Symposium

From Spain, to Sicily, to the Northern Rhone, we're covering some serious ground.

Archived Selections

November 2021

2018

Vie Di Romans Ciampagnis Chardonnay

FRIULI VENEZIA GIULIA, IT

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Vie di Romans

Vie di Romans means “Road of the Romans” in the Friulano dialect and refers to the Roman road that connected the cities of Acquilea and Cividale which once passed through this vineyard. The unwavering dedication of the Gallo family to vineyards and wine dates back over a century and is rooted in the labor and determination of family members over three generations. Gianfranco, who has managed the estate since 1978, introduced radical viticultural programs and has devoted painstaking attention to winemaking practices; these initiatives have given the stamp of unique personality to the wines of Vie di Romans over the last 30 years, making them some of the most premier wines in the entire peninsula. The 57 hectares of vineyards are located in a niche microclimate that benefits from soil rich in alluvial fans and minerals that have been carried there by glaciers over the millennia, as well as, the Bora winds from the east that result in large, daily temperature fluctuations.

In Friuli Venezia Giulia, most of the best vineyards are located in the southeastern part of the region facing Alpine foothills’ slopes. Here the vines benefit from direct sunlight and a complex climatic intersection of the warm Mediterranean influence of the Adriatic Sea coupled with the cooling breezes from the Julian Alps.


2018

Vincent Paris Saint Joseph

NORTHERN RHONE, FR 

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Vincent Paris

Vincent Paris, whose first vintage was 1997, is as shy as his wines are bold. In his early 30's, he has retro sideburns, but not much else about this appellation's established star is "retro". Vincent's uncle is Robert Michel, one of Cornas' finest growers. He made his two first wines with his uncle and then, seeking autonomy, rented facilities for the vinification of his most recent wines. He is in the process of building his own winemaking facilities with a courtyard that holds his apricot plantation.

Co-president of the appellation of Cornas with Jacques Lemencier, Vincent owns eight hectares of vineyards and produces about 2,500 cases per year, of which 1,600 are Cornas. He inherited most of his vines from his grandfather (some of which are 90 years old) and also rented, then purchased, vines from his uncle, including "Geynale" in the Cornas amphitheatre. They are located at different places primarily along the southeast facing Cornas slope and a small lot in Saint Joseph.

Vincent is convinced that the forests surrounding the appellation must remain wild and uncultivated. He believes in protecting ecosystems to preserve the health balance of all vegetation, not only vines. He is meticulous in the vineyards, and prunes to only four bunches of grapes per vine (the norm is between five and seven), which concentrates the vines' growing power and cuts down on the need for green harvests. In the cellar he ferments at relatively low temperatures and matures his wine in oak barrels for up to 12 months.

Vincent's "little wines" are a Syrah VdP and Crozes-Hermitage, which he began to produce in the hope of accommodating more clients after years of having no Saint Joseph or Cornas left to sell to new, interested customers. His Saint Joseph red is made from vines planted in the 1990s, and is vinified half in used barrel and half in tank. Next up are his Cornas Granit "30" and "60", designations that refer to the gradient slope of the vineyards. The Granit 30 is concentrated black fruit in a relatively “consumer friendly” style – perhaps a bit more Syrah-ish than Cornas-ish- whereas the 60 is classic Cornas: dense, with aromas of kidney and iron, and a terrific mineral underpinning. Last in the range is very small amount of Cornas "La Geynale", a blend of mostly Genale from the 1910 plantings he purchased from his uncle, along with 20-30% from neighboring Reynard. The addition of the "y" in Geynale is a nod to this unique blend.

In the past decade, Vincent Paris has moved into the upper echelon of growers in one of France's most celebrated red wine appellations. We are confident that we have yet to see his finest work!

2018

Gerard Bertrand “Domaine de Cigalus” Rouge

IGP CORBIÈRES, FR

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Gérard Bertrand

It was in 1975, in the vines of the Château de Villemajou at the heart of the Corbières that Gérard Bertrand harvested his first grapes and discovered his passion for wine.

He will perfect his apprenticeship during twelve years at the side of his father Georges Bertrand.

Very attached to the values of performance and excellence learned on the rugby fields, Gérard Bertrand continues his quest: to reveal the best terroirs of his region and promote them throughout the world.

It is in this spirit that he took over the family torch at Domaine de Villemajou after the accidental death of his father in 1987. Five years later, he created the Gérard Bertrand wine company in order to develop a range of wines from the South of France.

In the following years, he will buy back the Domaine de Cigalus and the Château Laville Bertrou. The acquisition in 2002 of Château l'Hospitalet in the natural park of La Clape, The location between Narbonne, the Roman city of Narbonne, and the Mediterranean Sea gave Gérard Bertrand a new dimension.

Since then, the beautiful story continues and new nuggets with the emblematic terroirs of Languedoc come to enrich the vision and the diversity of Gérard Bertrand wines: Domaine de l'Aigle, Château la Sauvageonne , Château la Soujeole , Clos d'Ora , Clos du Temple, Château des Karantes, Château Aigues-Vives, the winery Cap Insula, Château des 2 Rocs, Château de Tarailhan and Domaine de l'Estagnère.

October 2021

2018

Thevenet Vire Clesse Roally

BURGUNDY, FR

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Domaine de Roally

Domaine de Roally is one of the great estates of the Macon. The original owner/grower was Henri Goyard, who made old-fashioned Chardonnays with a bit of residual sugar, from his superb organically-tended estate on a limestone ridge overlooking the Saone Valley. Discovered by Joe Dressner in 1987, he made a number of visits there until Goyard's retirement in 2000. Sometimes the juice would still be fermenting after 18 months in the tank, and a 1989 tasted in 1999 was simply sensational. Gautier Thevenet of the Domaine Bongran took over in 2000 and has happily kept up the quality and style of Goyard.


2015

Torres Rioja Altos Ibéricos Reserva

RIOJA, SP

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Familia Torres Winery

In 2020, Familia Torres Winery celebrated their 150th anniversary, but the family’s roots extend even farther than that. The first mention of the Torres wine family was in 1557, but the winery wasn’t established until 1870, when the profits from the family shipping company made it possible to enter the commercial wine space.

Miguel Torres Vendrell founded the company, and since then, the family has passed on the winery (and the name Miguel) steadfastly from generation to generation. They hit a setback when the winery was bombed during the Spanish civil war, but Miguel Torres i Carbó rebuilt, and began the bottling and exporting of the wine.

In 1991, Miguel A. Torres took the reigns, and remains president today. He made remarkable strides in environmental advocacy, social responsibility, fair trade, and research and innovation. Since 2012, Miguel Torres Maczassek has been at the helm, and has continued his father’s work, while also embarking on his own projects. Recognized year after year and Drinks Internationals’ “World’s Most Admired Wine Brand,” the story of Familia Torres is a known and respected one throughout Spain and the world.

