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.

Slovenian Wine

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Like most of the Balkans, Slovenia has changed hands a fair number of times in its history.  The area that makes up modern Slovenia has at one point or another belonged to the Romans, Magyars, Ottomans, Habsburgs and Yugoslavia, the latter of which began its official disintegration after the Slovenes declared independence in 1991 (though rumblings of this had begun much earlier).  The only constant in this tumultuous history has been the region’s wines.  Slovenia’s position affords it an envious array of growing conditions that produce some incredibly unique wines, and although the emphasis has always been on white, its reds can be equally enticing.  That a great many Slovenian producers are today pursuing natural and non-interventionist methods in their cellars is not a sign of changing times, but rather an indication of how things were traditionally done in the region.  These are wines that are produced to reflect the place that they come from, not the tastes of where a marketing team wants them to be sold.

Slovenia is divided into three wine regions, split between the country’s Western and Eastern margins: Podravje, Posavje and Primorska, the latter of which is the most well known internationally.  This can be attributed to the quality of the wines, but also because the region shares a border with Italy’s Friuli-Venezia Giula, and indeed the terroir of the two regions can be incredibly similar.  Within Primorska lie four sub-region, each of which warrants attention.

Primorska

Goriška Brda is an extension of Italy’s Collio region, a sea of rolling hills and small valleys with a climate that’s a bit cooler than the rest of Primorska thanks to the influence of the nearby Alps.  While red wine is produced here, like the rest of Slovenia the emphasis is on white (which accounts for nearly 70% of the country’s production).  Rebula (Ribolla Gialla just across the Italian border) and Tocai Friulano (also called Ravan) are the two main white grapes here, although Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris make appearances as well.  These wines are often capable of ageing quite well due to their extended exposure to grape skins after maceration (typically only done for red wine), which produces a golden hue that can be quite beautiful in the glass, and the wines themselves will often respond very well to some decanting.  Kabaj is an interesting producer that typifies this style of wine from Goriška Brda, with an array of vinification styles that include clay amfora, as well as the more traditional Slovenian oak.

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A bit further South lies Vipavska Dolina, a long valley stretching down from the hills of Brda known for its white wines and strong winds that rush down from Mt. Nano.  Immediately to the south lies Kras, bordering the Italian city of Trieste and well regarded for its red wines made with the native Teran grape, as well as Refošk (Refosco in Italy).  Both Vipavska Dolina and Kras are subjected to hot Mediterranean summers and colder, windy winters.

At the Southern edge of Primorska is Slovenska Istra, or Slovenian Istria, the very Northern tip of the peninsula that lies largely within neighboring Croatia.  The soil in this region produces Slovenia’s famous truffles, and the wines lean towards heavy reds from Refošk, Teran and Cabernet Sauvignon.  A few sublime whites can be found here as well, most of which seem to come from Malvizija (Malvasia in Italy and Spain).  The best of these are on the dryer side, with a sharp acidity that really calls for some fish from the nearby Adriatic.  When both wine and food are produced in close proximity to one another they tend to remind you of their counterpart, I’ve found.

Podravje

The largest of Slovenia’s wine regions is off to the East along the borders of Austria, Hungary and Croatia, and is known for its white grapes, including sparkling and dessert wines.  The native Laški Rizling is the grape of choice for many in Podravje, although a number of more familiar non-native grapes now make up a significant part of the production.

An interesting producer from this region is Silvo Črnko, who grows quite a variety of non-native grapes like Yellow Muscat, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer, among others.  But these grapes, like any that are grown in soil treated with care and respect, take on the flavors of a region that has produced wine for over 2,000 years, and are quite distinct from their cousins further afield.  Getting one’s hands on wine from this region isn’t always terribly straightforward in the U.S., but they’re worth seeking out.

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Posavje

Slovenia’s smallest wine region is generally only mentioned in the context of a blended wine called Cviček, though they do produce a great number of other styles.  A dry and slightly sour wine made from a blend of both red and white grapes, it can nonetheless be a bit fruity depending on the grapes selected for use, and is generally not above 10% alcohol.  As a result it tends to be drunk rather liberally in the area, and since 2001 has been a Recognized Regional Denomination, or PTP if European Union acronyms excite you.  This means that only wines produced in the Posavje sub-region of Dolenjska can be labelled as Cviček.  So, there you have it.

Luckily for Californians with an interest in wines from off of the beaten wine path, these are no longer impossible to find outside of specialty food stores or Central European markets.  Most serious wine shops will have a bottle or two from Primorska, if nothing else, but a bit of digging may produce something wholly unknown.  If you find yourself in front of a bottle with a name that looks even vaguely like it may be in Slovenian, ask some questions of the proprietor.  The nice thing about people who like wine is that they tend not to shy away from discussing it, sometimes at length, and few things go better with conversation than wine.

An Introduction to Central European Wine

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Central Europe doesn’t spring to mind for many people when they think of wine, nor do these countries make frequent appearances on many wine lists that you encounter. Perhaps a sweet Hungarian Tokaji as the adventurous choice on a dessert list, but that’s generally the extent to which this part of the world appears on people’s wine radar. That’s a shame. Wine has been produced throughout the Balkans and the rest of Central Europe since the ancient Greeks, and has birthed some of the most well-known grapes that grow across Europe and the Americas (not to mention hundreds of local varietals that rarely appear outside of the hills and valleys to which they are native). After the disastrous effects of collective farming practices under communist rule, bookended by a decade of war in the 1990’s as Yugoslavia disintegrated, Western wine drinkers are finally turning their gaze towards this part of the world in earnest. Suddenly it’s not uncommon to find interesting bottles from Croatia and Slovenia in wine shops and on restaurant lists, although Hungary remains largely relegated to the dessert wine category, and things from some of the smaller countries are still something of a rarity.

