|We’re celebrating our second anniversary this Thursday, 10/28, with special guests Stephanie Mutz, who’ll be cracking open the ultra fresh uni that she harvested that morning from Santa Barbara, and Erin Sylvester of Zev Rovine Imports, cracking open ultra fresh natural wines from her import portfolio. Click for more info
|Today, two tastings: one white, the other red. White tasting is four dry Italian whites featuring far out traditional regional grape varieties such as coda di volpe and pecorino, and sensitive, non-douchey winemaking. Red tasting is four Beaujolais, starting with a simple, fresh Beaujolais Village and finishing with a magisterial magnum of magnificent cru Fleurie from the inimitable Yvon Metras.
Beaujolais tasting four wines $15
Domaine Bulliat Beaujolais Villages 2014
Jean-Paul Brun Côte de Brouilly 2014
Michel Guignier “Canon” Morgon 2015
Yvon Metras Fleurie 2012 en magnum (limited) 2012
Italian white tasting four wines $15
Terre di Maté “Maté” 2014 organic no sulfites cortese
Benanti Biancodicaselle 2013 Etna Bianco 2013
Marrameiero Pecorino Colline Pesaresi 2015
Perillo Coda di Volpe Irpinia 2012
All summer long I’ve been supplicating before the sun god, plying her with rosé and white wines as dry and ephemeral as the sirocco winds, but she stopped listening to my feeble prayers long ago. And now she’s bored, bored to tears by the pathos of her wine clown’s rosé, and it’s sad to be bored, she tells me, as she turns her back on my pathetic gifts I offer up to her in hopes of some respite from the heat. “Wrong!” she brays repeatedly, “wrong!” and then “sad.” And yet she remains as thirsty as ever.
Just when you’ve had enough rosé for the year the sun god cranks up the heat again to eleven, so what in the hell do you drink to assuage your thirst while not numbing the mind of the sun god? A refreshing wine cocktail is what you need, and who better to show you the way than our own cocktail and bitters genius, the ever affable and engaging Louis Anderman of Miracle Mile Bitters. Bitters, my good man, bitters? Yep. What is it that makes a good gin and tonic thirst quenching? Bitterness. Why do Spaniards drink oceans of vermouth to slake their collective thirsts? Bitterness. Hell, why is a Coke thirst quenching? The bitterness of the kola nut, albeit masked by a shitload of sugar so that the tonic origins of pharmacy-grade soda are entirely obscured.
Tonight, Louis will be in the shop to pour three very different, ice cold and refreshing wine cocktails featuring three of his bitters. One is based on dry sparkling pear cider, another uses Spanish vermouth, while yet another uses dry Sherry as its base. We’ll have the a/c turnt up, but not so high that you’ll be unable to hear Louis tell us bitter stories about bitters, the history of cocktails, and how to replicate wine cocktails in the privacy of your own home. Plus, ten percent off Miracle Mile Bitters during the tasting.
Wine cocktails featuring Miracle Mile Bitters
||Red tasting flight $10
Bruno Allion “N’ Côt” Vin de France 2013
100% côt, aka malbec from Loire valley
Fabien Jouves “You #%S& My Wine?! Vin de France 2015
forbidden jurançon noir SW France
Fabien Jouves “Tu Vin Plus Aux Soirees” Vin de France 2015
White tasting flight $10
Pinon Vouvray brut non dosé NV
ultra-dry chenin-based méthode Champenoise
Ronchi di Cialla “Ciallabianco” Friuli 2013
caution: contains verduzzo
j. Brix Riesling Kick On Ranch Santa Barbara County 2014
dry, minerally central coast riesling
Stop by tonight and taste a bevy of skin-contact, orange wines with one of our favorite orange wine practitioners, winemaker Jean-Michel Morel. Jean-Michel’s family farm is in western Slovenia, directly adjacent to the Italian border. Indeed, you will see some of the same grape varieties grown on both sides of the border, albeit with slightly different names (e.g., ribolla gialla on the Italian side of the border, rebula on the Slovenian side). All of Jean-Michel’s white wines ferment in huge-ass neutral barrels on the skins of the grapes, with varying degrees of contact time, depending on the grape variety and vagaries of the vintage. These are exciting and (for the most part) reasonably priced orange wines, made without overt oxidation: clean, fragrant, and bursting with exotic flavors and textures.
