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Thursday 5/25
Eight Miles High Tasting
6-8 PM $15 no reservations needed

Los Angeles natural wine, organic biodynamic no sulfites
Tonight, we’re tasting three red wines grown at high altitudes, ranging from 1,000 feet to well over 2,300 feet. In an otherwise warm region, altitude can allow vines to catch off-shore winds, cooling the grapes and permitting freshness from locations that are noted mostly for flabby, overripe, prune-y wines. Cooler night temperatures allow the vines to rest and retain their precious bodily fluids. Where the valley floor can remain warm well into the evening, the diurnal shift can be more extreme at higher altitudes. When I visited Mt Etna a few years ago I was surprised at how quickly cool the evenings became after a warm summer day—you schvitz at 3 PM, but by 10 PM you want to put on a sweater. We’re starting with a historic cabernet, grown on vineyards at 2,000 feet of elevation, and planted with some of the oldest selections of cabernet in the state (the original cuttings were brought over in the late 19th century). Back the 40s, viticulture pioneer Martin Ray knew the potential of high altitude Santa Cruz mountain vineyards where breezes from the Pacific reach.

Mt Eden Cabernet Santa Cruz Mountain 2012 ($70)
Raul Perez Castro
Candaz “A Boca do Demo” 2013 Ribeira Sacra 2013 ($45)
Girolamo Russo “San Lorenzo” Etna Rosso 2012 ($53)

Saturday, May 20 tasting
2 tastings, dry rosé, and red!
Natural wines! Fizz! Beaujolais!3-7 PM no reservations

Los Angeles natural wine organic biodynamic Beaujolais pe-nat
Today, we’re pouring two different tastings: one of dry rosé from the Loire, the other of Beaujolais from three different vintages. Rosé? Because it’s hot out today and the sun god demands of us that we pour rosé when it is hot. To appease the sun god we’re tasting a fizzy, wild yeast fermented cabernet franc rosé, another cab franc rosé but without fizz, and a pinot noir rosé from Sancerre. As for Beaujolais, we have two Beaujolais-Village wines, one from 2013, the other from 2016. Both wines are from great growers, one young, the other not-so-young, but both part of the natural wine revival that started up in Beaujolais thirty years ago and that saved Beaujolais from the swamp of deracinated, mass market, boring, industrial Frankenwines. In addition, we have a cru Beaujolais from yet another gifted young natural winegrower, from the 2015 vintage—a generous vintage, but perhaps a good one to start with if you’re new to the wines of this region.

Loire rosé tasting $12

Dominique Joseph “Cab à Bulles” rosé pét-nat
Boudignon Rosé de Loire 2016
François Crochet Sancerre 2016

Beaujolais tasting $12

Dufaitre Beaujolais-Village 2016
Lapalu Beaujolais-Village 2013
Guignier Morgon vieilles vignes 2015

Friday, May 19
6-8 PM $12

Tonight, we’re tasting three thought-provoking red wines grown in varied soils and made from diverse grape varieties. We’re starting with Bryan Harrington’s Lodi corvina, a grape which I was, truth be told, unaware of in California. Corvina is one of the grapes made into Valpolicella, the dark-pigmented, soft, and fruity darlings of the red-checked tablecloth restaurants of yesteryear, yet here is one that is so startlingly pale you might mistake it for a rosé, even with nearly a month of fermentation on the skins of the grapes. We’ll serve this at a cool, glug-glug-glug temperature, and you may want to arm yourself with a few bottles for our mini-heatwave this weekend. Next up, the new vintage of Gorrondona’s red Txakolina, a rustic red wine made from very old hondarrrabi beltza vines. This petrichor-tinged wine is savory and a little tannic, with a characteristic mineral-chalky texture. And when I say old vines, I should qualify that these are 150-year-old vines, which are very old vines indeed—these are probably the very oldest plantation of hondarrrabi beltza anywhere. Finally, another savory wine, this from Ribera del Duero and made the way that wines were historically grown in this region, a field blend of tempranillo and the while grape albillo and made with zero sulfites.

