Ampeleia, Unlitro Costa Toscana 2020Regular price $23.00 Save $-23.00
Variety: Alicante, Carignano, Mourvèdre, Sangiovese and Alicante Bouschet
Ampeleia was born only just in 2002 from the collaboration and friendship between noteworthy icons—Elisabetta Foradori, Thomas Widmann, and Giovanni Podini. They created a place where they could not only develop an agricultural project but also fulfill a common dream. The estate comprises different plots of land, each located far apart and on different altitude levels—their mission is to create variables in altitude, soil type and microclimatic conditions. Variety is the spice of life, at least Ampeleia, representing the project’s constant quality and willingness to discover. The grape varieties that have been planted are common to Mediterranean vineyards reflecting the tradition of growing multiple varieties in the same vineyard. Today, the estate extends over three altitude levels and covers 35 hectares of vineyard.
“Unlitro” is not just incredible wine, it also celebrates bringing drinkers together with “un litro” of wine over food and conversation. It's Ampeleia’s way to express the quality like their other wines, though the resulting blend is simply much more drinkable. The fruit comes from their youngest vines, a wine for immediate consumption.
Clos Figueras, Priorat "Serras del Priorat" 2021Regular price $35.00 Save $-35.00
Variety: Garnacha, Carignan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah
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.
The Serras del Priorat is a younger expression of the Priorat style with a fresh fruitness; the wine is ready to drink, though has age potential for another ten years. This is a fine introduction to Priorat and the rest of Christopher Cannan’s wines.
Ulacia, Txakoli de Getaria Bianco 2021Regular price $23.00 Save $-23.00
Variety: Hondarrabi Zuri and Hondarrabi Beltza
Julian and Maia Ulacia’s small winery near the small fishing village of Getaria makes a mere 6000 cases of wine annually. Getaria is part of the Basque region, home to one of the most exciting wine and food scenes in all of Spain. It is located a stone’s throw away from the coast and the French border. The wines here go perfectly with the local seafood. Even though much of Spain is known for its warmer climate wines, the Basque region is definitively cooler. The presentation of Ulacia’s Txacoli wine is an art here; the bartenders do what’s called the “high pour,” an effort to give these light zippy wines an added effervescent and foamy mouthfeel.
This is Ulacia’s signature wine; bottled with a carbonic zing. This is raised in steel and undergoes just a three month ageing period before its release.
Railsback Freres, Rose 'Les Rascasses' Santa Ynez Valley 2021Regular price $29.00 Save $-29.00
Variety: Mourvedre, Grenache, and Cinsault
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.
There’s no beating around the bush with the intention of this rosé. It’s inspired by the famed Provence Rosé made by Lulu Peyraud of Domaine Tempier. With her passing at the age of 102 in 2020, this style of rosé will continue to stand the test of time. “Les Rascasses” means scorpion fish and is an homage to the fish that Lulu would include in her provincial Bouillabaisse fish stew.
Subject to Change Wine Co., Disco! Sauvignon Blanc 2021Regular price $23.00 Save $-23.00
Variety: Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon
Subject to Change is just what it appears to be on the surface: it refers not just to the wines, but also an enormous effort to adhere to relevant social issues. The wines are small production, working with organic and biodynamic farmers, and very low intervention in the cellar. Climate change and the health of the vines is at the forefront, particularly due to local raging wildfires in California. Subject to Change is a firm advocate in supporting their neighbors through a sense of belonging for all parties involved. Their focus on fresh ideas is always just that, subject to change.
Inspired by the Bordeaux Blanc, this is a Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc blend. Semillon brings richness and texture, Sauvignon brings fruit and acidity. This one undergoes a little carbonic maceration, giving this juice added freshness and life. It spends five months in neutral barrels. Disco! Will give you a sense of energy, making you want to get up and do something!
