La Baronne, "Les Chemins" Blanc 2018Regular price $25.00 Save $-25.00
Variety: Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, and Vermentino
It’s true: wine is good medicine!! La Baronne’s winemaker, Jean Lignères, is still a practicing medical doctor in the small village of Moux. He comes from a large family of doctors, inheriting the role of winemaker for the (now) 90-hectare estate his father purchased in 1957. His wife Anne, along with siblings Paul and Geneviève, run the winery. La Baronne is certified organic and biodynamic. Winemaking practices are gradually shifting away from oak maturation, and using more amphorae and egg-shaped terra cotta vats. Yet, Jean is careful to avoid the oxidative style that is associated with many natural wines.
This a white wine not for the faint of heart. Grenache Blanc, Vermentino, and Roussane come together to create a full-bodied white with texture and salinity, opulent fruit and unusual depth. The wines ferments spontaneously in stainless and ages for just four months. It needs rich oily fish prepared in a Mediterranean mindset.
Gassier, Nostre Pais Blanc 2017Regular price $23.00 Save $-23.00
Variety: Grenache Blanc, Roussanee, and Clairette
Michel Gassier is a man of many intricate traits. Michel and his wife, Tina, form the identity of Domaine Gassier, believing that their craft should come from a place of teamwork. He considers himself a “peasant-researcher.” His peasant side is derived from his genes while the researcher part reflects his own sense of character. Clearly inspired by the terroir of his vineyards and intervening as little as possible, inspiration comes from many of the international winemakers he meets. He takes notes from other winemaking methods and blending styles, consistently furthering himself to learn more and more.
The Nostre Païs Blanc is an expression of purity and balance. Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Clairette, Viognier, and Bourboulenc come together in a fresh Mediterranean blend. The wine ages for eight months on the lees, and in half oak and half cement.
Donkey & Goat, The Gadabout 2018Regular price $25.00 Save $-25.00
Variety: Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Marsanne, Vermentino, Chardonnay
In short, Jared and Tracey Brandt of Donkey and Goat Winery are pioneers of the natural winemaking movement in California. After spending time in France back in 2002 with noteworthy winemaker Eric Texier, they returned home to Cali, inspired and ready to apply their inspirations in winemaking and marketing. Using a completely natural process in the cellar and vineyards; the couple does not fine or filter the wines, and just a small amount of sulfur is used at bottling. Their winemaking headquarters are located in Berkeley where they can implement their hands-on approach; they source grapes from Sierra Nevada, Mendocino, and Napa.
The Gadabout is an always delicious and very well priced wine. The vineyards and appellations may be changing and evolving from vintage to vintage, but the wine is consistently a crowd pleaser, and a fantastic warm weather quencher.
4 Monos, "Cien Lanzas" 2016Regular price $38.00 Save $-38.00
Variety: Garnacha, Carignan, and Garnacha Blanca
4 Monos means “4 monkeys” and refers to four friends and lovers of wine native to the region of Madrid. This “gang of four” assembled in an extraordinary manner, while hiking in the Gredos mountains. This is a landscape that is a meeting of Mediterranean and Alpine; the region is often deemed magical for its beauty and diversity. The 4 Monos, with various backgrounds, have a unified mentality: organic wine practice, minimalism in the cellar, a focus on the land and variances in terroir. While the friends only founded 4 Monos in 2009, they are bringing the potential of the Gredos terroir to the world’s attention.
The name of this bottle means, “one hundred ashen spears,” from the village of the same name, “Cenicientos.” The blend is old vine Grenache with small amounts of Carignan and Grenache Blanc. This is a well-made village wine from high elevation vineyards. The wine undergoes a typical 4 Monos treatment of whole cluster fermentation and then ages in neutral oak for one year.
Maxime Magnon, Corbieres La Begou 2017Regular price $63.00 Save $-63.00
Variety: Grenache Gris, Grenache Blanc, Carignan Gris
Maxime is truly one of the movers and shakers in the wine world today. Pushing the natural wine movement forward and producing wines with integrity and personality. His property is in the South Eastern appellation of Corbiéres in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. Maxime understands that learning from the greats of the wine world gives you an unprecedented knowledge of the vineyard and winemaking, hence his time spent training with the famed Jean Foillard in Morgon. Truly a naturalist at heart, his wines show the terrior -- pure rock and garrigue, wild herbs and shrubs -- that covers this part of France.
Serras del Priorat, Blanco 2020Regular price $30.00 Save $-30.00
Variety: Grenache Blanc (Garnacha Blanca)
The year was 1997. A world-renowned winemaker had just shown Christopher Cannan and his wife, Charlotte, an abandoned vineyard just north of the Gratallops called “Figueres.” That same day, the entire Cannan family piled into their car and followed the winemaker, post-haste, to Barcelona. At a simple café, the Cannan’s purchased the 100-hectare estate. Initially, the terrain of the previously abandoned vineyards had to be prepared for planting. (A nearby grove of century-old olive trees needed to be re-worked as well.) Both undertakings were just the beginning of what would become the Cannan family’s quest. They traveled extensively in their spare time to work under some of the best winemakers in the world. Today, their combination of passion for the property and skill in the cellar sets these wines above the rest.
This is Grenache Blanc aged in stainless steel for a pure fresh expression of this variety. While the fruit flavors all verge towards green, there are still secondary characters of floral and herbal that go very well with seafood and light cheeses.
Ermitage du Pic Saint Loup, Languedoc Cuvee Sainte Agnes Blanc 2017Regular price $30.00 Save $-30.00
Variety: Roussanne, Clairette, Marsanne, and Grenache Blanc
Ermitage du Pic Saint Loup has quite the legend following it. In medieval times, there were three lords of the Languedoc entranced by the beauty of a princess. She vowed to give herself to the most gallant, Christian man. The lords traveled to Jerusalem on a crusade to defend the tomb of Christ; upon returning, they discovered the princess’ death. In their grief, they each retreated to nearby mountains, living their lives as hermits. “Ermitage du Pic Saint Loup” translates to a hermit dwelling; Saint Loup Peak was named for one of the princess’ suitors. The three Ravaille brothers now operate the winery, their family having lived in the Languedoc for over 1000 years. The emblem of three fish not only reiterates the story of the three suitors, but also the fraternal bond of the three brothers.
This cuvee blends together the whites varieties that thrive in this Mediterranean and mountainous area of Pic Saint Loup. Vines range from 15 to 80 years in age. The white is aged in barrels for ten months. Even though the wine is from Pic Saint Loup, white wines have not been granted the Pic Saint Loup AOC designation here, and instead are labeled the regional “Languedoc.”
Chateau Simone, Palette Blanc 2014Regular price $70.00 Save $-70.00
Variety: Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc, Ugni Blanc, and Muscat
It always amazes me that certain regions gain much more fame than others, even though there are some incredible wines off the beaten path or in many regions one would not associate quickly with quality. When I talk about Provence France, many people just think of fancy boats and stunning views. However, Chateau Simone—from the appellation Palette, just north of Aix-en-Provence and only miles from the water—creates world-class wines that deserve a place at the table with many of the great estates. The appellation is dominated by limestone soils that cover the vineyards of many famed regions. The weather allows for incredible vine age to happen. Disease doesn't happen often in this part of the wine world. The climate is perfect and it is the dream of many to retire and spend the remainder of their lives in this magical part of the world.