Wine of the Week: Mauro Vergano NV Vermouth Bianco

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Vermouth – most people associate this beverage (and yes, it is a beverage) with Manhattans and Martinis, but few know the pleasure of an expertly crafted vermouth served all by itself (maybe with a spritz of soda and a twist). What is vermouth, anyway? It’s an aromatized and fortified wine, infused with a blend of botanicals to make it herbal, aromatic, and bitter. Vermouth was first produced Turin, Italy during the 18th century, used primarily for medicinal purposes. Soon it became a popular aperitif, and by the 19th century bartenders started using it in cocktails.

There are many styles of vermouth, including red, white, rose, and amber, which can be either sweet or dry. The vermouth featured in this blog post is a white vermouth with a bit of sweetness, which I feel is necessary to balance it with the bitterness so it can be enjoyed on it’s own. This was the first “craft” vermouth I ever consumed as an aperitif, which pretty much ruined me for all other vermouths of inferior quality – this is the best one I’ve ever had. Made from Moscato & Cortese (two very aromatic Italian white wines, with floral and citrus notes) and a secret blend of botanicals, it’s the perfect beverage for lovers of bitter drinks such as coffee, negronis, and martinis.

Enjoy this delicious vermouth with a spritz of soda water, a twist of orange, and a sprig of bruised rosemary to make one of the most special and delicious libations you’ve ever had.

This product is SOLD OUT. Thanks for your interest!

P6190001Winemaker: Mauro Vergano
Bio: Mauro Vergano started his career after earing degrees in chemistry, viticulture, and oenology. He spent 15 years working for a company in the “flavors and fragrances” sector where he learned a variety of skills, including how to recognize the nuances of fragrances. During this time, he experimented with making his own aromatized wines for friends and family – a craft he learned from his uncle. In 2003, Vergano moved on to making vermouth and chinato full time, and makes some of the finest and most highly sought-after aromatized wines available.
Region: Italy>Piemonte>Asti
Vineyard: Various
Blend: Cortese & Moscato
Aging: N/A
Production Notes: The wines used in this classic vermouth bianco are sourced from neighboring natural wine producers in Asti. Vergano uses a secret blend of herbs and spices to aromatize and sweeten this classic Piemontese-style vermouth bianco.
Tasting Notes: Most people associate vermouth with cocktails, but across the world it’s one of the most popular aperitifs on its own. The style of this vermouth is highly aromatic, with notes of flowers, citrus, honey, and herbs. On the palate, it’s perfectly sweet with balanced acidity and bitterness – it achieves a perfect harmony not often found in vermouth. Enjoy it over ice with a spritz of seltzer water, a twist of orange, and a sprig of rosemary for a mind-blowing treat you won’t believe you’ve been missing your whole life.
Food Pairing: Enjoy as an aperitif to whet your appetite and stimulate your palate.

This product is SOLD OUT. Thanks for your interest!

Our 5 Favorite Wines for Summer

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Summer is just around the corner, but the recent warm temperatures may have you thinking it’s been here for a while! The wines on my table have all been light-bodied and served with a chill, and most of them are the perfect pairing for a weeknight barbecue. Here’s a round-up of our five favorite wines for summertime, all available on Winelandia.com!

La Clarine Farm 2013 Rosé, Sierra Foothills – $19
Nothing yells SUMMER like rosé wine. We opened a bottle of this delicious vino from La Clarine Farm last night to enjoy with our hot links, grilled Tartine bread, and arugula salad. It is surprisingly expressive, with intense aromas of grapefruit blossoms and herbs. It’s luscious and textured while still having a zippy acidity to make it thirst-quenching on a warm summer evening, and it’s an absolute steal at this price. All of the La Clarine Farm wines are made in extremely limited quantities, so get some before it’s gone!

Rafa Bernabé 2011 ‘El Morron’ Garnacha, Alicante – $25
The joyful wines of Spanish natural wine producer Rafa Bernabé are a new discovery for us, and we just can’t get enough of them. This juicy Grenache is from the Alicante region in Spain (just off the south-eastern coast), which faces the Mediterranean ocean. ‘El Morron’ is fresh and vibrant, sees no new oak, and has no added sulfites. A really beautiful Spanish wine, perfect for a warm evening.

