Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Wine of the Week - Château Julia Pauillac


Sophie Martin, owner of the smallest Château in Pauillac, has challenged the notion of what Bordeaux from this traditional region of Bordeaux should be. Other than the origin, Chateau Julia, which is made of 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, has little in common with others wines from Pauillac which tend to be more Cabernet based. Styled more like a Saint-Emilion, Martin highlights the Merlot’s softness, leaving the finished wine rich and smooth with plenty of velvet. She produces 3500 bottles using sustainable agriculture. The wine macerates for five weeks then sees 12 months in oak barriques, 30% of which are new. 

Sophie Martin, the young owner and winemaker at Chateau Julia, purchased her first pieces of land in 2008 – 0.5 hectares in Pauillac and 3.5 hectares in Haut-Médoc, and her first solo vintage in Bordeaux was in 2009. In a region that doesn’t see a whole lot of new faces, Sophie is making headway with her passion and spirit. She wants to continue to make new wines (her Haut-Médoc is forthcoming) and also to convert entirely to organic viticulture. The challenges, like going out on her own, finding good workers to hire, vine cultivation etc. serve only to stoke her ambition going forward. She is a trailblazer in Pauillac, helping to bring innovation and modernity to the region.




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Monday, March 27, 2017

William Kelley on the Wines of Jean-Charles Fagot

  Jean-Charles Fagot, one of our newest Burgundy producers, has recently been recognized not only for his outstanding wines, but as one of the pioneers within the Côte d’Or producing great wine at affordable prices. William Kelley, correspondent for Decanter and writer for Noble Rot Magazine among others, discusses the problem many restaurants have encountered as both the demand and cost for great Burgundy have continued to rise. A restaurateur himself, Fagot has sought to produce wines that provide an answer to this dilemma, while still remaining true to the prestigious appellation. In particular, Kelley applauds the 2015 vintage, noting that Fagot's "ambition has been fully realized".   




Link to William Kelley's article: "A tasting with Jean-Charles Fagot"  

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Wine of the Week - Château Richard "Cuvée Natural"

While Bergerac may be a more esoteric and less familiar grape-growing region, wines made from this area should be more than sought after. Located in the South, west of France's Aquitaine region, wine from Bergerac are unique in their expression and balance; similar only in varietals to wines from their neighbor Bordeaux. Altitude and soil composition play a large role in the differences between the two, along with how the wine is vinified. Wine maker Richard Doughty not produces his wines using organic grapes, but chooses to use very little sulfur, and in this cuvée none at all.


Richard Doughty, a half-English, half-French former deep-sea diver, started cultivating vines in Bergerac in 1991 after sustaining an injury that ended his diving career. One of the pioneers of the current natural winemaking trend in Bergerac, he’s always cultivated his vines and produced wine 100% organically, uses very little sulfur (his Cuvée Naturel uses no SO2 whatsoever) and has a propensity for old barrels. Both his whites and reds display a clean acidity, a trait, he says, that is common for organic viticulture. This linearity extends right on down along the line to his Saussignac, a dessert wine made of Sémillon and Muscadelle the sees as many as eight passes through the vineyard for hand harvesting before the final selection is made.

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Happy first day of spring!!! 2016 vintage rosés are in! #roséallday #2016vintage #blog


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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Wine of the Week - Drew Family Wine's "Ornbaun"

Ornbaun: the well-drained soil formed in material weathered from sandstone and mudstone; typically found on hills and mountains which run through the Mendocino Ridge AVA.  

Like its namesake suggests, Drew's Ornbaun Rhône Blend is truly site-specific. With the vineyard located 3 miles from the ocean, the grapes harvested here have a freshness and purity that Drew Family Wines are recognized for. For this wine, Jason Drew specifically sources from the Mendocino ridge AVA, one of the best locations to ripen this Syrah in California. The Ornbaun is comprised of 84% Syrah, 8% Grenache, 5% Mourvèdre, and 3% Viognier. This domestic Rhône blend is full of elegant cool-climate fruit, with a wonderful structure and balance. 


With over 25 years in the wine business in Central and Northern California, Jason Drew brings a vast depth of knowledge and a holistic perspective to his winemaking.  Drew focuses on small lot coastal Pinot Noir and Syrah from Anderson Valley and the Mendocino Ridge. For his sourced fruit, he has long standing partnerships with several local vineyard growers who share his passion for sustainable and meticulous farming practices. Single vineyard sources are chosen for their climate, clonal selection and complexity of soil type. Winemaking practices remain focused on traditional methods that include whole cluster and native yeast fermentations, hand punchdowns and no fining or filtering.  

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