Warm Up in Winter

Nothing screams December festivities quite like a French Gamay.

Winter is finally starting to settle in, as we hobble outside, bracing ourselves against an Arctic wind. But there is a decided advantage to this: many more nights in, watching Netflix, playing games and especially drinking wine! As we’ve flown past Thanksgiving, we’re in the thick of the holiday season, which means a ton of new offerings. During any month, there’s never a bad day for a Beaujolais but nothing screams December festivities quite like a French Gamay. Despite our love for the classics, we also wanted to branch out a bit into rare Sicilian and Slovak grapes, in orange and sparkling form. Though all of the wines were great in their own right, they all did the trick at warming us up.

Jean Foillard, Beaujolais-Villages (2016)

Beaujolais-Villages – Jean Foillard (2016)

As far as a Gamay goes for $24, this one is an unabashed light and lively delight. Generous dark fruit and soft earth are present on the nose. Acid hits you initially but it’s a bit softer, defused by tart but round cherry notes. There are some tannins, but the wine is more about the juicy fruit and, for such a young wine, quite a long and clean mineral finish. When it comes to these wines, you want precision of classic flavor elements with just enough intrigue so that you don’t feel like you’re tasting the same wine over and over again. This delivers on that expectation and we would be excited to see it age a few more years.

Bosco Falconeria – Falco Peregrino (2016)

Whenever we end up in Sicily, things are sure to be delicious and this skin-contact white using the Catarratto grape is no exception. A cloudy orange color in the glass, the nose is decidedly tame but showcases tannic, bitter and green notes. It has a pronounced acid and citrus bouquet upfront with some pleasantly floral notes but it quickly turns tannic, which evolves into more pronounced bitterness and earthy qualities that are typical of orange wine. There’s nothing delicate about this wine, which is why we love it. It’s a great wine to compare to their Catarratto, which doesn’t undergo the skin contact fermentation, making it decidedly light on its feet.

Strekov 1075 Crème #1

Strekov 1075 – Crème #1

This Pet Nat is made from the Devín grape, a rare Eastern European varietal we haven’t had much of, so we were excited to try it, particularly from one of our favorite Slovak producers. And oh, did it deliver! There is a decided amount of earth and funk, and a slight bit of oxidization on the nose. We loved the great balance of acid, stone fruit (predominantly apricot) and the broader honeyed characteristics. As the wine opened up, we tasted some fresh herbs, a mineral dryness and, of course, that quality of lactic creaminess coating the palette. It’s quite complex and a bit wild to wrap your head around but it’s never unapproachable, making it perfect on its own or with food.

Join us next week as we try a French Pet Nat, a red from Greece and a unique white blend all the way from Chile. Until next time, happy sipping!

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