G.D. Vajra, Rosabella 2019Regular price $20.00 Save $-20.00
Variety: Nebbiolo, Pinot Noir
The Vajra story is something quite magical. The family is not from noble descendants but is a family of hard-working, passionate, caring people. Their focus is on building something for their children, caring about the community, and cementing the stories of the regions’ past.
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 Vaira, because at the time Aldo was not old enough to establish the winery in his own name. The spelling of the family name (Vaira) is different from the label (Vajra) for this reason: in 1918 the “j” was eliminated from most Italian words, so the Vaira family changed their spelling. However, the design of the wine label looked like a “j” so they kept the original spelling for the winery. 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.
Weingut Barbara Ohlzelt, Gruner Leader 2018Regular price $20.00 Save $-20.00
Variety: Gruner Veltliner (1 LITER)
Barbara Öhlzelt founded her project in 2004, and in a short timeframe, she has gained much-deserved attention and love from the wine community. She’s a one-woman show with a lot of hustle and dedication to farming 15 acres of grapes. She is a quiet, soft-spoken woman, and the wines match her personality. They are laser focused on texture and complexity but not in a way that brashly hits you in the head. The wines are delightful and, and this subtle juice is the brilliance behind the winery. There is restraint which can be the hardest thing to achieve. Her vineyard parcels are from an area in Kamptal called Heiligenstein, and these parcels say a lot about the winery as a whole as the sites are mostly old vine on incredible terrior. Her wines at all price points stand out as best-in-class and hit outside of their category. This alone should make anyone who enjoys Gruner or Riesling seek out her wines.
Broc Cellars, Love Rose 2019Regular price $20.00 Save $-20.00
Variety: Valdiguié, Zinfandel, Souzão
Broc Cellars, founded in 2006 by owner and winemaker Chris Brockway, is an urban winery located in Berkeley, California. What is an urban winery (you may ask)? Well in this case, it is a place where California grown grapes, from literally all over the state - are transported to, and turned into wine.
Corzano e Paterno, Rose 2019Regular price $20.00 Save $-20.00
Wendel Gelpke, a Swiss architect, fell madly in love with these romantic hillsides. The Corzano property was purchased back in 1969, and then the neighboring property of Paterno in 1974. These hillsides are separated from the Chianti Classico subzone by the Via Cassia, a road that runs parallel to the river Pisa. Farming here has always been organic and her Sardinian sheep herd roams the rows to naturally fertilize the vines; talk about sustainability. As is classic for the area, the properties produce mainly Sangiovese. Wendel and the family own and operate the winery, and keep very occupied by making their own cheese and olive oil.
Andrea Felici, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore 2018Regular price $19.00 Save $-19.00
Andrea Felici started bottling his wines in 2002, but when his son Leonardo wanted to join the family firm, Andrea wisely sent him to get experience in the wider world, to develop a taste for fine wine, to broaden his perspectives before he came back to their tiny village in the region of the Marche. Leo spent four years working as a sommelier, then returned home. He and his father began converting the vineyards to organic. They make just two wines: a young vine Verdicchio, and a lees-aged Verdicchio from 50 year old vines. Both are delicious at incredible value.
Domaine de Rieux, Cotes du Gascogne 2018Regular price $12.00 Save $-12.00
Variety: Ugni Blanc
The Domaine de Rieux vineyard sites have been managed by the Grassa family since 1912. In 1963 famous Armagnac producer Chateau de Tariquet purchased the property, just one year after the new generation of Grassas had taken over. Yves and Maite forecasted the drop in popularity for high end and expensive Armagnac and decided to focus their attention on the production of a dry, light, bright, and inexpensive white wine. Yves pioneered the conversion of these wines and was pleasantly greeted with tremendous appeal and accolades, even among some of the world’s finest wine consumers. He hired Denis Dubourdieu as a consultant in 1980 and thanks to his creative approach and meticulous attention to detail, his projection became an overnight success. Now their unique approach to winemaking is being copied all over Europe to improve the baseline standards of light, dry white wines.
