March 22 Case Club

o Fillo da condessa albariño
Small Vines TBH Pinot Noir
les sept chênes entre-deux-mers blanc
ballade gascony blanc
Grape Abduction red 
delta Pinot Noir
les sept chênes Bordeaux rouge
Luzon Verde Monastrell
Au Bon Climat Santa barbara Chardonnay 
Domaine Anita Moulin-a-vent vieilles vignes
Can Blau red blend
borovo macedonian red blend

 

fillo condessa

 

O Fillo da Condessa Albariño - Sustainable and Vegan

This wine was produced at Lagar da Condesa, located in the Valle do Salnés in the region of Galicia in the Northwest of Spain. Albariño grapes have been grown in Galicia for centuries. The wine was left on its lees to provide the roundness and creamy structure on the palate, and the optimal conditions were adhered to ensuring quality consumption.

Estate Albariño vines are handpicked in small baskets and then fermented in stainless steel. Fermented in stainless steel and aged three months on its fine lees, the resulting wine exhibits great aromatic intensity and refreshing acidity.

This Albariño shows the characteristic vibrant aromatics and flavors of citrus and white peach complemented by floral notes and the minerality that’s reminiscent of the sea.100% Albariño

92 points,  James Suckling:  Sliced apple, pear, lemon, and melon on the nose. Some jasmine, too. It’s medium-bodied with bright acidity and a floral, fruity palate. Smooth and creamy finish. Vegan. Drink now.
 
90 points, Vinous:  Vivid straw. Mineral-inflected pear, lemon curd, honey, and fennel scents pick up a smoky nuance with air. Fleshy and dry on the palate, offering pliant citrus and orchard fruit flavors and a subtle floral topnote. Finishes long and chewy, with a repeating pear note and touch of spiciness.
 

 

 

 small vines tbh

 

 Small Vines Pinot Noir TBH 2018 - organic

Small Vines crafts exquisite Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from some of California’s most meticulously farmed and unique, high-density vineyards. Selecting on only sensational properties with low-vigor soils in cool, coastal climates- they have been developing their Estate Vineyards since 1999. Each exceptional site distinguishes itself from the other by creating captivating, soil-driven wines from the Russian River and Sonoma Coast.
 
Winery notes:  100% from TBH Vineyard -our Estate-which sits on a cool-windy ridge top with heavy coastal influences in Sebastopol. Planted by us in 2009, farmed without the use of synthetic chemicals. This exquisite Pinot Noir, from obsessively tended vines, expresses precision and a distinct sense of place. This amazing site is expressing itself with purity of fruit, great natural acidity, satisfying tannins, minerality and even some distinct savory characteristics.
 
96 points, Wine Enthusiast:  From the producer's own home estate planted in 2009, this is a gorgeous reckoning of minty sage, black tea and cool-climate hits of pomegranate and rhubarb. The tannins are strong and supportive and soften in the glass, showing a graceful structure that complements the crisp, persistent acidity. 
 
94 points Vinous The 2018 Pinot Noir TBH Vineyard is fabulous. It brings together so many of the attributes that make the Small Vines wines so intriguing. Linear in build, with terrific drive, the TBH is all about energy. Red/purplish berry fruit, gravel, rose petal, blood orange and spice give the 2018 so much character. Calera and Swan clones confer so much nuance and complexity.

 

 

Ercole Bianco

Ch. Les Sept chênes entre-deux-mers blanc  (Sustainable)

Entre-Deux-Mers is the largest sub-region in Bordeaux and is so named (between two seas) because of its location between the Garonne and Dordogne rivers.   By French law, only white wines can carry this appellation, and the wine must be primarily Sauvignon Blanc with allowed Semillion and or Muscadelle added to the blend. 

Les Sept Chênes is typical for a wine from this region - crisp, refreshing, and very easy to drink.   The blend is 85% Sauv Blanc and 15% Semillon (which adds some backbone and ageability). 

Beautiful pale golden color. A fragrant and lively wine with rich aromatic intensity. Notes of grapefruit, boxwood, blackberry leaf, and citrus jump from the glass. On the palate, this wine is round with flavors of dry fruits, almonds, and honey. A lovely crisp, dry white that should be consumed young. Pairs well with poultry, shellfish, grilled fish, and pasta with cream sauces. 

