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.
 

February Wine Club Selections

February 2017 Wine Club White Wine
2015 Coto de Gomariz "The Flower and the Bee" Treixadura -- Ribeiro, Spain

The northwest of Spain has an enchanting history and culture with strong Celtic and Roman influences that still exist today.  Much of the magic lies in it’s varied landscapes from bustling port villages to pristine beaches, dramatic cliffs (Costa de la Muerte!) and vast rivers.  There is a harmony that exists in the land and sea that Galicia embodies, so it naturally produces wines of elemental symmetry.  And what is more harmonious than The Flower and the Bee?  Our February white produced by Coto de Gomariz from the Ribeiro is made from the indigenous grape known as Treixadura, (tree-shah-Doo-rah), the prominent white grape grown there.  Organically farmed and sustainable, this winery's mission is to introduce native Galician grapes to the rest of the world.  Like it’s place of origin, the wine boasts a variety of expressions from lighter stone fruits to more weighty, herbaceous qualities.  Yellow/golden in color, it has a refreshing salinity that pairs well with seafood or even Empanada Gallega (the traditional fish pie found in several incarnations all throughout the region).  With or without food, The Flower and the Bee will find harmony at your table.

February 2017 Wine Club Red Wine
2015 Siete Vidas Tinto -- Austurias, Spain


For the February red wine we’ve chosen the Siete Vidas Tinto, a blend of four different varietals from Asturias.  
A bit of  research taught us we’ve learned that there are actually only 8 functioning wineries in this region, which sits just east of Galicia on the Atlantic.   The wine is very similar to other reds from northwestern Spain.  These are not big and juicy like the wines from the hotter regions to the south, rather they are crunchy, aromatic and wild.  
The Siete Vidas is a blend  of Carrasquín, Verdejo Negro, Albarín Negro and Mencía, all varietals that have a long history in the region.   The vineyards in Asturias are recognized as “High mountain” or “Heroic” sites due to their extreme elevation,  an exclusive designation in Spain shared only with DO Ribeira Sacra in Galicia and DO Priorat in Catalunya.  Siete Vidas even claims that due to such extremes, they cannot produce these wines every year.  2015 was a warm vintage throughout many regions in Europe, benefiting these “fringe” regions that can use little sunshine bump.   The wine, despite the crazy sounding varietals, is quite friendly.  It reminded us of a punchy Beaujolais or a juicy Cabernet Franc from the Loire valley.  The herbal peppery notes that give the wine another dimension and make it a fabulous wine to pair with food.  Try it with a braised beef or chicken stew with roasted peppers.  The savory facets of this wine are also lovely with roasted vegetables, sometimes a tricky pairing.   
 

January 2017

January Wine Club Wines

DOMAINE DE LA CADETTE 2015 La Châtelaine A winter white to satisfy all comers?  A blissful Bourgogne that expresses itself truly, deeply?  The very Vezelay that some of you have seen in our shop, on our list, is here.  Vezelay?  Bless you!  Centuries of taking the back seat to other AOC, Vezelay finally achieved it’s appellation status in 1997, and the Montanets were given their due.  First planting vineyards in 1987, they eventually realized that farming organically and splitting off from their cooperative was the best for their future.  Their land lies west of the Cote d’Or, neighboring Chablis, and as such the grapes express themselves in similar fashion of freshness of fruit and true minerality.  These wines that will continue to grow in complexity and status (and cost!) as the years progress, and are best served . . . Period.  ________________________________________________________________ WETZER 2015 Kekfrankos The thought of drinking bull’s blood might have one imagining some sacred, pagan ritual, dark figures in shadowed robes chanting in ancient tongues and the red chalice passed to every patron for their sacramental sip.  Some are very familiar with the reality of said sanguine fluid in the form of Hungary’s famous Egri Bikaver (Bull’s Blood), a rich, red wine from Eger whose main varietal is locally known as Kékfrankos.  This January’s red hails from the neighboring region of Sopron, an area becoming more known on the world’s wine stage.  Also known in Europe as Blaufränkisch and Lemberger, to name just a few aliases, Kékfrankos is an ancient grape that has been a regional favorite for centuries, and up until recently it was believed to be a clone of Gamay.  Understandably, as it is similar in style and savor to Cru Beaujolais, yet still very much its own ‘beast’.  Peter Wetzer is the 5th generation son of Sopron behind this delightful red, guiding his homeland specialty away from any commercialization practices and allowing for the true, natural, and yes organic qualities to shine.  It balances between unrefined and graceful, dark, richer fruit components working into the kind of spice blend that can only make one hungry (Hungary!) from the first sniff. To continue the appetite appeal: Gulyas (Goulash) Soup            Serves 6 Ingredients: ½ cup oil        1 large onion (chopped)            1 tsp caraway seeds        4-5 cloves garlic (minced or grated)            2 med sweet wax or bell pepper (diced    2 fresh tomatoes        2 tbs Hungarian paprika powder    1 lb beef (cut to ½” cubes)    2 carrots (peeled and chopped)    1 med celery root (peeled and diced)      1 bunch fresh parsley leaf (bunched like a ball)        salt Dumplings: 1 large egg 1 ½ cup flour 2 tbs oil Pinch of salt   Heat oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat.  Add onion; saute until soft and translucent but not brown, about 5 min.  Add garlic and caraway seeds; cook about 1 min.  Add diced pepper; cook for 3-4 more minutes.  Add tomato and cook 5 min longer.  Add meat and sprinkle paprika powder on top and stir.  Cook it covered for about 15 min, stirring frequently not allowing it to stick to the pan.  Add enough water to cover the meat.  Bring to a boil and simmer slowly about an hour or until the meat is soft.  Add more water, carrots, celery root and potato and simmer.  Beat the egg with salt and ½ cup of water, then add enough flour to make a smooth, viscous dough.  Push the dough through a dumpling strainer into the boiling soup.  Add bunched parsley leaf and cook for 10 more min.  Salt to desired amount and serve.

