Antoine Arena, New Arrivals

by Anthony Lynch

Corsican winemaking has come a long way in recent years, and it would be foolish to deny Antoine Arena’s role in its transformation. Having taken over the family domaine as much out of national pride as out of passion for the land, Antoine pioneered a new school of viticulture on the island—one that focused on terroir and rejected the industrial, chemical approach that had become the norm by the 1980s. His pioneering attitude led him to create a number of striking single-vineyard wines from indigenous grape varieties, setting the bar for quality and kicking off a resurgence of artisanal production by contemporary Corsican vignerons, now in full swing.

The offerings below are 100% Niellucciu from Patrimonio’s clay and limestone, grown organically and bottled unfined, unfiltered, and with minimal added sulfur. The wines are young and greatly benefit from aeration—we suggest decanting them for at least a couple of hours to better appreciate these most natural, transparent expressions of Patrimonio’s terroir.

Arena

Antoine Arena           © Gail Skoff

2012 PATRIMONIO ROUGE “MORTA MAIO” >

“The eldest myrtle,” a young-vine bottling from a plot of land the Arena family has worked for more than four hundred years, refers to the wild bush that makes up a large part of Patrimonio’s wild scrubland, or maquis. A somber, earthy aroma opens up to rustic red berry fruit and suggestions of the very same maquis. Medium-bodied with hints of spice and game, it demands thick slices of country charcuterie.

$45.00 per bottle $486.00 per case

2012 PATRIMONIO ROUGE “CARCO” >

Carco is Arena’s flagship parcel, a well-exposed slope two miles from the sea that Antoine had to manually clear of massive white limestone boulders. These stones have left their mark: it tastes as though a dusting of pulverized rock coats the chewy black fruit. Slightly austere and deeply mineral, it has a freshness and tannic backbone that will allow for a thrilling evolution over the years.

$45.00 per bottle $486.00 per case

Tribute to Madame Lacaussade

by Dustin Soiseth

It was our colleague Mark Congero’s last day at the retail shop—he decamped to Maui, so don’t feel bad—and after work we toasted with a gift from one of his clients, a bottle of 1983 Chateau de l’Hospital. This wonderful red, a blend of Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Cabernet Sauvignon, offered a glimpse of an older style of Graves. Not many Bordelais are growing Malbec anymore.

label_400

In Adventures on the Wine Route Kermit writes of L’Hospital proprietor Madame de Lacaussade’s indomitable spirit in the face of misogynist negociants and ambivalent children; her unwavering adherence to traditional vinification and varietals; her splendid relic of a chateau and its antique toilet. “I believe that wine can reflect the personality of the man or in this case the woman who makes it,” he writes. “Madame de Lacaussade has a flamboyant personality and her wine is far from bland. Then I realize that as true as my theory might be it is absurd-sounding. Can fermented grape juice express the personality of a man or woman?”

I never met Madame so I will never know for sure, but in reading about her and tasting this wine I feel that I do, a bit. Perhaps that’s foolish. As for the wine itself, it was marvelous. Fully mature but still vibrant, a lion in winter expressing all the leafy, leathery, earthy aromas characteristic of a fine aged claret.

Madame_Lacaussade

Madame Lacaussade    © Gail Skoff

It was a singular experience, and one of the more memorable of my career. And while I am unlikely to taste Madame de Lacaussade’s L’Hospital again, I am thankful for the dedicated cadre of producers – Gombaude-Guillot, Moulin Pey-Labrie, Belles-Graves, among others – that Kermit continues to import. They continue the tradition she embodied, and when I taste their wines I am reminded why I fell in love with Bordeaux in the first place. Cheers to them, to Mark, and to you, Madame.

April Newsletter: KL Shocker: “Sterile Filtration a Blessing,” 101-Point Wines, Raveneau Switches to Beer, Big Selection of Unnatural Wines

The April Newsletter is now available.
Click here to download the pdf.

Highlights from this month’s newsletter…

101-POINT SAMPLER >

by Anthony Lynch

This month’s sampler contains six wines that received a perfect score—or better. Our panel of experts sampled each wine on separate occasions, at his or her desired pace, with appropriately selected food, and in good company. The wines were rated with total respect to the context in which they were tasted. The judges came to the conclusion that these six wines, when imbibed with consideration for the style of wine and region of origin, represent the best of their respective class. All wines therefore received a rating of at least one hundred points.