Cantina Giardino, ‘Fra’ Falanghina 2020Regular price $39.00 Save $-39.00
Variety: Falanghina (Orange Wine)
Six friends decided to join forces making wine around the mountain town of Irpinia in the coastal southern region of Campania. The focus of Cantina Giardino is reviving old vineyards sites in the area, and putting the spotlight on the local, traditional varieties. The farmers of these sites, locally called contadini, were often in danger of having to leave or uproot their vineyards; Giardino has been making efforts to bring sustainability back to the area. The quirks of their winemaking often stem from the variety of their ageing vessels, which relies on instinct over formula. In the cellar, the wines are created naturally, with small doses of sulphur added. Their labels are pronounced, all designed by local artists.
This Falanghina comes from 30 year old vines based in volcanic soil. Like the rest of their white wines, this one spends a few days on its skins to impart texture and flavor. It is then aged in chestnut casks, a unique aging vessel for whites wines. The wine does not receive any additional sulfur.
Tentenublo, Escondite Del Ardacho Rioja "Veriquete" 2018Regular price $50.00 Save $-50.00
Variety: Garnacha, Viura, Tempranillo
Tentenublo is the name given to the ringing of bells aimed at fighting off hailstorms in some Rioja villages. Working organically, using native yeast fermentation, and limited sulphur, winemaker Roberto applies Rioja’s long established custom of barrel aging working mainly with French oak to craft wines of substance and character. The property of Tentenublo, despite its small size, is described as a collection of several distinct microclimates. The vines are spread throughout 22 parcels in the foothills of the Cantabria mountains. The estate is planted mainly to the classic red and white Rioja varieties including Tempranillo, Garnacha and Viura. Each site is influenced to some extent by the Ebro River, the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.
Escondite Del Ardacho is actually a line of very small-production bottlings and named for a native lizard species. “Veriquete” is an intriguing bottle made of the aforementioned varieties and sourced from vines ranging from 50-100 years old all from a single plot.
Carboniste, Extra Brut Albarino Gomes Vineyard 2020Regular price $29.00 Save $-29.00
Of all the producers coming out of California, new and old, Carboniste may have the freshest perspective. Yes, they are making sparkling, but completely letting the warm California climate take the lead. There is no influence of Champagne, Prosecco, or Cava in sight. The project is run by Dan and Jacqueline Person, who after meeting at UC Davis, worked all over the world before reconvening on this project. While Dan does have his work for Schramberg under his belt, he insists on reimagining sparkling wine inspired by the California state of mind.
This Albariño’s story is actually very personal. The Gomes family has been farming the vineyard of the same name since the 19th century when they originally traveled over from Portugal. In their homeland, Albariño is grown near the coast, and it wouldn’t be completely wild for it to be drunk with octopus. The wine is fermented in tank with a small amount of dosage added.
Tempier, Bandol 2019Regular price $60.00 Save $-60.00
Variety: Mourvèdre, Grenache, Cinsault, & Carignan
According to importer Kermit Lynch, no other winemaker stands more in the defense of terroir than the Peyraud family of Domaine Tempier. When Lulu Tempier married Lucien Peyraud, her father gave them the domaine, an active farm that had been in the family for 100 years. After tasting a pre-phylloxera bottle of Tempier Bandol, Lucien was inspired to research the terroir. Up until then, old vineyards planted with Mourvèdre had been regularly replanted to higher-yielding varieties. More research not only showed its historical roots to the area, but the grape proved to be more resistant to oxidation. Lucien worked with neighboring winemakers and the I.N.A.O. to establish Bandol as its own AOC. Replanting of Mourvèdre began; Bandol now requires a fifty percent minimum in all reds. Lucien has been paraded as the godfather of Bandol, but also as the man who revived Mourvédre to its former glory.
Julian Haart, Riesling 1000L, Mosel Germany 2021Regular price $30.00 Save $-30.00
Julian Haart only began his first vintage in 2010, only after studying under a couple of some of the greatest winemakers in Germany, Egon Müller and Klaus Peter Keller. “That’s like learning to draw under da Vinci and Picasso,” says importer Vom Boden, in terms of German winemakers. Julian’s winemaking journey goes hand in hand with his rigorous focus of continuing to better himself. His first plot was adjacent to the grand cru site Ohligsberg. He then continued to purchase more vines in Goldtröpfchen and Schubertslay, both considered “grand cru” sites. Included in one of these sites is a bit of 100-year-old vines that are ungrafted. The wines are an ode to the style of Klaus Peter Keller who has been penned as creating “German Montrachets” according to Jancis Robinson.
