October Wine Club Selections

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2015 Domaine Les Aphillanthes "Clementia blanc" Côtes du Rhône

Located northwest of Gigondas, Domaine Les Aphillanthes is a winery truly focused on making terroir-driven wines.  Daniel Boulle is the 4th generation heir to this estate, and since 2003 he’s followed exact biodynamic principles in his vineyards, becoming fully certified in 2007.  With minimal intervention in the winery coupled with reducing the overall yields from the vines, his wines express concentration and balance unlike many other Rhône producers.  This blend of 45% Viognier, 45% Roussanne, and 10% Clairette has some unique Jasmine floral tones, with plenty of Meyer lemon and green apple aromas.  The palate gives way to more citrus fruits with touches of almond and white pepper.  White Rhône wines are very versatile with food, and this one would do well with any cream sauce pasta dish or a fresh spinach salad with citrus vinaigrette.

2011 Château D'Arlay Côtes du Jura

Château d’Arlay is here!  For many years these wines from the Jura region were only exported to the east coast, having a cult-like following in some of the best New York restaurants and wine bars.  Its lengthy history boasts many accolades including being selected as the ‘First Royal Vineyard of France’ in the year 630.  Still family-owned and biodynamically farmed, this 2011 offering is one of the only Jura wineries producing a ‘Corail’ style wine from 3 red grapes and 2 whites: Pinot Noir, Poulsard, Trouseau, Savagnin, and Chardonnay.  Its dusty, pepper-spiced nose slowly opens to cranberry and watermelon scents, with a medium-bodied texture that broadens its savory spiced flavors.  Sip this in the early evening while watching the leaves change colors, or serve it with your oven-roasted turkey (isn’t Thanksgiving here yet?). 

September Wine Club Selections

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2016 Bodegas y Vinedos Inteus Aviadores del Terruno Blanco

Being the first certified organic vineyard in all of Rioja – back in 1980 – Bodegas Inteus were way ahead of their time.  Luis Palacio’s vineyards are picture-perfect with some vines dating over 150 years old.  His reds are exceptional, but this white made from 90% Tempranillo Blanco and 10% a mix of Viura, Malvasia, and Garnacha Blanca is a stunner!  Aromas of stone fruits and melon on the nose segue into marzipan and vanilla notes, and the texture blends bright tones with a rich mid-palate that would go perfectly with mixed greens salad with chèvre or a fresh seafood platter.

2014 Château Côtes de Bonde Montagne Saint-Emilion

Bordeaux is back, and the wine world is taking note of first-class wines from some of the lesser known regions and producers.  The father and son team of Philipe and Stéphane Dignac have been quietly gaining respect with their wines from Pomerol and Montagne Saint-Emilion.  The Château Côtes de Bonde is a seamless blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc, and this wine showcases classic aromas of cherry and chocolate with integrated tannin structure that will develop over the next 6 years.  This is a red to open with a meal paired to highlight its well-crafted qualities: 'Tomates à la Provençale' or rack of lamb would do quite nicely.

August Wine Club Selections

2015 Domaine Costal Chablis “Les Truffiéres”, Burgundy, France

Hailstorms in Burgundy last year brought fear the vintage would be non-existent, raising the importance of the 2015 offerings.  Thankfully much of the vineyards were spared, albeit some almost halved in production, so current releases are indeed more precious.  The Collet’s have been a wine family since the late 1700’s, being Chablis-specific since 1952 when they created their Domaine.  A wonderful partnership with the Collet’s and Berkeley-based Kermit Lynch has been producing a small amount exquisite Chablis under “Domaine Costal”, and their single vineyard “Les Truffieres” – land of the truffles – exemplifies the purity and terroir for that Chablis is renowned.  Fresh white flowers and citrus zest wrap around the stony, mineral-rich palate that is a signature of Chardonnay from this part of the world.  A French bean salad with mustard vinaigrette would pair nicely with this, as would a perfectly poached sea bass.

2014 Manincor Réserve del Conte, Alto Adige, Italy

This estate has had Tyrolean noble ties since the 1600’s, and the current owner, Count Michael Goëss-Enzenberg, is a direct descendant of the ancestors that were endowed the land by the Emperor.  The Counts approach to his estate is more sustainable stewardship, practicing biodynamics in their vineyard as well as the outlaying orchards and woodlands.  Proof is in the wine, and their reserve blend of Lagrein, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon captures dark berry fruit qualities with licorice and black pepper notes.  The rich, velvety texture lingers in your mouth for some time, perfect for enjoying with Ratatouille or grilled lamb kabobs.

