Wine of the Week: Guillot-Broux 2012 Macon-Villages

This wine is SOLD OUT. Thanks for your interest!

A delicious and affordable young white Burgundy that you can drink any day of the week. This wine is incredibly versatile and food-friendly. It’s also great as an aperitif, with a cheese plate, or all by itself on a sunny day.

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Winemaker:  Emmanuel Guillot-Broux
Bio: Emmanuel and his two brothers make some of the finest wine in all of Burgundy. The vineyards have been organic since the 1950s but were only recognized as Certified Organic in 1991. They grow Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Chardonnay across three villages in Macôn. Following the traditions of their grandparents, they are shepherds of the land, growing their grapes responsibly and producing wines with as little manipulation as possible. They believe that good wine is made by the vines, not in the winery.
Region: France>Burgundy>Macôn-Villages
Vineyard: Certified organic. Densely planted 10-80 year old vines. Blue clay and limestone soil.
Blend: 100% Chardonnay
Aging: 6 mos neutral oak, 5 months enamel-lined vats.
Production Notes: A blend of chardonnay grapes from three different villages within Macôn. Hand-harvested and sorted. Native yeast fermentation, malolactic fermentation in oak. 1700 cases produced.
Tasting Notes: Exotic tropical fruit and brioche aromas. The palate is elegant and rich with white fruit and creamy notes of mineralty framed by a note of oak and vibrant acidity.
Food Pairings: Excellent as an aperitif, or enjoy with hearty salads, fish, or roasted chicken.

Buy this wine on Winelandia.com

Try it with these recipes:
Wild Mushroom Risotto with a Poached Egg
Roasted Little Birds with Garlic-Herb Butter
Pan-seared duck breast with parsnip puree & arugula salad

Wine Review: La Clarine 2012 “Sumu Kaw” Syrah

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Winemaker:  Hank Beckmeyer
Bio: Run by Hank Beckmeyer, La Clarine Farm is a principled stand out in California winemaking. A follower of Masanobu Fukuoka’s “Do Nothing Farming” methods, Beckmeyer has created a holistic vineyard and winery experience, trying to leave the grapes alone to, in a sense, make the wine themselves. Beckmeyer sees himself as a guide for the transformation of grapes into wine. Beckmeyer understands that terroir is constantly changing, and everything he is doing to the vines, the grapes, and the land, is changing the terroir  – he is trying to keep it as pure and unadulterated as possible.
Beckmeyer has been quietly making wines in the Sierras since 2001, and has a diverse lineup, comprised largely of Rhone wines, both white and red. Hank’s laid­back winemaking approach produces wines with texture and tons of interest ­ he simply let each wine, each vintage, become whatever it might.
Region: US>California>Sierra Foothills
Vineyard: The Sumu Kaw Vineyard is at 3000′ elevation atop a ridge in the Sierra Foothills, and is located in the middle of a pine forest. The soils are composed of volcanic loam, which help create intense aromatics in the wine.
Blend: 100% Syrah
Aging: 600L puncheons
Production Notes: Fermented whole cluster. Racked once with a single 20ppm SO2 addition. 345 cases produced.
Tasting Notes: Dark fruit and herbs with smoky, meaty undertones. Nicely balanced with tannins and acid. Showing nicely now, but could easily age for 6+ years. Give it 6-8 hours of air prior to drinking.
Food Pairings: Game, sausages, pizza with smoked mozzarella

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Recipe: Spring Lamb Chops with Herbes de Provence

P2010142Lamb is especially delicious in the spring, and this dish is meant to highlight the ingredient. The preparation is a snap, and the cook time is 10 minutes or less! High-quality lamb chops are not inexpensive, but they impress a dinner party, or a special someone. We got ours from Olivier’s Butchery, in the Dogpatch. We highly recommend their always-fresh products – they carry poultry, beef, pork, lamb, and include a variety of both well known and lesser-known cuts. Check ‘em out!

Mourvèdre is most often grown in the Provence and Rhone regions in France, and are described as having a “garrigue” quality. Garrigue is the scrub on the land in that area, similar to our chapparal in California. This dish is meant to pair with the 2012 La Clarine Farm Cedarville Mourvèdre. We use herbes de Provence, a French herb blend that evokes garrigue, as the spice on these chops. That integrates the flavor evoked by the wine into the flavor evoked by the dish, making them truly complementary.

Prep time: 1 hour, active time 15 minutes
Serves 4 as an entree
Author: Colleen McGarry

Ingredients:

8 lamb chops – about 2 lbs. (2 per person)
3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. herbes de provence
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil

Method:

  1. Peel, then mince the cloves of garlic. Sprinkle the salt over the garlic, then using the blade of the knife like a spatula, rub the salt into the garlic. Once the mixture resembles a paste, move the paste into a small bowl.
  2. Add the pepper, herbes de provence, and olive oil to the garlic paste and mix well.
  3. On a large plate or cutting board, lay out the chops flat. Pat dry if there is any surface moisture.
  4. Divide half the paste evenly onto the surfaces of the chops, and rub the paste to coat evenly. Flip each chop, and divide the remainder and rub to coat the other side of the chops. Set the chops aside on the counter for 30 minutes to an hour.
  5. Heat a cast iron pan or skillet on high on the stovetop for 5-10 minutes, or until it is searingly hot. Add 2-4 chops the hot pan, being careful not to crowd the pan you’re using. We did 3 at a time in a 12” skillet.
  6. After about 3 minutes, when there’s a brown crust on one side, flip the chops. Cook for 2-3 minutes longer, to achieve medium doneness.
  7. When done, move to serving plate and tent loosely with foil if you have additional chops to sear. Serve immediately.