Central European wines are victim to a single, yet daunting hurdle: an aggressive amount of consonants. While French and Italian wines allow one have a go at sounding out the names on bottles without butchering things too badly, trying to wrestle a pronunciation out of such unfamiliar words as Črnko (pronounced “churn-ko”) can be enough to turn you right back to something more familiar. This is compounded by the presence of other non-Slavic languages in the region that can seem equally impenetrable to English speakers, like Hungarian and Romanian.

The grapes themselves don’t help too much either in this regard. Have you ever enjoyed a Bosnian Žilavka, or a Croatian Crljenak Kaštelanski? Probably not. But the old adage is correct, as looks can be deceiving. That Crljenak Kaštelanski you’re still trying to pronounce is actually what gave birth to the familiar Zinfandel, and a number of grapes that you’ll recognize make frequent appearances throughout a number of these countries.

So, where do you start? The only way to tackle such an enormous number of countries, grapes and terroirs is to choose a geographic point and then move in a constant direction. This is the first part in a series that will begin in Hungary and works its way through Slovenia, Croatia, and then focus on some of the smaller less well-known countries that are producing intensely interesting natural wines. You may not come across a lot of bottles from Montenegro or find people willing to entertain your observations about Bosnia’s wonderful biodynamic whites, but many of the wines are unique to their place of origin, and some of them are fantastic.

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Hungary

The sweet Hungarian wines from the Tokaj-Hegyalja region have long been sought after by European royalty, and was infact the first classified wine region in the world. It’s not hard to understand the reasoning behind this if you’ve been lucky enough to uncork one of the small rotund bottles that this golden hued nectar frequently arrives in. A good Tokaji can be like taking a sip from the sun, sweet without being cloying, and with a fragrance that can range from summer flowers to honey. The wines from Tokaj can actually fall anywhere along the scale from dry to heavy and sweet, but it’s the wines classified as Aszú that are so well known as a post-meal drink.

Six grapes are allowed to be grown in the Tokaj wine region, but Furmint accounts for the majority of production. This is closely followed by Hárslevelű, which along with Muscat is blended with Furmint to produce Aszú wines. The final ingredients are a long, slow ripening process in the strong sun and the late-on appearance of Botrytis cinerea, a fungus otherwise known as “noble rot” for the effects it has on certain wine grapes. Botrytis acts by sucking water from the grapes, leaving behind a higher concentration of sugars and other solids in the final juicing that helps to concentrate flavor. This is the same fungus at work in Bordeaux that produces the much lauded Sauternes.

Thankfully, Hungary is not all sweet white wine (nor is Tokaj, it should be mentioned). There are 22 recognized wine regions throughout the country, with Somló the best known outside of Tokaj. Perched around an extinct volcano and exclusively planted with white grapes, these wines are unsurprisingly mineral driven, with the aforementioned Furmint once again playing a major role alongside Hárslevelű, Olaszrizling and Juhfark (now take a moment to catch your breath).

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Now, to red. Hungary’s indigenous Kadarka grape is the dark and brooding cousin to the bright, mineraly whites from Somló, and is a key part of the country’s best known red, Egri Bikavér (bulls blood from Eger). Hailing from the Eger wine region in the North-East, this blend is required by law to include a mix of at least three of the 13 grapes permitted to grow in the region, which include a mix of local and international varietals. The name supposedly descends from the wine’s influence on a 16th century battle, in what you’ll find is surprisingly typical dark-romantic fashion for Central Europe, but we’ll leave this part to detectives of provenance.

So then, off to Slovenia. Until next time.

An Introduction to Catalan Wine

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﹡Before beginning we should pause to observe the challenge imposed by the linguistic differences that separate Catalunya from Spain, as they tend to pop-up and add confusion when least expected. Catalan is a completely separate language from Spanish (or Castellano), so to keep things simple names will appear in Catalan, as this is what you’ll probably see on bottles and wine lists.

Wine has been produced in the region that encompasses modern day Catalunya for the past 2500 years, and was once quite popular in the ancient world. The Phoenicians introduced winemaking to the region between the 7th and 8th century B.C.E., and the Romans continued the practice in their first colony in the Iberian peninsula, Tarraco (modern day Tarragona). After succumbing to the vine killing aphid Phylloxera that destroyed large swathes of Europe’s vineyards at the end of the 19th century, the international role of Catalan wine briefly surged after significant replanting, before largely falling by the wayside during the Spanish Civil War and ensuing World War.

Today Catalunya is producing a great deal of unique, interesting natural wine that closely reflects the region’s varied climates. While the American market has long been inundated with cheap cava that exists solely to fill mimosa pitchers at brunch, the past few years have seen the emergence of a number of passionate natural winemakers, and just as importantly for us, importers willing to bring their wine to unfamiliar palates. To say that interesting, honestly made wine is a new arrival in Catalunya would be unfair, but it’s certainly new to the West Coast. Our September wine box is a great introduction to some of the best cava and natural wines coming out of Catalunya right now, but with ten different recognized regions, there’s an awful lot to taste.

Much like the French AOC classification system, Catalunya’s DO (Denominació d’Origen) categorizes wine by the specific region that it comes from, and dictates what types of grapes can be used. Despite having only ten DO’s, Catalunya’s vineyards manage to encompass an incredibly diverse array of landscapes and climates, covering coastal plains, mountains and river valleys. A good general rule is to divide the wine regions into two groups:

-The dry coastal plains and valleys, which see relatively little rain and higher temperatures

-The more humid mountains and high plains, which tend to see lower temperatures than the coast, with much more rain

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There are a number of grapes under cultivation in the region that are unique to Catalunya, as well as non-indigenous grapes that have taken on local names, like Garnatxa (Grenache). The French border is not terribly far from most parts of Catalunya, and the two regions share deep cultural and linguistic ties. It’s no surprise, then, that several french varietals make up a significant chunk of the local red wine production, among them Monastrell (Mourvèdre), the aforementioned Garnatxa, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Samsó (Carignan). White wine production is dominated by the three indigenous grapes commonly used for cava production, Macabeu, Parellada and Xarel·lo, although they are by no means restricted to the production of this sparkling wine.