July Wine Club Selections

For the month of July, our Wine Club wine search went north to our neighbor state, Oregon.  Both wines are from the Willamette Valley where Pinot Noir rules, and has put Oregon onto the world-class wine stage, but there’s not a drop of Pinot in these two wines.

The Teutonic Wine Company 2015 Silvaner, David Hill Vineyard

A lesser-known varietal from Germany, Silvaner shares many similar qualities of Riesling, yet it has its own style.  In 2002 when Barnaby Tuttle was struck with a desire to make his own wines similar to those of the Mosel, he sourced a handful of vineyard sites with grapes of German origin.  He found the historic David Hill vineyard, which has a small amount of Silvaner; all dry-farmed vines and all over 40 years old. Barnaby produced less than 100 cases, 10 of which are for our club.  The flavors captured in this white bend from fresh stone fruits to hazelnuts and almonds, initial crisp textures open to a richer palate of apple butter and spiced peaches.  Easily drinkable on its own as a chilled summer wine, this Silvaner would shine with a Caprese or a fresh veggie salad.

Bow + Arrow 2015 Air Guitar

The new wave of winemakers from the north all have a slight irreverence and playful side, and Bow + Arrow is surely in that group.  Husband and wife team Scott & Dana Frank had many years of restaurant and retail experience before their foray into wine making.  Partnered with importer/wholesaler Michael Wheeler, Bow + Arrow sought to make wines that exemplified the Loire Valley with the added spirit of the North West.  Look past the stage lights label and you’ll find this Cabernet blend sumptuous and pleasing.  Its spice-laden nose is dominated by black cherry and cassis aromas, and flavors of sage and black olives join with the lush fruit components to a satisfying ‘air guitar solo’ finale.  Stage dive into your favorite burger with this, or enjoy it with grilled eggplant. 

June Wine Club Selections

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2015 Domaine des Ardoisieres "Silice",                                 St. Pierre d'Albigny, Savoie, France

In the shadow of Mont Blanc is the mountainous region of the Savoie.  It is famous for winter sports and cheeses (Reblochon, Tomme de Savoie), and wines that are unusually refined, perhaps owing to the dramatic landscape and weather.  This wine “Silice” is produced from Jacquere, a varietal indigenous to the region, and it has a particularly distinctive quality.  The area was planted during Roman times, but eventually became a wild forest, then in 1998, farmers cleared trees and replanted the steeply terraced vineyards to create Domaine des Ardoisieres.  The 2015 Cuvee Silice is sourced from two single vineyards, with a purity of flavor that captures the character of stony terraces.  Stone fruit and citrus aromas mingle with fresh coriander, blending with dried herbs and a freshness of palate that is precise and minerally.  The food pairings with this Savoie beauty are many, but fresh pan-seared halibut and a rich, herbed, pasta would be just the thing.

2014 Fronton de Oro Tinto, Gran Canaria, Spain

Our June Wine Club red hails from the Canary Islands, off the coast of West Africa and south of Madeira.  Much of the Canaries are made up of dormant volcanos, and the temperate weather and mineral-rich soils have proven fertile grounds for grape growing.  Antonio Ramirez purchased land for vegetables and vines for his family in the hills of La Lechuza in 1977, and since then his sons Pedro and Antonio have been increasing their vineyard output and improving their wines’ excellence.  Their 2014 Tinto is 100% Listan Negro (aka Mission grape in California), and it has the quality and composition of a wine 3 times the price!  Essence of black tea and raspberries develop as the wine opens, nutmeg and lavender aromas swirl with white pepper and cherries.  The finish is lengthy and pronounced, and would be perfect served with BBQ and roasted vegetables.

May Wine Club Selections

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Poe 2016 Rosé, California

Inspired by the Ravens that congregated in her childhood backyard, Poe wines are the creation of Samantha Sheehan, a former financier who after a trip to Burgundy was compelled to make wines of similar expression and style.  With a focus on organic vineyard practices and an emphasis on each unique “California terroir” to express itself, her wines have already garnered national attention in many high-end restaurants.  The current rosé release is a blend of 66% Pinot Noir from a vineyard near Monterey, and 34% Pinot Meunier from another site in the Sonoma Mountains, and it is a truly unique rosé in a sea of current rosés available.  Dried rose petal fragrances lift out of the glass, with interweaving scents of strawberry and watermelon.  The palate returns the fruit components with additional savory qualities, recalling the ocean breezes that soar through the vineyards.  Truly Californian.