2018

Volpaia Chianti Classico Riserva

TUSCANY, IT

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Castello di Volpaia

Castello di Volpaia is located in an 11th century village that bears the same name. It sits on a hilltop just north of the town of Radda in Chianti, 2,024 feet above sea level, in the heart of the Chianti Classico region. One of the most historical wineries of the region, Volpaia is owned by the Mascheroni-Stianti family and benefits from some of the highest altitude southern exposure vineyards of the area, delivering certified organic Sangiovese-based wines of finesse and elegance with a terroir approach.

September 2021

NV

Laurent Perrier La Cuvee Brut

CHAMPAGNE

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  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Laurent-Perrier

Established in 1812, Champagne Laurent-Perrier has a long tradition of innovation in Champagne and can be credited with many of the ideas that have defined Champagne production since the mid 20th century. Laurent-Perrier was among the first to introduce stainless steel fermentation tanks to the region in the 1950s, resurrected the non-dosage Champagne category with the introduction of Ultra Brut in 1981, and sparked the revival of non-vintage rosé Champagne in 1968 despite the opinion of other producers that non-vintage rosés were not to be taken seriously. Today, Laurent Perrier's iconic Cuvée Rosé remains the benchmark for non-vintage rosé champagne.

Laurent-Perrier has become one of the international leaders in Champagne based entirely on the quality of the wines and core values as a company. Laurent-Perrier is still a family-controlled business and makes nothing other than champagne. The house prides itself on quality and consistency, attributable to having only 3 chefs de caves since 1949.

Laurent-Perrier's house style emphasizes freshness, elegance, and finesse across its entire range of champagnes. None of the wines are aged in oak, and Laurent-Perrier makes fewer single-vintage wines than many other houses. The art of blending - not just of grapes but of years, as well - is fundamental to champagne. At Laurent-Perrier, even our prestige cuvée Grand Siècle is never a single vintage wine, but always a blend of three complementary vintage years, essentially "creating" the perfect year.

2018

Joh. Jos. Prüm Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett Riesling

MOSEL, GERMANY

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Joh. Jos. Prüm

Joh. Jos. Prüm needs no introduction to Riesling lovers, having already become a Mosel icon during the nearly five decades during which its namesake’s son Sebastien was in charge. Katharina Prüm has been active alongside her father, Manfred, since early in the new millennium, and the two of them perpetuate a house style that has itself become a Mosel archetype: wines of delicacy and restrained sweetness, often strongly marked in youth by yeasty and otherwise fermentative aromas, and tingling with dissolved CO2. Their longevity is legendary, and the Prüms personally don’t care to drink their own wines – even the Kabinetts – with less than a dozen, and usually many more, years in bottle. The aromas of youthful Prüm wines make it obvious that fermentation here is entirely spontaneous. Manfred makes no secret of his longstanding disinterest in legally dry wines. These are uncompromising, benchmark Mosel wines.

For centuries the Prüm family has called the village of Wehlen home. The 33.5 acre estate consists of nearly 70% ungrafted vines. Holdings are in the best parts of the top Middle-Mosel sites: Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Zeltinger Sonnenuhr, Graacher Himmelreich, Graacher Domprobst, Bernkasteler Lay, Bernkasteler Badstube, and Bernkasteler Bratenhöfchen. Average annual production is 13,000 cases. The harvest at J.J. Prüm is always extremely late, and the wines are very long-lived.

"Few estates in the world can claim to have maintained the highest quality standards uninterrupted for half a century and more. Joh Jos Prüm, the most famous of the many Mosel wine estates bearing the Prüm name, is one estate that can. -Stuart Pigott, The Wine Atlas of Germany

2019

Produttori del Barbaresco Langhe Nebbiolo

BARBARESCO, PIEDMONT, ITALY

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Produttori del Barbaresco

Founded in 1958, the priest of the village of Barbaresco, recognizing that the only way small properties could survive was by joining their efforts, gathered together nineteen small growers and founded the Produttori del Barbaresco. From its humble beginnings making the first three vintages in the church basement, Produttori del Barbaresco has grown to a 52 member co-operative with 250 acres of Nebbiolo vineyards in the Barbaresco appellation and an annual production of over 500,000 bottles. Its vineyards amount to almost 1/6 of the vineyards of the area. Each member is in full control of their land, growing Nebbiolo grapes with the skill and dedication they have honed over generations.

Playing a key role in elevating the quality level of Barbaresco over the years, Produttori del Barbaresco produces a simpler Nebbiolo Langhe, a Barbaresco blend and nine single vineyard wines produced in premier vineyards: Asili, Rabaja, Pora, Montestefano, Ovello, Paje, Montefico, Muncagota and Rio Sordo.

August 2021

2018

Rene Lequin-Colin Bourgogne Blanc

Burgundy, FR

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

François Lequin

Family History
François’ family have been vignerons in Santenay since 1673. The story from there is an intricate tapestry of Leqins and Colins weaving back and forth over generations and across communes. The upshot is the 11-hectare inheritance François now holds in his hands: a carefully constructed collection of parcels divided between Santenay and Chassagne-Montrachet, with additional holdings in Pommard and Nuits-St.-Georges. Since 2014, François has also been involved in Domaine des Crets, where he and a partner bring a Côte d’Or sensibility to 4 hectares of vines in the northern Mâconnais.

Santenay marks the southern tip of the Cote d’Or. It shares a border with Chassagne. Geologically, it overlaps the Cote de Nuits. This makes it a fascinating point of intersection of terroir, tradition, and evolution. Over the past century, Santenay has gone from being a stronghold for pinot noir to a carveout for chardonnay. “It used to be 99% red until the ‘80s,” notes François. “Now I would say it’s 15-20% white, especially in the parcels close to the village itself.” It is best known for its clay-rich limestone soils, with structure and freshness being the hallmarks of the wines. In recent decades, Santenay, lacking a marquee producer, has become somewhat overlooked, making the discovery of the Lequin-Colin wines all the more exciting. The Lequin-Colins are fortunate to have lieux dits, 1er and grand cru holdings in Chassagne, including Morgeot, Vergers, and Caillerets among the former, and precisely 14 rows of vines in the majestic Bâtard-Montrachet in the latter. Further, they have a literal outlier in their holdings on the hill of Corton, Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, from which the domaine’s grandest wine comes.

About the Winemaker
François Lequin was educated in Avize, Champagne, and then worked under David Ramey at Chalk Hill in California. It was during his studies that François decided he wanted to take the significant step of converting the domaine to organic farming. In 1996, he returned home to begin working alongside his father, eventually taking the helm himself. Year by year, he has gained a keener understanding of the character of each of the family’s parcels. It is this highly individualized character he takes such pains in the vineyards to capture and in the cellar to transmit. His philosophy is “back to the roots: working as my father and grandfather were doing.” He especially values the diversity of his holdings: “Making good wine is not enough. Having them be affordable, too, is very important to me.” Palate, precision, and purity are his guiding principles.

