Friday, 11/10
$12
6-8 PM no reservations required

Los Angeles natural wine orange wine no sulfites organic biodynamic #rawwine
Taste natural wines from France, Austria, and Georgia
Live winemakers in the shop!
Hot khachapuri!
$12 / 6-8 PM no reservations required

Tonight, tomorrow afternoon, and this coming Wednesday, we have an embarrassment of winegrower riches at the shop in celebration of Raw Fair, the ginormous natural wine tasting that’s happening this Sunday and Monday at Vibiana, downtown (get discounted tickets by clicking here and using the code LoudoesRAWWINE when you check out). Come taste with real live winemakers!

Tonight, taste with growers from France, Austria, and the Republic of Georgia, with hot khachapuri (traditional Georgian cheese bread) pulled straight from our oven. Saturday, taste with Italian natural winemakers from the Critical Mass Selections import portfolio, with Sicilian pies from Prime Pizza. And then on Wednesday, taste the bone dry, minerally Muscadet (and a couple of reds, too) with Fred Niger of Domaine de l’Ecu, with the consummate pairing with Muscadet, raw oysters, from Shucks Oyster Bar.

Tonight’s tasting 12 wines!

Domaine Plageoles mauzac nature 2015
Domaine Plageoles mauzac noir 2016
Domaine Plageoles “Bro’cool” 2016
Domaine Plageoles Vin de Voile 2000

Domaine des Deux Ânes “Gris” 2015
Domaine Deux Ânes “Fontanelles” 2015

Gut Oggau Weiss out of magnum 2015
Gut Oggau Rot out of magnum 2015

Gogita Makaridze Tsitska 2015
Gogita Otskhanuri Sapere 2015

Archil Guniava Tsolikouri-Tsitska-Krakhuna 2015
Archil Guniava Otskhanuri Sapere-Tsolikouri 2015

Saturday, 10/28
3-7 PM / no reservations needed

Los Angeles natural orange organic biodynamic wine Sherry
Today, we have an extra-special tasting with our friend and Spanish wine importer, Alex Russan. Alex first came to our attention when he darkened our doorstep a few years ago, peddling the Sherry he was beginning to import into the US. What struck us immediately about Alex was that here was a man who was singularly, nay, obsessively dedicated to unearthing superb, old, dry Sherry. The wine that blew us away was his “Los Abandonado,” from a solera dating to the 18th century, and then abandoned for over 40 years due to the shifting sands of ownership changes at the bodega. We’re pouring two different tastings today, one of lighter-bodied reds from the north of Spain, the other of his beloved dry Sherries, including the last bit of the Los Abandonado. Sherry is one of the wines for which sommeliers and annoying wine shop owners are forever waxing poetic, and reader, I am one of those. I know it’s a losing battle, foisting Sherry upon resistant customers, all of whom assume that it’s going to be a sweet drink best enjoyed in the company of grandma, and yet here I go again: all the Sherries we’re trying today are dry, with zero residual sugar, and illustrate how old Sherry remains one of the most underappreciated and reasonably priced super-complex, barrel-aged wines that you can get your hands on.

Spanish red tasting $12
Akilia “Clarete” 2016
Fento Rias Baixas 2014
Bodega Almaroja “Charlotte Allen” 2011

Dry Sherry tasting $12
Tosca Cerrada ’15 Palomino en Rama (unfortified, not technically Sherry)
Alexander Jules Amontillado “3/10” (18 yrs avg)
Alexander Jules Amontillado “Sin Prisa” (very old)
Alexander Jules “Los Abandonado” (very, very old, and untouched for 40 yrs)

Friday, 10/27
$12 / 6-8 pm / no reservations needed

Los Angeles natural wine organic biodynamic orange soif no sulfites
I do believe that our excessive heat in Los Angeles has muddled my already addled brain. It doesn’t take much for that to happen, as I have not much material, to begin with, but in general, I try to make do with what God gave me. I can no longer think right, and if you’ve visited the shop lately, I don’t talk too good, either. I’m managing to get by with emotive horn-honks and appreciative grunts (if you’re the kind gent who asked me about a Savigny-Les-Beaune yesterday, I apologize for my answer, which I suspect amounted to trained-seal like noises and a weird, flapping of the hands gesture). All I want to drink are the lightest of red wines, lighter-than-a-feather reds that even the slightest of breezes threatens to lift away, up up and away in my beautiful balloon, and my lips curl and I shout out in a parched, raspy voice, “no, come back to me, red wine!” And so, today we’re pouring four such light red wines, all candidates for chilling, all low-ish in alcohol, nothing too ripe-y ripe, just fresh stuff that you want to put in your mouth.

