Fall Wine Club Terroir Series: Limestone Wines

Fall is my favorite time of year.

As the days get shorter and the nights get cooler, I find myself looking forward to the holidays much more than I did when I was young. I love cooking for friends and family, throwing dinner parties, and sharing my most prized wines.

I’m no longer looking for light and easy reds to enjoy with a slight chill; instead I crave wines with density, texture, and earthy minerality. I reach for more serious wines to slowly enjoy out of a big, tulip-shaped glass as I transition from the dinner table to a seat in front of the fireplace.

For our Fall wine club, we’re continuing our focus on terroir and featuring French wines grown in limestone soil.

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Photo by midihideaways.wordpress.com

Limestone is a sedimentary alkaline soil type composed of ancient seabed that is highly beneficial to grape growing. It neutralizes the acidity in the soil, has excellent water retention properties, keeps the roots of the grapevines cool, and slows the ripening of grapes which helps them retain their natural acidity. Wines grown in limestone have phenomenal texture, structure, freshness and profound minerality; they are often heralded as the greatest wines in the world.

Much of continental France is composed of limestone, as it was under an ocean millions of years ago. Chablis, Côte d’Or, Sancerre, Saumur, Alsace, and many other important French winemaking regions have legendary vineyards planted on this porous soil.

Are you interested in joining the Winelandia wine club? Sign up at https://club.winelandia.com/

Mixed Wine Club – $150 plus tax and delivery:

Three reds, two whites, and one sparkling rosé. A cornucopia of delicious, natural French wines.

Domaine du Pas de l’Escalette 
2012 “Les Clapas” Red Blend
Côteaux du Languedoc, France
Carignan, Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault
Full-bodied and savory with balanced freshness. Rich, ripe notes of red/black fruits are accentuated by aromas of juniper, rosemary, and irony minerals. Refined, silky tannins are uplifted by juicy acidity.

Domaine Contat-Grangé 2012 Maranges 1er Cru La Fussière
Burgundy, France
100% Pinot Noir
Brooding, subtle, and complex with notes of ripe cherry and profound minerality. Balanced and bright acidity is framed by present yet supple tannins.

Olga Raffault 2001 Chinon Les Picasses
Loire Valley, France
100% Cabernet Franc
Old school Cabernet Franc at it’s best. Light garnet in color with complex notes of herbs, smoky minerals, dark cherries, and earth. On the palate, the tannins are softened by age but maintain their youthful velvety texture, with fresh acidity that make it a perfect compliment to a variety of fall foods. At 14 years old, it’s just beginning to show how well Chinon can age.

Le Petit St. Vincent NV Cab à Bulles Rosé Pet-Nat
Saumur-Champigny, France
100% Cabernet Franc
Vibrant and joyful with a bouquet of crunchy red fruits and minerals. On the palate, it’s juicy and pleasantly fizzy with flavors of cranberry and cherries with a crisp and dry finish.

Domaine de la Sarazinière 2013 Cuvée Claude Seigneuret
Mâcon-Bussières, France
100% Chardonnay
Bright and mineral-driven with a lovely ripe stone fruit profile balanced by fresh acidity and delicate creaminess.

La Grange Tiphaine 2013 Clef de Sol Blanc
Montlouis-sur-Loire, France
100% Chenin Blanc
Delicate and fresh with notes of white flowers, citrus zest, and minerals. On the palate, it’s balanced by bright acidity, chalky texture, and a dry mineral finish with just a hint of succulent fruit.

All-Red Club – $150 plus tax and delivery:

Six impressive, food-friendly red wines perfect for dinner parties, holidays, or any other day of the week.

Domaine du Pas de l’Escalette 2012 “Les Clapas” Red Blend
Côteaux du Languedoc, France
Carignan, Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault
Full-bodied and savory with balanced freshness. Rich, ripe notes of red/black fruits are accentuated by aromas of juniper, rosemary, and irony minerals. Refined, silky tannins are uplifted by juicy acidity.