 

 

 lorelle pg

Ballade Gascony Blanc (Sustainable)

Domaine de Ballade is located in the heart of Gascony, the birthplace of d’Artagnan, the famed hero of the Three Musketeers. Gascony is located at the border of the Lot and Garonne and the Gers. Hidden away in the heart of the AOC Armagnac, Gascony has been called the “new Tuscany”. Thanks to the light soils and amicable oceanic climate, the different grapes can reach their full flavorful potential for your pleasurable enjoyment.  

The Morel family looks after the vineyards,, winemaking and distillation, as they have for almost 100 years.  Their vineyard extends over 190 acres of vines. The light grounds and oceanic climate offer the optimum maturity for their various grapes: Colombard, Sauvignon Blanc & Gris, Ugni Blanc, Petit & Gros Manseng. These grapes produce very fruity and dry white wines, with flavors of exotic fruits and white flowers.  

When quizzed on the great Sauvignon Blanc producing regions of France, even a seasoned wine professional might take a few minutes to work their way down the list with Gascony, the region more known for Armagnac than wine. But this is a matter of prestige more than a reflection of the wine itself - a little Gascon Blanc, often Sauvignon blended with a little Columbard as in this case, is a revelation in hot weather!

Among the lightest-bodied whites in all of France, Gascogne Blanc doesn't sacrifice personality for weight at all. Lemon-lime zestiness and fleshy fruit appeal is the name of the game here, and as we get into some of the hottest days we'll have all year, you'll be glad you have a chilled bottle of Ballade on hand!   

"Seriously herbal and very crisp, this is an intense epitome of a perfumed, grassy wine from Gascony. Young acidity gives a taut character that contrasts with hints of creamed apple and yellow fruits at the end."- Wine Enthusiast

 

 

moulin gassac pino

Grape Abduction Blaufrankisch (Organic/natural)

This Slovenian red wine has it all - juicy, crunchy, red berry fruit, frown and made naturally, and all dolled up in a fun 1-liter bottle!   A cosmic ruby red color with pungent aromas of blackberries,
cranberries, soft dark spices, and warm red currant notes. On the palate, this natural Blaufränkisch is pure, jammy, and lively with a very smooth mouthfeel and a long, fruity, and spicy  finish.  Serve slightly chilled, with grilled meats, hard cheeses, or light fare. 

100% Blaufrankisch, single vineyard, fermented and aged in stainless tank.  

olianas cannonau

Delta Pinot Noir - organic 

Delta, meaning change, was founded in 2019 by Matt and Alexis Iaconis with the goal of making wines for environmental change. The Iaconis’s, one of California’s young winemaking couples that have quickly risen to success with acclaim for their winery Brick & Mortar, continue to focus on making elegant, pure expressions of California wines while partnering with organizations dedicated to having a positive impact on the environment.

For each bottle sold, Delta will donate $1 to an organization that pursues an effort to help the planet thrive for future generations, such as cleaning oceans to reducing CO2 emissions. Two of the biggest recipients of donations are The Cool Effect and the Surfrider Foundation.

What a killer value this is!   It tastes like Oregon Pinot used to; e.g.:  lower in alcohol (13.5%), lighter in overall profile, with vibrant acidity to balance it all out.  Sourced from cool-climate sites along the California coastline (this vintage all from a single vineyard Anderson valley site - all organically farmed).

Bright, ripe fruit. Silky smooth tannins.  Just a hint of juicy cherry cola, in the best way possible.  Crushable!  Natively fermented and aged in a mix of new and neutral barrels.   Black cherry, baked strawberry, cocoa nib, lavender, rose petal.

 

VIGOU02-017-100K

Ch. Les Sept chênes Bordeaux rouge (Sustainable)

Here in California and other non-European wine-producing areas, one can plant whatever type of grape they wish wherever they might wish to do so, and generally, the wines are named after the grape and place (Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, etc.).   

Not so in the European Common Market (which produces 2/3rds of the wine consumed globally), where the appellation laws are strict as to what grapes are allowed to be planted in very specific geographic areas.  This makes sense, as when we see the word Champagne on a label, we know that the bottle will contain sparkling wine made from specific grapes, grown in the Champagne region of France, and that Rioja-demarked red wine will never contain any Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, rather an assemblage of several allowed grape types, grown and produced in the Rioja D.O. of Spain.

So, when red grapes are planted in the Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux, the wine that is produced there cannot be called Entre-Deux-Mers Rouge, rather Bordeaux Rouge, even though the grapes may be planted in the same vineyard and made in the same facility as their white counterparts.  This is because the Entre-Deux-Mers appellation is for white wines only.  