This Riesling comes from 25-year-old vines in the grand cru site of Goldtröpfchen. This wine got its name from its 1000 liter foudre barrel that the wine was aged inside. It’s fresh and dry with wonderful minerality.
Michael Gindl, Gruner Veltliner 'Buteo' 2018Regular price $39.00 Save $-39.00
Variety: Gruner Veltliner
Michael Gindl is the face behind the eponymously named domaine coming out of Weinviertel, a lesser known area in eastern Austria. While the farm has been in the family since 1802, Michael has taken ownership of viticulture, beginning this as early as his school days. In the past few years, he has not only taken on the land that formerly was leased, he has also taken on about 25 hectares of land, effectively doubling his land holdings. This is important to his aesthetic due to his attempts to biodynamically farm this land and bring on other crops, allowing for biodiversity for the vines. The ultimate goal is creating a farm that will allow the family to keep things autarchic. This is driven home by the fact that the wood for oak and acacia barrels comes from the woods on his property. Michael’s winemaking is minimal and thoughtful.
Like his other wines, “Buteo” is done with as little as possible. The wine spends just 4-8 hours on its skins, then a few lengthy months on its lees, and six months in oak. This is a Gruner with plenty of character, texture, and intensity.
Domaine Rieffel, Cremant d' Alsace 2018Regular price $33.00 Save $-33.00
Variety: Auxerrois, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay
Lucas Rieffel, the current generation, comes from the Alsatian village of Mittelbergheim, which is just 13 miles west of the German border. His grandfather began making wines there in 1945 when he made his first bottle of Sylvaner. The domain took a positive turn when Lucas began working with Andre Ostertag, where he saw a different approach in the vineyard and the cellar. Those changes brought about organic certification and a new focus on single vineyard production. While the region may be known for its luscious styles of white wine, this family has been making dry whites, which include Cremant and several Grand Cru Rieslings. Just three people work at this winery.
This cremant is done in the Champagne method, made with Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay, and the lesser known Pinot Auxerrois. The wine undergoes lees aging, which imparts the richness needed to balance out this style of sparkling. The locals truly love this local sparkling wine.
Famille Dutraive, Chiroubles 2020Regular price $43.00 Save $-43.00
With a father like the beloved and famous Jean-Louis Dutraive it does not hurt the eldest son in his quest to find his own voice amongst the vines and rolling hills of the sleepy appellation of Beaujolais. With the region gaining much attention from wine geeks worldwide due to the versatility of the wines (for dining or just flat out drinking), the camaraderie of the vignerons is unparalleled. There is a young, energetic group with easy access to top vineyard sites and everyone is cheering each other on.
After the devastating 2016 vintage, which was wiped out from hail storms, the producers remain affable and optimistic. This is how "Famille Dutraive" came about; it's a negociant project co-owned by Jean-Louis and his three children. The fruit is sourced and then vinified by the Dutraive family in their cellars.
This is a lively blend from two separate old vine sites in the cru of Chiroubles. Poullet is the first vineyard with a hillside at almost 400 meters in altitude and vines aged 70 years. The other vineyard site is Javernaud located at over 400 meters with vines aged about 60 years. This is a bright, fresh, and quaffable wine from Chiroubles.
Pietracupa, "Il Cupo" 2018Regular price $60.00 Save $-60.00
Winemaker Sabino Loffredo has swiftly created a reputation within and beyond Italy for some of the most exquisite Greco and Fiano wines in Avellino of Campania in the south of Italy. Pietracupa was founded in 1993 by his family, starting as just 3 hectares of vineyards. The vines were chosen with the intent of showcasing the mountainous terrain of Avellino to the world. He produces limited amounts of Fiano, Greco, Falanghina, and Aglianico coming from some of the finest vines in Avellino. Both wine and winemaker share a similar mantra; staying original and faithful to the land with elegance, depth, and minerality. Due to the southern climate of Campania, the wines benefit from longer time on the vine. These coastal wines crave seafood and olive oil based dishes.