Recipe: 3-Grain Asparagus & Mushroom Risotto

P2010144Asparagus and mushroom risotto is a perennial spring dish, making use of the best the season has to offer. We kicked up the seasonality of the dish by incorporating green garlic, an ingredient that shares it’s season with asparagus and mushrooms. In order to make it a little more visually interesting and healthful, we decided to riff on it with multiple grains – this version has classic carnaroli or risotto rice, plus pearled barley and quinoa. You can swap in myriad other grains too, if you have a personal favorite. The grains are cooked separately to maintain their structural integrity, and the risotto is prepared in the traditional way – with lots of stirring. The veggies are sautéed and then everything comes together at the end. This risotto is a match made in heaven with the 2012 Radoar “Etza” Muller-Thurgau (featured in our winter wine club collection), a grape that is known to pair with asparagus – a very difficult-to-pair ingredient. Its acidity and depth match both the asparagus and the creaminess of risotto.

Prep time: 1 hour
Serves 4 as side dish
Author: Colleen McGarrry

Ingredients:

1/2 cup pearled barley
1/2 cup quinoa (we used rainbow, any will do)
1 cup risotto rice (arborio, carnaroli, etc.)
4-6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 stalks green garlic, sliced into thin rings
1 small yellow onion, diced
4-6 oz. morel or black trumpet mushrooms, chopped
1/2 bunch asparagus, cut diagonally into 1” pieces
2 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 cup fresh shredded parmesan salt

Method:

  1. Bring a 2 or 3 quart pot of water to a boil, with 2 tablespoons of salt added. Once boiling, add the pearled barley. Cook the barley over a simmer until it’s hard in the middle, but beginning to give on the outside, about 10-15 minutes. Then, add the quinoa to the same pot and cook until both grains are tender, about 10-15 minutes more. Drain in a fine mesh strainer so the quinoa doesn’t escape. Set aside.
  2. In a large dutch oven or pot (at least 5 quarts), melt one tablespoon of butter and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once sizzling, add the diced onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the risotto and stir constantly until the grains are translucent but not brown, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the chicken or vegetable stock in a separate pot until hot but not boiling, and leave at that temperature on a back burner on your stove. We used a quart of stock and 2 cups of water, but you will need anywhere between 4 and 6 cups of liquid.
  4. Once the rice is translucent, add the wine and stir constantly until almost completely absorbed.
  5. Commence “risottoing!” Add a ladleful of the hot liquid and stir every few seconds. Lower the heat to achieve a low simmer, and adjust the heat as needed to keep it there. Stir every 30-90 seconds, and when the liquid is almost absorbed, add another ladleful. Keep doing this while you proceed to step 6.
  6. In a skillet or sauté pan, combine the remaining tablespoon of butter and two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant. Add the green garlic and sauté until soft, 1-2 minutes more.
  7. Add the asparagus and sauté for 1-2 minutes, then add 1/4 cup water to the pan, put the lid on, and let steam for another 1- 2 minutes. Remove the lid, keep the heat at medium or medium high, and evaporate the remaining water. Remove the pan from the heat, moving the contents to a bowl, and set aside.
  8. Keep adding liquid and stirring the risotto until the rice is al dente – a tiny bit of chew in the center of a grain, but mostly soft and creamy. This will take somewhere around 20-30 minutes. Taste for salt and texture periodically along the way.
  9. Once the rice is about where you want it, add back in the barley and quinoa to allow the flavors to meld. You’ll want to add another ladleful of liquid to compensate for the additional grains. You’re aiming for a loose texture – looser than you think – because it will tighten up between the stove and the plate. Add the asparagus/mushroom mixture and stir, then turn off the heat. Stir in the parmesan and pepper, and taste for seasoning one last time. Serve immediately.

Recipe: Creamy Dungeness, Avocado & Citrus Salad

P2010108The California Dungeness crab season usually runs from November to May. This local delicacy is highly regarded as one of the tastiest crustaceans in all of the sea. Dungeness crab is succulent and sweet, which makes it an excellent compliment to a wide variety of flavors.

In this recipe, we combine sweet Dungeness crabmeat with tangy seasonal citrus, creamy Hass avocado, and slightly bitter endive. We bring the variety of complimentary flavors together with a lemony tarragon crème frâiche dressing, and serve the salad atop “spoons” of Belgian endive. It’s surprisingly easy to make – the most important thing to remember is the quality of the ingredients you use. Taste the citrus before you buy it, make sure your avocado is perfectly ripe, and ensure your crabmeat is as fresh as you can get it.

