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Wine Club Descriptions

September Wine Club Release

$48 club

Domaine des Quatre Pierres ‘Premier Degré’ 2019

Languedoc, France

Winemaker Edouard Fortin lives in complete solitude with his vineyards, surrounded by green wilderness in Aragon, a small commune in the hilly, western corner of the Languedoc.

Here the soils are clay-limestone over an ancient seafloor, raised up 300m in elevation. This corridor of Languedoc is considerably cooler due to the influence of southerly and Atlantic crosswinds. Farming is strictly organic.

‘Premier Degré’ is a blend of Carignan, Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah; sourced from approximately 75 year old vines. Fermentation is spontaneous whole cluster carbonic maceration lasting 7-10 days. The wine is raised in neutral oak. As a result - pronounced aromas of mulberry, huckleberry, damson plum, and fruits of the forests preserves - balanced with more subtle damp bolete mushroom and powdery talc, violet, potpourri, and bay. Refreshingly juicy acidity and fine-grained powdery tannin makes for a perfectly chillable red wine.

Maloof ‘Eau Qui Pique’ 2020

Willamette Valley, Oregon, US

This new pet-nat from Ross and Bee Maloof - a husband-and-wife team based in Forest Grove, OR - is a collaborative label just for Ardor. 

The fruit for ‘Eau Qui Pique’ fizzy water is sourced from a very small vineyard tucked behind a residence in Sherwood, just North of the Chehalem Mountains in the Willamette Valley. Sitting at 300 feet in elevation on jory soils, these are organically grown, dry-farmed, own-rooted vines. 

A 50/50 blend of Riesling and Gewürztraminer, with 10% of the volume of Gewürzt fermented separately to dryness on the skins. A portion of the pressed Riesling must is held back and frozen to added back as needed to the bottled wine to initiate a secondary fermentation in bottle, lending its delicate effervescence. 

‘Eau Qui Pique’ is delightfully fragrant with white rose petal, orange and almond blossoms, lemon balm, and beeswax. It’s especially fruity with zesty orange and grapefruit pith, with melon and fresh Muscat grape. This is a light-bodied sparkling wine that balances bright acid with textural bitterness.

$68 Club

La Onda ‘Aguafiestas’ 2019

Sierra Foothills, California, US

Dani Rozman splits his time between making wine in Itata in Chile and the Sierra Foothills of California. La Onda is his original California project and the fruit for his red(ish) wine ‘Aguafiestas’ is sourced from 40-year-old, dry-farmed vines at Smith Vineyard in the Sierra Foothills. 

Harvest takes place in multiple passes through the same vineyard, over the course of a few weeks, picking at different levels of ripeness. Basically the result is a co-fermentation of white wine, rose, light red from the same fruit that barely resembles the genetic material - Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. 

Aromatically beguiling with sour cherry, green strawberry, pink peppercorn, rooibos, rosemary, balsam, red laces, roasted red pepper and tomato leaf. The palate is soft, almost plush with a light body and soft, succulent acidity with equal parts juicy red fruit and savory spice.

 

Afianes Litani ‘Begleri’ 2019

Ikaria, Greece

Ikaria is a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea, just southwest of Samos. Afianes was started in 1997 by Nikos Afianes and his wife Maria, to preserve the ancient viticultural and winemaking techniques of the area. The focus solely on two ingenious grapes - Begleri (white), and Fokiano (red). The vineyard soars to over 600m, sitting on argillic, sandy and granitic soils. 

Winemaking techniques preserve ancient methods: stomping grapes in a backyard stone press called a patitiri and fermenting in underground amphorae. 

The wine is decidedly savory and autumnal. Notes of preserved lemon, roasted mushroom, fresh carrot, parsnip, celery seed, old bay, onion skin, and smells that cross-over into the realm of bodaimoto-method sake. Tea-like textural tannin and weightier body make this a deft match for stews, cured-meats, and funky cheeses.

 

August Wine Club Release

$48 club

Fabien Jouves ‘Les Agudes’ VDF - 2020

Cahors, France

Fabien Jouves has been leading the newest generation of forward thinking vignerons in Cahors since 2006. His 21 ha biodynamic farm is at the junction of Quercy and Cahors, and is amongst the highest slopes in the region. Fabien’s commitment to biodynamic viticulture respects “life, plant, man, and the environment and adds strength to his terroir by supporting the whole environment from the vines to the animals. His white wine ‘Les Agudes’ is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris, Chardonnay, Semillon Blanc from vines that are approximately 20 years old. A portion of the fruit is destemmed and directly press, the rest whole cluster and fermentation is carried out in stainless steel and barrels; with 6 more months of aging in the same vessels. 

 

This charming and summery white wine is beautifully hazy with pronounced aromas of mandarin, candied citrus, mango and peach rings with herbal lemon thyme and pineapple sage. The palate is immediately thirst quenching, offering lush acid and vibrant freshness. It’s balanced between green herbaceous-ness, juicy ripeness with a delicately chalky texture. The finish is clean and persistent, maintaining pithy citrus and river rock minerality.

 

La Clarine Farm ‘Rose Alors’ 2019

Sierra Foothills, California, US

La Clarine Farm is situated at a sweeping 2600 feet elevation in California’s Sierra Nevada Foothills, where Hank Beckmeyer & Caroline Hoël biodynamically farm vines surrounded by abundant biodiversity. Their rosé ‘Rose Alors’ comes from Mourvèdre grown on volcanic loam at 3000 feet at the amazing Sumu Kaw vineyard in central El Dorado. The grapes are foot crushed and pressed for about 2 hours, to minimize the time on the skins. Fermentation is entirely carried out in oak puncheons, where it goes through malo. The wine is aged in a combination of puncheon and tank and then again after bottling for about 9 months.