Vineyards and Farming
All of the vineyards have been organically farmed since 2009 and Ecocert® certified since 2012. Biodynamic ideas were introduced in 2010 and François continues his exploration of producing terroir-driven wines in an environmentally sustainable way. Chardonnay vines are pruned “Guyot Simple,” and pinot noir pruned “Cordon de Royat.” The grapes for all crus are harvested by hand and pick time is determined by acidity level, not sugar. François believes that Burgundy’s bête noire — premox — which has affected so many producers, was due to several factors, including a lack of rigorous sorting. To combat this, he employs a substantial crew during the season, reaching over 40 employees at harvest. Of this complement, nearly 30 are in the vineyards sorting and picking the grapes, three are on the winery team, and the rest are on the sorting table and managing the press.

2019

Ca’n Verdura “Supernova” Negre

MALLORCA, SP

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  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Ca’n Verdura

It’s fair to say that the new generation of wine producers on the Balearic’s largest island, Mallorca, is making an impact, much like the name of Ca’n Verdura’s flagship cuvée Supernova implies.

With over fourteen million tourists visiting Mallorca each year, in recent times, the island was indeed in danger of losing its unique cultural heritage and a rich trove of indigenous grape varieties to international grapes planted in neat rows at wineries designed as vanity projects. The cost of vineyard land has soared, with luxury vacation homes replacing old vineyards without regard for the region’s unique cultural tradition of planting vines in polyculture. Such is the price of living in paradise where the story is similar to other islands across the Mediterranean, which struggle with the mixed-blessings of balancing the success of international tourism with the retention of the cultural traditions that created the demand in the first place.

However, all is not lost. The seeds of Mallorca’s rebirth lie within the new generation of winemakers, farmers, and chefs who are diligently cataloging, recuperating, replanting, and exalting the thousands of years of history pre-dating the boon of modern tourism. Like a Supernova, the modern wine and culinary scene of Mallorca are rapidly reviving and celebrating local, ecologically-sustainable food and wine production, which is both culturally relevant and gastronomically compelling. Starting with modest budgets and against the odds, our protagonists are now leading the conversation about the future of conservation and agriculture on the island.

Enter Tomeu Llabrés, working in self-described viticultura en miniatura, and his visionary work with the indigenous mantonegro grape at Ca’n Verdura Viticultores. In 2012 he founded his micro-winery in a former auto garage at the center of the ancient village of Binissalem, located in the north-central portion of Mallorca. Through a steadfast focus on the mantonegro grape, Tomeu has demonstrated that this ancient variety has incredible potential, creating some of the Balearic region’s most ground-breaking wines. In recent tastings, mantonegro has drawn flavor comparisons to another island grape native to Italy, nerello mascalese. Placing indigenous grapes in context can be tricky. Still, there certainly seems to be a similar renaissance of native varieties in Mallorca, and one can draw comparisons to what’s occurring in Sicily.

Ca’n Verdura focuses on old-vine vineyards planted in the traditional en vaso (or goblet) vine training system, with reliance on the indigenous mantonegro and callet for red wines, as well as moll (a.k.a. prensal blanc), mantonegro cabellis, and giró ros for the white wines of Binissalem. Like other small projects on the island, international varieties are relied upon in small quantities for practical reasons in entry-level blends. Still, the future of plantings is clearly indigenous varieties. The soil of Binissalem is the excellent call vermell: a red, iron-rich clay, limestone soil with small to medium-sized galets. He works solely with old vineyards centered around the five historic villages of Binissalem.

2018

Le Ragnaie Rosso di Montalcino

MONTALCINO, TUSCANY, ITALY

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Le Ragnaie

Le Ragnaie is known for its elegant, terroir-driven wines that stand out in this Tuscan powerhouse category. The owner and winemaker, Riccardo Campinoti, acquired the property in 2002 and has expanded the estate to include 28 hectares covering three distinct parcels within Montalcino. The parcels Le Ragnaie and Petroso both are centered around the village of Montalcino and have the region’s highest elevation vineyards and oldest winemaking history, respectively. Additionally, the vineyards La Fornace Loreto and La Cava lie in the southern portion of Montalcino within Castelnuovo dell’Abate, adjacent to the iconic Poggio di Sotto.

Le Ragnaie makes complex, traditional wines from Sangiovese Grosso, Riccardo’s wines exhibit elegance and finesse from by farming some of the highest altitude vineyards in Montalcino. All four Brunello wines are fermented in concrete without selected yeast followed by a long maceration up to 90 days and three years in large Slavonian oak botti. All wines are bottled unfiltered and certified organic in the vineyards and cellar.

When asked about his winemaking, Riccardo describes himself firmly as a Traditionalist. He believes in long maturations, light-handed winemaking, elegant tannin extraction, refined concentration and aging in large Slavonian oak barrels. He pays close attention to yields so as to not create heavy handed wines, allowing the terroir of each site to be fully expressed.

“The key is balance. You want to have a good balance between alcohol, acidity, structure, and finesse. I think, for Sangiovese, it's a little bit more difficult to obtain this with small barrels. I think Sangiovese, in my opinion, needs to age slowly with the right amount of exposure to oxygen via the oak staves which are porous, whilst ageing in the barrel, and also the right amount of oak. New barrels, especially small new barrels, give off a lot of oak to the wine. There was a debate about whether this oak would dissolve after a few years. I think it doesn't. I think its always a bit more present in the wines once they are bottled. And also the tannins are a bit more astringent.” – Riccardo Campinoti

July 2021

2018

Francesco Brigatti "Mottobello" Annata

PIEDMONT, ITALY

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Brigatti

The history of Brigatti’s estate began in the early 1900s when Alessandro Brigatti, Francesco’s grandfather, the current proprietor, started to plant some vines to complement the cultivation of cereals.

The great passion for wine was the driver that fostered Alessandro to start searching for a suitable plot of land to plant his own vineyard. During his quest he came across a gently rolling hill, exposed to the south and with a soil rich in clay.

“Love at first sight” that’s what it was! He definitely showed a keen eye as that spot is one of the best hills in the area, also known as MötZiflon .

2019

Château Minuty "Rose et Or"

CÔTES DE PROVENCE

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Château Minuty

Château Minuty is the global leader in Côtes de Provence rosé, and beyond that it can be argued is the most important estate in the history of Provence rosé. The Saint-Tropez based, family owned estate has been, since its founding, one of the quality leaders for the region. Minuty then became one of the most visible producers in the second half of the 20th century, a result of quality production and commercial foresight when no one in the region could imagine the global phenomenon Provence rosé would become. And then in the last two decades, Minuty defined the vision for and led the unbelievable growth in Provence rosé around the globe.
One of the original 18 classified growths of Provence, Chateau Minuty has always been considered a quality leader for the region. Over decades it became the top selling rosé in its home of the French Riviera, where it abounds in leading beach clubs, restaurants and luxury retailers from Saint-Tropez to Monaco. From the winery, which its half a mile from the sea, you can actually see the Gulf of Saint-Tropez, dotted with sailboats and yachts. In the second half of the 20th century, Minuty created the elongated “Provencal bottle”, adopted by any number of other estates. If in the last 50 years you sat on the beach in the South of France, glass of rosé in hand, watching the blue of the sea and the blue of the sky play their game until sunset turned everything, yes, pink, you were almost certainly drinking Chateau Minuty.