This recipe was created to pair with the 2012 Frantz Saumon Minéral + Chenin Blanc offered in Winelandia’s winter wine club collection. The richness and texture of the dish is perfectly complimented by similar components of the wine, which also has juicy acidity and a taut mineral edge that makes what’s already a delicious dish even more delectable.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Serves 6-8 as an appetizer

Ingredients:

12 oz fresh Dungeness crabmeat (if using live/whole crab, get a 2 lb crab)
2 medium cara cara oranges or 1 ruby grapefruit, peeled, segmented, and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 medium hass avocadoes
2 Belgian endives, separated into individual leaves

-Dressing-
1 cup (8oz) crème frâiche
2 tbsp. + 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 tbsp. + 2 tsp. chopped fresh tarragon leaves
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. finely ground black pepper

Method:

  1. Combine ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Cut the avocado in half lengthwise, around the seed. Remove the seed and cut the avocado into a grid pattern with the tip of a knife, being careful not to cut through the avocado skin or your hand. Scoop the cubed avocado out of the skin with a large spoon.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the crabmeat, avocado cubes, and citrus pieces.
  4. Dress the salad with the prepared crème frâiche dressing, a little at a time. Dress to your taste – you will probably have some dressing left over. Gently fold the dressing into the salad with a large spoon, being careful not to mash the avocado.
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
  6. Scoop the prepared salad into the endive “spoons” and arrange on a serving plate. Garnish with more fresh chopped tarragon or fresh chopped chives.
  7. Open a chilled bottle of 2012 Frantz Saumon Minéral + Chenin Blanc and enjoy with people you love.

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Introducing our Winter Wine Club Offer

We’re pleased to introduce you to the wines in our winter wine club offering! Not a member yet? Get in on the action by signing up for our wine club! https://signup.winelandia.com
P1240064-webIt’s been pretty warm around these parts, so instead of offering heavy winter wines we are focusing more on wines with energy and verve. Evocative of the impending spring, these wines are fresh and rich. A Chenin Blanc from the Loire that tastes like pure bottled sunlight; a Müller-Thurgau from extreme elevations in northern Italy; a rustic and juicy old vine Zinfandel from a cool-climate Biodynamic vineyard in the Russian River Valley; a dry Brachetto that smells like a bouquet of roses; a funky & geeky red blend from a French-born producer in Chile; and a feminine & seductive Mourvèdre from the decomposed granite soils of the Sierra foothills.

The Lineup

2012 Frantz Saumon Minéral +, Montlouis sur Loire, France
2012 Radoar “Etza”, Alto Aldige, Italy
2012 Poco a Poco Zinfandel, Russian River Valley, US
2011 Matteo Correggia “Anthos”, Roero, Italy
2012 Clos Ouvert “Primavera”, Maule Valley, Chile
2012 La Clarine Farm “Cedarville”, Sierra Foothills, US

2012 Frantz Saumon Minéral +, Montlouis sur Loire

P1240048-webWinemaker: Frantz Saumon
Bio: Setting out to make wine representative of its appellation, Frantz Saumon purchased a small plot of land in Montlouis in 2002. Since then, he has acquired more land and most of the 6 hectares are planted with old growth Chenin Blanc, which is all farmed organically and by hand.
Region: France>Loire Valley>Touraine>Montlouis sur Loire
Vineyard: Organically farmed, various parcels
Blend: 100% Chenin Blanc
Aging: Stainless steel tanks
Production Notes: Minéral + is made with grapes from all of Saumon’s Chenin Blanc plots in Montlouis. Mineral soils help produce a wine that is full of distinctive Montlouis minerality. The vines average age is 40 years and they are planted in a blend of soils composed of tuffeau (limestone) and silex (flint). Every vintage yields a wine with a little bit of residual sugar, but the wines taste dry. The sugar lends a textural element to the wine which helps balance it. 100% indigenous yeast fermentations and aged in Stainless Steel tanks.
Tasting Notes: Stonefruit, citrus and mineral, medium bodied, elegant, and rich with a backbone and texture that will compliment a wide variety of foods.
Food Pairings: Smoked fish, spicy Asian food, pâte, chicken in cream sauce

2012 Radoar “Etza” Müller-Thurgau, Alto-Aldige

P1240056-webWinemaker: Norbert Blasbichler
Bio: Radoar is located near the border of Austria in Northern Italy. Norbert Blasbichler took over in 1997 and is the 15th generation to farm this land, which has been in the family since the 1300’s. Radoar is, first and foremost, an organic apple farm. They grow Golden Delicious apples, and create distillates such as brandy from the fruit. In addition to growing apples, chestnuts, peaches, pears, and walnuts, Radoar grows several types of grapes from which they produce wine and Grappa.
Region: Italy>Trentino-Alto Aldige>Alto Aldige>Valle Isarco
Vineyard: Certified organic. 3000’ in elevation, the estate vineyards of Radoar are 1.5km from the farm.
Blend: 100% Müller-Thurgau
Aging: Stainless steel
Production Notes:  Müller-Thurgau is a cross between Riesling and Madeleline Royal, developed in the 19th century. Organically farmed, direct-to-press, and fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel.
Tasting Notes: Aromas of citrus and white flowers followed by ripe peach on the palate with juicy acidity and a lingering finish. This is a great wine to serve with hard-to-pair vegetables such as asparagus and Italian cheeses.
Food Pairings: Asparagus dishes, brussel sprouts, artichokes, seafood, smoked fish, spicy Asian food, fresh burrata with olive oil & sea salt