The resulting rosé is a moody salmon-gold with subtle fragrances of cherry blossom, pink peppercorn, crab apple, smoky oolong and jasmine tea. Any sense of restraint is shed on the palate with an abundance of textures that are more aligned with sour beer or orange wine. Flavors sport an amaro-like bitterness, and tartness that brings to mind green strawberry, russet apple and pear skin. This is a rosé worthy of enjoying with a hearty meal rather than day-drinking in the park.

 

$68 Club

Golden Cluster ‘The First Row’ 2019

Willamette Valley, Oregon, US

‘The First Row’ from Golden Cluster can only be made in the most special vintages, thus this is the second time winemaker Jeff Vejr has ever made it. First Row is literally from one single row of vines - planted at the top of the hill in 1966, it's the most historic row at David Hill. Originally a nursery for propagating genetic material for grape wines, the hodgepodge of grapes grown here comprise of Sylvaner, Riesling, Flora, Pinot Gouges, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Melon de Bourgogne, and Gewurztraminer. The fruit is harvested and directly pressed together and co-fermented in neutral French oak barrels. The wine continues to age in oak for 20 months. Just 74 cases in total were made. 

 

For being unfiltered, the wine pours with miraculously lemon-hued clarity. Its aromas provide a vibrant display of citrus, lemon drop, chamomile tea, honeycomb and wildflower.  Despite its aromatic saccharine ripeness, the wine is dry with balancing acidity and a pleasantly oily texture that envelops the palate with preserved lemon, coconut, tea leaves and salted charentais melon. Lemon balm and lemongrass find their way into a delightful, refreshing finish. Its a wine that feels incredibly beachy.



Pierre Cotton ‘Brouilly Les Mines’ 2019

Beaujolais, France

Pierre Cotton is a motorcycle mechanic turned vigneron who spent a few years in the Loire before returning home to Beaujolais. In 2014, he took over 1 ha of Côte de Brouilly for his first cuvée, and another 2 ha of Brouilly from the family holdings in 2015, and 1 ha each of Regnié and Beaujolais in 2016. This Gamay is from a single vineyard called Les Mines, planted 65 year old vines planted on pink granite. Whole, intact clusters are fermented semi-carbonically in concrete tanks with no added sulfur. The wine is then aged for 8 months in used foudres before bottling.

 

The wine is a translucent, slightly turbid, sanguine red with aromas of cherry kool aid, damson and Italian plum, boysenberry, mulberry, porcini mushroom and asphalt on a rainy day. Flavors are equally matched with juicy red, blue and purple fruits, but with more dried scrub brush, dried corn husk, fennel bulb. A moment of funk is washed away with luxardo cherry, beetroot and bitter gentian finish. Drink this one chilled!

July Wine Club Release

$48

Chemins de Bassac ‘Le Champs des Maures’ 2020

Languedoc, France - Cabernet Sauvignon

“‘It felt like the stars aligned,’ Bruno Trigueiro smiles when asked about the moment in his life when his brother-in-law approached him with the idea of taking care of a wine estate in France he wanted to invest in. At the time, the current winemaker and co-owner of Chemins de Bassac was suffering from severe migraines and, aided by an anthroposophical doctor, started to consider a change of lifestyle from the busy Sao Paolo architect routine that he and his wife Thama were living. A healthier and more holistic option materialized in 2016, when the couple took their two young daughters and moved to Puimisson, a small village close to the Mediterranean coast, to take care of the newly purchased Chemins de Bassac.”

-Jenny and Francois Selections

http://www.jennyandfrancois.com/wines-2/france/chemins-de-bassac/

Instagram:

@cheminsdebassac

Les Pirouettes ‘Pet Nat de David’ 2020

Alsace, France - Riesling

“‘Les Vins Pirouettes’ is a collective project launched by Christian Binner, the renowned Alsatian winemaker, who’s been making legendary zero-zero wines in his Ammerschwihr winery for more than 20 years. Saddened by the sight of organic and biodynamic grapes being sold for little to cooperatives, Christian decided to encourage these growers to make wine under their proper name instead, thus promoting the idea of soulful terroir wines made with zero nonsense both in the vineyard and the cellar.”

-Jenny and Francois Selections

http://www.jennyandfrancois.com/wines-2/france/les-vins-pirouettes-by-binner-associates/

Instagram:

@lesvinspirouettes

 

$68

Martha Stoumen ‘Benchlands’ 2020

Mendocino County, California - Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, & Nero d’Avola

“The Mendocino Benchlands blend was resurrected in 2019 (original vintage was 2015) as a result of a new vineyard we started leasing and farming in 2019 in Mendocino County called Chiarito-Ling. Deviating from the 2015 and 2019 vintages a smidge, in 2020 we also added some juicy carbonic Petite Sirah from both of our self-farmed vineyards to bring some blue fruit to the blend. This wine is inspired by the Italian farming tradition where grapes were planted on the poorer soils of the uplifted benchlands of Mendocino County (the rich valley floor soils were reserved for vegetables). All of the vineyards in this blend are planted on those uplifted benchlands.”

-Martha Stoumen

https://marthastoumen.com/mendocino-benchlands

Instagram:

@marthastoumen

Cellar Talcomraja ‘Sang de Sauló - Mica’ 2018

Catalunya, Spain - Merlot

“My first vintage was at the age of seventeen in the vineyard of some friends who decided to keep the vineyard of the father of one of them for romance and especially to have fun. Explaining this fact to my grandmother, I remembered at home my great-grandparents how beautiful the vineyards of her childhood were.”