DOMAINE DE LA CADETTE 2015 La Châtelaine

A winter white to satisfy all comers?  A blissful Bourgogne that expresses itself truly, deeply?  The very Vezelay that some of you have seen in our shop, on our list, is here.  Vezelay?  Bless you!  Centuries of taking the back seat to other AOC, Vezelay finally achieved it’s appellation status in 1997, and the Montanets were given their due.  First planting vineyards in 1987, they eventually realized that farming organically and splitting off from their cooperative was the best for their future.  Their land lies west of the Cote d’Or, neighboring Chablis, and as such the grapes express themselves in similar fashion of freshness of fruit and true minerality.  These wines that will continue to grow in complexity and status (and cost!) as the years progress, and are best served . . . Period. 

________________________________________________________________

WETZER 2015 Kekfrankos

The thought of drinking bull’s blood might have one imagining some sacred, pagan ritual, dark figures in shadowed robes chanting in ancient tongues and the red chalice passed to every patron for their sacramental sip.  Some are very familiar with the reality of said sanguine fluid in the form of Hungary’s famous Egri Bikaver (Bull’s Blood), a rich, red wine from Eger whose main varietal is locally known as Kékfrankos.  This January’s red hails from the neighboring region of Sopron, an area becoming more known on the world’s wine stage.  Also known in Europe as Blaufränkisch and Lemberger, to name just a few aliases, Kékfrankos is an ancient grape that has been a regional favorite for centuries, and up until recently it was believed to be a clone of Gamay.  Understandably, as it is similar in style and savor to Cru Beaujolais, yet still very much its own ‘beast’.  Peter Wetzer is the 5th generation son of Sopron behind this delightful red, guiding his homeland specialty away from any commercialization practices and allowing for the true, natural, and yes organic qualities to shine.  It balances between unrefined and graceful, dark, richer fruit components working into the kind of spice blend that can only make one hungry (Hungary!) from the first sniff.

To continue the appetite appeal:

Gulyas (Goulash) Soup            Serves 6

Ingredients:

½ cup oil        1 large onion (chopped)            1 tsp caraway seeds        4-5 cloves garlic (minced or grated)            2 med sweet wax or bell pepper (diced    2 fresh tomatoes        2 tbs Hungarian paprika powder    1 lb beef (cut to ½” cubes)    2 carrots (peeled and chopped)    1 med celery root (peeled and diced)     

1 bunch fresh parsley leaf (bunched like a ball)        salt

Dumplings:

1 large egg

1 ½ cup flour

2 tbs oil

Pinch of salt

 

Heat oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat.  Add onion; saute until soft and translucent but not brown, about 5 min.  Add garlic and caraway seeds; cook about 1 min.  Add diced pepper; cook for 3-4 more minutes.  Add tomato and cook 5 min longer.  Add meat and sprinkle paprika powder on top and stir.  Cook it covered for about 15 min, stirring frequently not allowing it to stick to the pan.  Add enough water to cover the meat.  Bring to a boil and simmer slowly about an hour or until the meat is soft.  Add more water, carrots, celery root and potato and simmer.  Beat the egg with salt and ½ cup of water, then add enough flour to make a smooth, viscous dough.  Push the dough through a dumpling strainer into the boiling soup.  Add bunched parsley leaf and cook for 10 more min.  Salt to desired amount and serve.