Tuesday 7/26
The new normal?
Taste 6-8 PM $10

13775891_10154355504084254_745734171455483349_nWhen will this oppressive heatwave relent, or is this the new normal? Crawl out of your air-conditioned nightmare and join us tonight, wear whatever you’d like, and crawl into our air-conditioned dream of a tasting for a bit of a respite. What we have to offer: stone-cold refreshment from the capital of refreshment, France’s Loire Valley.  You’re going to love it. Trust me, trust me.

 

 


François Chidaine Vouvray Pétillant Brut NV
Château de Brézé “Clos du Midi” Saumur 2014
Domaine Guion “Cuvée Domaine” Bourgueil 2015
Château de Fosse-Sèche “Eolithe” Saumur 2013

 

 

 

 

Saturday 7/23
Parched!
Tasting 3-7 PM $10

13662167_10209617742858133_4971503772001753674_oToday we’re offering two different tasting flights, both of which are appropriate antidotes for a summer day of bestial heat and wildfire or BBQ smoke: a flight of dry rosé, and flight of lighter-bodied reds. The dry rosé flight includes a wine made from a hundred-year-old vineyard that harbors a curious red grape called cabernet pfeffer, the identity of which has been until recently a mystery. Oh, and the flight also includes a superb, crunchy Sancerre rosé from Gitton, one of our favorite growers in in the region. The red flight includes a refreshingly dry sparkling red wine made from another obscure grape, lambrusco ruberti, a member of the lambrusco family of which only about 800 acres are still under cultivation.

Rosé tasting flight ($10)

Chateau la Canorgue rosé Luberon 2015
Kobza Mourtaou rosé Cienega Valley 2014
Gitton “Les Romains” Sancerre rosé 2014

Red tasting flight ($10)

Fondo Bozzole “Incantabiss” Lambrusco Mantovano
Vina Zorzal Graciano Navarra 2012
Two Shephereds “Trimble” carignan Mendocino 20-14

 

 

Shockingly refreshing!
Thursday 7/21 brom 6-8 PM
$10 no reservations

13718504_10154258513551668_1807968394559969199_nPhylloxera vastatrix is a nasty, demonic bug that, starting in the mid-19th century, infected and eventually destroyed most of the grape vines of Europe. In doing so it also destroyed the livelihood of old farming families and also greatly diminished the biodiversity of grapes, and many historic and regional grape varieties were lost forever and never recovered. To me, it is exciting to come to know the fragments, here and there, of some of these historic varieties that miraculously still hang on by a thread, borne into our hands due to the efforts of vigneron who care about their viticultural patrimony perhaps more than making a handsome living—for no one, I believe, gets rich from farming pineau d’aunis in the Loire. Dominique Belluard is one of these heroes. He is the conservator of gringet, a noble, aromatic white grape that is historic to his small corner of France’s Savoie region but today has become quite scarce (only 22 acres under cultivation). He makes both still and sparkling wines from this archaic delight, and tonight we’re starting our tasting with one of his shockingly refreshing Champenoise wines. Belluard ages this wine for three years on the yeast and then adds zero sugar at bottling. This invigorating wine is classified under the Mont Blanc appellation, and it is not hard on a warm summer eve to feel transported away to a cool glade in the mountains.

Belluard Mont Blanc Savoie brut zéro 2012
Chateau la Canorgue Luberon blanc 2014
Jean-Claude Lapalu Beaujolais-Villages vieilles vignes 2014
Domaine Guion Bourgueil 2015

Thursday 7/14
Raunchy wine tasting
6-8 PM $10 no reservations
do you dare?

13692685_689271151213531_2228759321250897885_nPerhaps it was the rheumy-eyed woman of a certain age, who lustily greeted you from behind the bar with a voice husky from habitual Pall Malls and Jack Daniels and asked what’ll you have, or perhaps it was Uncle Charlie, who smelled of cigars, Bourbon, and despair, who’d crack wise and tell off-color jokes to the kids when no one else was listening, or perhaps it was the foreign exchange student from France, seemingly unaware of the fine points of human hygiene, who farted melodiously one day in calculus class but pointed at you as the culprit, or perhaps it was a piece of over-the-top Roquefort that simultaneously disgusted and seduced you, or perhaps it was a wine that pushed the edge of the envelope of acceptability, too much brettanomyces, too much volatile acidity, too much, I tell you, too much! But you liked it, anyway.

