Join us at the shop this Sunday, November 15th from 3-5PM for a tasting with one of New California's true pioneers. We've been singing Hank's praises (and guzzling his wines whenever the opportunity arises) for a few years now -- now's your chance to revel right alongside the man himself. These are amazing natural wines from a guy who seems to understand something about grapes that a lot of his West Coast peers are just catching on to. Come taste the rainbow with us!
If you can't make it on Sunday, we suggest you give Sycamore a call. They're hosting a wine dinner with Hank (and you!) on Monday night. Chef Lydia Reichert will be cooking dishes from the classic Chez Panisse cookbook (of Berkeley, CA fame), and Hank will be on hand to pour and chat. The a la carte menu is available between 5:00 and 10:00pm—call 617.244.4445 to make a reservation.
Direct from Burgundy, we're honored to host the one and only Philippe Pacalet this Tuesday, November 3rd from 5-7PM right here at The Wine Bottega. The cult-followed, legendary natural vigneron is a pioneer in his own right, and this is an amazing opportunity to taste the new releases from this mythic domaine. We're longtime devotees of Philippe's dynamic, elegant and utterly drinkable wines from up and down the Côte d'Or, and last time Phil was in town he promised to do a tasting at the shop. He makes good on that promise in just 4 days! Clear your schedules and make plans to be here!
The Chenu sisters know how to make some serious Burgundy.
You know we love Italian wine, but we have a soft spot for French wine too, and after a couple weeks of Italian centric tastings we are ready for some great new arrivals from France.
Tonight we are honored to have vigneronne Juliette Chenu in the house to share her wines and stories of her tiny family domaine in Savigny-les-Beaune. Juliette is one half of the winemaking duo that is a partnership between herself and her sister Caroline. They are the 5th generation of family winemakers, part of a history that goes back to 1914 when the winery was founded.
Over the past 10+ years Juliette and her sister have slowly shaped the new perspective of this historic domaine. What was once a classic family production, most of which was sold in bulk to negociants, has been carefully crafted into what is now one of the leading producers in Savigny-les-Beaune. The sisters have an incredible ability to combine classic Bungundian methods with organic agriculture and natural winemaking. These wines really are the best of both worlds and offer much to discover to the curious Burghound.
We are thrilled to have Juliette in the shop tonight, so come taste some wine with her and she'll be really excited to meet you!
Tonight's Frenchie Lineup:
Domaine Chenu, Savigny-les-Beaune blanc $45
This extremely beloved white wine comes from 2 parcels in Savigny, Les Saucours holds some of the family's oldest white vines, including roughly 10% of old pinot blanc that are well over 50 years old. This parcel offers depth and roundness while the younger (15-30 years) vines up the road north of Savigny offers freshness and balance. So, so good.
Domaine Chenu, Bourgogne rouge $30
A truly classic Bourgogne rouge from a small parcel on the southern side of Savigny. This parcel sits right in the confluence of several important villages (Chorey, Aloxe, Pernard and Beaune) and gathers aspects of each in this humble yet serious wine. This is a wine indented for easy drinking, even in its youth and it bursts with bright red fruits, tangy acidity and elemental Savigny finesse.
Domaine Chenu, Savigny Hauts-Jarrons 1er Cru $45
The Cheun's have 4 parcels of 1er Cru land, Hauts-Jarrons is perhaps the most structured, intense and serious of them due to the exposure and soil of the vineyard. This side of Savigny is closer to Beaune, sits on top of a great hill where soils are deeper. The result is an amazing combination of power and elegance, structure and compliance. This 2012 vintage was exceptionally good for the Hauts-Jarron cuvee and is just starting to enter it's drinking window...so get some now, drink a little now and over the next 3-5 years (if you have that sort of patience!).
Since we only have 3 wines from Juliette we're gonna pour three other great French wines to round it out. Oh and Guillaume has joined us for the tasting tonight, so come make fun of his Washinton DC accent.
Domaine Realtier, Blanc Public, Provence $20
A picnic in a bottle! Bright, crisp and super easy to drink. One day the weather will be nice...one day.
Sebastien Bobinet, Amatus Bobi, Saumur-Champigny $25
An earthy, rustic , hyper natural cabernet franc from one of the best in the central Loire. This wine is actually great for this weather and maybe a roast chicken.
Domaine Quissat, 100 pour 100, Sud-ouest $20
Our much beloved south-west country wine has returned! Somehow this great unknown producer is making some of the best natural wines in his region....without pretense or desire for fashion. I haven't met a single person that doesn't love this Bordeaux blend of merlot and cabernet franc...join the tribe!