Harrington “Heirloom Ranch” Covina Lodi 2016
Gorrondona “Doniene” Bizkaiko 2015 Spain
Goyo Garcia “Finca el Peruco” Ribera del Duero 2012

Thursday 5/18 6-8 pm
$20 food + wine $12 wine only

sardines
This Thursday we’re hosting a unique wine and food tasting featuring the beautifully crafted fish conserves of Conserverie Gonidec and a flight of wines we’re pairing just for the occasion. Gonidec, with their Les Mouettes d’Avor brand of vintage sardines, are producing what are arguably the very finest tinned sardines in the world. We are honored to have a special guest, Mathilde Avedissian from Conserverie Gonidec, to tell us about the history and fishing practices of this family firm, and we’ll serve three different small plates, each highlighting a different Gonidec conserve.

These humble packages of firm, meaty sardines from the northwest of France, hand packed in extra-virgin olive oil, are a billion miles away from the mass produced, mushy, malodorous supermarket product that gives sardines a bad name. Did you know that you may age these sardines in your pantry for up to ten years (the best by date on our current stock is 2025!), and they become mellow and luscious as time goes by? I’ve eaten these sardines with five years of age but now have a hard time holding on to any for more than a few months. I am constantly surprised by these sardines, slumbering in an unassuming package until that perfect moment when my cupboards are otherwise bare, and how quickly I assemble a modest but soul-satisfying feast when I crack open a tin of them.

Clos Cibonne “Cuvée Spéciale des Vignettes” Côtes de Provence 2014
Savory and delicate rosé, barrel aged under voile for one year
La Vizcaina “La del Vivo” Bierzo 2013
Doña blanca in amphora under flor for several months
Cascina Fèipu Dei Massaretti Rossese Liguria 2013
stainless fermented red from the Ligurian coast

Les Mouettes d’Avor vintage sardines,
Weiser peewee fingerlings, smoked lemon
Les Mouettes d’Avor mackerel with Brittany seaweed,
Lodge rye toast, sheep’s milk labneh, pickled onion
Les Mouettes d’Avor Germon white tuna,
lumanconi, pea tendrils, porcini panko

Saturday 5/16 tasting
3-7 PM

Los Angeles natural wine organic biodynamic
Today we’re pouring two very different tastings: one tasting is of unique, skin-contact “orange” wines and the other is a tasting of savory, earthy red wines.

Orange wine tasting $15

Whenever we host tastings featuring orange wines it’s fun to witness the varied responses amongst our customers. In general, folks really seem to dig orange wines and I do too, yet I must acknowledge that the wines are polarizing and not to everyone’s taste— different strokes for different folks. If you count yourself amongst the different folk you may find that you like different strokes, and so today we will host another orange wine tasting, this time with wines that see a relatively short amount of time macerated on the skins of the grapes. These are all on the low end of the funk-o-meter: clean stuff that’s not bacterial and effed up but nevertheless earthy, a little peculiar, complex, and compelling. Our first orange wine is Dirty & Rowdy’s “Familiar Blanc,” a curious wine consisting of various white grapes that include chenin and pinot blanc and in which a small percentage ferments on the skins. Our second orange wine is from Sicily, 100 percent catarratto (an old Marsala grape variety) that sees ten days on the skins and then a year of aging in old tronconic wood “tini” barrels. The final orange wine of the tasting is Castello di Lispida’s “Terralba,” 100% friulano, with three weeks of skin contact in terracotta amphora, followed by a year in large old barrel.