In the last decade of the 20th century, Minuty made critical decisions in the vineyard that would come to define what is now seen as the style of Provence rosé. The first step came from the realization that the greatest plots in their vineyard were old Grenache. When handled with overwhelming gentleness, Grenache can produce wines of aromatic complexity as well as complex and deep flavors and body without tannin or aggressiveness. Minuty’s rigorous attention to viticulture, gentle handling of fruit (Minuty is the last regional estate to 100% hand harvest grapes), and preservation of aromatics and freshness, allows them to achieve their overall objective of producing wines of elegance, complexity and accessibility. It is hard to understate the freshness and total seamlessness of the wines. Minuty also utilizes from its Saint-Tropez vineyards small amounts of the local Tibouren grape, which imparts a distinct ocean salinity to the wines, as well.

Today, Minuty continues to push the quality envelope. They have followed through on their strong commitment to sustainable viticulture by quickly achieving the French government’s High Environmental Value certification for the estate’s biodiversity, farm management to limit inputs, and broader commitment to limiting environmental impact. All wines are strictly from the Côtes de Provence AOC and grown without the use of chemicals.

Above all, Minuty is defining what a great, luxury rosé should be. They are not interested in making more wine, and are not going outside of their Côtes de Provence home. With their Prestige, Rose et Or, and rare 281, they are putting greater and greater emphasis on making truly distinct and outstanding wines from their estate holdings. That is their vision of the future.

2019

Ornellaia”Le Volte” Dell'Ornellaia

Tuscany, Italy

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Ornellaia

For 700 years the Frescobaldi family has combined tradition, experience and innovation with creativity and the pursuit of excellence. The family has always looked to develop and celebrate the diversity of Tuscany’s terroir, being proud owners of some of the greatest vineyards in this region.

They always seek to maintain the identity and autonomy of each property.

ORNELLAIA, perceived as one of the world’s iconic wineries, has flourished under the Frescobaldi family’s ownership. It is just one of the estates owned by the family alongside ATTEMS (Friuli), MASSETO, DANZANTE,

LUCE DELLA VITE and the six FRESCOBALDI Estates, Nipozzano, CastelGiocondo, Pomino, Ammiraglia, Castiglioni and Remole.

The Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sangiovese grapes were fermented separately in small steel tanks to maintain their varietal characteristics intact. The alcoholic fermentation was followed by malolactic fermentation, again in steel tanks. The wine was then aged for 10 months, partly in barrique used for Ornellaia and partly in cement tanks, to obtain the perfect balance between tannic structure and an expression of fresh fruit.

June 2021

2019

Domaine Huet Vouvray Sec "Le Haut-Lieu"

VOUVRAY, LOIRE VALLEY

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Domaine Huet Vouvray

Since its founding in 1928, Vouvray’s Domaine Huet has been the standard-bearer for great, age-worthy Chenin Blanc. And to this day, year after year, the estate produces some of the world’s most compelling white wines—and in a remarkable range that spans sparkling, dry, semi-dry, and breathtaking dessert styles.

Chenin Blanc has been identified with Vouvray since at least the 9th century, and many of its great vineyards were known by the 14th century. By those standards, the 80-year-old Huet estate is relatively young. Yet it was this youngster that established, once and for all, that Vouvray was capable of world-class quality.

The domaine’s founder, Victor Huët, was a Parisian bistro owner. However, with lungs and nerves shattered by his experiences in WWI, Victor re-settled to the town of Vouvray in France’s beautiful Loire Valley. He soon purchased the first of his great vineyards, Le Haut-Lieu, in 1928, and Domaine Huet was born.

Victor’s son Gaston (born 1910) worked with his father from the beginning, and assumed full charge by 1937. With an obsessive devotion to quality, and an engaging showman’s personality, Gaston built the Huet legacy over the next 55 years, despite spending five years in a German POW camp during World War II.

2017

Rene Rostaing Domaine du Puech Le Vassal Rouge

COTEAUX DU LANGUEDOC

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Rostaing

The Rostaing estate dates to 1971 when René Rostaing– a Notary by trade – began tending a few plots of family vineyards. He had the perfect role model to guide him into a career of classical winemaking: Marius Gentaz, his uncle. Over the next few years, René took advantage not only of his uncle’s mentoring, but of historically low vineyard prices, to acquire a prized half acre each in the Côte Blonde and La Landonne lieux-dits.

And when he married, he acquired a second traditional role model, his father-in-law, Albert Dervieux. Dervieux retired in 1989 and Gentaz followed three years later, giving René a further ten acres of very old vines in some of the appellation’s top sites. This treasury of vineyards launched René’s estate into the stratosphere.

The vineyard expansion also enabled René to quit his day job and to devote himself full time to winemaking. Over the next 25+ years, he crafted a sequence of masterful wines that honored the legacy of his illustrious forebearers.
In 2015, René’s son, Pierre, took the reins at an estate that boasts 20+ acres of the finest vineyards in and around Côte Rôtie. And, he shares his father’s deep reverence for Côte Rôtie’s traditions.

2016

Domaine Le Couroulu Vacqueyras

SOUTHERN RHONE, FRANCE

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Domaine Le Couroulu

Located in between Gigondas and Chateauneuf du Pape, the village of Vacqueyras was finally granted its own AC in 1990 after vociferous lobbying. Domaine Le Couroulu, founded in 1928 and still owned by the Ricard family, is known for producing some of the most full-bodied Vacqueyras and other wines from their 20 hectares of old Grenache and Syrah vines.

The estate is named for the Curlew bird, which is known in Provencal dialect as Couroulu: this bird is the signature emblem on the Domaine’s labels. Winemaker Guy Ricard, who represents the third generation, is one of the Rhone’s most passionate and pleasant personalities, qualities which are reflected in his generous and engaging wines.

May 2021

2018

J.M. Boillot Montagny 1er Cru

BURGUNDY

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Jean-Marc Boillot

Jean-Marc Boillot was one of the younger generation in Burgundy who was determined to improve his family’s wines. In 1984, after vinifying 13 vintages at the family’s domaine, Henri Boillot, Jean-Marc walked out in protest, intent on producing highly concentrated, rich, and ripe wines. He became the winemaker for Olivier Leflaive for the next four years and at the same time produced wines from 5-acres of vineyards, bottled under his own label. The wines impressed Boillot’s grandfather, who bequeathed half his vineyard to Jean-Marc. Boillot runs his domaine from his grandfather Henri Boillot’s house and cellars in the village of Pommard. Jean-Marc’s maternal grandfather was the late Etienne Sauzet, from whom he also inherited exceptional vineyards.