Domaine Contat-Grangé 2012 Maranges Premier Cru La Fussière
Burgundy, France
100% Pinot Noir
Brooding, subtle, and complex with notes of ripe cherry and profound minerality. Balanced and bright acidity is framed by present yet supple tannins.

Olga Raffault 2001 Chinon Les Picasses
Loire Valley, France
100% Cabernet Franc
Old school Cabernet Franc at it’s best. Light garnet in color with complex notes of herbs, smoky minerals, dark cherries, and earth. On the palate, the tannins are softened by age but maintain their youthful velvety texture, with fresh acidity that make it a perfect compliment to a variety of fall foods. Unbelievably fresh and lively for a 14-year-old wine, drinking beautifully now and can age for several more years.

Domaine Gramenon 2014 Sierra du Sud
Côtes-du-Rhône, France
100% Syrah
Fresh black and red fruits are highlighted by notes of violets and a sultry peppery streak. Full-bodied and luscious with plenty of juicy acidity and tannins. Drink now while it’s young and fresh or lay it down for a couple of years.

Mas del Perié 2014 Les Invaders Malbec
Cahors, France
100% Malbec
Juicy and fresh with aromas of ripe blue fruits, earth, minerals, and spice. Polished and supple structure with an intriguing earthy finish.

Francois Chidaine 2014 Touraine Rouge
Loire Valley, France
Côt, Pineau d’Aunis, Cabernet Franc
Spicy, herbal, fruity, and fresh! Notes of black pepper, tomato vine, and crunchy red fruits are framed by supple tannins and juicy acidity. An excellent food wine.

All-White Club – $150 plus tax and delivery:

Four white, one sparkling rosé, and one sparkling white. Graceful, elegant, and joyful – like you.

Le Petit St. Vincent NV Cab à Bulles Rosé Pet-Nat
Saumur-Champigny, France
100% Cabernet Franc
Vibrant and joyful with a bouquet of crunchy red fruits and minerals. On the palate, it’s juicy and pleasantly fizzy with flavors of cranberry and cherries with a crisp and dry finish.

Domaine de la Sarazinière 2013 Cuvée Claude Seigneuret
Mâcon-Bussières, France
100% Chardonnay
Bright and mineral-driven with a lovely ripe stone fruit profile balanced by fresh acidity and delicate creaminess.

La Grange Tiphaine 2013 Clef de Sol Blanc
Montlouis-sur-Loire, France
100% Chenin Blanc
Delicate and fresh with notes of white flowers, citrus zest, and minerals. On the palate, it’s balanced by bright acidity, chalky texture, and a dry mineral finish with just a hint of succulent fruit.

Philippe Gilbert 2013 Menetou-Salon Blanc
Loire Valley, France
100% Sauvignon Blanc
Fresh and pure with notes of lemon zest, green fruit, and minerals. On the palate, it’s electric and lively, with a long and crisp mineral finish.

Domaine Bechtold 2012 Silberberg Pinot Gris
Alsace, France
100% Pinot Gris
Delicate and complex with a bouquet of orange blossom, yellow citrus, honey, and minerals. On the palate, it shows elegance and grace with delicate acidity and silky texture.

Domaine du Clos Naudin 2010 Foreau Vouvray Brut
Loire Valley, France
100% Chenin Blanc
Rich and complex with intoxicating aromas of white truffles, toasted brioche, alpine flowers, and minerals. On the palate, the bubbles are fine and ethereal; the flavors are savory and profound. The finish is long, crisp, and dry, with persistent minerality.

Can’t wait to join the club? Don’t miss out on these incredible wines. Sign up here.

October Wine Box: The Balkan Peninsula

Ready for something new?

Long before the French and Italians graced the world with elegant, polished wines made from modern grape varieties, people were making wine on the Balkan Peninsula from ancient, indigenous grape varieties in a climate well-suited to viticulture. Americans are finally starting to take notice of these wines and now’s your chance to see what all the fuss is about.

This month’s wine box features four terroir-driven, soulful Balkan wines from Istria (Croatia), Northern Dalmatia (Croatia), Slovenia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

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Price for all four wines is $79.

Click here to buy now. Please check our delivery terms for delivery details.

