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...it's not possible that it's November already, yet here we are; time flies when you're having fun and/or furiously fretting for the future of humanity!
But in good news, Ryan from Skurnik will be in the shop pouring this evening; it's a super-fun line-up. And we have been getting a lot of new items in stock...it's hard to keep up, quite honestly! But here are some we're excited about:
North American Press is a new project from Matthew Niess, former assistant winemaker at Radio-Coteau, that focuses on growing and fermenting native and hybrid wine grapes, and grape/apple (or potentially other fruit) wines. 10% of the profits go back to local environmental non-profits -- and nothing is sprayed in the vineyard (or the orchard), and nothing is added to the wine.
Here is a gift link to a very informative article that appeared in San Francisco Chronicle a couple years ago.
These are quite limited, as one can imagine.
Also...be on the lookout for Catch & Release, hitting the shelves real soon....
We love Cantina Marilina, so we scooped up a couple pét-nats and a dry Moscato, as well as a new vintage of Ruversa Nero D'Avola that didn't make the picture.
Domaine du Chetif Quart is a brand new to RI (maybe the US?...which spells "us" btw...just came up with that) producer that we just featured in our October wine club...we didn't get much of the Coteaux Bourguignons rouge (there's not much to be gotten) so we recommend grabbing a bottle STAT if you want to taste something super-delicious for twenty bucks. As is expected from importer Wine Tradtions, the Crémant also outperforms its $29.99 price tag.
Irene wrote up the notes for these, we suggest clicking on them for the lowdown(s).
Tasting in the Shop Tonight, 5-7PM (no links because our delivery is rather late, but this newsletter couldn't wait any longer!)
Filipa Pato and William Wouters (that's them pictured above!)
Beiras (paraphrased from Oxford Companion to Wine) was once a Vinho Regional (second tier of designated wine regions in Portugal) covering most of central Portugal, spanning, from west to east, DOPs Bairrada on the Atlantic coast, the mountainous terrain of Dão, and Beira Interior, and including declassified wine from these areas. It was split into three separate regions in 2009: Beira Atlântico, Terras do Dão, and Terras da Beira.
Filipa Pato’s family has been making wine in Beiras since the 18th century; her grandfather, João, was the first to bottle wine in Bairrada after it was officially demarcated as an appellation, and her father, Luis, is a legendary figure (the Baga rebel) credited with breathing new life into Barraida and helping it along its way to become a vibrant wine region again. He also went deep on producing sparkling wines, (since the 1890s Bairrada has been considered the cradle of Portuguese sparkling wine production).
Despite the wine background, Filipa graduated from the University of Coimbra with a degree in chemical engineering, but the vines called her back; she gained experience outside of Portugal doing harvests in Bordeaux, and working in Mendoza, Argentina, and Margaret River, Australia; all of that was of course bookended with her winemaking experience with her father.
Filipa started her own project in 2001 which she shares with her husband William Wouters, a Belgian chef/sommelier/restaurateur, (he was former head chef of the Belgian national Soccer team at the World Cup in Brazil and the European Cup in France). Together they biodynamically farm 12 hectares of vineyards scattered across Bairrada. They practice minimal-intervention winemaking, and––focusing solely on indigenous grapes such as Baga, Bical, Arinto, Cercial and Maria Gomes––they produce what they call vinhos autênticos sem maquilagem - Authentic Wines Without Makeup.
Filipa Pato Brut Rosé 3B $22.99
3B is 70% Baga and 30% Bical from the Atlantic region of Bairrada (that’s the 3B!) from 30+ year old vines grown on chalky clay. After a native ferment, and 9 months on lees, it is finished with zero sugar, and is unfined and unfiltered. This sparkler was “born from desire to create an aromatic Tradicional Method, refreshing, honest and elegant based on indigenous grapes from vineyards that respect the region tradition of cultivating.”
This is a vibrant, energetic, fizzy rosé with tart cranberry, dried flowers, and a lively, mineral-driven core.
Filipa Pato Bairrada Dinamico Branco 2022 $21.99
A blend of 80% Bical and 20% Arinto grown in calcareous clay soils. 10% of the juice ferments in 500L casks; the other 90% is fermented in tank. Final blend and bottling in spring after 5-6 months’ aging. On the nose there’s pear, lemon, flowers, and nuts…and hints of savory garden herbs; on the palate it’s lightly creamy, with salty citrus and a touch of nuttiness again. The finish is dry with lingering acidity.