One of the more recognizable DO’s is Penedès, from where 95% of Catalunya’s cava originates, including everything from mass-produced industrial brands to small production natural and biodynamic producers. At the other end of the scale is Priorat, known for powerful reds, and confusing labelled alternatively as DOQ (Denominació d’Origen Qualificada) or DOC (Denominación de Origen Calificada), depending on your use of Catalan or Spanish. This additional level of recognition is only afforded to two of Spain’s wine regions, Priorat and Rioja, and is a reflection of both the price these wines command and their general quality. Which of these two attributes is weighed more heavily is a matter of debate.

The best way to explore a region’s wines is to try as much as you can, red or white, from every type of soil you can. Given that this is a serious task for almost anyone interested in wine, casual or otherwise, a brief overview of the DO’s of Catalunya’s should be helpful. An excellent resource is the website of the governing body that oversees the DO designation for all of Catalunya:

http://www.do-catalunya.com/en/

Drinking wines from a lesser-known region can have its drawbacks, including being able to find a wide variety of producers. Luckily, we have the internet to help ensure that things that before would never have made their way into our glasses can be (relatively) accessible. As is often the case with areas that are mountainous and whose wines are not particularly popular outside of the region, there are numerous varietals that are planted in very small amounts or are simply dying out altogether in Catalunya (and may be extremely hard to find here in the U.S.). It’s a good start to simply get an idea of the common grapes associated with a wine growing region by tasting as much as you can, but don’t be intimidated by what’s unfamiliar! Becoming adventurous in your drinking can lead to interesting discoveries. Go open a nice cava from Penedès, or a dark and brooding Garnatxa from Priorat, and then start exploring.

September Wine Box: Under the Radar Catalan Wine

September is upon us, which means it’s time for a new wine box! This month we’re drinking some interesting things from Catalunya, a long-overlooked wine region in the Northeastern corner of Spain that’s best known for it’s Cava, and is finally getting the recognition it’s lesser known wines deserve. Some of these are familiar grapes, like Grenache (Garnatxa in Catalan), but others will probably be completely new to you (Trepat, anyone?). We’ve got two reds, a white and a very interesting Cava that provide a nice introduction to the natural wine being produced in this part of the world.

 

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2013 Mas Candí Cava Brut Nature
D.O. Penedès

The four farmers behind Mas Candí are producing some really interesting natural wine on the edge of a national park with vines taken from their grandparents holdings, including a few unique cavas. Their Cava Brut Nature is a mix of the traditional cava grapes (Macabeu, Xarel•lo and Parellada) with the unexpected addition of some Garnatxa Blanca, and is perfect as an apéritif for the beginning of San Francisco’s summer (September and October).

Co-fermentation of Macabeu (40%), Xarel•lo (30%), Parellada (15%), Garnatxa Blanca (15%)

2013 Celler Frisach Selecció Garnatxa Blanca
D.O. Terra Alta

Terra Alta means highlands in Catalan, and this white Grenache stays true to its namesake appellation, coming from vineyards perched in the hills nearly 1300 feet above sea level. Minerally and with subtle hints of peach, this is great for a big salad or just on it’s own.

100% Garnatxa Blanca from 20 year old vines in iron-rich calcareous clay

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2014 Succés Vinicola Cuca de Llum Trepat

D.O. Conca de Barberà

Trepat is a red grape that’s indigenous to Catalunya, and tastes like a combination of the better-known varietals Pinot Noir and Barbera. This wine manages to be soft and herby while also tasting of chalky minerals and soft fruit. Definitely nice with something from the grill, or a meatier fish like salmon.

20-47 year old vines in calcareous clay

2011 Bodegas Puiggròs Sentits Negres Garnatxa
D.O. Catalunya (Anoia)
The Puiggròs family has farmed the same vineyard since 1843, and this Garnatxa comes from 70-80 year old vines nestled 2250 feet above sea level. This is definitely heavier than the Trepat, with subtle minerality supporting a bouquet of herbs and earthy fruit.

The September box features four bottles for $88.  To order, buy directly from our online shop (don’t forget to sign up for the mailing list to receive 10% off!) or if you’re a returning customer or wine club member, simply email orders@winelandia.com

The art of the French apéritif with Bon Appetit Box

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These days you can get pretty much anything delivered in a box. Wine (from Winelandia.com of course), meals, dog toys, nail polish, clothes, liquor, makeup, and groceries are all on the list. This is a testament to the “on-demand” culture that’s quickly gaining traction in our busy, plugged-in lives. Delivery of artisan goods is 2 parts luxury, 2 parts discovery, and 1 part convenience. You could walk or drive to the store, but it’s so much more fun to have these goods thoughtfully selected by an expert and then brought to your house in a pretty box.

Many of these subscription boxes bring us curated items that we would otherwise have a hard time finding on our own. Winelandia’s entire business is based on this model, and we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for all of you lovely wine lovers who wish to explore the world of natural wine with minimal effort on your part.