Jolie-Laide 2013 Trousseau Gris, Russian River Valley – $27
Jolie-Laide is one of our favorite California producers, and these wines cause quite a ruckus when they are released each year. We were lucky enough to get our hands on some of this rare and delicious juice that has earned itself a cult following. The 2013 Trousseau Gris is not quite a white wine and not quite a rosé – it’s a peachy-colored white wine with incredible aromatics and texture. Enjoy this delicious and unique wine with citrus and cilantro-stuffed whole grilled snapper.

Knebel 2012 ‘Von den Terrassen’ Riesling, Mosel – $23
Riesling is a wine often overlooked by casual wine drinkers, but it’s the summertime darling of fanatical wine lovers. It’s fresh, luscious, aromatic, zippy, and great with spicy foods. This particular wine from German producer Knebel is perfectly balanced and priced to be enjoyed any day of the week. It’s dry (but not too dry) with mouth-watering acidity, which will make it great with food or all by itself. An excellent wine for a pool party!

Matthiasson 2013 ‘Linda Vista’ Chardonnay, Napa Valley – $27
Steve Matthiasson makes the best Napa Valley Chardonnay we’ve ever had at a price point that’s hard to beat. This is not your Aunt Mary’s buttery, oaky chardonnay – it’s quite the opposite. This beautiful example of California Chardonnay has notes of citrus, apples, and honey, with balanced acidity. The wine was aged in neutral oak and allowed to undergo partial malolactic fermentation, so it has a touch of texture while still being fresh and juicy. Enjoy with friends on a grassy knoll, preferably under a blue sky full of puffy white clouds.

Interested in purchasing some of our delicious summertime wines? Check out our delivery terms and order yours today!

Wine of the Week: Forlorn Hope 2012 “Ghanima” Merlot, Napa Valley

The Forlorn Hope merlot is SOLD OUT. Thanks for your interest!

Matthew Rorick, the proprietor of Forlorn Hope, has a reputation for making soulful wines from fringe varieties such as Touriga Nacional, Sémillon, and Torrontes. He also makes a damn fine Napa Valley Merlot, which might as well be a fringe variety these days.

Most people associate Merlot with flabby, oaky, homogenous red wine from California, and varietal wines made from Merlot have been out of vogue since the movie “Sideways” came out (the protagonist hated Merlot because it reminded him of his ex). However, Merlot has been the primary grape in famous Bordeaux regions since the 1700’s, making some of the world’s finest wines from St. Emilion and Pomerol. Merlot also has a bit of history in United States, where it was once one of the most popular wines in the country.

Forlorn Hope’s Merlot, I’m told, is reminiscent of the fine Bordeaux-style wines made in Napa Valley in the 1970s. It’s old school in style; slightly herbal with plenty of rich red and black fruit backed up by low alcohol, balanced acidity, and dusty tannins. This wine is aged in 100% neutral French oak and fermented whole cluster, which allows terroir and varietal characteristics to shine.

If you’re a fan of old world red wines but prefer to buy locally grown and produced foods, give this beautiful wine a try. It’s the perfect pairing for grilled chicken, lamb, beef, or grilled sausages.

P5300012

Winemaker: Matthew Rorick
Bio: 
Matthew Rorick is a surfer and Gulf war veteran. After the war, he returned to southern California where his grandfather encouraged him to study enology. Forlorn Hope was started in the mid-2000′s. His focus is lost and forgotten varieties, age-worthy white wines, and easy drinking reds. Rorick employs minimalist winemaking methods; he ferments with indigenous yeasts, leaves the grape clusters whole, and only uses small additions of SO2. He was the SF Chronicle’s 2013 Winemaker to Watch, and yes, we are watching!
Region: 
US>California>Napa Valley
Vineyard: 
Hillside vineyard with white volcanic tufa soils
Blend: 
100% Merlot
Aging: 
16 months in neutral oak
Production Notes: 
100% whole-cluster fermented Merlot from a white volcanic tufa-laced hillside vineyard in Napa Valley. Aged 16 months in neutral oak. 47 cases produced.
Tasting Notes: 
This is about as old-school as California merlot can get. Red fruit is complimented by earth, dusty tannins, and a mineral finish. The antithesis of stereotypical “California Merlot”, this wine will seduce the most jaded palates.
Food Pairing: 
Filet mignon with green peppercorn sauce, braised lamb shanks, wild mushroom ragout.

Seasonal Foods: Nectarines

carrine1

The list of my Favorite Things About Summer includes the truckloads of stone fruits that appear at the farmer’s market in the beginning of June. Cherries, nectarines, apricots, pluots, apriums, and peaches all grace the stands with both ordinary and exotic-sounding names. Here in the Bay Area, we are lucky to have a ton of farmers bringing in a multitude flavorful varieties and hybrids. Some of my favorites include the Flavor King plum, Montmorency sour cherry, Flavor Grenade pluot, and the Carine white nectarine.