Perhaps you too will award these wines outstanding scores when you consider their originality, individuality, and integrity to the style each represents. They are maybe not the six best wines ever, but they are honest translations of their terroir, grape, and grower. They excel within their respective class rather than trying to overwhelm all with power or flashiness. Ostertag’s old-vine Sylvaner, for example, does not have the complexity and grandeur of a mature grand cru Burgundy, but it truly shines when matched with a variety of diverse cuisines, and you will be hard-pressed to find a better Sylvaner. Tempier’s Bandol lacks the polish of many of today’s highest-rated reds, yet we appreciate it precisely for its rusticity and untamed soulfulness. Any of these six can be one-hundred-point wines—find the cuisine, mood, and company that bring out the best of each and you are assured a genuinely fulfilling experience.

per bottle

2013 Müller Thurgau “Sass Rigais” • Manni Nössing

$30.00

2013 Les Vieilles Vignes de Sylvaner

Domaine Ostertag

25.00

2013 Patrimonio Blanc • Yves Leccia

38.00

2012 Vacqueyras “Cuvée Azalaïs”

Domaine le Sang des Cailloux

34.00

2012 Bandol Rouge • Domaine Tempier

46.00

2011 Chinon “Les Varennes du Grand Clos”

Charles Joguet

37.00

Normally $210.00

Special Sampler Price

$168

(a 20% discount)

FRANCE AND ITALY

by Dixon Brooke

2011 SAINT JOSEPH BLANC

DOMAINE FAURY >

When you think of the great Saint Joseph appellation, don’t forget to think of white as well as red. Though much less of the former is produced, it is one of France’s most unique, versatile, and delicious white wines. Made predominantly from Roussanne and Marsanne grown on granite hillsides above the Rhône, the best examples are dry yet ample, with an unctuous texture and hints of honeysuckle and pit fruits like apricot and peach. Lionel Faury’s interpretation is distinguished by its elegance, class, balance, and stylishness, a lot of adjectives you might not think to employ for this humble country wine. With a few years of bottle age on it, it is polished and ready to give maximum satisfaction, as an apéritif, with assorted appetizers, or with fish or fowl.

$32.00 per bottle $345.60 per case

2001 BAROLO BUSSIA “VIGNE VECCHIE”

ALESSANDRO E GIAN NATALE FANTINO >

How often can you find a Barolo with almost fifteen years of age for a price like this? That is a rhetorical question. From the Fantinos’ oldest vines in Monforte d’Alba’s storied Bussia cru, the raw material here is second to none. All of the secondary flavors you’d expect from a Barolo with this kind of maturity are starting to emerge: earth, wood smoke, tar, leather, tobacco, truffles, dried flowers, citrus peel . . . It’s time to get creative in the kitchen and let this bottle breathe while it awaits a rustic slow-cooked main course.

$55.00 per bottle $594.00 per case

Sylvain’s Carignan

AT DOMAINE D’AUPILHAC

by Chris Santini

I’ll never forget a dinner in Corsica one night a few years ago with the venerated vigneron Antoine Arena in attendance, plus a pompous (yet also venerated, albeit by a different crowd) French wine critic. The critic, who had seemingly never much muddied his boots in vines or cellars, wanted to make it clear nonetheless that he was the all-knowing authority and spouted all kinds of sweepingly broad generalizations on all the subjects of interest and debate these days in the wine world. As he spoke, most of us just rolled our eyes and let him carry on. The breaking point, however, was when he proclaimed, “There is no good wine to be made with pure Carignan, period! C’est impossible!” I saw Antoine Arena wince, give pause, look the critic straight in the eye like a fed-up Clint Eastwood, and tell him, “You wouldn’t have said that had you ever bothered to taste Sylvain Fadat’s Carignan.” I wanted to jump up and yell, “BOOOOM!” while high-fiving Antoine, but I figured it might be inappropriate. The critic huffed a bit under his breath, but the case was closed, and he thought twice before yapping again. He knew that Antoine spends a lot of time with wine-growing buddies throughout France, and that there’s plenty of mud under his boots, so when Antoine stands up for a vigneron, you take heed.