The only thing missing from your Winelandia box is some food to go along with it.

bertrand_zoeEnter Bon Appetit Box, an SF-based company founded by a young couple from the South of France, Bertrand and Zoé. They are epicureans who import speciality foods from their motherland and put them together into their thoughtfully themed Bon Appetit Boxes. There’s a Bon Appetit Box for every mood; whether you’re looking for something to enjoy before dinner, with wine, after dinner, with coffee, or for breakfast, they have a box that will bring the rich and flavorful traditions of French culture to your table or picnic blanket.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Bertrand and Zoé to discuss the French tradition of the apéritif, a word derived from the Latin verb aperire, which means “to open”. An apéritif is meant to open your palate and stimulate your appetite before a meal. We discussed how food is usually enjoyed with wine in France and how it seems odd to them that anyone would enjoy wine without food. It was a no-brainer that Winelandia and Bon Appetit Box would be BFFs, as together they are greater than the sum of their parts.

P8030148Bertrand and Zoé were kind enough to give me some samples of their lovely imported products, and in return I gave them some wines that I thought would pair well with their foods. I was very excited to dig into my Bon Appetit Provence Apéritif Box, which features vegetable spreads (olive tapenade, artichoke, eggplant & red pepper), crackers, and toasts. They threw in some items from their Paris Apéritif Box as a bonus, such as the cornichons, whole grain mustard, Duck & Pork Pate with Orange and Duck Rillette.

My husband and I are finding every excuse we can to enjoy the goodies from our Bon Appetit Box. A few weekends ago, we took some to a redwood forest to enjoy beneath the trees on a hot day. The quality of the food is top-notch, and I felt as if I was being whisked away to a springtime picnic in France.

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The fun part is pairing these flavorful and piquant snacks with the appropriate wine (or beer!). For the Provence Apéritif Box, I settled on an organically farmed Chablis from the Premier Cru vineyards of Montmains. The fresh acidity and ample minerality of such a wine is a perfect pairing for rich and flavorful vegetable spreads. For the Paris Apéritif Box, I chose a light-bodied Burgundian gamay from Macon-Bussieres which was a lovely compliment to the richer, meatier spreads.

Bon Appetit Box is offering a $10 off coupon to Winelandia customers. Sign up for our mailing list below or simply email info@winelandia.com to receive this special offer. Wine club members will have received a coupon with their Summer Wine Club delivery.

Big thanks to Bertrand and Zoé for sharing their wonderful products with the Winelandia family.

 

 

Winery Visit: La Clarine Farm

A few weeks ago, I finally made my way up to the Sierra Foothills to check out the local wine scene and get some rest & relaxation. I was fortunate enough to make it up there before all of those crazy wildfires and spent some quality time sitting in the American River and putzing around Placerville.

The highlight of my trip was a visit with one of my favorite California winemakers, Hank Beckmeyer of La Clarine Farm. He has quietly been making phenomenal, soulful, natural, terroir-driven wines in the Sierra Foothills since 2001. La Clarine Farm was a gateway for my foray into the world of natural wine, and all these years later those wines still delight me with every sip. Every vintage is a little different, and the wines age incredibly well.

Hank’s farm is a testament to how organic farming can work even in extreme climates like the Sierra Foothills. He uses no chemical pesticides at his farm, recently began dry-farming all of his vines, and from this vineyard he creates his “Home Vineyard” wines every year. He grows mostly tempranillo, with a few other varieties scattered throughout. There was even a “volunteer” grapevine that sprouted forth from his compost pile, and after having it ID’d at UC Davis, they found it to be a grape that has never been identified before (though it appears to be closely related to Sauvignon).

Mystery Grapes
Mystery Grapes

Hank was kind enough to guide us through a tasting of all of the wines he currently had aging, which included a barrel fermented rosé, his 2014 “Piedi Grandi” (a nebbiolo-based blend), his 2014 Petit Manseng (an obscure high-acid, high-sugar white grape), as well as several of his wines already in bottle. The hallmark of Hank’s red wines is a high-toned tropical fruit profile framed by herbs and minerals while his whites tend to be full and luscious with loads of acid and texture.

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Delicious Jambalaia Rouge & Blanc

One of the most striking qualities of La Clarine Farm and Hank’s approach to winemaking is how laid-back it feels. It’s not as much about natural wine dogma as it is about practicality. His winery is small yet efficient, with barrels and flex tanks packed tightly in an orderly way. He doesn’t indulge in expensive and unnecessary winery equipment; instead he makes wines that are delicious, accessible, affordable and pair well with food.

Piedi Grandi aging in Flextank
Piedi Grandi aging in Flextank

Not only does Hank grow grapes and make wine at his little farm, but he also raises goats and has several adorable dogs. One of them had been bitten by a rattlesnake on her snout the day before, but fortunately survived the ordeal thanks to a vaccine and swift treatment. Her poor little nose was swollen and sore, but she found time to hang out with us during our visit.

Since Mr. Beckmeyer’s winery is not typically open to the public, I felt very honored to be able to spend a little time with a person who unknowingly guided me through the early days of my adventure in natural wine. La Clarine Farm’s wines are a favorite amongst my wine club members, and every day I’m so grateful that I can share this experience with others.

I have a few of Hank’s wines for sale in my online shop. I deliver throughout the Bay Area and ship all over California. Please see my Delivery Terms for details.

2013 La Clarine Farm “Cedarville” Mourvedre – $28
2014 La Clarine Farm “Jambalaia” Rouge – $24

I hope that you come to love La Clarine Farm’s wines as much as I have over the years. Cheers!

 

 

Summer Wine Club Terroir Series: Volcanic Wines

Winelandia’s wine club is constantly evolving as we delve deeper into the inner workings of wine. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about terroir and it’s influence on a wine’s flavors and aromas, and for the summer club I wanted to bring focus to the soil the wines are grown in.

I came up with the idea of creating a collection of wines from volcanic terroirs, as I’ve been inspired by these wines for some time. They are a departure from the style of wines I’ve brought to you in the past, which important for our growth as wine lovers. Wines grown on volcanic terroir are more about soil expression than fruit; they present profound minerality first while succulent fruit plays second fiddle.

