Prosper Maufoux Chablis 2016

Estate: Passionate about winemaking, Prosper Maufoux founded the Burgundian estate in 1860. Located in the village of Santenay, in the heart of the southern Côte d’Or, the estate has a long history of crafting high quality, terroir driven wines. Today the company is headed by Eric Piffaut, whose family’s winemaking roots in Burgundy go back to 1898. Winemaker Nadine Gublin is at the helm, receiving many accolades, including being named the first female “Winemaker of the Year” by France’s leading wine magazine, La Revue du Vin de France.

Winemaking: Grapes are gently pressed with the juice clarified at low temperature to preserve its freshness. Alcoholic and malolactic fermentation take place in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats, followed by ageing on fine lees in a stainless steel for 10 months.

Tasting Notes: Pale gold in colour with aromas of flinty minerals, honeysuckle and lemon. Yellow apple, pear and lemon meld with a flinty mineral core, fresh acidity highlights pink grapefruit on the dry, mineral driven finish. Elegant and svelte, excellent on its own or as a companion to a wide variety of dishes.

Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: Dishes featuring cream sauces and softer cheeses, poultry, roasted fish.

100% Chardonnay
Chablis AOC
France
Bottled at Rully by Prosper Maufoux
12.5% Alcohol
$27 [average price]
Enjoy now thru 2021

Sample submitted for editorial consideration.

Willamette, Dammit! Wine & Dinner with Brian O’Donnell of Belle Pente

 

One of the many cozy lounge areas at Gedney Farm.

I have been fortunate to meet many of my fellow wine lovers in person after getting to know them on Twitter and Instagram. Sommelier Peter Miscikoski and I share a love of organic, biodynamic, character driven wines from small producers and a love of post-punk and goth music. [Follow him here peterm_99 ] In addition to his usual duties as sommelier, Peter hosts a “Sommelier Series” of winemaker dinners and events at Gedney Farm in the Berkshire mountains in Massachusetts. Two restored Normandy style barns crafted for the finest stallions and Jersey cattle during the Berkshire’s “Gilded Age” are the backbone of Gedney Farm. Surrounded by 200 acres of rolling pastures, the barns [one a 16 room boutique hotel, the other a restaurant and event space] are both exceptionally preserved and strikingly modern. Check out their innovative and extensive amenities here.

I was super excited when Peter invited my husband and I out to Gedney Farm for a winemaker dinner with Brian O’Donnell, owner/winemaker at Belle Pente in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. Accompanying the selection of Belle Pente wines was a specially curated tasting menu from Executive Chef Rob Burnell. Chef Burnell expertly crafted a menu reflecting the notes of Spring, yet with a hearty richness as the temperatures are unseasonably cold. He particularly included root vegetables to compliment the earthy character in the wines. A true farm to table menu, all ingredients are organic, sustainably sourced and local.

Brian is incredibly knowledgeable and down to earth, he happily chronicled the story behind each wine, along with his 20+ year journey in winemaking, answering all questions along the way. The title stems from this East Coast/Western Europe girl being enlightened to the correct pronunciation of Willamette. Brian, himself originally from New York, was informed immediately upon his arrival in Oregon that it is pronounced “Will-AM-it, dammit”.

Owner and winemaker Brian O’Donnell of Belle Pente.

Estate: Passionate about crafting high quality wines with respect for the environment, Brian O’Donnell, along with his wife Jill, founded Belle Pente in 1992. They purchased a 70-acre farm in what is now the heart of the Yamhill-Carlton AVA in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. Belle Pente [bell-pont’] means “beautiful slope” and refers to the estate’s hillside vineyards, along with reflecting “the inspiration that we draw from the exquisite wines of Burgundy and Alsace”. The 16 acres of vineyards are 240-500 feet in elevation, planted with Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay. For more information on the estate vines, terroir and the dedicated, neighboring vineyards that additional fruit is sourced from, click here.

Winemaking: Both organic and biodynamic viticulture is used, along with dry farming and intensive canopy management. Sheep, goats and cows roam the property, providing natural weed control and compost. Cover crops are rotated, grasses planted for biodiversity, and forest left for buffer. Almost everything they use is generated on the farm.