Sylvain Fadat has had to face constant denigration and discouragement from critics who claim that Carignan has no place in the Languedoc. Since the beginning, Sylvain has tirelessly defended Carignan as the “origin, history, and essence of the region.” Regardless, the local authorities refuse to grant the wine appellation status because he doesn’t blend it with so-called “superior” grapes. But for those who’ve tasted it—whether young with its dark, brambly fruit and licorice, or aged with more smoke and complexity—there isn’t even a debate. It’s as true and authentic as it comes, filled with the taste of the land, a small slice of Languedoc called “Aupilhac” put in a bottle. His first vintage, 1989, is still drinking beautifully right now, so we don’t know just how far it can go. Thankfully, many young growers have begun to follow his lead and are planting and bottling pure Carignan. Critics, take note!

2012 MONT BAUDILE ROUGE “LE CARIGNAN”

DOMAINE D’AUPILHAC >

$36.00 per bottle $388.80 per case

Where Beaujolais Meets Carignan

by Sarah Hernan

If I said “whole cluster fermentation,” what would be your first thought?
Fruit? Freshness? Beaujolais? Bravo! But this post is not about Beaujolais. Let me give you another clue. Old vine Carignan, Grenache, Macabou, and Terret.

Southern Rhône? Closer—Languedoc-Roussillon!

Featured at one of our recent weekly staff tastings were the new arrivals from Corbières producer Maxime Magnon. His three wines were without any hesitation, the staff’s picks of the night.

Maxime is a young producer, established in the Languedoc, between Perpignan and Narbonne. He belongs to a new generation of Languedoc vignerons who are trying to protect their terroirs and older vineyards from being overlooked.

Maxime sells his handcrafted wines from the Corbières and the Vin de Pays de la Vallée du Paradis appellations.

MagnonMasetVignes_kk_400

The almost completely unknown vineyards from the Vin de Pays de la Vallée du Paradis are situated on the border between Languedoc and Roussillon. It is a stunning valley close to the sea, comprised of schist, basalt, and sandstone. After one sip of his cuvée “La Démarrante,” a blend of Carignan and Cinsault, the tone is set for something gourmand, fresh, deliciously fruity, with a hint of wildness.

If you are used to the common Corbières style, over-ripe and over-rugged, you are going to be stunned by Maxime’s Corbières. The Corbières “Rozeta,” a blend of Carignan, Grenache Gris, Macabou, and Terret, all harvested and fermented together, is a wave of delicate minerality, bright acidity, and beautiful tannins.

His third red, the Corbières “Campagnès,” comes from a single vineyard of hundred-year-old Carignan. The most cellar-worthy of his bottlings, it has exquisite notes of cherry and blackberry fruit with incredible finesse for the south.

Magnon_400

Now you might be thinking, what was that story about the whole cluster fermentation?

Maxime’s mentor is Jean Foillard, one of the classiest vignerons anywhere. Maxime was inspired to import Foillard’s methods to the south of France with spectacular results.

Old vines, great terroir, an inspiring mentor, and an intense focus on perfection have been Maxime’s secret to success so far. The results are dazzling—deep, fruit-driven wines with the perfect balance of tannins and a natural acidity. One single sip of Maxime’s wines will wake up your taste buds, please your palate, and bring a smile on our grumpiest day.

The only cloud on the horizon is the tiny amount of quantity available. This is your chance to taste Maxime’s little paradise before it vanishes in someone else glass.

Magnon_bottles_400

Please email sales@kermitlynch.com or call 510-524-1524 to inquire for availability of wines.

March Newsletter: The Quiet Lion of Alsace, Comtesse de Chérisey P-A, Coastal Sampler, Sylvain’s Carignan

The March Newsletter is now available.
Click here to download the pdf.

