Saturday, 2/17
3-7 PM no reservations needed

Los Angeles natural wine organic biodynamic
Two different tastings today: one white/orange, the other red. The white/orange tasting starts with a dry, light-bodied wine from France’s southwest, made from the local gros manseng grape variety. This is a simple, everyday wine, meant for enjoying with food. Fermented without oak barrels, it’s the kind of light, refreshing, uninflected wine that you can drink a lot of and not feel (too) sorry about the next morning. Next, a cloudy, neigh, murky skin-contact orange wine from Noel Diaz. It’s made from marsanne, part macerated, and although the winery’s name is Purity, you will think impure thoughts as you taste this wine. Finally, a dry, extravagantly floral wine from Austria’s Burgenland region, made from not one, but —because you deserve it—two different colored-clones of the traminer grape. Our red tasting starts with a dry, fizzy red wine with a pleasant amaro finish, continues with a raunchy cabernet franc from the Loire, and then finishes with a dry, super-minerally, unfiltered Burgenland Blaufränkisch.

White/orange tasting $15
Lapyere Jurançon Sec 2016
Purity Marsanne Nevada County 2016
Umathum Gelber & Roter Traminer Burgenland 2016

Red tasting $15
Zanotto Col Fondo Rosso Frizzante NV
Le Grange aux Belles “53” Anjou 2016
Wenzel Blaufränkisch Burgenland 2014

Friday 2/16
6-8 PM no reservations needed

Los Angeles natural wine organic biodynamic sud ouest
Costes Rouges “Tandem” Marcillac ’14
Carmarans “Fer de Sang” Averyon ’16
Le Roc “Folle Noire” Fronton ’15
Mas del Périé “La Roque” Cahors 2016

Tonight, we’re pouring four unique wines from France’s southwest. I can’t say that the wines from the sud ouest are on everyone’s lips, but they should be, as the area is home to a blooming, buzzing confusion of delightful, archaic grape varieties that are little known (save for one famous one) outside of the region. The area is south of Bordeaux and historically stretched all the way to the Mediterranean. In the mid-13th century, a vicious, internal crusade began there,  starting in the small town of Albi. During the Albigensian Crusade, the church committed genocide on the Cathars, a radical, mystical, anti-papist Christian sect. Today there are no Cathars, but you can visit the ruins of Cathar fortresses (I recommend Peyrepertuse), and there are still occasional spasms of anti-authoritarian impulse. Until the mid-19thcentury, the Bordelaise were happy to throttle trade from this landlocked part of the country through their control of the Garonne river but were happy to allow in Cahors wine if only to tint their pale product. And it’s not hard to feel when visiting small provincial towns such as Gaillac that the region’s heyday was the 13th century. It is still a bit of a backwater but in the very best sense of the word.

For us wine drinkers, the social and economic isolation of the sud ouest has allowed regional grape varieties to flourish, and tonight we’re tasting three of them. First, two wines made from a grape that has three or more names in the region: fer servadou, aka mansois, aka Braucol, & etc.). Braucol is a rustic red variety, beautifully suited for producing medium-bodied, high-acid, sour-cherry, brambly wines that go great with earthy, fatty foods (e.g., cassoulet, carnitas). Then, one wine made from the négrette grape from vineyards that are near the city of Toulouse. To finish, a Cahors, 100 percent malbec, aged in large old barrels. I can’t say this is what the Cathars drank, but it comes close enough to it for me.

Tuesday 2/13
6-8 PM no reservations needed

Los Angeles natural wine organic biodynamic pet-nmat
What is it about sparkling wine that makes us reach for it when we want to celebrate? There is, of course, the ritual, percussive pop of the cork that sets expectations, and the delicate, nebulous, and seemingly never-ending, bubbles of good Champagne that seem to take us higher. With pét-nats, natural sparkling wines, the fizz is less effusive and is shorter-lived; if you don’t drink up quickly enough, you might be left with a still wine. Pét-nats are effervescent everyday good time wines—you don’t need to put them pedestal unless the pedestal is a reverence for the fleeting ephemerality of life, and the knowledge that it is good to celebrate and connect with those whom we love and keep them close to us when we can.

Chidaine Pétillant Brut Vouvray NV
Sin Eater Pet-Nat Anderson Valley 2016
Chateau Minière Bulles de Minière rosé NV
Los Pilares “La Dona” San Diego County Sparkling Muscat
Vini Conestabile della Staffa “Il Brioso” Rosato Umbria 2016

Saturday, 2/10
3-7 PM no reservations needed

Los Angeles natural wine organic biodynamic Tokaji
(Mostly) Cabernet franc tasting $15

Chateau de Brézé “Clos Mazurique” Saumur 2015
Alliet Chinon 2015
Ampeleia “Ampeleia” Costa Toscana 2014

Dry Tokaji tasting $15

Homonna “Határi” Tokaji Furmint 2015
Bott “Határi” Tokaji Furmint 2015
Hidden Treasures “Tokaj” 2015

