January Newsletter: Surrounding the Alps, Rhône, and An Epic Vouvray

The January Newsletter is now available.

Click here to download the pdf.

Highlights from this month’s newsletter…

 

SURROUNDING THE ALPS

mountain SAMPLER >

by Anthony Lynch

Today we visit the Alps to discover a fascinating tradition of viticulture and winemaking. Grape growing has long held a sacred place in these mountain cultures, often as a necessary means of sustenance, since little else will grow in the poor, rocky soils that dominate. Beyond providing a livelihood to Alpine farmers, the wines in this sampler—produced along the rim of the French and Italian Alps—demonstrate that these terroirs, defined by high altitude and steep, rugged slopes, are capable of yielding remarkable wines of unique character.

Conditions are extreme: winters are harsh, summers can be very dry, and the intense daytime sun is matched only by often-frigid nighttime temperatures. Given the potential for violent storms, grape growers—as well as vines themselves—must be cold-hardy and resilient.

What does an Alpine wine taste like? This sampler will offer you an idea via whites and reds from Savoie, Valle d’Aosta, and Alto Adige. Expect vibrant acidities, vivid aromatics, a certain “mountain structure,” and minerals galore. Enjoy a discount on this sampler and savor your journey through these breathtaking mountains.

per bottle

2014 Chignin Blanc • A. & M. Quenard

$19.00

2013 Grüner Veltliner • Manni Nössing

30.00

2014 Valle d’Aosta Fumin • Château Feuillet

36.00

2009 Alto Adige “Iugum” • Peter Dipoli

48.00

Normally $133.00

Special Sampler Price

$106

(a 20% discount)

 

Manni Nössing’s Alpine vineyards in Bressanone, Alto Adige               © Gail Skoff

RHÔNE

by Anthony Lynch

2014 CHÂTEAUNEUF DU PAPE BLANC
“CLOS LA ROQUÈTE”
FRÉDÉRIC & DANIEL BRUNIER >

The Brunier brothers bottle this white Châteauneuf as a more accessible alternative to the exalted La Crau bottling. La Roquète is a completely different terroir—its sandy soils lend a softer edge to the Clairette, Grenache Blanc, and Roussanne that make up the blend. Suggestive of molten rocks with a trace of honey and wildflowers, it can age but really aims to please in its tender youth.

$49.00 per bottle $529.20 per case

2013 VACQUEYRAS ROUGE “CUVÉE DE LOPY”
DOMAINE LE SANG DES CAILLOUX >

Serge Férigoule of Sang des Cailloux is the quintessential Provençal vigneron: his jovial, singing accent; generous, laid-back disposition; and silver handlebar mustache could come right out of a Marcel Pagnol film. His wines, accordingly, are a picture-perfect depiction of his home region, loaded with aromas of Provence and plenty of southern soul. This old-vines bottling is all about smoky garrigue, dense black fruit, taut leather, chewy tannins, and stones. It will provide an authentic Vacqueyras experience for many years.

$53.00 per bottle $572.40 per case

2013 CÔTE RÔTIE “NÈVE” • BARRUOL/LYNCH >

A few words from vigneron Louis Barruol on the lieu-dit Nève:

Nève is a fantastic, albeit little-known, terroir of Côte Rôtie. Located in the north of Ampuis on the lower part of the slope, its soils consist of decomposed red schist. It has an extraordinary capacity to display an intensely seductive nose—complex and full of refinement. There is always an ethereal quality.

Louis works exclusively with Serine, the ancient clone of Syrah known for low yields and a lovely aroma of violets. It ferments wild, stems and all, then the wine ages fifteen months in neutral barrels before an unfined and unfiltered bottling. The finesse here, along with its smoky, peppery, floral nuances, will resonate strongly with enthusiasts of traditionally crafted northern Rhône Syrahs.

$75.00 per bottle $810.00 per case

AN EPIC VOUVRAY

by Dixon Brooke

2012 VOUVRAY “LE PORTAIL” • CHAMPALOU >

champalou_leportail_12_hi_res

 

Kermit and I have had many discussions about the current state of affairs in Vouvray. Where are all the great wines? This once-thriving region of scores of masterful vintners seems very quiet these days. One wine stands pretty tall and proud to us: the Champalou family’s single-vineyard masterpiece, Le Portail. Planted on a chalk plateau right outside of their home and winery, the vines are pampered daily. The wine is aged in older demi-muids, does its malolactic fermentation, and is bottled without filtration. Many used to be made this way; almost none are today. This dry Chenin Blanc combines unctuous texture with chalky minerality and nervy acidity to create one hell of a classy package. Delicious now, it will continue to provide pleasure for more than a decade.

$38.00 per bottle $410.40 per case

 

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