Highlights from this month’s newsletter…

LANGHE NEBBIOLO

by Dixon Brooke

2013 LANGHE NEBBIOLO “CAMILU” • GUIDO PORRO >

Porro of Serralunga makes a Nebbiolo that is easily confused with Barolo—a little too easily. I think I’ve said too much already. I guess the thing that gives it away is the extra fruitiness, the lack of a hard edge. Don’t expect light or quaffable when you uncork this beauty. Welcome to the Langhe.

$26.00 per bottle $280.80 per case

2009 BAROLO BUSSIA “CASCINA DARDI”

A. & G. FANTINO >

I’ve talked to many passionate wine aficionados over the years about the tendency of Italian reds to have more of a bitter edginess than their French counterparts. A slight bitterness is actually often a compliment when it comes to Italian cuisine and wine—think of those little shots of espresso. I’ve highlighted this 2009 Barolo for its complete lack of bitterness—a bit of a surprise, particularly for a Barolo. In fact, in the finesse category it will give a French Burgundy a run for its money. I’ve probably consumed a case of it by now, yet I still cannot believe what the Fantino brothers accomplished with their beautiful 2009. It has to be tasted to be believed, and you will want to revisit it multiple times to make sure you weren’t dreaming. It is as sumptuous and silky a Barolo as you are ever likely to taste, while not a bit flabby or overdone. The ripe Nebbiolo fruit is generous and abundant. We have plenty of tannic, tightly wound Baroli that smell of tar and roses, and we love them all. This one stands out for its sheer balance and refinement and the immediate pleasure it offers. Don’t miss trying it on—see how it fits.

$55.00 per bottle $594.00 per case

ESOTERIC SPARKLERS

by Anthony Lynch

BUGEY-CERDON “LA CUEILLE” • PATRICK BOTTEX >

Here is one likely scenario should you choose to open a bottle of Patrick Bottex’s seductive deep pink, effervescent, palate-tickling Bugey:

1. Your date is strangely entranced by all your stories and even giggles at your lame jokes.

2. She invites you back to her place for another glass of Bugey.

3. The next morning, she brings you breakfast in bed, naturally washed down with some cold Bugey.

4. You marry. The wedding is toasted with a ceremonial glass of Bugey.

5. On your deathbed, you share one final bottle of Bugey. You think back to how it all began, so grateful for the wine that made your life worth living. You experience feelings of life satisfaction and self-fulfillment.

$23.00 per bottle $248.40 per case

2013 PETTIROSSO ALLEGRO • PUNTA CRENA >

At Punta Crena on northern Italy’s Mediterranean coast, the only way to do things is the way they’ve been done for hundreds of years. That means working exclusively with local varietals, thus preserving Liguria’s rich viticultural heritage. This light, endlessly sippable bubbly rosato is a blend of Rossesse and Crovino. With its bright, fruity aroma, carefree sparkle, and crisp, dry finish, it is an ideal candidate for a picnic, for the beach, or simply to whet your palate before bigger things to come.

$19.95 per bottle $215.46 per case

PETIT ROYAL • LAMBERT DE SEYSSEL >

The village of Seyssel, in the French Alps, has a history of viticulture dating back centuries, having built a reputation for floral-scented charmers from the local grapes, Molette and Altesse. Produced in the méthode traditionnelle and aged for two years sur latte, the Petit Royal is unequaled in the world of sparkling wine: alpine flowers, dried fruit, wildflower honey, and a toasty, yeasty note give this value sparkler an utterly delightful aromatic richness and complexity. Serve it with various salty toasts to kick off your next dinner party, or pop one open to liven up a night at home with a big bowl of mac and cheese.

$19.00 per bottle $205.20 per case

Vibrant Wines from a Remote Terroir

Drive to Irouléguy and you will find yourself in one of France’s smallest wine appellations, as well as one of its most remote and intriguing. This is Basque country, in the heart of the Pyrenees, and it feels drastically removed from the rest of France due to its unique culture and landscape. Just north of the Spanish border and thirty miles from the Atlantic coast, these mountains create a very distinctive terroir. The vineyards, planted on slopes that reach vertigo-inducing gradients, soak up plenty of southern sun, moderated by the humid, cooling influences of mountain air and the nearby ocean.