2012 Poco a Poco Zinfandel, Russian River Valley

P1240053-webWinemaker: Luke Bass
Bio: Luke Bass’s family has owned Porter Bass Vineyards since 1980, when the family discovered the century-old vineyard. The land had been subjected to decades of farming-induced erosion, so they slowly brought it back to life through Biodynamic and organic farming. Luke grew up on this property, and was a winemaker before he even had his first paying job. Previously, he interned at Flowers winery, which evolved into a position as cellar master. He has also worked at Hirsch & Tandem in Sonoma, as well as Flagstone in South Africa and Casa Marin in Chile.
Region: US>California>Sonoma>Russian River Valley
Vineyard: Demeter Certified (Biodynamic). The vineyards are protected from winds by the surrounding Redwood and Fir trees, while the fog produced by the nearby Russian River helps cool the vineyard in the summer.
Blend: 100% Zinfandel
Aging: 12 months in neutral French oak
Production Notes: Old vine Zinfandel. Native yeast fermentation and spontaneous malolactic fermentation. Very little sulphur dioxide (SO2) added.
Tasting Notes: Blackberry, dark cherry, wild bramble, spice. Medium-to-full bodied with zippy acidity.
Food Pairings: Fried chicken, sweet BBQ, burgers, pasta with rustic sauce, pizza, root vegetables.

2011 Matteo Correggia “Anthos”, Roero

P1240045-webWinemaker: Luca Rostagno
Bio: Matteo Correggia died in a tragic tractor accident in 2001. His wife, Ornella Correggia took over winery operations and hired Luca Rostagno as the winemaker. Ornella has continued to grow the winery’s reputation as the benchmark producer in Roero, and has introduced organic & biodynamic farming and winemaking practices.
Region: Italy>Piedmont>Cuneo>Roero
Vineyard: Organic. Sand, silt, & clay soils at 900’ elevation. East/South-east facing slope.
Blend: 100% Brachetto
Aging: 8 months in stainless steel
Production Notes: Brachetto is a native Piemonte varietal normally used to produce sweet, sparkling wines. This version is totally dry and exceptionally elegant. Estate fruit, organically farmed. Fermented with controlled temperatures in stainless steel. Minimal skin contact during indigenous yeast fermentation. Manually harvested in mid-September.
Tasting Notes: Aromas of fresh roses dominate, with notes of herbs, strawberries, and cherries. Light-to-medium bodied, with delicate texture and balanced acidity. Serve slightly chilled on a warm California winter day and enjoy on the patio by itself or with Italian-style snacks.
Food Pairings: Antipasto, light pasta dishes, salumi, BBQ poultry

2012 Clos Ouvert “Primavera”, Maule Valley

P1240046-webWinemaker: Louis-Antoine Luyt
Bio: At the age of 22, Luyt set out for Chile under the guise of wanting to brush up on his Spanish. Luyt learned that Chilean wines were homogenous, and wondered if great wines could be made there. He went back to France and began to study viticulture & oenology in Beaune. During his studies, he befriended Mathieu Lapierre, and eventually worked with the Lapierre family at their winery in Morgon for 5 vintages. There, he learned about natural winemaking, a skill he became determined to bring back to Chile. Clos Ouvert was founded in 2006 by Luyt and two partners, who backed out of the project in 2010 after a massive earthquake resulted in the loss of 70% of their 2009 wines. Luyt pressed on and expanded, which now involves many different types of grapes and parcels.
Region: Chile>Central Valley>Maule Valley
Vineyard: Various parcels, organic & dry farmed
Blend: 40% Carignan, 30% País, 20% Cinsault and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon
Aging: 8 months in neutral French oak barrels
Production Notes: País and Carignan are carbonically macerated. The Cinsault and Cabernet Sauvignon are destemmed and vinified in a Burgundian style. The finished wines are blended to produce Primavera.
Tasting Notes: Full bodied, structured, lively, and full of mineral. Smoky elements give way to ripe fruit, herbs, and black pepper.
Food Pairings: Smoked or braised meats, grilled sausage

