shame, since Plavina makes such easy-drinking and pleasurable wines. They are soft, fresh and bright, in contrast to the weight and richness of other varietals. 

 

Alen Bibić’s first learned the art of grape growing and winemaking from his grandfather, but continues to individually evolve at his craft. His mission is to bring Skradin wines to international prominence. By doing so, he plans to sustain the long tradition of indigenous white Debit and red Zinfandel relatives such as Plavina. 

References / for more info:

https://zrswines.com/wine-producer/domaine-bibich/

https://www.aromawineco.com/home/2019/1/24/bibich-winery-in-croatia

https://www.total-croatia-wine.com/grapes/894-the-indigenous-grapes-of-croatia-kraljevina

December Wine Club Release

 

Agnès and René Mosse 'Magic of Ju-Ju' 2019 

Anjou, Loire, France - Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, & Muscadelle

 

Everyone at Ardor is a Chenin maniac. It is well-known as one of the most interesting and adaptable varieties with a wide range of possibilities when it comes to mouthfeel and taste. Put it in the right climate, and this magical grape will boast your terroir's most unique characteristics. If you haven't jumped on the bandwagon yet, the Mosse brothers, Agnès and René, make fantastic Loire Valley Chenin Blanc out of the Coteaux-du-Layon area of Anjou. Like our good friend Kikro of Vini Viti Vinci, Agnès and René first owned a natural wine bar before embarking upon their career in the field and cellar. They eventually sold it to purchase 8 hectares of vineyard from a retiring winemaker. After years of de-chemicalizing, revitalizing, and biodynamically farming the land, they have established themselves as some of the best natural winemakers in the central Loire. Their notoriety is well-deserved, as their avidity and shrewd knowledge show in the quality and complexity of their wines, and at a surprisingly modest price.

The 'Magic of Ju-Ju' stands up to its name. It's a bit of a shape-shifter and will please the adventurous palate. This particular vintage is a blend of 40% Chenin Blanc, 30% Sauvignon Blanc, and 30% Muscadelle. Each grape expresses itself distinctly, but every sip is a surprise. One minute there's honey, and the next green grass. Sometimes you'll catch savory herbaceous elements, but then it's followed by a flower bomb. Share this mood ring of a wine with your friends and start a discussion! The 'Magic of Ju-ju’’s tasting notes are up to individual interpretation, but its objective deliciousness is indisputable.

 

For more info:

https://devenishwinesgeek.typepad.com/wines_tasted/2016/08/agnes-and-rene-mosse-magic-of-juju.html

https://livingwines.com.au/wines/domaine-mosse/

Annesanti 'Ninfa del Nera' 2018

Valnerina, Umbria, Italy - Grechetto, Malvasia, & Trebbiano Toscano

 Francesco is a bleeding-heart natural winemaker who expresses his passion for the craft with utmost fervor and poetry. My writing won't do justice to his romanticized narrative, which hit us with dreamy and picturesque visions of Umbria, famous for its insanely lush, rolling valleys and forested mountains. We will simply let the winemaker speak for himself. Enjoy!

"I am a 39 year-old artisan winemaker from Valnerina, Umbria in Italy, very close to the Marmore waterfalls. I am currently the only producer in the valley. My 5.5 hectares of vineyard are located in the valley floor, where the Nera river flows. The most important characteristic of my wines is the high acidity, which are given by exposure and altitude. I make wines in steel or terracotta amphora. No wood, no Sagrantino, no compromises. I don't use wood because I don't like wines that taste like vanilla, chocolate, etc. For me, a wine must be wine and that's it. I do not clarify or filter wines. I use very little to no sulfur.

I make 100% Umbrian Barberas, a grape that is also indigenous to Umbria and few know. I also work with Sangiovese, Grechetto, Trebbiano Spoletino, Pinot Nero and some old rural blends. I produce about 23,000 bottles a year, so my goal is not to sell a huge quantity of wine but to put them in the right hands.

I am at the deepest green heart of the green heart of Italy! My goal is to demonstrate the new and unique terroir of Valnerina through biodynamic farming like my grandfather taught me when I was a kid. Some of the vines I train are about 50-years old and spectacular to see. Some I planted more recently when I realized that my real ambition in life was winemaking. I'm not a guy who had money from his family and invested in wine for a hobby or second job. Wine is my only occupation.

I have two lines of wine, the classic one and the one made in amphora. Both of them are made naturally without additives or clarifications. I work by myself in the vineyard and in the cellar. My wines are literally handmade because I de-stem the grapes by hand and punch down the cap using my own hands only while fermenting. This old-fashioned way of winemaking takes much more time and energy but the result is worth it. I'm really proud of the fine, authentic wines that represent me as a person and the land where I grew up.  

