Saturday 9/24
a flurry of Fleurie
2015 Cru Beaujolais from Dutraive and Bertrand
3-7 PM $15 no reservations needed

14448976_10153998345768214_6191860916410753180_nFrom time to time I worry that I bore my customers with my unceasing advocacy of Beaujolais. I do yammer on quite a bit about Beaujolais. If you’ve met me in my shop you no doubt been treated to an enthusiastic entreaty regarding cru Beaujolais—in particular, the good stuff from designated vineyards in the northern part of the appellation. Today, at risk of boring you once again with cru Beaujolais blabber, we are indeed tasting some particularly good cru Beaujolais. Gamay (the red grape from which Beaujolais is made) grown on granite is really special, and today we’re pouring three exceptional wines from grown by genius farmers on the decomposed pink granite vineyards of the Beaujolais cru of Fleurie. In addition, we’re pouring a wine from the cru of Brouilly from old vines, some of which are well over 100 years of age, and yet another genius farmer wine from a recovered, once again noble vineyard that, due to regional politics, was never granted a cru classification. All of our wines today are picked by hand and whole-cluster fermented in neutral vat or large, old barrels. Minimal or zero added sulfites, for maximum aromatics

 

Chateau Cambon Beaujolais 2014
Domaine de la Grand’Cour “Clos de la Grand’Cour” Fleurie 2015
Domaine de la Grand’Cour “Chapelle des Bois” Fleurie 2015
Domaine de la Grand’Cour “Vieilles Vignes” Brouilly 2015
Yann Bertrand “Folie” Fleurie 2015

9/12
We are startdust tasting
Taste quasars, pulsars, neutron stars
6-8 PM $15 no reservations needed

14449819_10209700948976690_5561436760450721061_nTissot Crémant du Jura Extra Brut NV
dry, crisp, mostly pinot + chardonnay + a drop of poulsard and trousseau
Terre di Maté “Maté” Vino Bianco Italy (Gavi) NV no added sulfur
dry, ultra-mineral, zero added sulfites cortese
De Conciliis “Donnaluna” Aglianico 2013
generous, balanced, juicy aglianico from limestone soils
Pertuisane “Clos Thalès” Votes Catalanes 2008
mostly old vine grenache, some older vine carignan

Tuesday 9/20 IT’S HOT & NASTY OUT, SO TASTE MOLLARD, POULSARD, GROLLEAU, AND NIELLUCCIO TONIGHT!
ANYTIME BETWEEN 6-8 PM $10 NO RESERVATIONS NEEDED!

14316738_10210728686360035_5056183104839122012_n
I THOUGHT WE WERE DONE WITH THIS WEATHER! I’VE HAD IT. DON’T MAKE ME COME BACK THERE WITH MY BELT.

Domaine du Petit Août “La Mèmoire Neuve” Hautes-Alpes 2015
delicate & alpine, but no yodel
Gérard Villet “Cuvée Tradition” Arbois 2012
poulsard, trousseau, pinot noir, sitting in a tree, kay-eye-ess-ess-eye-en-gee
Les Sablonettes “Les Copains d’Abord” Vin de France 2015
grolleau, it grows on you
Domaine U Stiliccionu “Kalliste” 2010
Biodynamically farmed nielluccio

Saturday 17
Special Piemontese tasting with Francesca Vaira of GD Vajra
$12 between 3-7 PM no reservations needed!

14344120_10210097668775981_4023728763936628421_nPlease join us this afternoon for a special tasting with Francesca Vaira. Francesca will be at the shop to present a slew of wines from her family’s estate, GD Vajra. We dig what Francesca and her brother, Giuseppe, are doing: mind-blowing, consummately age worthy Baroli from their own vineyards and now also from the historic estate of Luigi Baudana in Alba. But, it is not serious Barolo we’ll be tasting today—that stuff belongs in your cellar for a few years before you really want to crack it open—but rather the range of wines that the Vairas make for cracking open and drinking tonight. We’re starting with a refreshing aperitivo: a dry, crisp, and minerally riesling with a couple of years of bottle age. Although the Langhe is not truly white wine country there is nevertheless a fair amount of it grown there, mostly “useful” wines made from cortese, a productive grape that inspires very few to quip, “ya know what I’m in the mood for? A nice cold glass of cortese!” Francesca’s dad Aldo loves dry, mineral, Austrian riesling and thought he’d try his hand at growing a bit of it in the Langhe, because even though the grape is not native to the region, what the hell. And, the results are really quite lovely, as you will see today. To follow, three Vajra red wines, including their extraordinary freisa, which is possibly the touchstone for this fascinating and rustic grape variety.