2017

Palacios Remondo "La Montesa" Rioja

Rioja

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

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Alvaro Palacios

If anyone embodies the promise and spirit of “The New Spain,” it is winemaker Alvaro Palacios. Born into a wine family in Rioja, he now makes wine in three different appellations: Priorat, Bierzo, and his hometown of Alfaro in Rioja. Alvaro’s flagship Priorat wine, L’Ermita, is one of the most coveted wines in all of Spain. Following his great successes in Priorat and Bierzo during the 1990s, and the death of his father in 2000, Alvaro Palacios took the helm of Palacios Remondo, his family’s property and winery in Rioja Baja.

The Palacios Remondo Estate and vineyards are located at high elevations in the eastern part of the region: Rioja Oriental. Historically, Garnacha is the dominant red grape in Rioja Oriental, while Tempranillo and the white grape Viura play supporting roles. Alvaro’s passion for staying true to the tradition of the land inspires him to focus on Garnacha-driven wines that are expressive and authentic to the Eastern Rioja region. La Montesa, Propiedad, Plácet Valtomelloso and La Vendimia are among the very finest of Rioja Oriental, full-bodied wines with aromas of Mediterranean herbs, cherries and nectarines, and flavors of mixed berries and blood oranges on the palate.

Palacios is deeply committed to organic viticulture and natural winemaking practices, such as use of organic fertilizers in the stone-covered, clay soils. All of the wines are unfiltered and clarified only with egg whites. No exogenous yeasts or commercial compounds are added to the wines, and sulfites are kept to minimum levels.

2019

Grattamacco Bolgheri Rosso DOC

Tuscany

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Grattamacco

Founded in 1977, and acquired by the Tipa Bertarelli Family in 2002, Grattamacco was one of first the two wineries in Bolgheri. A region typically known for Cabernet and Merlot, Grattamacco sets itself apart from surrounding wineries with its winemaking practices using 15% Sangiovese to impart quality and elegance in its wines. Grattamacco was not only the first winery in Bolgheri to use Sangiovese because of its high altitude despite its proximity to the coast, but also the first to plant Vermentino. Grattamacco wines are known for both their power, elegance and complexity that evolves with time. 

April 2021

2018

A&P de Villaine Bouzeron Aligote

BURGUNDY

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Domaine de Villaine

Domaine de Villaine is located in Bouzeron, nestled in the Côte Chalonnaise region between Chassagne-Montrachet and Santenay to the north and Rully and Mercurey to the south.

Planted with vines by the monks of Cluny in the Middle Ages, this small, sunny valley has a rich and lengthy tradition of producing quality wines which reflect their exceptional terroir.

2016

Domaine Michel Niellon Chassagne-Montrachet Rouge

BURGUNDY

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Michel Niellon

Michel Niellon, who began working with his father Marcel in the 1950's, has crafted more than 50 vintages of extraordinary wines. The father-son team began domaine-bottling in the 1960’s and soon after, their 4-hectare estate was considered one of the very best in the village. Since 1991, Michel has shared vineyard and winemaking duties with his son-in-law, Michel Coutoux. Recently, Michel’s grandson Mathieu Bresson joined the winery as well. Today the winery has 7.5 hectares of vines, all in Chassagne-Montrachet. “We plow the vineyards for weed control and don’t use herbicides. For pest and mildew control, we practice lutte raisonnée,” explains Coutoux.

Niellon does not like to wait too long before harvesting the grapes: it is preferable, he says to pick earlier rather than later. “We take acidity into consideration first. Often we are the first in the village to pick at harvest time,” Niellon. Fermentations happen spontaneously in stainless steel tanks. After the primary fermentation, the wine is moved to barrels for malolactic and aging. About 25% of the barrels are new and the total amount of new oak ranges from 20-30% depending on the cuvée. Niellon is a benchmark producer in the village of Chassagne and the wines have a classic style, expressing the terroir of each vineyard, striking a balance of crisp minerality with rich and ripe fruit.

March 2021

2017

Avinyo Brut Reserva Brut

CAVA

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Avinyó Cava

Avinyó Cava is a premier, hand-made, artisanal sparkling wine house…. which stands in stark contrast to the status quo of the industrial Cava machine. It begins with their location in the Catalan countryside in the remote village of Avinyonet del Penedès, where the Esteve family traces their history to 1597 with the building of their Masia (Catalan farmhouse) named “Can Fontanals”, the traditional family home.

Today, Avinyó produces wine exclusively from vineyards that they own and farm organically…. with great care and respect, a rarity among Cava producers. This point cannot be overstated, as the unfortunate commodification of Cava by the industrial-volume producers has resulted in intense downward pressure for grape prices in the region and a subsequent race to the bottom for Cava pricing, especially in the US market. This, in turn, has led to the reality that most Cavas that make it to the US are not from organic farms like Can Fontanals. Rather, they are industrially produced from an anonymous base wine purchased cheaply from the local cooperative, re-fermented and aged for the bare-minimum time required (9 months), and adorned with a fantasy label, from a winery which does not exist. This is the situation in which serious Cava producers find themselves today, a reality which only serves to drive the resourceful Esteve-Nadal family to push their quality standards higher each vintage, setting themselves in bold contrast to companies who do not farm their own fruit or even know the origin of their grapes. 

Such is the dedication to quality at Avinyó that the minimum aging for their “entry-level” Reserva cuvée is 24 months, with many of their bottlings receiving at least 36 months of time on the lees. Each shipment of wines is disgorged on-demand for refrigerated transport to the US, so flavors are always fresh and vibrant. In addition to being produced solely from organically certified (since 2019) estate-grown grapes and with extended lees-aging in bottle, all Avinyó Cava is from a single-vintage, clearly labeled on the bottle. No reserve solera wine is used here to alter either the expression of the vineyard or correct for a “house-style”. Avinyó is about transparency.

Avinyó Reserva is an honest and transparent entry into the beloved traditional-method sparkling wines of Catalonia. Delicious, unpretentious sparkling wine you can drink every day. 60% macabeo, 25% xarel-lo, and 15% parellada from organically-farmed vines planted from 1945 to 2017 at Can Fontanals from 250m to 275m elevation.

Production method: After a night-time grape harvest to avoid oxidation and for optimal temperature, the grapes are pressed very gently in a pneumatic press. The base wine is fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel between 14C and 16C. After cold stabilization, the wine begins its secondary fermentation in-bottle with the addition of yeasts and sugar in March. It is then aged a minimum of 18 months on the lees before being disgorged on demand.

2017

Costers del Priorat "Pissarres"

PRIORAT

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Priorat

The wines of Costers del Priorat emphasize nuance and elegance over power, a philosophical departure from the strong, tannic wines that once defined Priorat. Costers del Priorat was founded by several partners bound to the land. Starting with a small parcel planted in 1934 in Bellmunt, Costers del Priorat now owns 25 hectares in four villages. Winemaker Jose Mas Barberà, the leading force of the winery, sees a new vision for the region focused on village specific wines from old vines, transmitted with clarity and grace.

