Les Vignerons D’Estézargues ‘Cuvée des Galets’ Côtes du Rhône 2015

Winery: Les Vignerons D’Estézargues is a co-operative winery of 10 different growers in the small town of Estézargues, just west of Avignon. Founded in 1965, they became a pioneer for quality and individuality in their wines when in 1995 they began to vinify their wines separately and to make single cuvées from their best plots.

Winemaking: With nearly 1000 acres of vineyards, they are now one of the most modern and progressive co-ops in the Southern Rhône, with a focus on sustainable agriculture, low yields and small batch vinification. Believing in as little intervention as possible, they do not add external yeast, sugar, or enzymes in their production process. Sulphur is only added in minimal amounts during bottling, and their wines are neither refined nor filtered.

Tasting Notes: Red-violet in colour with enticing aromas of wild berry pie and earthy spice. Fresh wild strawberry, raspberry, blackberry and a drop of red currant are smeared over an earthy core and supported by grippy tannins. Black pepper and berry fruit return on the plush finish. Hearty and rustic, a fantastic value and versatile companion at the table.

Predominately Grenache with Carignon [I could not verify varietal percentages.]
Côtes du Rhône
France
Bottled by Les Vignerons D’Estézargues
14% Alcohol
$10 [average price]
Enjoy now

A Glass of Chianti Colli Senesi with Daniele Rosti of Campochiarenti

I was introduced to Daniele Rosti and his expressive wines by John Fodera via the wonderful world of Twitter. When John saw my tweets from the Chianti Lovers event in Florence, he advised that I go to the Campochiarenti table and meet his good friend, winemaker Daniele Rosti. Elegent and refined, just like his wines, it was a delight to speak with Daniele about his family estate. For all of those interested in the day-to-day trials and rewards of cultivating grapes, his Twitter account, @campochiarenti is a must follow.

The knowledgable and friendly Daniele Rosti of Campochiarenti.

Estate: Located in the Chianti Colli Senesi region in the Tuscan hills, the Campochiarenti estate traces its history back to the end of the 10th century when the church of Saint Nicholas along with its monastery was built. About a thousand years the later, the Rosti family purchased the 50 hectare [123 acre] estate and revitalized the vineyards and buildings. Today 14 hectares [34 acres] of the estate are organically farmed vineyards, with vines between 10 and 40 years in age. Chianti Colli Senesi and Vernaccia di San Gimignano are the main wines produced by the estate, so it follows that Sangiovese and Vernaccia di San Gimignano are the main grapes grown. However, there are quite a range of other varietals cultivated, such as Ancellotta, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malvasia Nera, Merlot, Malvasia, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Nero and Pinot Grigio, which allows Daniele to create terroir driven wines outside of the typical framework of the region.

Philosophy: “Quality grows in the vineyard.”

Winemaking: The Chianti Colli Senesi wines are a blend of 85% Sangiovese along with a blend of 15% of grapes that are a “typical variety of Tuscany” [Caniolo Collina, Colorino, Canaiolo, Ciliegiolo, Mammolo, Foglia Tonda]. Traditional fermentation in concrete tanks with long maceration on the skins, aged 9 months in large oak barrels in addition to a minimum of 4 months in the bottle.

Campochiarenti Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG 2015
Although young, this already has a complex, espressive character. Silky layers of red fruit, earth and anise, culminating in the distinctive salt and pepper spice, dry finish. Complex yet so versatile, this can pair with just about every dish.
14% Alcohol
€12.50 [From the Campochiarenti website, not currently available in the US.]

Campochiarenti Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG 2011
Genteel and refined, with cherry, blackberry, plum, tobacco and a hint of floral. The distinctive salty spice of the estate’s terroir lingers between each sip. Soft tannins provide the backbone, whilst it is a powerful wine, it is elegant. At 6 years old, the colour is still ruby red and the fruit level is very high, Daniele says that this has yet to reach its peak, and will continue drinking well 5-10 years more.
14% Alcohol
€16.30 [From the Campochiarenti website, not currently available in the US.]

Media event sponsored by Consorzio del Chianti.

Les Chardons Gamay Touraine 2014

Estate: The Chardon domaine is located along the banks of the Cher River in Couffy, in the Touraine region of the Loire Valley. Husband and wife team Sophie and Thierry Chardon cultivate 115 acres of vineyards, with an average vine age of 25 years. Raised on a vineyard in Touraine, Thierry’s family made wine for many generations, until his father was forced to sell the vineyard. Years later, Thierry and Sophie moved their family back to Touraine and purchased a domaine.