Antoine Llyut “Portezeuelo” Pipeño 2015 Chile
Domaine Les Foulards Rouges “Les Glaneurs” 2016 Côtes du Roussillon/France
Cyrille Sevin “Une Histoire de Rouge” Vin de France NV Pét-Nat of gamay + cabernet
Joubert Beaujolais Villages “Cuvee Jules Chauvet” 2015 France

 

Thursday, 10/16
$12 / 6-8 PM / no reservations needed

Los Angeles organic biodynamic natural funky natural wine
Tonight, we’re pouring three different red wines from France’s Jura region, and an optional, by-the-glass of the peculiar local institution: the infamous yellow wine of the Jura, vin jaune. The Jura is a funhouse mirror that reflects and refracts nearby Burgundy in specific and sometimes odd ways. Although Beaune is just 100 km from Arbois, a short trip by car on the autoroute, the cultural differences between these two towns is pronounced, a reflection of the middle ages when you might never travel 100 km from home in all your days. In Burgundy, pinot noir is king, and aging in a percentage of new oak barrels is not unheard of; pinot is indeed grown in the Jura, but it is there a minority grape, eclipsed by the local trousseau and hyperlocal poulsard grapes, both of which are rarely aged in any new oak at all. Barrel aging for chardonnay-based wines is common in Burgundy, but in the Jura, very long élevage (2+ years) in old barrels is common, with even longer aging for savagnin-based whites, the latter of which sometimes develop biological aging artifacts not unlike dry Sherry (but without any fortification). Truthfully, this analogy breaks down with wines made from poulsard, as there is no analog in Burgundy for this uniquely Jurassien grape, destined for perfumed, light-as-a-feather reds, sometimes stinky with reduction, sometimes not. We’re starting tonight with a poulsard from the village of Arbois, which we may or may not decant, but will most definitely serve slightly chilled. We’re also tasting more poulsard in a Côtes du Jura rouge, but alloyed with trousseau and pinot, and finally a very limited trousseau from a young biodynamic farmer. Special, by-the-glass: we’re opening one bottle of a very fine bottle of vin jaune ($85/btl, 10$/gl), aged under voile yeasts for six years in old barrels that are never topped up.

Domaine de la Pinte “Pinte Bien” Poulsard Arbois 2015
Domaine de la Pinte “La Capitaine” Arbois 2015
Domaine Morel “Les Trouillots” Trousseau C
ôtes du Jura 2016
By-the-glass ($10): Xavier Reverchon Vin Jaune Côtes du Jura 2004

Saturday, 10/21
3-7 PM / no reservations needed

Los Angeles natural wine organic biodynamic cabernet franc
Today we’re pouring two tastings: one consisting of cabernet franc from the spiritual homeland of the grape, France’s Loire Valley; the other our last rosé tasting for the season (look at the forecast for this week and know why). I am quite a cabernet franc-o-phile, and at any given time you will find two or maybe fifteen selections of cabernet franc-based wines gracing the shelves of my shop. I prefer cabernet franc over cabernet sauvignon because to me it comes off as a less-refined, untamed, more rustic, less in-your-pie-hole drink than the grape that made Napa famous. Cabernet sauvignon is your polite aunt, lovely but predictable; cabernet franc is your aunt who you hear farting in the other room, and you never know what she is capable of—perhaps, anything. But, to find cabernet franc at it’s best, you need to look to the central part of France’s Loire Valley, because it is only there that an entire region has dedicated itself to obsessively elaborating this grape with nuance and sensitivity. We’re pouring a range of Loire cabernet franc, including one that’s seventeen years old (direct from the domaine), so you can see how gracefully cabernet franc can age. We’re also pouring two wines from two of the most profound growers working with this grape, Jacky Blot, and the recently retired master, Jo Pithon.

