Wow, it's been a minute. We haven't sent out a newsletter since just before Christmas. We'll try to do better! But really, there wasn't much to report, what-with dry January and no tastings...so perhaps it was for the best. But now we have news! We've been kicking around a wine class idea for a long time, probably a decade; well, we're finally doing it. Starting Sunday, February 26th, we're offering a four-session trip through France for $100. Seats are limited to 20; if you've already told us you want to sign up, we've set your spots aside––but feel free to purchase through the link. The class will take place in the shop; we're trying to keep our indoor air quality as healthy as we can with two air purifiers and a few fans (which run almost all the time anyway) so...just putting it out there that we're still thinking about it...while trying to run a retail business and do cool stuff like wine classes! Ok, now onto tonight's sub-zero wine tasting. If you swing by you'll get 10% off the wines we feature, and you'll be amongst the first to see our brand new Volcano of Love window, courtesy of Pretty Snake (pics later). Yup, we know we're lucky!
WINE TASTING IN THE SHOP TONIGHT, 5-7PM
Peter Buckley from Vineyard Road pours tonight's selection.
François Klein established Domaine La Réméjeanne in 1960 on 5 hectares near the town of Bagnols-sur-Cèze in the Gard. It’s now operated by his son Remi, and grandson Olivier. Remi diversified the property with olive groves and fig trees, and worked over the years to convert the domaine to organic farming; it’s now 38 hectares and has been certified organic since 2010.
This white blend is hand-harvested Clairette (50%), Grenache Blanc (25%), & Roussanne (25%). The fruit is all from the domaine’s cooler, east-facing, lime-rich soils. It was whole-bunch pressed and fermented with natural yeasts before resting on its fine lees, in concrete, for eight months before bottling.
Les Chevrefeuilles Blanc is expressive, pure-fruited, versatile, and simply delicious. Medium-bodied, dry, delicately laced with honeysuckle (chevrefeuilles) & orchard stone fruit throughout.
These are abbreviated notes from our January Wine Club, where we just featured these two wines from Julien Pilon.
Julien Pilon is originally from the northern Rhône, but doesn’t come from a family with a history of wine making or grape growing. Nevertheless, he earned a degree in oenology and viticulture, then worked for two years with Pierre Cuilleron in Saint Joseph, then at Mas Amiel in Roussillon, Terra Remota in Spain, and then four years back home with Pierre Gaillard. At that point, in his 30s with 10 years experience, he felt it was time to set out on his own. Because of the difficulty of finding affordable vineyards, he decided to create a small negotiant business focusing mostly on the whites of the northern Rhône. He now has 5 hectares of vineyards (some owned/some rented), and endeavors to show the importance of terroir, and how varieties express themselves differently from plot to plot. 80% of his production is white, as his goal is to make white wines with flesh and presence, but maximum freshness as well. 2010 was his first vintage; all the work is by hand, and organic (working toward certification.)
This was the first wine Julien vinified, in his parent’s garage, out of which his maternal grandfather ran his lemonade business. This Viognier comes from a blend of four plots, all located on plateaus overlooking the northern Rhône Valley, planted on granite and sandy soils, at an altitude of 300m. These vineyards get less sun exposure than the neighboring Condrieu and Saint-Joseph, which allows the wines to retain that sought-after freshness.
Julien’s Viognier is fermented at low temperatures and undergoes full malolactic. It ages 10 months on the lees in secondhand French barrels. It does indeed evoke apricots and peaches, interwoven with honey, almonds, vanilla, and a sinew of citrus-acidity, with a texture that borders on creamy. It would be a lovely pair with French Onion Soup, or medium-spicy Indian food, cheese fondue, fennel-based or accompanied dishes, and/or pork and chicken dishes with citrus zest. For strictly veggie, it would be happy with roasted/caramelized squash, leeks, leek or onion tart, or something very simple, like pasta with garlic, olive oil, and capers. That salty little burst would be a nice foil to the rich and fruity wine.