-Joan Munich

https://www.talcomraja.com/els-vins/english/

Instagram:

@cellar_talcomraja

June Wine Club Release

$48

Domaine Jean-Baptiste Senat ‘Hors Champs’ 2019

Minervois, Languedoc-Roussillon, France - Grenache & Syrah

“Jean-Baptise has become a pioneer of natural winemaking in Minervois. After decades of winemaking, his style has matured – using only native grape varieties (Grenache at the front and center), organic farming, no fining or filtration, and no sulphur. In turn, this produces wines that are each unique but share a universal quality – drinkability.”

-Zev Rovine Selections

https://zrswines.com/wine-producer/domaine-jean-baptiste-senat/

“We are fortunate to be in a region where nature is preserved and even though it is a harsh climate, which has rubbed off on the people a little. It is an authentic region.”

-Jean-Baptiste Senat

https://www.domaine-senat.com/

Watch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEsw2Huo-XU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_1RUl0434g

Instagram:

@domainesenat

 

Bodegas Krontiras ‘Malbec’ 2020

Maipu, Mendoza, Argentina - 100% Malbec

“Natural wines are wines without any additives. We want the wine to taste of our terroir and try to keep the grapes as “naked” as we can. Our natural Malbec is the “natural” step ahead for our winery. We have been experimenting with no sulfur added Malbec since 2015 and we made it happen in 2017. The grapes from our Villa Seca, Maipu, vineyard were selected very carefully and fermented in stainless steel tanks with no addition of sulfites at any stage of vinification. Our winemaking team’s intervention was minimal throughout the process and the result is a very aromatic wine with the absolute balance between acidity and tannins.”

-Maricruz Antolin

https://jillbarth.wordpress.com/2019/04/12/bodegas-krontiras-a-biodynamic-expression-of-mendoza-winepw/

“Awed by the majestic landscape of Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza and its resemblance to their homeland Greece, Constantinos and Silvina Krontiras decided to acquire this plot of 80-year-old vineyard, now known as Bodegas Krontiras. Their project had since begun in 2004, with the aim of offering a distinguished natural expression of the Mendoza terroir.”

-The Wine Distribution Co.

https://twdc.com.sg/product/bodegas-krontiras-malbec-natural/

“Krontiras wines puts their unique mark in winemaking with a style that was a pioneer in Argentina: natural wines where the intervention of man in the vineyard does not alter the ecosystem. They are the first winery in Mendoza to process organic and biodynamic grapes in their own certified and organic winery. Winemaker Maricruz Antolin explains in biodynamics, they think of the vineyards as a living system, with a goal to develop a totally natural cultivation.”

-Vida Wines

https://vida.wine/winemakers/krontiras/

Watch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ieBHNskREs0

Instagram:

@krontiras.wines

 

$68

Clai ‘Baracija’ 2018

Istria, Croatia - Malvasia

“We believe that no year is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ if you work in a natural way - the vintages are just different. Some are easier, and some are harder. They depend on seasonal climatic factors that determine the absolute value of the wine: its quality.”

-Georgio Clai

https://www.clai.hr/wine/baracija-malvasia/

“Our wine-growing approach respects the nature in its fullest and is inspired by the principles of our grandparents. The geographic and climate situation is particularly propitious: the air from the Ucka mountain and the sea air that goes up the river Mirna meet here and create an ideal microclimate to cultivate vines and olives. Our principal goal is to enhance our terroir. We produce no wine out of international grape varietals alone. Our 6 labels are wines made of native grapes – Malvasia, Refosco and Muscat – or their blend with international varietals.”

-Georgio Clai

https://zrswines.com/wine-producer/clai-winery/

“I'm happy that people recognize me for the organic focus. But it didn’t evolve, I was just born into that way of thinking. It was innate, you know? This way of thinking of organic agriculture. It's like a principle. It's not just about vineyards and olives, it's also about the vegetables, the animals if you have a farm. Because we had that when I was a child, you know? Like cows. Like chickens.”

-Georgio Clai

https://grapecollective.com/articles/giorgio-clai-putting-istria-on-the-map

Watch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Md4KmTpHaz0&t=8s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_b1Wzf-j00&feature=emb_title

Instagram:

@claiwines

 

Kabaj ‘The Rider’ 2020

Goriska Brda, Slovenia - Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot

“The style Jean brings to the KABAJ reds is reminiscent of late 80s Bordeaux, where he grew up. Brda is cool for Bordeaux varieties and Merlot is the grape that is best suited to the conditions. It is the dominant component in both Merlot and Cuvee Morel. Grapes are destemmed and fermented in stainless steel and macerated for approximately 6 weeks. Cuvee Morel is co-fermented. The wines are aged in barrique some new for 24 to 36 months. Aristocratic in style they harken back to a time when Bordeaux was Claret. Nuanced, perfumed and enduring.”

-Black Lamb Wine

http://blacklambwine.com/blog/kabaj-goriska-brda/

“Our wines represent our home and mostly ourselves. The followed philoposophy is very simple, producing wines based on our taste in order to even present them to others, mostly focusing the attention on nature, vineyards and soil. All types of wine age in French barrels for at least a year, followed by months of ageing in bottles, where the wine elaborate its taste. The specialty of our estate and for those searching for something unique is Amfora, wine made in Qvevri.”

