Azienda Agricola COS, Aestas Siciliae · 375 mLRegular price $30.00 Save $-30.00
Giusto Occhipinti of COS is one of the most critical names in Italy. COS was founded by three friends to make traditional wine with respect for the place the grapes are grown. During their first harvest in 1980, they were the youngest wine producers in Italy. The acronym of their three last names forms “COS.” They were early adopters to Biodynamic farming, starting a movement on the island, which are still golden standards. The friends are hard workers, using an old winery given to them by a family friend and opting to use terracotta vases for ageing, a completely neutral vessel. Sicily has just one DOCG—Cerasuolo di Vittoria; the friends were the first winery to bottle a DOCG wine in Sicily. COS is located in Vittoria, the farthest tip of southeastern Sicily. The area recalls that of Africa, with its climate and land of red, ochre, and yellow tones.
This is a very special bottle that will defy what you think you know about Moscato. A loose translation of "Aesta Sicilae" seems to be a "Sicilian summer." In the Vittoria appellation on the southeastern coast of Sicily are high altitude vines where this Moscato is harvested late. It is fermented on the skins for added structure, and aged in stainless steel to preserve its fresh fruity character, rich texture, and saline-forward minerality. Yes, there is sweetness, but it is balanced in its non-fruit tones and a driving acidity. This bottle can age well for years and pairs excellently with cheeses or fruit desserts.
Christophe Mignon, Ratafia de ChampagneRegular price $45.00 Save $-45.00
Variety: Pinot Meunier
Bottle Size: 500ml
A demure and bright-eyed philosophe on the subject of Champagne, Christophe employs biodynamics, homeopathy, and phytotherapy in his vineyards, which cover 6.5 hectares and are planted 90% to Pinot Meunier. He is a man all-in on his appreciation of all that is nature- with a particular reverence for the moon-and how to exist symbiotically with it.
Christopher Mignon farms a couple of select vineyards in the Valle de Marne to the Pinot Meunier used in this special wine. The average age of the vines are 44 years. Manual is the only method of harvest as all grapes need to be checked for the right maturity. The process of the ratafia, which refers to the style of a sweet liqueur, includes a fortification of alcohol. The liqueur is made from grape must mutated with alcohol made from the local Champagne area. Once the blend is set, ageing for 20 to 30 months begins in vats and oak barrels. This is a delicate, yet robust dessert wine perfect for fruit or cheese based desserts.
Didier Meuzard, Ratafia de BourgogneRegular price $60.00 Save $-60.00
Variety: Pinot Noir and Gamay
bottle size: 750ml
It’s stories like these that we love to learn and share. Didier Meuzard grew up in Burgundy; at a young age he was already climbing the corporate ladder far from home. After the feeling of burning out got to him, he consulted his doctor and was hastily told to make a quick career change. The change happened when he was walking through the square in his hometown where he came across an old man loading a still will the grape must from the harvest for use in distilled spirits. After questions and tasting, Didier soon was enamored with the entire process; the old man invited him to work the still job over the next couple days. It so happened that Didier had his career change using the old man’s 19th century still allowing the old man to retire. Didier took all the knowledge he could from the man, ultimately transitioning his uncle’s old farmhouse into a home base for distilling and ageing his ratafia.
Didier set out to reimagine the idea of ratafia from start to finish, starting with grape pomace and must from natural growers only. His decision was to make a red ratafia, not the white expression, which is custom for Burgundy. He took it a step further by making his ratafia gentler and more elegant, instead of the typical harsh expression. For his version, he vinifies Pinot Noir and Gamay like he is making red wine. Before fermentation begins and without the addition of sulfur, tanks are placed outside to extend the maceration process while simultaneously keeping yeasts from activating. When the first sign of fermenting begins, he presses the grapes, and adds his own eau de vie; two thirds grape must, one third spirit. The spirit kills the yeast while keeping the integrity of the natural fruitiness of the juice. The mixture goes into enameled tanks for several months followed by hand-bottling. Wonderful for dessert or on its own, and as Didier suggests, slightly cold. It will stay good for several months after opening.
The eel on the label is an ode to the maker’s mark on the old man’s still that Didier inherited—you know, the one dating back to 1860.
G.D. Vajra, Barolo ChinatoRegular price $75.00 Save $-75.00
Variety: Nebbiolo grapes from the Barolo Albe DOCG are the base, with the addition of thirty herbs, peel and roots of plants, including Cinchona bark (quinine) which is where the Chinato gets its name.
bottle size: 750ml
The G.D. Vajra winery was created in 1972 by Aldo and Milena Vaira, initially from vineyards planted by Aldo’s father in 1947. The winery was named for Aldo’s father, Giuseppe Domenico Vajra, because at the time Aldo was not old enough to establish the winery in his own name. Today the family has 40 hectares under vine in Barolo and other surrounding appellations. Their prized holdings in Bricco delle Viole were planted in 1949 by Aldo’s grandfather. Milena and Aldo’s three children – Giuseppe, Francesca, and Isidoro – are all involved in the family winery operation situated in the village of Vergne. The family is hard-working, passionate, and caring. Their focus is on building something for their children, caring about the community, and cementing the stories of the regions’ past. The family is longtime friends of Hart & Cru. They continue to uphold their passion for quality wine and the people who surround them.
Isole e Olena, Vin Santo del Chianti Classico 2008Regular price $60.00 Save $-60.00
Variety: Malvasia and Trebbiano
bottle size: 375 ml
It is not enough to say that Isole e Olena is held to the highest regard and winemaker Paolo de Marchi has an unquestionable vision. Fourth generation winemaker Paolo De Marchi studied Agriculture at the University of Turin and worked harvests in California and France before returning to the family estate in 1976. He found much need for improvement and modernization in the Chianti Classico region. One of the first projects involved planting single vineyards of international varieties, such as Chardonnay and Syrah. With these steps, Paolo discovered a way to balance tradition with innovation. Isole e Olena is named for the formation of the two estates that were purchased by the De Marchi family in the 1950s. Over 43 years, he has earned a reputation as “Mr. Sangiovese” and also the “Dean of Chianti.”
This wine has a special method to make it. The freshly harvested Malvasia and Trebbiano grapes are left on straw mats to raisin or hung or dried by hanging on racks indoors. The style ranges from dry to sweet; this style is done sweet and pairs perfectly with biscotti.
Matthiasson, Sweet Vermouth No. 4 Napa ValleyRegular price $47.00 Save $-47.00
Variety: Flora (cross of Gewurtztraminer and Semillon); Bottle Size 375 ml
Steve Matthiasson is a California pioneer. Daring to break Napa tradition, Steve and his wife Jill have planted rare, ancient Italian grapes though recognize that Napa loves all the well-known international grapes. A Matthiasson tasting experience, laid out on the picnic table that separates their home from the winemaking operation (with their dog and at least one son stopping by!) shows instantly how the couple reveres the place they farm together. This is real California wine and Matthiasson’s wines are where California wine is headed. Steve Matthiasson is a six-time nominee for a James Beard award, a serious achievement in the wine industry. He has also been named “Winemaker of the Year” by both Food & Wine Magazine and The San Francisco Chronicle. Steve and Jill are long time friends and mentors to Hart & Cru.
A neutral grain spirit infused with blood orange, sour cherries, and coriander. This is mixed with late harvest Flora grapes infused with chincona bark and thistle.
This is perfect as an apertif, Manhattans, Negronis, Boulveardiers, or as a dessert pairing. Enjoy straight or on ice with an orange slice.