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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)


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