-Kabaj

https://www.kabaj.si/en/wine/

Watch:

https://vimeo.com/49379755

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DM44JHBAOY8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEBcIwA0Cpc

Instagram:

@kabajwines

 

 

May Wine Club Release

$48

Domaine du Bartassou ‘Un petit grain de Mamour’ 2019

Languedoc, France - Grenache & Cinsault

Anthony Vidal is a fourth-generation winemaker from a farming family in Junas and has had a passion for grapes since he was very young. In 2014, he met Audrey, a city girl from Marseille. She fell in love with the vineyards and ever since, has been dedicated to agriculture. They were struggling to make their dream of making their own wines come true as neither of them had the financial means nor the structures to do so. But with help from their friend Thierry Forestier (Domaine Mont de Marie), they succeeded.

As of 2019, they have 13 hectares of vines including 11 hectares in production with different grape varieties (Grenache, Cinsault, Merlot, Syrah, Grenache Gris, Sauvignon, Carignan, Cabernet, Nielluccio). All grapes are harvested by hand, before a whole-bunch maceration with manual vatting and devatting in the cellar. None of the wines are filtered.

The wine is made up of 70% Grenache and 30% Cinsault. Whole bunch maceration in carbonic tanks for six days. The grapes are lightly crushed before pressing and then further aged in concrete tanks. 

For references / more info:

https://fifi.wine/Domaine-du-Bartassou

http://www.winesutb.com/domaine-du-bartassou 

https://www.stevengraf.wine/france-languedoc/domaine-du-bartassou

 

Plaisance Penavayre ‘Le Rouge’ 2018

Vacquiers, South-West France - Négrette, Syrah, Cabernet Franc

Cultivated for several generations, the Domaine Plaisance Penavayre, located in the town of Vacquiers, was taken over and expanded by Marc Penavayre in 1991, following his father Louis. Thibaut, Marc's son, also decided to continue the family adventure in 2020. He now has 26 hectares of vines. For many years, the estate has favored gentle cultivation techniques. The farm was officially certified Organic in 2011 and has been practicing biodynamics for more than four years using herbal teas or decoctions of plants at homeopathic doses.

From the start, Louis and Marc have been careful to respect the adage “valiant in the field but lazy in the cellar”. Their observation is simple: when you have beautiful grapes, you have beautiful wines. And to have beautiful grapes, you have to know your vineyard, its soils and its plants. This is why Marc enrolled very early in a certified organic farming approach, and has constantly been attentive to biodynamic farming. The goal is to maintain a virtuous cycle between the soil, the plant and practices. To do this, tillage is reasoned through shallow plowing under the row and sowing of plant cover in the inter-row. The maintenance of the grass is entirely mechanical or manual. During the vegetative cycle of the plant, its observation and understanding are essential. They make it possible to guide orientations aimed at stimulating the plant's immune defenses. We favor manual labor as much as possible, from pruning to harvest.

The work in the cellar is part of the same approach as that of the vineyard: to make wines that express the terroir from which they come. Thus, the abandonment of commercial yeasts was a preamble for Marc. In addition, he opted for low-intervention vinification with few inputs. No modern oenology but the return, once again, to observation and understanding. The grapes, harvested manually, are vinified as separately as possible depending on the terroirs and grape varieties. This makes it possible to give sincere and frank cuvées, reflections of the vintage.

Today they are very fine ambassadors of the Négrette grape variety, which for nearly two thousand years has established its charm and incomparable originality. More than ever, the importance is to make a wine that is 100% grape juice. 

For references / more info:

https://www.beckywasserman.com/domaines/chateau-plaisance/#.YJjGKWZKi00

https://plaisancepenavayre.fr/ 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIFqMkCQQSc

 

$68

Mas Mellet ‘Pari Finesse’ 2019

Gallician, Gard, France - Grenache, Syrah, Carignan

Barely twenty years old, Emilie and Brice took on a serious, 27-hectare project of abandoned vines in a place close to our hearts, the Gard. In their first year, 2003, they had a vintage, and have been refining ever since - slowing down, paring back, intervening less. They've cut down to 16 hectares, and have converted all the vineyards to biodynamic agriculture. Manual work is the priority and the sheep work during the winter.  The wines are full of character, and have a lift and exuberance that is completely unique of other wines from the region. That may have something to do with the influence of their friend and collaborator, Eric Pfifferling of Domaine L'Anglore's fame.

This terroir that the couple love so much is that of the most southern appellation of Costières de Nîmes. Made up of sandstone and red clay, it is situated in a windy corridor which protects it from diseases. Its proximity to the Camargue’s bodies of water, visible from the estate, and the Mediterranean Sea, gives its wines a welcome freshness and beautiful saline notes. 

For references / more info:

https://www.stevengraf.wine/france-languedoc/mas-mellet

https://www.vins-etonnants.com/en/red-round-and-fruity-310/pari-finesse-2020-18607.html

 

Cellier Saint Benoit ‘La Marcette’ 2019

Pupillin, Jura, France - Chardonnay

The Cellier Saint Benoit is the alchemy of four generations. During the first years, the activity was based on polyculture before the harvest was sold to the Pupillin wine cooperative. 

It was Denis Benoit in Cellier Saint Benoit’s 3rd generation who made the decision to focus 100% of his work in the vineyard and to integrate the work of the cellar. In 2003, he created the Cellier Saint Benoit and moved into the old farmhouse of the family.

Today, the succession is assured by Benjamin Benoit. After studying viticulture in Beaune and working in Burgundy and New Zealand, he wanted to bring his touch to the work of his father’s.