The majority of his plantings are Carignan (Samsó) vines, a once-maligned ancient grape variety that is now viewed by many as the ideal variety for this extreme landscape. Carignan can withstand the extreme temperature fluctuations and drought conditions of the region to produce wines of exceptional aromatic complexity. All of this comes in an incredibly delicately packaged structure. Jose achieves this elegance by allowing the wines to guide their evolution without ever forcing their trajectory.

By utilizing only yeast from the vineyards for spontaneous fermentation and placing the wines in a multitude of vessels that allow air exchange, Jose achieves power through elegance. His exploration of amphora, cement, demi-muids and large foudres are the key to unlocking the minerality of these wines. This philosophy is the opposite of “one size fits all” winemaking. Chemicals are never used, only natural organic and biodynamic treatments are utilized, the winery is practicing organic.

The cellar lies in El Molar in the southeast of the appellation, built into the side of the mountain to take advantage of an old Roman magnesium mine. The surrounding vineyards vary from slate to alluvial and are planted with mostly Garnacha with a Mediterranean disposition. In Bellmunt, to the northwest, the winery owns a parcel of west-facing carignan planted in 1934 in Sant Martí. The single-vineyard wine, Clos Cypres, comes from this parcel with the rest of the grapes going into the winery's two introductory cuvées. Their northernmost plot is in the village Torroja del Priorat, a high elevation site planted in 1939 composed of steep, terraced vineyards surrounding the old Alsera masía (farmhouse) the vineyard of Clos Alzina. The fourth vineyard, located in the old village of La Vilella Baixa, is directly across the valley from Torroja and was planted in 1929 to carignan.

About Priorat:

Tiny and entirely composed of craggy, jagged and deeply terraced vineyards, Priorat is a Catalan wine-producing region that was virtually abandoned until the early 1990s. Its renaissance came with the arrival of one man, René Barbier, who recognized the region’s forgotten potential. He banded with five friends to create five “Clos” in the village of Gratallops. Their aim was to revive some of Priorat’s ancient Carignan vines, as well as plant new—mainly French—varieties. These winemakers were technically skilled, well-trained and locally inspired; not surprisingly their results were a far cry from the few rustic and overly fermented wines already produced.

Priorat’s steep slopes of llicorella (brown and black slate) and quartzite soils, protection from the cold winds of the Sierra de Montsant and a lack of water, leading to incredibly low vine yields, all work together to make the region’s wines unique. While similar blends could and are produced elsewhere, the mineral essence and unprecedented concentration of a Priorat wine is unmistakable.

2015

Château Poujeaux, Moulis-en-Médoc

BORDEAUX

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Château Famaey

Chateau Poujeaux has over the years been sought after by connoisseurs. Former French president George Pompidou swore by it and served it at the Elysée palace!

In 2008, Philippe Cuvelier and his son Matthieu, who are already the happy owners of the Saint-Emilion 1er Grand Cru Classé Château Clos Fourtet, took over this lovely estate in Moulis en Médoc. While ensuring the continuity of operations here, they are also injecting some new energy and lots of ambition into the property.

“The Chateau Poujeaux vineyard lies in one single plot to the north-east of Moulis, on the gravel mounds of Grand-Poujeaux. The majority of the estate’s vines are Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, while Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot only account for 10% of the total. The fruit from the different plots of this fine terroir is managed separately so that the character of each can be fully expressed, giving Chateau Poujeaux its unique quality. What a great terroir Poujeaux has! In the heart of the Medoc, near our own hearts, this is a wine that we end up knowing by heart. A small estate, unlike any other. Poujeaux isn't just a wine, it's a lot more. Poujeaux is really amazing and quite outstanding.” -- Matthieu Cuvelier Owner-Director

February 2021

2018

Maison Champy Chablis

AOC, FRANCE

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Maison Champy

Maison Champy is the oldest wine company in Burgundy boasting a history dating back to 1720. The winery, which has been declared a historic monument by UNESCO, was designed by the famed architect, Gustave Eiffel and sits above an ancient 15th-century Jacobin monk cellar, where the wines are aged in the heart of Beaune. It was at Maison Champy where renowned scientist, Louis Pasteur set up a laboratory and developed the pasteurization method. When Pasteur published his findings, he gave special thanks to fourth-generation Beaune wine merchant, Claude Champy. Pasteur’s laboratory equipment can still be seen today when visiting the Maison.

Maison Champy owns 52 acres of vineyards, including holdings in Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru, Clos de Bully in Pernand-Vergelessess, and Beaune 1er Cru Aux Cras. These prized vineyards, among others owned by Champy, are farmed organically in order to showcase the true character of the terroir in the wines.

The winegrowing team at Champy has worked together for many years with the goal of crafting the best possible expression of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from each unique terroir. Winemaking is led by Dimitri Bazas who, as Technical Director and Oenologist, has been custodian of the wine styles for more than 20 years. Vineyard management is under the watch of Francis Simon, also with two decades of experience with the Maison, and Cellar Master José Ramalho is Champy’s longest-tenured employee, having tended the barrel program for 35 years. Together the team brings their passion, experience, and expertise to each vintage, from vine to bottle.

Established in January 1938, the Protected Designation of Origin Chablis is located in nearby Auxerre, along the river with a predestined name "Le Serein". The area in production covers more than 3250 hectares. The continental climate, hot in summer, cold in winter, with strong frosts in spring - associated with limestone and marly soil, makes the Chablis with a stunning quality. 

Whole bunches are collected in a pneumatic press, then 12 hours settling at 12 to 15˚C in specially designed wide tanks to accelerate the natural settling process and produce very clear juice. 15 days of fermentation at 16˚C in stainless steel tanks. 6 months on fine lees in stainless steel tanks.

2018

Bruno Giacosa Barbera d'Alba

PIEDMONT, ITALY

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Bruno Giacosa

One of the legendary winemakers of the world, Bruno Giacosa crafted the most prestigious single-vineyard Barolo and Barbaresco wines during a career that spanned nearly eight decades. He joined the family business at the age of 15, representing the third generation of his Langhe winemaking family. Giacosa’s unfailing pursuit of perfection, his unrivaled palate and his intimate knowledge of vineyards in the Langhe quickly drew recognition and helped establish Piedmont as a leading wine region. In 1980, Giacosa began to acquire prime parcels in Serralunga d’Alba, La Morra and Barbaresco to produce wines that are rightly regarded as the finest expressions of Nebbiolo. His legacy rests with daughter Bruna, who continues to uphold her father’s winemaking philosophy to respect traditional techniques while using the best of modern technology. The goal is for each distinguished site to produce articulate, unique wines.

2014

Chateau Famaey “Cuvee X”

CAHORS, FRANCE

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Château Famaey

Château Famaey is first and foremost the story of Luc and Marc, two brave Belgian childhood friends sharing the same dream: producing a wine from a rich terroir in the magnificent region of Cahors.

In 2001, their dream came true when they became owners of this 40-hectare vineyard located in Puy l'Evêque, on the sunny terraces of the Lot Valley.