Olivier Rivière 2014 Gabaxo Rioja, Spain

Olivier Rivière is another breakout star in the wine world.  Born in Cognac, studied winemaking in Bordeaux, worked in Southwest France and Burgundy, Olivier eventually found his way to Spain and the Rioja region.  Gabaxo, Spanish slang for Frenchman, is his blend of Garnacha and Tempranillo from two different regions within Rioja, and Olivier uses a combination of organic and biodynamic practices to allow the wines to highlight the vineyard sites and the grape varieties.  His are not overly oaky Rioja that one may have tasted in the past; they are precise wines of exceptional quality and province.  The 2014 vintage unfolds with black cherry and sandalwood aromas, earthy flavors akin to more robust Burgundies balance on the mouth with an extremely prolonged finish.
 

 

April Wine Club Selections

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Weingut Berger 2015 Lössterrassen Grüner Veltliner, Kremstal, Austria
It’s not a secret that we love wines from Austria, (our next tasting with Dorli Muhr is already our second Austrian-focused one of 2017), and so it’s easy to understand why our April Club white is a Grüner Veltliner from Weingut Berger.  Located near the historic city of Krems, Erich Berger’s wines exude a traditional Austrian style while using modern, organic winemaking practices.  Half of his vineyards focus on Grüner, and his expertise with this indigenous grape shows in every drop.  This vintage has more ripe flavors of grapefruit and lime zest, with hints of pear and a whisper of pepper.  As with well-crafted Austrian wines, the food pairings are nearly endless; springtime vegetables and seafood with this wine are equally as brilliant as richer poultry and saucy dishes.

Domaine Bulliat 2015 Morgon “Nature”
South of Fleurie and north of Brouilly lies one of our favorite Beaujolais regions: Morgon.  Gamays from here tend to create more dense, earthy wines than the other 9 appellations.  From a fifth generation wine family, Noël Bulliat started his career after graduating from viticulture school in 1978 and buying 4 hectares in Beaujolais.  He now manages 27 hectares with the help of his son Loïc, and much of his vines are at least 60 years old.  With older vines comes more concentrated fruit, and his current release is packed with blueberry and pomegranate aromas, rich flavors of black cherry and coriander linger for a pronounced finish.  Baked casseroles and roasted duck are wonderful accompaniments for this Wine Club wine.
 

March Wine Club Selections

Wines from the Loire Valley in France are plentiful and diverse, with eighty seven appellations. Our March Club Wines are some of the best examples from this region.

Domaine de l’Ecu 2014 Granite Muscadet

Muscadet has a reputation for being a simple wine; unless you speak of Domaine de l’Ecu in Sevre-et-Maine.  Guy Bossard is a fifth generation winemaker, and one of the first to become certified Organic (over 40 years ago) and certified Biodynamic (over 20 years ago).  Guy, “The Pope of Muscadet” as he is known by his peers, was so inspired by the three different soil types in his vineyard that his wines are named after them: Gneiss, Orthogneiss, and Granite.  The 2014 Granite Muscadet is terroir at its purest and the grape Melon de Bourgogne at its finest: the elegant citrus and bright fruit turn into a richer texture with the first sip.  The freshness in his wines belies their unmistakable age ability; his devotees sometimes compare them to Grand Cru Chablis.  

We are also pleased to announce that Frederik Niger, Guy’s protégé will join us at Soif on March 11th, offering some of their other amazing wines, those of you in the club will have a preview to this event.

Thierry Germain 2015 Les Roches

Our March red comes from the region of Saumur-Champigny, famous for its Cabernet Franc. Also passionate about Biodynamic viticulture, Thierry Germain left Bordeaux for the Loire in the early 1990’s, and he has grown to be on the forefront Biodynamic culture.  Only harvesting ungrafted rootstocks, using all natural yeasts, not allowing machinery in the vineyards (horse-drawn carts and human hands) are the things used to move this vineyard to excellence.  Proof is in the wine, and his wines are less rustic and more vibrant than other wines from this AOC.  The 2015 Les Roches is deep purple in hue, and it delivers aromas of blackberry and coriander, with softer and less vegetal character compared to typical Cabernet Franc, it has a prolonged finish that encourages another sip.  His wines are very allocated, so we are lucky to have secured most of this for our wine clubbers.