“Today, I wish to continue the work accomplished by the older generations, by contributing the knowledge that I have acquired during my various experiences. In order to fight against the erosion of the hillsides, I work the soil and I use small equipment, light and on tracks. This makes it possible to preserve a living environment, a pledge of a wine that best expresses the terroirs.” -Benjamin Benoit

For references / more info:

https://www.celliersaintbenoit.com/

https://www.petitfute.co.uk/v15355-pupillin-39600/c650-produits-gourmands-vins/c1256-producteur/1882692-cellier-saint-benoit.html

https://www.hachette-vins.com/guide-vins/actualite-vin/507/cellier-saint-benoit-benjamin-benoit-est-elu-vigneron-de-lannee-du-guide-hachette-des-vins-2021-dans-le-jura/?fbclid=IwAR2el9saVST2KqHAaKMd0VJYwFFDTJ7xVUcxt-SZ4BXZy1k_ZzhaIMJbseQ

 

 

April Wine Club Release

$48

Annesanti ‘Raspato’ Rosato Pét-Nat / Frizzante 2019

Valnerina, Umbria, Italy - Sangiovese & Aleatico

As told by the vigneron and winemaker himself, Francesco Annesanti:

"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."

For references / more information:

https://tapigroup.com/references/annesanti-umbria-rosato-frizzante-igp-raspato-2018-un-vino-dal-packaging-giovane-sigillato-da-mekano-by-tapi-revo/

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

https://annesanti.it/

Instagram: @cantina_annesanti

 

Dumortier ‘La P’tite Vadrouille’ 2019 ($48)

Loire Valley, France - Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, & Cabernet Franc

Domaine Mortier is a small, 9-hectare vineyard located in the Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil AOC, which lies between Angers and Tours. The two brothers Fabien and Cyril Boisard started Domaine du Mortier nearly ten years ago at a very young age, and while they may not be from a winemaking family, they have been making outstanding wines for quite some time. They are passionate about developing the life of the soil and plant crops within their vineyard to enhance the diversity of the soil and the flavors found in the wine. This is a very practical method to promote eco-diversity to create stunning wines.

La P’tite Vadrouille comes from clay and limestone soil in the Dordogne region. After being hand-picked, the grapes are transported to the Mortier Domaine in a refrigerated truck. Carbonic maceration lasts for 15 days, followed by 8 months of aging in concrete tanks. It is bottled with 10ppm of sulfur in spring. 

“In the vines, our cultivation method prohibits any use of a synthetic chemical (no weedkillers, insecticides or pesticides). Depending on the nature of the soils, we practice natural grassing or we work these soils on the surface. We only use organic products (decoctions of nettles, horsetails, young wicker shoots, etc.) for natural protection of our vineyard. We promote a balanced and diversified ecosystem which allows the vines to better defend themselves against diseases and pests. In the cellar, the harvest is manual, the grapes are harvested in crates. The vinification does not use any "artifice" such as yeast, enzyme, tannins in order to preserve an expression of terroir in our wines. Sulfur is used sparingly depending on the balance of the different vintages and the sanitary condition of the harvest, if not at all, if it is considered possible. The macerations last 10 to 30 days in concrete, stainless steel or wood vats and the aging takes place in concrete and wood vats or oak barrels for 6 to 24 months. Since 2004, we have received the harvest in a destemmer with table sorting. This harvest is then conveyed by a conveyor belt into the vats, which allows the start of fermentation in the berry of the grape which favors the extraction of very fruity aromas.”

-Cyril & Fabien Boisard

For references / more information:

http://www.jennyandfrancois.com/wines-2/france/domaine-mortier/#8

https://www.domainedumortier.fr/

https://bluebees.fr/fr/project/320-domaine-du-mortier

Instagram: @domainedumortier

$68

Séléné ‘Beaujolais-Villages’ 2019

Blacé, Beaujolais, France - Gamay

It was Sylvère’s uncle who first showed him the ropes in the winery whilst running the family domaine back in 1998, just as he was beginning organic conversion on their four hectares of Gamay and Chardonnay in the Beaujolais commune of Blacé.

Sylvère went on to study agriculture before working with Dominique Belluard in the Savoie and Jean-Claude Lapalu back home in Beaujolais. He started Séléné in 2012, working loosely with biodynamic principles in mind, in accordance with the lunar calendar; but not pursuing strict certification.

Vines here are between 20 to 80 years old and planted on sandy clay soils, with a vein of granite running underneath. Fermenting only with native yeasts, the reds all undergo carbonic maceration. Ageing is mostly done in concrete vats, with the exception of his grandmother’s favourite plot- the oldest vines- picked for a cuvée named for her and aged in old barrels.

Together with his partner Mathilde they grew vegetables on the farm until 2018, when they decided to focus all attention on the vines. To encourage biodiversity, an orchard was planted in the autumn of 2020, and sheep will arrive in the spring of 2021. 

“Don't try to do in the cellar what you don't do in the vineyard. All my work as a winegrower is based on this sentence. Small yields, organic farming. With beautiful grapes, the vinifications are done on their own: no yeasting, no sulphites, the aging is done without sulfur either. The goal is to obtain wines that are more digestible, light and lively. All to respect my environment, as well as the consumer. With this approach, I feel more of a winemaker than a farmer.”

