A Double Tasting: Six New Wines to Try!

After we skipped last week’s tasting notes during a trip to Vermont (incidentally one of the hottest new regions for domestic wine production), we decided to come back this week with a special double slate of tastings. That’s right: this week we have six different wines for your reading and sipping pleasure. They are grown in produced everywhere from the Czech Republic to Finger Lakes region in New York. Featured are two zippy white wines, two deeply earthy skin contact varietals and two bottles of bubbles that are mouthwatering (and friendly on the wallet).

Sit back and find the perfect bottle – for those casual nights in, an upcoming dinner party, or when you’re just looking to geek on something that’s out of the box.

Milan Nestarec, Youngster White (2017)

Nestarec Youngster White Wine Blend (2017)

This blend of Neuburger and Pinot Gris is about as fun as a white wine can get. Though it’s cloudy and features soft bubbles, the color is so light that almost looks electric in the light, almost white. Juicy pear fruit, with a semi-sweetness predominates, but it’s also balanced by a strong acidity. Into the mid-palette and finish a more rounded pear note creeps in, almost like a poached quality, though the finish itself is generally drier than the initial tasting notes. The end result is something that’s mouthwateringly drinkable and exciting. Nouveau doesn’t have to mean boring!

Azienda Agricola Denavolo, Vino da Tavola Dinavolo (2009)

Denavolo Dinavolo (2009)

A skin contact white from Italy that still has a lot of life, even after being aged for almost a decade. Upon pouring, it’s a deep orange in color and you get richer and rounder fruit notes on the first sip with some deep earth. On the palette, there’s still great rounded, somewhat sweet, apricot fruit, with drier, nutty notes, balanced by a still lively acidity. The finish manages to bring in some of the tannic weight you’d expect from a skin contact wine, but it’s still remarkably clean and fresh for its age. At $35 this is a phenomenal value compared to some of the more prestigious Italy or French regions. It would be exciting to see how this might round out and evolve with a few more years of aging.

Weingut Rita & Rudolf Trossen, Eule Purus (2016)

Trossen Eule Purus (2016)

Once you look beyond the painterly label, you recognize you’re on to an exceptional young Riesling. From Mosel, Germany, this is a dry, acid-forward forward Riesling that showcases maximum flavor. Upfront you’re greeted by tart green apple and a blistering, refreshing acidic backbone, which transitions into lightly sweetened lime notes. What is memorable about the wine is that it features a lactic mouthfeel, which helps to offset the acid with a bit of creaminess but it still manages to finish very clean, highlighting the youthful nature of its fruit notes. In a few more years, we suspect all of the elements will be in even greater harmony.

Domaine Maison en Belles Lies, Ambre (2014)

Maison en Belles Lies Ambre (2014)

This skin contact Chardonnay is a delight – but definitely is a bit out of left field, so it might only be for the adventurous or open minded at heart. (Much like us!) It doesn’t feature too many aromatics on the nose but it leaves its boldness for the palette: a ton of bracing acidity upfront before quickly going earthy, with the traditional skin contact notes, including vegetal earth and bitterness. Interestingly, we noticed a savory backbone that creeps in to the mid palette, with a round mouthfeel and a decidedly dry finish. With a traditional Chardonnay, you expect a bit of a richer or rounder quality or pure fruit-driven acidity, and this lands somewhere in the middle, which is exciting for us.

Bloomer Creek Edelzwicker (2015)

A group of Grand Dames meet under the cover of darkness in a smoky room. The libations that flow can only be described as this Pet Nat from the Finger Lakes in Upstate New York. The wine pours a pale yellow color but the sediments floats in the bottle in a mesmerizing way. There is a good acid upfront, but it is decidedly softer and more elegant, featuring some semi-sweet fresh apple and pear notes that hang on through the mid-palette. The finish is a bit fuzzy, but in a good way, as if these women start to dance and end up losing themselves to the music. It ends up finishing, very cleanly and delicately, with some soft vegetal notes that add the necessary structure and balance. Bloomer Creek continually showcases how effective domestic, minimal intervention winemaking can be and each year they only seem to be refining their craft.

Aphros, Sparkling Vinhao Super-Reserve

Aphros Vinhão Super-Reserva Bruto (NV)

From Vinho Verde, a region typically known for its whites, comes a sparkling wine made from the dark-skinned Vinhao grape in the Lambrusco style. Pungent earth, some prune-forward notes upfront, with tart acidity that transitions into more dark berries, with a blackberry bramble that builds in through the mid-palette. The tannic grip and soft earth are present on a dry finish with some cocoa notes. It’s a wonderfully complex between the high octane elements and the deeper, richer qualities you come to love from a red sparkling wine, making it perfect for those humectant summer evenings or contemplative and cozy winter nights.

Join us next week as we dive into two exciting Italian wines from Scoula di Vino, a thrilling Savagnin from France and one other treat. Until next time, cheers! 