This cuvée comes originally from the very first plot that Julien worked with. As its name suggests, it is located on the left bank of the Rhône… “on the other side.”
This is Syrah from old vines planted on clay and pebbles, on a bank opposite the town of Condrieu. The grapes are completely destemmed and vinified in open stainless steel vats for three weeks, with frequent pumping over. Malolactic fermentation and 10 month’s aging takes place in secondhand barrels.
On the nose there’s black pepper, blackberry, bacon fat, and a whiff of that slightly-reduced aroma of young Syrah that eventually blows off, but in any case integrates well with the plummy fruit, dried herbs, tobacco, black licorice, and black olive notes on the palate.
For the meat eaters, this is almost a clichéd grilled lamb pairing, but it would also do well with grilled steak with black peppercorns, and old-school meatloaf. For a vegetarian option, try it with eggplant in a variety of ways, simply grilled, or with eggplant and porcini “meatballs” from Food & Wine magazine.
In 2010, after oenology school and apprenticing at Domaine Romanée Conti in Burgundy, and Turley Wine Cellars in California, Adrien Roustan, then 24, took over 9 hectares from his father who grew and sold grapes to the local co-op. The property is now 20 hectares of Vacqueyras and high-elevation Gigondas plots—at 400 meters to 520 meters, they are the highest elevation vines in the appellation (Ourea is the name of the Greek God for mountains and heights). Farming is certified organic; yields are tiny.
“Our philosophy in the vineyards and in the cellar is to work as naturally as possible to obtain wines with high environmental and tasting value.”
The Tire Bouchon is a unique blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Carignan, Counoise, and two ancient, unauthorized varieties, Aramon Noir and Oeillade Noire, planted by Adrien’s grandfather. The vines are all within Vaucluse, but the inclusion of Aramon and Oeillade mean that the wine can’t use the appellation designation and must be labeled Vin de France. All the fruit is de-stemmed and fermented with indigenous yeast in cement vats, and then aged for 6 more months in cement. It’s bottled unfiltered. It’s a lively, perfumed, and youthful red, loaded with fresh fruit and hillside herbs.
Wine Making Overview: hand harvest, natural yeast ferment in large old cement for all wines with de-stemming for most wines and small percentage of whole bunch for some wines. Elevage in cement for all red wines.
Vineyards: based in Vacqueyras (2 plots planted 1950), Gigondas (planted 1975), Cotes du Rhone (young vines from Vacqueyras less than 15 yo) and IGP vines of varying age.
That's it for the tasting notes. We just got a fresh batch of under $20 picks in the shop, so feel free to roll through to check those out.
Cheers to decent humans!
CHECK OUT THIS GLASSWARE! We're carrying (when available) facevessel glasses and (sometimes) carafes. This unique & very limited glassware is handblown in Rhode Island by Neal Drobnis, and locally represented by Degen. It's like our very own local version of Supreme! We have a few cocktail/wine glasses right now and are expecting more soon, but the stock is never guaranteed....just the way we like it!
$100 club includes three to four selections per month.
Each tier will come with producer notes, pairing suggestions, and/or recipes.
Members receive a 10% discount on regularly priced wines, regardless of whether or not the wines are part of a club pack. This discount does not apply to sale items, blue-tag wines, or boxes/cans/alternative packaging and cannot be added to any other discount or promotion. The discount is good on wine only, and is active for the duration of the club membership. As of now it can only be used in-store or over the phone; it will not work online. Twelve bottle case discount remains 12%.
Price includes delivery within RI, which will be scheduled the second week of each month, Tuesday through Saturday, depending upon location. In-store pick-up is also an option.
Pictured above is the March club, all from the Wine Traditions portfolio.
We specialize in, and feature Rhode Island's largest selection of, organic, natural and small-production wine and grower-Champagne, as well as numerous spirits, sakes, and craft beers, ranging in price from the everyday to the special occasion.
Gift cards available in any amount.
12% discounts on a case of wine, mixed or otherwise.
Our Blue Tag section is buy one/get one half off – everyday.