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Brkić 2013 Čitlučka Žilavka
Price: $17.00
Region: Motar, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Type: White Wine
Grape Variety: Žilavka (zhee-lav-ka)
Farming: Organic and practicing Biodynamic.
Production: Fermented with indigenous yeast, aged on the lees, and bottled unfiltered.
Notes: Žilavka is a white indigenous white grape well-suited to the climate and limestone soil in the Mediterranean, where it’s been grown for more than 1000 years. Notes of ripe pear, fresh tarragon, and sea breeze make this wine pair with a variety of Mediterranean-inspired foods.

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Coronica 2014 Malvazija Istarska
Price: $20.00
Region: Istria, Croatia
Type: White Wine
Grape Variety: Malvazija Istarska
Farming: Practicing organic. Soil is composed of “Terra Rossa”, mineral-rich clay over solid limestone subsoil.
Production: 
Inoculated with yeasts cultured directly from the vineyard and fermented at controlled temperatures in stainless steel.
Notes: Representing almost 75% of his entire production, Coronica is the area’s benchmark for wines produced from Malvazija Istarska. A bouquet of lemon blossom, lemon pith, and minerals lead to flavors of grapefruit, delicate spice, and oceanic salinity on the palate. Pair with grilled, brined, or pickled seafood, or enjoy with hearty cheeses.

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Kabaj 2012 Sivi Pinot
Price: $22.00
Region: Goriška Brda, Slovenia
Type: Ramato (skin-fermented/orange wine)
Grape Variety: Pinot Grigio
Farming: Dry farmed utilizing organic fertilizers.
Production: 
Fermented with native yeasts for 2 weeks on the skins in 2400 liter oak vats. Aged 12 months on the lees in old French oak barrique. Bottled unfiltered. 
Notes:
 Not your Aunt Mary’s Pinot Grigio! Strawberry in color and creamy in texture with notes of dried apricots, brioche, and custard. The mineral-driven finish is long and dry with exquisite texture, density, and length. A wonderful pairing for roasted poultry and other fall fare.

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Bibich 2013 R6 Riserva
Price: $20.00
Region: Northern Dalmatia, Croatia
Type: Red Wine
Grape Variety: Babić, Lasin, Plavina
Farming: Dry farmed, head-trained vines. Minimal sprays are used in the vineyard due to the site’s optimal grape-growing conditions.
Production: Hand harvested and co-fermented with wild yeasts, then aged 12 months in American oak.
Notes: Not many people know that Zinfandel’s origins lie in Croatia. The indigenous grapes that make up Bibich’s R6 blend nod to Zinfandel, but maintain a smoky herbaceousness, freshness, and minerality that Zinfandel as we know it lacks. Pair with smoked meats, grilled sausages, and even goat cheese.

Click here to buy now.

Four new wines for the New Year

Happy New Year from Winelandia! We hope you were able to pop some of your favorite bottles during your holiday celebrations.

Over the holiday break, there were some new releases we couldn’t resist getting our hands on. Check out the four new wines in our online shop.

frantz saumon mineral +2013 Frantz Saumon Mineral+, Montlouis-sur-Loire
The latest vintage of Frantz Saumon’s Mineral+, one of our all-time favorite Loire wines, is back in stock. Yields were unbelievably low all over France during 2013, and as a result there’s not much of this wine to go around. We were able to secure a small amount for the online store, so get some while you can! This is a 100% Chenin Blanc made in a sec-tendre style (somewhere between sec and demi-sec) with mouth-watering acidity rounded out by a little residual sugar. Succulent fruit and stony minerality make this wine a great compliment to a wide variety of foods.

jolie laide grenache2013 Jolie-Laide Grenache, Dry Creek Valley
For our Jolie-Laide fans, this is the latest release from Scott Schultz, and it does not disappoint. 2013 yielded loads of near-perfect fruit in California, and the wines are incredibly generous. Vibrant and juicy, it’s drenched in flavors of raspberry extract, spice, and earth. Full-flavored and structured, yet light on it’s feet, this is a great wine to help you transition out of the holidays and into the new year. Supplies are extremely limited.