The furmint grape is all about tooth enamel-stripping acidity. At least that’s the story once told to me by a friend—a seasoned wine-trade professional who has forgotten more about Burgundy than I will ever remember. While I knew he was not wrong, I also knew from my own love affair with furmint that high acidity is but one side of the furmint polyhedron. Acidity is an asset that makes furmint the primary white grape used to make the racy and noble aszú, or sweet wines, of Hungary’s Tokaji region. Without furmint, Tokaji aszú would be a syrup—a delicious syrup, albeit a sticky one. And although sweet Tokaji is what made the wine region justifiably famous, a handful of growers have now discovered that the same variety, vinified dry, can produce exciting, stunningly mineral wines that pound the table with their fists and demand our attention. Today, we are pouring three different dry Tokajiik, all made from furmint, all from the same vintage, that expose other sides of the polyhedron. You can find no better illustration of this than the two wines that we’re starting with. Although both originate from the Határi vineyard—a large, hillside plot filled with old vines with roots sunk deep into the volcanic subsoil—and are vinified in a similar manner, these are wines with quite different tastes and textures. The first is from vines aged 80-100 years, basket pressed, fermented and aged in barrel. It exposes the ultra-mineral side of Tokaji, all lemon-zesty and leesy, and the sound you hear as you taste it is the rooster in your brain calling for you to wake up. The second is from younger vines, again basket-pressed and barrel aged, but here the texture is gentle rather than acerbic and the expression is less citrusy and more pear-y and perfumed.

Friday 2/9
$10 6-8 PM no reservations needed

Los Angeles natural wine organic biodynamic gamay
Tonight, we’re tasting three different expressions of the gamay grape. The ancients cautioned us that de gustibus non est disputandum. What a marvelous lie, as all our live long days we endlessly do debate matters of taste, and pass judgment on others who don’t drink like us. I struggle to keep an open mind, but when someone professes to not care for gamay, I suppose that they have yet to be exposed to the good stuff, or if they have been exposed to the good stuff, I can never look at them in quite the same way. Other grapes? Fine, disdain or discount them if you must. I disdain petit sirah, so go ahead and judge me harshly for that if you are a PS partisan. We’re starting a simple, everyday gamay from the Loire valley. It’s grown on limestone, has a few years of bottle age, and yet is dirt cheap. You should know about it. Next, another simple, everyday gamay, this one grown on granite, around Lyon. And finally, back to the Loire, a little project from Claude and Etienne Courtois. Biodynamically grown on limestone, it contains not one, but two different types of gamay: the familiar, gamay noir a jus blanc, grown in Beaujolais and also the Loire, but also gamay chaudenay, a rustic biotype of the latter, with red juice rather than white (note: most red grapes have white juice, and the wines that they make get their pigment from the skins of the grapes).

Domaine des Poëte “Le Gamay des Poëte” 2011
Guillaume Clusel “Traboules” Coteaux du Lyonnais 2016
Courtois “Cuvee des Etourneaux” Vin de France 2012

Tuesday, 2/6
6-8 PM no reservations needed

Los Angeles natural wine organic biodynamic
Tonight’s tasting
6-8 PM no reservations needed

Furlani “Alpino” Vino Frizzante NV
Encosta de Qunita “Humus” Portugal 2016
Sebastien David “Hurluberlu” Bourgueil 2016

One of the shibboleths of natural wine is that, wine, when not throttled by chemical additives, is a living thing: a zoo of viable yeasts and bacteria. A natural wine’s living microbiome is, the hypothesis goes, part of what makes them so protean and unique. Conventional, industrial wines, in contrast, riddled with chemical additives because they must taste the same year after year, are products for squares:  invariant commodities, lifeless and inert. Wine may very well be a living thing, but it is also a gloriously dead and decaying thing. Dead yeast, or more properly, the collapsed, burst cell walls of yeast, as well as their innards, are part of the style of some of the most profound white wines on earth. The texture of fine Champagne and the biscuit-y quality it sometimes shows is a function of yeast autolysis; burst, dead yeast. Autolysis is also part of some very simple, rustic, and delicious wines, too, such as the rustic, dry white fizzy wine we’re starting with tonight. Matteo Furlani makes a number of rustic fizzy natural wines, all different colors, in the Dolomite mountains. Furlani does not filter his wines, so they’re cloudy with yeast, clumps of which are visible, settled, on the bottom of his bottles. I prefer to lightly agitate the wines before serving, all the better to enjoy the texture that the yeasts impart and relish the glorious decay.

Saturday 2/3
3-7 PM no reservations needed

Los Angeles natural wine organic biodynamic
Today, we’re pouring two tastings, one of dry rosé, the other of Teutonic pinot noir. Is it already rosé season? Yes, it is. The rosé tasting includes our first 2017 rosé from our go-to party rosé provider, Domaine de Fontsainte. Pale, dry, crisp, it’s just what the doctor ordered if your doctor were Dr. Seuss. Oh, and not on the tasting, but you should know about it, anyway, is the Fontsainte cabernet, no oak and dirt cheap, but impenetrable by dank memes. The Teutonic pinot tasting includes three pinot noirs that are either from Germany or, in the case of Barnaby Tuttle’s Oregon-grown “Traubenwerkzeug,” inspired by the nervy, sometimes herbal pinot that the south of Germany has perfected.