-Sylvère Trichard

For references / more information:

http://www.winesutb.com/selene-sylvere-trichard

http://notdrinkingpoison.blogspot.com/2016/10/sylvere-trichard-selene-beaujolais.html

https://www.vinibee.com/vigneron/domaine-de-la-tallebarde-sylvere-trichard/

Les Vignes de Paradis ‘Terroir du Léman - Un P’tit Coin de Paradis’ 2019

Hautes-Côtes de Beaune, Burgundy, France - Chasselas

Just outside the small village of Ballaisons, on slopes overlooking Lake Geneva (on the French side of the border they call Lac Léman), Dominique farms 10 hectares of certified organic (practicing biodynamic) vines planted in rich, yellow marl and granite soils with a limestone base, and some silex stones on the surface. His vines are separated into 27 parcels of different soil composition, each of which is harvested by hand (he says it takes 2.5 months to harvest here as Chasselas takes long to ripen), and vinified separately. He is deeply committed to Chasselas, and has also added tiny parcels of Savagnin, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. These are not old vines, but in the hands of this careful winemaker they are capable of producing wines of depth and complexity.

Dominique Lucas hails from a family of Burgundian winemakers – he is the 5th generation – who own a small estate outside of Pommard. After completing oenology school, he opted out of returning to the family estate simply because he did not want to work within the strict oversight of the AOC, choosing instead to settle in the Haute-Savoie in 2008. Though his family’s history is steeped in Burgundian ways, you won’t find much of this influence in his cellar. Dominique vinifies his grapes in an array of different amphorae, barrels, and concrete eggs. Fermentations occur naturally and the only addition to the wines is a bit of sulphur at bottling.

Un P’tit Coin de Paradis comes from a small parcel of 25-year-old Chasselas vines planted lower on the slope closer to Dominique’s house. The wine is vinified using only native yeasts and is raised in a combination of concrete eggs and neutral demi-muid barrels.

For references / more information:

https://www.selectionmassale.com/dominique-lucas.html

https://www.les-vignes-de-paradis.fr/

https://artisanswiss.com/2018/03/04/les-vignes-de-paradis-chasselas-from-the-other-side-of-the-lake/

Instagram: @lesvignesdeparadis

 

March Wine Club Release

$48

Maurer ‘MusCat’ 2018

Sremska, Serbia - Tamjanika (Muscat à petit grain)

Maurer ‘MusCat’ 2018

Sremska, Serbia - Tamjanika (Muscat à petit grain)

The Maurer family has been producing wine for four generations. It was during the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in the 19th century that they moved from Salzburg to the southern part of the Kingdom of Hungary. They now farm 16 acres of land, including 6 acres in the Serbian wine region of Szabadka directly south of the Hungarian-Serbian border, and 10 acres in the Fruška Gora mountain district in Syrmia, Serbia, located 40 miles away from Belgrade and bordered by the Danube River to the north.

The vineyards are planted with old local varieties such as Mézes Fehér, Bakator, Szerémi Zöld. In the Szabadka wine region, vines are more than a hundred years old. The oldest Kadarka was planted in 1880 and is one of the oldest in the world. These vines are typically cultivated by horse and man power. The other part of the estate is in the historic region of Szerémség (Syrmia). Some ninety million years ago, the Fruška Gora mountain in Syrmia was an island in the Pannonian sea. The slopes of this old formation made up of volcanic and sedimentary rocks have been covered with vineyards, orchards and forests for about 3000 years. Today, this is an almost intact natural environment with an outstandingly rich ecosystem. The climate is sub-mediterranean and continental with a beneficial influence of the nearby Danube. One vineyard planted with Riesling is just 160 feet from the river. Maurer is the only winery producing natural wine in the region but fortunately, there is an increasing number of followers. The best lots have been replanted with the old native grape varieties such as Szerémi zöld (Syrmia Green), Bakator, Mézes fehér (Honey Whiter), Kövidinka (Ston Siller), Furmint, Riesling, Sárgamuskotály (Muskateller), Kadarka and Kékfrankos (Blaufränkisch). The winery also grows international varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir.

All fermentations are spontaneous (primary and secondary) without the use of any additives apart from SO2 at bottling for some select wines. Maurer basically has two tiers: Rege and Maurer. The Rege wines have low SO2 (30-50ppm) and are unfiltered (Kövidinka, Corvina, Kadarka). The Maurer line is zero compromise with zero additions of any kind (Kadarka 1880, Kadarka Nagy Krisztus, Bakatororange, Fodor Olaszrizling). His barrel regiment is all used (mostly Hungarian oak) and only racked once to tank for bottling.

Locally known as Tamjanika, planted in the volcanic, limestone and clay of the Remete vineyards just a mere 200-300 meters from the Danube River. 4 days of skin contact, all barrel, unmistakable Muscat aromatics, great acidity, and enough bitterness to balance it all out. The winemaking doesn’t dominate over grape and place.

For references / more information:

https://danchandgranger.com/producer/maurer#winery

https://vimeo.com/359103402

https://www.facebook.com/maurer.rs/

Instagram: @maurer_winery

 

Káli Kövek ‘Ten’ 2018

Balaton-felvidék, Hungary - Olaszrizling, Hárslevelű, Juhfark, Furmint

The Káli Basin is the result of the Pannonian sea slowly receding about 4 million years ago. Thick layers of marine sediment were then covered with volcanic activity most strikingly by the basalt lava columns that define the skyline. There is also dolomite limestone, brown forest loam, red sandstone and clay that fill in around the basalt. All of Gyula’s vineyards are farmed without pesticides or herbicides and SO2 is sprayed by hand when needed. The proximity to the 50 mile long lake does increase the humidity, but it’s more a buffer against extreme weather more than a major risk of mold or frost (even in 2016). The Köveskál Olaszrizling is grown in the 45 year old Töltés Dűlő (vineyard) on Fekete-hegy (hill). The soil is mostly volcanic tuff with basalt fragments and the vines are mid-wire Cordon trained. The Rezeda Olaszrizling on the other hand is a blend of 4 sites including Fekete-hegy, Hegyestű, Tagyon-hegy and Szent György-hegy with an emphasis on basalt and clay. Vine age ranges from 20-45 years old.