Arretxea-vineyards

It takes a great vigneron to make a grand terroir speak, and Michel and Thérèse Riouspeyrous are perfect for the job. Strong advocates of organic and biodynamic agriculture, they craft incredibly vibrant wines that genuinely express their Basque origins. While produced in minute quantities, they represent some of the most exciting, singular wines being made in France—wines that tell a story about a land and a people.

Arretxea_couple

While most Irouléguy is red, its rare whites are well worth seeking out. Michel and Thérèse’s “Hegoxuri” bottling (pronounced eggo-shoo-ree, Basque for White of the South) is an excellent starting point, delivering nerve and minerality along with aromas of ripe lemon, white flowers, and green almond. A blend of Gros Manseng, Petit Manseng, and Petit Courbu, this white comes from three distinct terroirs: sandstone, schist, and a rare rock of volcanic origin known as ophite, rich in serpentine and magnesium. The Riouspeyrous have recently begun to bottle a selection from each terroir separately so as to highlight the effects of the different soil types. These whites are fermented with native yeasts in wood and aged for a year in large foudres, then aged for another 18 months in bottle. The result is a tour de force that delivers more than one could imagine from this remote mountain appellation. Rich and powerful yet completely electric, showing energy, tonicity, and an intense mineral foundation, these whites are not to be missed. Delicious now, their potential to improve with age will astound anyone willing to try.

blanc_pantxuri

The domaine’s red wines, composed of Tannat, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon, also represent a unique expression of this terroir. Black in color, earthy, and laden with dark fruit and spice, these wines balance grippy tannin with fresh acidity. They are bottled unfined and unfiltered to retain all their purity and flesh. The Irouléguy rouge bottling, raised in cement vats, is tremendously bright with a modest alcohol level, while “Haitza” is bigger game, a barrel-age titan that will stand the test of time. These are serious wines unlike anything else out there and are a must-try for any curious wine drinker. Eskerriska!

vineyard_sheep

Please email sales@kermitlynch.com or call 510-524-1524 to inquire for availability of wines.

2013 IROULÉGUY BLANC “HEGOXURI” $46.00 per bottle
60% Gros Manseng, 35% Petit Manseng, 5% Petit Courbu

2012 IROULÉGUY BLANC “PANTXURI” $60.00 per bottle
60% Gros Manseng, 40% Petit Manseng

2012 IROULÉGUY BLANC “SCHISTES” $60.00 per bottle
60% Gros Manseng, 35% Petit Manseng, 5% Petit Courbu

2012 IROULÉGUY ROUGE $30.00 per bottle
66% Tannat, 17% Cabernet Franc, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon

2011 IROULÉGUY ROUGE “HAITZA” $46.00 per bottle
70% Tannat, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon

arrextea postcard photo

Farewell to Mark

After more than eight years on staff here at KLWM, our colleague and friend Mark Congero is leaving us, and moving his family to Hawaii. Mark built a name for himself here as our resident food expert. In the retail shop, on a daily basis he drew upon his years of professional work in the front and back of fine restaurants. When a customer would stump one of us with a request for a good wine pairing for an upcoming dinner, Mark was always quick to find a logical and innovative option. For the staff, he was the go-to for advice on our own cooking questions and through his samplers and the recipes that accompanied them he became a resource to all our customers. He fielded dozens of phone calls each month specifically about his recipes from inquisitive customers who had purchased one of his samplers. During his tenure, Mark wrote 19 of his “Seasonal” samplers that included in total around 100 recipes. He was also an occasional contributor to the blog—here are the posts the he wrote for us.

http://kermitlynch.com/blog/2012/03/16/crock-pot-fridays/
http://kermitlynch.com/blog/2010/03/10/a-corky-bastille-day/
http://kermitlynch.com/blog/2009/12/10/winter-produce/
http://kermitlynch.com/blog/2009/08/18/spaghetti-with-basil-pesto-heirloom-tomatoes/

Below you’ll find Mark’s final sampler, which is featured in this month’s newsletter. Included in the carton you’ll find 8 pages of Mark’s favorite recipes from past samplers. Grab a sampler soon as you only have two weeks left to call him up to seek his wine and food expertise!