Loire cabernet franc tasting $15
Chateau Tour Grise Saumur 1999
Les Clos Lyzières Saumur Champigny 2014
Domaine de la Butte “Mi Pente” Bourgueil 2015
Pithon-Paillé Chinon “Dessus Narcay” Chinon 2015

Last of the season rosé tasting $15
Domaine de la Realtiere “Pastel” Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence Rosé 2016
Domaine Ilarria Irouleguy Rosé France 2015
Smith & Story Pinot Noir Rose Rhinegau Germany 2016
Two Shepherds Grenache Rosé Mendocino 2016

Friday, October 20
$15 / 6-8 PM / no reservations

Los Angeles natural wine organic biodynamic orange schiopettino verduzzo
Please join us for a special winemaker tasting tonight with Ivan Rapuzzi, of our beloved Ronchi di Cialla estate, located in Italy’s Friuli region. The Rapuzzi family are custodians of grapes, in particular, schiopettino,  and are amongst the small number of growers in Italy who are energetically committed to saving the historic and often fragile grape varieties of their regions. None of this would matter much if these marginal grapes were mere historical curiosities, but as you will see tonight, they are much more than that. Tasting these wines is akin to opening a window onto a spectrum of flavors and textures that come from a very different time and place.

As you travel east to Friuli on the autostrada you get the feeling, quite abruptly, that not only are you not in Kansas anymore, but you’re also not quite in Italy, either. As you enter Friuli, the signs you see on the autostrada are bilingual, with both Italian and Friulano, the latter with Slovenian diacritics. This is a part of contemporary Italy that historically hewed to the east, to the Austro-Hungarian empire, and indeed, a good chunk of the region remained under Austrian rule until the end of the First World War.

The wines, too, hew to a sensibility that is not quite Italian, no longer Austrian, but wholly Friulian. Back in the 70s, Ivan’s parents knew that the historic and noble red grape of the region, schiopettino, was extinct, and he set out to see if he could find any stray vines with which to cultivate. The destructive phylloxera louse and two world wars really did a number on the grape variety, and although the wine was an artifact of living memory, no one was cultivating it or had even seen it for years. At first, he had no luck but then, serendipitously, Paolo Rapuzzi discovered a single, feral vine of schiopettino in the garden of the mayor of Prepotto, the small town hard against the Slovenian border in which the estate lies. The Rapuzzis were able to locate and salvage a few other schiopettino vines and soon had enough genetic material to graft over a vineyard to schiopettino, thus saving a grape that I find tremendously exciting. We’re tasting several schiopettino-based wines tonight, including the current vintage of their original replantation (2011), another wine from younger vines that they bottle with the grape’s nickname (2013), ribolla nero (no relationship at all with ribolla gialla), and one bottle only (first come) of a 1983 vintage schiopettino, again from the original replantation. We’re also tasting their earthy, rustic 2010 pignolo from magnum, another grape that the Rapuzzi family have worked to salvage, as well as an older bottling of their fantastic 1990 refosco. To start, a crisp apéro, 2015 Ronchi di Cialla friulano, and to finish, their 2011 skin-contact verduzzo.

Ronchi di Cialla Friulano Friuli 2015
Ronchi di Cialla “Ribolla Nera” Schiopettino Friuli 2013
Ronchi di Cialla Schiopettino Friuli 2011
Ronchi di Cialla Schiopettino Friuli 1983 (one bottle only – first come)
Ronchi di Cialla Pignolo Friuli (magnum) 2010
Ronchi di Cialla Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso 1990
Ronchi di Cialla Verduzzo Friuli 2011

Friday 10/13 and Special Raw Fair preview tasting Saturday 10/14

We have two great tastings this weekend. On Friday, taste Italian red wines that color outside of the lines, and on Saturday we’re hosting a Raw Fair preview tasting with Isabelle Legeron, plus oysters from L&E Oyster Bar.