All wines are hand harvested and hand sorted. Using a well conditioned 40 year old press, the mostly free run juice is fermented in used 500L and 225L Hungarian Zemplén Oak barrels. There is little to no press fraction that goes into these wines. Fermentation is always spontaneous for both primary and secondary. Wines then age between 6-9 months before bottling.

This wine marks the 10th anniversary for Gyula. This is a kitchen sink blend of all his favorite things. Organically grown Olaszrizling and Furmint from the Fekete-Hegy in Lake Balaton and Hárslevelű and Juhfark from Somló. All of the vineyards are riddled with basalt crumble soils and were botrytis free in 2018 at picking time. The whole blend is pure free run fermented in barrel and then aged for 7 months all together. Very much in the high toned, salty, and low alcohol vein typical for Káli-Kövek, the aromatics and texture from the thick skinned Somló grapes are present.

“Our practices are based on humility and lots of handwork. We strive to achieve natural simplicity and high quality in our restless pursuit to do better. Our days are filled with the joy of learning and the excitement of a challenge. It’s the perfect experience, to become one with the thing we do.” -Gyula Szabó, Winemaker

For references / more information:

https://danchandgranger.com/producer/kali_kovek

https://kalikovek.hu/en/

https://www.facebook.com/KaliKovekBoraszat/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSVbf4q_1tA

Instagram: @kalikovek

 

$68

Ezio Trinchero ‘Bianco’ 2018

Asti, Piedmont, Italy - Arneis & Malvasia

The Ezio T. estate is located in the Asti hills in the hamlet of Vianoce. The winery is based in the early nineteenth century complex of Agliano Terme, which has been in the family since the 1920s. At this time, two brothers, Secondo and Serafino, were running the winery. They passed on the reins to Secondo’s son, Renato. Renato ran the winery with his son Ezio until Renato’s passing in 2014. The estate now makes one of the longest lived and most profound examples of Barbera to be found in all of Italy. However, the family also makes a brilliant range of complex, skin-macerated white wine from varietals like Arneis, Malvasia, and Chardonnay. 

This is a bold and rustic orange wine, full of peakly ripened stone fruit and freshly gathered morels. It was farmed organically on soil rich in calcareous marl and sandstone. It’s unfined, unfiltered with 10 days of skin contact and indigenous yeast. 

“The relationship between man and the vine is not something that can be improvised. The experience and the right way are acquired over the years. The winemaker who treats the vine with respect and sensitivity has understood what it can give. My perspective is to work my vines in the best way but also to sell what has been produced from this vineyard so that the consumer understands and loves my wine.” -Ezio Trinchero

For references / more information:

https://www.polanerselections.com/producer/ezio-t

https://www.viniveri.net/trinchero/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Personal-Blog/Azienda-Agricola-Ezio-Trinchero-1954702908152811/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGOZfd-zjEA

 

Hervé Villemade ‘Les Saules’ 2018

Cour-Cheverny, Loire, France - Romorantin

Hervé Villemade has family roots in Cellettes, a small town in the Loire Valley of France, going back multiple generations. Since taking over in 1995, he has grown his estate to include the original 8.5 hectares owned by his parents, an additional 8 hectares that he has purchased over the years, and the difference being parcels that he rents. At the beginning, the vines were farmed conventionally (as that is the way his parents farmed) using herbicides and fungicides, and the wines were made the same way with lab yeasts and additives.

It wasn’t until a few years later that he tasted wines made by Marcel Lapierre in Beaujolais and Thierry Puzelat at Clos du Tue-Bouef in nearby Les Montils, both of whom he cites as his key influences to start doing things the natural way, that his eyes were opened. Hervé immediately began experimenting with zero-sulfur winemaking, but quickly realized that in order to do this, he would need higher quality fruit. This realization led him to begin the arduous task of converting entirely to organic farming starting in 2000 and ultimately shaping the domaine as we know it today.

All of Hervé’s vines fall within the Cheverny and Cour-Cheverny AOCs and are planted in a mix of clay and sandy soils with silex (flint) stones in many of the parcels and a limestone base. As mentioned, he farms organically (certified) and Hervé does most of the vineyard work on his own. In the cellar, he works with native yeasts for all fermentations. Elevage is done in a range of different vessels: concrete tank, foudre, tronconic vats, neutral barrique, and even amphora. Very little SO2 is used, if any, depending on the cuvée. Hervé makes a wide range of different cuvées, all of which are stunning examples of classic, natural wines of the region.

Romorantin, a local white grape variety, is exclusive to the Cour-Cheverny appellation. Hervé appreciates the clayey-siliceous terroir, where he offers a wine of character which mixes vegetal nuances, blossoms, honey, with notes of ripe fruit. A wine with good aging potential.

For references / more information:

https://louisdressner.com/producers/Villemade

https://www.selectionmassale.com/herve-villemade.html

http://www.villemade.net/

https://www.wineterroirs.com/2008/04/villemade.html

 

 

February Wine Club Release

$48

Riccardo Danielli 'Pliocene Bianco' 2019

Umbria, Italy - Grechetto and Trebbiano

This refreshing Italian orange wine has 3 days of skin contact with no sulfur added. The fuller bodied Grechetto is mildly toned down by the dry and acidic Trebbiano, so it would be very happy alongside some fatty tuna steaks, hearty salmon or buttery sturgeon. 