2012 La Clarine “Cedarville” Mourvèdre, Sierra Foothills

P1240059-webWinemaker: Hank Beckmeyer
Bio: Run by Hank Beckmeyer, La Clarine Farm is a principled stand out in California winemaking. A follower of Masanobu Fukuoka’s “Do Nothing Farming” methods, Beckmeyer has created a holistic vineyard and winery experience, trying to leave the grapes alone to, in a sense, make the wine themselves. Beckmeyer has been quietly making wines in the Sierras since 2001, and has a diverse lineup, comprised largely of Rhone wines, both white and red.
Region: US>California>Sierra Foothills
Vineyard: Cedarville. Organically farmed. Soils comprised of decomposed granite.
Blend: 100% Mourvèdre
Aging: 12 months in puncheons
Production Notes: This wine was made during an ideal vintage in California – lots of sun during the summer and no rain. Hank Beckmeyer decided to try something new this time around, and set out to make the wine more sensual by employing a new ‘recipe’. He shortened the length of time the wine spent on the skins, pressing early and letting the wine finish fermentation in the tank or barrel. The result is a brighter and more supple wine than the previous vintage.
Tasting Notes: High-toned tropical fruit and crushed red berries on the nose, with tart cranberry and mineral on the palate.
Food Pairings: Roasted poultry, braised root vegetables, grilled vegetables

Winery Visit: Porter-Bass Vineyard

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This drought is really something, isn’t it? There’s something eerie about it being 65 degrees on a January afternoon, wispy clouds dotting the horizon after the only rain we’ve had so far this winter – if you could even call it a rain. More like a dampening. Enough to keep the dust down. Anyway, it was this day after the “rain” that Tala and I headed out to Winelandia again, to visit a producer we love. Luke Bass is the wine grower/proprietor of Porter-Bass Wines outside of Guerneville. This property, deep in western Sonoma county, tucked right near the Russian River, produces Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Zinfandel in small quantities. They sell fruit that becomes some of the most sought after Chard in the area – Ceritas makes a Porter-Bass Chardonnay, as does Littorai.

But Luke also makes his own wine from this property – entirely biodynamic in the vineyard and the winery, and we think a great secret of Sonoma wine country. The wines are fresh and lively, with great acid and subtlety. Perfect for sipping with friends, but balanced and very food-friendly too. Tala and I have been impressed with the Chardonnays for quite some time, because they’ve got a great zingy acidity that many California Chardonnays lack, but they don’t compromise on texture either. What a great find! The Pinots are bright and fruity, and the Zinfandels are almost ethereal. Floral, light, and just… Just delightful. I feel precious even describing wine that way, but they are just a delight to drink.

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On this afternoon, it was like the wines and the air were mimicking each other – each trying to upstage the other with more freshness and brightness. Surrounded by redwoods and pines, the small property is about as idyllic as it gets for California wine country. I mean, I think Healdsburg and Alexander Valley and Calistoga and the Santa Cruz Mountains and Forestville  –  all these places are stunning. But visiting Porter-Bass feels like you’re discovering something, which is hard to say about wine country these days. It kindof feels like a secret. Clean air, crisp wines, just you and Luke and a few bottles of his great product. 

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I hadn’t been to Porter-Bass in a year or more, and I was reminded how great these wines taste, and how great a property it is to visit. Luke is a character, with plenty to say about how he makes his wines and why, and great thoughts about the present and future of the industry that surrounds him. It was a wonderful Sunday adventure, and our first visit to the wine country in quite some time.  In particular, we recommend picking up a bottle of Zinfandel – you won’t regret it! It’s a great bottle to show you what Zin can become in a different setting, in a different pair of hands. 

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Porter-Bass is open by appointment only. They’re located on Mays Canyon Road outside Guerneville, CA. If you visit in spring or summer, ask Luke if he’s got any spare eggs. They’re amazing.

Winery Visit: Copain Wines

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s no secret that I’m obsessed with wines from the Jura. White, red, yellow, sparkling, rosé – I love them all. The red wines are particularly delicious to me, so you might imagine how excited I was to find that Copain – a local producer based in the Russian River Valley – was growing and making wine from the Trousseau grape. There are only a handful of Californian producers that I know of making wine from Trousseau – one being the renowned Arnot-Roberts – which they have made since 2009. It turns out, the Copain plantings of Trousseau are grafted from the original vines used to produce the Arnot-Roberts Trousseau.

Colleen happened to be the person to introduce me to this great wine from Copain. We enjoyed a bottle of it over dinner at her house one fateful night. I was taken aback by it’s freshness, finesse, texture, and the outright Jura-ness of it. A California red wine epiphany. It was like drinking red Jura without the reductive aromas often found in Jura reds. I was in love with this bizarre little bottle from our home turf.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(above photo is a Jura red, not the one from Copain)

I eventually found this wine again at Ruby Wine in Potrero Hill, and snapped up a bottle before it was all gone. Revisiting this wine really cemented how I initially felt about it, and it was showing even better the second time around. It was floral, spicy, and fruity all at once. It’s not often you can find a wine from California with so much elegance, complexity and femininity. It was full of texture while still being light on it’s feet. I was crushed when I found out that the Trousseau was all sold out for the year – I’d hoped to score some of it for the Winelandia Wine Club. I guess I can wait until next year.