Raunchy, earthy flavors that speak to our base, animal desires, our lizard brain: that’s what we’re tasting tonight. Warning: some wines will be decanted.

Trait Gamay Vin de France 2014
Christian Venier “Les Hauts de Madon” Cheverny 2013
Viña Enebro Joven 2013 Murcia Spain
Viña Enebro Querus 2013 Murcia Spain

Barolo!
Taste Barolo and other wines from Italy’s Piemonte
Tuesday 7/12 between 6-8 PM $15

13606834_688208281319818_1768615571169985839_nWe’re pouring wines from Italy’s Piemonte region tonight at the shop, 6-8 PM. We’re starting with a crisp favorita, a white grape also known elsewhere as vermentino. This wine sees zero oak and it’s extra zingy. Next, a weird ass archaic red grape that makes savory, juicy, and leafy wines that are perfect with fresh tomatoes. To follow, a legit Barbera, and to finish a majestic Barolo from 2009 that is just now ready to drink.

Podere Cellario Favorita 2015 {$16.50}
Villa Giada Gamba di Pernice 2011 {$18}
Strja Barbera d’Asti 2013 {$19.50}
Roagna “Pira” Barolo 2009 {$85}

Saturday 7/9 tasting
Cider, cidre, sidra + unclassified French wine + Morgon
$10 each no reservations

13584716_10154307728684254_1210157208575807331_oTwo tasting flights, your choice, $10 each

Cider tasting flight

Arratzain Basque sidra
{sour, salty}
Le Père Mahieu “Cuvée du Trinquart” brut organic Normandy cidre
{dry, but not sour}
Goussin Cuvée Tradition
{dry, complex, from 100+ yr. orchard}
Tilted Shed Graviva! Semi-dry cider
{mostly Gravenstein apple}

French tasting flight

Agnes Paquet “Ali Boit Boit” Vin de France
{natural sparkling aligoté}
Galbrun “Antidote” Vin de France
{grolleau, gluggy, gluggy grolleau}
Le Mazel “Cuvée C’est Im-Portant” Vin de France
{portant, a weird-ass olde variety}
Desvignes Morgon 2014
{OMFG}

 

Thursday 7/7/16 tasting
$15 6-8 PM no reservations needed

13568859_10153784162888214_1751259853868859931_oTenute Dettori is a Sardinian wine producer who neither takes prisoners nor makes excuses. The back label on Dettori’s bottles contains a long paragraph in very small typeface, outlining their approach. I love this statement of principles and the license it grants to those who would follow the dictates of their patrimony or to those with radios tuned to broadcasts from some arcane and obscure frequency, “Sorry, but we don’t follow the market, we produce wines that we like, wines from our culture. They are what they are and not what you want them to be.” We’re pouring one of Dettori’s most resolutely traditional wines this evening, an unabashedly ripe cannonau (aka grenache) that pushes buttons and also pushes the edge of the alcohol envelope for an unfortified wine—16% ABV. Named for the sweet voice of a tenor, this is an in-yer-face and monolithic mouthful and yet somehow, impossibly, also balanced. Who am I to judge?

Alexander Jules “4/65” fino Sherry bottled May 2015{dry, served cool, super salty}
Ronco del Gelso Friulano 2013 {no oak, no skin contact}
Drew “Valenti Ranch” Syrah Mendocino Ridge 2014 {savory syrah from cool climate, coastal vineyards}
Dettori “Tenores” Romangia Rosso IGT Sardinia 2006 {16% ABV, can ya dig it?}

Saturday 7/2 tasting
Dry rosés and reds you can serve slightly chilled
$15/flight 3-7 PM no reservations required

13590424_10153783932438214_6263949711647814759_nToday we’re offering two tasting flights: a refreshing flight of dry rosé and a flight of lightly chilled red wines. All of these wines are meant to be enjoyed whilst sitting on a comfortable chair in your backyard, a chaise longue if you have it, or under an umbrella or the open sky, relishing the colloquy of good company or perhaps just the company of your own inner monologue and eating, or not eating anything. The red flight starts oxymoronically with a subtle bang: Bornard’s spectacular ’14 Jura trousseau. If you dig trousseau you probably know Bornard of the Overnoy school, or if you do not you will after today. The trousseau party continues with our rosé flight, which starts with a crisp, trousseau-containing Jura sparkling wine from Domaine des Bodines, and then continues on with a delicate, perfumed Beaujolais rosé and then two dry pinot-based rosés:  a shockingly good Sancerre rosé and a shockingly good rosé from Germany’s Pfalz.