Kabaj Sivi Pinot 2012 2 weeks of skin contact, 1 year in old barrels
Kabaj Ravan 20122 weeks of skin contact, 1 year in old barrels
Kabaj Rebula 2013 1 month of skin contact, 1 year in old barrels
Kabaj Anfora 2006 nearly a year in Georgian qvevri amphora, 1 year in barrel
Like its fabled namesake totem, the unicorn wine is rare indeed. In general, I eschew unicorn wines as they can at times be so severely allocated that the number of bottles available to me can be enumerated on one hand—a fortuitous find for the very few customers who stumble upon them in the shop, and of course, I score points with a few colleagues who identify these wines on my shelves and greedily sweep them up, but for the majority of customers, these scarce wines remain forever a tantalizing, fantastical desiderata. Tonight I break my no-unicorn rule and share with my Los Angeles customers my small allocation of the wines of Eric Pfifferling. Pfifferling, a one-time beekeeper now turned natural wine vigneron, lives and works in Tavel, a wine growing region known for its rosé but not much else. His rosés are superb and to me function more as light-bodied field blend red wines rather than the summer time ephemera with which we’ve been assuaging our thirst all summer. We’re also tasting his brilliant white and red wines, classified, deceptively, as mere vin de France, as Tavel is an appellation only for rosé.
L’Anglore Rosé Tavel field blend 2015 ($47)
L’Anglore Vintage Rosé Tavel 2014 ($47)
L’Anglore “Vaussiere” blanc Vin de France ($32)
L’Anglore “Eyrolle” rouge Vin de France ($24)
Cinsault, cinsault, it’s off to work we go!
In days of old, when knights were bold, the red wine grape cinsault was mostly relegated to the role of court jester. Sure, you want it around to add levity to the mix, but don’t take it too seriously. And yet today is no longer days of old. While it would be wrong to portray cinsault as enjoying its long due halcyon days, like global warming, it is a fact: the number of 100 percent cinsault bottles is rising, mostly from France’s south but very occasionally, elsewhere (my very favorite cinsault, sold out for the vintage, is from vines that are well over 100 years old and grown in Lodi). Why? Simple: cinsault is the gamay of the south of France. Gamay, of course, is the grape used to make Beaujolais, and while cinsault goes in a different, rose petal and spice road than gamay, like gamay it makes splendidly light-bodied and gluggy wines that you can chill down on a warm summer day. You should not and probably cannot make a big, brooding wine from cinsault—its natural wine expression is lyrically light Dionysian levity and happy-making. Thirsty for happy-making? We’re pouring a tasting flight of cinsault today, as well as a flight of equally refreshing white wines from over there.
White tasting flight ($10)
Dupasquier Roussette de Savoie 2012 France
Ovum “Off the Grid” Cedar Ranch Vineyard Riesling 2014 Oregon
Wenzel Furmint 2015 Hungary
Red tasting flight ($10)
La Boutanche de Cinsault Vin de France 2015
Mas Conscience “Cieux” 2015 IGP Saint Guilhem le Désert France
Domaine des Maravilhas “Alice” Vin de France 2015
||Tonight we’re tasting four natural wines from Italy. All of the wines are farmed organically and fermented, wild yeasts and overall are made without the addition of any chemical crap or highly technological exploits. These are expressive wines that are ready to drink tonight; they speak quietly and eloquently to the regional sensibilities from whence they are borne.
We’re starting with a dry, mineral white wine from the Dolomite mountains in the north east of the country and made from the very local and today quite scarce nosiola grape. And then to follow, three red wines from Tuscany–two sangiovese-based wines and a third red made from alicante.
Castel Noarna Nosiola Dolomiti 2013
Paterna “Il Rosso” Toscana 2015
Montescondo Chianti Classico 2014
Ampelia Alicante Nero Toscana 2014
We’re pouring two tasting flights today: a flight of gamay from different parts of the world, and a flight of characterful, non-boring not-gamay dry white wines from the old world. Your choice, $10 each flight.
Gamay, of course, is the red grape used to make Beaujolais—and we will indeed taste great Beaujolais today—but also very different expressions of gamay from the Loire valley and also Oregon. Our white flight is a veritable treasure chest of expressive, regional wines, two from France and one from Italy.
White tasting flight ($10)
Matassa Blanc Vin de France 2014
grenache gris + macabeu planted on harsh schist soils aged in large old barrels
Petit Août Blanc Hautes-Alpes 2015
dry, delicately floral blend of muscat & chardonnay
Benito Ferrara “Cicogna” Greco di Tufo 2015
old vines greco, super mineral, very jolly stuff
Gamay tasting flight ($10)
Bow & Arrow Gamay Willamette Valley 2015
old world style Oregon gamay
Domaine des Pothiers Côte Roannaise 2015
earthy & lean & mineral Loire gamay
Julien Sunier Régnié 2015
cru Beaujolais from gifted young vigneron, exciting wines
Tonight, we’re popping some corks on a few choice new California wines, all made from far out, old grape varities, some of which are also from old vines. Petit manseng, a blast of palate-titillating acidity; dense, yet delicate Marsanne from the Russian River; spicy, zingy counoise, and amazing, old vines arbouriou, too!
La Clarine Farm Petit Manseng Sierra Foothills 2015
Old World Winery Marsanne Russian River 2012
Broc Cellars Counoise Mendocino 2014
Old World Winery Luminous” “Arbouriou Russian River 2013