Stone fruits are a lot like wine; they can have high acid or low acid, tart skin or thick and tannic skin, and a multitude of complex flavors and aromas. Case in point – the Carine white nectarine (shown above), which is grown by Blossom Bluff Orchards in the town of Parlier, just west of King’s Canyon National Park. The Carine is a high-acid white nectarine (most white nectarines don’t have a lot of acid, like a yellow nectarine does), and Blossom Bluff is the only grower of this rare variety in the world. They were given a cutting of this experimental variety by a friend who stopped growing it because it was deemed “not commercially viable” due to it’s delicate nature and lack of shelf stability. The folks at Blossom Bluff decided to keep it because they felt it was special, and they were willing to take a loss in order to preserve this special fruit.

The Carine is special for a few reasons – the skin is delicate and tender, the flesh has a creamy texture and is perfectly balanced with sweetness and acidity, and the flavor has hints of sweet stone fruit blossoms. It’s Colleen’s favorite stone fruit, which makes perfect sense due to her love of floral white wines with great acidity.

If you want to try this special fruit, act quickly because it’s in season now. Blossom Bluff Orchards can be found at many Bay Area Farmer’s Markets, including the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market on Saturdays in San Francisco.

 

Wine of the Week: Sébastien Riffault 2011 “Les Quarterons” Sancerre

It’s no secret that Colleen and I are not the biggest fans of Sauvignon Blanc. It can be aggressively green and grassy, or so overtly tropical that it borders on offensive. I never thought I’d find a balanced Sauvignon Blanc with enough finesse to find it’s way on to my dinner table, until I tasted this one…

This great wine from Sébastien Riffault is from the famous Sauvignon Blanc producing region Sancerre, located within the Loire Valley. Riffault’s vineyards are all certified organic, and he only uses sulfur and copper sprays in the vineyard when absolutely necessary. As a result, the grapes can become slightly botrytised; the wine takes on rich honey and baked apple undertones, while maintaining tension, mineral, and citrus at it’s core. All stainless steel fermented and aged, it’s fresh and lively while having an unusual richness from the natural farming methods and full malolactic fermentation.

Natural Sauvignon Blanc from a famous region and a producer with a cult following – get your hands on some of this amazing, affordable juice before it’s gone!

Buy now on Winelandia.com

P5300003

Winemaker: Sébastien Riffault
Bio: Sébastien has slowly been taking over winemaking responsibilities from his father, Etienne, since 2004, which began with converting the estate to organic, then Biodynamic farming. He can name every plant growing in his cover crop, and his winemaking methods are heavily influenced by the old traditions of the region.
Region: France>Loire Valley>Sancerre
Vineyard: Certified Biodynamic 5 hectare plot grown in silex, clay, and limestone soil. South & south-east exposure on 20% grade. 20 year old vines farmed with horse & plow.
Blend: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Aging: 18 months sur lie in stainless steel
Production Notes: Hand-harvested fruit. Native yeast fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks. Aged for 18 months in stainless steel on the lees, with full malolactic fermentation. Unfined and unfiltered. Minimal SO2 added at bottling.
Tasting Notes: Layered, complex aromas of honey, baked apple, and lime zest lead to a rich, round palate with balanced acidity and flavors of apple, mineral, and herbs.
Food Pairing: Herb-roasted chicken, anything with wild mushrooms, fresh bread rubbed with garlic scape pesto.

Buy now on Winelandia.com

What’s In Wine? (Or On It?)

springwines

At Winelandia, we try incredibly hard to bring you wines with as little added – and as little subtracted – as possible. We’re fans of unadulterated wines, which these days are often labeled as “natural wines,” but honestly we just want to drink fermented grape juice. We want as little done to the wines as possible, and we care deeply about responsible stewardship in the vineyard. Does minimal intervention make wines taste better? We think so, but we also simply think it’s the right thing to do. Wine should be an expression of where it’s grown, and it certainly tells you something about who made it too. If there’s variation from vintage to vintage, we think that’s great – it adds character and complexity, and it tells us something about the differences that climate, ripeness, weather, and other factors can make in the taste of a wine overall. But there are a lot of things that are allowed to be added to wine without your knowledge. The only additive that must be identified on the label is sulfur, actually. Here are some of the things that we try to avoid, but that may be in that wine you picked up from another retailer.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Acidifiers/Deacidifiers – Maybe the winemaker picked the grapes a little too early. Maybe a little too late. What effect will this have on that vintage’s wine? WHO KNOWS! If your grapes need a pick-me-up, it’s completely permitted to add acid to wine, and if they’re a bit too acidic, you can take care of that problem too. The most common acids used to increase the acid in a wine are citric, tartaric, and malic acids. If the wine is tart, chalk can be added to reduce the acid content. These additives are safe, but Tala can often tell if a wine has been acidulated, and it’s yet another way that you can make up for mother earth’s unpredictability or a misstep in the vinification process. This detracts from the story they’re meant to tell and the experience we feel the consumer is meant to have.