belluard ayse brutNV Domaine Belluard Ayse Brut, Savoie
The latest Ayse cuvée from Domaine Belluard is everything we’d hoped it’d be and more! Made from 100% Gringet, a nearly-extinct grape grown in Savoie, Ayse Brut offers notes of ginger, galangal, brioche, and crushed rocks. Rich and aromatic with loads of tiny bubbles, this exuberant bubbly is sure to impress everyone in the room.

lapierre raisins gaulois2013 Lapierre Raising Gaulois Gamay, Beaujolais
Everyone who knows me knows how crazy I am about the wines of M. Lapierre. This is Lapierre’s entry-level gamay, made primarily from younger plantings in their Morgon vineyards. Light, fresh, and grapey, this wine is epitome of glou-glou. Organically farmed and produced with minimal intervention – it’s nearly impossible to find wines with this pedigree at such a reasonable price point. Enjoy it with a variety of foods any day of the week.

La Clarine Farm Cedarville Mourvèdre is back, and more!

We’ve just added three more incredible wines to our online shop, two of which have no added sulfites. They pair perfectly with seasonal ingredients such as pomegranate, roasted poultry, winter squash, persimmon, and chicories. Click the links to purchase from our online store.

La Clarine Farm Cedarville Mourvedre2013 La Clarine Farm “Cedarville” Mourvèdre – $28
La Clarine Farm’s Cedarville Mourvèdre is back and better than ever! Bright, fresh, exotic, and supple, it’s a seductive wine that will entice the most jaded palates. Notes of fresh guava, herbs, cranberry, and minerals are the highlights of this incredible, terroir-driven wine from the Sierra Foothills.

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2013 Christian Vernier ‘Les Hauts de Madon’ Cheverny Rouge – $25
An organically farmed, no-sulfur-added blend of Pinot Noir & Gamay from the Loire Valley’s Cheverny region. This super sexy and feminine wine is remarkably fresh, high-toned, delicately structured, and super juicy. It’s full of aromas of fresh red fruit, dusty earth, fresh herbs, and minerals. I can’t get enough of this wine, it’s definitely one of my top 5 picks for 2014. A must-have for those who love Loire reds and Pinot Noir.

Vinavanti Viognier2013 Vinavanti Viognier, San Diego County – $23
An incredible no-sulfur-added Viognier from San Diego County (you heard right). Sustainably farmed fruit is sourced locally and made into this great wine by Vinavanti. They produce their wines without any additives or oak, and ferment them whole-cluster. This voluptuous and fresh wine will entice you with it’s aromas of citrus, pear skin, herbs, and minerals. It’s a perfect pairing for roasted turkey or chicken.

Join the wine club today and receive 10% off your order with a coupon code that will be emailed to you after you join! We’re shipping the Fall wine club next week. Check out the selections here. Supplies are extremely limited (in fact we’re telling people we’re sold out, but we might have a couple of extras to go around).

Do you have questions or would you like some personal assistance selecting wines to suit your taste? Reach out to Tala directly by email – tala@winelandia.com.

Cheers!
Winelandia

Wine of the Week: Domaine Belluard 2010 “Mont Blanc” Brut

With summer coming to a close and the onset of fall, I wanted to feature a Wine of the Week that will pair well with the transition of seasonal ingredients. In summer, you see tons of summer squash, tomatoes, basil, corn, stone fruit, and berries. When fall arrives, so do the hard winter squashes, chicories, wild mushrooms, apples, pears, potatoes, fennel, and beets. I like to think of wines as seasonal, too, and the arrival of fall makes me crave different types of wine. I want wines that are less fruity; I look for wines that are more herbal and savory.