My goal is not simply to produce wine and sell it, but to create through the wine itself a network that promotes and enhances art, history, traditions and the sense of belonging to a unique territory such as Valnerina. I will be satisfied only when, by opening a bottle of my wine, I will be able to smell the scent that the earth gives off in spring, at sunset."

This delicate and exotic blend of Italian grapes (Grechetto, Malvasia, and Trebbiano) tastes of white everything. There are strong flavors of white grapefruit, white peach, white tea, and orange blossoms. Food pairing: think Asian! Sichuan peppercorns, fresh Vietnamese herbs, jasmine rice, and green coconut curry.

For more info:

https://www.tannico.com/umbria-igt-il-bianco-ninfa-del-nera-2017-annesanti.html

https://www.chiaragiorleo.com/en/2019/04/18/annesanti-winery-truth-in-valnerina-umbria-central-italy/

https://www.summerinitaly.com/guide/annesanti-winery

https://www.vfwines.com/annesanti/

https://annesanti.it/

Vini Viti Vinci 'Bourgogne Aligoté' 2018 

Burgundy, France - Aligoté

Nicolas Vauthier (or Kikro, his endeared nickname) has had an extensive and diverse career in the world of wine. He began his journey like most formally educated enologists, working for industrial wineries with pesticide ridden vineyards whose winemaking practices include heavy use of sulfites, added sugars, and manipulative preservatives (essentially, high-yield wineries who would do anything necessary to manufacture a product that would appease Robert Parker's taste). Fortunately, this did not satiate Nicolas' appetite for fine wine. Soon after discovering lesser known producers who emphasized biodynamic agriculture and low-intervention practices, he fell in love with their wines and wanted to promote them. Thus, one of the first natural wine bars in France was born. With the help of a few friends, Aux Crieurs de Vins opened in the town of Troyes, Champagne and remains a treasure for natural wine enthusiasts around the world. 

Fast forward ten years later to 2009 when Nicolas decided to move on from wine retail and establish his own winemaking operation in Northern Burgundy. In true natural winemaker fashion, he chose some of the least attractive appellations in the region to source his grapes such as Epineuil, Chitry, and Irancy. He mainly works with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Aligoté, always delivered 'a pied' (grapes still on the vine) and then harvested by hand. Hardly any intervention is needed in order for him to produce elegant and exciting wines.

While its more popular sibling Chardonnay still reigns supreme in Burgundy, the humble Aligoté is equally deserving of the spotlight. This medium-bodied white wine will charm your socks off. You'll get an initial punch in the face of aromatic white flowers and grassland followed by lemon meringue and dried stone fruit. It's exceptionally sumptuous and lends a smooth, waxy texture that will pair perfectly with any style of seafood from Cioppino to Baja fish tacos to sashimi. It's unfined, unfiltered, fermented in fiberglass tanks, and bottled with only a smidgen of added sulfur. 

For more info:

http://www.jennyandfrancois.com/wines-2/france/vini-viti-vinci/

https://www.wineterroirs.com/2016/11/viti_vini_vinci_nicolas_vauthier_burgundy. html

https://vinepair.com/wine-blog/aligote-burgundys-other-white-wine/#:~:text=While%20Chardonnay%20might%20be%20more,Burgundy%2C%20but%20only%20a%20bit.

http://notdrinkingpoison.blogspot.com/2013/08/ndp-in-champagne-aux-crieurs-du-vin.html

Bott Frigyes 'Pinot Noir' 2019 

Garam Valley, Slovakia - Pinot Noir

You heard right, Oregonians and Francophiles! Eastern Europe makes beautiful and GD delicious Pinot Noir. This month's only red is made by a father/son duo of Bott Frigyes, located at the south-western border of Slovakia. Most of the land we now know as Romania, Ukraine, Slovakia, Serbia, and Austria was part of Hungary before WWI, so these countries are primarily practicing traditional Hungarian viticulture and winemaking methods. Bott Frigyes biodynamically cultivates 10 hectares of vineyard alongside the Hron River (not far from the Danube). Vine roots dig into the soil's dense clay and volcanic bedrock, which is rich in limestone and minerals. Production puts an emphasis on "sur lie" aging in oak barrels and occasionally amphorae, which heighten the flavor, aromas, and complexity of their wines. The family also owns a charming natural wine bar not far from their winery in the town of Komarno, so add it to your compounding bucket list of post-pandemic international travel destinations.