Mt. Etna eruptingAbove: An erupting Mt. Etna. Yes, people really make wine here!

Volcanic terroirs challenge us to see wine through a different lens. While the examples in this collection may be made from different grapes and grown in different parts of the world, they all have something in common. You will find as you drink through them that you learn to identify their commonality – how volcanic terroir presents itself in the flavor and aroma of wine.

This collection has been by far the most difficult for me to source, as there are not many places that produce these wines. Volcanic vineyards tend to be on very steep slopes or in inhospitable climates, and because of that there just aren’t that many being made. I have examples for you from as close to home as the Sierra Foothills to as far away as the Canary Islands of Spain. Some of them are grown on active volcanoes like Mt. Etna while others are sourced from ancient and extinct volcanoes in Hungary.

canary islands vineyardAbove: Vineyards on the Canary Islands often look extra-terrestrial. The little stone walls built around each grape vine are designed to protect them from the strong winds.

An important thing to note about volcanic wines is that they can be a little shy when you first open them. If the wine seems tight or closed, give it a vigorous decanting. Many of these wines benefit from air and will show their more complex and sultry side if you give them a little time out of the bottle.

On to the fun part – the list. As always, full details about the wines will come in printed format with the delivery.

The Winelandia Wine Club is a great way to get introduced to an ever-evolving array of fantastic, natural, and affordable wines that you’ll be excited to open any day of the week. Each quarter we feature three different themed collections of six wines for every palate. If you prefer reds or whites, or if you like all sorts of wine, we have the club for you. For more information and our sign-up form, visit our Wine Club Signup Page.

MIXED CLUB
An alternating selection of 3 red, 2 white, and 1 rosé or sparkling wines.
$150 for all six plus tax & delivery.

Frank Cornelissen
2014 “Susucaru” Rosato
Mt. Etna, Sicily

Bodega Matías i Torres
2013 Listàn Blanco
Canary Islands, Spain

Fekete Béla
2011 Olaszrizling
Somló, Hungary

La Clarine Farm
2014 “Jambalaia” Rouge
Sierra Foothills, California

Comte Abbatucci
2014 “Frais Imperial” Rouge
Corsica, France

Cantina Giardino
2011 “Le Fole” Aglianico
Campania, Italy

ALL-RED CLUB
A collection of light, medium, and full-bodied reds for any occasion.
$150 for all six plus tax & delivery

La Clarine Farm
2014 “Jambalaia” Rouge
Sierra Foothills, California

Comte Abbatucci
2014 “Frais Imperial” Rouge
Corsica, France

Cantina Giardino
2011 “Le Fole” Aglianico
Campania, Italy

Bodega Matías i Torres
2013 Negramoll
Canary Islands, Spain

Don Michele
2009 “Moganazzi” Etna Rosso
Mt. Etna, Sicily

Agnanum
2013 “Pér ‘e Pallum” Piedirosso
Campania, Italy

ALL-WHITE CLUB
Fresh, terroir-driven whites (with a smattering of rosé and/or sparking wines) that pair with a wide variety of foods.
$150 for all six plus tax & delivery

Frank Cornelissen
2014 “Susucaru” Rosato
Mt. Etna, Sicily

Bodega Matías i Torres
2013 Listan Blanco
Canary Islands, Spain

Fekete Béla
2011 Olaszrizling
Somló, Hungary

Etnella
2013 “Kaos” Etna Bianco
Mt. Etna, Sicily

Agricola Menti
2013 “Roncaie sui lieviti“ Garganega
Veneto, Italy

Comte Abbatucci
2014 “Faustine” Blanc
Corsica, France

For detailed information on each of the wines, see below.

2014 Frank Cornelissen “Susucaru” Rosato
Type: Rosato Wine (Rosé)
Blend: Malvasia, Moscadella, Cattaratto, Nerello Mascalese
Region: Italy>Sicily>Mt. Etna
Vineyard: Organically farmed without chemicals – natural or organic. The fruit is sourced from several vineyards located on Mt. Etna – a stratovolcano located on the eastern coast of Sicily, and the tallest volcano on the European continent. Mt. Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, and is in a near-constant state of activity.
Tasting Notes: A roller-coaster of a rosé that offers a kaleidoscope of flavors and aromas. Sultry, fruity, floral, herbal, mineral – it’s all in there. On the palate, it’s bursting with fresh berry flavors, chalky minerals, and fine-grained tannins that linger. Serve ice cold and enjoy with food to experience everything this wine has to offer.
Food Pairing: Polenta with fontina cheese and salami, beef carpaccio with arugula salad, bucatini with onions and sardines
Production Notes: Red and white grapes are crushed and co-fermented together for up to 45 days of skin contact. Bottled unfined and unfiltered with absolutely no sulfites added at any point in the process. A truly natural wine.
Winemaker: Frank Cornelissen
Bio: Originally from Belgium, Cornelissen fell in love with the wines of Mt. Etna during his career as a wine salesman. He set out to make wines he described as tasting like “liquid rocks”, and in 2001 he purchased a 3 acre plot of vines on Mt. Etna. Since then, he has become a household name in the natural wine community.