Having said that, there is a lot of Bordeaux Rouge made in Bordeaux, which can be from anywhere in the 150,000-acre appellation.   (Bordeaux produces over 431 million bottles of wine every year, 80% of which is red).

This elegant red Bordeaux is a blend of Merlot and Cabernet (60/40) and starts off with a dreamy scent of dark cherries, intense black currants, and the finest vanilla.  Red fruits such as cassis, Maraschino cherry, and blackberry dance along the palate, scaffolded by nice, mouthwatering acidity and silky fine tannins.   Impressively long and characterized by strong elegance, the cuvée ends in an aromatic finish.  It is a steal for the price point.  

 

Lascaux Back Label

Luzon Verde MonastrelL (Organic )


Jumilla DO is in southeastern Spain, part of a region known as Murcia. a small region on the Mediterranean coast of southeastern Spain. The Jumilla viticultural area, which is sandwiched between Yecla in the north and Bullas in the south, is considered to be Murcia's most important in terms of quantity and quality. It is also the region's oldest, established in 1966.

Like other wine regions of the area, Jumilla specializes in wines based on the Monastrell grape variety, also known as Mourvèdre, which accounts for around 80 percent of vines. It is well suited to the harsh climatic conditions here, and the best wines demonstrate a varied flavor profile. This includes lively fruits and earth and mineral notes when young, developing into complex aromas of matured fruit, coffee, and oak spices with extended barrel aging.

Since the 1990s, when the region's potential to produce quality wines came to the fore, Jumilla has attracted a lot of outside attention. Producers from other Spanish regions as well as foreign companies have set up wineries here. As a result, plantings of varieties such as Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot have steadily increased, mainly to add body and character to the Monastrell-based reds.

This blending approach has worked wonders for the status of the region's wines. It is now seen as a benchmark among similar styles produced in this part of the country. A Jumilla Monastrell red wine must include at least 80 percent of the named variety.

The landscape of Jumilla is characterized by wide valleys and plains, interrupted by the serrania (mountain ranges) that cross Murcia between the sea and the Meseta Central (central plateau) of Spain. Hot, dry and harsh is the best way to describe the zone. Despite these seemingly adverse conditions, vines have been grown here since Roman times, when the region had quite a reputation for its full-bodied red wines.

The wine industry in Jumilla received a big boost when the phylloxera plague struck neighboring France in the late 19th Century. This resulted in demand for Jumilla wine soaring. Despite escaping the major outbreak, Jumilla was struck down by the pest in 1989. This offered the DO a chance to modernize and refocus on lighter, more elegant wines. Jumilla's climate is best described as arid and continental, with Summer temperatures of 104°F not being uncommon. This, along with the scant rainfall, makes the region a theoretically harsh grape-growing area. 

There are two main factors that act as saving graces. Firstly, there is a healthy amount of lime in the soil, which helps in retaining vital moisture, and secondly, the elevated central plateau. Elevations range between 1300ft - 2600ft, providing some respite from the intense heat. Nevertheless, frosts, violent storms, and torrential rains still pose real threats to vines.  

Bodegas Luzón is one of the leading producers and exporters of quality wines from Jumilla (Murcia), and this cuvée is produced with organically grown grapes.

Look for notes of back pepper, ripe plums and smoke aromas round out this wine's full-bodied blackberry and herb flavors - a natural with roasted or grilled mushrooms, meats, and sausage, braised short ribs, and rich pasta sauces.  

91 points, James Suckling:  "Bark, mushroom, dark-fruit and dried-flower aromas follow through to a medium body, easy tannins and a medium, fruity finish. Vegan." 

90 points, Decanter: "Intense cherry red color with purple background. On the nose, very intensive aromas of red ripe fruit and floral hints. Very fruity and fresh on the palate, smooth, glyceric, and tasty. Sweet and mature tannins, balanced acidity and good persistence."

 

 

abc chard

Au Bon climat chardonnay santa barbara county - sustainable

The wine world took a collective gut punch when Jim Clendenen, the mind behind Au Bon Climat died in his sleep several months ago.   Jim was a tireless, erudite, and very funny ambassador for making local expressions of old-world wine, and had been doing so quite successfully for over 40 years.  I was lucky enough to know him a bit, and will always treasure the times we spent together.

Au Bon Climat was created to produce high-quality handcrafted wine from traditional Burgundian varietals. They are one of the few California wineries to explore the gamut of these varieties: Aligote, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. The winery is located within the Bien Nacido Vineyard, the source of much of their fruit.