In Trento we had a 20 minute break from wine while en route to Furlani...1st and last Spritz of the trip.
Just back from my recent whirlwind trip around the Italian peninsula we find ourselves already looking at Easter weekend....wasn't it just New Years?
For those who think that my annual voyage to Italy is 'vacation', I dare you to come with me...in just under 13 days we covered over 3800kms, visited nearly 20 producers and did it all while fulled on many forms of pork, strong espresso and zero-sulfur wines. Sounds great, until you do it. Again, it's not vacation, but this trip serves as a moment to reflect, be in the vines, in the cellars with the winemaker, at table talking about the future, the past....it gives me complete inspiration and also wears me down to the bone. Such a great time though.
So, back in the flow of the shop, and yes, it's time to dive into an Easter (or whatever you want to celebrate) feast. The neighborhood always bustles around the holidays and Easter seems to bring the best out of everyone. The espresso flows freely and the ricotta pies are still warm down the street...and what do we have to offer?...some serious Italian wines!
Admittedly Spring hasn't quite sprung as of yet. But we must believe! Tonight's lineup will take some inspiration from my recent trip but above all be an amazing set of wines perfect for a family meal. Inspired by Spring, yet still fully aware that cloudy, 45 degree days are here to stay...Join us, you won't be disappointed tonight!
The Buona Pasqua Lineup:
Matteo Furlani, Bianco Alpino, Trentino $25
Matteo Furlani is a funny guy. One of those tall, narrow, blue eyed Italians you think might be a soft spoken mountain man. In part he is just that. On the other hand his dream is to one day drive his Ducati across the US in 3 days. He cracks a sly joke with a mischevious glimmer in his eye, then pops open a crazy mountain wine made of grapes no-one every heard of. His tiny plots are scattered around the high altitude Valsugana deep in the Dolomites. This is a brisk, high toned white wine. Acid lovers rejoice. Aromatic wine lovers rejoice, just a little but not too much.
Montemelino, Bianco da Tavola, Umbria $18
Margret Cantarelli was in great form when I saw her last week. She and her husband Guido (an 80 something year old Italian jokester) continue to make some of the most simple and characterful country wines in northern Umbria. This is a great little white wine, the perfect counter point to the Furlani; rounder, more herbal and nutty with a waxy, salty finish...we had it with artichokes and it was great.
Vigneti Saetti, Rosato Frizzante dell'Emilia, Emilia-Romagna $20
Luciano Saetti is one my my all time favorite lambrusco producers. For the past 20 years he has been perfecting bottle refermentation and capturing the best of what the Sorbara variety can do. While I don't personally import Saetti's wines I have a tremendous love and respect for them. Being a guy who loves all things Frizzante this is one of the masters. I got to taste with Saetti and his daughter briefly at VinItaly (the seventh circle of hell if you ask me) and it was great. We are pumped to have this rosato lambrusco just in time for spring!
Az. Agr. Guglierame, Sciac-tra`, Ormeasco di Pornassio, Liguria $30
Agostino Guglierame and his brother Rafaele have been bottling their tiny production of wine since 1958. When I told other Italian's where I had been for some visits I mentioned Pornassio...they had no clue where it was. That's likely because it is a tiny village of 110 people, nearly abandoned by the younger generation, nestled high in the Maritime Alps just 10km from France. These wines are relics, pieces of history and at the same time completely contemporary. To describe this 'rosato' is a mistake, you simply must try it to understand. Better yet, go visit Guglierame, if you can find it on a map.
Cascina 'Tavijn, Ruche` del Castaglione Monferrato, Piedmont $26
Nadia Verrua is just plain great. Her wines display the energy and inspiration of a young woman winemaker trying to craft genuine Piemontese oddities from her family's simple territory. Ruche` is a grape you either have never heard of (that's okay) or one that you flock to and seek out whenever you can. The variety is a wildly aromatic red grape, lots of potential fruit, spice and plush ripeness are key to it's success. When done right, and in my experience this is the best one made, it's a really enjoyable wine...it's like a watercolor of wine, all pastel and perfect for Spring. Very Limited!
Collecapretta, il Forestiero, Terzo la Pieve, Umbria $65
We had to pull out all the stops. Last week you may have noticed one or two new releases from Collecapretta just arrived...well, the much loved il Forestiero is back, and we're opening it up! From two rows of illegal planted sagrantino this wine is a stark juxtaposition to that of Bea's (one of my all time personal favorite wines). The Mattioli version of sagrantino is much more ephemeral and immediate, yet every bit as profound and capable of aging (though it doesn't need to be aged). This comes from a stark divide in philosophies that separate the Mattioli's from the Bea's. Where the Bea's extract their potent sagrantino on the skins for some 40-65 days, the Mattioli's macerate for only 8-10 days, believing that the sagrantino grape already has enough tannins, why extract more? Where the Bea's age for years in oak, sulfuring the wine throughout, the Mattioli's never use oak, opting for cement and resin containers and they never use any sulfur. Where the Bea's produce some 20,000 bottles of sagrantino from some 20 hectares, the Mattioli's make 426 bottles from 2 rows of vines. I love both, but il Forestiero is a must have.