The Copain Trousseau is what inspired a trip to the Copain winery in the Russian River Valley – just off Eastside road in Healdsburg. I headed up there just this past weekend to taste through their current offerings and to see the estate. You have to make an appointment to visit, so be sure to call before stopping by. It’s conveniently located just off Highway 101 in Healdsburg.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUpon arriving, I was immediately enamored by the beauty of their estate. Small and rustic, it overlooks Riverfront Regional Park, a gorgeous little oasis complete with a redwood grove and multi-use trails for bikes, equestrians and hikers. The park would be a great place to enjoy a picnic at if you are visiting the winery, as the picnic area at the winery is reserved for wine club members only. They have 13 acres planted here – all of which is Picpoul Blanc, Trousseau and Poulsard. Everything is farmed sustainably, encompassing both organic and Biodynamic practices (although they are not certified for either). I took a seat at one of the comfy wooden chairs out front, and Phil graciously began my Farm Table tasting beneath the strangely warm January sun.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPhil poured for me all of their current offerings, beginning with their estate Picpoul Blanc. This neat little wine is aged in neutral French oak, which gave it body and character not normally found in your typical Picpoul Blanc porch-pounder. It was a great entrance to the wines that would follow, which included their entry-level “Tous Ensemble” Chardonnay, followed by several Pinot Noirs and Syrahs. The Pinot Noirs, mostly from the Anderson Valley area, showed rich and flavorful typicity of the region. The Syrahs – from the Yorkville Highlands – were dark, savory, and brooding. All of their red wines (the Syrahs in particular) showed tons of aging potential with great structure and balanced acidity. Copain wines are definitely Californian in style, but with restraint and balance normally reserved for the Old World.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Farm Table tasting also included a delicious spread of local cheeses, meats, and snacks. I especially enjoyed the crostini with white bean purée and fried rosemary. Everything paired beautifully with the wines that were served, the abundant sunshine, and the relaxing view. It doesn’t get much better than this – it’s the Holy Grail of the wine country experience.

I appreciate the warm hospitality shown to me by my host, Phil, and the beautiful wines made by Wells Guthrie. Winelandia hopes to offer wines from Copain in the future, as we feel they are one of the better producers in California. We highly recommend you stop by Copain for a visit if you’re planning a trip to the Russian River Valley – you won’t be disappointed. They are just an hour and a half north of San Francisco. Be sure to call ahead to schedule, as they are appointment only.

Copain Wines
7800 Eastside Road
Healdsburg, CA 95448
(707) 836-8822

Our 5 Favorite California Producers of 2013

DSC_81562013 was a bit of a renaissance year for wine in California. With American writer and columnist Jon Bonné championing the producers of “New California”, many local wine-makers are producing restraint, elegance, and a sense of terroir in their wines. There has been an influx of new blood, with young guns exploring both experimental and old-world winemaking techniques. Finally, we are able to shop in a wine store and buy a bottle of California wine that doesn’t reek of oak, stewed fruit, or buttered popcorn. Instead we can find mineral, forest sap, chapparal, white flowers and stonefruits.

The year has also been particularly kind to me. Having left my technology career in June to launch Winelandia, 2013 has been a year of soul-searching, experimentation, sometimes failing miserably, 14 hour work days, and exploring things way outside of my comfort zone. Trying to find my place in the wine industry has been trying at times, defeating at it’s worst, and absolutely transcendental at it’s best. That being said, I would much rather ride the wine rollercoaster than the tech dump-truck any day.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn 2013, I have most certainly tasted more wines than ever before. Colleen and I take every opportunity we can to go to industry tastings and visit small wineries, unearthing every stone we find in hopes of discovering something new to share with you. The most beautiful thing about wine is the sense of discovery and the sheer joy felt when you take a whiff and a sip of a wine that moves you. That’s what we want to share with you, that feeling of pure love. Wine is love.