At the heart of the Cahors appellation, the estate spreads on 40 hectares of vines, located on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd terraces of the Lot Valley. The vineyard benefits from an exceptional terroir of clay and gravel and an abundance of sun rays.

The plots in the 1st terrace are used to produce our IGP Côtes du Lot wines while the plots of the 2nd and 3rd terraces, thanks to a more complex terroir, are perfects for the production of our Cahors wines.

Cuvée X is Château Famaey's top Cahors, made from old Malbec vines growing on the second and third terraces of the Lot Valley. These low yielding vines are tended meticulously and the grapes are picked by hand for the most delicate handling possible. After fermentation, it matures in 255 litre new French oak barriques for two years resulting in a full-bodied, darkly fruited wine with a complexity enhanced by the sweet richness of wood. A very contemporary expression of a classic wine.

December 2020

NV

Marc Hebrart "Cuvee de Reserve" Brut

CHAMPAGNE, FRANCE

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Marc Hébrart

Jean-Paul Hébrart took over the operations of Marc Hébrart Champagne in the Vallée de la Marne from his father Marc in 1997. This estate is not exactly new: Jean-Paul’s father has been producing champagne under the Marc Hébrart name since 1964 and has been a member of the Special Club since 1985. Hébrart farms 14 hectares of vines on 65 different sites in 6 villages: the 1er cru vineyards of Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, Avenay, Val d’Or and Bisseuil and the grand crus villages of Aÿ as well as Chouilly and Oiry in the Côte des Blancs. Each parcel is always vinified separately in glass lined stainless steel and ceramic tanks. He is slowly phasing out the ceramic as it is more difficult to control the temperature. Hébrart is also experimenting barrel fermentation and indigenous yeast fermentation for some of his older vine parcels.

Using these new techniques Jean-Paul has made an alternative Téte de Cuvee (2004 vintage dated) called Rive Gauche-Rive Droite, named for the sites on both sides of the Marne that comprise of the blend. These old vine parcels are fermented and aged in 205 liter four year old barrique (without battonage) before being bottled sur latté. Jean-Paul hand selects grapes, uses a Bucher press, and is experimenting with fermentation in petite cuvee. Hébrart doesn’t block malolactic fermentation and does all remuage by hand.

Peter Liem writes of Champagne Hébrart on Champgneguide.net: “Hébrart’s wines have a broad appeal: if you like to think about your wines, they’re intellectually engaging enough to satisfy you; on the other hand, if you’re just looking to drink, they’re simply delicious. The wines are full and generous without being weighty, complex and soil-driven without being demanding. Overall, the entire range is of consistently high quality, and represents excellent value for the money.”

Undeniably, Mareuil should belong to the grand cru villages. Most of the vineyards reach almost the same quality as those of Aÿ. In their youth, what may distinguish a Mareuil wine from an Aÿ wine is a hawthorn-like flowery bouquet. On aging, the wines become practically impossible to tell apart.

-Richard Juhlin, 4000 Champagnes

2018

Laurent Perrachon Beaujolais Villages

BEAUJOLAIS, FRANCE

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Laurent Perrachon

Since he acquired the "Domaine des Mouilles", this young winemaker has always focused his energy on innovation. He updated the family equipment, increased the acreage of the domain, and steadily raised the volume sold to wine lovers directly from the domain. He always has some new projects in mind.

Until he was 20, Laurent Perrachon, son and grand-son of winemakers, was spending more time on the rugby field than in the vineyard. Since becoming winemaker himself in 1988, Laurent had to drop the rugby ball to focus on his trade. Before starting to work with his father, Jacques, Laurent took the time to see the world of winemaking. He worked at Château Ausone where he completed his internship after finishing his schooling; then he worked as a bartender in the UK, in a wine bar. Finally he travelled to vineyards in South Africa and California. "It is mind opening to look at what others do in different places. I am curious and ready to adopt new ideas"

Indeed, when choosing to follow the family tradition, Laurent has not decided to stand still, quite the opposite. Every year, he invests in new equipment, in improving the cellars, and adding new parcels to the domain. Today, after having added Chenas Fleurie and Saint-Amour, Laurent manages a total surface of 23 hectares.

2019

G.D. Vajra “Clare JC” Nebbiolo

PIEDMONT, ITALY

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Vajra

The Vajra family has farmed Bricco delle Viole, the highest cru in Comune di Barolo, since the 1880s. At the young age of fifteen, Aldo Vajra embraced the dream to revive his family legacy. Displaying a vision and commitment belying his young age he took over the estate in 1968, turning a new page. Aldo soon acquired the first organic certification of the region (1971), created private biotype selections (selezioni massali) of Nebbiolo and Dolcetto, pioneered the renaissance of Freisa, a noble yet forgotten local grape (1980) and the cultivation of Rhine Riesling in Piemonte (1985). ­

Today, the family has 40 Ha under vine. The estate is steeped in tradition. Barolos are macerated for 20 to 30 days depending on the vintage. Wines are typically matured in large neutral Slavonian casks. The holdings in Bricco delle Viole are the prized vineyards of the estate, planted in 1949 by Aldo’s grandfather. It’s a very fresh terroir with open exposure and breezy conditions. Holdings in Barolo commune are: Fossati, Coste de Vergne and La Volta. Recently acquired vineyards in the commune of Sino (just outside Barolo DOCG, next to Serralunga) make a gorgeous Langhe Nebbiolo.

High elevation vineyards are a unique factor to Vajra wines, allowing them to express finesse and remarkable complexity over simple power. Attention to detail and humility toward nature, uncompromised efforts and humanity, these are the ideals of the Vajra family: Aldo and Milena, now joined by their children Giuseppe, Francesca and Isidoro, and by an amazing team of young professionals. G.D. Vajra is an independent winery, entirely family-owned.

November 2020

2019

Abbazia di Novacella, Gruner Veltliner

ALTO ADIGE, ITALY

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Abbazia

Located in the sleepy little burg of Novacella, in the Isarco River Valley, Abbazia was founded in 1142 by the Augustinian Order of Canons Regular. The Augustians are not monks in the sense that you may be familiar with: they have taken vows of poverty, chastity and obedience to their superiors; but they also work to support themselves as a part of their community. To this end, the Abbey not only grows grapes for winemaking, but also farms apples and vegetables, and there is a small school devoted primarily to studies of viticulture. The abbey’s reputation as a winery is stellar and international. In 2009, Italy’s influential Gambero Rosso named Celestino Lucin, the abbey’s enologist, Winemaker of the Year.

The estate has long been known for producing world class white wines with a tremendous price/quality ratio. The white grape vineyards are in the town of Novacella, surrounding the abbey, while the red grapes grow further south. Schiava and Pinot Noir are planted near Lago di Caldaro, and Lagrein is planted near Bolzano. The production comes from a total of 80 hectares. The Abbey owns 6 hecatres near the winery in Novacella, as well as 15 hectares at their Marklhof estate near Bolzano. For the rest of the production, they work with over 50 small growers in the region. The soil for the wines is mainly granitic schist, created by ancient glaciers; and the vineyards are quite steep. In the Isarco Valley, vines do not live much longer than 30 years, and the yields are miniscule naturally, producing wines that are aromatic, fresh, and rich. Though it is one of the oldest wineries in the world with over 850 years of winemaking experience, the cellar is entirely modern.