This sophisticated Pinot Noir will stand up to any Burgundy. There is an arousing bouquet of rose petals, cherry blossoms, and sage leaves rounded out by juicy pomegranates and black tea leaves. It can hold its own with or without food, but if you find yourself with rosemary-laden lamb or pork chops on the holiday menu they will be instant friends. Be on the lookout for more Bott Frigyes' cuvées on our shelves! While we all recognize the obligatory Pinot Noir grape, there is a whole world of Hungarian varietals to add to your wine vocab and obsess over, including Furmint, Hárslevelű, Olaszrizling, Juhfark, Kékfrankos and Kadarka.

For more info:

https://www.bottfrigyes.sk/en/

https://danchandgranger.com/producer/bott_frigyes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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November Wine Club Release

This month we have two Gamays from producer Michel Guignier. Located near the secluded forests of Vauxrenard in Beaujolais (not too far from Fleurie and a one hour drive north of Lyon), Michel’s granite-rich vineyards sit about 500 meters above sea level, which provide a cooler climate for his grapes. This is not his first, or even his tenth, rodeo. He's been making wine for decades, and his father's father's father made wine before him. To merely label Michel as a vigneron is a gross understatement. The man is a true Renaissance farmer, growing everything from grapes, vegetables, fruit trees, and grains to raising cows, horses, hens, and rabbits. He is committed to cultivating a biodiverse environment and believes that by allowing his plants and animals to struggle (meaning, live and grow with little human intervention), they learn how to adapt, cooperate, and thrive together. And as the saying goes, the harder the grape works, the more interesting and unique its wine can taste.

Michel Guignier's wines are refreshingly straightforward and unostentatious. While their beauty and drinkability are immediately apparent, they deserve your undivided attention. We're sharing two of his delicious Gamays with you for November's wine club because light, chillable reds are exactly what a big Thanksgiving meal needs to wash it down. They're meant to be drunk with family and friends, so pour and cheers liberally!

For more information, check out:
http://www.drinkokwines.com/michel-guignier
http://www.vignebioguignier.com/eng/

Michel Guignier, 'Oh...!', Gamay, Beaujolais, France, 2019, ($48 Club)

The 'Oh...!' offers a well-rounded expression of the winemaker's grit and the land's vitality. Young and buoyant, this juicy red hits your tongue with bright acidity, lean minerality, and tart berries. It’s what a Gamay from Beaujolais should be! A bit wild, no-nonsense, and pleasurable to gulp down. The perfect cooking companion when you want that carefree buzz in the kitchen before your guests arrive. Whatever you end up doing, just have fun drinking it!

Michel Guignier, 'La Bonne Pioche', Gamay, Beaujolais, France, 2018, ($68 Club)

The beloved and sought-after 'La Bonne Pioche' translates to "The Right Pick". This Gamay comes from 45-year old vines whose roots grow deep into healthy, mineral-rich soil. This is an electric, predominantly fruit-forward red. You'll want to let its vibrant, chewy texture hang out on your tongue as if you're savoring a sour candy. It's an undeniable crowd-pleaser, so be prepared to show some generosity and after popping it open. 

Cantina Furlani, 'Alpino Negrik' Vino Rosso, Negrara, Trentino, Italy, 2019, ($48 Club)

Cantina Fulani exists 700 meters above sea level, overlooking the third largest city in the Alps, Trento, which is located in north-east Italy. The area is renowned for its dramatic Dolomite mountain range and Sasso Dolomitico soil (clay over schist and broken granite). The citizens of the Alps are known for respecting their homeland as a place where people and nature peacefully coexist. Matteo Furlani's wines perfectly represent this philosophy, as he has always farmed biodynamically and applied his formal education in agronomics to his vineyards. As a result, his soils are some of the healthiest and finest in quality in the region, and it shows in how fresh and alive his wines taste. Upon seeing a new Furlani cuvee come into the shop, we all revert to a childlike giddiness in anticipation, whether for the first time or the twelfth time. There is a playful and exciting energy we associate with his wines, and we hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

This 'Alpino Negrik' Vino Rosso is made almost entirely from the black-skinned Negrara grape, which is native to the Trentino region. The balance of holiday spice and crispy autumn fruit will put you in a cozy mood, so put on a bulky sweater for the occasion. If you're feeling fancy, pair it with any mature, crystallized, Italian hard cheese. If you're feeling low-brow, it drinks excellently with a greasy burger and extra-salty skinny fries. Take your pick!