Below is a list we have compiled of some of our favorite California producers of 2013, in no particular order. Some of them you may recall from your wine club shipments, seen in local wine shops, or read about in articles in the Chronicle. Next time you buy some wine, look for these producers, because we feel they are making some of the best wines today in California.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJolie-Laide Wines
Winemaker: Scott Schultz
Region: Russian River Valley
Style: Scott only makes a handful of wines (so far), but they unusual, thought-provoking, and unique. We have seen a Russian River Trousseau Gris with texture and unmatched complexity, an elegant Syrah from Phoenix Ranch in the cooler part of Napa, and a super-clean summertime quaffer of a Pinot Gris from the famed Windsor Oaks Vineyard on Chalk Hill. The labels for his wine change every year, are as mysterious and beautiful as his wines. He is definitely a winemaker to watch; his wines are quickly gaining cult status amongst wine geeks and are insane quality for the price.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARyme Cellars
Winemakers: Ryan & Megan Glaab
Region: Russian River Valley
Style: Ryan & Megan (a young married couple) make some really delicious, affordable, interesting wines. The style is both experimental and old-world, much like Jolie-Laide (and wouldn’t you know it, they share a winemaking facility). Some of our favorite wines made by Ryme are their Carneros Pinot Noir – a fresh and juicy wine reminiscent of cru Beaujolais, and their skin-fermented “His” Vermentino – a textural and savory skin-fermented white wine. All of their wines are super clean and beautifully balanced. We can’t wait to see what they have to offer next.
DSC_8196AmByth Estate
Winemaker: Philip Hart
Region: Paso Robles
Style: A Demeter-certified (Biodynamic) estate, Philip and Mary Hart planted their vines in 2004. They make wines in a super-natural way, mostly of Rhone varietals. It can get quite hot in Paso Robles, but the location of their estate is directly in path of the cooling coastal winds coming through the Templeton gap. The day-to-night temperature fluctuations can sometimes swing 50F, which preserves the acidity in the grapes. They tend to pick on the early side, so their wines are very unlike any others in the Paso Robles AVA (which are usually very ripe). Very little, if any, SO2 is used in the production of their wines. While they aren’t cheap, their wines are built for the long-haul. They were recently picked up by a well-respected wine distributor, so you can expect to see more AmByth wines in local shops. We highly recommend the Priscus white blend and the Mourvedre.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALa Clarine Farm
Winemaker: Hank Beckmeyer
Region: Sierra Foothills
Style: Hank Beckmeyer follows the ‘do nothing’ farming methodology of Masanobu Fukuoka, and his wines scream terroir as a result. Hank works mostly with Rhone varietals, both from his own farm and purchased from other vineyards. I can remember the first time I tasted his Cedarville Mourvedre; that was a wine that changed and excited me. I never knew that a grape which usually produces a rich, powerful, and extracted wine could make a wine with such femininity and finesse. We also love his white wines, which have so much character they can taste totally different from day to day. La Clarine wines are the Everlasting Gobstopper of the wine world, and a crazy good value to boot.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPorter Creek Vineyards
Winemaker: Alex Davis
Region: Russian River Valley
Style: Alex Davis has been quietly making some of the best wines in California for as long as I can remember. This is one of the first wine clubs I ever joined, and for good reason. They make my favorite California Pinot Noir, as well as a value-priced Carignan that is rustic, juicy and food-friendly. We love their Zinfandel, rosé, Chardonnay, Viognier… heck, we love everything they do. Alex spent a good amount of time in Côte-Rôtie, and naturally he also produces a slammin’ Syrah which is co-fermented with a little bit of Viognier, just like they do in the northern Rhone. Porter Creek is very consistent, so it will continue to be an old standby for us.

Honorable Mentions:
Arnot-Roberts
Dirty & Rowdy
Two Shepherds
Deux Punx
Massican
Matthiasson
Hirsch Vineyards
Copain
Wind Gap

 

The Winelandia Holiday Lineup!

The Holiday 6-Pack has already sold out, thanks to everyone who ordered! We do have some of the La Vigne di Alice Brut Tajad and the Celler Acustic Red blend available for purchase. We can also re-order any of these wines by the case, so please let us know if you are interested in special-ordering by emailing orders@winelandia.com.

The Winelandia 2013 Holiday Lineup

NV Le Vigne di Alice Tajad Brut
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Winemakers: Pier Francesca Bonicelli & Cinzia Canzian
Bio: Cinzia and Pier are sisters-in-law who set out in 2004 to produce artisinal Prosecco that is all their own. They started Le Vigne di Alice, an homage to Cinzia’s grandmother Alice who worked in the family’s osteria. The winery is in the northern-most reaches of the Conegliano and Valdobiaddene hills with the Dolomites in their backyard. Their focus is sustainably farming and producing natural, top-notch Prosecco.
Region: Veneto
Country: Italy
Vineyard: Estate
Blend: Verdisio, Glera & Boschera (proprietary field blend)
Aging: 45-60 days on the lees
Production Notes: Produced from sustainably farmed grapes using the Charmat method. This fun and rustic wine is produced as a field blend of three estate-grown indigenous Italian grape varietals – verdisio, glera and boschera. The chalky, rocky, lean soils lend a pure, mineral edge to this brut-dry sparkling wine. Perfect as an aperitif or with a cheese plate, this unusual Italian sparkler is sure to please wine geeks and novices alike.
Tasting Notes: Aromas of mineral and fruit; crisp and lean.
Food Pairings: Sushi, asparagus, nuts, prosciutto, Italian cheeses

2010 Suriol Cava Brut Nature
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWinemakers: Assis & Eudad Suriol
Bio: Cellers de Can Suriol is a family estate devoted to making traditional and ecologically sustainable wines using as little intervention as possible. They have been growing grapes and making wine on the same property located in the Alt Penedés since the 15th century.
Region: Alt Penedés, Cava
Country: Spain
Vineyard: Certified Organic, calcareous soil vineyards. 25 year old vines.
Blend: 40% Macabeo, 30% Xarlel-lo, 30% Parellada
Aging: 20 months on the lees
Production Notes: Fermented with indigenous yeasts in a vat, malolactic fermentation in concrete, secondary fermentation in the bottle. This vintage-dated Cava is quite unusual in it’s richness, body, complexity, and seductive character. We love the fine bubbles and beautiful golden color – it would be an excellent wine to pop open on New Year’s Eve to ring in the new year with friends and loved ones.
Tasting Notes: Aromas of honey, citrus, flowers, and anise. Medium bodied, mineral, and fruit-filled with a long finish.
Food Pairings: Jamón, seafood (fried, fresh, grilled), hard Spanish cheeses, tapas, tortilla española