My Essential Wine Co., Rose 2018Regular price $17.00 Save $-17.00
Variety: Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre
Founded by Master Sommelier Richard Betts in 2013, My Essential Wine Co. set out to create a line-up of approachable, yet refined and commendable wines for the everyday consumer. Richard believes that “wine is a grocery, not a luxury”. This philosophy can be felt in his wines, on the pallet and in your wallet. Richard has partnered with estates in Southern France and California to create wines with purpose and a sense of place at an incredibly approachable price point.
Meinklang, Burgenland White 2018Regular price $15.00 Save $-15.00
Variety: Gruner Veltliner, Welschreisling, Muscat Blanc
Meinklang has taken the wine world by storm in the last few years due to the family's passion for making diverse products from the estate. Farming is at the core, with full bio-dynamic practices in place. The family has a full herd of Angus and Aubrac cattle, plus sheep. The farm believes in a full circle of life within the vineyards and farmland. The family has even achieved Demeter certification, one of the most difficult biodynamic certifications. The estate is located in the middle of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of National Park Neusiedlersee in Austria, just on the border of Hungary. The insane number of different wine labels produced shows the passion for creating wine with character and personality, with over 20 labels in production.
Alberto Nanclares, Albarino Dandelion 2018Regular price $25.00 Save $-25.00
If you were ever hoping for a story of an accidental winemaker, hang tight. Alberto Nanclares and his wife uprooted from their home in the Basque country to the ocean side village of Castrelo. The small home they purchased incidentally came with some vineyards. While Alberto initially had no plans to make wine, the thought of farming nagged at him, and so, a winemaker was born. He invested in winemaking tools, eventually setting up shop in his garage. Conventional farming then turned into organic and biodynamic, an impressive feat for a region prone to viticultural difficulties, even using seaweed from the nearby Atlantic for composting. Alberto is making incredible grower Albariño, as well as Garnacha, Mencia, and other local varieties at incredible value.
Domaine Ostertag, Les Vieilles Vignes de Sylvaner 2016Regular price $30.00 Save $-30.00
Burgundy-trained winemaker, avant-garde sculptor in his off time, environmentalist at heart, Andre Ostertag wields insane talent in the vineyard and maintains the vision for the wine. Founded in 1966, the winery is still fairly young when it comes to the great names in Alsace. However, the family has owned some of the region’s great vineyards for many years. This is truly one of the great wines from Alsace crafted by one of the most passionate vignerons in France.
Domaine Benoit Daridan, Sauvignon Blanc 2018Regular price $15.00 Save $-15.00
Variety: Sauvignon Blanc
Benoit Daridan took over the family winery in 2001 after many years of study and work experience in Spain, Australia, and New Zealand. As the seventh generation to take over the small 15 hectare farm, Benoit has worked tirelessly to protect and promote the family traditions of passion for the regions terror. The vineyard is perfectly positioned between arguably the Loire Valley’s most two most famous properties: Chateau de Cheverny and Chateau de Chambord. While most of the vineyard is made up of young vines, they do pride themselves on a tiny two hectare plot of 50 year old vines. Notably, they do produce a small amount of red wine from the unique variety, Romorantin, introduced to the region by King Francois I.
Lieu Dit, Sauvignon Blanc 2018Regular price $25.00 Save $-25.00
Variety: Sauvignon Blanc
Eric Railsback is one half of a dynamic duo of long-time friends who decided in 2011 to start a winery devoted to the indigenous grapes of the Loire Valley which are now grown successfully in the Santa Barbara area. Foodies will recognize Eric as the guy who ran Gordon Ramsey’s wine program at LA’s Osteria Mozza, led a team of somms at Michael Mina’s RN74 in San Francisco, and launched Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant in Santa Barbara. A native of Santa Barbara, Justin Willett pursued his passion for making wine right after college. He is the owner and winemaker of Tyler Winery, and also consults with a start-up in Santa Rita Hills called Wenzlau Vineyard.
Railsback Freres, Vermentinu Soeur Cuvee Speciale 2018Regular price $30.00 Save $-30.00
The story of two brothers: even while still in high school, Eric was already collecting bottles of prized top dollar Burgundy and Chablis, hiding them under his bed when he started college. Lyle’s quest for knowledge landed him in Austria where he met one of his most important friends in the industry, sommelier Rajat Parr. After a decade of restaurant work, Eric returned to Santa Barbara to start his own project, Lieu Dit, inspired by the Loire. Older brother Lyle had also worn many hats in the industry, ultimately landing a job for one of the most esteemed importers Kermit Lynch, leading regional sales. After leading separate lives for some time, the brothers both felt a calling to merge their two paths, which is how Railsback Frères came to be born.
