L’opera des Vins ‘les années folles’ Vin de France 2015

Winery: A native of the Loire Valley, Jean-Pierre Robinot began crafting wine in 2002, prior to that he owned a natural wine bar in Paris and was the co-founder of the renowned independent wine publication: “Le Rouge et Le Blanc”. He has 10 hectares of vineyards in Jasnieres and Coteaux du Loire, and also purchases grapes from friends and neighbors that share the same winemaking philosophy and principles. His wines are known for their clarity of fruit, complexity and true expression of terroir.

Winemaking: All vineyards are farmed organically. Zero chemicals or additives of any kind are used. Only indigenous yeasts are used, sulphur is not added at all, no filtering or refining. Wines are not released until Robinot believes they are ready to drink.

Tasting Notes: Golden amber in colour with heady aromas of sea spray, seashells, honey, apricot and a trace of graham cracker. Delicate apricot, pear, peach and a shake of cinnamon are glossed by citrus acidity. Consistent, fine bubbles carry thru to the very end, chalky minerality and a squeeze of tangerine linger between each sip. Engaging, refreshing with an elegant edge, this is spectacular on its own, or with interesting foods. [I enjoyed it on its own, then with raw provolone and homemade bread and salty butter.]

Blend of Chenin Blanc and Pineau d’Aunis
Vin de France
France
Bottled by L’opera des Vins, Jean-Pierre Robinot
12% Alcohol
$32
Enjoy now thru 2019

Casebianche ‘Il Fric’ Rosato Paestum IGP 2016

Estate: Seeking a better quality life, Elisabetta Luorio and her husband Pasquale left their careers in architecture in Naples to return to Elisabetta’s family’s farm, Azienda Agricola Casebianche. The estate is located in the famed “Magna Grecia” coastal region of southern Italy that was settled by the Greeks in 800 BC. The 14 hectare property [of which 5.5 hectares are vineyard] is just inland from Agropoli in Campania, southwestern Italy. The area’s winemaking roots go all the way back to those ancient Greeks; grape cultivation and wine drinking are a predominant theme in the artifacts discovered in the region.

Passionate about non-interventionist winemaking, Elisabetta and Pasquale follow organic and biodynamic methods. In addition to the vines, there are also olive and fig trees, along with citrus groves. For an in depth look at the estate, check out their bio page on their importer’s site, Giannoni Selections.

Winemaking: Grapes are from the 1 hectare Dellemore vineyard with clay and limestone soils. Hand harvested, and gravity fed, a 6 hour maceration before skin removal gives the wine its intense colour. Bottled and re-fermented in the bottle by adding grape must to create its sparkling quality. No sugars, yeasts, or sulfites are added, not disgorged. Certified organic.

Tasting Notes: Copper-red in colour with aromas of fresh summer strawberry, wild flowers and a thump of Brothers Johnson funk. Chalky mineral driven, with fresh strawberry and raspberry gliding about light, frizzante bubbles. Finishing clean and fruity. Engaging, expressive, funky and refreshing, this was fantastic on its own, and with vegetable tartare and smoky polenta.

Winemaker’s Note: It is recommended to invert the bottle before opening in order to reintegrate the lees.

100% Aglianico
Paestum IGP
Italy
Estate Bottled by Azienda Agricola Casebianche
12% Alcohol
€14 [I paid around €20 in a restaurant in Florence.]
Enjoy now

Un Saumon dans la Loire ‘La Cave se rebiffe’ Rose 2015

saumonpetnat

Winery: Progressive winemaker Frantz Saumon is the man behind the negociant label of “Un Saumon Dans la Loire,” or a “Salmon in the Loire”. His own small estate [6 hectares] located in Montlouis in the Loire, was established in 2002. Un Saumon Dans la Loire has allowed him to buy 3 to 4 hectares of additional grapes each year. He is known for his pure flavours, “always looking for clean wines and thriving for dryness”. His Petillant Naturels [Pét-Nat] are recognized as some of the best in the Loire region.

Winemaking: Frantz Saumon has always practiced organic and biodynamic farming. He uses only indigenous yeasts for fermentation and never fines or filters. Wines are aged in a stainless steel tanks and wood barrels of different sizes.

Tasting Notes: Brilliant cherry red in colour, with aromas of chocolate covered cherries dusted with crushed pink peppercorn. Cherry, blackberry, a slice of red apple, and dry minerals sprightly zip along on solid, frothy bubbles. Chocolate covered cherries return on the dry finish, along with a slight hint of white truffle. Elegant and cheery, fantastic on its own or a fun companion with a wide variety of dishes.

Côt [Malbec], Gamay, and Grolleau blend [percentages vary depending on vintage]
Vin de France
France
Bottling information not listed
12% Alcohol
$25
Enjoy now

Domaine des Terres Blanches Ancestral Rouge 2014

terrespetnat

Naturally sparkling Cabernet Franc; fruity & fizzy, delightfully different.

Estate: Located in the historic village of Oiron in the Loire region of southern France, Domaine des Terres is headed by Benoit and Celine Blet. The couple had met an older gentleman who was considering the sale of his vineyards, and after living with him on his property for 6 months; he considered them to be the right caretakers of his vineyards.

Winemaking: “Benoit is a passionate believer in minimalist natural wine making.” Vineyards are farmed biodynamically, only native yeasts are used, and the only additive ever used is minimal amounts of sulphur. Crafted using the pét-nat [pétillant naturel] or Ancestral Méthod.

Tasting Notes: Garnet in colour with pink frothy bubbles, aromas of cranberry, cherry and chocolate. Fruit driven with cherry, blackberry and a hint of red apple buoyed by compact, small bubbles. Rich chocolate and a hint of funk comprise the dry, fizzy finish.

Pairing Suggestions from the Winemaker: As an aperitif, or with a chocolate dessert (Black Forest). To be enjoyed young between 6 and 8 ° C [43-47 ° F].

100% Cabernet Franc
France
12.5% Alcohol
$17
Enjoy now

Le Sot de l’Ange Pét-Nat Azay le Rideau 2014

lesotnetpret

Estate: Le Sot de l’Ange translates to “Idiot Angel” of Azay-Le-Rideau, and refers to the decision “energetic and young” winemaker Quentin Bourse made when he took over a friend’s domaine in a tiny, off the radar appellation. Azay-Le-Rideau is located within the Touraine AOC, in the Loire Valley and has a winemaking history that dates back to the Romans. The 12 hectare estate has been certified biodynamic for over 10 years; Quentin’s first vintage was 2013.

Winemaking: Quentin manages the entire estate himself, by hand; his friends give help with harvest. Vineyard soil is predominately clay over silica. Crafted in the Pét-nat [pétillant naturel] manner, an ancient method of making sparkling wines.

Tasting Notes: Venetian red* in colour with aromas of strawberry, cherry, minerals and a hint of sweet funk. Packed with tart cherry andblackberry flavours with a streak of lemony acidity. Fine, light bubbles are the foil to a shake of nutmeg and sprinkle of funk on the dry finish. Refreshing and gluggable, this is a wonderfully distinctive wine well worth seeking out.

*[Yes, at the risk of sounding pretentious I used Venetian. I could have said cherry red, but I felt Venetian really is the better descriptor. Ahhh, art school.]

As to be expected with such an engaging, esoteric wine, details such as vintage year, varietal percentage, alcohol content and bottling info are at times a bit enigmatic. I do believe this is the 2014 vintage, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
100% Gamay or a blend of Gamay and Grolleau
Azay-Le-Rideau,
France
11-14% Alcohol
$21
Enjoy now

lesotback