For more information, check out:
http://www.cantinafurlani.it/en/ 
http://www.selectionaturel.com/furlani

Le Coste, 'Bianchetto', Procanico/Malvasia/Moscato/Indigenous Varieties, Gradoli, Lazio, Italy, 2019,
​($68 Club)

North of Rome at the border of Tuscany, husband and wife power couple Gianmarco Antonuzi and Clementine Bouveron make some of our favorite Italian wines in the shop. Their passion: mastery and equanimity as biodynamic growers and winemakers is a privilege to experience and taste. Even with 14 hectares of land, they scrupulously care for every plant and animal individually. Nothing is rushed, in the vineyard or cellar, and their patience is deservedly expressed in the complexity and finesse of all Le Coste wines.

This little skin-contact Vino Bianco packs a punch with gorgeous floral and citrus notes and invigorating acidity. If you would like to introduce your friends and family to their first orange wine, this one is a winner. It's elegant, pretty, and sure to impress. It's mainly made up of the dry and crisp Procanico grape (if Procanico doesn't sound familiar to you, it's also known as Trebbiano Toscano), but the Malvasia adds a lovely bouquet of blossoms, and the Moscato kisses it with orange zest. Gradoli's volcanic soils provide exceptionally fertile, mineral-rich nutrients for these grapes. It is spontaneously fermented, spending two weeks on skins with six months of elevage.

For more information, check out:
https://tuttowines.com/wines/bianchetto/
https://scuoladivino.com/2016/04/21/legendary-le-coste-wines-are-in-sf/
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October Wine Club Release

​We have two wines from Domaine de l'ASTRÉ. This winery was founded in  2017 when Aude Duval and Sylvain Ohayon took over their vineyard in 2012 and began farming  it organically. They have 8 ha including Semillon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. The estate is located in the Bergerac appellation, surrounded by a forest. Though awaiting certification, the wine is made following biodynamic principles. 

L’astre, “Pelroge” Rouge, Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon, Bergerac, France, 2019

​This wine is made from 85% Merlot & 15% Cabernet Sauvignon (15% whole bunches for the Merlot). There is a short maceration with very little manipulation. Aging is completed in steel tanks for 6-7 months with a touch of sulphur at bottling. It is ruby red in color with good, bright acidity. We hope you enjoy this wine as wind-down into the fall. 

Here's what the winemaker's said:  "...Basket of acidulous red fruits, floral notes, spices such as liquorice and a minty touch are revealed with a frank attack and already sweet tannins, the promise of a digestible and elegant wine."

L’astre, “Flamenc” Rosé, Sémillon/Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon, Bergerac, France, 2019

​Read this blend carefully: This rosé is made from 50% Sémillon, 30% Cabernet Franc, & 20% Cabernet Sauvignon! The juice is direct pressed & free-run. White and red grapes are mixed together, with light periodic racking. Aging is in old barrels 7 there is just a touch of sulphur at bottling. 

Here's what the winemaker's wrote about it: "In a salmon color, this elegant and fresh rosé is destined to original wine pairings ... Dominated by orange peel and tangy red fruits notes, this gourmet nectar offers a controlled acidity and a vinous touch for the pleasure of the taste buds."

Cantina Giardino, “NA”, Falanghina/Coda di Volpe/Greco, Irpinia (Campania), Italy, 2019

​You probably know how much we like this producer already. We jumped at the opportunity to include it in this month's wine club. Made by Antonio and Daniela De Gruttola who seek out old vineyards in Irpinia, in the hills of Campania. They champion and preserve the region’s native varietals, old vines and an age old way of tending them. The vines are set at altitude and are planted over the region’s vibrant volcanic soils. Farming is all done by hand. In the cantina, Antonio takes a no-nonsense approach with the intention of letting this terroir express itself in full. The grapes ferment naturally without temperature control and fermentation can continue for months. 


This wine is a blend dominated by Falanghina from Benevento and Coda di Volpe from their vineyards in Montemarano, with a touch of Greco in the mix. Each grape spent four days on skins before being pressed off and blended for nine months rest in old chestnut casks. This really impresses with a wonderful purity of fruit, just the right amount of tannin and mouth watering acidity.

Martin Woods, Gamay, Willamette Valley, Oregon, 2019

​Martin Woods(the woods and the winery) is hidden in the oak-forested foothills of Oregon's Coast Range, within the cool-climate McMinnville AVA, just outside of the city of McMinnville. Martin Woods is driven by partnerships with cool-climate vineyard sites in the Willamette Valley to produce terroir-driven Chardonnay, Gamay, Riesling, Gruner Veltliner, and Pinot Noir. The focus is on wine with the classical qualities.

This Gamay is made from vineyards at the Tualatin Estate & Havlin vineyard on mostly south-facing slopes of marine sedimentary & loess soils in the cool windy land of the Van duzer Corridor that provides an excellent climate for Gamay.