NV François Pinon Vouvray Brut Non-Dose
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Winemaker: François Pinon
Bio: François Pinon is a retired child psychologist, making some of the best wines in Vouvray since 1987. He aims to maintain typicity of the region in his wines.
Region: Vouvray (Loire Valley)
Country: France
Vineyard: Certified Organic, estate-grown. Clay and silica soil on a base of tuffeau (limestone) and silex (flint). Average vine age is 25 years. Vineyards are plowed & hand-harvested, and chemical fertilizers and pesticides are never used.
Blend: 100% Chenin Blanc
Aging: 12 months sur lie
Production Notes: Only certified Organic estate fruit is used in the production of this wine, and the care taken in the vineyard really shines through. Aging occurs in a combination of stainless steel tanks and foudres (old, large-format oak casks) to maintain balance and freshness. Non-Dosé means there was no sugar added during disgorgement, so this wine is very dry. The finished wine is then sterile-filtered instead of heavily dosed with SO2 to provide stability.
Tasting Notes: 
Have you ever had a sparkling Vouvray? It’s like drinking real Champagne without the deep regret of emptying your bank account. Chenin Blanc lends itself to this Loire Valley specialty, producing a nuanced and delicious sparkling wine. Fresh, savory, bubbly, Chenin Blanc goodness. It’s our favorite sparkling wine from Vouvray.
Food Pairings:
Oysters, shellfish, goat cheese, trout, brunch foods, salads.

2010 Celler Acústic Red Blend
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Winemaker: Albert Jané
Bio: Albert Jané, a third-generation winemaker, believes the best wines are made with old winemaking techniques.
Region: Montsant (Catalunya)
Country: Spain
Vineyard: The organically farmed vineyards (planted in 1932) are located at high elevations, between 1200′ & 2200′. The soil is composed of clay, rock and sand.
Blend: Samsó & Garnacha
Aging: 10-12 months in new & used French oak barrels
Production Notes: Hand-harvested grapes are fermented with indigenous yeasts. The wine is racked using gravity into the estate’s 200 year old underground tanks, then is aged in a combination of new and used French oak barrels for 10-12 months. The wine is unfined, unfiltered, and a true expression of Montsant terroir.
Tasting Notes:
Ripe, layered black & red fruits, balanced acidity, supple tannins, and well-integrated oak make this wine perfect for drinking on it’s own or enjoying with food.
Food Pairings:
Braised beef, stew, roasted game birds, charcuterie, mushroom dishes, or delicious all by itself.

2010 Réméjeanne ‘Les Arbousiers’ Côtes du Rhône
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Winemaker: Rémy Klein
Bio: Originally established in 1960, Rémy took over the domain from his father in 1988. He constantly strives to improve upon the quality of his wines by trying new approaches, and expands the vineyards while planting fig and olive trees.
Region: Côtes du Rhône
Country: France
Vineyard: Certified Organic vineyards rest at an elevation of 650′-900′ in sandstone and limestone soils. Vines are an average age of 25 years. The higher elevations and geographic location of the vineyard creates a much cooler climate than the surrounding areas.
Blend: 60% Grenache, 40% Syrah
Aging: 12 months in cement tanks
Production Notes: Grapes are hand-harvested, destemmed, and cold-soaked prior to fermentation. This red wine is from a cooler part of the Southern Rhone, which imparts a freshness and liveliness not usually found in wines from this region.
Tasting Notes:
This wine has density, concentration, and structure which all interplay to produce a delicious, harmonious red wine. Notes of red fruit, tobacco, licorice, mint and spice.
Food Pairings:
Roasted chicken, root vegetables, burgers, onion soup, pizza, sausage.

2011 Domaine Filliatreau ‘La Grand Vignolle’ Saumur-Champigny
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Winemaker: Frédrik Filliatreau
Bio: A 4th generation winemaker, Frédrik continues to work with his family to produce wines from various vineyards in Saumur-Champigny.
Region: Saumur-Champigny
Country: France
Vineyard: La Grand Vignolle is a well-known vineyard which rests atop a tufa-stone outcrop that runs along the Loire river. The old vines are organically farmed and yields are kept low.
Blend: 100% Cabernet Franc
Aging: Stainless steel
Production Notes: The highly calcareous soil lends acidity and juiciness that is often lost in wines from this region. The wine is aged in tanks instead of oak, which adds additional freshness to the wine. The wines of Saumur-Champigny are some of our favorite old-world Cabernet Franc – a genetic parent of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape. While this wine is drinking well now, it would make a great gift for a person who is interested in aging wine.
Tasting Notes:
Chisled red fruit, tobacco & licorice. Full-bodied and structured with herbal notes which are the hallmark of Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley.
Food Pairings: 
Aged goat cheese, lamb, duck, vegetable dishes, steak with pepper, eggplant.