2013 Matías i Torres Listàn Blanco
Type: White Wine
Blend: 100% Listàn Blanco
Region: Spain>Canary Islands>La Palma
Vineyard: 100 year old ungrafted, dry-farmed vines planted in volcanic picon (gravelly ash) soil. La Palma is a volcanic ocean island, rising nearly 4 miles above the floor of the Atlantic ocean. The volcano is dormant, with it’s last recorded activity in 1971.
Tasting Notes: Saline, broad, and vibrant, with flavors of wild fennel, stonefruit, and meyer lemon, with ashy minerality on the finish. A very interesting and complex wine. Serve well-chilled and enjoy with food.
Food Pairing: Fried goat cheese with herbs, grilled sardines with olive oil and garlic, squid a la plancha
Production Notes: Fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel with a few days of skin contact. Aged on the lees for 7 months. Bottled with minimal sulfites.
Winemaker: Victoria Torres
Bio: Torres and her father farm the family’s 2 hectares of vineyards in the village of Fuencaliente, where her family has been farming grapes for 5 generations. They bottled their first vintage together in 1999; prior to that they had been making wine mostly for their own consumption and to sell to restaurants.

2011 Fekete Béla Olaszrizling
Type: White Wine
Blend: 100% Olaszrizling
Region: Hungary>Somló
Vineyard: Dry-farmed vines planted in basalt and ancient seabed soil with southern exposure. The region of Somló is an ancient underwater volcano that has long been extinct. Somló has been known for hundreds of years to produce top-quality wines from some of the steepest and most densely planted vineyards in Hungary.
Tasting Notes: Smoky and mineral-driven, full-bodied and intense, with loads of texture, acid, and flavor. After a few minutes of decanting, notes of honey, fennel, and saline begin to emerge. This is not a fruity wine – instead, it exudes volcanic terroir. Serve decanted, not too cold, and with food for optimal enjoyment.
Food Pairing: Smoked fish, goulash, stuffed peppers, roasted chicken with bread salad
Production Notes: Hand-harvested fruit is fermented with indigenous yeasts in 1200 liter Hungarian oak casks. Aged without battonage for 2 years before bottling.
Winemaker: Fekete Béla
Bio: Fekete Béla, also known as “The Grand Old Man of Somló”, is a 93 year old winemaker and farmer who made wines on the extinct volcano of Somló in Hungary. He farmed his 4 hectares of vineyards himself until his wife insisted on his retirement. The last bottling being produced by Fekete is the 2013 vintage.

2014 La Clarine Farm “Jambalaia” Rouge
Type: Red Wine
Blend: 48% Mourvèdre, 37% Grenache, 14% Marsanne and 1% Fiano & Arneis
Region: United States>California>Sierra Foothills
Vineyard: Sustainably farmed vines planted in deep volcanic loam near the town of Camino. About 10 million years ago, the Lake Tahoe area was an active volcano, and as a result many of the wine-growing regions in the area feature various types of volcanic soils.
Tasting Notes: Fresh and juicy with notes of ripe red tropical fruit, pink flowers, and minerals. Light on it’s feet while still retaining plenty of grippy tannins and structure, it’s best served lightly chilled and enjoyed with food. The wine will continue to improve with age, so it can be cellared and enjoyed for the next few years.
Food Pairing: Dry-rubbed BBQ ribs, grilled sausages, charcuterie plates
Production Notes: Hand-harvested grapes are foot-stomped and fermented whole-cluster with ambient yeasts in open-top containers with no added sulfites. After 5-7 days of maceration, the grapes are pressed and left to finish fermenting in tanks. Bottled unfined and unfiltered with minimal sulfites. 377 cases made.
Winemaker: Hank Beckmeyer
Bio: 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.

2014 Comte Abbatucci “Frais Imperial” Rouge
Type: Red Wine
Blend: 100% Sciaccarellu
Region: France>Corsica>Ajaccio
Vineyard: Certified Biodynamic 20 year old vines planted in granitic soils. The island of Corsica was once an volcano during the Triassic period, now ancient and extinct. The island itself was created 60 million years ago while the continent of Africa was colliding with Europe – the same geological event that created the Alps.
Tasting Notes: Light, floral, and spicy, with delicate acidity and super-fine tannins. A wonderful summertime red that pairs well with Mediterranean fare.
Food Pairing: Wild boar charcuterie, stuffed pasta with ricotta and tomato sauce, roasted trout with garlic and olive oil.
Production Notes: Hand-picked grapes are gently de-stemmed and fermented with indigenous yeasts. Lightly punched-down with a short maceration period, the finished wine is aged in stainless steel and concrete.
Winemaker: Jean-Charles Abbatucci
Bio: A direct descendant of a celebrated Corsican general in the French revolution of the same name, Jean-Charles Abbatucci is a strict follower of Biodynamic farming practices. He has been known to play traditional Corsican songs over loudspeakers on his tractor to his vines and wines aging in the winery. Abbatucci believes it’s all part of the terroir.

2011 Cantina Giardino “Le Fole” Aglianico
Type: Red Wine
Blend: 100% Aglianico
Region: Italy>Campania
Vineyard: Organically farmed 75 year old vines planted in flysh soils of volcanic origin. Campania’s soils are volcanic due to the chain of active, dormant, and extinct volcanoes surrounding the area called the Campanian Volcanic Arc. It includes Mt. Vesuvius (which last erupted in 1944) and Campi Flegrei, a huge ancient caldera.
Tasting Notes: Notes of ripe cranberry and red currants are framed by firm tannins and fresh acidity. On the palate, more ripe red fruits come through with graphite minerality.
Food Pairing: Roasted wild pheasant, braised rabbit with herbs and tomatoes, wild boar sausage
Production Notes: Hand-harvested and fermented with indigenous yeasts. Pressed by hand using a torchio (basket press). Aged 1 year in large-format chestnut botti and bottled unfined and unfiltered with no added sulfites.
Winemaker: Antonio di Gruttola
Bio: Cantina Giardino is a joint venture started by six friends with the intent of preserving old plantings of native grape varieties vines throughout Campania. Their winery is located in the village of Irpinia, and only natural processes are used in the production of their wines.