Matthiasson, Rose 2019Regular price $30.00 Save $-30.00
Variety: Syrah, Gernache, Mourvedre, Counoise
As you pull up to the farmhouse that partially collapsed during the Napa earthquake of August 2014, you begin to grasp the humility of Steve and Jill Matthiasson. Despite recent, fawning attention from the wine press, they remain excessively down-to-earth, content to be perceived as hardworking farmers. There is no grandiose driveway, no splashy tasting room, no assistants to personal assistants. As you drive down the road, you’ll be greeted by them, possibly even their black Labrador retriever. But don’t underestimate these incredibly well made wines crafted solely to the family’s personal tastes. In fact, the family was virtually unknown until they made a cameo appearance in the wine documentary, Somm II. Since then, their wines have achieved cult status among insiders.
Granbazan, Etiqueta Verde 2018Regular price $20.00 Save $-20.00
Surrounded by some of the oldest grapevines in the Rías Biaxas (“ree-ahss buy-shahss”) appellation, GRANBAZÁN sits in a privileged spot near Cambados – the “world Albariño capital” – where sea breezes foster healthy vines and nearby mountains help maintain constant fresh temperatures year-round. The property started out in the 1960s as a farm for eucalyptus trees and feed for cattle. In 1981, second generation farmer Manuel Ortero Candeira decided to build an extraordinary neoclassical chateau and plant vines, turning the family’s interests entirely to fine wine.
For wine enthusiasts seeking a companion outdoor experience, GRANBAZÁN offers hiking and nearby points of great architectural and cultural importance.
Domaine Michel Vattan, Sancerre Cuvee Calcaire 2018Regular price $30.00 Save $-30.00
Variety: Sauvignon Blanc
Starting out very small with just 2 hectares of vines in 1930, Roger and Andrée Vattan staked an early claim to some of the most special territory in Sancerre. As the name of the “Cuvée Calcaire” suggests, grapes were grown on ancient Kimmeridgian chalky limestone soil (also associated with Chablis). Their son, Michel, jumped on the expansion wagon that occurred in Sancerre in the 1970s, adding 7 hectares to the vineyard total. With no heir in sight, Michel groomed Nathalie and Pascal Joulin to take over the vineyard at his retirement in 2008. Winegrowers in Sancerre weathered a difficult spring frost in 2017, losing about 15-20% of total potential production. The balance of the vintage was blessed with enough sunshine and water to counterbalance the early growing season challenges.
Brand, Pet-Nat 2018Regular price $38.00 Save $-38.00
Variety: Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Silvaner, Müller-Thurgau, Dornfelder, Pinot Noir
The brothers Brand, Daniel and Jonas, are defining growth of organic and little to no-intervention range of whites and reds. Hailing in the Pfalz region of Germany is a lesser known village, Bockenheim, known for its quiet, rugged and gritty agriculture. The Brand brothers are fifth generation winemakers and took over production from their father. The hand logo on many of their labels may look like the peace sign at first glance; however, it is an oath taken by the brothers representing their emotional relationship to their region and furthermore, a symbol for quality in the bottle and close connection with nature. The wines are all organic and have little to no sulphites added.
Girolamo Russo, Rose 2018Regular price $30.00 Save $-30.00
Variety: Nerello Mascalese
Giuseppe Russo left his native Sicily for a time, trained as a pianist and music teacher, and studied literature. But when his father, Girolamo, died, Giuseppe returned in 2005 to make “the best wines (I) can in this exceptional, often challenging but uniquely beautiful area.” Although the Russo family calls the area in and around Passopisciaro home, it is an interesting and dynamic place that is attracting winemakers from the all over the world. The Russos have 26 hectares of land, 15 planted to vineyards and the rest to olives and hazelnut groves. Their vineyards are on the north face of Europe’s largest active volcano, Mount Etna, in the north-eastern corner of Sicily.