Filipa Pato Bairrada Dinamico Tinto 2022 $21.99
100% Baga sourced partially from Filipa and William’s estate vineyards in Óis do Bairro, and partially from other growers in various villages in Bairrada. Handpicked, fully destemmed; fermented and raised entirely in tank with a very gentle extraction.
This red has fruit-driven aromas of strawberry and plums mingling with black pepper and those savory garden herbs again. On the palate it is soft and fruity with a bright and refreshing finish.
Heidi Schrock & Sohne Welschriesling More is More 2022 1Liter, Austria $21.99
In 1983 Heidi Schröck took over her family’s 10-hectare winery, located about 5 miles from the Hungarian border in the historic village of Rust, which is in the province of Burgenland, best known for red and botrytized sweet wines. Heidi describes her surroundings and conditions as “south-facing vineyards in a softly rolling landscape form an amphitheater around Rust on Lake Neusiedl bringing forth some of the best and most tradition-rich wines in Austria. Yearly hours of sunshine much higher than the Austrian average combined with sandy soils mixed with clay and high calcium content provide the ideal prerequisites for impressive, full-bodied wines.”
In 2003 Heidi was awarded “Falstaff Vintner of the Year,” making her one of only a handful of women to obtain this distinction. She reintroduced historic varieties such as Muscat-Lunel and Furmint from Hungary while continuing to work with more classic Austrian varieties such as Grauburgunder, Weissburgunder, and Welschriesling. Heidi is the long-time leader of Cercle Ruster Ausbruch, an organization aiming to bring back Ausbruch, a sweet wine reminiscent of Hungary’s Royal Tokaji that was wiped out in the phylloxera outbreak in the 19th century.
Heidi’s twin sons, Johannes and Georg (pictured above with Heidi), have joined their mother to continue to make classic wines of the region while experimenting with other varieties and winemaking styles of their own on the side.
More is More is Welschriesling from two estate sites grown on limestone and gravel, fermented with natural yeast in stainless steel and used oak. The label proclaims it is “one for the wild and thirsty ones” and we can get behind that. It is an inviting little white, easy-drinking, gently aromatic, with notes of white flowers and apple…
Incidentally, Welschriesling is unrelated to Riesling, and Germans would prefer if people stopped using the word “riesling” and instead called it “Welshrizling or Welsch Rizling.” That seems like a reazonable request? It does best in dry climates and warmer soils; in cooler climates it has a tendency to produce excessively acidic wines. It’s relatively late-ripening (like German Riesling-sorry!) but the grapes hold their acidity well to produce wines that are light-bodied and aromatic. While it can yield a lot more than Riesling, which likely explains why it’s so widely planted throughout eastern Europe, it only shines in a few places…luckily for us, Burgenland is one of those places. For more info on Heidi and Rust, you can watch an interview with her here.
Weingut H.u.M. Hofer Zweigelt 2020 1Liter, Niederösterreich, Austria $17.99
Hofer is a 20-hectare, family-operated, certified-organic estate in Auersthal, just beyond Vienna’s northern suburbs, with top sites in Freiberg and Kirchlissen. In addition to vines, they grow organic grains (rye, barley, and alfalfa) for consumption and as cover crops. Wienvertiel is Austria's largest growing region and is known for commodity wines; the high quality wines of Hofer stand out & raise the bar. All Hofer wines are produced using grapes that are destemmed, macerated for a short time, and fermented in stainless steel to preserve freshness and acidity. This is a fresh, plummy, soft and inviting, crowd-pleasing liter.
From Oxford Companion to Wine: Niederösterreich — or Lower austria, is the state in which well over half of the country’s vineyards are situated. In it are the wine regions Carnuntum, Kamptal, Kremstal, Thermenregion, Traisental, Wachau, Wagram, and Weinviertel. Since the names Kamptal, Kremstal, Traisental, and Weinviertel between 2002 and 2008 became those of official DAC appellations of origin reserved for wines made from Grüner Veltliner or (in the first three of these) Riesling, wines made from other varieties are labelled simply Niederösterreich, guaranteeing this name a prominence that it did not previously enjoy.