One of the wines in our shop that seems best suited for fall is the Domaine Belluard 2010 “Mont Blanc” Brut. It’s a biodynamically farmed sparkling wine made from a nearly extinct grape called Gringet, which there are only 22 hectares of in existence. Belluard seeks to preserve this rare and delicious grape by making a number of varietal wines from it. The “Mont Blanc” brut is produced from grapes grown on steep slopes and in poor soil. The wine is intensely mineral – if you’ve ever doubted the existence of minerality in wine, get a bottle of this and you will no longer doubt it. It smells intensely of crushed rocks, what you might imagine a quarry smells like. Along with the notable minerality, there are aromas of ginger, lemongrass, white flowers, and fresh alpine air. This is an elegant, profound, complex wine that is perfect to pair with a variety of fall foods.

This is a very rare wine, and it’s beauty is equal to it’s scarcity. Most of it was sold out across California before it recovered from bottle shock due to being transported across the globe. I opened a bottle of this just the other night at a friend’s house, and it’s singing right now.

Buy now on Winelandia.com!

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Blend: 100% Gringet
Region: 
France>Savoie>Haute-Savoie
Vineyard: 
Biodynamically farmed. Vines are planted on chalky scree slopes with southern exposure.
Tasting Notes: 
A profound sparkling wine, with notes of white flowers, ginger, lemongrass, and crushed rocks.
Food Pairing: Comté cheese, smoked trout, quiche, roasted hard winter squash with maldon salt
Production Notes:
 Fermented with indigenous yeasts. Fermented and aged in concrete egg. Minimum of 3 years on the lees. Bottled with minimal SO2.
Winemaker:
 Dominique Belluard
Bio: Deep in the eastern French Alps, near the Swiss border, the Belluard family has been making wine in the village of Ayse since 1947.  They are one of the region’s top Biodynamic producers. They started with vineyards of Gringet (a rare grape variety endemic to the region) and fruit orchards. They now own 12 of the 22 remaining hectares of this nearly extinct grape, and are doing their best to preserve it. Their vineyards are certified Biodynamic, and all of their wines are fermented and aged in concrete eggs instead of wood or stainless steel. Great care is taken in the production of these wines, utilizing only native yeasts, and even aging their own sparkling wines in the bottle (most producers outsource this).

Buy now on Winelandia.com!

Introducing our Summer Wine Club Offer

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**Our Summer Wine Club selections are SOLD OUT! You can still join the wine club and we would be happy to put together a customized collection for you, or you can simply begin to enjoy your 10% discount and purchase directly from our online shop.**

Summer’s finally here, and so are our summer wine club selections. This time around we are featuring some of the best French and American wines we’ve had all summer, from some of the most exciting small producers in the industry. These unique and crowd-pleasing wines are perfect to bring along on picnics or summer barbecues, or simply to enjoy with a friend on a warm summer night.

Want to get in on the action? Join the Winelandia wine club by filling out the form at https://signup.winelandia.com/

2013 Mas del Périé “Tu Vin Plus Aux Soirees” Red Blend, Southwestern France
2013 Wind Gap Trousseau Gris, Fanucchi-Wood Road Vineyard, Russian River Valley
2011 Pierre Frick Cremant d’Alsace Riesling/Auxerrois Blend, Alsace
2013 Hervé Villemade Rosé of Pinot Noir & Gamay, Cheverny
2012 Forlorn Hope “San Hercurmer delle Frecce” Barbera, Amador County
2013 Jolie-Laide Pinot Gris, Windsor Oaks Vineyard, Chalk Hill

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2013 Mas del Périé “Tu Vin Plus Aux Soirees” Red Blend

Blend: Cabernet Franc & Côt (Malbec)
Region: France>Southwestern France>Cahors
Vineyard: Biodynamically farmed. 1100’ elevation.
Tasting Notes: A great wine for summer – it’s medium bodied, soft, and supple while retaining a juicy and inviting character that makes you want to take another sip. This is a burger wine if we’ve ever had one – beef or veggie, it doesn’t matter! A fun and versatile wine that everyone will love.
Food Pairing: Barbecue ribs, grilled chicken, burgers, carne asada tacos
Production Notes: Manually harvested, fermented whole cluster for 10 days with indigenous yeasts. Bottled unfined and unfiltered with minimal SO2. The name of this wine is a pun referencing a line from a popular French television show, and roughly translates to “You are not partying with us anymore”.
Winemaker: Fabien Jouves
Bio: Fabien Jouves is a young winemaker in Cahors who began converting his family’s estate to Biodymanic farming in 2004. He initially intended to study medicine, but instead went on to study viticulture and oenology as his parents were struggling with the family vineyard. He now farms all 22 hectares of the family’s estate.