Venica & Venica, Sauvignon Ronco del Cero 2017Regular price $30.00 Save $-30.00
Variety: Sauvignon Blanc
Daniele Venica purchased the plot Ronco del Ceró where he first planted Sauvignon in 1930. Three generations later, great grandson Giampaolo has taken over the estate, a true testimony to the tradition of keeping winemaking in the family. Venica now has 40 hectares all within the DOC of Collio. Venica is known for their textural and highly aromatic whites that see little or no wood. They believe their traditions must be enhanced through continuous research and innovation, but a relationship with nature is of utmost importance. The estate operates a bed and breakfast— they call it the Wine Resort.
Nicolas Gonin, Rose 2018Regular price $20.00 Save $-20.00
Variety: Mondeuse, Pinot Noir, Gamay
Isère is a lesser-known area of the Savoie region of France, yields. south of Jura and west of the Alps. Before phylloxera ravaged France in the late 1880s, Isère boasted a whopping amount of vines. The region was then planted with hybrids, and due to lack of organization to form an AOC in WWII, viticulture practically disappeared. In enters Nicolas Gonin; after having worked for Domaine Tempier in Bandol, he found himself researching ampelography during his enological studies. Curiosity led to Nicolas spending time between both his Domaine and nursery where he traces the lineage of ancient grapes while trying to bring back the lost varieties of his region.
Le Fraghe, Bardolino Chiaretto Rosato' Rodon' 2019Regular price $19.00 Save $-19.00
Variety: Corvina, Rondinella
As a young girl, Matilde Poggi, grew up around winemaking and hearing her parents talk about it. During October, she would go straight from school to the vineyards to help with the harvest. Her first harvest was in 1984, prior to that, the grapes were sold to another winery. Matilde is passionate about the surrounding terroir of valleys, rivers, winds from the north, and the mountainous areas that makes her wines uniquely their own. Her 3 daughters now help her run the winery. They have been certified organic since 2009.
Weingut Brundlmayer, Gruner Veltliner 2017Regular price $30.00 Save $-30.00
Variety: Gruner Veltliner
Weingut Bründlmayer is situated in Langenlois, northwest of Vienna, along the Danube in the Lower Austrian Kamp Valley. The wooded hills of the Waldviertel protect the vineyards from the cold northwestern winds. During the day, the sun warms the stony terraces, while at night the fresh, fragrant forest air drifts through the Kamp Valley. Winemaker, Willi Bründlmayer, gained an international reputation in the late 80’s through his Chardonnay representing a combination of Austrian fruitiness with international style. Among the red wines, the Pinot Noir Dechant is the most famous, particularly since Willi Bründlmayer is one of the more experienced producers of this difficult variety in Austria. Adding to the Bründlmayer lineup is a bottle fermented “Bründlmayer Brut,'“ setting new standards in Austrian Sekt culture, a delicate marc and a barrel aged brandy.
Hild, Elbling Sekt Brut NVRegular price $20.00 Save $-20.00
When you think about the Upper Mosel forget everything you think you know about it. In the Upper Mosel you won’t find any slate and you won’t find any Riesling. Matthias Hild is bucking the trends. Matthias Hild is pushing the envelope. He operates at his own pace and by his own terms. He marches to the beat of his own drum. Conventional wisdom would say he’s crazy for trying to single-handedly save the old, terraced parcels of Elbling, but its so charming. The returns on an investment like this are so slim they make no business sense, but its moves like this that make winemakers like Hild so intriguing.
Salvard, Rose Cheverny 2019Regular price $18.00 Save $-18.00
Variety: Pinot Noir
Five hardworking generations of the Delaille family have been working at Domaine du Salvard since 1898. The Domaine is located in the Cheverny appellation of the Loire River Valley, regionally adjacent to Vouvray and Sancerre. Gamay and Cabernet Franc are the focals for the fruity red and rosé wines of Salvard. Two brothers and their father manage the domaine, carrying on traditions established by their ancestors. They have introduced sustainable farming practices into the heritage of the vineyards. Importer Kermit Lynch was the first to discover the charm and value of Cheverny back in 1978. He took on Domaine du Salvard in 1992, a year before Cheverny was promoted to AOC wine law status. As always, Kermit is ahead of the curve.