Dirty & Rowdy “Familiar Blanc” California White Wine 2015
Guccione “C” Sicilia Bianco 2014
Castello di Lispida “Terralba” Vino Bianco 2014

Earthy red tasting ($15)

Broc Cellars “Eagle Point Ranch” Counoise 2015
Cave Caloz “La Mourzière” Humagne Rouge Valais Switzerland 2014
Oikonomoy Liatiko Crete 2006

Thursday 5/11
6-8 pm no reservations needed $15

Los Angeles natural wine organic biodynamic
Raúl Pérez resembles Gimli from Lord of the Rings, albeit in a faded polo shirt rather than armaments. He sports a shaggy beard of impressive girth, and speaks with a soft voice, perhaps a bit shy speaking in English, but well worth tuning into because he has a lot to tell you about wine. When you hang out with Raúl, you shut up and listen. With a seemingly endless array of small and ancient parcels scattered across his home region of Bierzo and elsewhere in Spain’s northwest, Raúl has quietly emerged as one of the most turned on, tuned in winemakers of his generation. Working strictly with the native grape varieties of his region, he has charted his own course and produces a startling array of far out wines. Tonight, we’re tasting his exceptional old vine doña blanca, aged in old barrel—doña blanca, a workhorse grape hardly cultivated today, yet in Raúl’s hands, something trippy and otherworldly. We’re also tasting his Sketch, a wine seemingly built upon the gimmicky shtick of aging the wines submerged underwater in the Atlantic Ocean, but tasting it you accept that it is not a shtick but a brilliant way to age wine under very cool conditions. We’re also tasting two red wines, field blends of various grapes, both red and white, one from vineyards that are well over 100 years of age.

La Vizcaina La Del Vivo Doña Blanca 2013 Bierzo $36 

This exceptional wine is made from two old vine parcels of doña blanca and godello, aged in neutral barrels, during which natural “flor” yeasts develop on top of the aging wine.
Gus Mencia 2014 Bierzo $16

From younger vines, aged for a year in older barrique.
La Vizcaina La Vitoriana Mencia 2013 $36

Ultra-old vines mencia, well over 100 years old, in the hills of Valtuille, Raúl’s hometown. Following the local tradition, the wine is a field blend, mostly mencia along with bastardo, garnacha tintorerra, doña blanca and palomino.  Whole cluster fermentation followed by 60-90-day maceration and an additional year in barrel.


Sketch Albariño 2014 Rias Baixas $60

Vines planted in 1965 on granite.  One year of aging in old barrels (over 10 years old) then one year in bottle under the Atlantic Ocean.

 

Wednesday, 5/10
Taste with Carole Selen of Domaine Les Bastides
$12 6-8 PM no reservations needed

Tonight, we have a special winemaker guest visiting the shop: Carole Selen of Domaine Les Bastides(Côteaux d’Aix en Provence). Carole’s parents purchased the farm in the late 60s and began farming organically from the start. Carole’s father, Jean Selen, had his first vintage from the family domain in 1976 and after enology school, Carole joined her father in the late 80s. Carole’s area of the Côteaux d’Aix is due north of the city of Aix; a working agricultural area, not touristic, of farms and small, depopulated agricultural towns. Folks who live in Aix have realized that they can purchase vineyards and build homes and so you see farms increasingly encroached upon newly built middle-class houses. Carole’s chai is simple and she still employs several old, tarnished carbon steel tanks, enameled inside like a Le Crueset pot, insisting that these steel tanks work better than stainless. Wild yeast fermentation, low sulfites, and zero additives. Barrels, for the reds, are old and large, and when I visited Carole showed me her one new foudre, installed to replace a very old one. Carole farms several parcels and grows a mix of traditional Provençal white and red grapes, and tonight we’ll start with her cinsault-based rosé. Carole also grows, gasp (!), cabernet, a grape that is not traditional to Provence, but nevertheless, just works marvelously, marvelously I tell you when blended with grenache and given a few years of bottle age prior to release.