Poderi Cellario, Moscato, Piemonte $20
After all that deep thought on sagrantino, how about some proper Easter brunch wine. Moscato at it's best. Simple, fizzy, gently sweet. I don't trust people that don't like moscato.
Upcoming Winemaker Events
Next Friday, April 10th 5-8pm
Juliette Chenu of Domaine Chenu visits from our favorite Savigny-les-Beaune family in Burgundy! It will be her first time to Boston and we will pour her much loved wines and show her what a Bottega tasting is all about!
Friday, April 17th 5-8pm
Weingut Meinklang will join us from Austria. These guys make some of our (and your) favorite Austrian and Hungarian wines. A fun lineup is in the works so plan on being here!
We all know that spring is in the air...somewhere. And we can't help but notice the upbeat spirits of everyone as the days get longer and the temperatures warmer. Springtime at The Wine Bottega is one of the best times of the year; between new wines, pink wines, fizzy wines...well you get the picture, we are enjoying them to say the least. While Matt is finding us more of these goodies over in Italy this week, our friend Jeff Slavin of Hangtime Wholesale Co. will be joining us tonight to show off some of his perfect springtime wines! All lightly pressed, these wines are essential to your weekend plans! Oh and don't forget that Easter is coming up!
Vigneti Massa, Derthona, Piedmont Italy, $25
It is undoubtedly the sound and fury of Italian sommeliers: Massa's Timorasso. Modigliani curves (this wine is full bodied) focused by the angled faces; some fruit, a warm minerality, and all carried by an acidity that recalls a heavyweight with agile footwork. It's hard not to get worked up about Walter Massa's wines. He has a vision for a variety nobody wanted, worked in obscurity for years, rescued the grape, and doesn't talk about himself but about the territory of Colli Toronesi. When you get lost going there, start asking people 100 km out; they all know and love him, from the gas station guy to the producer next door.
Nuo, Vermentino di Sardegna, Italy $18
Sardegna is a region that remains a place of disparity between the industrial/conventional winemaking and the very very few small scale artisans. Finding the in-between is really tough but we think we have a real winner here. Beautiful golden/amber color from a touch of skin contact, this vermentino has a salty edge but a soft core that's easy and interesting all at the same time.
Le Vigne di Alice, Ose Vino Spumante Brut, Veneto, Italy $20
Sisters-in-law Cinzia Canzian an Pier Francesca Bonicelli started Alice in 2004 to fulfill their dream of bottling artisanal Prosecco that's all their own; estate fruit, pre-Dolomite, grower Prosecco. We call it Prosecco for non-Prosecco lovers (a category that includes us). Alice, named after Cinzia's grandmother, has in just a few years become a rising star. These are pink bubbles with a unique twist: the pink comes from the distinctive variety Marzemino. Marzemino lends both aromatics and acidity making this a great addition to your Saturday dinner plans or your Sunday brunch!
Vallarom, Marzemino, Trentino, Italy, $25
We've loved the mountain white wines from this small producer in high Dolomites of Italy and we couldn't be more excited to pop a bottle of this new red wine from them. 100% marzemino...you might not have heard of it but we're betting you've drank it unknowingly before...think Alpine pinot noir from Italy, but better.
Walter Massa, Sic Est Rosato, Piedmont, Italy $20
Sig. Massa is one of the most well respected agronomists in the wine world of Italy. His preservation of local grape varieties, especially the rare timorasso white grape, along with a deep rooted understanding of both traditional and natural winemaking are showcased in each of his wines. This guy can make great everyday wines (he makes our beloved Fuso barbera) as well as some of the most complex and age worthy wines in eastern Piedmont. Spring into spring with this pink form of barbera and freisa
Denny Bini, Levante 90, Malvasia dell'Emilia Frizzante, $20
Slightly effervescent, bottle fermented, orange-ish, aromatic, dry malavasia from the Fizz belt of Italy? Yes, please! Denny Bini is a very small scale, cult followed producer in Emilia-Romagna. His wines are the reference point for the locals there and they have finally become available here in the US (very limited quantities). Spring time and pet-nat...the ideal pairing.