The lineup of wines is incredible! The range includes classics like Kerner and Pinot Grigio, as well as some lesser seen varietals like Veltliner and Moscato Rosa. While famous for their crisp, mineral-driven whites, the estate has also received acclaim for its “formidable reds.” (Wine and Spirits Magazine). The aromatic Pinot Nero is one of the best that Italy has to offer.

Vineyard practices: While the daily tasks of running a monastery, school and world-famous winery have kept Abbazia from jumping through the bureaucratic hoops involved with Italy’s organic certification, the centuries old estate is practicing organic.

2017

Isole e Olena Chianti Classico

TUSCANY, ITALY

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Isole e Olena

The incredibly talented, humble, and kind Paolo De Marchi is at the helm of Isole e Olena, and has been since 1976 after taking over from his parents who purchased the property in the 1950s. From the beginning, Paolo has done groundbreaking work to understand and propel the image of Sangiovese. Until very recently, Sangiovese was thought to fare poorly by itself, and the Chianti Classico appellation demanded that it be blended with other grapes (including white) to earn the DOCG. Paolo differed from this opinion. He studied his Sangiovese vines, convinced he could produce a wine that would rival international single-varietal wines. Radically, Paolo produced his first 100% Sangiovese Cepparello in 1980 (according to history he was the second person to do this after Montevertine); this wine was an immediate success and set the standard for the pure Sangiovese movement in Tuscany. Cepparello put Paolo and his estate on the map. 40 years later, the revered Paolo is producing some of his best wines yet!

Isole e Olena is comprised of two adjoining estates in the Barberino Val d’Elsa subregion of Chianti Classico. The land totals 290 hectares of which 53 hectares are planted to vines, which include traditional Tuscan varieties as well as international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Chardonnay. 70% of the estate’s production is traditional Chianti Classico and Vin Santo. The location is on the cooler, western side of Chianti Classico at about 1,310 feet. The wines maintain freshness even in the hottest years because of the sea breezes and steep diurnal shift.

2013

Corazon del Sol "Soleado"

VALLE DE UCO, ARGENTINA

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Corazon del sol

Corazon del sol crafts captivating Malbec and Grenache-based wines that capture the best of Argentina’s unique, high altitude terroir. Cultivated in the Uco Valley, which is situated in Mendoza on the eastern side of the Andes Mountains, our vines enjoy over 300 days of sunshine a year.

In 2008, Dr. Madaiah Revana went to Argentina seeking to add to his family of estate wineries which includes Revana Family Vineyard in Napa Valley and Alexana Winery in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Enthralled by the terroir of the Uco Valley, he was determined to find his next great estate here on the incredible alluvial soils of the Andes Mountains.

The 17 acres of estate vineyard are planted at the base of the Andes at an elevation of 3,000 feet. A visually stunning background, the Andes are also responsible for the incredibly deep, alluvial soils which define our estate vineyard. Made up of rock and sand which has eroded from the Andes Mountains over millennia, these soils are extremely deep and well drained, resulting in wines of great complexity, power and finesse.

Famed winemaker Santiago Achaval crafts our vineyard-driven wines from our estate plantings of Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre.

October 2020

2018

Descendientes de Jose Palacios "Petalos"

BIERZO

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Pelacios

During the late 1980's, Alvaro Palacios travelled to his native Spain selling French barriques to winemakers. But his journeys had a second purpose: to find the best place to achieve his goal of making Spain's greatest wine. He ultimately decided, in 1990, on Priorato, where he would achieve worldwide fame with "L'Ermita" and "Finca Dofi." But there had been a close contender: Bierzo. It had all the ingredients that Alvaro wanted - incredibly steep hillside vineyards, distinctive terroirs and, most importantly, ancient vineyards of Mencia - a unique red grape believed brought by French pilgrims during the Middle Ages.

In Pursuit of the Dream. The idea of making great wine from old-vine Mencía never left Alvaro, and his experience in Priorato - particularly with L'Ermita - convinced him of Bierzo's enormous potential. Meanwhile, his nephew Ricardo Perez had finished enological studies in Bordeaux and was travelling across France - absorbing everything he could about great wines. He worked the harvest at Château Margaux, and did internships at other Bordelais firms like Moueix (Pétrus, Trotanoy, etc.). He also visited Alvaro frequently and came to share a belief in Bierzo's potential. In 1998, the two decided on a joint venture and set out in search of the region's finest old vineyards.

2015

Skouras "Megas Oenos"

PELOPONNESE, GREECE

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Domaine Skouras

Domaine Skouras was established in 1986 by Burgundy-trained winemaker George Skouras in the Nemea region of the Peloponnese. Skouras began working with both indigenous and international wine varietals and started producing very high-quality Greek wines in the late 1980s. The first bottling of his flagship wine, Megas Oenos, launched in 1988 and was the first wine in Greece to blend Aghiroghitiko with Cabernet Sauvignon! At over 3,400 feet, Skouras also boasts one of the highest red wine vineyards in all of Europe. 

2015

Chateau Calon-Segur "Marquis de Calon"

SAINT-ESTEPHE

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Chateau Calon-Segur

The community of Saint-Estèphe has its roots in the Gallo-Roman origins of this chateau. Chateau Calon-Ségur was the first wine estate in the commune and is classified as a Troisième Cru Classé. At the centre of all our concerns and in the centre of the bottle label, the heart has been the symbol of Calon since the 18th century, thanks to the Marquis de Ségur and this sentence which has travelled through time: “I make wine at Lafite and Latour, but my heart is at Calon”. The Marquis de Ségur, the so-called Prince of Vines, was one of the most influential men in Bordeaux and reigned over some of the top Médoc wine growths. His wines delighted Versailles and subsequently charmed all the courts of Europe.

In the 19th century, the heart was engraved on the façade of the cellars. The words next to it, Premier Cru de Saint-Estèphe, underline the fact that the estate is one of the oldest in the commune. Saint-Estèphe in fact long bore the name Saint-Estèphe de Calon, as if the Château’s and the village’s history were one and the same.

The estate’s Second Wine offers a different interpretation of the Calon terroir. “It benefits from a true expression of its own”, underlines Vincent Millet. “The plots are separated out from the beginning.” Le Marquis de Calon Ségur provides immediate enjoyment, warmth and a velvety texture. This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit VerdotIt is carefully aged generally for 17 months in oak barrels, a third of which are new. Deliciously easy-drinking, silky and expressive, its charm comes to the fore, while at the same time bringing to our minds the elegance of the Grand Vin.

September 2020

2018

Bibi Graetz "Casamatta" Bianco

TOSCANA IGT