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2013 Wind Gap Trousseau Gris, Russian River Valley

Blend: 100% Trousseau Gris
Region: US>California>Sonoma>Russian River Valley
Vineyard: Fanucchi-Wood Road Vineyard
Tasting Notes: A light-bodied, bright and citrusy wine. It’s a perfect wine to drink on a hot day, and goes especially well with seafood and salads. It’s very easy drinking, but not simple – more like straightforward. Crisp, cool, clean.
Food Pairing: Nectarine & burrata watercress salad
Production Notes: Organically farmed grapes, whole clusters are foot crushed and fermented with indigenous yeasts in concrete eggs. This wine is aged in both stainless and neutral oak for just a few months and always released the year it’s made – it’s meant to be enjoyed fresh and young.
Winemaker: Pax Mahle
Bio: Pax Mahle is a cornerstone of minimal intervention winemaking in northern California. Mahle found his way to winemaking through his work as a sommelier, and has, since the mid 2000s, focused his efforts on the Wind Gap label – cool climate wines often made from single vineyards. His winery was first in Forestville, and has since moved to a convenient location in Sebastopol. Many other wines Winelandia has featured have been influenced by Mahle’s guidance and mentorship, including Ryme and Jolie-Laide.

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2011 Pierre Frick Cremant d’Alsace Riesling/Auxerrois Blend

Blend: 50% Auxerrois Blanc, 50% Riesling
Region: France>Alsace
Vineyard: Biodynamic (Demeter certified) since 1981. Clay & Limestone soil.
Tasting Notes: The bouquet of this elegant sparkling wine is rich with white flowers and coconut, while on the palate it shows lively citrus, almond, and white peach. The bone dry finish leaves a lingering limestone minerality. A gorgeous wine perfect for a casual gathering or a special celebration.
Food Pairing: Alsatian onion tart, cheese plates, oysters
Production Notes: Hand-harvested and whole-cluster pressed. Fermented in foudre with native yeast. Aged in 3000L foudre. Secondary fermentation with RS from the primary fermentation and acacia honey. No added SO2 during vinification, and a small amount added at disgorgement. No dosage. 2 g/L residual sugar.
Winemaker: Pierre Frick
Bio: Pierre Frick is the 12th generation to farm and make wine from his family’s land. He first converted the entire estate to organic viticulture in 1970, and went on to convert it fully to Biodynamic in 1981.

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2013 Hervé Villemade Rosé of Pinot Noir & Gamay

Blend: 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Gamay
Region: France>Loire Valley>Cheverny
Vineyard: Certified organic. 12-36 year old vines.
Tasting Notes: Floral, fruity, and light on it’s feet, with juicy acidity and abundant fruit flavors.
Food Pairing: Grilled salmon, arugula salad with goat cheese and roasted beets, charcuterie
Production Notes: Hand-harvested, fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks. Bottled with minimum SO2.
Winemaker: Hervé Villemade
Bio: Domaine du Moulin is Hervé Villemade’s family estate, founded by his grandparents. Hervé took over winery operations in 1995, and followed in his parent’s footsteps by initially farming using conventional methods. Following these practices, he found the work and wine to be bland. Soon after, Villemade both developed a serious sulfite allergy and discovered natural wine. Deeply inspired by the soulful wines of Lapierre, Gramenon, and Foillard, Villemade began converting the estate to organic viticulture in 2000. He now makes a variety of wines with little or no sulfur added.