2013 Etnella “Kaos” Etna Bianco
Type: White Wine
Blend: 60% Carricante 30% Catarratto 10% various indigenous white varieties
Region: Italy>Sicily>Mt. Etna
Vineyard: Organically farmed 20-40 year old bush trained vines planted in volcanic soil at 2400’ elevation on the Southeastern slope of Mt. Etna – a stratovolcano located on the eastern coast of Sicily, and the tallest volcano on the European continent. Mt. Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, and is in a near-constant state of activity.
Tasting Notes: On the initial pour, Kaos is smoky, saline, and intense. After decanting for a little while it opens up it’s softer side, offering notes of delicate white flowers, ripe stone fruit, and persistent minerality.
Food Pairing: Seared prawns with garlic butter and fresh corn over pasta, fish poached with olive oil and aromatics, grilled sardines with garlic and olive oil
Production Notes: Hand-harvested grapes are crushed and soaked on the skins 6 hours. Fermented with indigenous yeasts and aged 6 months in stainless steel. Bottled unfined and unfiltered with minimal sulfites.
Winemakers: Davide Bentivegna
Bio: Originally from the hills outside of Catania, Bentivegna spent half of his life abroad. He first explored agricultural passion while working for Siemens, and eventually settled on Mt. Etna in 2010 when he began to make wine. He is part of a 4-member team who strives to make the most natural and terroir-driven wines possible.

2013 Agricola Menti “Roncaie sui lieviti“ Garganega
Type: White Wine, Sparkling
Blend: 100% Garganega
Region: Italy>Veneto>Gambellara
Vineyard: Organic and practicing Biodynamic. 30 year old vines planted in volcanic basalt alluvial soil. Veneto gained its volcanic soils during several geological events ranging between the Paleocene and Oligocene periods, 30-60 million years ago. The lavas erupted from the southernmost border of the Trento Platform, which now makes up the Veneto volcanic province.
Tasting Notes: Fresh & fizzy, with notes of yellow fruit and yeasty brioche framed by delicate acidity and smoky minerality. This wine is un-disgorged, which means there’s some sediment in the bottle. This is natural, adding texture and richness to the wine.
Food Pairing: Fresh sheep’s milk cheeses, caprese salad, arugula salad with prosciutto and almonds, hand-pulled chinese noodles with spicy peanut sauce
Production Notes: Hand-harvested and fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel vats. Bottled with a little unfermented juice from Albina grapes, kicking off another fermentation in the bottle, and adding a natural effervescence to the wine. Un-disgorged with no added sulfites.
Winemaker: Giovanni Menti
Bio: Menti Giovanni was started in the 19th century in the village of Gambellara by Menti’s grandfather. Along with his son Stefano, Menti farms the family’s 7.5 hectares of garganega and durella vines utilizing only organic and biodynamic farming practices.

2014 Comte Abbatucci “Faustine” Blanc
Type: White Wine
Blend: 100% Vermentinu
Region: France>Corsica>Ajaccio
Vineyard: Biodynamically farmed old vines planted in ancient granitic soil. The island of Corsica was once an volcano, many millions of years ago during the Triassic period, now ancient and extinct. The island itself was created 60 million years ago while the continent of Africa was colliding with Europe – the same geological event that created the Alps.
Tasting Notes: Fresh and delicate, with notes of Corsican wildflowers, ripe citrus, and saline minerals. Silky and creamy with a long mineral finish.
Food Pairing: Sheep’s milk ricotta with fresh mint on crostini, fasgioli beans with tomatoes and herbs, cannelloni filled with cheese and greens
Production Notes: Hand-harvested fruit is quickly cold-soaked and slowly fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel. Bottled with minimal additions.
Winemaker: Jean-Charles Abbatucci
Bio: A direct descendant of a celebrated Corsican general in the French revolution of the same name, Jean-Charles Abbatucci is a strict follower of Biodynamic farming practices. He has been known to play traditional Corsican songs over loudspeakers on his tractor to his vines and wines aging in the winery. Abbatucci believes it’s all part of the terroir.

2013 Matías i Torres Negramoll
Type: Red Wine
Blend: 100% Negramoll
Region: Spain>Canary Islands>La Palma
Vineyard: Organically farmed grapes from several different vineyards grown in gravelly ash soil. La Palma is a volcanic ocean island, rising nearly 4 miles above the floor of the Atlantic ocean. The volcano is dormant, with it’s last recorded activity in 1971.
Tasting Notes: Medium-bodied and juicy with fine-grained tannins. Aromas of cedar, dried herbs, and smoke are complemented by flavors of pomegranate, spice, and saline minerals.
Food Pairing: Stewed rabbit marinated with coriander, charcuterie plate with sliced sausage and olives, grilled ribeye with black pepper
Production Notes: Hand-harvested grapes are fermented whole-cluster with indigenous yeasts for 6 days. Aged for 5 months in large-format American oak barrels.
Winemaker: Victoria Torres
Bio: Torres and her father farm the family’s 2 hectares of vineyards in the village of Fuencaliente, where her family has been farming grapes for 5 generations. They bottled their first vintage together in 1999; prior to that they had been making wine mostly for their own consumption and to sell to restaurants.

2009 Don Michele “Moganazzi” Etna Rosso
Type: Red Wine
Blend: 95% Nerello Mascalese, 5% Nerello Cappuccio
Region: Italy>Sicily>Mt. Etna
Vineyard: Organically farmed 70-80 year old vines planted at 2100’ elevation in soil composed of basalt, rich in silica and minerals. All fruit sourced from a single vineyard called Moganazzi on the slopes of Sicily’s volcano. Mt. Etna is an active stratovolcano located on the eastern side of Sicily, and is the tallest volcano on the European continent.
Tasting Notes: Medium-bodied, structured, and intense, with notes of rhubarb, volcanic earth, dried herbs, and smoky minerals.
Food Pairing: Roasted wild game with wild mushrooms, pasta with tomato-based sauce, grilled flatbread with pancetta and woodsy herbs
Production Notes: Hand-harvested fruit fermented with indigenous yeasts. Bottled with minimal sulfites and additions.
Winemaker: Marco de Grazia
Bio: Originally produced by Don Michele, the last vintage of Don Michele Etna Rosso was made by Marco de Grazia and his team at Terre Nere. After Don Michele’s death, the famous Moganazzi cru from which the wine was made was sold to Terre Nere and now goes into their own wines.