Au Bon Climat has been making balanced, food-friendly Chardonnays since 1982. Even in the early 2000s when ripe, oaky Chardonnays were all the rage, Au Bon Climat stuck to a more subtle and refined style, with minerality and intensity. 

The 2020 Santa Barbara County Chardonnay is a beautiful example of the Au Bon Climat style. The flinty, stony aromas stand out while in the background is a hard spice note from sur lees barrel aging. There are notes of lemon-lime and soft vanilla. With the first taste, it is irresistible. This is one of those wines that invites the consumer to have another glass. At this young age, this wine would be perfect with shellfish or poultry. It will improve for at least 10 years and as it evolves, try this wine with chanterelle mushroom pasta and be amazed. 

Another in the long line of high-quality, hand-crafted, Santa Barbara County Chardonnays from Au Bon Climat. Santa Barbara County has the climate and terrior to allow Au Bon Climat to consistently make balanced and lively wines. This wine keeps on evolving, from delicious and fresh at release to a richer more complex wine with age. At the winery, we routinely drink the Santa Barbara County Chardonnays from the 1990s with special visitors to their delight. These 25-year-old wines complement many foods.  

For this wine, ABC has used the same vineyards for a number of years - a blend is from four well-farmed vineyards: Bien Nacido, Sierra Madre, Los Alamos, and Rancho Vinedo. The average age of these Chardonnay plantings is more than 25 years, which is old compared to most vineyards in our area. 

All the Chardonnay is carefully handpicked and sorted in the vineyard. After harvesting, the grapes are whole-cluster pressed, and juice is quickly settled and chilled to begin barrel fermentation. The wine is dry and completed malo-lactic fermentation, then blended and processed the wine during the following summer.

 

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Domaine Anita Moulin-à-Vent TRès vieilles vignes les caves 2019 - sustainable/mostly organic/natural

Domaine Anita is named after Anita Kuhnel who has been making wine under the Domaine Anita since 2015. Today, Domaine Anita includes some of the  most prestigious crus of Beaujolais including Moulin à Vent, Morgon, Chénas, Fleurie, as well as some plots located on great terroirs of the Beaujolais-Villages appellation. Anita’s viticultural practices are specific to each plot, but always within her overarching philosophy of sustainable viticulture, with minimal treatments, green harvesting, and strong canopy management.

Anita Kuhnel makes the most site-specific, highest-rated wines in Beaujolais right now. Anita was born and raised in the French Bresse (cult chicken country!), not very far from Beaujolais. Not being from a wine family, nothing predestined Anita to become a vintner. Her first passion in life was actually cycling, which she practiced professionally. This cycling world is where she met her husband in 1996, and she began working with him at the age of eighteen within the one-hectare family estate in Morgon; Anita quickly got the wine bug and for fifteen years, she and her husband catapulted their small plot in Morgon to one of the most elite and sought after in the appellation.

In 2015 Anita’s and her husband’s paths diverged, and she founded her own estate under her own name. With the acquisition of new vineyards and several long term contracts, Anita is now cultivating 18 hectares of vines on the most prestigious crus of Beaujolais including Moulin à Vent, Morgon, Chénas, Fleurie, including plots in many of the most prestigious Lieux Dits within these appellations: Les Caves and Rochelle in Moulin à Vent, Moriers and Poncié in Fleurie, Chateau-Gaillard in Morgon, Les Brureaux in Chénas. With an almost Cistercian approach in the vineyard (one plot/lieux dit = one cuvée), Anita is working towards the truthful expression of these unique terroirs in a way previously unheard of in the region.

“I am committed to putting all my energy into making the best wines every day,” Anita declares. “This is why I chose to opt for plot cultivation, which allows each bottle to reflect the character of each plot. I call it, “Making the plots talk.” In the cellar, Anita is assisted by Guy Marion, former head of winemaking at Georges Duboeuf with no less than 52 harvests in Beaujolais. Together they strive to produce terroir-driven wines of the highest quality.   

Located in the village of Chenas over Lieu dit les Caves with Granite and Manganese soils and a South/East exposure. Grown at high altitude, the Gamay vineyard is 90 years old and the planting is extremely dense to encourage plant competition for growth.  The vineyard is harvested and sorted manually. Vinification is 100% whole clusters.

As traditionally in Beaujolais, the fermentation is made with full cluster, however depending on the cuvée in question Anita will bring a proportion of destemmed grapes into the tanks to improve the contact between the juice and the skin and allow a better diffusion of aromatic compounds.