From the producer: “Restoring an abandoned vineyard is in line with my own inner peace. The orderly rows of vines put my thoughts in order. In my vineyard, I will always sense my grandfather who plows with the oxen and with respect for the land. In my vineyard, I will always sense my grandmother’s silence while she collects chicory and teaches us which herbs to gather. I’m doing what I love, and I know it because I can feel it in my blood, bones, and in the daily effort to produce a wine made of the same substance of which my land is made.

I learned that while working the clay soil, hoeing it and taking care of it without using any chemical products, you cultivate patience and perseverance. The days spent working in the cellar have been the leitmotif on my life, the stage of my winters and stepping stone to my relief. Winter cleans the bitterness of autumn and leads me straight towards spring. Now the cellar cradles the quiet slowness of the wines in the vats and listens to friends debating the quality of wine. Each vintage will have its own story, told by the wine.

The only place where I feel at home is in the middle of the green Umbrian hills, among dirt roads that I know by heart, where time is marked by bells, surrounded by the smiles of curious people who have seen me grow up. Allerona is my village, full of roots, colors, memories, sunsets, olive trees, and vineyards. It is a horizon that belongs to me.”

References / for more info:

https://www.riccardodanielli.it/en/home-english/

 

Art & Science ‘Fruit Nat’ 2019

Willamette Valley, Oregon - Pears, apples, plums, and Mondeuse Noir

 

This delightfully wild pétillant naturel is a co-ferment of biodynamically farmed pears and apples from Mt. Hood Organics, foraged plums that were carbonically macerated in amphora, and Mondeuse Noir grapes from Johan Vineyards. It’s unfined, unfiltered, and native yeast fermented with no added sulfur. Dan Rinke and Kim Hamblin are the husband/wife masterminds behind this exciting and experimental fermentation project. Kim claims responsibility for the “Art”, and Dan for the “Science.”

From the producers:

“What started with a small endeavor to make something for fun has turned into a growing, successful business for which we are quite grateful. Our orchard is a continual work in progress, complete with a huge learning curve and lots of dirt ridden DIY. Our hope is to create not only an orchard as a fruit source for our cider business, but a diverse ecosystem of plants and animals. We have begun some interplanting with nitrogen fixing trees, fig and nut trees as well as small shrubs and drought tolerant perennials that Kim started from cuttings. We’ve added raptor roosts, bird and owl boxes, mason bee nesting sites and an insect hotel as part of our integrated pest management system. We believe in promoting a rich and integrated ecosystem, both above and below ground. We strive to balance the subsurface ecological world through the addition of wood chips, compost and biodynamic preparations. We value the wild and recognize that often Nature knows best. We farm applying natural systems and know that working along with Nature is often the best solution to our agricultural issues.”

References / for more info:

https://www.artandsciencenw.com/

https://ciderchat.com/artandscience/

 

$68

Les Faverelles ‘Cuvée Fleur’ Blanc 2019

Vézelay, Burgundy, France - Chardonnay

 

Producers Patrick Bringer and Isabelle Georgelin live in the northwest Burgundian village of Asquins. They farm 6 hectares of vines in the Vézelay 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.

 

The winters in Vézelay are colder and snowier than Chablis and the summers are among the warmest in Burgundy. Patrick believes this combination of elements allows Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines to retain a refreshing minerality, even in warm years. Ripening in this corner of Burgundy is generally slower than the Cote d’Or, a fact that prompts most growers to chaptalize (add sugar during fermentation to bring up potential alcohol). Patrick staunchly opposes this practice, believing that it obscures the true terroir of Vézelay. 

Patrick and Isabelle are very committed to Biodynamic viticulture, and they are also recently Ecocert certified. The grapes are handpicked, fermented on wild yeasts, unfiltered, and fermented 9-12 months in old oak. This sumptuous ‘Cuvée Fleur’ blanc is de-stemmed and raised in barrel. 

From the producers:

“Our desire and our goal since our installation is to develop a natural wine with its indigenous yeasts, which translate the expression of each of our plots of the Vézelien terroir and to respect its birth, which results from it without entering the vinification process.”

References / for more info:

http://www.lesfaverelles.com/index.html

https://zrswines.com/wine-producer/les-faverelles/

https://percyselections.com/les-faverelles/

https://www.ecocert.com/en/home

 

Sébastien Riffault ‘Akmèniné’ 2016

Sancerre, Loire, France - Sauvignon Blanc

 

Sébastien Riffault’s 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. His Sancerre wines are not like the mainstream ones, but nonetheless delicious, while showcasing his 12 hectares near Sury-en-Vaux. Son of winemaker Etienne Riffault, Sébastien began his own label in 2002. The big difference between him and the rest of Sancerre is his belief in biodiversity, biodynamic principles, and natural winemaking. These principles are rare to find in Sancerre, where many vines and wines are made with chemicals and manipulation.

The vineyard is on limestone and clay soil and has an array of plants, flowers, and grass to increase biodiversity and encourage good insects. He uses a horse to plow so the soil is carefully filled 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 and certified by The Bureau Veritas Certification. He is a member of The Association of Vins Naturels and The Renaissance Group of Appellations. 

Sébastien Riffault leaves his grapes on the vine as long as possible in order to get them completely ripe and develop noble rot. The wines are fermented in large, old barrels with wild yeast. 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, acidified, filtered or fined. There is no sulfur added and the wines are bottled by gravity.

References / for more info:

https://zrswines.com/wine-producer/sebastien-riffault/

https://certification.bureauveritas.com/

http://avn.vin/

https://renaissance-des-appellations.com/en/

 

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