Winemaking: Certified organic since the late 2000’s, the believe in minimal intervention in both the vineyard and cellar. “Our wines emerge from grapes cultivated without chemical products, in respect of our environment.”

Tasting Notes: Transparent in red-violet in colour, with aromas of strawberry, resin and earthy funk. Strawberry, raspberry, along with sour cherry wrap around a floral core and are accented by sandalwood, white pepper, a dash of funk and a streak of granite minerality. Black cherry and a trace of tart wild berries linger between each sip. Smooth tannins and food friendly acidity compliment this fantastic, unique expression of Gamay.

100% Gamay
Touraine
France
Estate Bottled
12.5% Alcohol
$13
Enjoy now

Domaine Sainte Croix ‘Le Fournas’ 2013

Brings the funk like the BT Express.

Estate: Domaine Sainte Croix is located in the rugged hills of the High Corbières on the border between the Languedoc and the Roussillon, in the very southern part of France. The 13 hectare [32 acre] estate is owned and run by the English husband and wife team of Jon and Elizabeth Bowen. The area is known for its fantastic Grenache-centric wines, small stone wall enclosed vineyards and fig, almond and wild cherry trees. The vineyards are comprised of multiple terroir, including “of steel-blue limestone to sandy, gravelly clay shot through with quartz crystals, to sheets of purple-green schist.”

Philosophy: “Fine wine is made in the vineyard. Our aim is to express the terroir of the domaine, we see the cornerstone as being the health of its vineyard ecosystems.”

Winemaking: The estate has been certified organic since 2008. Grapes came from vineyards with a blend of limestone, chalky-clay and sandy loam soil. The Carignon grapes came from vines over 100 years old. Fermented using only indigenous yeasts found on the grape skins. 100% matured sur lie in tank for 18 months. Unfined, loosely filtered.

Tasting Notes: Dark garnet in colour with aromas of wildflowers, peppery spice, candied cherry and funky sawdust. Cherry, blackberry, hibiscus and a shake of black pepper wrap around a flinty mineral, earthy core, backed by balancing acidity and silky tannins. Fruit and funk wrap up the velvety finish.

Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: Particularly good accompaniment to the cuisine of the Mediterranean region using tomato-based sauces, olives or wild herbs such as thyme or rosemary.

50% Carignan, 21% Grenache, 19% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre
Corbières AOC
France
Mis en Bouteille au Domaine Par J & E Bowen
13.5% Alcohol
$16
Enjoy now

Chateau Maris ‘La Touge’ 2013

latouge13

Estate: Named the “The Biodynamic Apostles of the Languedoc” by Wine Spectator, Chateau Maris is located at the eastern edge of the village of La Livinière at the foot of the Montagne Noire Mountains, in the Languedoc region of southern France. With a goal of “creating “grand cru-level” wines from La Livinière in the Minervois appellation, winemaker Robert Eden took over the estate in 1996. Eden converted the entire estate to biodynamic farming after trying different methods to revitalized the soils that had been rendered unusable due to the previous owner’s overuse of chemicals. Over the years his green approach and biodynamic processes have gained much recognition. He has built “the world’s first hemp cellar” that functions carbon neutrally. The hemp bricks not only capture carbon dioxide, but also maintain temperature and humidity so that heating or cooling is not needed.

Winemaking: Grapes are sourced from vineyards with “hard and soft limestone and alluvial soils”. Only natural yeasts are used, unfined, unfiltered. Aged 16 months in egg shaped concrete tanks and regular tanks.

Tasting Notes: Inky red-violet in colour with aromas of sweet dark fruit, subtle spice and caramel. Well structured with an elegant edge to the wild berries and chocolate flavours abounding in the full, soft body. Silky tannins, herbs and black pepper linger between each sip. So easy drinking, do watch out, as the higher alcohol content is nowhere to be found in all the silky-soft goodness.

Syrah & Grenache blend [I was unable to verify varietal percentage, other then that Syrah is the dominate grape]
Minervois La Livinère
France
Bottled for Domaine des Comtes Méditerranéens by F-11160-315
14.5% Alcohol
$12
Enjoy now thru 2018

Rated 91 points by The Wine Advocate