A Week Without Expectations

This week we focus our efforts on three wines from Spain and Italy. These were wines that we didn’t know exactly what to expect as they evolved over the course of an evening. The end results were overall every positive: from the Denavolo’s truly memorable floral nose to Metamorphika’s ability to bring peach and kiwi fruit notes into an orange wine to Celler La Salada’s exceptional Pet Nat rosé blend that was mouthwateringly good. The sum of this week revealed that sometimes not knowing what to expect – not really having too many expectations at all – is the best way to drink new blends or old favorites from new vintages.

Azienda Agricola Denavolo, Vino Bianco Catavela (2016)

Denavolo Catavela (2016)

A somewhat cloudy straw yellow in the glass, this wine features expressive floral and white fruit aromas on the nose. Juicy stone fruit like peach and apricot predominate but there’s also a lovely citrus acidity, some structured tannins, and a wonderfully wet stone mid-palette that finishes dry with a little bit of funk and soft earth. There’s almost a lactic creaminess that reveals itself as the wine opens up a bit. A few hours later, more of the wild funk shows, along with some of the dryer mineral notes. This is a real delight in terms of a highlighting how funk and floral notes can coexist so well.

Costador Terroirs Mediterranis, Metamorphika Sumoll Blanc 'Brisat' (2016)

Metamorphika, Sumoll Blanc ‘Brisat’ (2016)

From the minute you look at this bottle of wine, you’re entranced. From the white clay to the orange and red all seeing eye label. Sumoll Blanc in an orange wine style? This really hits the spot, featuring juicy fruit and bitter earth on the nose. On the palette, this wine, as you’d expect from a Sumoll, is fruit forward, with peach and kiwi notes showcasing themselves. There is a driving tartness and acidity but it quickly moves into drier and earthier notes on the mid-palette, anchored by a lovely tannic weight. The finish is dry and some of the rounded stone fruit notes integrate back in.

Celler La Salada, Penedès Roig Boig Metode Ancestral (2016)

Celler La Salada, Roig Boig Pet Nat Rosé (2016)

For 20 dollars, it’s harder to imagine a better Pet Nat from Spain. It hits above its price class for sure. This wine is wonderfully aromatic on the nose with aromatic herbal spiced notes that remind us of the holiday season. The first sip reveals cranberry tartness and zippy acid but the transition happens quickly to some soft funky earth and a touch of oxidative roundness. As the wine evolves, you catch undertones of Catalonia salinity and some crushed rocks. When you let it finish, the pleasant herbal spices creep right in, finishing things off in a full circle kind of way. Run, don’t walk, to this wine.

Join us next week as we dive into a 2009 Denavolo, a memorable Riesling from Mosel, and Nestarec’s cherry juice rosé. Until then, happy sipping!

Old Grapes meet New Winemaking Styles

As we round out the first month of 2018, we’re already enamored by all of the wines we’ve tasted. We bucked the seasonal trends, traveled far and wide and shown that natural wine doesn’t necessarily need to bring the funk. For this week, we’ve returned to the classics, so to speak. These are still natural wines, but in more classic regions: Beaujolais, Burgundy and Alsace. The results, however, are anything but expected. Many of these wines are fruit-forward, high in acid, or full bodied but still showcase unmistakable earth and structure through mineral or herbal notes. Vibrant wines don’t necessarily need to be light bodied or crisp, we’ve come to realize this week.

Part of the fun of wine tasting is that we have to discard expectations and embrace terroir.

Pierre Cotton, Gamay Pet Nat Carentia Rosé (2016)

Pierre Cotton, 100% Gamay Pet Nat ‘Carentia’ (NV)

The Pet Nat features a salmon-colored hue with an immediate and generous amount of bubbles upon pouring. On the nose, it highlights fresh strawberries and a structured yeasty undercurrent. Taste wise it is bursting with fresh, ripened red fruit, and is a touch off dry but is balanced with nice acid. Notably a slightly bitter earthiness and funk build on the palette, providing a necessary depth for a chillier night. This might be mouthwatering but it is a fundamentally complex wine, not at all easy drinking in the same way you might expect other Gamay Pet Nat rosés.


Vini Viti Vinci, Chavan Blanc (2015)

What a lovely white wine from one of the lest storied parts of Burgundy in Avallon! It is very clear and pale yellow in the glass, with a bit of the classic Chardonnay roundness on the nose in addition to fresh green apple notes. Though it catches some of that initial acid you’d expect from a Chablis, it’s decidedly softer joue de vivre, with rounder stone fruit notes predominating. We love the long finish that is dry and mineral-forward, which adds unexpected personality and life to this wine. It drinks well in the winter, though it is also perfect for that memorable summer BBQ.

Pierre Frick, Riesling (2012)

This is a masterful, rich expression of Riesling in a natural style and at an amazing value (only $15). It is a deep, golden yellow in color. On the palette, it shows how it is big in body, balancing rocky minerality with fruit-forward, juicy grapefruit notes, a racy acidity and oxidative, almost savory, nutty notes on a long, tension-filled mid palette. This is definitely not a Riesling for those that are looking for something clean and crisp. However, don’t let the underlying residual sugar fool you. It’s featured only in service of the other elements, with a decided pep by the time it settles down in the finish.

Join us next week as dive into some seriously funky natural wines from Spain and Italy, not really knowing what to expect in the process. Cheers!

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