Domaine Les Bastides “Rosé de Saignée” Côteaux d’Aix Provence 2015
Domaine Les Bastides Côteaux d’Aix Provence Rouge 2013
Domaine Les Bastides “Valéria” Côteaux d’Aix Provence Rouge 2012

Friday 5/5
6-8 PM

los angeles natural wine organic biodynamic
Tonight, we’re pouring five wines from recovering molecular biologist, Mike Cruse. Quite simply, Mike is producing the most spectacular Champagne-style sparkling wines on our shores. We don’t have a lot of his amazing méthode traditionelle sparkling wines as we only get a few bottles of them each year, and upon receiving our allocation my first and ashamedly greedy impulse was to horde all of it for myself—but hell, you only go around once in life, gotta grab for all the gusto you can! You need to know about Mike’s tremendous work and have a chance to try it, so tonight we’re pouring what we can to spread the good word. We only have a couple of bottles each of his blanc de noir and blanc de blanc and zero to sell you, so we’re pouring tastes of those two for the lucky first 24 customers, plus three other wines that we have in somewhat better supply, including his lovely pét nat of st. laurent ($20 for the tasting). Once we run out of the méthode traditionelle wines we’ll continue to pour the other tree wines ($12 for the tasting).

Cruse Wine Company Blanc de Blanc Sonoma Coast 2012
Cruse Wine Company Blanc de Noirs 2012
Cruse Wine Company Sparkling St. Laurent pétillant naturel Carneros 2016
Cruse Wine Company “Rorick Vineyard” Chardonnay Sierra Foothills 2015
Cruse Wine Company Monkey Jacket Red Blend North Coast 2016

Thursday, 5/4
6-8 PM
$12 no reservations

los angeles natural wine organic biodynamic
Tonight, please join us and the inimitable Bill Fernandez of Antalva Imports to taste exciting new releases from Ageda Algueira. We stock a fair amount of wine from Spain’s northwest, mostly Galicia, because we dig these expressive wines, the honest winemaking you sometimes find there, and also appreciate the revival of the unique and historic grape varieties grown there, both red and white. Galicia is an area that has not, until recently, figured into the cultural map of the wines of Spain, and if you drank Spanish wines in the 80s you never saw a bottle of wine from this region on the export market. Thirty years ago, Galicia was never mentioned in the literature on Spanish wine yet today, thanks to the hard work of early pioneers Alvaro Palacios and Ricardo Perez, and now a second generation that includes Fernando González Riveiro and Ana Pérez of Algueira, these are wines that you must know. Riveiro and Pérez started out as grape farmers and sold their produce off to other winemakers, but they began to hold their fruit back and make their own wines in the late nineties. They work mostly with mencia, the most well-known of the Galician red grapes, and one of our favorite weekday, go-to reds is Algueira’s fresh, zero oak “joven” mencia, a wine vinified made from younger vines, fermented and aged in stainless steel, and meant to be enjoyed young, upon release. We’ll be tasting Algueira’s joven mencia as well as their “Carravel,” a more serious wine made from vines that are well over 40 years of age and grown on super steep, insanely terraced vineyards and aged in older barrels. In addition, we’ll taste a wine made from merenzao, AKA trousseau, a grape that, several hundred years ago, made its way to Galicia on the backs of Christian pilgrims traversing the Camiño de Santiago, and yet tastes nothing like a Jura red wine but does taste uniquely Galician.

Algueira Mencia Joven Ribeira Sacra 2015
Algueira Merenzo Ribeira Sacra 2014
Algueira “Carravel” Ribeira Sacra 2013

Saturday, April 29 tasting
3-7 PM no reservations
$15

Los Angeles natural wine biodynamic organic
Today, we have John Koehnen of Joli Vin Imports in the shop, pouring a selection of some of the great French natural wines from the portfolio. We’re starting with a bolt of energy: bone dry, ultra-mineral Muscadet from the tremendous Domaine de l’Écu. We’re following this with a super-light ploussard from the Jura and then finish up with two cabernet franc based wines: one a wine from France’s southwest, infused rather macerated, and the other yet another Domaine de l’Écu wine, this one a cab franc macerated on the skins of the grapes for seven months in terracotta amphora, no added sulfites.

Domaine de l’Écu “Orthogneiss” Muscadet 2015
Domaine de la Tournelle “Arbosiana” Ploussard Arbois Pupillin 2015
Élian da Ros “Le Vignoble d’Élian” Côtes du Marmandais 2013
Domaine de l’Écu “Invictus” Vin de France 2015