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
Bottled by Les Vignerons D’Estézargues
$10 [average price]
Estate: The Martellozzo estate was founded in 1899 by Giovanni Martellozzo. At the age of 29, 3rd generation winemaker Piera Martellozzo took over the estate her grandfather established. Today the estate stretches over three regions: Friuli Venezia Giulia, Veneto and Trentino Alto Adige. The Giovello line is crafted to be fresh, lighthearted and enjoyed young.
Philosophy: “Donating the pleasure of wine in the name of tradition and contemporary taste.”
Winemaking: Hand harvested from organically farmed vineyards 300-400 meters above sea level with morainic and volcanic soils. Fermented in stainless steel, followed by “then a short Charmat method, about two months. In the end the wine is chilled, filtered and isobaric bottling is carried out”.
Tasting Notes: Pale gold in colour with aromas of peach, apricot and citrus. Concentrated peach, apricot, honey and white flowers are accented by light fizz. Citrus zest compliments sweet honey on the dry finish. Sweet, but not cloying, a good choice with light snacks or to begin the afternoon/evening.
Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: Cheese courses, charcuterie or antipasto plates. Its versatility, and the lower alcohol also make it an ideal aperitif candidate.
100% Moscato Giallo
Bottled by Piera Martellozzo S.P.A
Estate: Azienda Agricola Pala [Pala estate] was founded in Sardinia, Italy, in 1950. Mario Pala is now the third generation of the family taking care of the vines, along with his wife Rita and the fourth generation of the family; their children Massimiliano, Elisabetta and Mariantonietta. The estate’s vineyards are organised into 8 single vineyard sites, based on their terroir, exposure and soil type. Varietals are planted in the vineyard best suited to their needs.
Philosophy: “From father to son since 1950 there’s the most important ingredients that the Pala family has always added to terroir, tradition, respect for the environment: the passion to make wines that are able to express the family character and the terroir of this extraordinary island.”
Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from vines 20 years in age and older, with a clay and calcareous soil mix hill 1500180 meters above sea level. Refined and aged in stainless steel and the bottle. The Silenzio [silence] line is inspired by the land, where “the silence (Silenzio) is broken only by the sound of the wind or the singing of birds.”
Tasting Notes: Garnet in colour with aromas of cranberry, currant, white pepper and toasted oak. Pepper-spice driven with cranberry, cherry, leather and baking spices. A trace of earthy barnyard keeps it interesting, as do grippy tannins and food friendly acidity. Licorice and a hint of menthol round out the spicy finish. A great value and versatile companion at the table.
50% Carignano, 30% Monica, 20% Sangiovese
Isola dei Nuraghi IGT
Estate Bottled by Azienda Agricola PALA di Mario Pala & C.
Rated 90 points by Wine Enthusiast
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
Mis en Bouteille au Domaine Par J & E Bowen
During a recent wine shopping excursion in NYC I happily happened upon a French Malbec at the $10 price point. I was unable to locate any information regarding the winery or growers, except that there may be some affiliation with Astor Wines in NYC.
Dark red-violet in colour with aromas of black cherry, tobacco and hints of vanilla bean. Earth notes and firm tannins supported black cherry and plum flavours, whilst black peppercorn, slightly bitter herbs and hints of sour cherry comprised the clean finish. This is a well-composed, rustic glass great with a wide variety of dishes.
Malbec with Alicante [I was unable to confirm varietal percentage]
Coteaux de Peyriac
Enjoy now thru 2015