Los Angeles natural wine organic biodynamic Friday, October 13, 2017
Marginal Italian red wines
$12 / 6-8 PM / no reservations

Why do grape varieties fall out of fashion? Part of the reason is fate. When the invasive phylloxera louse destroyed most of the vines in Europe by the late 19th century, there came a tremendous decline in grape biodiversity. Some grape varieties were lost forever; others became regional specialties, with ever-dwindling numbers of farmers willing or interested in working with their grandparent’s grapes. And yet others fall out of fashion because they do not hew to the standards of modernity—they just don’t behave in ways that easily fit into the Cartesian coordinates of marketplace categorization. I am a champion of the underdog grape because I know that sometimes, the old ways are sometimes good ways. Tonight, taste four marginal Italian red wines made from grape varieties that have become marginal, for no fault of their own. We have mayolet from the Val d’Aosta, the French-speaking part of Italy at the Swiss border. There are only about 1,000 acres of it still under cultivation, not only because it’s not easy to grow, but also because mayolet wants to make fresh, low-tannin, juicy wines that until recently, no one wanted, but now just what so many of us want to drink. We have another wine with yet more old, ultra-regional varieties from this part of Italy (petite rouge, cornalin, vien de nus). And then two mono-varietal reds made from delightful regional curiosities: cjanorie, from Friulian grape conservator Emilio Bulfon, and a rare example of old-school brachetto, a Piemontese grape that today is mostly made into frivolous, sweet, fizzy wines, but here in its traditional manifestation, dry, chalky textured, lavender-y.

Villet Mayolet Val d’Aosta 2015 (rare variety indigenous to the Val d’Aosta)
Emilio Bulfon “Cjanorôs” Friuli 2015 (cjanorie, exceptionally rare Friulian variety)
Sottimano “Maté” 2016 Piemonte (dry, still brachetto)
La Crotta di Tanteun e Marietta “Farouche” 2015 Val d’Aosta (petit rouge, cornalin, vien de nus, gamay)

Saturday, October 13
3-7 PM no reservations
Wine + half-dozen oysters: $25 Wine only: $12

Isabelle Legeron, the author of “Natural Wine” and the brains behind http://losangeles.rawwine.com/Raw Fair, the forthcoming, epic, two-day natural wine fair at Vibiana in downtown Los Angeles, is in the shop to talk to us about natural wines and sign her book. Raw Fair is taking place in Los Angeles on November 12-13th, and we’re damn excited about it. 120 natural winemakers with hundreds of wines to try. Do not miss this! Tonight, we’re previewing a few of the wines from growers who will be at the Raw Fair in November, and I thought: raw wines need raw oysters, and so we also have our friends from L&E Oyster Bar shucking raw oysters for us, and we’re tasting a half-dozen oyster-loving wines with which to enjoy the world’s finest edible bivalve.

Saturday, October 7

Los Angeles natural wine organic biodynamic
Gamay x 6! Taste 6 diverse expressions of gamay
$15 / 3-7 pm / no reservations / 10 percent off any wine tasted

I dig gamay-based wines very much, Beaujolais in particular, but I’m not Taliban about that and admit to digging the very different expression of gamay from France’s Loire Valley, but also the Ardèche. I am surprised, although I should not be, that there are a few who do not really dig gamay. To them, I say, fine, be that way, but know I’ll judge you a little differently from now on. It’s almost as if there’s a psychic dividing line between the gamay lover, a person who is prepared to let their hair down and open themselves up to how and where the evening may enfold, and those that can’t go there, and need to color inside the lines. If you are the latter, it’s OK, Booboo, we’re here for you, too. Today, we’re tasting six different gamay-based wines, and you can make up your own mind if gamay is for you. We have indeed some lovely, Loire gamay, one of which is a light, dry rosé, but also an exceptional and rare Brouilly, a cru Beaujolais from 117-year-old vines.