Sugar – I know, it’s a bit unfair. The practice of adding sugar to wine, which is called chaptalization, is not allowed everywhere – it’s prohibited in California, for example, but permitted in Oregon. What is universally allowed, however, is the addition of grape concentrate. If a wine is a little low in alcohol, winemakers will sometimes add grape concentrate to the wine to give the yeast more sugar to convert to alcohol, and increase the ABV of the particular wine. While this isn’t inherently bad, it does detract from the varietal and terroir characteristics of the wine, since the juice being added definitely doesn’t come from the block/vineyard/vintage/pick of that particular wine being made. Part of the joy of wine is the temporal nature of it. It’s always changing, and is a representation of the time/place it was picked and fermented.

Water – Pure, crystal, clean water. Just as sugar products are added to wine to increase the alcohol level, water is sometimes added to bring that percentage down. Wine below 14% alcohol is subject to a lower tax rate, but more importantly lowering the alcohol helps wine to taste less “hot” if you picked too late, or your grapes lost their acid, or your wine is generally lacking in complexity. But we’re looking for wines that represent what they are, where they’re from, and who made them – adding water won’t harm you, sure, but it does take away from the wine that those grapes were going to produce that year, in that vineyard.

Roundup – Okay, winemakers are not topping up their barrels with Roundup, but this nasty pesticide, and many others, are completely permitted in vineyards the world over. This is a hot topic, just as it is in the organic food debate. Do pesticides necessarily make your wine (or your food) taste less good? Probably not. Is it irresponsible for the consumer and the planet to use such harsh and toxic chemicals on vineyards and farms? We think so. There are many organic pesticides that can be used, and we generally prefer an approach of pest management rather than blanket pest elimination.

 

Copper Sulfate  – This additive helps to remedy sulfurous and other unpleasant odors in a wine. It’s completely allowed in very small amounts, and we’re not saying drinking wine with copper sulfate added to it will kill you – it won’t. But copper sulfate is toxic and is used frequently as an anti-fungal and pesticide, with well-documented warnings and required protections. It’s yet another additive that offers a minor benefit at a major risk to the user, the planet, and the consumer, and detracts from the true character of the wine being made.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We pride ourselves on our rigorous vetting of products that we offer to you, because we drink all of these wines too! Ever in search of wines that tell stories and winemakers that work responsibly and reasonably to produce those wines, we ask a lot of questions and aren’t afraid to get a little annoying and a lot detailed. If you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. Don’t be afraid to ask, even if it’s not on the label.

Organic Wine for Weddings and Events

Organic wine for weddings

Did you know that Winelandia can supply organic wine for weddings and events? We’ll work with your menu to create the perfect food and wine pairings for you and your guests on your special day. Whether you’re looking for crowd-pleasing standards like Napa Merlot or French Chardonnay, or fun & obscure wines such as sparkling Gringet from Savoie or Pineau d’Aunis from the Loire, we can get what you’re looking for!

Whether you’re planning a country-themed wedding at a local winery, or a modern event at a swanky hotel, Winelandia can help select wines that will perfectly suit the look and feel of your event. We can work within any budget and scale, providing affordable and delicious wines to suit your taste and menu. Best of all, we make sure your goods are delivered to the venue or caterer on time.

Most importantly, you can be sure all of Winelandia’s selections fit within our strict guidelines for sustainable & organic farming and production. We only sell wines that are made responsibly, in small batches, by real people. Check out our online store to get an idea of what we offer. We have organic and natural wine to fit into every budget.

Winelandia can deliver the wine for your wedding or special event within a 100 mile radius of San Francisco. Feel free to reach out to us and receive a free email or over-the-phone consultation! We can be reached at info@winelandia.com.

Organic wine for weddings