Rosé tasting $12

Little John Lane Vineyard “The End of Nowhere” Zinfandel Amador County 2016
Domaine de Fontsainte Gris de Gris Corbières 2017 (grenache gris)
Domaine Vallat d’Ezcort “Alegria” Vin de France 2016 (carignan)

Teutons of fun tasting $12

Teutonic Wine Company “Traubenwerkzeug” Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2014
Enderle & Moll “Liaison” Pinot Noir Baden 2015
Heger Baden Pinot Noir 2014

Friday, 2/2
6-8 pm no reservations needed

Los Angeles natural wine organic biodynamic Beaujolais
Today’s tasting: Beaujolais from the Gang of Five
$15 6-8 PM no reservations needed

In the 1980s, a group of five intrepid Beaujolais winemakers, lovingly (or begrudgingly) referred to as the “Gang of Five,” revolutionized the winemaking of their region. The Gang of Five is also responsible for inspiring the modern natural wine movement. Tonight, we’re tasting wines from three members of this informal group of vigneron. The phrase “revolutionize” does not seem quite apposite, as they did not really invent new techniques, but rather, following the teachings of Jules Chauvet, returned to the old ways of making Beaujolais wine. And sometimes, the old ways are clever ways. Old vines, wild yeast fermentation without added sulfites; these are the goals and ideals of all natural winemaking today.

Jean Foillard Beaujolais-Villages 2016
Lapierre Morgon 2016
Guy Breton Régnié 2016

Tuesday, 1/30
$15 6-8 PM no reservations needed

Los Angeles natural wine organic biodynamic Corsica
Tonight, we’re pouring three red wines, grown on island vineyards. Islands occupy a geographical space isolated from and yet intertwined with the mainland – even an island that is situated very near the mainland, such as Sicily’s proximity to Calabria, feels utterly of its own. When you get off the ferry in Messina, you wonder, “am I even in Europe?” Islands also occupy a cultural space that it is isolated or insulated or a funhouse mirror of their respective mainlands. Sometimes, good things happen in isolation. Corsica, a part of France that is only about 100 km from the mainland of Italy, was Genoa-ruled for centuries. Many of the grapes grown on Corsica are of Italian origin, yet after centuries of genetic drift, they are now unique Corsican biotypes. Tonight, we’re tasting a biodynamically grown red wine from Corsica, a blend of the local nielluccio and sciaccarellu grape varieties: nielluccio is sangiovese, and sciaccarellu is the Tuscan mammolo, and yet tasted blind, you’d never mistake this wine for something from Tuscany or even France. We’re also tasting a red from the southeast of Sicily, made in part from the ultra-local frappato grape, which itself may be related to sangiovese, and yet truly tastes sui generis, full of dusty tannins and rustic, sour cherry, and uniquely Sicilian. To finish, a wine I enjoyed last Sunday night, from the northeast of Sicily. It’s made from the local nerello mascalese grape and grown on volcanic soil. I decanted it for an hour, but thought, as we drained the dregs of the bottle, that it needs three or four hours of decanting, and so that’s what we’ll do for you tonight. Now that’s customer service!

Comte Abbatucci “Cuvée Faustine” Vin de France (Corsica) 2015
Portelli Cerasuolo di Vittoria 2014
Girolamo Russo “Feudo” Etna Rosso 2014

Saturday, 1/273-7 PM

Los Angeles natural wine orange biodynamic organic Georgia qvevri
Today, taste orange wines from the Republic of Georgia, the historic cradle of winemaking. Alternatively, if you’re not ready to let your freak flag fly quite that high but also don’t want to be bored out of your mind, we’re also tasting red wines from northern California, some of which are from very old vineyards. We’re pouring three savory and earthy traditional Georgian wines, all fermented on the skins of the grapes, all aged in the traditional, terracotta “qvevri” vessels for varying lengths of time. Not only are qvevri unique to Georgia, there are also well over five hundred grape varieties that are unique to the region, and we’re sampling three of them today. For our red tasting, we’re featuring William Allen’s Bechtold vineyard cinsault, from vines planted in the 1870s and still owned by the same family. I believe that this is the oldest plantation of cinsault in the world.

Georgian orange wine tasting $12

Makaridze Winery Tsitska 2016
Archil Guniava “Kvaliti” Tsolikouri-Tsitska-Krakhuna 2015
Archil Guniava Krakhuna 2016

California red wine tasting $12

Harrington “Amarela” trincadeira, alicante bouschet, tinta roriz blend Lodi 2015
Two Shepherds Cinsault Bechthold Vineyard Lodi 2015
Lioco “Indica” Mendocino 2014 old vine carignan, dry farmed