As is a fairly new (and growing) approach with old vine Gamay on Cru sites in Beaujolais, Anita’s wines are made using the Burgundian Technique rather than via Semicarbonic Maceration. For an excellent breakdown of this by Roger Voss, click here – It is a very clear and concise look at the subject.

The purple color announces aromas of very ripe black fruits and intensely spicy notes. Its material envelops the palate. Its generosity and richness, combined with a rounded finish, sublimate it. Heady tannins will give this historic vintage a long aging potential.  This cuvée is made from a small plot of very old vines (some over 100-years-old) located on pink granitic soils. The nose is compact, showing dense hints of dark fruits, flowers and minerals. On the palate you’ll get a solid, almost vertical structure, driven by elegant acidity. Great purity here, and a long mineral finish.

93 points, Wine Enthusiast  The mineral texture of this wine, produced from 80-year-old vines, shows its power and concentration. Black-plum-skin flavors, a rich structure and good acidity give a wine that will age well. Drink from 2022. 

93 points, Decanter:  Fragrant nose of ripe perfumed fruit with a smoky character. Very interesting palate with soft enveloping fruit and fresh acidity.  

can blau can

can blau montsant red blend - practicing organic

A wine of the Juan Gil Group, Blau is produced in the DO Montsant. This expressive Spanish red wine is made from a blend of Samsó (a.k.a Carignan), Grenache and Syrah, all of them grown in different kinds of soils. Crafted by the Can Blau winery, the grapes were carefully selected and fermented in stainless steel tanks. After that, Blau 2018 was aged in French oak barrels for a brief period of 4 months, in order not to suffocate the quality of the fruit.

Sourced from estate vineyards, averaging 40 years old, that are located at about 2,000 feet along the sloping sides of the Sierra de Montsant. All of the vineyards are dry-farmed without use of pesticides or herbicides and the winery is solar-powered. Each varietal is hand-harvested and fermented separately before being transferred to French oak barrels for 4 months aging. The bright acidity of Mazuelo is perfectly complemented by the bold fruit and earthy flavors of Garnacha and Syrah. Spice-accented black & blue fruit aromas complemented by violets and woodsmoke. Round and juicy on the palate, zesty acidity, framed by gentle tannins.Blend: 50% Mazuelo/Samso (Carignan), 25% Garnacha, 25% Syrah

92 Decanter  Great nose! The Syrah lifts and adds fruit complexity. A delicious, good value example with fresh acidity, dark fruits and well-integrated oak.
 
91 James Suckling  A vibrant nose with ripe dark berries, as well as an earthy thread. The palate has such rich, fleshy fruit that sails on fine, velvety tannin. Impressive purity, too. Drink or hold.
 

barovo

Tikves Barovo Red Blend - Sustainable

Hand-crafted with passion and patience, Tikveš wines are emblematic of North Macedonia’s ancient tradition of winemaking. (North Macedonia is part of former Yugoslavia, north of Greece, west of Bulgaria and east of Albania).  Located in the heart of wine country, their wines reflect over 120 years of a culture that celebrates the entire wine experience – from growth, to harvest to fermentation to the most significant part, enjoyment with family and friends.

The Tikveš winery is the oldest winery in Macedonia; it began in 1885. Today is the exemplar of a modern and innovative winery. The winery uses sustainable practices throughout its operations including limiting the use of treatment of the vines, reducing consumption of both energy and water, building solar panels for self-sustainable energy, and a commitment to recycling waste and turning it into natural fertilizer.

Philippe Cambie is an advisor for the property. Aged in premium quality oak barrels this dry red wine has luscious aromas of overripe berries and dry plums, with hints of oak, smoke, chocolate and fresh spices. The taste of the wine reveals an excellent balance of alcohol, acids, tannins, and extracts that reach their peak in a perfectly harmonious finish.

65% Kratosija (the local name for Zinfandel/Primitivo/Tribidrag) and 35% Vranec, and indigenous black grape.  The Tikves Barovo spends 15 months aging in a combination of concrete (30% of the wine) and one-year-old French oak barrels (70% of the wine).

Dark red color with purple reflections. Complex aromas of dry blackberries, raspberries, and dry plums. Ideally balanced acids with soft tannins make this wine full, extractive with a powerful structure and a long juicy aftertaste.

Barovo is a village and an emerging subzone within the rapidly developing wine scene in Macedonia. Located at higher elevation (between 1600 and 2000 feet above sea level) than the rest of the vineyards farmed by Tikves, it produces wine of greater freshness and finer tannins giving the wine a noticeable Piedmont-like precision and utility at the table.

 

 



 

 

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