P71700182012 Forlorn Hope “San Hercurmer delle Frecce” Barbera

Blend: 100% Barbera
Region: US>California>Sierra Foothills>Amador County
Vineyard: Shake Ridge Vineyard. Sustainably farmed. 1500’ elevation on sandstone, soapstone, quartz, schist, and decomposed granite. Iron-rich, large grain, 80% rocks.
Tasting Notes: A bright and fresh red wine with notes of red fruit, white pepper, and earth. The long finish leaves flavors of pomegranate, along with fine, grippy tannins. Excellent now but could also take some age.
Food Pairing: Barbecue ribs, burgers, grilled portobello mushrooms with balsamic reduction
Production Notes: This wine is named after a miniature donkey who was shot with an arrow by an unknown assailant and resides not far from the vineyard. Fermented whole-cluster with native yeast. Bottled without fining or filtration. Aged 12 months in neutral oak. 87 cases made.
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!

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2013 Jolie-Laide Pinot Gris, Windsor Oaks Vineyard

Blend: 100% Pinot Gris
Region: US>California>Sonoma>Chalk Hill
Vineyard: Windsor Oaks Vineyard
Tasting Notes: Aromas of citrus, melon, and orange blossom. Lightweight and electric on the palate, with a little spice and ample length on the finish. Far more complex and interesting than your typical Pinot Gris, and one of our favorite wines of the summer.
Food Pairing: Poached salmon with citrus, summer stonefruit salads, cheese plates, grilled seafood, grilled carrots
Production Notes: The grapes were gently foot-stomped whole cluster, then left on the skins overnight to soak. The juice was able to pick up a little color from the skins, without extracting any weight or tannins. Pressed whole-cluster into stainless steel, where it underwent a 12 day spontaneous fermentation at cool temperatures. Once dry, it was racked and aged for 6 months in 2:1 stainless steel and neutral oak vessels, with no malo or lees stirring.
Winemaker: Scott Schultz
Bio: About 2 years ago, I was up at the old Wind Gap tasting room with some friends. Scott made wine in the same facility, and he was the one pouring the Wind Gap wines that day. We chatted a bit about wine-making and the business, and afterwards it seemed like I’d run into him every time I was at an industry event. It turns out Scott makes some of the most unique and highly sought-after wines in California, in minuscule quantities of course. In 2013, his fourth vintage, Scott produced only 500 cases of wine.

 

 

 

Wine of the Week: Mauro Vergano NV Vermouth Bianco

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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!

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.

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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.

Wine of the Week: La Clarine Farm 2012 “Piedi Grandi” Red Blend

Many  of you already know how much we love La Clarine Farm wines – we feel that winemaker Hank Beckmeyer is making some of the most exciting wines in California today. They are honest and long-living with abundant layers of joyfulness, fragrance, intrigue, and soul.

“Piedi Grandi” is a nebbiolo-dominant blend including mourvèdre, syrah, and a wee bit of sémillon. It’s grown in deep volcanic soils of the Sierra Foothills, and is light in body while still being full of flavor. The nebbiolo offers structure and acidity; the mourvèdre delivers seductive, tropical, high-toned fruit aromas; the syrah brings spice and depth; the sémillon helps bring out the aromatics in the rest of the blend. While Piedi Grandi currently has a fun and fruity bouquet perfect for summertime fare, these wines can age for several years (Hank mentions the 2010 is currently drinking beautifully) and will present more spice and savory aromas as time passes.

No SO2 was added while the wine was being made, and only a small amount was added at bottling.

Enjoy this beautiful wine on a warm summer day, with a slight chill, and your favorite barbecue. Only 156 cases made.

Buy now on Winelandia.com

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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 laid-­back winemaking approach produces wines with texture and tons of interest -­ he simply lets each wine, each vintage, become whatever it might.
Region: 
US>California>Sierra Foothills
Vineyard: Deeper volcanic soils.
Blend:
 54% Nebbiolo, 42% Mourvedre, 3% Syrah and 1% Semillon
Aging: Stainless steel tank
Production Notes: 
Foot-stomped whole cluster and allowed to ferment spontaneously. Aged in stainless steel tanks with no SO2 added until bottling.
Tasting Notes: This bright and structured nebbiolo blend is full of high-toned fruit aromas, firm tannins, and juicy acidity. A perfect summertime red, and will continue to give for years to come.
Food Pairing: Grilled steak salad with balsamic dressing, braised short ribs, ossobuco, arancini, grilled leg of lamb.