2013 Agnanum “Pér ‘e Pallum” Piedirosso
Type:
Red Wine
Blend: 100% Piedirosso
Region: Italy>Campania>Campi Flegrei
Vineyard: Organically farmed 60-200 year old vines trained in the Pergola system, planted in volcanic ash and sand with basalt subsoil. Agnanum’s vineyards are located the crater of Agnano, which is part of the Campanian Volcanic Arc.
Tasting Notes: Medium bodied, perfumed, precise, and pure, with aromas of smoke and bramble. On the palate, flavors of crunchy red and black fruits come through, with ripe tannins and a long finish.
Food Pairing: Roasted quail stuffed with sausage, bucatini pasta with tomatoes and olives, grilled pork
Production Notes: Hand-harvested and fermented with native yeasts. Minimal sulfites are added during production. Aged in stainless steel and bottled without sulfites. 900 bottles produced.
Winemaker: Raffaele Moccia
Bio: Built by Raffaele’s father in 1960, Agnanum’s focus in on minimal-intervention wines made by hand from low-yielding vines in Campi Flegrei. They grow mostly Falanghina and Piedirosso, seeking to craft high-quality, food-friendly wines that showcase the volcanic terroir.

Introducing our Spring ’15 Wine Club Selections

Winelandia’s commitment to the rare and obscure often leads us to wines made from exotic grapes grown in places we’ve never heard of. For our spring wine club collection, we wanted to ‘get back to basics’ so to speak, and show you that natural, organic, and biodynamic wines can be made in some of the most famous winegrowing regions in the world. This collection’s focus is ‘appellation d’origine contrôlée’ (typically abbreviated as ‘AOC’) wines from France – some classically styled, while others are not. Merlot from Bordeaux, Chardonnay from Chablis, and even a funky provençal rosé made from an indigenous grape (we couldn’t resist) make an appearance in this thoughtful collection of classic French AOC wines.

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

wine club

Mixed Club – $150 plus tax & delivery:

2013 Breton “Les Galichets” Bourgueil
Classic Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley. Certified organic. Fresh and vibrant with notes of cranberry and herbs.
2013 Mas del Périé “La Roque” Cahors
Biodynamic Malbec from South-West France. Deep and soulful, with notes of blueberry, spice, and smoke.
2010 Château Tour Peyronneau Saint-Émilion
Certified organic Merlot from Bordeaux. Silky and pure with notes of plum and seductive graphite minerality.
2013 Stéphane Orieux “Clos de la Coudray” Muscadet
The perfect pairing for seafood and raw oysters. Certified organic. Crisp and citrusy with intense minerality.
2013 Clos Cibonne Rosé Tradition, Côtes de Provence
A famous Provencal rosé made from the indigenous grape Tibouren. Aromatic and fresh with an intriguing saline finish.
2013 Gerard et Lilian Duplessis Chablis
Classically styled Chablis from one of the top organic producers in the AOC. Citrus, white flowers, and minerals. Pure elegance.

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

2013 Breton “Les Galichets” Bourgueil
Classic Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley. Certified organic. Fresh and vibrant with notes of cranberry and herbs.
2013 Mas del Périé “La Roque” Cahors
Biodynamic Malbec from South-West France. Deep and soulful, with notes of blueberry, spice, and smoke.
2010 Château Tour Peyronneau Saint-Émilion
Certified organic Merlot from Bordeaux. Silky and pure with notes of plum and seductive graphite minerality.
2013 Vincent Paris “Les Cotes” Saint-Joseph
Pure Syrah from the northern Rhone. Organically farmed utilizing Biodynamic principles. Elegant and floral with savory notes.
2011 Gris des Bauries “Les Chaix” Côtes du Rhône
Easy, fresh, and fun Grenache from the famed Côtes du Rhône AOC. Medium bodied with notes of raspberries and dried herbs.
2013 Christian Venier Cheverny Rouge
A blend of Pinot Noir & Gamay from the Loire Valley. Floral, fruity, and herbal with a pleasant effervescence. No added sulfites.

All-White Club – $140 plus tax & delivery:

2013 Stéphane Orieux “Clos de la Coudray” Muscadet
The perfect pairing for seafood and raw oysters. Certified organic. Crisp and citrusy with intense minerality.
2013 Clos Cibonne Rosé Tradition, Côtes de Provence
A famous Provencal rosé made from the indigenous grape Tibouren. Aromatic and fresh with an intriguing saline finish.
2013 Gerard et Lilian Duplessis Chablis
Classically styled Chablis from one of the top organic producers in the AOC. Citrus, white flowers, and minerals. Pure elegance.
NV Francois Chidane Brut, Montlouis-sur-Loire
Rich and elegant sparkling Chenin Blanc that’s sure to impress any Champagne lover. Bone dry with fine, luxurious bubbles.
2011 Château de Puligny-Montrachet “Clos du Château” Bourgogne Blanc
100% Chardonnay from one of the most famous villages in Burgundy. Rich and luscious with balance and poise.
2013 Château la Canorgue Lubéron Blanc, Côtes du Lubéron
A white Rhone wine made with classic Provencal grapes. Floral and sumptuous with notes of golden apples and tropical fruit.