All grapes are hand harvested. The winery has a 3 level gravity-flow facility “designed for gentle, natural winemaking in small lots, with minimal handling and manipulation, to preserve varietal integrity and the unique attributes of the time and place in which the wines were grown”.

Philosophy: “Great wine is made in the vineyard and merely nurtured in the winery.”

Belle Pente Muscat Willamette Valley 2015

Tasting Notes: Super aromatic, with lush peach, apricot, candied ginger and white flowers. Juicy apricot and pear with a squeeze of lemon accented by a floral hint and balancing acidity. Finishing dry and fruity, keeping you reaching for more. Dry and refreshing, a perfect companion to hot summer days.
100% Muscat
11.8% Alcohol

Winemaker’s Note: Brian recommends this as an aperitif, or with first courses, and that it is fantastic with asparagus!

Belle Pente Pinot Gris Willamette Valley 2014


Tasting Notes: Enticing aromas of marzipan, golden fruit, wildflowers and a drizzle of honey. Fresh acidity frames yellow apple, apricot and a trace of ginger spice, finishing dry and fruity. Easy drinking and fantastic on its own or at the table.
100% Pinot Gris
14.1% Alcohol
$18

Winemaker’s Note: Aged half in neutral wood barrels [a combination of oval barrels that are 4 years in age, and larger barrels 10 years old], half in stainless steel for about 10 months. This combination allows for richness and weight but retains freshness. Can be paired with everything, a terrific food wine.

Paired with avocado toast & spicy buttermilk cress salad.

Belle Pente Chardonnay Willamette Valley 2012 Continue reading

Santa Julia ‘Organica’ Chardonnay Mendoza 2017

Estate: The Zuccardi family has been making wine in Mendoza since 1963, when Alberto Zuccardi planted his first vines. Now in his 90’s, Alberto is known as a pioneering force in both Mendoza and the Uco Valley. Today, the multiple estate vineyards and winery are headed by Alberto’s son, José, along with José’s eldest son, Sebastián, and daughter, Julia [the 3rd generation].

The Santa Julia Winery was established in the 1990’s in honor of Julia. José’s only daughter, she is now the director of the Familia Zuccardi winery. The family is committed to achieving the highest quality wines through sustainable practices, working to protect the environment, wildlife preservation and developing the community. Expanding to the Uco Valley, the family opened Valle de Uco Winery last year, where winemakers focus on research and development, while studying the variables that influence wines throughout the Uco Valley.

Philosophy: “To be natural, environmentally friendly and grow in harmony with the community of which we are part.”

Winemaking: Grapes are from Santa Rosa Vineyards in Mendoza. Vinified in stainless steel tanks.

Tasting Notes: Light gold in colour with aromas of apple, lemon, ginger, white flowers and a trace of brioche. Apple, melon, lemon custard and grapefruit are accented by a streak of clean minerality and fresh acidity. Pineapple and citrus zest shine on the dry, crisp finish. Refreshing, easy drinking and easy to pair, a wonderful value!

100% Chardonnay
Mendoza
Argentina
Produced & Bottled by Bodega Santa Julia
13.5% Alcohol
$11 [average price]
Enjoy now thru 2019

An excellent pairing with mushroom risotto with plant based faux beef, spinach and gravy.

Sample submitted for editorial consideration.

Hope Estate ‘Mountain Wash’ Chardonnay Hunter Valley 2015

Estate: Hope Estate was founded by Michael Hope in 1994, with a goal of being able to focus all his time and passion into winemaking. Beginning with 30 acres of vines in Broke in the Hunter Valley, over the years he has been able to obtain unique vineyards throughout Australia, such as 200 acres of the famed red basalt soil at Fordwich. In 2006, Michael purchased the Rothbury Estate, a 420 acre winery in the heart of Pokolbin. Renamed Hope Estate, it has become an icon, symbolizing the best in Hunter. It is a premier destination with an amphitheater that hosts legendary bands, a brewery and restaurant.

Winemaking: The best grapes are selected from the single vineyard Mountain Wash, which lies directly below the Wollemi Mountain range. For millions of years the nutrients from the mountain’s vegetation have been collected in the soils where the vineyard now is. Barrel fermentation with wild yeast using both clarified and unclarified juice, extended lees contact with batonnage applied at intervals. Aging for 10 months in oak “was deemed sufficient to achieve the desired balance”.