Buy now on Winelandia.com

Wine of the Week: Jolie-Laide 2013 Trousseau Gris

The new vintages of Jolie-Laide Trousseau Gris and Pinot Gris are in. Buy now from our online shop.

Where to begin… wines like this one are the reason I started a wine business. This particular wine has preternaturally brought me both new friends and tons of website traffic (“Jolie-Laide Trousseau Gris” is the #2 search term that brings people here, second only to “Winelandia”). The ache I feel deep in my soul when enjoying a glass of this beautiful wine is not one of pain, but one of longing – for things to come, for the evolution of wine in California, for the joyfulness of new and exciting experiences, for the hope of new wines that might move me in the way that this one has. At it’s root, wine is happiness, and I struggle with the enormity of the bliss I feel when I savor this wine.

The first time I had the Jolie-Laide Trousseau Gris, it was the 2011 vintage, and I was sitting at the bar of the now defunct Punchdown wine bar in Oakland with Colleen. At the time, we were a little confused by this Trousseau Gris that spent some time on the skins, and weren’t quite sure what to make of it. I’d only had Trousseau Gris as a varietal wine a few times before, from Wind Gap, whose rendition was an inexpensive, simple, quaffable, bright, and fresh summertime wine. I went on to find the 2012 Jolie-Laide Trousseau Gris a year later, which had less color but still had tons of spice and texture. I was floored by it, so taken by it’s beauty and grace that I wrote this blog post about it.

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So what is Trousseau Gris? It’s a “gris” or grey grape, a mutation from the red Trousseau variety originally from the mountainous regions in France. Pinot Noir can mutate in the same way, creating Pinot Gris. It’s not uncommon for wine grapes to mutate into different colors, although some varieties are more prone than others. Anyhow, when Trousseau Gris is picked and pressed immediately after harvest, it produces a light straw-colored, bright, fresh, and fruity wine. Jolie-Laide’s version sees 5 days of skin contact during a pre-fermentation “cold soak”, where it extracts color, texture, phenols, spice, and loads of complexity.

Jolie-Laide is a one-man operation based in a Sebastopol winery. The winemaker, Scott Schultz, is an assistant winemaker at Wind Gap, and makes only 500 cases of wine a year under his own label. Jolie-Laide translates literally to “Pretty-Ugly”, a French term of endearment to describe something that is unconventionally beautiful. Scott’s wines are very true to their name, though there is nothing ugly about them.

I picked up a couple of cases of the latest vintage, the Jolie-Laide 2013 Trousseau Gris. Wines like this don’t come around every day, so get some before it’s gone.

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Winemaker: Scott Schultz
Bio: Instead of a bio, I’ll tell you the story of how I came to know Scott. It was about 2 years ago, and I was up at the old Wind Gap tasting room with some friends. Scott, assistant winemaker at Wind Gap, also made his own wine in the same facility, and he was the one pouring the Wind Gap wines that day. We chatted a bit about wine-making and the business, and afterwards it seemed like I’d run into him every time I was at an industry event. It turns out Scott makes some of the most unique and highly sought-after wines in California, in minuscule quantities of course. This is his fourth vintage, and one we are very excited to offer to our customers.
Region: United States>California>Sonoma County>Russian River Valley
Vineyard: Fanucchi-Wood Road Vineyard
Blend: 100% Trousseau Gris
Aging: Neutral French oak puncheon & barrel
Production: A five day whole cluster cold soak on the skins gives this wine a beautiful peach-colored hue, texture, spice and weight. The wine underwent a spontaneous two week fermentation at cool temperatures, which preserved the intense aroma of the wine. Aged in neutral wood, no malo, and bottled in early March.
Tasting Notes: Sweet summer peach and honeysuckle intertwine with plushness and spice on the palate to produce an entirely unique wine, completely different from the last vintage, while still being true to the Trousseau Gris. An adventure in a glass.
Food Pairing: The only thing this wine needs is a big tulip shaped glass, abundant sunshine, and you.