Light red tasting flight ($15)
Phillipe Bornard “Le Ginglet” Trousseau Arbois Pupillin 2014 ($50)
Señoío de Peciña Rioja cosecha! 2014 ($14.50)
Massarelli Rossese Riviera Ligure di Ponente 2015 ($21)
Calabretta Vino Rosso (Etna) NV (19.50)

Rosé tasting flight ($15)
Bodines Crémant du Jura rosé Extra Brut ($25)
Cambon Beaujolais rosé 2015 ($21)
Reverdy Sancerre “Terre de Maimbray” rosé 2015 ($24)
Rebholz Spätburgunder rosé 2015 Pfalz ($31)

Thursday 6/30 tasting
FUBAR tasting 6-8 PM $10

13517655_10153777638168214_5813715633002989192_oAs you exit the A18 autostrada near the north slope of Sicily’s Mt Etna and drive northwest through towns like Lingualossa and Solichiatta, the terrain and the vibe change abruptly. As you gain altitude and leave the arid coastal plain the atmosphere becomes pre-alpine. The structures in these small towns are constructed of dark volcanic basalt, and if you continue to climb the north slope of the mountain you’re soon driving upwards through pine forests gradually peppered by increasingly large chunks of what was once molten lava. It’s a place that is at once foreboding (this is an active volcano, after all, and the effects of its power are plainly visible) and magically inviting. It seems crazy that anyone grows grapes here, but the steeply terraced vineyards, built over a century ago, were clearly built for the long term. Why in the hell would you grow grapes here, where at any moment a lava flow might destroy years of work? You can stand on an Etna vineyard amidst the profound heat of a southern Italian summer and yet feel comfortable and cooled by the constant sirocco winds blowing north from Africa. Where people are comfortable so are wine grapes, and as you stand in a vineyard of bush pruned old vines planted at the end of the 19th century, buffeted by the Al Cantara winds at 3,000 ft of elevation, you understand that it’s not, after all, such a crazy place to grow wine.  We’re tasting a great dry and mineral rosé from the north slopes of Mt Etna this evening, as well as a bunch of other oddball and not-so-oddball stuff, too.

Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Rosato 2015 {mostly nerello mascalese}
Domaine de Sulauze “Galinette” Coteaux d’Aix en Provence blanc 2014 {mostly grenache blanc}
Sottimano “Maté” Piemonte 2014 dry brachetto no bubbles
Rojac Refoŝk Slovenia 2012

Make new friends, but keep the old
Tuesday 6/28 between 6-8 PM
$15 no reservations required

13501610_1090832207650783_7758750802248300246_nThe nursery school rhyme, “make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold,” makes me sad, as it posits that friendship is something that is fungible, reducible to an exchange relationship. Friendship is not fungible and is irreducible to even the most assiduously compiled inventory of “what I like about her.” There’s a mysterious dimension to human connection, just as there is a mysterious dimension to what we prefer, and do not prefer, to put in our mouths. I can name any number of reasons why I like to put good cru Beaujolais in my mouth; it will be a long and dull list, but when I’m through, no matter how assiduously the assemblage, the list will fail to explain why I dig it so. Old wine friends, such as the Gigondas we’re tasting tonight, may appear so familiar that we do not, in our endless yearning for the novel, return to them very often and yet when we do we may find ourselves unexpectedly shocked to find something unexpected—perfume and delicacy rather than brawn and sludge-hammer. And then there are new wine friends such as the fantastically mineral white from Mt Etna that we’re tasting tonight that leave us unexpectedly shocked, too, when they offer lively and complex flavors and textures from a region with zero historical precedence in doing so. Or another new friend, a natural sparkling rosé from Tuscany, a region with not a long history of making rosé, much less a sparkling rosé, and even less so a rustic, méthode ancestrale pét-nat of the sort we’re starting with tonight.

Cantina Della Staffa “Brosio” rosato 2015 {$30 pét-nat of sangiovese}
Benanti “Pietra Marina” Etna Bianco Superiore 2011 {$56 outrageous carricante from the east side of Etna}
Vignai da Duline Schioppettino Venezia Giulia 2011 {$45 aged in large old barrels}
Domaine du Cayron Gigondas 2013 {$36 lovely, aromatic syrah/grenache}