Farewell Sampler >

by Mark Congero

Mark_Congero_250Folks, it has been a great run here at KLWM, but after eight years, I am moving on. I am, along with my wife and daughter, headed to Maui. Island life awaits: warm sun, tropical breezes, and delicious wine . . . well, two outta three ain’t bad! I have had a lot of fun writing my seasonal samplers, and I hope that you all have enjoyed them as well. It has been my pleasure, truly, to taste and then write about so many great wines, and a joy to find recipes to pair with them. Whether the theme was a Provençal summer or an Italian winter or preaching about the virtues of local, sustainable, organic food, my goal was to make you hungry and thirsty and, if you tried the recipes, satisfied!

My time here means a lot to me. I will remember it fondly and I will miss all my colleagues and the great client relationships, but most of all I am going to miss the wine! But who knows—there may be some adventures on the KLWM wine route still to come.

Please enjoy my Farewell Sampler. In the carton you’ll find some of the best recipes from past samplers, and (as always) you’ll find a mouthwatering selection of wines, including a few of my all-time favorites.

Bon appétit and aloha!

per bottle

Clairette de Die Brut • Domaine Achard-Vincent

$25.00

2013 Muscadet • Michel Brégeon

17.95

2013 Edelzwicker • Meyer-Fonné

18.00

2013 Petit Chablis • Roland Lavantureux

22.00

2013 Pigato “Vigneto Ca da Rena” • Punta Crena

27.00

2013 Bourgueil “Alouettes” • Chanteleuserie

16.00

2012 Languedoc Rouge • Château de Lascaux

17.00

2013 Dolcetto d’Alba “La Costa” • Piero Benevelli

17.00

2013 Vaucluse Rouge “Le Pigeoulet en Provence”

Frédéric et Daniel Brunier

18.00

2011 Lussac St. Emilion “Les Griottes” • Bellevue

19.95

2012 Marsannay Rouge “Les Longeroies” • Régis Bouvier

34.00

2009 Bandol Rouge • Domaine de Terrebrune

36.00

Normally $267.90

Special Sampler Price

$199 (a 25% discount)

February Newsletter: 2013 Vieux Télégraphe PA, Mark’s Farewell Sampler, Cellar-worthy Selections

The February Newsletter is now available.
Click here to download the pdf.

Highlights from this month’s newsletter…

Farewell Sampler >

by Mark Congero

Mark_Congero_250Folks, it has been a great run here at KLWM, but after eight years, I am moving on. I am, along with my wife and daughter, headed to Maui. Island life awaits: warm sun, tropical breezes, and delicious wine . . . well, two outta three ain’t bad! I have had a lot of fun writing my seasonal samplers, and I hope that you all have enjoyed them as well. It has been my pleasure, truly, to taste and then write about so many great wines, and a joy to find recipes to pair with them. Whether the theme was a Provençal summer or an Italian winter or preaching about the virtues of local, sustainable, organic food, my goal was to make you hungry and thirsty and, if you tried the recipes, satisfied!

My time here means a lot to me. I will remember it fondly and I will miss all my colleagues and the great client relationships, but most of all I am going to miss the wine! But who knows—there may be some adventures on the KLWM wine route still to come.

Please enjoy my Farewell Sampler. In the carton you’ll find some of the best recipes from past samplers, and (as always) you’ll find a mouthwatering selection of wines, including a few of my all-time favorites.

Bon appétit and aloha!

per bottle

Clairette de Die Brut • Domaine Achard-Vincent

$25.00

2013 Muscadet • Michel Brégeon

17.95

2013 Edelzwicker • Meyer-Fonné

18.00

2013 Petit Chablis • Roland Lavantureux

22.00

2013 Pigato “Vigneto Ca da Rena” • Punta Crena

27.00

2013 Bourgueil “Alouettes” • Chanteleuserie

16.00

2012 Languedoc Rouge • Château de Lascaux

17.00

2013 Dolcetto d’Alba “La Costa” • Piero Benevelli

17.00

2013 Vaucluse Rouge “Le Pigeoulet en Provence”

Frédéric et Daniel Brunier

18.00

2011 Lussac St. Emilion “Les Griottes” • Bellevue

19.95

2012 Marsannay Rouge “Les Longeroies”

Régis Bouvier

34.00

2009 Bandol Rouge • Domaine de Terrebrune

36.00

Normally $267.90

Special Sampler Price

$199 (a 25% discount)