Tasting Notes: Gold in colour with aromas of buttery toast and red apple with a squeeze of lemon. Fresh, citrus acidity frames apple, pear, creamy lemon and rich brioche flavours. Ginger, citrus zest and a trace of vanilla linger between each rich, creamy sip. Well balanced, easy drinking and easy to pair with a wide variety of dishes.

Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: Chicken, pasta, almost any dish that is not too spicy or overpowering.

100% Chardonnay
Hunter Valley
Australia
13.5% Alcohol
$13 [average price]
Enjoy now

 

Sample submitted for editorial consideration.

A Friendly California Trio from Vinum Cellars

Brand: Vinum Cellars was founded in 1997 by first generation, California family winemakers, Richard Bruno and Chris Condos in Napa Valley. The duo met while students at UC Davis, and bonded over their love of Chenin Blanc. “Committed to experimenting and learning new winemaking methods while preserving an old world approach”, they combine unique methods such as experimenting with yeast strains, and using old French barrels for ageing.

The V Series is a line of “unique wines from classic regions for the every day”. All three wines are certified sustainable, small lots and hand crafted.

Philosophy: Winemaking begins in the vineyard, so they value their strong relationships with great grape growers, in order to develop the best fruit in the vineyard.

Vinum Cellars ‘V Series’ Chardonnay Monterey 2015

Winemaking: Grapes are from the famed Santa Lucía Highlands district. Fermented [full malo-lactic fermentation in barrel] and aged in 2 year old French oak barrels.

Tasting Notes: Deep gold in colour with aromas of fresh lemon tart, buttery toast and wildflowers. Vivid lemon and mango flavours are framed by bright acidity. Vanilla and traces of caramel linger on the long, creamy finish.

100% Chardonnay
13.5% Alcohol
$14 [average price]

Pairing Suggestions from the Winemakers: A fine aperitif wine, but really shines with grilled wild caught Salmon/Halibut/New England lobster, with a mango cilantro salsa and dusted with a pinch of cayenne. Serve it with steamed broccoli rabe with a squeeze of Meyer lemon, dust with sea salt along with roasted fingerling potatoes with rosemary.

Vinum Cellars ‘V Series’ Rosé Paso Robles 2016

Winemaking: grapes were grown by Tony Domingos at Seashell Vineyard in Paso Robles’ Geneseo district. Cold fermented for about 30 days to “capture the natural floral, strawberry and berry aromas of these varietals”.

Tasting Notes: Coral pink in colour, very aromatic, with prominent floral notes complimented by strawberries, dusty earth and light peppery spice. Delicate strawberry and watermelon flavors are given a squeeze of fresh lemon acidity. Soft spice and earth notes compliment the dry, fruity finish. Wonderfully gluggable, versatile at the table.

Blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre
13.5% Alcohol
$14 [average price]

Pairing Suggestions from the Winemakers: An excellent sipper on its own, however the acidity will stand up to most any dish. Try with roasted beet salad dusted with roasted almonds and goat cheese, seafood and fresh fish dishes.

Vinum Cellars ‘V Series’ Pinot Noir Monterey 2015

Winemaking: Grapes are from Monterey near King City, on the West side foothills of the lower Santa Lucia Highlands. Malo-Lactic fermentation and 9 months aging in used French barrels. Not racked, “because we like our Pinot Noir to ride the wave between oxidation and reduction”.

Tasting Notes: Transparent red-violet in colour with aromas of cherry, black cherry, earth and toasted oak. Cherry, strawberry, black cherry and a shake of white pepper glide atop silky tannins, wrapped in food friendly acidity. Vanilla, oak and baking spices linger on the dry, fruity finish.

100% Pinot Noir
13.5% Alcohol
$14 [average price]

Pairing Suggestions from the Winemakers: Drinks excellent on its own, or with cheese plates including Morbier, aged white cheddar, Stilton and Chèvre. Pairs well with wild mushroom risotto and shaved Reggiano with or without truffle oil. It’s a natural with duck breast, cassoulet or brick oven chicken. Earthy greens work well such as mustard, collard and beet greens as well as kale.

 

 

Samples submitted for review purpose.