Il Cupo is a selection of the very best fruit coming from the oldest vines in Sabino's vineyard. The wine gets a lot of press and is considered by many to be one of the greatest Italian whites ever produced.
Francois Lumpp, Givry 1er Cru A Vigne Rouge 2016Regular price $68.00 Save $-68.00
Variety: Pinot Noir
François Lumpp is technically a second-generation winemaker in the Côte Chalonnaise, which is perhaps the least well-known of all Burgundy regions. He and his brother inherited a vineyard from their father in the 1970s. But by 1990, he was ready to put a stake in his vision of a top quality and site-specific vineyard in Givry. (There are no grand cru vineyards in Givry, so premier cru is the top classification.) François and his wife Isabelle planted and nurtured all of the vines on about 9 hectares of vineyard property. He is a true vigneron, making only Pinot Noire and Chardonnay wines from Givry from 11 of the best premier cru parcels – a rare business model in today’s modern Burgundy where big négociant firms and outside investors rule the day in the big, well-known regions of the Côte d’Or. Son Pierre and daughter Anne-Cécile have joined the family business.
Coming from the village of Givry, which is still flying under the radar as far as Burgundy is concerned, the site is Premier Cru with an elevation of over 800 feet.
Comtesse Bernard de Cherisey, Meursault-Blagny 1er Cru La Genelotte 2019Regular price $150.00 Save $-150.00
Comtesse de Cherisey is located small AOC called Blagny, located in between powerhouse villages of Meursault and Puligny Montrachet. Tucked up on on the hills of the Cote de Beaune this small region in Burgundy may be easy to miss on a map but the wines are something to take note of. They seem to be the perfect balance between the structure, finesse, and power that you would expect from the surrounding appellations. Vigneron Laurent Martelet seems to have an attention to detail in the vineyards that is a step above most. All of his premier crus vines are at least 60 years of age, this requires a certain level of patience and focus in his farming practices and wine making that results in a mind blowing experience once it is in your glass. With a total production of only 2000 cases a year these are incredibly sought after and allocated wines of top quality coming out of Burgundy.
The Meursault-Blagny 1er Cru La Genelotte vineyard is located just north of Blagny high on the hill in Meursault. Comtesse de Cherisey planted these vines in 1946, the vineyard is a monopole giving Martelet complete uninterrupted control over the vines. This wine is very much classic of Meursault with the precision and complexity you would expect from these incredibly old vines and master winemaking techniques.
COS, Zibibbo in Pithos Bianco 2018Regular price $38.00 Save $-38.00
Variety: Muscat of Alexandria (Zibbibo)
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.
What a unique wine, which is saying something in regards to the usual wines coming from COS. Zibbibo is the name for Muscat de Alexandria when grown in Sicily. While the variety does have potential as a sweet wine, this is vinified dry. The wine also sees skin contact for a whopping seven months while it ages in amphorae, or pithos, the Greek name for the same ageing vessel. Even for the richer, tannic style wine, the alcohol is only 11.5% and the acidity is completely in balance.
Laherte Freres, Coteaux Champenois, Les Vinages 2018Regular price $90.00 Save $-90.00
Variety: Pinot Meunier
The Laherte brothers, Thierry and Christian, are sixth generation winemakers in the Valle de la Marne of Champagne. Aurelien Laherte represents the seventh generation and has been taking the winery to a new dimension, while still following in the footsteps of his family. They have 75 different plots across Epernay, Vallée de la Marne, and the Cotes des Blancs. The mantra with the family is to let the terroir speak for itself with a deep respect for tradition, heritage, and land. Each example of Laherte Fréres is more stunning than the last. The Laherte family, with Aurélien at the helm, have earned themselves a reputation as one of the most compelling and revolutionary producers in Champagne.
A dry red Champagne method sparkling—yes, it does come from the region of Champagne, but bottled as a Coteaux Champenois. Pinot Meunier is the star here, fresh, red-fruited, and chalky. In a region where global warming is constantly looming, ripe vintages are happening more frequently, resulting in more sparkling reds.