SÜDTIROL

by Anthony Lynch

2013 GRÜNER VELTLINER • MANNI NÖSSING >

Welcome to the Valle Isarco, Italy’s northernmost wine district before the border with Austria, a country celebrated for its fine Grüner Veltliners. Yet Manni Nössing’s Veltliner, grown at 700 meters above sea level, could give many an Austrian wine a run for its money. This mountain man prefers a high-acid style, which does not preclude this clean, racy, mineral-packed white from expressing elegant fruit. A passage in neutral acacia barrels polishes the edges of this pristine Dolomite creation.

$30.00 per bottle $324.00 per case

2013 KERNER • MANNI NÖSSING >

From the first sip I ever took of Nössing’s Kerner, I was immediately captivated by this white’s exotic perfume and screaming acidity. It screamed, Steep vineyards high in the Alps! Impeccable vinification! Minerals galore! Try Nössing’s 2013, recently arrived in our shop, to taste this exceptional rendition of a rare grape. It features a nuanced tropical fragrance with important weight and complexity, underpinned by the stony nerve one would expect from this mountainous terrain.

$30.00 per bottle $324.00 per case

2011 VOGLAR • PETER DIPOLI >

This mountain white does not taste like any other Sauvignon Blanc on Earth. Beautifully defined, it shows pretty hints of ripe grapefruit and candied lemon. Yet the cutting Dolomite minerality takes over any overt fruitiness, giving great structure to complement a subtle creaminess. Graceful, balanced, and of ample weight, this is serious high-altitude Sauvignon that can be enjoyed now and for years to come.

$32.00 per bottle $345.60 per case

Voglar-vineyards_400

 Peter Dipoli’s Voglar vineyards, 600 meters above sea level © Anthony Lynch

The Struggle of the Languedoc

by Chris Santini

Hard to imagine but true, Gaddafi once sent a team of Libyan messengers deep in the hills of the Languedoc to meet with a group of angry and exasperated vignerons. The year was 1973, and a century of boiling tensions between these growers and the omnipotent local négociants had culminated in gunfights with local police. The négociants had amassed fortunes by importing boat tankers full of Algerian wine, mixing it with local wine and unsavory additives, calling it “Languedoc,” and then sending it up by rail to Paris to supply the working masses with their daily four liters of liquid strength. Gaddafi’s offer to these growers was unlimited armament and training camps in the desert in exchange for the group declaring war on the French government and launching a revolution. The growers promptly declined and sent the Libyans home. This wasn’t about revolution; it was about reclaiming the wines of the Languedoc. Still to this day, the battle rages on: a shadowy group called CRAV, armed with axes and hunting rifles, regularly sabotages oil-refinery-sized tanks of manipulated “wine.” They fight for the Languedoc that was once synonymous for stony terroir, garrigue-infused air, and a distinct Mediterranean soul. True Languedoc is a wonderful thing, yet the name is still a broad cover for far too many cheap, industrial, and at times fraudulent wines of international ilk that continue to harm its reputation and make it difficult for honest growers to make an honest living. We can do our part by drinking our share of real Languedoc.

Pic Saint Loup

Pic Saint Loup

A good place to start is the Lascaux Languedoc rouge, fresh and full, an incredible value of pure, approachable limestone-grown organic juice. Then tackle the La Roque Pic Saint Loup rouge, an herbal, spicy, biodynamic wine that is a rare southern French wine to show minerality before fruit. And finally, save the Mas Champart terroir-driven Causse du Bousquet for a special meal. It’s a deep, juicy, long-aging wine from the pioneers of Saint-Chinian. As angry protesters once shouted in the streets of Montpellier back in 1907, “Vive le vin naturel! Mort aux fraudeurs!”

WINES MENTIONED IN THIS ARTICLE:

2012 Languedoc Rouge • Château de Lascaux >

2012 Pic Saint Loup Rouge • Château La Roque >

2012 Saint-Chinian Rouge “Causse du Bousquet” • Mas Champart >