Vajra Riesling “Petracine” Langhe 2011
Vajra Dolcetto d’Alba 2015
Vajra Freisa “Kyè” Langhe 2011
Vajra Nebbiolo Langhe 2014

Thursday 9/15
Taste natural wine with importer Critical Mass
5 wines $12
6-8 PM no reservations needed just show up whenever

14352595_1326013094078295_857874226525068687_oBack in the shop tonight with a bevy of new vintages, we have the magnificent natural wine importer Ross Bingham here to entertain us with his rapier wit and stinging one liners. Yes, spending time with Ross is most definitely NSFW and so if you are dainty you may want to sit this one out, or at least leave your doilies, antimacassars, and nosegays at home. Be prepared to feel like you’re at a celebrity roast in which you are unexpectedly the celebrity! Loud-mouthed and adenoidal, if you can decipher what he’s saying through his thick, Queens-tinged patois there are gems of golden wine wisdom there. All wines tonight are farmed without synthetics, fermented with wild yeasts, and made with zero recourse to chemical adjutants during fermentation. Discover a dry, fizzy red from Emilia that’s NOT a Lambrusco; spectacular Greco di Tufo (and I do not often say that); orange wine from a master of the form; merlot that you actually want to drink quite a lot of; and an old vines monastrell that’s juicy and shockingly lithe, from an area better known for producing bruising, not-so-fun wines.

Croci Gutturnio Emilia 2012
A dry, earthy-not-frooty, slightly fizzy red, cherry bark-y petrichor; I know words, I have all the best words
Cantina dell’Angelo Greco di Tufo 2013 Campania
A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma; dry, mineral white that is both crunchy and luscious, if she wasn’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her
Terpin “Quinto Quarto” Pinot Grigio romato 2015 Friuli
Skin-contact orange wine made with a delicate touch, and astonishingly excellent health
Viña Enebro Joven 2015 Murcia Spain
Breathing new life into old vine monastrell in Spain’s SE—it’s got stamina

 

Tuesday 9/16
Taste non-conformist wine with Domaine Le Soula
$15 6-8 PM no reservations

14310528_10154699241702018_7147387944571225926_oTaste six cutting-edge wines tonight from the southwest frontier of France with Domaine Le Soula’s Mark Walford. Mark partnered with the phenomenal Gérard Gauby in 2001 to purchase vineyards high in the scrubby hinterlands of northern Roussillon. This is one of my favorite parts of France: rugged back country, a wild jumble of shaggy rocks that is not terribly touristic and also the place where the Cathars—the mystical heretics of the late middle ages—made their last stand and perished during the Albigensian crusade, crushed by the hegemony of spiritual conformity. The Fenouillèdes (literally, “the fennels,” for the wild fennel that is abundant there) has been a place for non-conformists for centuries and tonight you can the taste non-conformist wines that Mark and Gauby grow there. Complex, multi-vintage blends, both white and red; an orange wine; and a wine blended with an ancient barrel of rancio, long forgotten but here put to good use. See below for additional details.

Domaine Le Soula “Trigone” Blanc n°15
A complex, multi-vintage blend mostly macabeu
Domaine Le Soula Blanc 2009
Mostly sauvignon and macabeu with a smattering of other regional grapes
Domaine Le Soula “Trigone” Rouge n°15
Multi-vintage blend of syrah, carignan, tiny bit of grenache, only 12.5% ABV
Domaine Le Soula Rouge 2010
Mostly carignan, mix of vat and barrel aging, 13% ABV
Domaine Le Soula “Macération du Soula” n°14
Multi-vintage blend of skin-contact vermentino & macabeu, macerated for over a week
Domaine Le Soula “Le Mordoré du Soula”
Unique wine made from a forgotten barrel of rancio, the traditional oxidative dry wine of Roussillon

Saturday 9/3
Taste volcano wine, mountain wine, frontier wine
$12 3-7 PM no reservations needed

14067651_10208510560579330_7463163514029556871_nHere’s the bullet list of what we’re tasting this afternoon:

  • A dry, mineral, and nervy white wine that is grown on the slopes of an active volcano, made from the local carricante and catarratto grape varieties—no oak!
  • A red wine from the Atlantic-influenced northwest of Spain, mostly old-ish mencia, wild-yeast fermented, fresh, light, and juicy-spicy—no oak!
  • Old-school mondeuse from the French Alps; again, a bit so spice again, but with more extract, a little slutty—oak, but not oaky
  • Concentrated, yet juicy red wine from the French Basque country, made mostly from tannat, a grape that often makes in-yer-face, sledgehammer wines but here an expression with that exhibits more restraint, forged in the wild mountainside vineyards of the French frontier
  • By-the-glass ($10): Russo “San Lorenzo” Etna Rosso 2012 ($53/btl) high altitude vineyards (over 2,000 ft.), very much a wine for cellaring, but decanted, it’s great right now, too

Graci Etna Bianco 2014
Perez “Brezo” Mencia Bierzo 2014
Jacquin Mondeuse 2015
Illaria Irouléguy 2013

8/30/16
Taste the dirty little secrets of Piemonte
6-8 PM $15 no reservations needed