Sérol “Cabochard” Côte Roannaise 2016
Christian Venier “Le Clos des Carters” Vin de France 2015
La Grange aux Belles “La Niña” Vin de France 2015
Les Sablonnettes “Les Copines Aussi” Vin de France 2016
Michel Guignier Morgon 2016
Lapalu “Cuvée des Fous” Brouilly 2015

Los Angeles natural wine orange biodynamic organic Austria
Tonight, please join us for a hard-hitting, one-two punch: we have pioneer natural wine impresario Fi Fi in the shop to pour us a selection of La Grange aux Belles wines from his import portfolio. Fi Fi (aka Philippe Essomé), the brains behind the Lower East Side’s 10 Bells natural wine bar and his own natural wine shop in Brooklyn, has quietly begun importing some truly fabulous natural wines. Fi Fi has been one of the most consistent and persistent advocates for natural wine, years before it was on the lips of every thirsty gentrifier. Come and sit at the master’s feet and learn and taste some.

There are a great many wines now in Fi Fi’s portfolio, and it’s impossible, really, to do a decent job of surveying the territory within the format of a short tasting, so I thought it would be best to do a tasting of the wines of a single domain and that’s just what we’re doing tonight with our focus on the wines of Marc Houtin’s La Grange aux Belles. Houtin, a native of Anjou area, bailed from his straight day job working in the petroleum industry 2001 and went on to do coursework in enology. Along the way he fell hard first for the wines of the phenomenal Anjou grower, Patrick Baudouin (whom we also stock), and later, even harder, for the equally phenomenal wines of Léon Barral (we also stock, coincidentally, Barral—if you haven’t tried Didier Barral’s weird-ass white wine, which demands hours of decanting, you need to). Houtin doesn’t make wines that mimic his touchstones in any way, and has instead forged ahead with his own style, which is light and crunchy. We’re pouring six La Grange aux Belles wines tonight, including a gamay pét-nat, a pineau d’aunis because, a skin-contact sauvignon, & etc.

La Grange aux Belles “Coup de Boule” 2016 (gamay pét-nat)
La Grange aux Belles “Brise d’Aunis” 2016 (pineau d’aunis)
La Grange aux Belles “Fragile” 2015 (chenin blanc aged 12 months aging in used demi-muids)
La Grange aux Belles “La Niña” 2015 (old vines gamay)
La Grange aux Belles “Princé” 2015 (cab franc in concrete)
La Grange aux Belles “I Got the Blouge” 2015 (sauvignon blanc, 2 weeks on the skin)

 

Saturday, September 30th tastings
3-7 pm / no reservations needed

Los Angeles natural wine orange wine biodynamic organic Muscadet
Today we’re offering two tastings: one of dry white wines from France’s Pays Nantais, the other or lighter-bodied reds, perfect for a warm, Indian summer afternoon. The Pays Nantais is the territory surrounding the town of Nantes, on the cool, northwest Atlantic coast of France. It’s where the long, meandering Loire river empties out into the ocean, and of the many things to love there, foremost in my mind, are (a) oysters on the half-shell, and (b) the consummate wine with which to enjoy them, Muscadet. Some claim that Chablis is the wine for oysters, but don’t listen to them, as they have no idea what they’re talking about. Now, if you’re fretting that Muscadet is sweet, please know that you’re confusing muscat, a grape, with Muscadet, a wine region in which the wines are always, always dry as a bone. The actual name of the grape used in Muscadet wine is melon de bourgogne, a grape that you might think is grown in Burgundy, but it is not (although it was once grown there, many years ago). We’re pouring Muscadet from two of our favorite growers in the region: Marc Ollivier, and Fred Niger. Mr. Niger, by the way, will be in the shop mid-November for a grand tasting of his wines, replete with oysters, house-baked rye bread (by mine own hands), and demi-sel butter. For our red tasting, three lighter-bodied wines. Have you had a Bosnian wine lately or ever? Well, here’s your chance to taste a very good one, made from the blatina grape. We’re also pouring a rather atypical Ribera del Duero wine, all garnacha, that’s light and juicy because it is whole-cluster fermented.

Red tasting $12

Populis “Wabi-Sabi” California 2016
Brkić Bosnia 2015
Alfredo Maestro “El Rey Del Glam” Ribera del Duero/Spain 2014

Muscadet tasting $12

Domaine de l’Ecu “Classic” 2015 France
La Pépière “La Pépie” 2016 France
Domaine de l’Ecu “Orthogneiss” 2015 France