14192111_10208971003805647_2323431974026858444_nPiemonte, a region located in the northwest of Italy, is justifiably renowned for long-lived and profound red wines that are made from the nebbiolo grape. In a good vintage a well-made traditional Barolo can age for decades, but the dirty little open secret about these wines is that they can also take that many years before they are approachable; that’s why I—knowing that most of my customers will drink the wine they buy at my shop tonight or tomorrow—do not typically stock recent-vintage Barolo. For the price of a bottle of good, young traditional Barolo that is not ready to drink, I prefer to give you two or three bottles of Piemontese red wine made from grapes that are grown and vinified for wines that are ready to drink upon release. The other dirty little open secret of Piemontese red wine is that the Piemontese grow a slew of regional grapes specifically for near term glugging., Well, tonight we’re pouring wines from both sides of the divide: fresh, young wines made from grignolino and barbera, but also an older wine, still juicy and light, from high-altitude nebbiolo grown in the northern part of the region, and finally, OK, OK, a Barolo from the 2009 vintage that is, indeed ready to drink tonight.

Francesco Rinaldi Grignolino d’Asti 2014 ($20)
Andrea Scovero “Ciapin” Barbera d’Asti 2014 ($22.50)
Cantalupo “Agamium” Colline Novaresi 2009 ($20)
Roagna “Pira” Barolo 2009 ($85)

Saturday 8/27
Special Pacalet tasting

14102551_10210518091295290_6419830965356572489_nPlease join us this afternoon between 3-7 PM for a rare opportunity to taste the wines of Phillipe Pacalet with his importer, Raphael Knapp. Pacalet is a Burgundian producer of natural wine who is operating at a very high level and is indeed the nephew of the great Beaujolais producer and proponent of natural wine, Marcel Lapierre. Through Lapierre, Pacalet came to know the father of the natural wine movement, Jules Chauvet, and is growing and making wine much as Chauvet himself once did. Pacalet’s wines are unalloyed, fresh, and full of vital life forces; a function of spectacular grape farming and meticulous and sensitive winemaking. The reds start out with whole-cluster fermentation, a technique that today is pretty much the rule in Beaujolais but was also once quite common in Burgundy proper, too. Zero anything added during vinification. Pacalet’s wines are not inexpensive and we don’t have many bottles on hand today, so I urge you to arrive early. We’re pouring a tasting flight of three of Pacalet’s wines for $15, and are offering additional tastings for a supplement.

Pacalet tasting flight ($15)
Pacalet Moulin à Vent
($67/btl, limited qty)
Pacalet Gevrey-Chambertin 2012($92/btl, limited qty)
Pacalet Cornas 2014 ($87/btl, limited qty)

Supplemental (all three for $30, or by the taste)
Pacalet Puligny Montrachet 2013 ($111/btl, taste for $10, very limited qty)
Pacalet Chablis 1er cru “Beauroy” 2013 ($85/btl, taste for $8, very limited qty
Pacalet Ruchottes-Chambertin Grand Cru 2013 ($435, special tasting price: $350, 1 oz taste for $20)

Thursday 8/25
Loire Valley tasting between 6-8 PM
Vouvray pet-nat, outrageous single vineyard chenin, slutty cab franc, and more!
$12 no reservations required

14034969_708024849338161_795481416095735895_nIf I were forced to choose just one wine growing area to stock up on desert island wines, the Loire would be it. The Loire river travels through a sizeable cross section of the center of France. With headwaters in the Ardèche, it travels north and west, eventually emptying out into the Atlantic Ocean. Wine grapes are cultivated all along the way, and it’s hard for me to think of another geography in which such a wide spectrum of wine types is made, ranging from bone-dry, salty Muscadets grown near the Atlantic coast, profound and long-lived sweet wines made from chenin blanc grown near the town of Anger, and earthy red wines made gamay and grolleau, to name just a few. But grape growing in the Loire Valley can be at times difficult; vineyards near the town of Tour have seen a succession of problem vintages, with seasons full of hail and rain making winegrowing a challenge. One of my favorite growers there, Francois Chidaine, experienced 100 percent crop loss in 2016 due to hail, so I feel lucky that we still have a bit of Chidaine’s wine to pour for you tonight, as the wines will soon be in short supply. Chidaine is beloved both for his beautifully farmed chenin blanc-based wines, some dry, some with a touch of residual sugar, but he also makes some darn good sparkling wine, too. Tonight, we’re tasting his Vouvray pét-nat, a dry, chenin blanc-based natural sparkling wine. Also tasting: simple, refreshing folle blanche, an outrageous single vineyard chenin, and a couple of great, earthy cab franc-based wines to finish.

François Chidaine Vouvray brut pét-nat NV {dry, chenin blanc natural sparkling wine}
Domaine de La Bregeonnette Folle Blanche 2013 {dry, refreshing, mineral, uncomplicated}
Château de Brézé “Clos David” Saumur 2013 {dry, single-vineyard chenin blanc, young vines}
Fosse-Sèche “Eolithe” Saumur 2013 {organically farmed cab franc grown on quartz}
Gauthier “Jour de Soif” Bourgueil 2015 {slutty}